Das Deutsche Literaturarchiv Marbach hat kürzlich eine Frankfurter Privatsammlung zu Eduard Mörike erworben. Der Sammler Klaus Berge, verdientes Mitglied der Deutschen Schillergesellschaft und langjähriger Freund des Hauses, hat über mehr als drei Jahrzehnte hinweg sachkundig Handschriften, Erstausgaben, Widmungsexemplare, Grafiken und Gegenständliches von und zu Eduard Mörike sowie seinem Umkreis zusammengetragen.
105 years ago, from 6th to 8th August, 1908, a famous 19th century autograph collection was auctioned by J. A. Stargardt in Berlin. The owner of the collection was Fritz Donebauer, born in 1849 as a son of a Bohemian innkeeper who became a banker and insurance agent in Prague, and most of all: a collector. In his lifetime he owned hundreds of autographs and manuscripts of mostly Bohemian theatre artists and musicians as well as rare documents from the history of Bohemia and the Thirty Years War. Little is known about Fritz Donebauer, whose collection came to auction in Berlin in April 1908, and even less is known about the private collectors, dealers and institutions who bought the documents, manuscripts and handwritten letters. Eberhard Köstler tries to reconstruct Fritz Donebauer's life and the fate of his famous collection.
This (or a variant of it) is probably the most often asked question I hear. What I'm talking about is, of course, whether it is better to buy a book (or get it autographed by the author) with just a signature alone or whether it is better to have it with a personalized inscription.
The British Library has acquired the personal archive of Sir Alec Guinness. The archive includes more than 900 of his letters to family and friends and over 100 volumes of diaries from the late 1930s to his death in the year 2000. The letters and diaries of the award winning British actor enrich the British Library's collection of archives of great 20th century artists along with those of Laurence Olivier, John Gielgud and Ralph Richardson.
How much is it worth? This question is most often asked by book collectors. And most often, there is not a precise answer. Although it is quite common nowadays to discuss rare books "as investments", the value of a book can hardly be counted in Dollars and Euros. It is even more difficult to measure the "worth" of dedication copies. Is the book inscribed by the author? Is this author famous and important, dead or alive? To whom is the book inscribed? Which words did the author choose to express his gratitude or sympathy? Eberhard Köstler, autograph specialist, gives examples of dedications by George Bernard Shaw, George Orwell, Franz Kafka, Thomas Mann and many other authors, and he shows that nothing is binding when it comes to the "real worth" of dedications.
In detective fiction and on the cop shows it's called "chain of evidence." Book collectors call it provenance. Unless you plan to build your private library solely with "hot off the press" titles, you need to understand provenance. The concept is important for all kinds of collectibles, from works of art to books to archaeological artifacts. Basically, it means: "to confirm or gather evidence as to the time, place, and if appropriate, the person responsible, for the creation, production or discovery of [an] object."
Great news: The Guardian and Associated Press report that the Hebrew University of Jerusalem puts online 2,000 documents from the Albert Einstein archives including unseen letters, postcards and research notes.
Children's books are not only for children. They enable us to look at a period in history from a children's point of view. Children's books printed in Germany from 1945 to 1960, for example, show how the world was in post war Germany, which was separated in East and West, and where also the children had to learn to live under the new conditions determined by the history of the half of the 20th century, and especially by World War II and its consequences. Friedrich C. Heller, who won the Second ILAB Breslauer Prize for Bibliography in 2010 for his outstanding work „Die bunte Welt. Handbuch zum künstlerisch illustrierten Kinderbuch in Wien 1890-1938", reviews a brand new catalogue published by the German antiquarian bookseller Winfried Geisenheyner: Kinder- und Bilderbücher von 1945 bis 1960 - Children's Books 1945 to 1960. This and other catalogues by ILAB dealers can be downloaded from the ILAB website.
This week – revisiting the past again with another in the occasional series on past presidents of the Antiquarian Booksellers' Association. Alan Gradon Thomas was born in Hampstead, North London, on the 19th October 1911 – the son of Albert Edward Thomas, a local newsagent and stationer, and his wife Evelyn Gradon, originally from Durham, who had married the previous year.
At the Ordinary General Meeting on 20th September 2016 in Budapest the presidents of ILAB's 22 national member associations voted for Gonzalo Fernandez Pontes (Spain) as new ILAB President.We asked Mr. Pontes about his plans in his new role, his background and what motivates him to invest so much of his time into the League.
"Beneath the streets of a suburb of Damascus, rows of shelves hold books that have been rescued from bombed-out buildings. Over the past four years, during the siege of Darayya, volunteers have collected 14,000 books from shell-damaged homes. They are held in a location kept secret amid fears that it would be targeted by government and pro-Assad forces, and visitors have to dodge shells and bullets to reach the underground reading space.It's been called Syria's secret library, and many view it as a vital resource."
Book collectors have to learn a trade jargon that is made extra difficult by two facts: first, it comes from several related, but different, trades -- publishing, printing, and writing as well as bookselling and collecting itself -- and, second, many of the terms are commonplace words with normal meanings outside of the book collecting world, but which have specific meanings, including specific connotations, within book collecting.