Sunday, August 18, 2013

Links & Reviews

- Another shoe has dropped in the de Caro book theft case: Herbert Schauer, Executive Director of the Munich auction firm Zisska & Schauer, was arrested on 2 August in relation to the ongoing investigation. According to a press release from the auction house, "The Italian authorities had issued a European arrest warrant on the basis of self-exculpatory submissions made by a number of the accused in the Girolamini trials and had forwarded the warrant to the Bavarian authorities."

- Over at Bibliodeviant, Jonathan Kearns has a must-read piece on bookselling in today's world: "Fear and Loathing in Book-ville."

- The contenders for the 16th ILAB Breslauer Prize have been announced.

- Charles Simic posted on the NYRB blog about the loss of used bookstores and what that means for us all.

- Library Journal posted on the upcoming opening of the Fred W. Smith National Library for the Study of George Washington at Mount Vernon.

- Via Shannon Supple at the Clog, a look at an extremely-heavily annotated "hybrid book" from the Clark's collections.

- Author Boris Kachka talked to The Awl about his new book Hothouse, a history of Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

- The summer issue of Common-place is up. Good stuff, as usual.

- Chet Van Duzer talked to Lapham's Quarterly about his new book, Sea Monsters on Medieval and Renaissance Maps.

- In the NYTimes, Jennifer Schuessler reports on a Notes and Queries piece by Shakespeare scholar Douglas Bruster possibly furthering the case for Shakespeare's authorship of certain parts of The Spanish Tragedy.

- An anonymous donor has pledged £100,000 to the ongoing effort to keep Jane Austen's ring from passing into the ownership of Kelly Clarkson, who purchased it at auction last year.

- Making the rounds this week was a 1969 Paris Review interview with E.B. White, which is well worth a read.

- Over on the Guardian book blog, Stuart Kelly explores the attractions of Tobias Smollett's Humphry Clinker.

- A post at Notabilia this week highlights the shelf-mark of the library of the Earls of Shaftesbury.

- The Getty Museum launched its Open Content Program this week, making available as a first tranche some 4,600 images of artwork.

- A fire destroyed the Asgar Ali Book Centre in Port of Spain, Trinidad earlier this week.

- The Financial Times reported this week on the BL's plans to digitize its 25,000 medieval manuscripts.

- In other BL-related digitization news, CRL and the BL have agreed to cooperate in the digitization of newspapers from Africa, South Asia, and Latin America into the World Newspaper Archive.

- Historian Pauline Maier died this week. See her NYTimes Obit. I knew Pauline from my time at MHS, and always found her gracious, warm, and wonderfully interesting to talk to. I've enjoyed her books greatly, and she will be much missed. More from Michael Hattem at The Junto, J.L. Bell at Boston 1775, and at The Beehive.


- Felix Palma's The Map of Time; review by Miriam Burstein at The Little Professor.

- Boris Kachka's Hothouse; reviews by Maureen Corrigan on NPR; Elisa Schappell on NPR.

- Samantha Shannon's The Bone Season; review by Jane Ciabattari on NPR.

- Brenda Wineapple's Ecstatic Nation; review by David Shribman in the Boston Globe.

... And now, back to the packing!

Big News!

Links and reviews for this week are coming soon, but before I get to that, I have some exciting personal news to share: as of 1 September, I'm headed down to Charlottesville, VA to take up a new position as Director of Communications and Outreach at Rare Book School. I am impatient to get there and embrace the opportunities and challenges that await, and thrilled to be joining Charlottesville's vibrant biblio-community. I've loved spending the summers there for the last few years, and I'm looking forward to being there year-round and helping to further the mission of RBS.

It's all happened fairly quickly: this week I finalized arrangements for an apartment, and at the moment I'm spending most of my time boxing up my books in preparation for the big move. I've filled 70 of U-Haul's "book boxes" (12"x12"x12") so far, with lots more books to go. Wish me luck!

All this means that there's a job opening at LibraryThing, and I'd certainly encourage interested readers to apply if you like. It's a very fun company to work for and to be involved with, and while I will be switching roles, I will certainly continue to be an active LibraryThing member as well as the coordinator of the Legacy Libraries project there (I think I'll probably have rather more time to devote to those things again, in fact).

So, that's the news from here. More updates from the packing/moving front as warranted.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Links & Reviews

Okay, one last gigantic links roundup and then with any luck at all I'll be back to a (slightly-more) regular schedule. I'm back at home now after the summer at Rare Book School, which was wonderful but very busy (hence the lack of posts). I had the great pleasure of taking Jan Storm van Leeuwen's Introduction to the History of Bookbinding course this year, and enjoyed the experience immensely (add it to your list, if it's not on there already). But that was just one of many highlights of the summer.

- Speaking of Rare Book School, Rebecca Rego Barry's "Letter from Rare Book School" is a must-read.

- One of the other students from my RBS class, James Capobianco, has begun posting images of neat bindings from the Houghton collections here.

- Gregory S. Girolami, Professor of Chemistry at the University of Illinois, is conducting a census of the first edition of Robert Boyle's Sceptical Chymist (1661), and is looking for information on extant copies. Contact details are listed on Girolamni's website (and I've written often, I am a huge proponent of book censuses, so I encourage you to help if you can).

- The excellent Community Libraries project has issued a call for papers for three two-day colloquia in 2014 and 2015, which I suspect many readers will be interested in. Please do take a look and distribute widely.

- Via Mitch Fraas, a list of the books Lincoln checked out of the Library of Congress while president.

- Over at Confessions of a Bookplate Junkie, Lew Jaffe explores the question of just what is the earliest American bookplate?

- An absolutely stupendous discovery was made this summer in the collections of Houghton Library: cataloger Karen Nipps found eight original 1767 subscription sheets signed by some 650 Bostonians pledging support of a boycott of British goods in response to the Townshend Acts. J.L. Bell comments on the find here.

- The FBI has posted images of 28 rare books and maps stolen by E. Forbes Smiley and not yet returned to their owners. Do you know where these belong?

- There was a well-worth-reading Reed Johnson piece on the Voynich Manuscript in the New Yorker back in July. Paul Romaine's response to the article shouldn't be missed, either. Johnson talked to NPR about the manuscript as well.

- Stephen Moss of The Guardian talked with Arnold (A.D.) Harvey, the man responsible for creating a fictitious meeting between Dickens and Dostoyevsky that was accepted as fact for years (exposed by Eric Naiman in the TLS in April). Fascinating article.

- The criminal conspiracy trial of Marino Massimo de Caro and his co-conspirators has been delayed until October.

- The ABAA blog noted the discovery of a Pearl Buck manuscript novel in a Texas storage locker.

- Ann Blair's 31 January talk at Columbia, "Methods of Collaboration Among Early Modern Humanists," is now available on YouTube.

- The Harry Ransom Center has acquired the McSweeney's archive.

- The John Carter Brown Library has uploaded its 5000th book to the Internet Archive (theirs is one of the best uses of the Archive I've seen).

- Pop star Kelly Clarkson was the winning bidder on the Jane Austen ring which sold last year at auction for better than £150,000, but the British government is seeking to stop the ring's removal from the country. UK buyers have until 30 September to raise the funds to match Clarkson's bid.

- Information on recent thefts of maps, posted on Ex-Libris in July: "The Chicago Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is investigating the theft of historical topographical maps from various educational institutions. The maps are mostly from Central and Eastern Europe, including: Poland, Germany, Austria, and western Russia and their scales vary between 1:25,000 to 1:100,000. The maps are considered to be Interwar, meaning they were published between 1919 and 1939. Of particular interest are maps published by the Wojskowy Instytut Geograficzny Instytut (Poland). The investigation has also revealed the theft of 19th century Austro-Hungarian topographical maps. The thefts have occurred as far back as 2008 and as recently as the spring of 2013. The FBI would like to identify as many victims as possible, and would like to interview individuals who may have been in contact with the individual or individuals responsible for these thefts. If you have information or believe your institution may have been the victim of a similar theft, please contact Special Agent Luigi Mondini at 312 829-5526 or"

- Two books stolen from the National Library of Sweden by former librarian Anders Burius were returned to the library in late July, after the Baltimore dealer who purchased them at a German auction in 2008 bought them back from the clients to whom he had subsequently sold them.

- The investigation into the 2007 murder of book collector Rolland Comstock remains open, investigators say, even after the recent death of Comstock's ex-wife, found liable for his death in a civil suit. Greene County, MO sheriff Jim Arnott said that charges are still forthcoming related to the case.

- The Onion recently ran an obituary for print.

- From the Cambridge Incunabula Project blog, some unidentified provenance marks discovered in English incunables.

- Mount Vernon and the Fred W. Smith National Library for the Study of George Washington purchased the eight volumes from George Washington's library up for sale in June.

- Richard Luscombe reported for the Guardian on the sale of the Harrisburg collection of memorabilia. Normally I'd be completely appalled at a sale like this, but in this particular case, it seems to have been acquired haphazardly and without much thought, so better for the material to find more appropriate homes.

- Over on the Royal Society's blog, Rebecca Easey writes on the "crossroads between science and art," scientific illustration.

- The winners of the 2013 National Collegiate Book Collecting contest have been announced. Congratulations to all!

- From Matthew Green at the Public Domain Review, "The Lost World of the London Coffeehouse."

- There are Q&As with new Folger Director of Digital Access Eric Johnson and Research and Outreach Librarian Melanie Dyer at The Collation. And at Wynken de Worde, Sarah Werner discusses her new role as the Folger's Digital Media Strategist, which sounds tremendously exciting and awesome.

- A Poe manuscript sold for $300,000 at a small Rhode Island auction on 30 July.

- Over at Boston 1775, J.L. Bell takes a look at Alexander Gilles' editing of his copy of Isaac Watts' Psalms and edited out the British bits.

- John K. Hale, co-editor of a new edition of Milton's De Doctrina Christiana, reflects on the experience for the OSEO blog.

- At Mapping Books, Mitch Fraas posts about his research into print/book circulation between late 18th-century India and Europe, with some great visualizations. In a separate post, Mitch maps the current locations of 15-century books, with some very surprising results.

- The Yale Law Library Rare Books Blog has a new URL:

- Back in July, the NYTimes covered (somewhat anecdotally, by necessity) Amazon's price-shifting practices.

- I almost can't believe that it's been more than four years now since John Quincy Adams started tweeting. The MHS blog has a look back. Thanks to Nancy Heywood and all the others at MHS who have kept the project going!

- Historian Edmund S. Morgan died in early July at the age of 97. The NYTimes ran a thorough obituary. The Junto ran a weeklong roundtable discussion on Morgan's life and legacy.

- From Res Obscura, a beginner's guide to reading early modern texts.

- The British Library has announced plans to bring together all four surviving original copies of the Magna Carta in 2015, to mark the charter's 800th anniversary.

- The Papers of the Bibliographical Society of Canada are now (save the last three years) freely available online.

- William Blake's cottage in Felpham, West Sussex, is for sale.

- Some interesting background on the linguistic unmasking of J.K. Rowling as Robert Galbraith, the author of The Cuckoo's Calling: WSJ blog, Language Log (Patrick Juola).

- In the Boston Globe this weekend, Christine Woodside writes about Laura Ingalls Wilder and her daughter Rose Wilder Lane's intentional crafting of the Little House books to enhance a libertarian political philosophy.


- Anthony Pagden's The Enlightenment and Why It Still Matters; review by Noel Malcolm in the Telegraph.

- Scott Anderson's Lawrence in Arabia; review by Alex von Tunzelmann in the NYTimes.

- Royce Prouty's Stoker's Manuscript; review by Rebecca Rego Barry at Fine Books Blog.

- Robert Wilson's Matthew Brady; reviews by Caleb Crain in the NYTimes; Dwight Garner in the NYTimes.

- Boris Kachka's Hothouse; review by Heller McAlpin in the LATimes.

- Samantha Shannon's The Bone Season; review by Helen Brown in the Telegraph.

- Travis McDade's Thieves of Book Row; review by Stephen J. Gertz at Booktryst.

- Brenda Wineapple's Ecstatic Nation; reviews by Scott Martelle in the LATimes; David Reynolds in the NYTimes.

- Caleb Crain's Necessary Errors; review by Aaron Hamburger in the NYTimes.