This past December the citizens of Connecticut experienced the horrific outcome of a murderer methodically killing small children, their teachers and other adults in Newtown. We are grown accustomed to random murders and mayhem but are almost always insulated from the reality that seeps antiseptically through the diodes and tubes of our televisions, computers and phones to inform and unsettle. Newtown though is a familiar if distant place for other reasons, they the same Newtown that for 38 years, come summer, have provided an extraordinary book fair that although far away, for most seems in their tragedy and recovery united with us and we with them in our awareness and familiarity. We have seen their faces and their mourning, and now in their resolute determination to move ahead we remember this is the same town and the same people we have for many years written about in AE Monthly in July. Their book fair is a long-standing tradition and its July appearance evidence that the town and its citizens endure and recover. Life goes on, if not with quite the light step of years past and we write about them once again, hoping for the best outcome.
Toni Earnshaw, the fair’s liaison to AE for many years mentioned, when asked how the community and the library are doing said, “We heal and the library has been playing a role. The Booth, like all good libraries, comforts and inspires the community in good times and bad. We’re getting through this and hope the book fair will do well again this year. The library depends on us.”
As in past years more than a hundred thousand books, tapes, DVDs and CDs have been collected, and organized, the work of some fifty volunteers over the past dozen months, and will be offered during a five-day event to raise money for the C.H. Booth Library. The fair could be called Promise Meets Reality because all items are initially attractively priced to entice interest [Day 1] Saturday July 13th when, for $5.00, you get the run of the place and first dibs on the more than 120,000 items up for sale. On Day 2 Sunday the 14th admission is free. On Monday July 15th all that remains is half price and on Tuesday the 16th all material sold at the rate of $5.00 per full bag. On Wednesday the 17th, the final half day all remaining material is free. This ensures waves of interest each day, the crowds powered by the hamburgers and hotdogs over the weekend sold by the boy scouts to fund their projects from year to year.
As in past years John Renjilian is organizing the fair’s rare book room. Here’s a list of some of the books that will be available:
Anon. Minstrelsy of the Woods. London: Harvey & Darton, 1832. 17 small (5 X 8) hand colored engravings of birds. Very good. $95.00.
Bowen, Louise de Koven. Growing Up With a City. NY: Macmillan, 1926. Bowen worked at Hull House and various other social charities as well as the suffrage movement. Generic two-line inscription by the author on front endpaper. Very good in worn jacket. $45.00.
Christopher, Milbourne, comp. The Sphinx Golden Jubilee Book of Magic. NY: Sphinx, 1951. Seven-line inscription with drawing on front fly by John Mulholland. Spine very slightly faded. $25.00.
[Cronau, Rudolph?]. Woman Triumphant[:] The Story of Her Struggles for Freedom, Education and Political Rights. NY: Cronau, nd(c1919). Preface signed by Cronau. Front cover illustrated with paste-on of a presumably triumphant woman voting. Very good, probably not issued in jacket. $30.00.
Edwards, William H. A Voyage Up the River Amazon, Including a Residence at Para. London: Murray, 1847. Murray’s Home and Colonial Library. First English edition, same year as American. Backstrip largely lacking, covers worn, scribbling on front endpage. As is. $100.00.
Forester, C S. The African Queen. Boston: Little Brown, 1935. First American edition. Very good; jacket with minor tears, lacking ½ X ½ inch at spine foot, tape stains inside. $1,500.00.
Goodrich, Phineas G. History of Wayne County [PA]. Honesdale, PA: Haines & Beardsley, 1880. ½ X 1 inch lacking at head of spine, foot worn. $30.00.
Hallock, Julia Sherman. Broken Notes from a Gray Nunnery. Boston: Shepard, 1896. Fictionalized story of a Newtown farm through the 12 months. Covers a bit worn, especially at front corners. $15.00.
Makins, Clifford (text), and Frank Bellamy (art). The Happy Warrior; The Life Story of Sir Winston Churchill. London?: Hulton Press, nd(1958). Taken from the pages of Eagle weekly magazine for boys. Some photos, but largely (47 pages) in “picture-strip,” graphic-novel style. Illustrated covers. Some wear at head and foot of spine. $20.00.
Milosz, Czeslaw. The Land of Ulro. NY: Farrar Straus Giroux, nd(1984). First printing. Signed on front endpaper by Milosz. Fine with fine jacket. $50.00.
Obama, Barack. The Audacity of Hope. NY: Crown, nd(2006). First edition. Signed by the author on title page. Fine with fine jacket. $75.00.
O’Leary, Jeremiah. My Political Trial and Experiences. With a Biographical Sketch by Major Michael Kelly. NY: Jefferson, 1919. A vocal American of Irish descent who was imprisoned and accused of treason following the Easter Uprising in Ireland. He was later vindicated of all charges, Spine lettering worn, minor cover wear. $45.00.
[Rosenberg, Ethel and Julius]. Memorial Meeting Wednesday, June 16, 1954 8:30 P.M. 516 Clinton Ave., Newark Dramatic Program Speaker: David Alman. “Never let them change the truth of our innocence” Ethel and Julius Rosenberg June 19, 1953 – June 19, 1954 Remember the Rosenbergs! Justuce for Morton Sobell! NY: National Committee to Secure Justice for Morton Sobell, (1954). Four-page leaflet with photo of the Salendre monument in Paris, 16-line poem by Ethel Rosenberg. Very good. $35.00.
Strutt, Joseph. Sports and Pastimes of the People of England. London: Tegg, 1845. New edition, with index by Hone. Half leather, spine slightly worn. $50.00.
[Verne, Jules] New York Weekly Magazine of Popular Literature, Science and Art, 26 January 1867 – 30 March 1867. A very early, probably first, English printing of Verne’s From the Earth to the Moon. Sadly lacking the issue of 16 March containing chapters 20-21 (never bound in), and pages 709-712, which would have completed chapter 3 (also never bound in). A rare railroad newsstand magazine. Lacking front cover and spine. With all faults. $250.00.
Wilde, Oscar. Salome. London: Lane, 1907. First edition with the 16 Aubrey Beardsley illustrations. Some foxing to endpapers, stock ex libris; Gilt cover by Beardsley slightly tarnished. $200.00.
The dates and hours of the fair are:
Saturday July 13, 9:00 am to 5:00 pm. $5.- admission [18 and under free]
Sunday July 14, 9:00 am to 5:00 pm. Free admission
Monday July 15, 9:00 am to 7:00 pm. Free admission, all material half price
Tuesday July 16th, 9:00 am to 7:00 pm. Free admission, $5.- per bag full
Wednesday July 17th, 9:00 am to Noon. Free admission, everything left is free
For more information or to contact the Friends go to www.boothbooksale.org.
If you cannot come in person and wish to make a contribution toward the fair proceeds you can send a check to:
Friends of the C. H. Booth Library
25 Main Street
Newtown, Connecticut 06470
From year to year the fair earns about $100,000 and this year, as in past years, there are always more things to support than there are dollars to go around.