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Rare Books and the Rare Book Trade
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Maps

Collecting Rare Books and First Editions - A 17-foot timeline

Published on 29 May 2015
This large, folding chromolithograph (it's over 6.5m long) is Adams' Illustrated Panorama of History (London & Paris, A. H. Walker, 1878). First published in 1871 under the title Synchronological Chart by the Oregon pioneer minister Sebastian C. Adams, and in various later editions under different titles, this was, for a timeline chart, 'nineteenth-century America's surpassing achievement in complexity and synthetic power. Adams, who lived all of his early life at the very edge of U.S. territory, was a schoolteacher and one of the founders of the first Bible college in Oregon. Born in Ohio in 1825 and educated in the early 1840s at the brand-new Knox College in Galesburg, Illinois, at the heart of the American abolitionist movement, Adams was a voracious reader, a broad thinker, and an inveterate improver. The Synchronological Chart is a great work of outsider thinking and a template for autodidact study; it attempts to rise above the station of a mere historical summary and to draw a picture of history rich enough to serve as a textbook in itself.
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Maps

Caring for Your Rare and Antiquarian Maps

Published on 21 June 2013
Rare book collectors often encounter maps, which present special challenges because they've usually been folded (and unfolded and refolded again) as part of their original use. They also make wonderful display pieces, so collectors may have to consider preservation and conservation for maps as hanging art.
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Maps

Don't Wipe Your Nose With This Map

Published on 11 March 2013
The Travelling Handkerchief has come to town, Fairburn's Map of the Country Twelve Miles Round London by E. Bourne, printed on calico, 590 x 540 mm, in 1831, a scarce, early handkerchief map. The map is circular, and reaches Teddington in the south west, clockside to Norwood, Harrow on the Hill, Chipping Barnet, Dagenham, Purley and Kingsston, wherever they are. I'm in Los Angeles, clockside to Westwood, harrowing on Barrington, Pico and Sepulveda; what do I know? This cartographical Kleenex™ is decorated by vignette views of Chelsea and Greenwich Hospitals in the bottom corners, and a banner heralding the title is held aloft in an eagle's beak.
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Maps

London : A History in Maps

Published on 06 Sept. 2012
Back in 2006, the British Library put on what was to become (at that time) its most successful exhibition ever – London: A Life in Maps. It still exists in partial and virtual form on the British Library website. "See London as you have never seen it before" was the tag-line – and so we did. The history of our great city was explored and illuminated using the primary documents: the contemporary maps and views generated by the eye-witnesses. Londoners flocked to it in their thousands. The one thing lacking was a permanent record of the entire exhibition and the compelling narrative (in detailed captions, interpretation and formal identification of the material) which accompanied it. The London Topographical Society has now stepped in and published, in association with the British Library, the full record – London : A History in Maps – the complete narrative catalogue as originally compiled by Peter Barber, Head of the BL Map Library. And not just the words, but with every item illustrated in whole or in part.
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Maps

Rare Books in the Press: A Masterpiece of Maps Goes Digital At Cambridge

Published on 27 April 2011
"Anglophiles who are planning to watch the Royal Wedding of HRH Prince William and Kate Middleton on April 29, 2011, now have a new opportunity to gain insight into the history and geography of the kingdom over which the future monarch and his bride will reign. Cambridge University Library has digitized a set of proof sheets for the first comprehensive atlas of Great Britain, first published 400 years ago." Nancy Mattoon's recent article for Booktryst features one of the world's finest cartographic treasures: John Speed's Theatre of the Empire of Great Britaine.
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Maps

The French Connection

Published on 28 May 2010
Strange how myths are perpetuated. Like the one that claims Captain James Cook discovered Australia. Or the myth that the English are responsible for the mapping of Australia. If we delve into the history of Australian cartography, we find that it is the French, not the English, who made the greatest contribution to the early mapping of our continent. In fact, given King Louis XVI and Napoleon's interest in the great southern continent, it is surprising that we are not a nation of French speaking citizens.
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From the Vault

A sneak peek in our archives

Article

I’ve got divorced - Elváltam

Books are our companions, not only in an intellectual, not in a mere economical sense. We touch them, we admire their beauty, some of them are the one and only love of our rare book dealing lives. And then, there is the moment when we have to split up. The book is - sold.
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Article

Collecting Rare Books and First Editions - Thomas Paine

January 29 is the birthday of early American political activist Thomas Paine (1737), whose pamphlet Common Sense (1776) credited with inspiring American colonists to embrace the idea of independence from Great Britain. The American Revolution had already started but the work served to spur volunteers for the Continental Army. It was widely distributed throughout the colonies, read aloud in taverns, and unabashedly pirated. Some scholars say it was the first American bestseller.
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Article

Collecting Rare Books and First Editions - Marie LaFarge was convicted of murder

It is the birthday of murderess Marie LaFarge (1816), whose 1840 trial for poisoning her husband with arsenic became a cause célébre throughout France, with the public deeply divided over her innocence or guilt. She was the first person convicted by direct forensic evidence, and the case was one of the first followed closely by the public with daily newspaper reports. The trial was a spectacle attended by people from all over France. It included all the twists and turns of a good whodunit, including a celebrated expert witness and setbacks for both the prosecution and the defense. Marie LaFarge wrote her Mémoires(1841) while in prison. The novel The Lady and the Arsenic (1937) was based on the case as was the French film L'Affaire Lafarge (1938).
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Article

Rare Book News from Asia

Mitsuo Nitta is the doyen of the rare book trade. As one of the founding members of the Antiquarian Booksellers' Association of Japan (ABAJ), initiator of many antiquarian book fairs in Japan, Corea and Hong Kong and, with Yushodo, as owner of one of the most famous antiquarian book companies in Japan and the world, he was – and still is – a key figure of the antiquarian book business in Asia. Some 10 years ago Nitta, who is ILAB Member of Honour, analyzed the general characteristics of the trade in Japan, Korea, Hong Kong and Taiwan.
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Article

Chittering Hordes – All Around the 37th Boston International Antiquarian Book Fair 2013

They were everywhere. Squealing, chittering hordes of them. Not as disgusting as crack house roaches or subway rats; vaguely humanoid in fact, with their funny knitted hats, backpacks, discrete piercings, and plastic communications devices dangling from their ears. Utterly self-absorbed, concentrating intently on posting the next YouTube video of their friends in line at Starbuck's. I'm talking, folks, about teenagers.
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