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Rare Books and the Rare Book Trade
Book Collecting Now Cover

New publication by Chatwin Books (US) looks at today's book collecting

Published on 14 May 2019
Indeed, “Books don’t just furnish a room,” Michael Dirda writes in Browsings. “. . . Digital texts are all well and good, but books on shelves are a presence in your life. As such, they become a part of your day-to-day existence, reminding you, chastising you, calling to you. Plus, book collecting is, hands down, the greatest pastime in the world.”
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Leonardo da Vinci's Library

Leonardo da Vinci: reflected in his library

Published on 06 May 2019
Leonardo da Vinci was a tireless and inquisitive reader. He owned more than 200 books about science and technology as well as literary and religious topics. An exhibition organized by the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science and the Berlin State Library at the Museo Galileo in Florence sheds new light on the intellectual cosmos of the artist, engineer, and philosopher, who remains as fascinating as ever 500 years after his death.
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From the Vault

A sneak peek in our archives


Paul Foster Books. First Catalogue 1993

Yesterday I received several boxes, from my Printer, containing my latest Catalogue. It is always an exciting time for a bookseller. Months of hard work, buying, researching and cataloguing the books, not to mention proof reading and checking photo images, have gone into this one little volume, and it is as near to publishing as most book dealers ever get. This latest catalogue is a selection of the more interesting items I have bought recently, listing 190 books over 48 text pages and with a sixteen page colour section full of photographs in the middle, the whole lot wrapped in colour printed, gloss finished, covers. It is a modest little booklet by some standards, but when I compare it to the catalogues I was producing back in the 1990's it seems a world away. My business, and my catalogues, have seen remarkable advances in technology over the last 20 years.
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Collecting Rare Books and First Editions - Margaret Fuller: America's First Feminist

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.
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Books and Hope for South Sudan … Help fill the empty bookshelves on UNESCO World Book and Copyright Day

"Peace is not something that exists on a piece of paper. True peace is created in the hearts, minds, and actions of women and men. True peace will exist when all citizens of South Sudan sincerely accept each other, respect each other, and can start honest and open dialogues with one another to resolve their differences amicably. True peace will only exist when the 10,000 children and youths who participated in this conflict are given the education they deserve and helped to re-integrate into society ..." Forest Whitaker
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Manuscript Collecting - An Endangered Species

I am the owner of Barry R. Levin Science Fiction and Fantasy Literature, a firm of rare book dealers of science fiction, fantasy, and horror, and I was discussing with her the acquisition of a manuscript written by one of her authors. When I say manuscript, I mean the physical artifact — the words on the paper. Manuscripts are the most important literary collectible and over the years my firm has handled many of the major ones, a number of them for award-winning novels. We always try to purchase all notes and drafts, so that the creative process can be traced from the original idea to the final setting-copy. To that end I asked Perkins to make sure that her client included in the final manuscript package the final draft, the setting-copy (this is the manuscript copy sent to publisher from which the publisher's printer sets the type). She told me that the author had submitted his copy on a disk - that no setting-copy was sent to the publisher at all. From the standpoint of collectors, archivists and literary scholars, this has to be the last straw.
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