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Rare Books and the Rare Book Trade
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Collecting

Collecting Rare Books and First Editions - Why I Bothered

Published on 22 June 2012
"If you keep an open mind in this business, you learn something new every day." Greg Gibson on collecting the unusual: "Fire insurance mapping began in London in the 1700s, but it had never been applied with a systematic approach. In 1867 Daniel Alfred Sanborn, a surveyor from Massachusetts, saw the need for such a service, and quickly occupied that niche. By the late 1800s he had offices spanning the continent, sending out thousands of surveyors to record the footprints and construction details of buildings in American cities. Insurance companies could then use this information to write accurate policies, based on potential fire risk as documented by Sanborn's company."
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Collecting

Papier Mâché and The Private Library

Published on 22 June 2012
"One of the most unusual bindings one is likely to encounter among books purchased at yard sales, garage sales, friends-of-the-library book sales and the like is papier mâché." L.D. Mitchell on Papier Mâché and The Private Library.
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Collecting

Collecting Rare Books and First Editions - OenoLit and The Private Library

Published on 24 May 2012
Given that the first book printed from moveable type in Western Europe, the Gutenberg Bible, contains numerous references to wine, and given that the technology for printing that first book may itself have been modeled upon the screw press used to extract wine from grapes, this writer has always found it puzzling that the cultivation, processing, distribution and consumption of wine is rarely a major thematic element in works of fiction.
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Collecting

Book Collecting 101 at The Private Library

Published on 15 Sept. 2011
Anyone who has spent much time exploring Internet sites devoted to book collecting can be excused for coming away with the feeling that such collecting is too expensive and/or too complicated for the average person. The focus at too many such sites continues to be on great rarities, or on well-heeled collectors, or on events that the average working stiff can't possibly take time off from work to attend. Here at The Private Library, though, we contend that anyone can collect the printed book!
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Collecting

Rare Books to Honour the Still Alive - “Festschriften and The Private Library”

Published on 18 Aug. 2010
Memorials are published after the death of an author, artist or scientist. "It is rare that such tributes are composed while an honoree is still alive, though such tributes are not unknown." "Festschriften" – there is no English or American equivalent for what is meant by the German word – are addressed to scientists during their life and career. L. D. Mitchell introduces a field of collecting rare books which are popular in the scholarly world, but nearly unknown to bibliophiles.
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From the Vault

A sneak peek in our archives

Article

Collecting F. Scott Fitzgerald

Fitzgerald, all but forgotten at the time of his death in 1940, is now one of the most eagerly collected American authors. His first two books This Side of Paradise and Flappers and Philosophers (both 1920) are very uncommon ...
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Article

From Bauhaus to Penguin Books - Jan Tschichold’s Influence on Modern Typography and 20th Century Book Design

"As a teacher, theoretician and advocate of Die Neue Typographie (the title of his historic tract from 1928), a fiery young Tschichold enthusiastically took up the banner of strict Modernist design after exposure to early Weimar Bauhaus exhibits. In it he effectively denounces the "decay"—the clutter and filigree—prevalent in common German design and typography at the time, promoting exclusive usage of sans serif (Grotesk) typefaces and asymmetrical layouts."
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Article

Digital Finding Aid for Early Copies of Edmund Spenser's Works

The Spenser Archive Finding Aid is the first bibliographical database with links to collections all over the world that house 16th and 17th century copies of works by the English poet and colonial administrator Edmund Spenser. The database is open to editors, bibliographers, scholars and students of the history of the book, curators of collections, rare book dealers and private collectors. You can browse editions and folio parts, and you can search for copies in libraries in North America, Europe and Australia. The information has been gathered and carefully checked over many years by dozens of contributors.
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Article

An unexpected but extremely appreciated meeting with Arturo Pregliasco

No, this time: no excuses! For decades I had promised to see the "Pregliasco’s" and other Turin-based booksellers, but, and I simply don’t know why, it didn’t happen for so many years…
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Article

The Leaning Tower of Photography Books

One of the joys of dealing in modern literary first editions is the neat and nearly uniform size of the vast majority of one's inventory. Your basic octavo volume, when packed for a book fair, nestled convivially amongst its fellows, will fit neatly in a standard document storage box. After having done a few hundred fairs, one can pack up quickly and neatly, leaving no space in a box for the books to shuffle about, with the resultant deterioration in condition that loosely packed books usually suffer. I particularly recommend books of poetry and drama for this purpose – usually slim volumes that, when inserted between other books, tighten one's box load to a satisfying solidity.
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