Susan Heller, long time and now emeritus ABAA member and her closest friend, Gerry, recently retraced the early American explorations, travelling from Ohio across the great expanse of Pennsylvania, past Pittsburgh and Philadelphia to New Jersey where they stayed with friends and family.
They came to New York to participate in Marvin Getman’s Brooklyn Fair, now in its second year, – The Brooklyn Rare Book, Art, Photo & Design Fair over the September 19-20 weekend. Such trips are back of the envelope for 20 somethings. For Susan Heller whose life began in the 1930s, every step is carefully considered. Gerry, her senior by a few, is actually the internet guru. Age sometimes transcends.
The trip would be successful and they are now back home. It was simply fun.
But she is a restless girl, a handful for Gerry, with a restless mind that even, into her 8th decade, looks for new mountains to climb. If her most recent mountain was the Brooklyn Book Fair her next may be the Ephemera Fair in Connecticut next spring.
Fulton J. Sheen long ago famously said, “life is worth living” and a contemporary TV show then went a step further to say “life begins at eighty.” Susan and Gerry are proving both to be correct.
Here is Susan in her own words.
“As always, my pre-show sales to dealers were the best. One of the top dealer's purchases equaled that of an entire show 20 Years ago. The first day open to the public had adequate attendance and a modicum of sales for me. The last day was very slow due to two competing shows nearby, but Marvin said he'll make sure no such competition happens in the future.
Everything else was professional and exhilarating. Booths shined with every genre of bibliophilic gems imaginable - fine bindings, classics, original art, radical and off-beat material, autographs and more. Of the 150+ dealers, only 20 or so were colleagues from my old days of book selling, but time and age did not diminish their warmth, humor and intelligence. I was in fertile territory again.
The attendees were old and young, meticulously attired and contemporary casual, seasoned collectors and curious newcomers, some elderly regulars and many graduate students, young professionals and mothers wheeling strollers. In retrospect, I wish I had engaged the moms in conversation to stimulate interest in fine children's books. One man asked if we had any material on inoculation. Upon returning home, my partner Gerry found two such ephemeral items and they have already been mailed to England.
Yes, the doors opened in the beautiful new convention center in Brooklyn and welcomed a myriad and affluence of interests; older dealers like myself and younger dealers and collectors to carry the torch into the future. It was a wonderful experience.”