Rare Book Monthly

Articles - September - 2015 Issue

Susan Heller: The Road to Retirement with a Detour

1ab2a49f-de13-4203-b4c8-a4a251fda31d

Introduction by Bruce McKinney

 

Some people have the book bug and Susan is one of them.  She had been a book dealer for some fifty years.  Over those years she has raised children, built a business, lost a loving husband and found another relationship late in life.  Many years ago, struggling to close her book business and sell her home, we met and discussed her predicament and I wrote about her.

 

In time she disposed of some 20,000 of her books while keeping some high spots, autograph material and art.  She said she wanted to keep a stake in the game.  And she has.  Years ago she met Gerry and he has become the detail man that manages their life on eBay.

 

A few months ago she mentioned her interest in Marvin Getman’s new show in Brooklyn.  They had the desire to exhibit but also 160 years of lived-life between them, enough to trace their combined age back to the administration of James Buchanan.  Thinking it through they decided they could make the two-day [each way] trip from Ohio so she could “do a show” once more.  “I’m looking to seeing old friends” and no doubt they are looking forward to seeing her.

 

The following is a piece she submitted to RBM. 

 

The Road To Retirement With A Detour

By Susan Heller

Fifteen years ago, newly widowed with some 20,000 books and a large house, my friend Bruce McKinney urged me to sell the books, sell the house, move to an apartment and find a boyfriend. I took his advice with a few exceptions. I kept some of the more enticing material and found a friend – not exactly a boy, now 84. However, I got a prize with my “boy”. He turned out to like my ephemera and types with non-arthritic fingers each day sending well-researched items to Ebay and jump starts my every day with a smile and an “I love you”. However that is not the point of this essay. My point is that a wonderful opportunity came for me to consider sending out to the world anything among my paper collectibles I was not going to read or hang on my walls. This opportunity is The Brooklyn Rare Book, Art, Photo & Design Fair, September 19th & 20th and we’ll be exhibiting.

I had been reading the ABAA chatline [as a former member] on how efficient and enjoyable Marvin Getman's Shadow Shows are, so when the announcement came that he was doing the Brooklyn Fair, I jumped on the bandwagon. Good thing I did, as it filled up quickly many months before his deadline. Now I'm authenticating, researching and pricing all those enticing items that didn't get away in my major sell off. A little out of practice, I'm sure some prospective buyers will be gleeful in getting away with a bargain and others will say, “Did she go into outer space to arrive at this price?” but it's all part of the game and I look forward to seeing some old friends, new characters and beautiful material.

How can I entice other dealers, collectors, scholars and novices to be attracted to our material at this fair? I'm hoping to quicken their heartbeats with artwork, autographs and ephemera that have been shelf bound for years. Among the art work are 25 signed drawings of Lynd Ward, 5 of Willy Crumbo, several prints from the Cleveland Print Club, some enticing collages of philosophy and music by Audra Skiodas, a Kessler photograph of and signed by Norma Talmadge and original water colors of illustrators of children's books. Autographed works includes Einstein, Steinbeck, Queen Victoria, Margaret Mitchell, Tenzing Norkay, Charles Lindbergh, Mussolini, Ghandi, and for variety - June Havoc (Gypsy Rose Lee's younger sister) to Walter Winchell, many film stars, directors and composers plus many others in many fields. Books signed by John Steinbeck, Madame Chiang Kai-shek, Ernie Pyle, H.L. Menken, Thomas Alva Edison, Vincent Minelli, Willa Cather, Maya Angelou, etc. A front page of The Philadelphia Inquirer, Nov. 6, 1968 with the headline “Nixon, Humphrey In See-Saw Battle” signed by Ronald Reagan, Hubert and Muriel Humphrey, Eugene McCarthy, George McGovern, Richard Schweiker and others. Ephemera are contained in notebooks devoted to world and political leaders, scientists, Afro-American material (including an autograph of Muhammad Ali) and for levity, original cartoon and comic drawings. Some of Gerry's (man friend) offerings includes the first edition, first printing of Walt Whitman's first novel, Franklin Evans as printed in The New World and the first appearance of Edgar Alan Poe's Pit and the Pendulum appearing in The Gift; A Christmas and New Year's Present for 1843 (1842). And the piece de resistance for all book lovers – Helene Hanff's 84 Charing Cross Road and The Duchess of Bloomsbury Street, both warmly inscribed by Hanff offered with 2 typed signed letters and 2 handwritten notes from Hanff, plus a program and tickets for the premier performance of the film 84 Charing Cross Road and 4 additional enclosed articles by and about Hanff. I almost wish I were on the buying, instead of the selling, side of this. And so goes “retirement”.

Thank you Bruce, Marv, old friends and new! 

 

Catch up with Susan at pages4sages@gmail.com

 

Link to The Brooklyn Rare Book, Art, Photo & Design Fair

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:<br>Early Printed, Medical, Scientific & Travel Books</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Caius Julius Hyginus, <i>Poeticon Astronomicon,</i> first illustrated edition, Venice, 1482. $15,000 to $20,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Giovanni Botero, <i>Le Relationi Universali... divise in Sette Parti</i>, Venice, 1618. $3,000 to $5,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> <i>L'Escole des Filles</i>, likely third edition of the first work of pornographic fiction in French, 1676. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:<br>Early Printed, Medical, Scientific & Travel Books</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Illuminated Book of Hours in Latin on vellum, Flanders, early 16th century. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Johannes Regiomontanus, <i>Calendarium,</i> Venice, 1485. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Pedro de Medina, <i>Libro d[e] gra[n]dezas y cosas memorables de España,</i> Alcalá de Henares, 1566. $3,000 to $5,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:<br>Early Printed, Medical, Scientific & Travel Books</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b><br>Luis de Lucena, <i>Arte de Ajedres,</i> Salamanca, circa 1496-97. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Andrés Serrano, <i>Los Siete Principes de los Ángeles, válidos de Rey del Cielo,</i> Spain, 1707. $800 to $1,200.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Johannes de Sacrobosco, <i>Sphaera mundi,</i> first illustrated edition, Venice, 1478. $15,000 to $20,000.
  • <b>Bonhams: Fine Books and Manuscripts. March 9, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> BEETHOVEN, LUDWIG VAN. Autograph Manuscript sketch-leaf part of the score of the Scottish Songs, "Sunset" Op. 108 no 2. [Vienna, February 1818]. Inscribed by Alexander Wheelock Thayer. $80,000 to $120,000
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> Violin belonging to Albert Einstein, presented to him by Oscar H. Steger, 1933. $100,000 to $150,000
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> EINSTEIN, ALBERT. Autograph Letter Signed ("Papa") to his son Hans Albert, discussing his involvement with the atomic bomb, September 2, 1945. $100,000 to $150,000
    <b>Bonhams: Fine Books and Manuscripts. March 9, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> HAMILTON, ALEXANDER. Autograph Letter Signed, to Baron von Steuben, with extensive notes of Von Steuben's aide Benjamin Walker, June 12, 1780. $10,000 to $15,000
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> NEWTON, ISAAC. Autograph Manuscript in Latin, being detailed instructions on making the philosopher's stone. 8 pp. 1790s. $200,000 to 300,000
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> 1869 Inauguration Bible of President Ulysses S. Grant. $80,000 to $120,000
  • <b>Leland Little: Important Spring Auction. March 3, 2018</b>
    <b>Leland Little, Mar. 3:</b> Copper Printing Plate for "Marshall's Household Engraving of Washington." $500 to $1000
    <b>Leland Little, Mar. 3:</b> Important Documentary Painting Showing Baseball Great Ty Cobb in Cuba. $1,000 to $2,000
    <b>Leland Little, Mar. 3:</b> <i>Alcoholics Anonymous Comes of Age</i>, Inscribed by Bill Wilson. $500 to $1,000
    <b>Leland Little: Important Spring Auction. March 3, 2018</b>
    <b>Leland Little, Mar. 3:</b> Joan Miró (Spanish, 1893-1983), <i>Prise à l'hameçon.</i> $3,000 to $6,000
    <b>Leland Little, Mar. 3:</b> Maurice Dufrène (French, 1876-1955), <i>Rayon des Soieries</i>. $400 to $800
    <b>Leland Little, Mar. 3:</b> William Pope.L (American, b. 1955), <i>Intimacy Project</i>. $2,000 to $4,000
  • <b>Dominic Winter, March 9:</b> Collection of 131 Herbert Ponting gelatin silver contact prints of Antartica, £6000-8000
    <b>Dominic Winter, March 9:</b> One of several lots of Henri Cartier-Bresson gelatin silver prints, £200-300
    <b>Dominic Winter, March 9:</b> Vintage gelatin silver print of Diego Rivera by Leonard McCombe, £300-500
    <b>Dominic Winter, March 9:</b> Albumen print portrait by Julia Margaret Cameron of Sir John Herschel (April, 1867), £30,000-50,000
    <b>Dominic Winter, March 9:</b> Albumen print by Julia Margaret Cameron, Love, 1864 (from the Norman album), £1000-1500
    <b>Dominic Winter, March 9:</b> Albumen print by Lewis Carroll of Twyford School Eleven (Summer Term, 1859), £1000-1500
    <b>Dominic Winter, March 9:</b> Albumen print portrait by Lewis Carroll of Xie Kitchin as 'Dane' (Oxford, 1873), £500-800
    <b>Dominic Winter, March 9:</b> Calotype print (c1845) by Hill & Adamson of Lady Elizabeth (Rigby) Eastlake, £3000-4000
    <b>Dominic Winter, March 9:</b> Group of 12 waxed paper negatives of Scottish scenes by Thomas Keith, mid-1850s, £3000-5000
    <b>Dominic Winter, March 9:</b> One of 15 lots of Roger Fenton salt prints of his work in the Crimea, mid-1850s, £400-600
    <b>Dominic Winter, March 9:</b> Quarter plate ambrotype (c.1860s) with ethnographic portrait of a woman seated at a table, £400-600
    <b>Dominic Winter, March 9:</b> Rare whole plate thermoplastic union case of the Landing of Columbus (c.1858),part of the John Hannavy collection, £1500-2000
  • <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Charles Darwin on sexuality and the transmission of hereditary characteristics: Autograph Letter Signed to Lawson Tait. Down, 17 January [1877].
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> MILTON, JOHN. <i>Paradise Lost. A Poem written in ten books.</i> London: 1667. A very rare example with the contemporary binding untouched and with a 1667 title page.
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Hamilton secures the ratification of the Constitution: <i>The Debates and Proceedings of the Convention of the State of New-York, assembled at Poughkeespsie, on the 17th June, 1788.</i>
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> The social contract “Man is born free, and everywhere he is in chains”: ROUSSEAU, JEAN-JACQUES. <i>Principes du Droit Politique [Du Contract Social]</i>. Amsterdam: Michel Rey, 1762
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> “The first English textbook on geometrical land-measurement and surveying”: BENESE, RICHARD. <i>This Boke Sheweth the Maner of Measurynge All Maner of Lande…</i>

Article Search

Archived Articles

Ask Questions