Member Blogs > Read'Em Again BooksOur Summer So Far - 10 July 2014

  • Thu, 10 Jul 2014 04:02:56    Permalink

    We've been pretty busy over the last several months, which, of course, is a poor excuse for not keeping up with this blog.  But . . . it’s the only excuse that I have.  Most of what we've been doing over the last three months hasn't been book related, although we did fit in some scouting in the Shenandoah Valley while spending time at our cabin and also while on the way to a family gathering at Disney World. 
    However, I did attend a terrific Rare Book School course on The Printed Book in the West to 1800 that was taught by Martin Andretti, the Curator of Rare Books at Smith College.  The Rare Book School is located at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, and if you haven’t taken any of its courses, you really should consider doing so.  The school isn’t just for book dealers; in fact, booksellers are in the minority.  Most of the folks who attend are librarians or collectors.The school offers over 50 different weeklong courses each summer in Bibliography, Binding, Collecting, Book History, Illustration, Printing, Typography, Book Design, Libraries, and Archives.  I’m sure it’s too late to enroll in anything for this year, but you owe it to yourself to visit the school’s website and check out any courses you may want to take next summer.
    It seems like such a long time since we set up a booth in late May at our last book fair, the Virginia Antiquarian Bookseller’s Association show at the Library of Virginia in Richmond.Over the past three years, it has become a very good regional show.  As a direct result of the efforts of the library, its friends, and especially Nick Cooke of Black SwanBooks, the fair attracts a goodly number of returning customers who aren’t afraid to spend money.   
    Even former Virginia governor and self-proclaimed “notorious cheapskate” Jim “Axe the Car Tax” Gilmore stopped by my booth and was persuaded to purchase a scarce 1805 printing of The First Settlers of Virginia, a historical novel that includes one of the earliest detailed, though fictionalized, accounts of life in Jamestown. 
    These days, we seem to get many more responses to our direct quotes, and I suspect it has something to do with our joining the ABAA earlier this year.  Since our shows thinned out beginning in June, we’ve concentrated on closing deals with a number of institutions and we owe a sincere thanks to librarians at the University of Maryland, University of Miami, the Library of Virginia, the British Library, and Princeton, as well as the William Reese Company. They’ve purchased a number of interesting things includinga 1757 edition of An Account of the European Settlements in America, an Ethiopian-Coptic Anaphora, a colorful children’s alphabet book titled ABC in Dixie,a draft copy of South Carolina’s Ordinance of Secession, and two large and exceptionally well-illustrated broadsides advertising a turn-of-the-century Uncle Tom Show and an 1871 balloon ascension.
    We’ve picked up some nice things too including some leaves from a 1500 edition of The Ship of Fools with woodcut illustrations by Albrecht Dürer, an obstetrician’s journal from 1834 to 1858 describing almost 300 deliveries one of which was among the earliest uses of ether to numb the pain of childbirth, an 1837 captain’s log rescued from a ship that went down in a hurricane, and a typed signed letter by General Leonard Wood from a French hospital during World War One after he was nearly killed by mortar round.  I don’t have images or write-ups on the new material yet, but some should be posted at the Read’Em Again Books website in a day or two.
    Next up for us will be the Rocky Mountain Book & Paper Fair in Denver on 1-2 August.  If you are attending, please stop by to say hello. 
    And, immediately following that, we'll drive down to Colorado Springs where Gail will be attending the Colorado Antiquarian Book Seminar, which is probably something I should have done years ago.  She’s hoping that it lives up to all the rave reviews.

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