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Rare Books and the Rare Book Trade

Collecting Rare Books and First Editions - Thomas Paine

Published on 13 Nov. 2014
January 29 is the birthday of early American political activist Thomas Paine (1737), whose pamphlet Common Sense (1776) credited with inspiring American colonists to embrace the idea of independence from Great Britain. The American Revolution had already started but the work served to spur volunteers for the Continental Army. It was widely distributed throughout the colonies, read aloud in taverns, and unabashedly pirated. Some scholars say it was the first American bestseller.
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Collecting Rare Books and First Editions - The Secret Life of Harper Lee

Published on 29 April 2014
This week we celebrate Nelle Harper Lee, author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, To Kill a Mockingbird. Lee was born on April 28, 1926 in the sleepy town of Monroeville Alabama. As a girl, she became friends with another future writer: Truman Capote. The two were outsiders among their peers but discovered an affinity for each other. According to Capote biographer, Gerald Clarke, "Nelle was too rough for most other girls, and Truman was too soft for most other boys."
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Collecting Rare Books and First Editions - Fra Paolo Sarpi, Scholar, Priest, and Heretic

Published on 17 Jan. 2014
The Counter-Reformation began with the Council of Trent (1545-1563) and lasted a full century, until the close of the Thirty Years' War (1648). The movement sparked conflict all over Europe, challenging the very foundations of people's daily lives. As nationalism fermented, states like Venice began to assert their autonomy – and the Catholic Church often took drastic measures in response. In the case of cleric and statesman Fra Paolo Sarpi, they even hired a hitman. Though Sarpi consistently stood up to the Church in an official capacity, he also chose to publish his greatest work, The History of the Council of Trent, under a pseudonym.
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Collecting Rare Books and First Editions - Marie LaFarge was convicted of murder

Published on 16 Jan. 2014
It is the birthday of murderess Marie LaFarge (1816), whose 1840 trial for poisoning her husband with arsenic became a cause célébre throughout France, with the public deeply divided over her innocence or guilt. She was the first person convicted by direct forensic evidence, and the case was one of the first followed closely by the public with daily newspaper reports. The trial was a spectacle attended by people from all over France. It included all the twists and turns of a good whodunit, including a celebrated expert witness and setbacks for both the prosecution and the defense. Marie LaFarge wrote her Mémoires(1841) while in prison. The novel The Lady and the Arsenic (1937) was based on the case as was the French film L'Affaire Lafarge (1938).
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Collecting Rare Books and First Editions - The Irritable Tribe of Poets

Published on 26 Nov. 2013
Only three issues of Theo were published, but it still took me a couple of years to track down a complete set. I'd been fascinated by the magazine ever since I first ran across a copy of number 2, which has a rather unique design; the covers are stapled off center, so that the fore edge is layered; the front wrap ends before the first leaf, so that the name of each contributor is visible, and the rear wrap extends past the text block.
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From the Vault

A sneak peek in our archives



After Paris, Lucerne, Bologna and Madrid book dealers and book collectors will meet in Budapest for the 42nd ILAB Congress and 26th International Antiquarian Book Fair from 21 to 25 September 2016. The Hungarian Antiquarian Booksellers' Association (MAE) and its President Ádám Bősze are organizing an exciting congress programme that will show the delegates from across the world that Budapest is a city with many faces: the old Hungarian capital full of books and music, history and tradition and at the same time a lively and busy Eastern European centre full of young and amazing cultural concepts.
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Collecting - The Clark Nova Express: Horror Fanzines, the Mimeo Revolution and William Burroughs

One of the perks about working on Reality Studio is the opportunity to get in contact with some very interesting people. Johnny Strike, Gary-Lee Nova, Jim and Roy Pennington. All have amazing stories and fantastic tales to tell. And then there is Graham Rae - a polarizing figure for some as a look back at old forum posts proves. Yet all polarizing figures have one thing in common: energy. Graham has chutzpah in spades. I am firmly in Graham's camp because I recognize and admire a follow obsessive. He wears his passions on his sleeve and his enthusiasm is contagious. In addition, he consistently brings interesting items to the Big Table, or Reality Studio, as the case may be.
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Bibliographies - Cartography

Online: Maps before 1850 - Antique Maps of Iceland - Cartographic Images - Map History / History of Cartography - Yale Map Collection - The Ryhiner Map Collection - Brock University Map Library - MAGIC - Hargrett Library Rare Map Collection - Library of Congress Map Collection - Perry-Castañeda Library Map Collection - The Roger Baskes Collection
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The Case of the First Mystery Novelist

Conan Doyle? Wilkie Collins? Émile Gaboriau? "Reader, never mind whether the butler did it. Here's a real mystery for you: Who wrote the first detective novel?" Paul Collins reveals the rare book mystery in his New York Times article.
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Coming to Terms with Manuscripts

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.
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Book Scouting in … Amsterdam: Holy Ground

Ever been in Amsterdam? As in every European city there is much to see. Beautiful old buildings, the historic canals (Amsterdam is one of the cities called 'Venice of the North'!) lots of museums, history and art. For booklovers there are some great old book shops and flee-markets. People are friendly, and - guess what? - with few exceptions everybody speaks English too!
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