Sunday, October 19, 2014

Links & Reviews

- Erik Kwakkel and Giulio Menna have launched a new website, Quill: Books Before Print.

- Philip Palmer writes on the Clark Library blog (The Clog) about manuscript captions added to early woodcuts and engravings.

- The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals has partially reversed the GSU e-reserves decision handed down in May 2012. Jen Howard has a thorough report in the Chronicle. The appeals court found that the lower court judge had incorrectly weighed the four factors used to gauge fair use and returned the case for further examination. More on this decision from Kevin Smith.

- The Friends of Bangor Public Library have recognized collectibles dealer Paul Zebiak for his role in returning stolen posters and photographs to the library. Insider thief Russell Graves is serving a six-month jail sentence for the thefts.

- A new open-access journal of special collections, The Reading Room, launched this week.

- There's a report in the NYTimes about 14th-century birch-bark documents found in mud near Novgorod. More than a thousand such documents have been uncovered so far.

- A 31-year-old Bethesda, MD woman, Christina Wimmel, pleaded guilty to the theft of rare books worth more than $30,000 from her neighbor, collector-dealer Julia Jordan. Wimmel was sentenced to probation and the payment of restitution.

- The shortlist for this year's National Book Awards were announced this week.

- Curators at the Huntington Library have found amongst their uncataloged books two sections of the Yongle Encyclopedia (~1562), called the largest book ever printed in China.

- Toni Morrison's papers have been acquired by Princeton University.

- Jeff Peachey writes about the new Mark Landis documentary "Art and Craft" from a conservators' perspective.

- In Lapham's Quarterly, Colin Dickey reconsiders Virginia Woolf's novel Orlando.

- For Ada Lovelace Day this week, Sarah Werner highlighted an exercise she's used with her students to find early women printers in the book trade records. Joe Adelman posed a question about the integration of women printers into the history of early American printing at The Junto.

- The University of South Carolina has acquired the literary archive of Elmore Leonard.

- In the NYRB, Robert A. Schneider, editor of the AHR, replies to Robert Darnton's most recent NYRB essay, and Darnton responds: Overpriced Scholarship: An Exchange.

- Sam Roberts profiles Richard Norton Smith about Smith's new biography of Nelson Rockefeller.

- McSweeney's founder Dave Eggers announced this week that he is transitioning McSweeney's into a non-profit organization.


- Steven Pinker's The Sense of Style; review by Charles McGrath in the NYTimes.

- Cary Elwes' As You Wish; review by Alexandra Mullen in the WSJ.

- Jonathan Darman's Landslide; review by Sean Wilentz in the NYTimes.

- A trio of new books on reading in the digital age; review by Jennifer Howard in the TLS.

- Zephyr Teachout's Corruption in America; review by Thomas Frank in the NYTimes.

- Richard Norton Smith's On His Own Terms; review by Robert K. Landers in the WSJ.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Links & Reviews

- Emory University has acquired an important archive of Flanner O'Connor materials.

- A number of early Buddhist manuscripts, some dating to the sixth century, have reportedly been destroyed in floods in India.

- Sarah Werner writes on the Collation blog about the question of capturing bookseller and librarian notes in catalog records. And Erin Blake notes a new Hamnet URL and some nifty new search filters.

- The Bodleian Library has been successful in its bid to purchase the William Henry Fox Talbot archive of early photographs, as well as the photographer's diaries and letters. A 2017 exhibition is planned.

- The JHU student paper covers the exhibition of the Arthur and Janet Freeman Bibliotheca Fictiva Collection at Peabody Library (through February).

- D.H. Lawrence's manuscript of his short story "Her Turn" has been acquired by Harvard's Houghton Library.

- Manuscript Road Trip visits Virginia this week, and features a few of RBS's teaching manuscripts.

- Speaking of RBS, most scholarship applications are due this week, so don't forget to submit your applications!

- Eric Kwakkel explores the imagery of medieval desktops and highlights book clasps. He's also interviewed for an Independent article about early manuscript doodles.

- Yale conservators are working on the 7,000-item papryus collection, preparing the material for long-term access and use.

- Bob McCamant reported on this year's Oak Knoll Fest for the Fine Press Book Association blog: Day 1, Days 2/3.

- A copy of a 1916 silent film starring William Gillette as Sherlock Holmes has been found in a French film archive.

- A new database of British slave ownership is now available from UCL.

- The Economist has a long article on the future of the book, "From Papyrus to Pixels." Choose the magazine ("scroll") format for minimal obnoxiousness.

- Graham Bowley reports for the NYTimes on antiquities being damaged and/or lost in Iraq and Syria.

- The Paul Revere House has acquired a 1775 letter from Paul to Rachel Revere, previously conserved at NEDCC.

- Katherine Seelye reports for the NYTimes on the new Poe statue in Boston.

- Nine newly-digitized Civil War manuscript collections are now available from the Massachusetts Historical Society.

- Sara Georgini writes for The Junto on some early American diplomatic ciphers.


- Edward Baptist's The Half Has Never Been Told; reviews by Eric Foner and Felicia R. Lee in the NYTimes. 

- E.O. Wilson's The Meaning of Human Existence; review by Dwight Garner in the NYTimes.

- Peter Baldwin's The Copyright Wars; review at LISNews.

- Laura Auricchio's The Marquis; review by Frederick Brown in the WSJ.

- Stephen Pinker's The Sense of Style; review by Jacob Silverman in the CSM.

- Robin Varnum's Álvar Núnez Cabeza de Vaca: American Trailblazer; review by Marie Arana in the WaPo.

- James McPherson's Embattled Rebel; review by Ryan Cole in the WSJ.

- Italo Calvino's The Complete Cosmicomics; review by Michael Dirda in the WaPo.

- Colm Toíbín's Nora Webster; review by Darin Strauss in the LATimes.

Thursday, October 02, 2014

Links & Reviews

- The DPLA has received a $999,485 grant from the IMLS to fund an expansion of the DPLA's service hubs network.

- Mozart's manuscript score of his Piano Sonata in A has been found at the National Szechenyi Library in Budapest.

- Martha Carlin writes in the TLS about a ~1643 manuscript description of Southwark which mentions Shakespeare and his contemporaries having carved their names into the panelled walls of the Tabard Inn.

- The Telegraph reports on the restoration of Mrs. Gaskell's house and gardens.

- Over at Aeon, David Armitage and Jo Guldi ask "how did history abdicate its role of inspiring the longer view?"

- A new exhibition has launched at Harvard's Houghton Library, "InsideOUT: Contemporary Bindings of Private Press Books."

- From Amanda French, "On some books in Edna St. Vincent Millay's library."

- Historian James McPherson talks books for the NYT's "By the Books" feature.

- The winners of the 2014 National Collegiate Book-Collecting Contest have been announced.

- An IMLS grant will fund the digitization of nearly 200 rare volumes from the Clark Art Institute's Julius S. Held Collection of Rare Books.

- Steve Moyer has a piece in the current issue of Humanities about artist John Gould and Ralph Nicholson Ellis, Jr., whose efforts to collect Gould's works nearly bankrupted him.

- The Boston Globe highlights the coming installation of a Poe statue in Boston, and BU professor Paul Lewis' long push to get the city to recognize Poe as a native son.

- Speaking of Poe, Susan Jaffe Tane spoke to FB&C about her collection of Poe, some of which is currently on display at the Grolier Club.

- A collection of Ray Bradbury's books, art, ephemera, &c. made $493,408 at auction last week.

- Arion Press, for their one-hundredth publication, will produce a new fine-press edition of Whitman's Leaves of Grass.

- News in June, but new to me: Bowdoin College has acquired a 328-volume collection of Sarah Wyman Whitman bindings, donated by collector Jean Paul Michaud.

- The NYT Arts Beat blog reported that some reviewers received copies of an ARC of Anthony Horowitz's new book Moriarty containing authorial back-and-forth with copy editors.

- The Royal College of Physicians will host a 2016 exhibition titled "Scholar, courtier, magician: the lost library of John Dee."

- Hannah Bailey guest-posts at The Junto about the importance of French archives for early American historians.

- Three 17th-century Japanese scrolls are now available digitally through the Princeton University Digital Library.

- First Folio thief Raymond Scott is back in the news after the prison where he committed suicide has come under scrutiny for not providing better mental health care. More coverage from the BBC and ChronicleLive.

- Also at The Junto, Sara Georgini provides an inside look at the process that goes into creating the Adams Papers editorial project volumes.

- From Jim Ambuske at the Scholars' Lab blog, "Visualizing Early America through MapScholar and Beyond."

- Author James Patterson plans to donate £130,000 to more than 70 independent bookshops across the UK. The funds will be used to promote programs designed to "inspire children to become lifelong readers."

- From Rare Books Digest, "Rare, Signed and Forged," in which the author lays out some suggested criteria for buying (or selling) signed books.


- Michael Farquhar's Secret Lives of the Tsars; review by Hank Cox in the WaPo.

- Ellen T. Harris' George Friedrich Handel: A Life with Friends; review by Weston Williams in the CSM.

- S.C. Gwynne's Rebel Yell; review by Allen Guelzo in the WSJ.

- Robert Darnton's Censors at Work; review by Felipe Fernández-Armesto in the WSJ.

Book Review: "The Forgers"

Bradford Morrow's The Forgers (forthcoming from Mysterious Press) was a must-read for me, given my particular interests in both bibliomysteries and literary forgery. Plus, it got blurbed by both Joyce Carol Oates and Nick Basbanes, and that can't possibly be a very common combination.

Morrow's time as a book dealer and collector serves him well here; it always helps, when writing about the rare book trade, to know what you're talking about, and by and large Morrow ably captures the atmospherics of the trade ... including some of its darker aspects.

"They never found his hands." With that first line Morrow draws the reader into a tale of brutal murder, blackmail, forgery, and psychological terror, about which I'll spoil no more than that. This suspenseful tale, told by the classic unreliable narrator, makes for a thoroughly enjoyable and pleasantly creepy read.

It's not a perfect book: some early foreshadowing sort of gives the game away, a few of the characters don't feel quite fleshed out, and there are a few slow spots pacing-wise. But no matter - it's quite a good book and I'll recommend it without reservation.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Links & Reviews

- A 28-year-old Bangor, Maine man, Russell Graves, has been sentenced to two years in prison (with all but six months suspended) for the theft of 75 Civil War cartes de visite and 50 WWI and WWII posters from the Bangor Public Library, where he had been working as a janitor. Graves was caught when he tried to sell some of the stolen material to Maritime International, a Bangor collectibles shop.

- Rebecca Rego Barry talked to Alix Christie about her new novel Gutenberg's Apprentice (a copy of which recently arrived here; I'm looking forward to reading it soon).

- Book Patrol reports on a now-abandoned plan by ILAB to develop a partnership with AbeBooks to promote the listings of ILAB dealers.

- There's an interesting piece in Wired about multispectral imagery and its use on Yale's 1491 Martellus map.

- Christian Dupont has officially taken up the reins as John J. Burns Librarian and associate university librarian for special collections at Boston College.

- Art and document forger Mark Landis is the subject of a new documentary which recently opened in New York, "Art and Craft." More from The Art Newspaper.

- The Manuscript Division at the Library of Congress recently acquired two manuscript diaries of Mathew Carey, covering portions of 1821–1825. Julie Miller highlights the acquisition.

- Jane Austen's House Museum in Chawton, Hampshire, will exhibit one of the manuscript booklets for Austen's unfinished novel "The Watsons" through December.

- At Antipodean Footnotes, a look at the University of Melbourne's copy of William Cowper's The anatomy of humane bodies (1698), which contains many manuscript notes by an English apothecary.


- Charles N. Edel's Nation Builder: John Quincy Adams and the Grand Strategy of the Republic; review by Donald Breed in the Providence Journal.

- Justin Martin's Rebel Souls; review by Dennis Drabelle in the WaPo.

- Nick Bunker's An Empire on the Edge; review by Brendan Simms in the WSJ.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Links & Reviews

- Some pretty big news reported in the Philadelphia Inquirer: some 10,000 Maurice Sendak items long housed at the Rosenbach Museum and Library in Philadelphia will return to the Sendak estate, since the author chose not to leave the material to the library in his will. A museum and study center at Sendak's home in Ridgefield, CT is planned. The Rosenbach will receive Sendak's collection of rare books and correspondence, as well as a $2 million bequest.

- There's a piece in the Harvard Gazette about the early Audubon drawings at Harvard.

- The Cambridge University Library has succeeded in raising £1.1 million to secure the Codex Zacynthius, thanks to a £500,000 grant from the National Heritage Memorial Fund.

- New from Ikea, "BookBook."

- A foundation run by Warren Buffett's son Howard has purchased an archive of Rosa Parks-related items, including artifacts, photographs, and more. The material will be on a ten-year loan to the Library of Congress.

- The Church History Library in Salt Lake City is displaying early Mormon documents and books publicly for the first time.

- BYU Libraries have put out a pretty amusing video about book preservation (runs about eight minutes).

- Paul Collins talked to the LA Review of Books about his new book Edgar Allan Poe: The Fever Called Life.

- Also from Paul Collins, "How to Pitch a Magazine (in 1888)" in The New Yorker.

- Christopher de Hamel is the new Senior Vice-President at Les Enluminures.

- Turkish filmmaker Oguz Uygur has created a lovely short film about paper marbling.

- Rizzoli Bookstore will reopen next year at 1133 Broadway, near Madison Square Park.

- The Summer 2014 issue of Common-place is out, and as usual it's full of goodies, including Erik Beck's "Finding a Lost Election" and a roundtable discussion on Sacvan Bercovitch's The American Jeremiad.

- Yale's Beinecke Library has acquired the papers of author/illustrator Mo Willems.

- There's an IndieGoGo campaign to install a climate control system at historic home of Edna St. Vincent Milay, to preserve the poet's personal library.

- Over at The American Literary Blog, a

- J.S. Makkos writes for The Atlantic about rescuing some 30,000 old New Orleans newspapers.

- Meredith Mann surveys printers' marks in the NYPL Rare Books Division.

- Alan Jacobs writes about David Mitchell's The Bone Clocks over at The New Atlantis.

- Also from Alan Jacobs, a short piece on the very obnoxious for their massively annoying "Tweet your question to an expert" thing.

- Simon Beattie posted on the ABAA blog this week, "In Search of 'Rare Books.'"

- The University of Michigan has acquired the archive of political activist Tom Hayden.

- There's a new short video up about Boston's Brattle Book Shop.

- There's a crowd-funding campaign afoot raise £520,000 for the purchase of William Blake's cottage on the Sussex coast.

- A book bound by the Restoration binder known as the "Naval Binder" has been found at Houghton Library.

- From Adam Hooks at Anchora, "Monumental Shakespeare."

- Over at This is Money, Brian Lake of Jarndyce Antiquarian Booksellers (and president of the ABA) discusses Dickens collecting and its ongoing appeal.

- There's a quick rundown of the Miniature Book Society's Boston conclave at the Oak Knoll Biblio-Blog.

- And speaking of miniature books, a Conan Doyle story written for Queen Mary's dolls' house is to be published this fall by Walker & Company.

- Over at The Collation, some tips from Erin Blake on how to get and use raw data from the Folger's OPAC.

- Caroline O'Donovan writes for The Baffler about Boston's designation of a Literary Cultural District.

- Now available from the BSA via Bibsite, "British Book Auction Catalogues, 1801–1900," by Lenore Corel and edited by Annette Fern.

- A large collection of books on the Jewish Enlightenment, or Haskalah, has been donated to the Cornell University Library by alumnus Steven Chernys.

- Also now available for purchase is Ann Jordan's Laeuchli's A Bibliographical Catalog of William Blackstone (William S. Hein & Co., Inc., $149).

- A piece I wrote for the most recent FB&C about book thefts is up on their website.

- The Free Library of Philadelphia has received a grant of $25 million over three years from the William Penn Foundation to pay for renovation of the Central Library and several branch libraries.

- Doris Lessing has left 3,000 books from her collection to the Harare City Library.

- Iain Watts posts on the Royal Society's The Repository blog about the diary of Sir Charles Blagden, which sounds like a remarkably interesting source (alas, Blagden had execrable handwriting) for British science from the 1780s through the 1820s. Watts calls for an online annotated transcription of the diary, which motion I'll very happily second.

- Australian businessman and art collector Kerry Stokes has been announced as the buyer of the Rothschild Prayerbook. Reports here and here (with video), via Antipodean Footnotes.

- The SEA has updated the list of current and forthcoming books on early American topics.

- A book at Juniata College purportedly bound in human skin has been demystified: it's bound in sheepskin.

- The longlist for the 2014 Samuel Johnson Prize has been announced.

- From Jamelle Bouie at Slate, "A Few Helpful Rules for Reviewing Books About Slavery."


- Philip Gould's Writing the Rebellion; review by Edward M. Griffin at Common-place.

- Diane Ackerman's The Human Age; review by Rob Nixon in the NYTimes.

- Norman Thomas di Giovanni's Georgie & Elsa; review by Lorna Scott Fox in the TLS.

- Jessie Burton's The Miniaturist; review by Wendy Smith in the WaPo.

- David Mitchell's The Bone Clocks; review by Miriam Barnum in the Harvard Crimson.

- Joanna Scott's De Potter's Grand Tour; review by John Vernon in the NYTimes.

- Edward Baptist's The Half Has Never Been Told; reviews by Hector Tobar in the LATimes and Jonathan Wilson at The Junto.

- Jeff VanderMeer's Acceptance; review by Scott Hutchins in the NYTimes.

Thursday, September 04, 2014

Mark Gatiss M.R. James Shows Available

Quick note since I know at least a few others who follow this blog are fans of M.R. James: I discovered yesterday, to my utter delight, that Mark Gatiss' adaptation of "The Tractate Middoth" and his documentary "M.R. James: Ghost Writer" (both of which aired last Christmas in the UK) are currently available on YouTube. It's unclear whether they'll be up for the long term, so I made sure to watch both last night, and if you're keen I'd suggest watching them soon too.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Links & Reviews

Apologies for the lack of links last week; here's a double bill to make up for it.

- A Washington Post video reporter, Lee Powell, spent two days with us at Rare Book School this summer, and he's now posted the resulting five-minute video feature.

- Two more Italian libraries, the Biblioteca del Seminario vescovile di Pontremoli and the Archivio storico della cattedrale di Massa, have announced that they are missing hundreds of incunabula and early printed books. You can download the full list here.

- More than 2.6 million public-domain images from books scanned by the Internet Archive have been uploaded to Flickr at Internet Archive Book Images. Kalev Leetaru, a Yahoo! Fellow in Residence at Georgetown, built a program to extract the images by looking at the areas original OCR programs had ignored and saving those areas as JPG files, according to a BBC report. The images include all relevant Internet Archive metadata and even surrounding text.

- In The Atlantic, Adrienne LaFrance reports on Paul Moran, who collected thousands of pieces of John Updike's trash from the street.

- The University of Rochester has acquired a collection of letters between Susan B. Anthony and fellow women's right activist Rachel Foster Avery.

- Robert Darnton has launched his long-projected website, A Literary Tour de France.

- The bicentenary of J. Sheridan Le Fanu's birthday was marked by articles in The Guardian and The Telegraph, as well as a Google Doodle in the UK.

- Rebecca Mead profiles Mary Beard in the New Yorker.

- Ian Kahn's 2012 ABAA oral history interview is now available on YouTube.

- Over at Notabilia, Steve Ferguson notes the reappearance of an historiated initial L from the 1543 edition of Vesalius in a 1555 edition of Livy.

- Now available in digital form, the second edition of Daniel Mosser's A Digital Catalogue of the pre-1500 Manuscripts and Incunables of the Canterbury Tales.

- Rick Anderson's Library Journal piece "Asserting Rights We Don't Have: Libraries and 'Permission to Publish'" is a must-read.

- At History Today, Patricia Fara writes about the scientific education of Mary Shelley.

- Pittsburgh-area libraries are being targeted by book thieves; thousands of dollars' worth of bestsellers have been stolen from the libraries and sold online. Police say they "hope to make an arrest soon."

- Sarah Werner explores "Pop Shakespeare's typography" at The Collation.

- A neat and amusing visualization from the Rylands Library: what Elizabeth Gaskell's inbox might have looked like in 1854, had she been using Microsoft Outlook.

- Patricia Crosby has pleaded not guilty to the theft of some $2,000 worth of books from the Owl's Neat Upholstery and Antique Store in Bennington, Vermont. Crosby turned the stole books over to police.

- A free, online, collaboratively-written American history textbook, The American Yawp, has now launched in beta version.

- There's a powerful Guardian editorial about the importance of public libraries (specifically in the UK, but the arguments are the same as for this side of the pond).

- The Library of Congress has acquired an iconic Civil War tintype of a Confederate soldier and his slave. The photograph was donated by Tom Liljenquist.

- From the Clog, a look at manuscript recipes for inks and colors in a copy of The excellency of the pen and pencil (1668).

- Tavistock Books has released a "Catalogue of Catalogues," which is well worth a thorough browse.

- A copy of "Action Comics No. 1" sold for $3.2 million on eBay this week, setting a record price for a comic book. More from the Washington Post.

- Houghton's Peter Accardo highlights Thomas Gray's interleaved and annotated copy of Linnaeus' Systema Naturae, which is frankly, nothing short of spectacular.

- Over at the Provenance Online Project they've got a mystery bookplate for us, featuring a squirrel and (probably) Hercules, and a look at how library catalogs can help us reconstruct the appearance of long-ago libraries.

- Rachel from The Book Trout recounts her time at CABS this summer.

- A Yale student has written a guest post for the Beinecke blog about the text font of the First Folio.

- Joanna Rotté recounts her visits to "Athenaeums of the Northeast" in the Broad Street Review.

- A study has found that people reading the same text on a Kindle had more trouble reconstructing the plot of the story chronologically than people who read the text in paper form.

- Jerry Morris tracks the Lydgate manuscript Boke of the Sege of Troy through Quaritch's catalogues and handlists (the manuscript is now at the John Rylands Library at the University of Manchester).


- Ryan K. Smith's Robert Morris' Folly; review by Charles R. Morris in the WSJ.

- David Mitchell's The Bone Clocks; reviews by Pico Iyer in the NYTimes, Michiko Kakutani in the NYTimes.

- Brian Catlos' Infidel Kings and Unholy Warriors; review by Nick Romeo in the CSM.

- Joshua Wolf Shenk's Powers of Two; review by Sarah Lewis in the NYTimes.

- Ammon Shea's Bad English; review by Stan Carey at Sentence first.

- Kevin Birmingham's The Most Dangerous Book; review by Rachel Shteir in the NYTimes.

- Karen Abbott's Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy; review by Alice Fahs in the LATimes.

- David Bromwich's The Intellectual Life of Edmund Burke; review by Daniel McCarthy in the NYTimes.