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ILAB Library - All You Need To Know About Rare Books and the Antiquarian Book Trade

  • [+] More Collecting - “He was America”: Carl Sandburg 


    Collecting - “He was America”: Carl Sandburg
    Published since 13 Jan 2016

    Admitting this is probably one of those phenomenally bad ideas I continuously have despite how much older I get, but I am one of those wicked people who pretended to know, well … something about this American literary star for many years. People would mention his name and I would be all, “Oh yes, Carl Sandburg, wow …  it went for how much? Woah!” While casually hoping the conversation would change because as far as I knew I could not remember reading anything by this author and continually neglected to read up on him when I got to a quiet corner away from prying eyes. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I know it is a shocker but I am not omniscient (though I’m sure it seems that way most of the time. Eh-hem). So now, just in case any of you out there are like me and think you can continue fooling people into thinking you know about this magnificent man … think again!

  • [+] More Collecting Rare Books and First Editions - Thomas Paine 


    Collecting Rare Books and First Editions - Thomas Paine
    Published since 13 Nov 2014

    January 29 is the birthday of early American political activist Thomas Paine (1737), whose pamphlet Common Sense (1776) credited with inspiring American colonists to embrace the idea of independence from Great Britain. The American Revolution had already started but the work served to spur volunteers for the Continental Army. It was widely distributed throughout the colonies, read aloud in taverns, and unabashedly pirated. Some scholars say it was the first American bestseller.

  • [+] More Collecting Rare Books and First Editions - C. Perry Snell, Snell Isle's Visionary 


    Collecting Rare Books and First Editions - C. Perry Snell, Snell Isle's Visionary
    Published since 05 Jun 2014

    In the 1920s, dreamers and schemers descended on the Sunshine State bent on making a fortune in the burgeoning real estate market. In the earliest days of the Florida Land Boom, it seemed that one had but to imagine great wealth for it to be so. Parcels were bought and sold, sometimes within hours, at huge profits. The real estate bubble didn’t last long - a scant five years or so - and when the end came some would-be real estate tycoons were stuck with land bought at inflated prices and no money. But there were developers who, though they had prospered during the boom, were cautious and had not been caught up in the buying frenzy. C. Perry Snell, for instance, had been in St. Petersburg for a couple of decades before the hubbub began. He had successfully developed residential projects that eventually became known as Old Northeast. He owned land bought many years before that he had not yet developed.

  • [+] More Collecting Rare Books and First Editions - Black Hawk, Keokuk and the Legends 


    Collecting Rare Books and First Editions - Black Hawk, Keokuk and the Legends
    Published since 21 Jan 2014

    In 1878, when Chief Thunderwater was 13 years old and not yet a chief, his uncle gave him an extraordinary book, titled The Life and Adventures of Black Hawk:  With Sketches of Keokuk, the Sac and Fox Indians, and the Late Black Hawk War.

  • [+] More How to Identify Rare Books and First Editions - Surrender the Ship? 


    How to Identify Rare Books and First Editions - Surrender the Ship?
    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 John Steinbeck and the Nixon Novel that Never Was 


    John Steinbeck and the Nixon Novel that Never Was
    Published since 27 Feb 2013

    Today we celebrate the birthday of legendary author John Steinbeck. Born on February 27, 1902 in Salinas, California, Steinbeck would become one of American’s most notable authors. Steinbeck established himself as an author in an era when accomplished authors held considerable clout. Thus he one day found himself in a unique position: he held the upcoming United States presidential election in his hands.

  • [+] More Collecting Rare Books and First Editions - Bread & Roses: The Strike That Changed Everything 


    Collecting Rare Books and First Editions - Bread & Roses: The Strike That Changed Everything
    Published since 21 Feb 2013

    Needless to say, few strikes in American history have generated as much literature, music or folklore as did Lawrence. Given our interest in the art and literature of social movements, we’re unavoidably drawn to this material, as are our customers – it tends to come and go with some regularity. Here are a few recent acquisitions that are still with us, each interesting for its own reasons.

  • [+] More The American Gift Book 


    The American Gift Book
    Published since 19 Jul 2011

    In France the first gift book may have been ALMANACH DES MUSES, first published in 1765. This format was copied in Germany in 1770 with the publication of MUSEN-ALMANACH. In the 1790s some anthologies appeared in England that were clearly intended to be given as gifts, like ANGELICA'S LADIES LIBRARY, OR PARENTS AND GUARDIANS PRESENT (1794), which was followed by THE ANNUAL ANTHOLOGY (1799, 1800), edited by Robert Southey, and including twenty-seven poems and epigrams by Coleridge, plus contributions by Charles Lamb and Southey himself. A third volume was planned, but never appeared. These proto-gift books did not start a trend, and I know of no similar anthologies published in England during the next two decades. In the early years of the nineteenth century in Germany, some gift books (taschenbuch) were being issued in glazed paper boards, and in 1822 Rudolph Ackerman used those as his model when he published the first English gift book, the FORGET ME NOT, which he would publish without interruption for the next twenty-five years. Gift books like Ackerman's, which were issued year after year, became known as gift annuals, literary annuals, or simply "annuals." Since not all "annuals" were exclusively literary in their content, I will use the term "gift annual" to describe them as a subset of the broader family of gift books.

  • [+] More Online Archive of the John F. Kennedy Collection 


    Published since 14 Jan 2011

    The archive at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum (Boston, MA)   includes thousands of historical papers, documents and images:  irreplaceable records of the struggle for Civil Rights, the conflict with the Soviet Union during the height of the Cold War, the efforts to land a man on the moon, the prevention of a nuclear catastrophe during the Cuban Missile Crisis, and American art and culture in general.

  • [+] More Searching for New Sources in Western History 


    Searching for New Sources in Western History
    Published since 09 Dec 2009

    All historians must be concerned with their sources. In many instances these are easily accessible, far more so today than in the past, in the relative convenience of professionally run university libraries, historical societies or museums. Since World War II academic institutions in the United States have enjoyed an extraordinary growth in their collections of the raw materials of American history, coupled with technological advances which have made it vastly easier to catalogue, locate and reach the original documents within the protective web of institutional control. It has never been easier to reach the books and manuscripts that are the bases of historical research.

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