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.
"What is the social function of the novel? I'm not thinking about the pay-off for the author, who gets to develop a skill and earn a living from it and accrue a prestigious public image into the bargain. Nor about the rewards for the publisher, who may, or more likely may not, make a significant amount of money. Nor even the pleasure for the individual reader, who enjoys hours of entertainment and maybe feels enlightened or usefully provoked along the way. What I'm asking is, what's in it for society as a whole, or at least for that part of society that reads novels?" What's in a book for the community of readers? Tim Parks says in his highly inspiring article: It's CONVERSATION!
Once again, Melburnians, Victorians and interstate visitors will be drawn to Melbourne for a week full of interesting, amazing and outstanding events dedicated exclusively to the wonderful world of rare books and book collecting. Melbourne Rare Book Week commenced in 2012 as a partnership between the Australian and New Zealand Association of Antiquarian Booksellers (ANZAAB), the University of Melbourne and eight other literary institutions. In 2014, over 40 free events were held at libraries, literary and historical societies and bookshops throughout Melbourne, attracting local, national and international visitors. Now in its fourth year, Melbourne Rare Book Week is well established in the City of Melbourne's event calendar. It is a major attraction for book collectors, librarians and all who have a love of words, print on paper and literary heritage.
Beginning in 1935 a Chicago publisher, Colortext Publications Inc., issued a series of arresting color pictorial maps, chiefly of European countries, that employ, in the map's title, the prefix "The Story Map of …" followed by the country or locale's name. The maps were intended to convey significant aspects of history and culture pictorially, employing images of places, persons, or design motifs associated with a given nation's or geographical region's cultural identity. Unfortunately, very little is known about Colortext's origins, the personnel involved in its operations, or those individuals responsible for most of the maps that were produced. Thus a primary objective of this site is to call attention to the firm and its activities with the hope that new information regarding the company and the cartographers involved in its product will be forthcoming.
On a side note, I was becoming very active in the Antiquarian Booksellers Association of America (ABAA), first serving on the Board in 1982 and then becoming Chair of their Finance Committee in 1989 and Treasurer in 1990. Millie and I enjoyed the international congresses that the International League of Antiquarian Booksellers (ILAB) conducted and began to attend them in 1990, starting with the Tokyo Congress. This event led to many contacts in publishing that eventually paid dividends, proving yet again that the cross-over between the antiquarian book world and the publishing world is a very healthy relationship.