Books About Books and Bibliographies<br>From Oak Knoll Books
By Michael Stillman
Oak Knoll Books, the "books about books" specialist, has recently issued its 256th catalogue. This one is divided into two sections, books about books, and bibliography and reference material. Most of these books are targeted to very specific niches, but there are also some with broader appeal. Here are just a few examples.
Americans are generally only familiar with the American Revolution from one point of view, that of the colonists, but there was another side. Here is the British view from a 1976 exhibition at the (British) National Maritime Museum. The exhibition was called 1776, the British Story of the American Revolution. This book provides an overview of the ideas and battles which were contested, and describes 595 items from the exhibit. Item 9. Priced at $20.
Item 305 is a Washington Irving first edition some Irving collectors may have overlooked. It is unusual since this first edition was printed in 1934, about a century later than most Washington Irving firsts. This is called simply Journal, 1803, and it was taken from a manuscript then in the possession of Mrs. Sheldon Tilney of New York City. It was printed by the Oxford University Press. $55.
Item 220 is a collection of articles on forgery. Entitled Forged Documents, Proceedings of the 1989 Houston Conference, Texas was the perfect setting for such a meeting. Forgeries and stolen books have been a particular problem in the Lone Star State. This book contains 13 articles and 4 discussions on the impact of forgeries on collectors, booksellers, and libraries. $45.
Speaking of forgeries and other nefarious behavior, Item 613 is D.F. Foxon's Thomas J. Wise and the Pre-restoration Drama, a Study in Theft and Sophistication. Wise is well-known for his forgeries, but what is not as well remembered is that he was also a thief. He stole leaves from books in the British Museum to complete volumes missing a page or two in his possession, books he later sold to unsuspecting collectors. $35. Item 614 is Wilfred Partington's Thomas J. Wise in the Original Cloth. This 1946 first edition was the first biographical study of Mr. Wise. There's a note which indicates it originally came from the University of Texas Library in Austin, but we will presume it was removed in the proper manner. $75. To learn more about Wise and a bibliography of Wiseana, see the following article from the August 2004 edition of AE Monthly: www.americanaexchange.com/aemonthly/exhibition_detail.asp?eid=176
For those interested in American libraries at the nation's 100th birthday, item 350 is a circa 1971 reprint of the 1876 Public Libraries in the United States: Their History, Condition, and Management. This three-volume set covered every type of library in existence, from schools, colleges, and law to prisons and reformatories. $125.