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Rare Books and the Rare Book Trade
1 - 8 / 2034

From the Vault

A sneak peek in our archives


Gilhofer & Ranschburg - A Short History

In 1924 William H. Schab founded a branch of Gilhofer & Ranschburg in Lucerne. Drawings and prints, and most of all rich and important libraries were sold at Lucerne, as for example the library of Prince Alexander Dietrichstein at Nicholsburg and those of the Austrian monasteries of Admont and Göttweig, the collection of Albert Figdor and treasures from Soviet libraries. Following the German annexation of Austria the Viennese firm was confiscated and the Lucerne branch had to stop its activities. Otto Ranschburg, sonof Heinrich Ranschburg, emigrated to London and then to New York. William H. Schab fled to the United States where he founded his own business in New York. Nevertheless Gilhofer & Ranschburg was one of the founding members of the Swiss Antiquarian Booksellers' Association (Vereinigung der Buchantiquare und Kuperstichhändler in der Schweiz, VEBUKU) was established in Zurich, Switzerland, in 1939.
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Edmund Smyth - English Explorer (1823-1911)

The only existing account of his life beyond his travels is an obituary in the Royal Geographical Society, New Series 1882: Edmund Smyth travelled in the company of John Hanning Speke and Richard Burton, and he made a secret expedition to Tibet and the Brahmaputra with Robert Drummond and Thomas W. Webber. Webber's report "Forests of Upper India" was rejected by Sven Hedin, who "dismissed the account as worthless and riddled with inconsistencies, devoting six pages of his Southern Tibet to demolishing Webber's claims". Why? Hedin had recently returned from Tibet and claimed the discovery of the source of the Brahmaputra as his own.
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Printing in the Footsteps of Giants

Some time ago Fine Books & Collections reported that the Albion handpress on which William Morris printed his Kelmscott Press masterpiece, The Works of Geoffrey Chaucer was auctioned. The iron press, manufactured by Hopkinson & Cope in 1891, was sold to the Cary Graphic Arts Collection at the Rochester Institute of Technology. Philip C. Salmon of Bromer Booksellers was acting as agent. In August 2015, Philip C. Salmon went to Rochester, NY, to attend the official ceremony and to print a broadside on this famous handpress. His thoughts about printing in the footsteps of giants:
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Banned Books Week - ‘All that Hell could vomit forth’

This week is Banned Books Week. I've written about banned books before: the infamous Protocols of the Elders of Zion, in the Weimar Republic, in the Soviet Union. Here's something a little earlier: the libellous Philippiques of François-Joseph de Lagrange-Chancel (1677–1758). These virulent satires against the Regent, the duc d'Orléans, enjoyed a huge popularity in manuscript throughout the eighteenth century, as the varied examples here show. 'In spite of its imperfections and crying injustice, it is the monument of satire in France' (Nouvelle biographie générale).
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