Rare Book Monthly

Articles - April - 2021 Issue

In Memoriam Antiquarian Bookseller Dorothy Sloan

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Dorothy Sloan (1943-2021). Courtesy of Dorothy Sloan Books

Dorothy Sloan, whose career in the rare book field closely paralleled the post-World War II expansion, saw it come to a close recently.  She was an early advocate of the Americana Exchange and for almost 18 years a continuing member of Rare Book Hub.  She was warm, supportive and open on the questions of the day.  While her heart no longer beats, those who knew and loved her will remember and appreciate her authority over the many books and documents she wrote about over her career. -  Bruce

 

Sloan’s daughter, Jasmine Star, penned the followed obituary, which she is allowing us to share.

 

The rare book world has lost another giant. Dorothy Sloan (1943­-2021) died on March 14. A fifth-generation Texan, Dorothy was born and raised in Houston, where she met her first husband, Stephen M. Sloan, and where both of her children, Julia Ann Sloan (now Jasmine Star) and Anthony Vail Sloan, were born. After Anthony, her youngest child, started school, Dorothy returned to her own education, ultimately earning a Bachelor of Arts in American Studies at the University of Texas in Austin, graduating with high honors. The family then moved to San Francisco, where Dorothy fell headlong in love with rare books—a passion that remained paramount for the rest of her life.
 
In San Francisco, she took her apprenticeship at the venerable firm John Howell Books. In her own words, “I was immediately thrown into the heady inside track on rare books, deals, dealers, and clients. Every single day was exciting to me, and I threw myself wholeheartedly into doing the best job I could”—an ethic that remained with her throughout her career, as all who knew her would attest.
 
In 1979, she returned to Texas, where she worked for the Jenkins Company until 1984. To cite Dorothy, “Again, I stumbled into an accidental learning experience of unusual depth and opportunity. Jenkins had purchased the Eberstadt collection [and] there were mountains of unprocessed books. It was such a thrill to go through a pile of what appeared to be late nineteenth-century dilapidated atlases and suddenly find things like a Choris.”
 
Dorothy met her second husband, Peter Oliver, in 1983, and with his support, she established her own business, Dorothy Sloan Rare Books, in 1984, a challenging endeavor in a trade dominated by men. Never one to be limited by others’ expectations, Dorothy applied herself ceaselessly. Thanks largely to her unparalleled scholarship, persistence, and ethics, she rose to become one of the leading lights of the rare book trade in the United States and beyond.
 
Over the next thirty-six years, she was both thrilled and honored to handle many incredible items, from magnificent imperial folio Audubon prints to, not one, but two complete collections of the elusive Zamorano 80, along with many other invaluable materials, from manuscripts and artworks to countless maps, many of them seminal and groundbreaking. Among her many achievements, perhaps one of the most impressive was becoming an auctioneer—amazing given how shy she was.
 
Although Dorothy Sloan is gone, her legacy will live on through her incomparable catalogues and her website. As long as rare books, bibliographers, and rare book dealers exist, she will be remembered, and her body of work will illuminate the way forward.
 
Dorothy is survived by her daughter, Jasmine Star, and her husband, Peter Oliver. The cause of death was advanced dementia. The progression of the disease was shockingly rapid—mercifully so for Dorothy, who would not have wanted to linger in that state. Those who knew her will be glad to learn that, in her final months, she was peaceful and even cheerful. Should you wish to contact the family, you can reach Jasmine at jasminestarconsulting@yahoo.com. Should you wish to memorialize Dorothy, consider donating to the Cure Alzheimer’s Fund (www.curealz.org) so that, in the future, others might be spared the ravages of this terrible disease.

Alternatively, memorial gifts may also be made to the Dorothy Sloan Fellowship Fund at the DeGolyer Library, SMU. Proceeds from this fund will be used to support visiting scholars at any stage of their careers who plan to pursue research on bibliographical projects or women’s history at the DeGolyer Library. Anonymous individuals have pledged a 1:1 matching gift of up to $30,000. Donors may send checks to the DeGolyer Library, Box 750396, Southern Methodist University, Dallas, TX 75275. Please add  “Sloan Fund” to the memo line. For more information, contact degolyer @smu.edu. Contributions are fully tax deductible.


Posted On: 2021-04-01 17:31
User Name: davereis

The rare book world has lost one of its greatest. Dorothy helped get me started in the book business years ago. She never tired of answering my many questions, and was always supportive of me. Whether meticulously researching and cataloging exceptional material for her business or auctions, donating her time in so many ways to various institutions, or helping people like me navigate the book world, she never seemed to tire of her calling. Her strong belief in win-win scenarios for consignors and buyers alike made her auctions major yearly events. She always will be my favorite book person to deal with, as well as a person I liked and admired greatly. Jasmine and Peter, I am very sad for your loss.


Rare Book Monthly

  • <b><center>Sotheby’s<br> The Library of Henry Rogers<br>Broughton, 2nd Baron Fairhaven<br>Part I<br>18 May 2022</b>
    <b>Sotheby’s, May 18:</b> John James Audubon and James Bachman. <i>The Viviparous Quadrupeds of North America.</i> New York: J.J. Audubon, 1845-1848. £150,000 to £250,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, May 18:</b> Thomas and William Daniell. <i>Oriental Scenery,</i> London, 1795-1807 [but 1841], 6 parts in 3 volumes, folio. £150,000 to £200,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, May 18:</b> Mark Catesby. <i>The natural history of Carolina, Florida and the Bahama Islands...</i> London, 1731-1743, 2 volumes. £100,000 to £150,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, May 18:</b> Gould and Lear. <i>A monograph of the Ramphastidae,</i> 1854; <i>Illustrations of the family of Psittacidae,</i> 1832. £60,000 to £90,000.
  • <center><b>Swann Auction Galleries<br>Graphic Design<br>May 19, 2022</b>
    <b>Swann May 19:</b> Adolphe Mouron Cassandre, <i>Triplex,</i> pencil maquette, 1930. $25,000 to $35,000.
    <b>Swann May 19:</b> Claude Fayette Brandon, <i>The Chap Book,</i> circa 1895. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann May 19:</b> Various Artists, a complete set of <i>Das Plakat,</i> set of 10 hardcover volumes, 1912-21. $25,000 to $35,000.
    <b>Swann May 19:</b> Javier Gómez Acebo & Máximo Viejo Santamarta, <i>San Sebastian / XI Circuitto Automovilista,</i> 1935. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann May 19:</b> Ephraim Moses Lilien, <i>Berliner Tageblatt,</i> circa 1899. $12,000 to $18,000.
  • <b><center>Forum Auctions<br>Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper<br>26th May 2022</b>
    <b>Forum, May 26:</b> Birds.- Gould (John). <i>The Birds of Great Britain,</i> 5 vol., first edition, [1862-]1873. £40,000 to £60,000.
    <b>Forum, May 26:</b> Canadiana.- Cockburn (Maj. Gen. James Pattison, 1779-1847), After. [Six Landscape of Quebec City and Six Views of Niagara Falls], 2 suites in 1 vol., comprising 12 aquatints, 1833. £30,000 to £40,000.
    <b>Forum, May 26:</b> Joyce (James). <i>Ulysses,</i> number 218 of 150 copies on verge d'arches, Paris, Shakespeare & Company, 1922. £15,000 to £20,000.
    <b><center>Forum Auctions<br>Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper<br>26th May 2022</b>
    <b>Forum, May 26:</b> Rowling (J.K.) <i>Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone,</i> first paperback edition, signed by the author, 1997. £15,000 to £20,000.
    <b>Forum, May 26:</b> Du Maurier (Daphne). <i>Rebecca,</i> first edition, signed presentation inscription from the author to her governess, 1938. £12,000 to £18,000.
    <b>Forum, May 26:</b> Magna Carta.- An exact copy of King John's Great Charter of 1215, transcribed from the fire damaged but legible manuscript in the Cottonian Library, British Library, J. Pine, 1733. £10,000 to £15,000.
    <b><center>Forum Auctions<br>Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper<br>26th May 2022</b>
    <b>Forum, May 26:</b> Woolf (Virginia). <i>Mrs Dalloway,</i> first edition, Hogarth Press, 1925. £10,000 to £15,000.
    <b>Forum, May 26:</b> Tudor exiles opposed to the Marian regime.- Mary I (Queen of England) Letter signed "Marye the Quene" to Lord Paget, signed at head, titled at head "By the King and Quene", 1556. £8,000 to £10,000.
    <b>Forum, May 26:</b> America.- Newfoundland.- Whitbourne (Sir Richard). <i>A discourse and discouery of Nevv-found-land…,</i> second edition, By Felix Kingston, 1622. £6,000 to £8,000.
    <b><center>Forum Auctions<br>Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper<br>26th May 2022</b>
    <b>Forum, May 26:</b> Cervantès Saavedra (Miguel de). <i>El Ingenioso Hidalgo Do Quixote de la Mancha,</i> 4 vol., Madrid, Por Don Joaquin Ibarra, 1780. £5,000 to £7,000.
    <b>Forum, May 26:</b> Stubbs (George). <i>The Anatomy of the Horse,</i> first edition, first issue, Printed by J. Purser, for the Author, 1766. £6,000 to £8,000.
    <b>Forum, May 26:</b> Cardiology.- Lower (Richard). <i>Tractatus de Corde item De Motu & Colore Sanguinus et Chyli in cum Transitu,</i> first edition, 1669. £5,000 to £7,000.
  • <center><b>Ketterer Rare Books<br>Auction on May 30</b>
    <b>Ketterer Rare Books, May 30:</b><br>Initial A on vellum, Cologne around 1300. Est: €25,000
    <b>Ketterer Rare Books, May 30:</b><br>J. Androuet du Cerceau, <i> Bastiments de France,</i> 1607. Est: €12,000
    <b>Ketterer Rare Books, May 30:</b><br>E. Cerillo, <i>Dipinti murali di Pompei,</i> 1886. Est: €2,500
    <center><b>Ketterer Rare Books<br>Auction on May 30</b>
    <b>Ketterer Rare Books, May 30:</b><br>L. de Austria, <i>Compilatio de astrorum scientia,</i> 1489. Est: €9,000
    <b>Ketterer Rare Books, May 30:</b><br>B. Besler, <i>Hortus Eystettensis,</i> around 1750. Est: €50,000
    <b>Ketterer Rare Books, May 30:</b><br><i>PAN,</i> 1895-1900. Est: €15,000
    <center><b>Ketterer Rare Books<br>Auction on May 30</b>
    <b>Ketterer Rare Books, May 30:</b><br>F. Colonna, <i>Hypnerotomachia Poliphili,</i> 1545. Est: €40,000
    <b>Ketterer Rare Books, May 30:</b><br>F. Schiller, <i>Die Räuber,</i> 1781. Est: €12,000
    <b>Ketterer Rare Books, May 30:</b><br>J. Albers, <i>Formulation : Articulation,</i> 1972. Est: €18,000
    <center><b>Ketterer Rare Books<br>Auction on May 30</b>
    <b>Ketterer Rare Books, May 30:</b><br>G. B. Ramusio, <i>Delle navigationi e viaggi,</i> 1556-1613. Est: €14,000
    <b>Ketterer Rare Books, May 30:</b><br>M. Wied Neuwied, <i>Reise in das Innere Nord-America,</i> 1839-41. Est: €12,000
    <b>Ketterer Rare Books, May 30:</b><br>E. Paolozzi, <i>Bunk,</i> 1972. Est: €25,000

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