Rare Book Monthly

Articles - November - 2016 Issue

Barry Ruderman: ABAA, lost without his maps

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Barry was born in Rialto, California, April 23, 1962.  He attended Eisenhower High School (1980), the University of California, Riverside (BS in Economics, 1984) and the University of San Diego School of Law (Juris Doctorate, 1987).

From age 8-13, he ran track and cross-country.  Thereafter, he played soccer for his high school and at UC Riverside, leaving him with a continuing passion for national and international play.  Even today when others are asleep he can sometimes still be found cheering European competitions in the middle of the night.

He practiced Commercial Insolvency Law from 1987 to 2003 including a year as law clerk for a Judge in the Southern District of California (1987-88).  Then, beginning as an associate he rose to become a partner at Weeks Rathbone Robertson & Johnson, (1990-1997), then becoming managing partner [1997-2003].  Thereafter he became in-house counsel for a financial services company from 2003-2007.

Today he lives in La Jolla, California, with his wife Kathy.  They have 3 daughters (Montana, Sophomore at USC; Liberty, Freshman at Seattle University and Simona, 8th Grade) and 3 stepsons (David, Sophomore at Belmont University, Jordan, 11th grade and Isaac, 9th grade).  “The 6 children are definitely a great source of pride and watching them leave has been challenging.”

His interest in maps were re-kindled in his last year of law school, when in researching a law review article on the law of the sea, he reviewed Supreme Court briefs utilizing 17th and 18th Century Sea charts as source information for boundary disputes for the waters between states.

 

He would buy his first antique map in 1990 and track his interest in maps back to cross country-driving trips with family in the late 1960s to mid 1970s.  His fascination with the book, The Phantom Toll Booth, where Milo's map became symbolic of the prospects for using a map in the quest for knowledge and adventure, was an early talisman of what would become his collecting passion.


His first antique map, or, as W. C. Field’s might have described it, “the fatal glass of beer,” was purchased on a ski trip to Taos, New Mexico in February 1990 when he made a buy from George Robinson.  By mid-1991, he had accumulated probably 30-40 maps and decided it would be fun to try to sell at local antique shows and book fairs.

In 1995, he exhibited at his first real map fair, in connection with the International Map Collector's Society's annual meeting in San Francisco.  In mid-1996, at the suggestion of a friend he launched RareMaps.com, one of the first on-line websites exclusively dedicated to antique maps.

“I was very fortunate, in that in an era of static websites and nascent e-commerce concepts, my website designer insisted upon using a database and a dynamic script which allowed pages to be built on the fly, then still a relatively new concept.  I was also fortunate that my mother had insisted that I learn to type -- so my 70 word per minute high school typing skills, plus being home at night with young children during the rest of the 1990s, gave me lots of time to add maps to the website.”

By 1999, the business had outgrown the family garage-office and he established an open shop on Prospect Street in La Jolla.  “My first real employee was my mother-in-law -- a good sport!  At that point, I was still practicing law 40 (60?) hours a week. Since that time, the business has grown to 6 full time staff, including Alex Clausen, former head of Swann Galleries Map & Atlas Department, and Katie Parker, PhD., who is now actively launching our next venture, where we hope to promote the publication of well illustrated on-line articles about antique maps and the history of cartography."

 

And, as to the future, his and the map field’s, he provided this essay:

 

My business was started as a hobby.  In the early 1990s, I had a vision that I would retire and become a (gentleman?) map seller after I finished practicing law.  As the business grew in the late 1990s and early 2000s, it was always a hobby first for me, even after we started adding employees and it became clear that RareMaps.com was on a path to becoming a real business.

When I finally started working for myself in 2008 (I was employee number 4), I never really changed my outlook.  I try to surround myself with people I like and who enjoy what they do--20 years as a lawyer and corporate counsel taught me the importance of surrounding myself with happy, loyal people.  To this day, I like to think that I'm still a hobbyist.  While my hobby has, for many years, been an all consuming passion, I still feel that its not real work--just a pure labor of love.

From the start, I've built RareMaps.com in the model of my style of collecting.  I loved reading and researching my collection, so I made it a point to try to provide meaningful descriptions and context to the material I sold.  To this day, the vast majority of all the research and written descriptions are my work, typically done after dinner, in earlier years surrounded by children doing their homework.  Its always been a great source of pride that I typically satiate my interest in researching and writing without regard to value or intended pricing--as long as I was enjoying myself, the process was its own reward, regardless of whether we priced an object at $250 or $250,000.  Over 20 years, we've created over 50,000 descriptions.  This commitment to research and writing is certainly a significant factor in the success of RareMaps.com, as we would soon learn that both collectors and web search engines love real content and large images.

From my years as a lawyer, I tried to bring a client oriented approach to selling maps.  A sale was nice, but creating long-term relationships was far more interesting.  Having started as a collector who valued (craved?) time talking to and corresponding with dealers, I understood how much I valued talking with and learning from dealers, many of whom were generous with their time and prioritized good advice over instant sales.  This is true of both private clients and institutional clients.  I take great pride in directing collectors to material offered by other dealers when appropriate.  Professional service and integrity pay far greater dividends over time than any single sale.

Just as important, I enjoy sharing information and learning from my clientele.  While not every collector will become an expert, many collectors develop, over time, a greater appreciation and knowledge of their collecting areas than the dealers who serve them.  The opportunity to grow with and learn from my clientele is just one of the many intangible benefits of being a part of the map trade.  Having spent 25 years as a passionate map enthusiast, many of my best friends are the dealers, collectors and scholars who I've come to know over the years, both professionally and socially.

In one case, my relationship with David Rumsey has led to a partnership with the Rumsey Library at Stanford University, to which we donate all of our digital images (over 50,000 and counting) and where starting in 2017, we will sponsor a multi-day Symposium and Speaker Series devoted to utilizing antique maps in multi-disciplinary studies in the digital age.

My vision for the business is to maintain our role as one of the primary antique maps sources for collectors and institutions, and increase our role as dealers in atlases and important travel books. Over the past 5 years, we have become very active selling atlases and books with maps, although we've done so quietly, primarily working with our existing client base.  Over the next year, we anticipate more actively offering atlases and books through our website and open shop in La Jolla.

Over the long term, I hope to continue to enjoy what I do and marshal a business which will outlive me. Whether its through promoting my younger employees to management roles or otherwise, the business has grown to a point where it shows the prospects of continuity and survival beyond my lifetime.

At the same time, it’s important that the charitable aspects of the business continue to expand. I'm hopeful that the Stanford Symposium and Speaker Series and on-line publishing will expand into other projects.  I am an advocate for digital philanthropy--helping collectors identify institutions who would benefit from acquiring high resolution digital images of the collector's collection, and thereby allowing the collector to insure the long term existence and continuity of their collections in a means accessible to the entire world and even allowing the for the collector to contribute their thoughts and scholarship as part of the corpus of the collection.  As an admirer of the great collectors of the past, this last part offers a chance for modern collectors to perpetuate their unique visions and stories as an integral part of their collections, preserving not just the collections but the personal aspects of their collecting interests, insights and observations for future generations.

We are also working on a collaboration to create a scholar exchange program and I'm hopeful that we can create a scholarship program around the on-line publishing business.  I would also like to increasingly partner with institutions to help with major restoration projects, trying to utilize our broad client base to raise awareness of the need not only to fund acquisitions, but also to conserve and preserve existing treasures.  Our first such project, helping the National Library of Australia fund the restoration of one of its prize sea atlases, was completed in 2016.

 

Barry Lawrence Ruderman Antique Maps

7463 Girard Avenue

La Jolla, California 92037

(858) 551-8500

orders@raremaps.com

Website:  www.raremaps.com

 

Here are links to his site:

 

http://www.raremaps.com/gallery/detail/47771

 

http://www.raremaps.com/gallery/detail/46579o

 

http://www.raremaps.com/gallery/detail/47771

 

http://www.raremaps.com/gallery/detail/40648

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Chiswick Auctions: Autographs & Memorabilia. February 28, 2019</b>
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Feb 28:</b> Autograph album featuring signatures by prominent actors, politicians, musicians and authors, including Rudolph Valentino. £1,000 to £1,500
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Feb 28:</b> An extremely rare working radio script for Crazy People No 29, the first series of <i>The Goon Show.</i> £600 to £800
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Feb 28:</b> Manuscript prayer book, in German. 8vo, 1755 £800 to £1,200
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Feb 28:</b> Italian Manuscript on Geometry, with diagrams, 18th century. £500 to £700
    <b>Chiswick Auctions: Ornithology, Zoology & Voyages. February 27, 2019</b>
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Feb 27:</b> Thorburn (Archibald). Sparrowhawk, original watercolour & gouache, signed & dated lower right, 1917. £1,500 to £2,000
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Feb 27:</b> Burton (Sir Richard Francis). <i>Personal Narrative of a Pilgrimage to El-Medinah and Meccah.</i> 3 vol., FIRST EDITION, 1855-56. £1,000 to £1,500
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Feb 27:</b> [Mount (Richard) & Page (Thomas)]. <i>The English Pilot. Describing the Sea-Coasts…</i> 31 engraved maps, W. & J. Mount, T. Page, 1756 £4000 to £6000
    <b>Chiswick Auctions: Ornithology, Zoology & Voyages. February 27, 2019</b>
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Feb 27:</b> D’apres De Mannevillette (Jean-Baptiste Nicolas Denis). <i>Le Neptune Oriental.</i> Paris & Brest, [1775 – 1781]. £10,000 to £15,000
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Feb 27:</b> Loring (Josiah). Terrestrial Globe Containing all the Late Discoveries and Geographical Improvements. Boston, Gilman Joslin, 1846, £800 to £1,200
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Feb 27:</b> Shelley (G. E., Capt.). <i>A Monograph of the Nectariniidae, or Family of Sun-birds,</i> FIRST EDITION, by the Author, 1876-80. £4,000 to £6,000
  • <b>Bonhams: Treasures from the Eric C. Caren Collection: How History Unfolds on Paper, Part VII (Online). March 6-14, 2019</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Mar 6-14:</b> Albert Einstein A remarkable letter on God in English, one of his most eloquent and quoted, 1 p, July 2, 1945. $100,000 to $150,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar 6-14:</b> Benjamin Lincoln's commission as Major General in the Continental Army, February 19th, 1777. $60,000 to $90,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar 6-14:</b> Broadside. A Poem Upon the Bloody Engagement That Was Fought on Bunker's-Hill. 1775. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar 6-14:</b> Early, full printing of the Star-Spangled Banner in The Yankee, October 7, 1814. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar 6-14:</b> Paul Revere. Engraving, “The Boston Massacre Perpetrated on March 5, 1770," in <i>Massachusett's Calendar 1772.</i> $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Bonhams: Treasures from the Eric C. Caren Collection: How History Unfolds on Paper, Part VII (Online). March 6-14, 2019</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Mar 6-14:</b> Earliest known newspaper coverage of Babe Ruth, "a St Mary's schoolboy," Baltimore, April 4, 1914. $6,000 to $9,000
    <b>Bonhams, Mar 6-14:</b> Franklin, Benjamin. <i>The Independent Whig.</i> First Magazine Published in America, Philadelphia: Keimer, 1723-4. $15,000 to $20,000
    <b>Bonhams, Mar 6-14:</b> Smith, Joseph. <i>The Book of Mormon.</i> Palmyra: Printed by E.B. Grandin for the Author, 1830. First printing. $40,000 to $60,000
    <b>Bonhams, Mar 6-14:</b> Last Words of Joseph Smith. Autograph Letter Signed from a Mormon disciple, conveying a contemporary account of the Prophet's final words, Nauvoo, July 27, 1844. $10,000 to $15,000
    <b>Bonhams, Mar 6-14:</b> John Brown's Body. Autograph Letter Signed from the daughter of John Brown attempting to arrange the return of her father's body, North Elba, Essex Co, NY, November 29, 1859. $4,000 to $6,000
    <b>Bonhams, Mar 6-14:</b> Powell Expedition. Autograph diary of Rhodes C. Allen kept during the Powell Expedition of 1868, June 29, 1868 - November 16, 1868. $20,000 to $40,000
  • <b>Bonhams, Mar 12:</b> Walt Whitman. <i>Leaves of Grass.</i> First edition, first issue, SIGNED in block letters by Whitman. 1855. $200,000 to $300,000
    <b>Bonhams, Mar 12:</b> Isaac Newton's copy of John Greave's <i>Pyramidographia,</i> London, 1646. $50,000 to $70,000
    <b>Bonhams, Mar 12:</b> Colonel John Mosby. Robert E. Lee's autograph letter to Samuel Cooper reporting on Mosby's exploits, with Cooper's autograph note ordering his appointment to Major.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar 12:</b> Gyula Halasz Brassai. Large archive of autograph and typed letters, over 260, to his family including his wife Gilberte, 1947-1978. $40,000 to $60,000
    <b>Bonhams, Mar 12:</b> Archive of drawings and letters from Harper Lee to Charles Carruth, including an inscribed first edition of <i>To Kill a Mockingbird.</i> $20,000 to $30,000
    <b>Bonhams, Mar 11:</b> VESALIUS, ANDREAS. 1514-1564. <i>De humani corporis fabrica libri septem.</i> Basel: Johannes Oporinus, June 1543. $300,000 to $500,000
    <b>Bonhams, Mar 11:</b> HARVEY, WILLIAM. 1578-1657. <i>De motu cordis & sanguinis in animalibus Anatomica Exercitatio.</i> Leiden: Joannis Maire, 1639. $25,000 to $35,000
    <b>Bonhams, Mar 11:</b> BERENGARIO DA CARPI, GIACOMO. 1460-1530. <i>Isagogae breves perlucide ac uberrimae in Anatomiam humani corporis.</i> Bologna: Benedictus Hectoris, 15 July 1523. $15,000 to $25,000
    <b>Bonhams NY, Mar 11:</b> FRANKLIN, BENJAMIN. 1706-1790. <i>Experiments and Observations on Electricity, made at Philadelphia in America…</i> London, 1769. $10,000 to $15,000
    <b>Bonhams NY, Mar 11:</b> BENIVIENI, ANTONIO. 1443-1502. <i>De abditis nonnullis ac mirandis morborum et sanationum causis.</i>Florence: Filippo Giunta, 1507. $8,000 to $12,000
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries, Mar 7:</b> Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, <i>El Ingenioso Hildalgo Don Quixote de la Mancha . . . Nueva Edición,</i> first Ibarra edition, Madrid, 1780. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, Mar 7:</b> Illuminated Prayer Book in Latin and French, France, 1530-40s. $20,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, Mar 7:</b> Illuminated Book of Hours in Latin, France, mid-15th century. $15,000 to $20,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, Mar 7:</b><br><i>Die Ernsthaffte Christenpflicht,</i> earliest known edition of the first complete Mennonite prayer book, 1708. $300 to $500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, Mar 7:</b> Georg Agricola, <i>De ortu & causis subterraneorum Lib V.,</i> first edition, Basel, 1546. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, Mar 7:</b> Frederick Ruysch, <i>Icon durae matris in concava [convexa] superficie visae,</i> with 2 mezzotints by Jan Ladmiral, first edition, Amsterdam, 1737. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, Mar 7:</b> Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen, <i>Eine Neue Art von Strahlen,</i> Würzburg, 1895. $3,000 to $5,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, Mar 7:</b> Pietro Carrera, <i>Il Gioco de gli Scacchi,</i> first edition, Militello, 1617. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, Mar 7:</b> William Lithgow, <i>The Totall Discourse, of the Rare Adventures</i> [etc.], London, 1632. $2,000 to $3,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, Mar 7:</b> Michel de Nostradamus, <i>The True Prophecies or Prognostications,</i> first complete edition in English, London, 1672. $2,500 to $3,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, Mar 7:</b> Pseudo-Methodius, <i>De revelatione facta . . . beato Methodio,</i> Basel, 1504. $2,500 to $3,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, Mar 7:</b> Hrabanus Maurus, <i>De laudibus sancte crucis opus,</i> Pforzheim, 1503. $1,000 to $2,000.

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