ILAB spoke to one of the newer members of the Antiquarian Booksellers Association, Anke Timmermann who jointly owns and runs the business Type & Forme with her partner Mark James: "...the printed book and manuscripts have lost none of their allure in the new millennium, and antiquarian books are arguably even better appreciated in recent years ... Social media, especially Instagram, have brought forth a new generation of bibliophiles..."
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.”
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.
Halloween is the time for ghouls, goblins, witches, and ... ghosts. In the art world, ghosts aren't merely the phantoms, banshees, and spooks of horror stories; there are also ghosts of the pen. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart would ghostwrite music for wealthy patrons, and plenty of famous authors have written works on behalf of others as well.
When the Prize Jury meets in fall 2013, its members - Felix de Marez Oyens (B.H. Breslauer Foundation), David Adams (Manchester University), Jean-Marc Chatelain (Bibliothèque Nationale de France), Poul Jan Poulsen (Aldus Antikvariat), Umberto Pregliasco (Libreria Antiquaria Pregliasco), and Arnoud Gerits (A. Gerits & Son) - will look over more than 70 bio-biographical studies on a wide range of subjects. One of them is Raymond John Howgego's Encyclopedia of Exploration.
The origins of April Fools' Day are unclear. Some experts suggest that when the French shifted the New Year to January to correspond with the Roman calendar, rural residents still kept celebrating with the beginning of spring, which often fell around the start of April. They came to be known as "April fools." This theory, however, doesn't take into account that the new year would have been celebrated around Easter–which isn't associated with April first. It's more probable that our April Fools traditions grew from age-old pagan celebrations of spring, which included adopting disguises and playing pranks on one another. But some pranksters simply aren't satisfied to confine their exploits to a single day. One of these was Edgar Allan Poe, who was unabashedly fond of hoaxes. He approvingly called his time the "epoch of the hoax." During his lifetime Poe would attempt a total of six different hoaxes. Most modern anthologies fail to acknowledge that these stories were originally published as non-fiction.
105 years ago, from 6th to 8th August, 1908, a famous 19th century autograph collection was auctioned by J. A. Stargardt in Berlin. The owner of the collection was Fritz Donebauer, born in 1849 as a son of a Bohemian innkeeper who became a banker and insurance agent in Prague, and most of all: a collector. In his lifetime he owned hundreds of autographs and manuscripts of mostly Bohemian theatre artists and musicians as well as rare documents from the history of Bohemia and the Thirty Years War. Little is known about Fritz Donebauer, whose collection came to auction in Berlin in April 1908, and even less is known about the private collectors, dealers and institutions who bought the documents, manuscripts and handwritten letters. Eberhard Köstler tries to reconstruct Fritz Donebauer's life and the fate of his famous collection.
This week two spectacular book thefts have gone through the press. The World's famous Codex Calixtinus, worth millions, is missing in Santiago de Compostela. A few days later historian and author Barry H. Landau was arrested on charges of stealing historical documents, including ones signed by Abraham Lincoln, from the Maryland Historical Society. "The arrest eventually led to Landau's locker, where police found upwards of 60 documents worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. Laudau's heist and the tremendous value of the stolen documents got us thinking about the other end of the literature theft spectrum: what are the most frequently stolen books from bookstores?"
Among manuscript collectors in the English-speaking world, literature has had the most constant appeal; and until recently, when historical manuscripts have really come into their own, literary ones attracted most of the highest prices for post-mediaeval manuscripts. This appeal is due to the universal interest in literature itself; to the demands of doctoral dissertations; to the desire among some individuals, librarians, and editors for definitive collections; and no doubt also to the relative ease, in comparison with historical manuscripts, of selecting an area for collection.