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Rare Books and the Rare Book Trade
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Libraries

500 year old Waldseemüller map found at the Munich University Library

Published on 10 July 2012
"Munich librarians have found a rare 16th century world map that first gave America its name as a continent. The version by German cartographer Martin Waldseemüller survived World War II sandwiched between geometry books. The Munich version is smaller than the 500-year-old global map found in a German monastery in 1901 and handed over by German Chancellor Angela Merkel in 2007 to the US Library of Congress. Only four smaller versions were previously known to have survived" (dw).
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Libraries

Librarians as Humans

Published on 06 July 2012
"I have come to realize that these people are not "Librarians." They're smart, enthusiastic, creative men and women, who get as much of a kick out of what they're doing as we booksellers get from what we do. And with budget cuts, staff reductions, and monstrously increased workloads leaving them less time to pour over quotes and catalogs, our responsibilities as dealers change. Our abilities to locate material and to place it within its historical context can be of great benefit in collection development, especially if we know who we're working with, and what they're working on."
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Libraries

Vatican and Bodleian Libraries to Digitize Ancient Texts

Published on 13 April 2012
"Two of the oldest libraries in Europe will join forces in an innovative approach to digitization driven by the actual needs of scholars and scholarship" (Monsignor Cesare Pasini, Prefect of the Vatican Library). The Vatican Library takes a big step into the digital age. A huge project in collaboration with Oxford's Bodleian Library will make some 1.5 million digitised pages online including Greek manuscripts, incunabula, Hebrew and early printed books from the famous collections of both libraries. The project is funded by a $ 3.2 million grant from the Polonsky Foundation.
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Libraries

Bookriot presents: Libraries of the Rich and Famous

Published on 29 March 2012
Bookriot shows the Libraries of the rich and famous. Have a glance at the book shelves of Karl Lagerfeld, Diane Keaton, Woody Allen, Keith Richards, William Randolph Hearst, Sting, Julia Child, Richard A. Macksey, Mark Badgley and James Mischka. The latter is "only" the library in the weekend house. Look at them all, and you will become envious.
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Libraries

British Library to buy oldest original-bound book from Jesuits

Published on 08 Sept. 2011
"Durham Cathedral was not given an opportunity to buy the St Cuthbert Gospel, which is regarded by Durham Cathedral as a sacred relic. The Jesuits, who have owned the manuscript for nearly 250 years, are instead selling it to the British Library (BL) for £9m. Dating from the 7th century, it was discovered in the saint's coffin in the cathedral and is the world's oldest surviving book in its original binding."
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Libraries

Librarian Liberators

Published on 06 July 2011
Is this your notion of a librarian - a gray-haired, bun-coiffed woman? Of course, this one does not appear to have the requisite spectacles. When I was teaching and tired of constantly putting on and taking off my glasses (I can see distance like a hawk, but can't read a menu without help) I started wearing an eyeglass necklace. One day after school my principal saw me walking out the door wearing them. He laughed and teased me about how "only librarians wear those". I pointed to my husband (a librarian) who had come to pick me up, and said, "He doesn't." My principal blushed, but that seems to be one of the common perceptions about librarians. Far from being the mousy, shushing, bespectacled, gray women of most people's perceptions, librarians come in a variety of packaging (including "guybrarians") and can be ardent defenders of their beliefs. Take the ALA (American Library Association), for example.
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From the Vault

A sneak peek in our archives

Article

“The Precious Unprinted Contents of Books” – Handwritten notes, flowers and other things you find in rare books

Open an old book and find – a flower, or better: a bank note, photographs, letters, notes scribbled on the pages, exhibitions tickets. Even if a book is boring you may find something interesting between the lines or pages, if it is an old book, not a Kindle. The Guardian Book Blog muses about "marginalia and forgotten mementoes" in the age of the internet.
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Article

Book Review: 'The Prague Cemetery' by Umberto Eco

"Bookish digressions and odd cultural details are two reasons why we read Umberto Eco. He takes great pleasure in showing readers the monastic care of books in "The Name of the Rose," the kabbalah in "Foucault's Pendulum" and day-to-day life in Mussolini's Italy in "The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana." Without such layers, without his plunging into the minutiae of other eras, it just wouldn't be an Eco novel."
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Article

Manuscripts and the Worthiness of Collecting

Collecting undoubtedly serves many people beneficially during their lives in these respects. However there is also a higher scheme of things in terms of collecting. This involves considerations of the past, the present and the future which have significance for the individual involved as well as beyond him or her. An interest in his past is an inbuilt response in Man. 'How will we know it's us, without our past?', John Steinbeck asked. How else can we make sense of our lives unless we discover ourselves to be part of the continuum? For those interested in psychological parallels (if, indeed, they are not in some ways part of the same process) aspects of the Jungian concepts of the collective unconscious and the self-regulating psyche seem to suggest themselves. We need to have some relationship with the past and one of the easiest and most effective ways is through contact with our human predecessors. Collecting can be one of the royal roads.
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Article

The Incredible Treasures of Manuscript Cookbooks

"Now that you have this cookbook, what do you have?" This question appears on the first page of Julie Anna Kirsh's family cookbook, in her grandmother's hand. And it's a question that at first appears obvious: in a cookbook, you have a collection of recipes, perhaps organized by topic. But in the case of a manuscript cookbook, we can glean so much more insight than merely portions, measures, and cooking time. Manuscript cookbooks offer a glimpse into the daily lives of the women and families who recorded their recipes.
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Article

Collecting Rare Books and First Editions: Saul Bellow

Bellow's three National Book Award-winning books, Mr. Sammler's Planet (1971), Herzog (1965), and The Adventures of Augie March (1954); and his Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, Humboldt's Gift (1976), are not difficult to find, but they do command a premium price if they are either in especially fine condition or signed (although for such a legendarily grumpy author, Bellow seems to have been generous with his signature). His first two books, Dangling Man (1944), and The Victim (1947), are usually harder to find, with Dangling Man, because of its fragile wartime construction (using cheaper paper and other materials) being the most difficult and expensive. Other early books of his that have become scarce in fine copies are his play The Last Analysis (1965), and Henderson the Rain King (1959). It seems to us that Bellow will continue to be collected for the relatively long term, and fine copies will become steadily scarcer.
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