The Jewels of Passover

April 17, 2019
Thumbnail image for The Jewels of Passover

At the start of this year’s Holy Week a terrible blaze engulfed Notre-Dame. As I watched the spire of the cathedral fall, I wondered how destructive smoke and flames have often been to books throughout history. Vulnerable older editions from the 16th, 15th and even 13th centuries must have survived the misfortunes brought about by […]

Read the full article →

AMBIVALENT CENSORSHIP OF MEDIEVAL “SCIENCE” IN 17th CENTURY SPAIN: THE EXAMPLE OF THE HORTUS SANITATIS (MAINZ, 1491)

February 27, 2019
Thumbnail image for AMBIVALENT CENSORSHIP OF MEDIEVAL “SCIENCE” IN 17th CENTURY SPAIN: THE EXAMPLE OF THE HORTUS SANITATIS (MAINZ, 1491)

Issued in the aftermath of the Council of Trent (1545-63), the Index of Forbidden Books maintained by the Inquisition became an obstacle to the circulation of books and ideas in Europe and its colonies well into the 20th century – it is only in 1966 that the Catholic Church formally abolished it. Among the famous […]

Read the full article →

Messy Interconnections of Innovation

February 23, 2019
Thumbnail image for Messy Interconnections of Innovation

In 1986, the co-founder of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s AI laboratory’s, cognitive scientist Marvin Minsky, (1927-2016), published The Society of Mind.  The book describes a theory which attempts to explain how what we call intelligence, could be a product of the interaction of non-intelligent parts. He proposed that each mind is made of many […]

Read the full article →

Sex: the single girl’s perspective

January 31, 2019
Thumbnail image for Sex: the single girl’s perspective

Two titles written a decade apart:  the first, in the early sixties, at the onset of the sexual revolution, which brought us increased acceptance of sex outside of traditional heterosexual, monogamous relationships; and, the other, in the early seventies, during the post-pill and pre-AIDS period. These authors’ writings on the topic of sex in the single girl’s […]

Read the full article →

Fast Forward 50 Years

December 31, 2018
Thumbnail image for Fast Forward 50 Years

Another year is upon us with the usual hoopla about the abnormalities of current times. As 2019 makes its debut, many of the values and beliefs we hold dear are being questioned throughout the world. Truthful facts, science, humanity, diversity and equality are a few on the top of the list. In the US, denying […]

Read the full article →

The Importance of Language in Rare Books

October 13, 2018
Thumbnail image for The Importance of Language in Rare Books

How fortunate native English-speaking booksellers are to have English as their mother tongue! English is the lingua franca of global business. Not surprisingly, the official language of ILAB, (The International League of Antiquarian Booksellers), is English. However, the organization maintains that this stature is shared equally with French; hence the old ILAB motto “Amor librorum […]

Read the full article →

Rare Book Sale Monitor update – Auctions

August 21, 2018
Thumbnail image for Rare Book Sale Monitor update – Auctions

When an auction generates astonishing excitement in view of both the quality and quantity of books being offered, the excitement is also reflected in the prices realized. Even if the prices are often unrealistic, for many buyers, the auction remains a remarkable event that is worth the extra expense. High emotions are exactly the ingredients […]

Read the full article →

The Seven Pillars of a Rare Book: The case of John William’s “Stoner”

July 1, 2018
Thumbnail image for The Seven Pillars of a Rare Book:  The case of John William’s “Stoner”

Factor #1: Scarcity in supply. The year was 1965; the war in Vietnam was escalating, the space race was in full swing, and the Rolling Stones were on a world tour. America’s counter-culture movements were embracing drug use, liberal sexuality and obscenity in their writings and works. It was during this year that a novelist […]

Read the full article →

Rare Book Sale Monitor update – Modern Firsts

May 16, 2018
Thumbnail image for Rare Book Sale Monitor update – Modern Firsts

  In 1977-78 Sotheby Parke Bernet Inc., held 3 auction events with the titles Important Modern First Editions and Fine Modern First Editions.  They included the rare book collection of Jonathan Goodwin, one of the greatest collectors of the 20th century. The 865 lot sale was broken in Part One Sale, (March 29, 1977), Part […]

Read the full article →

Desperately Seeking Members of the Prestigious Collins Crime Club

April 5, 2018
Thumbnail image for Desperately Seeking Members of the Prestigious Collins Crime Club

During the golden age of detective fiction, when classic murder mystery novels were at the peak of popularity, Sir Godfrey Collins, started the Collins Crime Club (1930–94), as an imprint of British book publishers William Collins & Sons.  Until then, the Scottish printing and publishing company found success as a printer of Bibles and other […]

Read the full article →