Rare Book Monthly

Articles - August - 2015 Issue

A Baker's Eight Dozen Plus Four

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Will Baker: Catalog One

Will [W. C.] Baker is, among other things, a graduate of the William Reese Rare Book School.  He worked there for several years and gained a perspective on scholarship, presentation, and rarity that sets Bill Reese and his disciples apart. After working for the Reese Company, he paused his career in rare books to earn a library science degree and head the Institute Library in New Haven, where he began robust new programs of collection development, community events, and greater cultural diversity in the membership of that nearly 200-year-old organization.

 

He recently issued his first catalogue: Catalog One.  It’s a hundred items of interesting material in histories of science, religion, and the performing arts, much of it Americana, many of the items examples dealers are increasingly reluctant to carry because they are inexpensive but which collectors and library curators highly desire.  Today the rare book field is increasingly a money game.  In Will’s world, it’s still about collecting.

 

Said another way it is, in my view, Will’s reflection of what collecting used to be, and what he hopes it will be again: a sustained attempt at real discoveries, opportunities for original research, disruptions of conventional knowledge, and moments of wonder.

 

So this is his first effort.  It will be distributed fully in September.  This month it’s being sent to those who make a request.  In this way he hopes to build links and relationships.

 

So ask for his catalogue and spend a few minutes to speak with him.  The halls and isles were once flush with new dealers, these days not so much.  But they are important, even essential to the future of the field.  So here are my best wishes.  We all gain if you succeed.

 

Link to the catalog electronically  

 

Will Baker Rare Books and Ephemera

P. O. Box 9197

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15224

[203] 752-7410

will@wcbaker.com

www.wcbaker.com

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Abraham Lincoln, <i>Emancipation Proclamation by the President of the United States,</i> pamphlet, 1862. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Family papers of the distinguished Ruby-Jackson family, Portland, Maine, 1853-1961. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Family papers of the Confederate Vice President Alexander Stephens & the persons who served him, 1866-1907. $25,000 to $35,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Autograph book with inscriptions by orators Moses Roper & Peter Williams, 1821-54. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Archive of letters, postcards, and greeting cards sent by Romare Bearden, 1949-87. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b><br>E. Simms Campbell, <i>A Night-Club Map of Harlem,</i> in inaugural issue of Manhattan, 1933. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Papers of the comedian Nipsey Russell, including a letter from MLK, 1929-2000. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Early German-American anti-slavery broadside, <i>Sclaven-Handel,</i> Philadelphia, 1794. $12,000 to $18,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Edmonia Lewis, prominent sculptor, carte-de-visite by Henry Rocher, c. 1866-71. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b><br><i>The Black Panther: Black Community News Service,</i> 44 issues, San Francisco, 1967-1971. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Ernest Withers, <i>I Am A Man, Sanitation Workers Strike,</i> silver print, 1968. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> <i>March For Freedom Now!,</i> poster for the 1960 Republican Convention. $4,000 to $6,000.

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