Rare Book Monthly

Articles - May - 2003 Issue

The Collaborative Project Part II Using Databases and the New “Wants List” Software

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By Michael Stillman

Knowledge is power. That observation is as true today as it was when Sir Francis Bacon wrote it over four centuries ago. However, what there is to know has increased at least a thousand fold since Bacon was signing his books at Borders. What there is to know today is so vast that not only is it impossible to remember it all, it’s almost impossible to keep it well enough organized to locate it when you need it.

Hence the database. When the information you need becomes so great that locating it in books is no longer feasible, the database becomes the only practical way to store this material. The database can search countless reams of material in mere fractions of a second. As a book collector or dealer, you can no longer find the knowledge you must have to make rational collecting, buying and selling decisions without the assistance of a searchable database. You are powerless.

Last month, we began publishing what we call “The Collaborative Project,” (or TCP for short.) It consists of explanations by members of our staff of how they use the Americana Exchange Database(ÆD) in their collecting of printed Americana. The ÆD is one of tens of thousands of extant databases, but the only one filled with bibliographical, auction, and catalogue records pertaining to printed Americana. You are simply at an enormous disadvantage to other collectors and dealers if you don’t have access to this information.

We recognize that using new technology such as online databases can be intimidating to those who grew up with older technologies. Our purpose in presenting these articles is to show just how easy the ÆD is to use, and just how much you can accomplish once you are familiar with it. Don’t be afraid. Remember, it wasn’t that long ago that you thought sending an email was difficult too.

This month we offer four new articles in this series. Julie Carlton describes how she is using the ÆD to build a collection of women’s western travel narratives. Æ President Bruce McKinney, a collector of local imprints, shows how he has used the ÆD to find obscure and very reasonably priced imprints. This writer discusses using the ÆD to locate titles pertaining to the Oregon Trail. Finally, our Managing Editor, Abby Tallmer, writes about her search for 19th century anti-slavery materials either written by or for women.

The “Wants List” Software

Within these articles, you will see mention of something called the “Wants List” Software. This is some amazing new software currently in development here at the Æ. It is not yet ready for general release, but we thought you’d be interested in hearing about it as we test the trial version. It should be released in about a month, first to current ÆD subscribers, and then to everyone.

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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