Das Deutsche Literaturarchiv Marbach hat kürzlich eine Frankfurter Privatsammlung zu Eduard Mörike erworben. Der Sammler Klaus Berge, verdientes Mitglied der Deutschen Schillergesellschaft und langjähriger Freund des Hauses, hat über mehr als drei Jahrzehnte hinweg sachkundig Handschriften, Erstausgaben, Widmungsexemplare, Grafiken und Gegenständliches von und zu Eduard Mörike sowie seinem Umkreis zusammengetragen.
105 years ago, from 6th to 8th August, 1908, a famous 19th century autograph collection was auctioned by J. A. Stargardt in Berlin. The owner of the collection was Fritz Donebauer, born in 1849 as a son of a Bohemian innkeeper who became a banker and insurance agent in Prague, and most of all: a collector. In his lifetime he owned hundreds of autographs and manuscripts of mostly Bohemian theatre artists and musicians as well as rare documents from the history of Bohemia and the Thirty Years War. Little is known about Fritz Donebauer, whose collection came to auction in Berlin in April 1908, and even less is known about the private collectors, dealers and institutions who bought the documents, manuscripts and handwritten letters. Eberhard Köstler tries to reconstruct Fritz Donebauer's life and the fate of his famous collection.
This (or a variant of it) is probably the most often asked question I hear. What I'm talking about is, of course, whether it is better to buy a book (or get it autographed by the author) with just a signature alone or whether it is better to have it with a personalized inscription.
The British Library has acquired the personal archive of Sir Alec Guinness. The archive includes more than 900 of his letters to family and friends and over 100 volumes of diaries from the late 1930s to his death in the year 2000. The letters and diaries of the award winning British actor enrich the British Library's collection of archives of great 20th century artists along with those of Laurence Olivier, John Gielgud and Ralph Richardson.
How much is it worth? This question is most often asked by book collectors. And most often, there is not a precise answer. Although it is quite common nowadays to discuss rare books "as investments", the value of a book can hardly be counted in Dollars and Euros. It is even more difficult to measure the "worth" of dedication copies. Is the book inscribed by the author? Is this author famous and important, dead or alive? To whom is the book inscribed? Which words did the author choose to express his gratitude or sympathy? Eberhard Köstler, autograph specialist, gives examples of dedications by George Bernard Shaw, George Orwell, Franz Kafka, Thomas Mann and many other authors, and he shows that nothing is binding when it comes to the "real worth" of dedications.
In detective fiction and on the cop shows it's called "chain of evidence." Book collectors call it provenance. Unless you plan to build your private library solely with "hot off the press" titles, you need to understand provenance. The concept is important for all kinds of collectibles, from works of art to books to archaeological artifacts. Basically, it means: "to confirm or gather evidence as to the time, place, and if appropriate, the person responsible, for the creation, production or discovery of [an] object."
Great news: The Guardian and Associated Press report that the Hebrew University of Jerusalem puts online 2,000 documents from the Albert Einstein archives including unseen letters, postcards and research notes.
On June 17, 1579, Francis Drake claimed California for England. He anchored his ship, the Golden Hind, just north of present-day San Francisco and named the new territory "Nova Albion." But despite Drake's claim in the name of Queen Elizabeth I, he was not the first European to explore California.
George Koppelman and Daniel Wechsler, both ABAA members and ILAB affiliates, have now published a study about their extensive researches: In Shakespeare's Beehive: An Annotated Elizabethan Dictionary Comes to Light, they conclude that the annotations in their copy of Baret's Alvearie purchased on eBay belong to William Shakespeare. Using example after example, the authors demonstrate how closely the annotations and Baret's text are tied to Shakespeare's own work. The annotator, while not once leaving his name on a page, nevertheless leaves behind an astonishing personal trail of fingerprints. This great discovery hit the news last week. A press review:
For many years L.D. Mitchell's blog The Private Library showed collectors that it is possible to build a collection without the benefit of much money. He published numerous articles on every imaginable subject of book collecting, he wrote about the most beautiful, the most important, the most common, the most attractive, the most unusual, the most interesting, the most extraordinary, the most amazing ... books one could read, buy, collect and simply enjoy. The Private Library has become an irreplaceable resource for all booklovers. Since April 2012, it is a static archive. L. D. Mitchell will no longer post new original content. ILAB is very grateful that he has given permission to publish some of his best articles and collecting tips from The Private Library on the ILAB website. Thank you very much, L.D.
"The State Library of Victoria in Melbourne holds 27 medieval and renaissance manuscripts. Last year the SLV finished digitising nearly all of its manuscripts along with five manuscripts held by the Ballarat Fine Art Gallery." Read the whole article by Anthony Tedeschi.
"Books? Why would I want to own a book? They take up space and gather dust, they're a pain to carry if I move; oh, and I can always get the text from the Internet ..." Well, at the moment, you often can; but it may not always work like that.
With their gift of more than 15,000 rare books related to angling and outdoor sports, Joan and Vernon Gallup made a substantial contribution to the Washington State University Libraries' department of Manuscripts, Archives and Special Collections (MASC). Valued at $ 1.8 million, this is the largest single gift of rare books in the history of MASC. It puts the Washington State Library at the forefront of such collections nationally and internationally.