Rare Book Monthly

Articles - April - 2003 Issue

The Collaborative Project:Who Says You Can't Go Home Again

Lanesargent

New Paltz, New York


By Bruce McKinney

I grew up in New Paltz, New York in the 1950’s and 1960’s. New Paltz was a small town that had a deep vein of history running continuously from its founding in the late 17th century into a 20th century that it seemed to be only reluctantly embracing. In Lane Sargent’s Notions and what-not shop on lower Main Street, in addition to a memorable penny candy counter, you could still buy for their original price, two cents, new post cards that dated to 1910. You just had to know to ask Mrs. Lane if it was okay to take out, from under the counter, the boxes of old unsold ‘new’ stuff.

Auctions happened regularly and everything usually went, even if the bids went down to a nickel to get the goods exchanged for cash. Our spoons, plates and glasses came from such sales. At the post office you could still buy the 1936 6 cent red and blue airmail stamps though you had to ask. Otherwise they would give you the 1947 airmails. In such a place I grew up to love history and books and there were plenty of both.

I left there 30 years ago but never lost interest in either the place or in its history. Since the mid 1990s, with the emergence of the internet, it has become increasingly possible to find on-line and purchase interesting, old and occasionally valuable materials relating to the Hudson Valley, an area that encompasses New Paltz as well as other nearby towns. And I do it from San Francisco. It is absolutely fascinating and rewarding. My interest is specific to a geographic region but every place on the globe has its own history. If you enjoy a good hunt you can reconstruct the history of a place that matters to you. And you can do it using tools that until recently have not existed. In fact, you are among the very first to be able to use these tools to find what has been assumed to be lost or so dispersed as to be beyond reconstruction. It is the internet. It is listing sites such as www.abe.com and it is our (AE’s) software in the Americana field. It may seem like an old idea but it’s execution is very new indeed.

There are three components in this equation: the internet that allows book buyers and book sellers to find each other efficiently; listing sites where books can be stacked up and described and efficiently sorted in an infinite variety of ways; and our Americana Exchange Database that permits anyone with curiosity to search our records to identify long forgotten but interesting materials. Here is how our Database (hereafter, referred to as AED for short) works. On the toolbar are SEARCHES that lead to three options: Bibliographical Database, Archived Articles and Auctions Listings. Select BIBLIOGRAPHICAL DATABASE. This takes you to KEYWORD SEARCH with links to two more complex searches: PRIMARY SEARCH and ADVANCED SEARCH. Much of the time I use KEYWORD SEARCH. With experience you’ll find some aspects of each level of search useful. For this pursuit I use just the KEYWORD SEARCH because I want to find all relating references in a variety of fields.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <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>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, Feb. 11:</b> A Rare 3-rotor German Enigma I Enciphering Machine. $70,000 to $90,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Important collection of correspondence between Werner Heisenberg and Bruno Rossi. $40,000 to $60,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Walt Whitman Autograph manuscript containing his thoughts on death. $20,000 to $30,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> David Roberts. <i>Holy Land</i>. Six volumes. 1842-1849. First edition. $15,000 to $25,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Extensive collection of Ray Bradbury's primary works, most signed or inscribed. $15,000 to $20,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Peter Force. Declaration of Independence. $12,000 to $18,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Steinbeck. <i>Grapes of Wrath</i>. A fine copy of the first edition. $10,000 to $15,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Lewis & Clark. <i>Travels to the Source of the Missouri River</i>... First English edition, extra-illustrated. 1814. $10,000 to 15,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Manuscript document signed by Nuno de Guzman relating to Hernan Cortes, 1528. $8,000 to $12,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> “Nos los inquisidores..." The first book in English printed West of the Mississippi. [1787]. $5,000 to $8,000.

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