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.
From 4th to 6th December the 3rd Hong Kong International Antiquarian Book Fair takes place in the Hong Kong Exhibition Centre with booksellers from China, Japan, Thailand, Sweden, Great Britain, Australia, France and Germany. The fair is organized by Paul Feain of Cornstalk Bookshop in Sydney (Australia), Mitsuo Nitta of Yushodo in Tokyo (Japan), and Christopher Li of Swindons Books in Hong Kong. Snippets from the Book Fair Catalogue ...
This week book lovers take their planes to New York to visit the 54th annual New York Antiquarian Book Fair at the Park Avenue Armory, which runs from 3rd to 6th April 2014. Michael Slicker commemorates the first flight across the Atlantic and the books written about it. - A U.S. Mail pilot named Charles Lindbergh gets the credit for flying nonstop across the Atlantic Ocean by himself in 1927, and deservedly so, but he wasn't the first to fly across the Atlantic. That distinction goes to the crew of the Curtiss NC-4 floatplane, a name considerably less imaginative than the Spirit of St. Louis, and the feat took place in 1919, some eight years before Lucky Lindy's historic excursion. A book about the accomplishment published the same year is in the collection of rare and unusual books at Lighthouse Books, ABAA. The Flight Across the Atlantic was issued by the federal Department of Education in 1919 under the auspicies of the Curtiss Aeroplane and Motor Corporation. The trip took 19 days, including time for repairs and rest for the crew. Lindy's hop took 33.5 hours. But, hey, these guys weren't in any hurry and they weren't carrying a load of mail.
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.
While browsing through Ralph Sipper's booth at this past weekend's Los Angeles Antiquarian Book Fair, I came upon an interesting copy of book that at first seemed a little out of place at the fair: John Sanford's Every Island Fled Away. It's a 1964 novel that, these days, is typically a $30 – $40 book in collectible condition, and not that much more when signed or inscribed. Usually the booths at the three fairs sponsored by the Antiquarian Booksellers' Association of America (there's also a New York show in April and a Boston show in November) are full of the best antiquarian books for sale in the country and the world (read highest quality, and consequently highest priced). Dealers usually trot out their top material, and Ralph's booth was full of many stunning copies of notable literary first editions. Some of them, like his beautiful copy of William Faulkner's first novel, Soldiers' Pay, are genuinely rare in such condition. By comparison, the John Sanford book seemed to be a grade schooler lost at the senior prom.
Whether you are an experienced collector or simply curious about old and rare books, the Chelsea Antiquarian Book Fair is not to be missed.
Held each autumn in the beautiful and historic Chelsea Old Town Hall, the Fair brings together more than 80 exhibitors specialising in antique books, first editions, maps, prints, and manuscripts from all over the world. Prices begin at just a few pounds and dealers are happy to guide you, making this an accessible and exciting venue for beginning collectors or those simply looking for an extra special Christmas gift.