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.
How it all began: the minutes of the Congress in Copenhagen 1948, where the ILAB was officially founded and where the first President and the first ILAB Committee were elected. Lots of decisions were taken before the delicious Farewell Dinner with: "Harengs à la Danoise, Homards, Crevettes, Écrevisses, Saumon fumé, Anguille, Canard, Dindon, Côtes d'Agneau, Fromage", and Tuborg. Einar Grønholt Pedersen was President of the Danish Association of Antiquarian Booksellers at that time and host of the Congress which was to become the hour of birth of the League. He opened the Congress with an excellent speech about ILAB's aims and its ideas which unite the affiliates all over the world, in 1948 - and today.
One of the most popular components of a private library is the mystery genre, which comprises a vast array of sub-genres such as detective fiction. The genesis of the detective fiction sub-genre may be traced to a short story penned by Edgar Allan Poe in 1841 titled The Murders in the Rue Morgue. All the elements of what we today recognize as the essential characteristics of the sub-genre are found in this short story: a brutal murder; baffled police; an independent investigator that solves the case through superior intelligence, humbling the police in the process.
"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.
In a series of catalogues the German antiquarian bookseller Sabine Keune offers the most beautiful copies from the Martin Kaiser Collection of Pictorial Literature. Martin Kaiser collected children's books, fairy tales which are more than books for children: They are, in Roger Duvoisin's words, "pictorial literature", pieces of art, designed and illustrated by famous 20th century artists like V. Preissig, V. Lebedev, Walter Trier and Walt Disney. The illustrations in these pictorial books are influenced by the predominant artistic trends of the 20th century: from Art Nouveau to Expressionism to Avantgarde. Friedrich C. Heller's review of Sabine Keune's catalogue is as worth reading as the catalogue itself.