Member Blogs > Tavistock Books

  • Happy Holidays from Tavistock Books!

    Wed, 24 Dec 2014 01:34:09 Permalink
    Wishing you and your loved ones a very Happy Holiday Season, from all of us here at Tavistock Books. Read More
  • Saint Nicholas and the Christmas Spirit: A History of Christmas and its Child-loving, Jolly Icon

    Wed, 17 Dec 2014 03:30:15 Permalink
    The Beginnings of the Christmas Spirit Though the Christmas celebration of gift-giving and caroling falls on the same evening as the Western Church celebrations of the birth of Jesus Christ, the two are not inherently related. At first, the celebration of gift-giving as a treat for the children was celebrated on December 6th, when Saint […] Read More
  • Happy Holidays: NCC Style

    Wed, 03 Dec 2014 05:21:10 Permalink
    Almost 50 Northern California booksellers and their guests gathered last night, as we celebrated at this year’s annual ABAA Northern California Chapter (NCC) meeting/holiday party. The quarterly meeting of the NCC is a combined business meeting and social gathering, with this catered holiday dinner accompanied by a raffle to raise money for the Elisabeth Woodburn Educational […] Read More
  • Top 10 Things We Hear at Tavistock Books

    Tue, 25 Nov 2014 11:10:35 Permalink
    With an open shop since 1997 on a main mercantile street in California’s sunny Alameda, we hear some extremely interesting things from the general public who wander in, not quite sure what antiquarian books are all about… Some of the most popular questions and comments by our shop visitors are included below. Enjoy! 1. “Do you sell […] Read More
  • Recent Happenings at Tavistock Books

    Wed, 12 Nov 2014 12:34:09 Permalink
    At the Store: At Tavistock Books we are experiencing a problem that many booksellers before us have seen and many after will encounter. Space. Similar to the phrase “there is not enough time in the day,” there are not enough shelves in our store! We have filled every nook and cranny with books, with dogs, […] Read More
  • "Books of the West" Comes to Alameda

    Wed, 05 Nov 2014 01:18:43 Permalink
    At Tavistock Books, we believe in “book-education.” Not textbooks for kids in school (though those are helpful too, I suppose), but more the education of others, especially members of the trade, on Rare and Antiquarian Books. It is one reason why we hold a yearly workshop on Reference Books (see the blog on our last […] Read More
  • Double, Double, Toil and Trouble: The History of Halloween (Condensed)

    Wed, 29 Oct 2014 11:34:49 Permalink
    Halloween. There can hardly be a more interesting holiday to research, and, in honor of this coming Friday, research it we certainly have done! The deep traditions underlying “All Hallows’ Eve”, the mutations of those traditions over time, and, naturally, the literature following the course of the holiday over the past few hundred years… all of these […] Read More
  • Theatrically Speaking: Charles Dickens, his Amateur Theatricals & his Performances at the Podium

    Sat, 18 Oct 2014 03:44:46 Permalink
    No one reading a Dickens novel can deny the author’s enthusiasm for the theatrical. To see a young orphan used and abused by adults at every turn, to have to bear a young girl dying and her desolate grandfather withering away by her grave, or a miser being shown the error of his ways by […] Read More
  • The Seattle Antiquarian Book Fair (Galoshes Optional)

    Wed, 15 Oct 2014 03:52:12 Permalink
    I do believe (with my rawther limited experience to back me up) that the Seattle Fair is the perfect Antiquarian Book Fair. I don’t mean to slam any other fair in the world (I still love the coziness of Sacramento, and I just adore the blisters I get from my heels in Pasadena). I just […] Read More
  • Gourmets, Drunks & a (Short) History of Cookery Books

    Wed, 01 Oct 2014 12:58:02 Permalink
    Tavistock Books’ recent acquisitions contain a large focus on Cookery titles. Not only have we recently had in stock the cookbook with the 1st English Language recipe for tacos, but also The Cook’s Oracle, the first cookery book published out of Stockton, California (a more exciting purchase than you might think, which generated enthusiasm from […] Read More
  • Selling, Socializing & Getting Served in Sacto

    Tue, 16 Sep 2014 06:47:08 Permalink
    The Sacramento Antiquarian Book Fair is a bookseller’s fair. I’m not sure that you’ll know what I mean when I say that (hell, I’m not even sure what I mean when I say it), so I shall explain as best I can. It seems to me that the Sacramento fair is catered, all-around, to the […] Read More
  • On Identifying Photographic Prints and the History of Early Photography

    Tue, 02 Sep 2014 02:43:28 Permalink
     Photographic Prints in an Antiquarian Bookshop Without a doubt, every antique store and flea market from California to New York somewhere has a box of photographs – black and white, early Kodaks, or even tintypes… often warped, mirrored, faded – if you are reading this blog it is assumed that at some point or another […] Read More
  • Tavistock Books' Almost-Annual Reference Book Workshop

    Wed, 27 Aug 2014 04:02:30 Permalink
    There is a significant difference between booksellers who advertise their wares with professional descriptions, a clear understanding of the item in question, an honest assessment with regard to the item’s condition… and your typical eBay/Amazon blasters: “FREE SHIPPING! May or may not have highlighting and/or missing pages.” The pride in being a Good (or VG+) bookseller […] Read More
  • Charles Dickens and the Impenitent Prostitute

    Fri, 25 Jul 2014 03:09:04 Permalink
    Charles Dickens, in many ways, stands for Victorianism; indeed it’s impossible to think of the era without him, and he defined the period in many ways. Yet we cannot assume that Dickens represents his contemporaries in all things. His own upbringing shaped his sense of social justice in ways that did not always reflect the […] Read More
  • (Mostly) California Wine & Viticulture: A Short List

    Tue, 22 Jul 2014 05:01:06 Permalink
    Oliver Goldsmith has been quoted as saying, “I love everything that’s old… old friends, old times, old manners, old books, old wine.” We here at Tavistock Books couldn’t agree more, especially with the latter two, and this month offer a list of old books [et al] that deal with old wines. or at least wine […] Read More
  • Charles I and the Undoing of the Vintner's Company

    Fri, 18 Jul 2014 10:52:04 Permalink
    On September 29, 1639, the Red Bull players found themselves on the wrong side of the law. They’d recently performed The Whore New Vamped, whose author has since faded into obscurity. The play satirically alluded to the new duties on wine, which were instigated by Charles I but supported by few members of the Vintner’s […] Read More
  • William Page, Dandified Highwayman

    Tue, 15 Jul 2014 12:21:16 Permalink
    We’ve long been fascinated with the exploits of criminals, so much so that an entire genre of literature has blossomed out of our curiosity. In the eighteenth century, a staple of true-crime literature was the confession, in which a convicted criminal shared his life story, detailed the sordid details of his crimes, and repented of […] Read More
  • John Barnard Davis, Skull Collector

    Wed, 09 Jul 2014 06:59:06 Permalink
    After John Barnard Davis passed away on May 19, 1881, his obituary appeared in the British Medical Journal.  Davis was lauded as a “venerable practitioner and eminent anthropologist.” But Today, what most people remember about Davis, however, was his skull collection. An Incredible Collection of Crania By 1867, Davis had amassed a collection of 1,474 […] Read More
  • Temperance, Prohibition, and the WCTU

    Thu, 03 Jul 2014 11:17:56 Permalink
    The above cartoon by Thomas Nast appeared in Harper’s Weekly on March 21, 1874. The following page bore another temperance cartoon by Michael Angelo Woolf called “The Social Juggernaut.” The issue also included a story of a temperance demonstration at a New York bar and an illustrated poem called “Like Father, Like Son,” which tells […] Read More
  • Richard Bentley, Victorian Publisher Extraordinaire

    Tue, 01 Jul 2014 01:57:17 Permalink
    Born on London’s Fleet Street on October 24, 1794, Richard Bentley came into the publishing world thanks to his family. When Bentley started a firm with his brother in 1819, he was the third generation to enter the profession. Bentley would go on to pursue a number of partnerships and weather the volatile economic climate […] Read More
  • Daily Recap: #RBMS14 Day 3 in 10 Tweets

    Fri, 27 Jun 2014 01:17:59 Permalink
    We’re really getting into that Vegas state of mind…hence today’s Twitter recap starts with a little bit of (mannequin) leg! This morning’s plenary on the marketplace and its impact on the ecosystem of special collections was moderated by Rachel D’Agostino, Curator of Printed Books at the Library Company of Philadelphia. Nina Musinsky offered  a thought […] Read More
  • Daily Recap: #RBMS14 Day 2…in 10 Tweets

    Thu, 26 Jun 2014 11:44:33 Permalink
    RBMS 2014 got off to a roaring start on Tuesday, and Day Two was no different! Wednesday’s program kicked off with an excellent plenary on the book as archive, moderated by Nicole Bouche, Director of the Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library at the University of Virginia. Then we were off to the ABAA […] Read More
  • Daily Recap: RBMS 2014 (Tuesday, June 24)

    Tue, 24 Jun 2014 08:20:13 Permalink
    Today kicked off the 2014 Rare Books and Manuscripts conference! The temperature registered a steamy 102 degrees–reminding us all that Vegas is best experienced in the air conditioning. Here’s a few highlights, courtesy of our friends on Twitter! If you couldn’t attend this year, but would like to get in on the action, you can […] Read More
  • Unique? A List for June

    Fri, 20 Jun 2014 12:43:04 Permalink
    Unique. A compelling word, and one that certainly can, and should, stand on its own, though frequently we find unnecessary modifiers employed to make the unique even more so, if such is at all possible…  more unique, highly unique, uniquely unique….  you get the drift. So with this in mind then, and without modifying hyperbole, […] Read More
  • Why California Isn't Called "Nova Albion"

    Wed, 18 Jun 2014 02:12:00 Permalink
    On June 17, 1579, Francis Drake claimed California for England. He anchored his ship, the Golden Hind, just north of present-day San Francisco and named the new territory “Nova Albion.” But despite Drake’s claim in the name of Queen Elizabeth I, he was not the first European to explore California. Drake Lays Claim to California […] Read More
  • Charles Dickens' Fraught Relationship with Harriet Beecher Stowe

    Fri, 13 Jun 2014 09:17:34 Permalink
    One hundred years after Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin was published, Langston Hughes called the novel “the most cussed and discussed book of its time.” Hughes’ failure to comment on the literary merits of Uncle Tom’s Cabin hints at the persistent disagreement among writers, critics, and the reading public about the novel’s actual quality. […] Read More
  • William Lambarde, Queen Elizabeth, and the Essex Rebellion

    Mon, 09 Jun 2014 03:28:13 Permalink
    “I am Richard II. Know ye not that?” So spoke Queen Elizabeth I to William Lambarde in August 1601–or so the story goes. The queen’s allusion to Shakespeare’s Richard II has long served as an illustration of the intense connection between arts and politics in Elizabethan England. A Trusted Record Keeper Born in London, William […] Read More
  • Lydia Francis Child, Tenacious Abolitionist Author

    Fri, 06 Jun 2014 02:29:31 Permalink
    Lydia Maria Francis Child established herself as a respected novelist before her rational approach to abolitionism cost her career. An influential thinker, Child managed to rebuild her reputation and became one of the most respected abolitionists of the time. Child was born on February 11, 1802 in Medford, Massachusetts. Her father, David Convers Francis, was […] Read More
  • Horatio Alger, Jr: Failed Minister Turned Juvenile Fiction Author

    Tue, 03 Jun 2014 03:34:59 Permalink
    Today we remember Horatio Alger, Jr for his numerous children’s novels–and often little else. The prolific author’s life was shrouded in mystery and fabrication for decades, making him an even more fascinating figure for collectors of rare and antiquarian books. A Childhood of Privation Born on January 13, 1832 in Chelsea, Massachusetts, Alger was the […] Read More
  • Celebrating Tavistock Books' 25-Year Anniversary

    Mon, 02 Jun 2014 08:57:58 Permalink
    We recently celebrated our 25th anniversary with a delightful reception! Thanks to all our friends, family, and colleagues who came to join us. It was a wonderful evening–the perfect way to commemorate the occasion and kick off the next 25 years. Read More
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