• <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>
  • <b>Chiswick Auctions: Modern First Editions, Illustrated Books & Limited Editions. May 30, 2018</b>
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, May 30:</b> Hammett (Dashiell). <i>The Maltese Falcon,</i> FIRST EDITION. A very good copy of this most influential detective fiction novel. £8,000 to £12,000
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, May 30:</b> Hemingway (Ernest). <i>In Our Time,</i> FIRST EDITION, NUMBER 137 OF 170 COPIES on Rives handmade paper. £15,000 to £18,000
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, May 30:</b> Hemingway (Ernest). <i>A Farewell to Arms,</i> FIRST EDITION, inscribed by the author to Mike Murphy, a Hemingway biographer and scholar. £4,000 to £6,000
    <b>Chiswick Auctions: Modern First Editions, Illustrated Books & Limited Editions. May 30, 2018</b>
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, May 30:</b> Kerouac (Jack). <i>On the Road,</i> FIRST EDITION, New York, Viking, 1957. £2,000 to £3,000
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, May 30:</b> Ransome (Arthur). <i>Swallows and Amazons,</i> FIRST EDITION, ownership inscription to half title. Only 2,000 copies of the first edition printed. £3,000 to £4,000
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, May 30:</b> Sewell (Anna). <i>Black Beauty: His Grooms and Companions. The Autobiography of a Horse. Translated from the original Equine,</i> FIRST EDITION, engraved frontispiece. £3,000 to £4,000
    <b>Chiswick Auctions: Modern First Editions, Illustrated Books & Limited Editions. May 30, 2018</b>
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, May 30:</b> Capa (Robert). <i>Omaha Beach D-Day, June 6th, 1944,</i> gelatine silver print, printed under the direct supervision of Cornell Capa, 40 x 50.5 cm. £3,000 to £5,000
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, May 30:</b> Cartier-Bresson (Henri). 'Loudres – Pilgrims Assemble', silver print, stamps and annotations on verso, very slight scratch, 170 x 240 mm, 1950. £2,000 to £3,000
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, May 30:</b> Carroll, Lewis [Dodgson, Charles Lutwidge]. <i>The Nursery Alice,</i> FIRST EDITION, a very rare inscribed, dedication copy. £8,000 to £10,000
    <b>Chiswick Auctions: Modern First Editions, Illustrated Books & Limited Editions. May 30, 2018</b>
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, May 30:</b> Potter (Beatrix). <i>The Tale of Peter Rabbit,</i> FIRST EDITION, FIRST PRINTING, limited to 250 copies [with] the FIRST PUBLISHED EDITION. £12,000 to £15,000
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, May 30:</b> Wells (H. G.). <i>War of the Worlds,</i> original Danish manuscript, the text written out in block script ink, with over 620 original drawings in ink and watercolour. £1,800 to £2,200
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, May 30:</b> Toulouse-Lautrec (Henri de).- Clemenceau (Georges). <i>Au Pied de Sinai,</i> NUMBER 104 OF 355 COPIES, with the suite of 10 lithographs by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec in 2 states. £1,500 to £2,000
  • <b>Ketterer Kunst Hamburg: Rare Books Auction on May 28th</b>
    <b>Ketterer Rare Books, May 28:</b> Book of Hours. Workshop Vrelant, around 1460-70. Est: € 30,000
    <b>Ketterer Rare Books, May 28:</b> J. J. Marinoni, <i>De Astronomica specula,</i> 1745. Est: € 12,000
    <b>Ketterer Rare Books, May 28:</b> C. S. Lewis, <i>The Chronicles of Narnia,</i> 1950-56. Est: € 7,500
    <b>Ketterer Kunst Hamburg: Rare Books Auction on May 28th</b>
    <b>Ketterer Rare Books, May 28:</b> G. W. Knorr, <i>Regnum florae,</i> 1750. Est:<br>€ 15,000
    <b>Ketterer Rare Books, May 28:</b> A. M. S. Boethius, <i>De philosophico consolatu,</i> 1501. Est: € 8,000
    <b>Ketterer Rare Books, May 28:</b> J. Joyce, <i>Ulysses,</i> 1922. Est: € 5,000
    <b>Ketterer Kunst Hamburg: Rare Books Auction on May 28th</b>
    <b>Ketterer Rare Books, May 28:</b> Ornaments by H. Vogeler, 1900. Est:<br>€ 4,000
    <b>Ketterer Rare Books, May 28:</b> <i>Biblia Germanica,</i> 1490. Est: € 15,000
    <b>Ketterer Rare Books, May 28:</b> F. M. Regenfuss, <i>Auserlesne Schnecken und Muscheln,</i> 1758. Est: € 18,000
    <b>Ketterer Kunst Hamburg: Rare Books Auction on May 28th</b>
    <b>Ketterer Rare Books, May 28:</b> Einband Henry van de Velde, 1929. Est: € 4,000
    <b>Ketterer Rare Books, May 28:</b> <i>Hortus Sanitatis,</i> 1517. Est: € 12,000
    <b>Ketterer Rare Books, May 28:</b> R. Crevel and J. Miró, 1957. Est: € 3,500

Rare Book Monthly

Articles - April - 2017 Issue

A Study of Old Book Smell Is Being Conducted at the Morgan Library

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Pierpont Morgan's personal library (from the Morgan Library website).

An unusual study of old books and smells is taking place at the Morgan Library in New York, combining the library, students from the Columbia Graduate School of Architecture Planning and Preservation, and the company International Flavors and Fragrances. The students are placing a clear, bell-shaped device, with sensors at the top and an air hose running to the side, on top of old books and whatever else they want to sample. The samples are then taken to IFF where they will be analyzed in the months ahead.

 

They aren't sampling just any old books, or any location in the building. The work is being done in the personal library of J. Pierpont Morgan, the turn of the century extraordinarily wealthy banker, industrialist and philanthropist, who used some of that wealth to collect rare books. He left his library to the public when he died. That was over a century ago, but his personal library hasn't changed all that much since he left.

 

This study was recently reported in the art blog Hyperalleric with a follow-up from the New York Times. I must admit that after reading both articles, I'm not quite sure why they are doing this. It is certainly an esoteric study. The Times came closest to understanding the intent, noting that maybe it could be used to recreate the smells of the old library for an exhibit, to "experience the library in a different way." They quoted Christine Nelson, a curator at the library, with the mystical explanation, "When we started this, we didn’t really know where this would go, and we still don’t, quite; it’s still an experiment." Whatever the purpose, the smell of old books is distinctive and a magnet to book collectors. It is not a pleasant aroma on its own, but an associative one, like "new car" smell, mainly a byproduct of glue, vinyl, plastics, and lubricants, people love only because they associate it with new cars.

 

We should note that this is not the first study done on the smell of old books. A study was conducted and posted to Analytical Chemistry in 2009 entitled Material Degradomics: On the Smell of Old Books. This one had more of a specific purpose – to help conservators preserve the old books under their care. Different books give off different odors depending on their paper and other elements of composition. These differences may not be easily recognizable to humans, who probably lump them all together as being the smell of old books. However, when instruments designed to calculate the chemical compositions of the VOC's (volatile organic compounds) are used to determine their precise make up, the composition of each book can be determined. This, in turn, allows conservators to determine the best course of action to preserve each particular book based on its precise composition.

 

The authors of the study, Matija Strlic, Jacob Thomas, Tanja Trafela, Linda Cséfalvayova´, Irena Kralj Cigic´, Jana Kolar, and May Cassar, described the smell as, "a combination of grassy notes with a tang of acids and a hint of vanilla over an underlying mustiness." This sounds like wine-tasters language. The most important compounds and factors, they determined, are rosin, lignin and carbonyl group content, degree of polymerization of cellulose, and paper acidity. Around 1850, rosin replaced gelatin to make ink adhere to the paper. Aluminum sulfate was used to get the rosin to precipitate to the fibers. Aluminum sulfate is acidic, explaining the more rapid deterioration of paper common to post-1850 books.

 

For chemists seeking more detail about the literally hundreds of volatile and semi-volatile gasses given off by the old books, those most commonly found were acetic acid, benzaldehyde, 2,3-butanedione, butanol, decanal, 2,3-dihydrofuran, 2-ethylhexanol, furfural, hexadecane, hexanal, methoxyphenyloxime, nonanal, octanal, pentanal, and undecane.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Arenberg Auctions: May 25 and<br>May 26, 2018</b>
    <b>Arenberg Auctions, May 25 & 26:</b> VAN ORLEY, Richard. "Les avantures de Telemaque fils d'Ulÿsse &c." Set of 86 superb ink drawings. 45,000 to 60,000 €
    <b>Arenberg Auctions, May 25 & 26:</b> Gojôraku Tôkaidô [or] Tôkaidô meisho fukei. Processional Tôkaido drawn by Prof. Moro, coloured prints in one set of 100 sheets]. 15,000 to 18,000 €
    <b>Arenberg Auctions, May 25 & 26:</b> DURAS, Marguerite. <i>Moderato cantabile.</i> Original lithographs by André Minaux. 22 lithographs. 4,000 to 4,500 €
    <b>Arenberg Auctions: May 25 and<br>May 26, 2018</b>
    <b>Arenberg Auctions, May 25 & 26:</b> ADAMS, Georges. A pair of 18-inch English globes. [London], s.n., [1766]. ORIGINAL GLOBES by Georges Adams dedicated to King George III. 9,000 to 12,000 €
    <b>Arenberg Auctions, May 25 & 26:</b> BLAEU, Joan. <i>[Atlas maior, sive cosmographia blaviana, qua solum, salum, coelum, accuratissime describuntur]. Geographia, quae est cosmographiae Blaviana pars prima [...].</i> 250,000 to 350,000 €
    <b>Arenberg Auctions, May 25 & 26:</b> VAN DER MEULEN, Adam Frans. <i>[Vues, marches, entrées, passages et autres sujets servant à l'histoire de Louis XIV].</i> 35,000 to 50,000 €
    <b>Arenberg Auctions: May 25 and<br>May 26, 2018</b>
    <b>Arenberg Auctions, May 25 & 26:</b> GALILEI, Galileo. <i>Galileo a Madama Cristina di Lorena</i> (1615). Precious copy of one of the most famous and popular miniature books. 2,500 to 3,000 €
    <b>Arenberg Auctions, May 25 & 26:</b> Biblia Vulgata. Latin. [France, last quarter 13th c.] 8,000 to 12,000 €
    <b>Arenberg Auctions, May 25 & 26:</b> Horae. Use of Rome. Latin (and a few French rubrics). [Hainaut (Mons or Valenciennes), c. 1490]. 40,000 to 50,000 €
    <b>Arenberg Auctions: May 25 and<br>May 26, 2018</b>
    <b>Arenberg Auctions, May 25 & 26:</b> GARSIAS, Paulus. <i>[Determinationes magistrales contra conclusions Joannis Pici Mirandulae].</i> (Rome, E. Silber, 15 October 1489). 12,000 to 15,000 €
    <b>Arenberg Auctions, May 25 & 26:</b> LORRIS, Guillaume de; MEUNG, Jean de. <i>Le rommant de la Rose nouuellement reueu et corrige oultre les precedentes impressions</i> [ed. Guillaume Michel]. 3,000 to 4,000 €
    <b>Arenberg Auctions, May 25 & 26:</b> LA FONTAINE, Jean de. <i>Fables choisies, mises en vers.</i> Paris, Desaint & Saillant, Durand. De l'imprimerie de Charles-Antoine Jombert, 1755<br> [- 1759]. 10,000 to 12,000 €
  • <b>ALDE: May 30, 2018. Books by painters, original bindings, photography, prints and drawings, illustrated books.</b>
    <b>ALDE, May 30:</b> BRETON (André). <i>Arcane 17.</i> New York, Brentano's, 1944. One of the 25 first copies with the original etching signed by Roberto Matta. 6000 to 8000 €
    <b>ALDE, May 30:</b> HÉRON DE VILLEFOSSE (René). <i>La Rivière enchantée.</i> Paris, Bernard Klein, 1951. One of the 25 first copies on japon with an original watercolored drawing signed by Léonard Foujita. 60,000 to 80,000 €
    <b>ALDE, May 30:</b> ILIAZD. <i>Pirosmanachvili 1914.</i> Paris, Le Degré quarante et un, 1972. Dry point signed by Pablo Picasso. 5,000 to 6,000 €
    <b>ALDE: May 30, 2018. Books by painters, original bindings, photography, prints and drawings, illustrated books.</b>
    <b>ALDE, May 30:</b> JARRY (Alfred). <i>Ubu Roi.</i> Paris, Tériade, 1966. 13 lithographs by Joan Miró. 6,000 to 8,000 €
    <b>ALDE, May 30:</b> LEIRIS (Michel). <i>Vivantes cendres, innommées.</i> Paris, Jean Hugues, 1961. 13 original etchings by Alberto Giacometti. 12,000 to 15,000 €
    <b>ALDE, May 30:</b> MATISSE (Henri). <i>Jazz.</i> Paris, Tériade, 1947. 20 original pochoirs by Henri Matisse. 100,000 to 120,000 €
    <b>ALDE: May 30, 2018. Books by painters, original bindings, photography, prints and drawings, illustrated books.</b>
    <b>ALDE, May 30:</b> PAULHAN (Jean). <i>De Mauvais sujets.</i> Paris, Les Bibliophiles de l’Union Française, 1958. 10 etchings by Marc Chagall. 5,000 to 6,000 €
    <b>ALDE, May 30:</b> RONSARD (Pierre de). Layout for the book <i>Florilège des Amours.</i> Paris, Albert Skira, 1948. 128 lithographs, with many corrections by hand by Henri Matisse. 80,000 to 100,000 €
    <b>ALDE, May 30:</b> TING (Walasse). <i>1¢ life.</i> Bern, E.W. Kornfeld, 1964. One of the 100 deluxe copies with the 62 lithographs signed by the 28 artists. 15,000 to 20,000 €
    <b>ALDE: May 30, 2018. Books by painters, original bindings, photography, prints and drawings, illustrated books.</b>
    <b>ALDE, May 30:</b> SUGIMOTO (Hiroshi). <i>Time exposed.</i> Kyoto, Kyoto Shoin Co. Ltd., 1991. 51 offset lithographs. 10,000 to 12,000 €
    <b>ALDE, May 30:</b> SZAFRAN (Sam). Black and brown ink original drawing. 550 x 410 mm. 5,000 to 6,000 €
    <b>ALDE, May 30:</b> KIPLING (Rudyard). <i>La Chasse de Kaa.</i> Paris, Javal et Bourdeaux, 1930. 115 colored woodcuts by Paul Jouve. 5,000 to 6,000 €
  • <b>Bonhams: Fine Books and Manuscripts. June 12, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, June 12:</b> Ortelius. Theatrum orbis terrarum. Antwerp, 1570. FIRST EDITION. $50,000 to $80,000
    <b>Bonhams, June 12:</b> Shakespeare, William. The Tragedie of Julius Caesar. London, 1623. 1st appearance in print, Complete from the First Folio. $50,000 to $70,000
    <b>Bonhams, June 12:</b> Ernst, Max. Mr. Knife and Miss Fork. Paris, 1932. DELUXE EDITION. $12,000 to $18,000
    <b>Bonhams: Fine Books and Manuscripts. June 12, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, June 12:</b> Cage, John. Autograph musical leaf from his Concert for Piano and Orchestra, NY, 1958. $10,000 to $15,000
    <b>Bonhams, June 12:</b> Einstein, Albert. Signed Passport Photo for his US citizenship application. Bermuda, 1935. $8,000 to $12,000
    <b>Bonhams, June 12:</b> Verard, Antoine. Illuminated printed Book of Hours. Paris, 1507. $8,000 to $12,000
    <b>Bonhams: Fine Books and Manuscripts. June 12, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, June 12:</b> Wetterkurzschlussel. German Weather Report Codebook - for Enigma use. Berlin, 1942. $20,000 to $30,000
    <b>Bonhams, June 12:</b> Hemingway, Ernest. Large Photograph, inscribed by Hemingway. Madrid, 1959. $10,000 to $15,000
    <b>Bonhams, June 12:</b> Morelos y Pavon, Jose Maria. Autograph letter signed to El Virrey Venegas, February 5, 1812. $7,000 to $10,000
    <b>Bonhams: Fine Books and Manuscripts. June 12, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, June 12:</b> Milne, A.A. Complete set of Winnie-the-Pooh books. 4 volumes. All first issue points. London, 1924-1928. $6,000 to $9,000
    <b>Bonhams, June 12:</b> A 48-star American Flag, battle worn flown at Guadalcanal and Peleliu, 1942-1944. $10,000 to $15,000
    <b>Bonhams, June 12:</b> Locke, John. Autograph Letter Signed mourning the death of his friend, William Molyneaux, 2 pp, October 27, 1698. $7,000 to $10,000
  • <b>Forum Auctions: Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper. May 31, 2018</b>
    <b>Forum Auctions, May 31:</b> Simcoe (John Graves). Plan of the Province of Upper Canada with part of the Adjacent Countries, manuscript map… with numerous contemporary annotations. £6,000 to £8,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, May 31:</b> Ramusio (Giovanni Battista). <i>Delle Navigationi et Viaggi,</i> 3 vol., mixed edition, 3 double-page engraved maps and 7 folding woodcut maps, Venice, Giunti, 1613. £6,000 to £8,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, May 31:</b> Dickens (Charles). <i>A Christmas Carol,</i> first edition, first issue, Chapman & Hall, 1843. £6,000 to £8,000
    <b>Forum Auctions: Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper. May 31, 2018</b>
    <b>Forum Auctions, May 31:</b> Book of Hours. Hours of the Virgin [Use of Rome] in Latin, miniature illuminated manuscript on vellum with 6 full-page miniatures and 6 large initials with borders, Flanders, [2nd quarter of 15th century]. £6,000 to £8,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, May 31:</b> G.K. Chesterton archive. Collection of poems, drawings, letters and cards sent to Enid Simon, 1920s. £6,000 to £8,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, May 31:</b> Pasternak (Boris). <i>Doktor Zhivago</i> original typescript, 2 vol., with manuscript corrections and insertions by the author, the George Katkov copy, c.1956. £100,000 to £150,000
    <b>Forum Auctions: Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper. May 31, 2018</b>
    <b>Forum Auctions, May 31:</b> Tolkien (J.R.R.). <i>The Hobbit,</i> first edition, first impression, 1937. £20,000 to £30,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, May 31:</b> Milton (John). <i>Paradise Lost & Paradise Regain'd,</i> 2 vol., one of 10 copies printed on vellum, Cresset Press, 1931. £8,000 to £12,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, May 31:</b> Electricity and the vacuum.- Guericke (Otto von). <i>Experimenta nova (ut vocantur) Magdeburgica de Vacuo Spatio,</i> first edition; bound with <i>Philosophia Universa de Microcosmo</i>. £12,000 to £16,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, May 31:</b> [The Holy Land, Syria, Idumea, Arabia, Egypt & Nubia ...], vignette title and 42 plates from the deluxe subscriber's edition, 1842-1849 (43). £7,000 to £10,000
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries June 5:</b> Charles Addams, <i>Penguin Convention,</i> watercolor, cover for <i>The New Yorker,</i> 1977. $15,000 to $20,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries June 5:</b> Ludwig Bemelmans, <i>Agreed! No whiskey anywhere is more deluxe than Walker's DeLuxe,</i> pen, ink & watercolor, 1957. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries June 5:</b> Charles Schulz, <i>Do you like Beethoven?,</i> pen & ink, 9-panel <i>Peanuts</i> comic, 1970. $20,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries June 5:</b> Russell Tandy, <i>The Secret in the Old Attic,</i> watercolor & gouache, cover for <i>Nancy Drew,</i> 1944. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries June 5:</b> Arthur Rackham, <i>Danaë & the Infant Perseus,</i> watercolor, ink & wash, for Hawthorne's <i>A Wonder Book,</i> 1922. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries June 5:</b> Tom Lovell, <i>I believe in magic too,</i> oil on canvas, published in <i>Woman's Home Companion,</i> 1947. $7,000 to $10,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries June 5:</b> Enoch Bolles, <i>With Love...,</i> watercolor & gouache, cover for <i>Wow!</i> magazine, 1931. $7,000 to $10,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries June 5:</b><br>Rick Meyerowitz & Maira Kalman, <i>New Yorkistan,</i> pen, ink & watercolor sketch for a <i>New Yorker cover,</i> 2001. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries June 5:</b> Jessie Willcox Smith, <i>Touching,</i> watercolor for <i>The Five Senses</i> by Angela M. Keyes, 1911. $12,000 to $18,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries June 5:</b> Edward Gorey, <i>ABA 75,</i> watercolor & ink, cover for <i>Publisher's Weekly,</i> 1975. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries June 5:</b> Aubrey Beardsley, <i>Shelter,</i> pen & ink, for <i>Bon-Mots,</i> 1892. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries June 5:</b> Tedd Arnold, <i>I think it was three days ago...,</i> colored pencil & watercolor, for <i>Parts,</i> 1996. $4,000 to $6,000.
  • <b>Christie’s 29 May:</b> MARE-BONNARD. Les Pastorales de Longus, or Daphnis et Chloé. Paris, 1902. Exceptional copy with a magnificent binding by André Mare. €50,000 to €70,000
    <b>Christie’s 29 May:</b> REDOUTE – L’HERITIER. Stirpes novae, illustratae iconibus. Paris [1784-1791]. Great paper copy with additional color touches on several plates. €10,000 to €15,000
    <b>Christie’s 29 May:</b> TOULOUSE-LAUTREC – IBELS – MONTORGUEIL. Le Café -Concert. Paris, [1893]. Famous Belle Epoque illustrations by Toulouse-Lautrec and Ibels. €5,000 to €7,000
    <b>Christie’s 29 May:</b> MANET – MALLARME – POE. Le Corbeau. The Raven. Paris, 1875. First edition of Mallarmé’s translation. Inscribed by Manet and Mallarmé to Gambetta. €60,000 to €80,000

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