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Rare Books and the Rare Book Trade
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Architecture

Collectors on Tour - Masonic Lodges in Constantinople (not Istanbul)

Published on 21 Jan. 2016
Working with rare and valuable books has a tendency to make the extraordinary seem rather ordinary. You start to wonder how certain agglomerations of leather, cloth, paper and ink can be worth so much. These doubts are cast aside, however, when confronted with something which makes a personal connection with you. The truth is that books, letters and diaries provide the most direct links between individuals from the past and those living in the present. Although it is the messages they transmit which are invaluable, surely paper and ink are no less valuable as tangible markers of history than art or architecture?
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Architecture

The Most Progressive Magazine of its Time, a Work of Art

Published on 12 April 2011
"In Holland, the birthplace of De Stijl, modernism took various routs that ran the aesthetic gamut from hybridized Art Nouveau to systematic rationalism. Somewhere between these poles was the magazine Wendingen (Upheaval), one of the principal sources for the chronicling of twentieth-cetury design and architecture." The famous Dutch magazine Wendingen, published between 1918 and 1931, was dedicated to modern architecture and design. Stephen J. Gertz describes its influences on the history of art and modern aesthetics in the first half of the 20th century.
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From the Vault

A sneak peek in our archives

Article

Collecting Rare Books and First Editions: John Kennedy Toole

Toole's story is well-known, but if you don't already know it, he killed himself in despair when he couldn't get A Confederacy of Dunces (1980) published. His mother haunted publishers until, with the help of Walker Percy, she managed to get LSU to publish the book, the first work of fiction from that publisher. To everyone's surprise, the book won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1981. The boards of the book seem to warp or splay pretty easily, but copies with just a little splaying probably shouldn't be rejected out of hand, unless you really want to be a stickler. The jacket is uncoated, and primarily black, so its hard to find copies that don't have at least some rubbing.
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Article

Collecting European Books on China

Books about China took educated Europe by storm in the 16th and 17th centuries. One of the earliest significant works is Dell'historia della China by Juan González de Mendoza, published in 1586. The Jesuit contribution to European understanding of China is impossible to over estimate ...
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Article

Selling a Book by Its Cover

"It took Thatcher Wine a year to amass 2,000 well-preserved white vellum and cream-colored leatherbound books for a 'gentleman's library' in the Northern California estate of a private equity manager. Perfectly matched sets of books bound in antique vellum, a pale leather made from goat or sheep skin, are an elusive quarry, especially if they all have to be in English, said Mr. Wine, a former Internet entrepreneur who now creates custom book collections and decorative 'book solutions', as he puts it, in his Boulder, Colo., warehouse." New York Times journalist Penelope Green visits "book decorator" Thatcher Wine. Snippets from an article about an unusual profession and about clients who - sometimes - want "the option of being able to read" their books.
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Article

Bibliographies - Miniature Books

Online: The Charlotte M. Smith Collection of Miniature Books - Miniature Books Exhibition and Catalogue - UNT Libraries Digital Collections - 4000 Years of Miniature Books IU Lilly Library Exhibition
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Article

Life in Courts: Ten Reasons to Visit Vita Sackville-West’s Childhood Home

Vita Sackville-West may never have quite made it into the premier league of English writers, but her love affair with Virginia Woolf did lead to the composition of the Bloomsbury novelist's most accessible and influential novel, Orlando. Woolf was enchanted not only by Vita's vital charisma, but also by the sprawling Elizabethan palace which remained an intrinsic part of her, even when she no longer lived there. Over the course of the novel the house and the character Orlando evolve together, at times parting, but ultimately meeting again just as intimately as they had at the very beginning...
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Article

Book Trade History - George Berger and his Sons 1796-1868

GEORGE BERGER was a very active bookseller and publisher in the first half of the 19th century, who worked out of Holywell Street, off the Strand, and who at one point, prior to the arrival of W.H. Smith, was the largest newsagent in London (Louis James, Fiction for the Working Man, 1963). Yet, as was the case with many of his contemporaries – George Purkess, William Strange, and George Cowie, for example – very little was known about him. Until now…
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