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ILAB Library - All You Need To Know About Rare Books and the Antiquarian Book Trade
Published since 24 May 2013
May 23 is the birthday of writer Margaret Fuller (1810), who is considered the first American feminist. She wrote Women in the Nineteenth Century (1845), which is regarded as the first major feminist work published in the country. It was first published in The Dial Magazine, for which Fuller had served as founding editor before turning those duties over to co-founder Ralph Waldo Emerson. In the book, Fuller argued that mankind would evolve to understand divine love and that women alongside men would share in divine love. Fuller was a favorite in the New England Transcendentalist community. Among her friends were Bronson Alcott (Louisa May's father), Nathaniel Hawthorne, Henry David Thoreau, and Horace Greeley, for whom she worked as first literary critic of the New York Tribune. She served as foreign correspondent for the Tribune, touring Europe and setting in Rome, where she married. She was returning to the United States in 1850 but drowned, along with her husband and young son, when her ship hit a sandbar and sank off New York. She was 40 years old.
[+] More Collecting Rare Books and First Editions - Alexander Pope’s Legacy of Satire and Scholarship
Published since 23 May 2013
On May 21, 1688 Alexander Pope was born to Alexander and Edith Pope. Despite all odds, Pope would blossom into a preeminent British poet of the eighteenth century. Pope left behind an ingenious translation of Homer’s Iliad, along with a robust body of poetry and criticism. Though history has not always been kind to Pope, he’s recognized as a truly masterful poet whose influence can still be felt.
Published since 23 May 2013
“A first edition copy of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, with author JK Rowling's notes and original illustrations, was sold for £150,000 at auction in London. The book, which was auctioned by Sotheby's at a charity sale in aid of the English Pen writers' association, was purchased by an anonymous bidder by telephone. The annotations by Rowling include comments on the process of writing and a section from an early draft of the novel, along with a number of illustrations drawn by her and a note on how she came to invent Quidditch, a sport played by characters in the books.”
Published since 22 May 2013
How to identify a rare book? "I got stumped last week, trying to catalog a book I’d recently purchased. It was the first full length biography of the American naval hero James Lawrence, and it was supposed to be 244 pages long. However, my copy seemed complete at page 240, which ended with the word “finis.” I must’ve spent an hour pouring through my reference books trying to reconcile the discrepancy. I had a dim recollection of the pagination issue being explained to me by the gentleman from whom I’d purchased the book. But I couldn’t remember the details, and I couldn’t piece it together from the bibliographies ..."
[+] More Fifty First Editions, Annotated by their Authors – Sotheby's Charity Auction in Support of the English PEN
Published since 17 May 2013
“It’s like discovering a herd of unicorns”, says Rick Gekoski. “For a time, when you see them together, you think they must be quite common. But when you buy your unicorn and take it home to your little smallholding, then your neighbours will fall over with astonishment. That’s what’s going to happen with these books. After a year or two passes, each one is going to look like a little marvel and the prices will seem reasonable, even cheap, in retrospect.”
Published since 16 May 2013
In 2010, online literary magazine The Fiction Circus hosted a seance for Fitzgerald at New York City's KGB Bar. A writer and artist known as Xerxes Vedammt offered his body to be inhabited by Fitzgerald. Once the departed writer made his, um, appearance, participants called out questions. One person asked what books Fitzgerald had read. The response: "I don't have a lot of time to read. But I enjoyed Patricia Highsmith's The Talented Mr. Ripley. I wish I had written The Talented Mr. Ripley."
Published since 14 May 2013
It’s a common enough problem: you’re a young buck newly arrived in the big city, you’re eager to find a prostitute, but you don’t know where to start — you don’t want to be ripped off and you don’t want to come down with a disease. Enter Jack Harris, the “Pimp General of All England,” with his eminently useful reference book: a guide to London’s strumpets, their specialties, and their fees. Even though prostitution was illegal, both the author and the users would have taken comfort in the fact that there was no organized law enforcement to do anything about it.
Published since 13 May 2013
Having thought about it though, it did occur to me that the real problem with that Treasure Detectives malarkey was not even the fact that they had no clue what they were on about … more the fact that to someone “normal” it would be really hard to tell. If I were wandering the earth all besotted with books and suddenly had a windfall from a mysterious Romanian Great Uncle I’d never previously heard of, and I wanted to start collecting books … how would I go about it? First … there are rules. They are for you, and like all of the best rules, they are rules that don’t just apply to book collecting.
Published since 10 May 2013
Over the course of what is now a legendary international career, Mason shows unerring instincts for the logic of the trade. He makes good money from Canadian editions, both legitimate and pirated (turns out Canadian piracies so incensed Mark Twain that he moved to Montreal for six months to gain copyright protection). He outfoxes the cousins of L.M. Montgomery at auction and blackmails the head of the Royal Ontario Museum. He excoriates the bureaucratic pettiness that obstructs public acquisitions, he trumpets the ingenuity of collectors and scouts, and in archives around the world he appraises history in its unsifted and most moving forms. And above all: David Mason boldly campaigns for what he feels is the moral duty of the antiquarian trade: to preserve the history and traditions of all nations, and to assert without compromise that such histories have value.
Published since 09 May 2013
One of the few artists to gain true celebrity from illustrating children’s books, Kate Greenaway was one of the most influential illustrators of her age. Greenaway, along with Randolph Caldecott and Walter Crane, revolutionized illustration. Popular in both Europe and the United States, Greenaway has remained highly sought after, even among contemporary children’s book collectors.