Rare Book Monthly

Articles - May - 2009 Issue

<i>In The News:</i> World Digital Library Opens, ABAA Upgrades Site, Lincoln and Law Exhibitions

Worlddigitallibraryopens

The new World Digital Library.


By Michael Stillman

The World Digital Library opened for business on April 21. As the name suggests, there are no desks, stacks, or librarians whispering "shhhh..." This is an online collection promoted by UNESCO, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, with much assistance from the U.S. Library of Congress. Its beginnings are relatively small, but there are no preset limitations as to what it may become in the years ahead. From a beginning of five, there are now 32 contributing libraries, and the doors are open for many others to join.

The project was initially proposed by James H. Billington of the Library of Congress in 2005. As of the opening, there were 1,140 items posted from the 32 libraries, with something about every country a member of UNESCO. The site is searchable in seven languages as well as via a timeline. Contributions come from national libraries of nations as large as China and Russia, as small as Uganda and Qatar. Displayed are books, manuscripts, movies, maps, photographs, journals and recordings. Visitors have access to both the original works and descriptions of them provided by the international librarians. For example, those interested in early Americana will find a digitized copy of Sir Francis Drake's The World Encompassed. There are pre-1900 movies from Lourdes, France, by the pioneering Lumiere company, a seventh century Chinese manuscript "Annals of Creation," and a lettered 1200 B.C. oracle bone. While the total number of items may sound relatively small at this point, the detail of information provided makes this both an informative and exciting place to visit. To book your trip, click here.

A joint agreement to upgrade the e-commerce of the ABAA (Antiquarian Booksellers Association of America) website was recently announced. Book listing website Biblio.com will provide the search engine and e-commerce aspects, while Bibliopolis will provide the design work. The joint operating agreement will run for the next four years.

The ABAA was formed in 1949 and currently has 450 members. They opened their site to e-commerce in 2000, and are now looking to expand their offerings. Among the plans for the upgraded site are expanded search capability, higher resolution photographs with zoom capabilities, and the ability to order books from multiple dealers at the same time. Biblio brings significant experience in online bookselling and high-volume listings to the table. They are the third largest used book seller (after AbeBooks and Alibris) with 50 million online listings.

The Rosenbach Museum and Library of Philadelphia will be hosting an exhibition entitled Finding Lincoln opening this month. The museum is already hosting an online exhibit called 21st Century Abe in honor of Abraham Lincoln's 200th birthday. Like its online counterpart, the live exhibition combines recent art, interpretation, and commentary with a collection of documents and materials from Lincoln's lifetime, including letters and speeches. The live exhibition runs from May 27 - August 30, 2009.

An exhibition entitled Landmarks in Law Reporting will be taking place from now through October at the Lillian Goldman Law Library at the Yale Law School in New Haven. Law reporting may not sound important at first, but in the Anglo-American jurisprudence system, it is case law which determines what the common law and legislated rules mean. The exhibit begins with a manuscript collection of cases from the reign of Edward III, copied around 1450. It includes first editions of reports from Plowden and Coke, the first American case reports from Connecticut in 1789, and the first U.S. Supreme Court cases from 1798. The evolution of reporting from manuscript to print, the growth of legal publishing, the connections between legal reporting and education, and the growing need for well-organized reporting of the huge number of cases being decided will all be on display. The exhibition is curated by Rare Book Librarian Mike Widener. If unable to attend, you can follow the exhibition on the Rare Books Blog.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b> Jacques-Émile Ruhlmann, wallpaper sample book, circa 1919. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b> Archive from a late office of the Breuer & Smith architectural team, New York, 1960-70s. $3,500 to $5,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b> William Morris, <i>The Story of the Glittering Plain or the Land of Living Men,</i> illustrated by Walter Crane, Kelmscott Press, Hammersmith, 1894. $2,500 to $3,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b> Gustave Doré, <i>La Sainte Bible selon la Vulgate,</i> Tours, 1866. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b> Gustav Klimt & Max Eisler, <i>Eine Nachlese,</i> complete set, Vienna, 1931. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b><br>Eric Allatini & Gerda Wegener, <i>Sur Talons Rouges,</i> with original watercolor by Wegener, Paris, 1929. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b><br>C.P. Cavafy, <i>Fourteen Poems,</i> illustrated & signed by David Hockney, London, 1966. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b> Jean Midolle, <i>Spécimen des Écritures Modernes...</i>, Strasbourg, 1834-35. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b><br>E.A. Seguy, <i>Floréal: Dessins & Coloris Nouveaux,</i> Paris, 1925. $3,000 to $4,000.
  • <b>Bonhams: Results from Fine Books and Manuscripts on 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. SOLD for $131,250
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> Violin belonging to Albert Einstein, presented to him by Oscar H. Steger, 1933. SOLD for $516,500
    <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. SOLD for $106,250
    <b>Bonhams: Results from Fine Books and Manuscripts on 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. SOLD for $16,250
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> NEWTON, ISAAC. Autograph Manuscript in Latin, being detailed instructions on making the philosopher's stone. 8 pp. 1790s. SOLD for $275,000
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> 1869 Inauguration Bible of President Ulysses S. Grant. SOLD for $118,750
  • <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> E.H. SHEPARD, Original drawing for A.A. Milne’s The House at Pooh Corner.<br>$40,000-60,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> BERNARD RATZER, Plan of the City of New York in North America, surveyed in the years 1766 & 1767. $80,000-100,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> THOMAS JEFFERSON, Autograph letter signed comparing Logan, Tecumseh, and Little Turtle to the Spartans. Monticello: 15 February 1821. $14,000-18,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> JOHN C. FREMONT, Narrative of the Exploring Expedition to the Rocky Mountains, in the Year 1842.. Abridged edition, the only one containing the folding map From the Sporting Library of Arnold “Jake” Johnson. $3,000-5,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> ZANE GREY, Album containing 94 large format photographs of Grey and party at Catalina Island, Arizona, and fishing in the Pacific. From the Sporting Library of Arnold “Jake” Johnson. $5,000-$8,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> WILLIAM COMBE, A History of Madeira ... illustrative of the Costumes, Manners, and Occupations of the Inhabitants. produced by Ackermann in 1821; From the Sporting Library of Jake Johnson. $2,000-$3,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> ERIC TAVERNER, Salmon Fishing... One of 275 copies signed by Taverner, published in 1931,From the Sporting Library of Jake Johnson. $2,000-$3,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> JOHN WHITEHEAD, Exploration of Mount Kina Balu, North Borneo. Whitehead reached the high point of Kinabalu in 1888. Part of a major group of travel books from the Sporting Library of Jake Johnson. $2,000-$3,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> JOHN LONG, Voyages and Travels of an Indian Interpreter and Trader, describing the Manners and Customs of the North American Indians... The first edition of 1791. $3,000-$5,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> SAMUEL BECKETT, Stirrings Still. This, Beckett’s last work of fiction with original lithographs by Le Brocquy, limited to 200 copies signed by the author and the artist. From the Estate of Howard Kaminsky.. $1,500-$2,500
  • <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>

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