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Rare Books and the Rare Book Trade
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Americana

Collecting Rare Books and First Editions - Thomas Paine

Published on 21 July 2018
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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Literature

Collecting Rare Books and First Editions - The Secret Life of Harper Lee

Published on 21 July 2018
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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Religion

Collecting Rare Books and First Editions - Fra Paolo Sarpi, Scholar, Priest, and Heretic

Published on 21 July 2018
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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Women

Collecting Rare Books and First Editions - Marie LaFarge was convicted of murder

Published on 21 July 2018
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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Mimeo

Collecting Rare Books and First Editions - The Irritable Tribe of Poets

Published on 21 July 2018
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

Article

Descartes Letter Found, Therefore It Is

The story of a spectacular robbery and its happy ending 170 years later is published in the New York Times, by Patricia Cohen
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Article

Report from the 2008 Grand Palais Paris Bookfair

Some 157 bookdealers (a third from outside France) and 30 print sellers were present at the fair. The Grand Palais location with its vast volumes and excellent natural light, presented almost ideal conditions for both exhibitors and visitors: 3m deep booths and wide alleys with rest areas, a concert area (with thrice daily chamber music concerts), a conference room, various displays (bindings and photographs) and demonstrations (restoration, binding and copper plate printing); and a spectacular exhibition by this year's guest library, the Bibiotheque Nationale de France.
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Article

Old and Rare Books. From ILAB: the one stop FREE App for all lovers of rare books

The International League of Antiquarian Booksellers (ILAB) has launched an ILAB Mobile App which is now available in the Apple Store and the Android Market. Search for "ILAB rare books" or "International League of Antiquarian Booksellers" to find the free App ready to install on your phone. A Blackberry version will follow soon.
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Article

Collecting Robert Graves

In wider society, many today consider the Classics irrelevant, and very few children encounter them even in translations now, let alone in the original languages. This then is a far cry from the relentless Classical education Graves himself received, and it is in part at least his own doing. By knocking them off their pedestal, along with the moral authority of Christianity, Graves and his contemporaries simultaneously ensured a future interest in the Classics, and killed off their serious study, except from a historical perspective. In my opinion, if any trace of Greek and Roman literature survives 1000 years from now, it won't be Tacitus' Annals being read, but Robert Graves' novels.
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Article

Rare Books London - An Interview with ABA Secretary Camilla Szymanowska

Rare Books London, the capital's new festival of old and rare books, will bring together booksellers, auctioneers, collectors, readers, experts of various professions all linked to the world of rare and antiquarian books. We spoke to Camilla Szymanowska, Secretary of the British Antiquarian Booksellers Association (ABA) about this exciting new initiative.
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Article

Bibliographies - Hawaii

Online: Forbes, Hawaiian National Bibliography
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