Admitting this is probably one of those phenomenally bad ideas I continuously have despite how much older I get, but I am one of those wicked people who pretended to know, well … something about this American literary star for many years. People would mention his name and I would be all, "Oh yes, Carl Sandburg, wow … it went for how much? Woah!" While casually hoping the conversation would change because as far as I knew I could not remember reading anything by this author and continually neglected to read up on him when I got to a quiet corner away from prying eyes. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I know it is a shocker but I am not omniscient (though I'm sure it seems that way most of the time. Eh-hem). So now, just in case any of you out there are like me and think you can continue fooling people into thinking you know about this magnificent man … think again!
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.
In the 1920s, dreamers and schemers descended on the Sunshine State bent on making a fortune in the burgeoning real estate market. In the earliest days of the Florida Land Boom, it seemed that one had but to imagine great wealth for it to be so. Parcels were bought and sold, sometimes within hours, at huge profits. The real estate bubble didn't last long - a scant five years or so - and when the end came some would-be real estate tycoons were stuck with land bought at inflated prices and no money. But there were developers who, though they had prospered during the boom, were cautious and had not been caught up in the buying frenzy. C. Perry Snell, for instance, had been in St. Petersburg for a couple of decades before the hubbub began. He had successfully developed residential projects that eventually became known as Old Northeast. He owned land bought many years before that he had not yet developed.
In 1878, when Chief Thunderwater was 13 years old and not yet a chief, his uncle gave him an extraordinary book, titled The Life and Adventures of Black Hawk: With Sketches of Keokuk, the Sac and Fox Indians, and the Late Black Hawk War.
How to identify a rare book? "I got stumped last week, trying to catalog a book I'd recently purchased. It was the first full length biography of the American naval hero James Lawrence, and it was supposed to be 244 pages long. However, my copy seemed complete at page 240, which ended with the word "finis." I must've spent an hour pouring through my reference books trying to reconcile the discrepancy. I had a dim recollection of the pagination issue being explained to me by the gentleman from whom I'd purchased the book. But I couldn't remember the details, and I couldn't piece it together from the bibliographies ..."
Today we celebrate the birthday of legendary author John Steinbeck. Born on February 27, 1902 in Salinas, California, Steinbeck would become one of American's most notable authors. Steinbeck established himself as an author in an era when accomplished authors held considerable clout. Thus he one day found himself in a unique position: he held the upcoming United States presidential election in his hands.
Needless to say, few strikes in American history have generated as much literature, music or folklore as did Lawrence. Given our interest in the art and literature of social movements, we're unavoidably drawn to this material, as are our customers – it tends to come and go with some regularity. Here are a few recent acquisitions that are still with us, each interesting for its own reasons.
Rare books, modern first editions - graphic novel? "Book collectors, like any other group of human beings, have their faults. One of the most common is that we too often dismiss out-of-hand any sort of book collecting that does not appeal to us personally." Author and librarian L. D. Mitchell about the joy of collecting the extraordinary.
"In a room full of established book dealers, I'm always the youngest by at least 20 years. But that can be good for business. If you talk to older book dealers, you'll often hear them lament there are no young collectors. That is just not true. It's just that the new collectors are buying things that are different than what's even on the radar of most book dealers."
The first post to this blog in August 2009 was about a book with a peacock feather stamped in gold on the cover, The New Day by Richard Watson Gilder [Scribner, Armstrong, 1876]. It's worth re-reading that story, because there is a connection to Margaret Armstrong, whose peacock designs are below. Here's a photo of that book to refresh your memory. Click it to read the original post. Peacocks and peacock feathers were a pervasive image of the Aesthetic Movement, a symbol of beauty in nature. Whistler's Peacock Room of 1877 was a monumental tribute to this theme.
In 2008, the ILAB Prize for Bibliography changed its name into ILAB Breslauer Prize for Bibliography to honour a very generous gift granted by the Breslauer Foundation. The Foundation was set up by Dr. Bernard H. Breslauer (1918-2004), an ILAB dealer who had a life-long passion for bibliography. Years of work by the ILAB Committee, and especially by Bob Fleck, resulted into the best of all solutions. The contact with Felix de Marez Oyens, consultant and President of the Breslauer Foundation, provided the final key to the funding problem: a gift of $108,000 allows this special prize for Bibliography to exist in perpetuity.
Frank E. Schoonover (1877-1972) was one of the most important American illustrators of his time. In more than 40 years he created more than 2200 illustrations which were published in popular periodicals like Harpers, Scribner's, and Colliers, and in over 150 books, particularly children's classics and fiction by authors as Jack London or Edgar Rice Burroughs. His images of Hopalong Cassidy, Blackbeard, Jim Bridger, Robinson Crusoe, Abraham Lincoln, George Washington, and Joan of Arc remain a testimony of his artistic ability.
In one year's time exactly, Bologna will host an event very important for all of us, the International Congress of the ILAB, September 20-26, 2010. After more than 20 years the Italian association, ALAI, has again the honour – and the responsibility – of taking care of its organization. Bologna is a splendid town, almost unknown to tourists, counting less than 400.000 inhabitants; in terms of quality of life it ranks as one of the top cities in the whole Italy. Its extensive medieval center, one of the best-preserved in Europe, contains a wealth of important Medieval and Renaissance artistic monuments.