It is not often that one discovers the work of an overlooked or forgotten genius, or a previously-unknown work of an established master. This is, of course, the hope which moves us to carefully examine all sorts of periodical publications and ephemera. So when Tom Congalton asked me to catalog two large folio volumes of the Philadelphia-based Saturday Evening Post, from 1827 and 1828, I was pleased to find the puzzle poem "Enigma" attributed to Edgar Allan Poe, and "Psalm 139th" by his brother Henry Poe. Perhaps the most interesting contributions to these volumes are not the Poeiana, but rather a whole series of botanical sketches and other contributions by an eccentric genius with the evocative name Rafinesque.
Antiquarian book dealers, collectors, and the intellectually curious will gather in New York City for Rare Book Week from 1st to 8th April 2014 - the largest gathering of its kind anywhere in the world. It is headlined by the 54th annual New York Antiquarian Book Fair, which runs from 3rd to 6th April, but is preceded by several rare book and manuscript auctions, including those at Christie's, Heritage Auctions, Sotheby's, and Swann Galleries. Several more auction houses, including Bonhams and Doyle New York, will offer collections to round out Rare Book Week after the fair weekend. Rare Book Week also includes The Manhattan Vintage Book & Ephemera Fair, known as the "Shadow Show," and The Professional Autograph Dealer Association (PADA) Show.
Manuscripts are unique items, though many of them are similar and share general characteristics. A hard and fast set of regulations, which few will follow and others will not understand, has, therefore, less relevance for manuscripts than printed books and allows me to present my remarks more as an essay than a formulary. Much of what really matters is, in truth, predetermined by the honesty, integrity and sense of self-mortification in the cataloguer and the degree with which he seeks personally to attain perfection in terms of accuracy and straightforwardness. But such considerations have not always faced down earnest legislators in the past.
Jack Kerouac was born in Lowell, Massachusetts, in 1922. He died in St. Anthony's Hospital in St. Petersburg 47 years later. In the intervening years, he went to Columbia University, did a stint in the Merchant Marines, joined the Navy twice, hitchhiked across America, wrote 19 novels as well as books of poetry and other works, and drank - a lot. He hung out with the likes of Beat poets Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Allen Ginsberg, Gary Snyder and Gregory Corso, writers Williams S. Burroughs and Herbert Huncke, and editors Robert Giroux and Lucien Carr. An eclectic selection of Kerouac's writings is in the collection of rare and unusual books at Lighthouse Books, ABAA. Among them: Visions of Gerard, The Dharma Bums, Big Sur, Vanity of Duluoz, Pomes All Sizes and Pic. Another slim volume, The Kerouac We Knew, contains essays by people who had met Kerouac at various stages in his life.
David A. Williamson began collecting Stephen King novels and memorabilia in the 1980s and has amassed a collection that ranks as one of the largest in the world. In 2009, he bought Betts Books and one of his greatest joys is helping other King collectors find that “special” collectible for their own collections. He lives in Fairfield, CT, is married and has three children. He has generously shared his collecting experience and expertise with Books Tell You Why in the following interview.