Member Blogs > ten pound island book companyMiserable Pirates

  • Sat, 02 Mar 2013 06:34:46    Permalink

    A chilly wind in Washington DC this week. I got frostbitten ears walking across the Key bridge from Georgetownto the Washington Antiquarian Book Fair in Rosslyn, VA.Pity those rowers in their sculls on the Potomacfar below.
    As usual promoter Beth Campbelland her staff got us moved in to the second floor of the Holiday Inn smoothly and efficiently. It helps that most of the dealers here have been doing the show for years, but still. Beth is definitely a hands on organizer, scooting between the three rooms of the fair with tablecloths, invoices and sympathy.
    Beth says this event has a mailing list of 4000 people. That, combined with paid advertizing on local radio and news outlets, as well as some Facebook marketing, brought out respectable crowds on opening night and Saturday. Lots of chat, plenty of questions and comments, and the occasional telltale rustle of bags being wrapped and sealed. I even sold a few things.If theres any fly in this ointment, its simply that people who were here this year were the same people who were here last year. And theyre not getting any younger. The proportion of under-30 visitors always has been, and still remains, small.This is something Beth and her colleagues have been scratching their heads about. Its especially frustrating because the area abounds in colleges and universities.
    But, because this event is a fund raiser for the Concord Hill School, every admission is a paid admission. Consequently free passes are not distributed on local college campuses as they are in, say, Boston. It is evident that the admission fee is a barrier to younger visitors and budding collectors. The Seattle book fair can be a meeting spot for younger visitors who browse and then go on to greater pleasures. But at $14 on Friday, $8 on Saturday thats not happening in DC.Whats the answer? I dunno. Maybe half price tickets could be made available to the kids. Show your college ID and get in on the cheap. Or maybe they should just double everybodys booth rent and let customers in free. Wait. I didnt say that.
    If the crowds were decent, sales were only nominally OK. And, for me, buying was slow. I wrote about half a dozen checks, most of it for chowder catalog filler. Only one item really captured my imagination. Coleman, Benjamin. IT IS A FEARFUL THING TO FALL INTO THE HANDS OF A LIVING GOD. A SERMON PREACHED TO SOME MISERABE PIRATES, JULY 10, 1726, ON THE LORDS DAY, BEFORE THEIR EXECUTION.  Bos. 1726. (1), 39 pp. For twenty-eight pages Coleman harangues mariners in general and Cole, Greenville, and Condick - three of the condemned men - about the temptations and consequences of a freebooters life. You, that have livd upon rapine and robbery, the spoil of your innocent and righteous neighbors; how fearful should it be to you to think of falling into the hands of the living God? In the final eleven pages he recites, in great detail, the circumstances of the mutiny aboard the snow John Green, and subsequent piracies committed by ringleader William Fly and his men. Their end came about when they captured a sloop off North Carolina. One of the passengers, a man named Atkinson, was particularly  resourceful. With the aid of some loyal crewmen he was able to overpower the pirates and bring them to Boston. In short order they were tried, preached to by Coleman, and (two days laters) hanged. Their bodies were then hung up on an island in Boston Harbor(I think it was Noddles) as a Spectacle for warning to others. This inspired countless retellings and the image of dangling pirate bodies that have graced many later pirate tales. Not to mention half a dozen Edward Rowe Snow chapters. Evans 2737. McDade 308. Sabin 14494. Pages evenly tanned. Some chipping and a few short tears, with no loss of text. Removed from larger volume. $3000
    Next week The Florida Antiquarian Book Fair.

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