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Rare Books and the Rare Book Trade
 
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Renaissance

Rare Books - When is an inscription not an inscription?

Published on 14 Oct. 2014
Two folks identified the key elements of this month's crocodile mystery in their comments: Misha Teramura correctly noted that the inscription in the middle of the page - "pp. 184-190 refer to the progress of religion westward toward America" - refers to George Herbert's final poem from The Temple, "The Church Militant." And David Shaw noted that the other inscriptions - "8652″ on the top left and "A176″ on the bottom right - look to be an accession number and a shelf mark. But let's back up for one moment to understand why I find these marks interesting. The book in question is a first edition of George Herbert's The Temple (STC 13183). It's an interesting work, and a popular one in the 17th century. And as you can see from the notations on the front pastedown and the recto of the first free flyleaf, it's a work that was prized by later collectors.This particular copy was owned by Sir Leicester Harmsworth before it came into the Folger Shakespeare Library collection, and its value is shown in part by the blue goatskin binding signed on the bottom turn-in by Riviere and Son. Its value is more obviously indicated by the inscription on the pastedown, "a copy sold in the Terry sale in Dec 1935 for $3600."
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Renaissance

The Giunti of Florence. A Renaissance Printing and Publishing Family

Published on 24 Oct. 2012
This ambitious project explores the history and output of the Giunti Press in Florence, covering the firm from its beginnings in 1497 to its end in 1625, and providing descriptions of each Giunti book published with extensive indication of the libraries holding copies of each edition. In doing so, it describes the literature and history of Florence in the late Renaissance as well as the development of the Italian language within this important period of time.
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Renaissance

The Library of Symbolism - A Glossary and Bibliography of Renaissance Symbolic Literature

Published on 09 Nov. 2010
"For 2,000 years, from the time of Plato in 400 BC until the start of the modern era of empirical science in approximately 1600 AD, the culture of Western Europe was dominated by a single mode of expression: the symbol. The symbol was the universal medium for the approach to God, for the investigation of the natural world, for the interpretation of the Scriptures and for an understanding of and a guide to proper moral conduct. Towards the end of the period, enabled by the invention of printing by movable type, this obsession was translated into a vast literature of symbolism of which some eighty distinct species were identified by contemporary writers and theorists." The Renaissance symbolism refers to a time in which human thinking and the human view of the World changed radically. On the one hand Renaissance symbolism is one of the most interesting research fields for scholars. On the other hand it is one of the most fascinating fields of bibliophily at the very beginning of the history of printing.
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From the Vault

A sneak peek in our archives

Article

The Big Day Stay

It has always been my intention, since I began writing this column for Rare Book Review, to alternate chatty and anecdotal essays on bookish topics, with magisterial, carefully researched articles replete with detailed and incisive commentary on topics of immediate and vital interest to the rare book world. Thus after my self-indulgent and rambling article on poetry in the last issue, I was scheduled to reveal several exciting discoveries that would significantly forward the art and science of bibliography. And with that intention did I gather my copious research materials, as Heidi and I left for the weekend to our tiny cottage retreat by the shore in Cape May Point.
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Article

Bibliotour

The last couple of weeks have seen me in Germany and America, visiting book fairs, customers, and libraries. I have always enjoyed the international nature of the book trade. As regular readers of this blog will know, I have a particular interest in the cultural history of France, Germany, and Russia, especially in how these cultures interact with the anglophone world. So it was a pleasant surprise to find the following, two weeks ago, in Frankfurt ...
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ILAB History

1981-1990

By the 1980s the biennial congresses were attracting several hundred delegates. A certain amount of business gets transacted (the subjects cropping up most frequently being standards of collation, the training of new entrants to the trade, and relationships with the auction houses). Its harsher critics say that the League is only a talking-shop – and it is true that the social side of congress life is very pleasant, the national association sponsoring each congress taking great care to mount an interesting programme.
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Article

The Gravell Watermark Archive: Taking watermarks online

The Gravell Watermark Archive (www.gravell.org) is bringing together more than 50,000 watermarks from America and Europe, including 7,500 images collected by American-watermark expert Thomas L. Gravell and about 45,000 unpublished marks documented by Charles-Moise Briquet. On the website, you can search for stags, swans, or unicorns, creatures from a medieval bestiary produced long ago by wire attached to a paper mould. (Watermarks are made by placing a design made with thin wire on a paper mould. The paper formed over the wire is thinner and translucent when held up to a light source.)
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Booksellers

Emil Hirsch (1866-1954) – Antiquarian Booksellers in Exile –

The fifth part of the series of 25 booksellers’ biographies from Ernst Fischer’s biographical handbook "Verleger, Buchhändler & Antiquare aus Deutschland und Österreich in der Emigration nach 1933" is dedicated to Emil Hirsch, who started his career in Munich in the year 1884 as an apprentice at Ludwig Rosenthal’s antiquarian bookshop. After working with Oscar Gerschel in Stuttgart, Zahn & Jaensch in Dresden and, as partner, with Gottlob Hess in Munich, he founded his own company in 1879. Emil Hirsch’s antiquarian bookshop and auction house very soon became the centre of bibliophily in the Bavarian capital. He was a founding member of the Gesellschaft der Münchener Bücherfreunde, encouraged Hans von Weber to establish the „Hundertdrucke“ and supported the Bremer Presse. Famous collectors, authors and artists like Karl Wolfskehl and Franz Marc were amongst his friends.
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