Rare Book Monthly

Articles - March - 2005 Issue

The Bibliographical World of Joseph Sabin

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A valuable perspective on bibliography 129 years later.


In it in total there are a thousand sources and references. Language, the high fence that keeps most of us in one pasture, was no barrier to Mr. Sabin who interspersed Spanish, French, Portuguese, Dutch, Danish, German and Latin sources among those in English. National boundaries dissolved as well. He was partial to history but loved the poets and fiction writers almost as much and retained an engraved memory of stellar performance through the ages that permitted him to document sources back to the 16th century. Neither was he absolutely partial to one form of record. Descriptive material, whether memoir, bibliography or catalogue was considered and all forms are represented here. In it's totality it is the clearest picture of the state of the world of books, both of what and where this world was arising from, and the place it momentarily occupied as it hurtled toward the 20th century.

To Mr. Sabin's epic work I have added the George Watkins bibliography, Bibliothecas Americana, issued nineteen years later. It updates and more focuses on the American side and in its way confirms the greatness of the Sabin effort. It is smaller and more defined and therefore very useful but it also places a yardstick between them that shows Sabin as the book genius of his time and I suspect, of the ages.

It is with enormous pleasure that I invite you to consider the bibliographical perspective of Joseph Sabin. In its totality it reads as well as the best novels.

Editor's Note. If you wonder, if the material that was described as essential and important more than a hundred years ago remains available today, click on this link to Oak Knoll Books to view more than one hundred forty items that are available in their inventory today. Oak Knoll Books.

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Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 27:</b> <i>[Sutro Baths] / On the Shore of the Pacific Ocean,</i> designer unknown, 1896. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 27:</b> Osvaldo Ballerio, <i>Biscottini e Amaretti Delser,</i> circa 1900. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 27:</b> Maxfield Parrish, <i>Harper’s Weekly,</i> 1896. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 27:</b> Leonetto Cappiello, <i>Les Parfums de J. Daver Paris,</i> 1903. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 27:</b> Jacob Lawrence, <i>Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture,</i> 1968. $800 to $1,200.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 27:</b> Charles Loupot, <i>Lion Noir, Cirage – Crème,</i> 1949. $20,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 27:</b> <i>Keep Calm and Carry On,</i> designer unknown, 1939. $12,000 to $18,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 27:</b> Walter L. Greene, <i>Adirondack Mountains / Lake Placid,</i> 1930. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 27:</b> Laura Brey, <i>Enlist / On Which Side of the Window Are You?</i> 1917. $1,500 to $2,000.

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