On the Road to Damascus

- by Bruce E. McKinney

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The route to New York from Maine

In San Francisco Thomas Goldwasser is about to ship 150 books to New York.  He’s preparing a fair list and promises it will be out soon.  Today is the 29th.  Move-in at the fair is next Wednesday.  For Bruce McKittrick of Narberth, Pennsylvania the trip will be a ride, not a flight. He and his wife will take an apartment in Manhattan for the week and personally carry their 80 items into the Armory.  Bruce recalls selling significantly more to the trade a dozen years ago. "Today price is important, and for us the retail aspect of the fair correspondingly more significant. We sell the books we believe in, the books we like, and collectors and institutions trust our judgment."

Fran Durako and her manager, Susanah Horrom, of the Kelmscott Bookshop in Baltimore have been doing the ABAA fairs for four years and are therefore newbies.  They recently prepared a catalogue and will be bringing newer and more valuable pieces, many of them from it.  On setup day they’ll head north at 5:00 am to rendezvous at the Armory at 8:30 for their scheduled arrival – move in.  Richard Lan and Seyla Martayan of Martayan Lan will be sleeping in, as they don’t have so many miles to travel.  The armory is a Hamilton by cab from their plush office/showroom at 70 East 55th Avenue.  They do this and other important fairs to see people coming in from the street.  Their offices are on the 6th floor in the Heron Tower.  Richard has told me the audience is different although the city is the same.  They are bringing fresh material, this year eighty books and atlases and a hundred maps.

Scott Dewolfe and his partner Frank Wood will also drive down on Wednesday morning.  They’ll be up early.  They are driving in from Maine.  Frank is the outside man, relentlessly pursuing new inventories and he has a remarkable touch.  Dewolfe and Wood has been an ever-opening cornucopia for almost twenty years.  The trip to New York will be the opportunity to have the cell-phones off.  Brandy runs the shop and manages their eBay store and auction listings while they are away.  Scott is looking forward to the quiet.