William Reese: Honored by the American Antiquarian Society

- by Bruce E. McKinney

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On October 27th Bill Reese received the Christopher Columbus Baldwin Award at the AAS Annual Meeting in Worcester.  He is only the fourth recipient in the 205 year history of the society.

 

All fields have their luminaries and the rare book field has had some very bright stars.  In the modern era Bill conceptualized the field, setting standards for description and personal rules of conduct that have become trade norms.

 

To honor Bill a fund has been created in his name and he has expressed his preference that the monies received be used to underwrite costs associated with the building expansion project currently underway at AAS’s Antiquarian Hall.

 

Sid Lapidus, Chairman of AAS, is offering to match all contributions to the Reese fund up to $250,000.

 

Bill Reese is the towering figure of the American rare book field over the past forty years.  He once considered a life in academia but chose the interaction of rare books, history and commerce that is the complex amalgam we experience today.

 

I was introduced to him in 1991 and have built 3 collections with his help that are infused with his basic collecting logic:  Buy only what is relevant, buy the best copy, and be patient.

 

For those less or unaware of him and his influence here is a link to an interview he gave in 2014.  [Link]

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F4H9HC18OL0

 

Those interested to contribute to this fund may contact Matthew Shakespeare at the Society, at [508] 471-2162 or mshakespeare@mwa.org.