Rare Book Monthly

Articles - August - 2022 Issue

Hey Book Dealers, you’ll have one more list to check


The State of Pennsylvania is second and probably will eventually be No. 1 in what are book bannings at the school district level unless Iowa, Florida and Idaho’s irate parents beat them to it.  It turns out the religious right is insisting on telling you what your children can read. It’s called censorship.


The Central Bucks School District in Pennsylvania recently passed a new book-removal policy by a 6-3 vote Tuesday evening.  This policy allows just one adult – be it parent, guardian, or community member, whoever – to challenge a book simply “on the basis of appropriateness” and have it eventually entirely removed from district libraries.  What could go wrong with that?


Given that standing is broadly offered, and because most library holdings are publicly accessible, who is to say this new openness to censorship won’t lead to challenges to the Bible whose blood-soaked prose may offend some.


Or, for the politically minded, the constitution in its earliest iteration that counted slaves as six tenths of a white man.


Or , for the openly racist, can they object to all books mentioning Blacks and the sons of the Dominican Republic, who dominate major league baseball today.    


For reference for the literate, the Roman Catholic Church organized a list of banned books, the Index Librorum Prohibitorum in 1559.  Science, philosophy and fiction were targeted and in time included:


Les Miserables by Victor Hugo

The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexander Dumas

On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres by Nicolaus Copernicus

The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo

Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert


The Index Librorum Prohibitorum was abolished in 1966.


People have long objected to some content but the idea that a single individual’s objection can clear a school’s shelves sounds eerily close to the appointment of a or the Fuhrer.


In the dark these two words sound similar:  democracy or dumbocracy.


Irrespective of your political views, be voting during the primaries and general elections.  If you don’t defend your rights, expect to lose them.

Posted On: 2022-08-01 02:51
User Name: markholmen

Can you believe that six Dr. Seuss's books are being banned and will no longer be published? He was my favorite author growing up. This is outrageous and ignorant. Have we returned to the dark ages?

Posted On: 2022-08-02 22:58
User Name: Bkwoman

As a tree-hugging, Liberal, Democrat, and a 35-year veteran bookseller and editor, I am truly appalled when fine literature and wonderful children's books ride on someone's stupid, bigoted, narrow-mined ban list. The people who are doing this kind of thing are the ones who all intelligent, open-minded, unbigoted people should be voting out of office like we did in 2020. Disgusting that any state would let one person make a decision for all - isn't that called a Dictatorship?

Posted On: 2022-08-13 00:33
User Name: markholmen

All 6 of the Dr.Seuss books are now banned from listing on eBay.
These are children's books for gods sake... by one of the world's nicest people.
Every book on the Index Librorum Prohibitorum is for sale.

Posted On: 2022-08-28 16:28
User Name: briteness

"It turns out the religious right is insisting on telling you what your children can read. It’s called censorship." No. It is not called censorship. It is called having standards. Do school libraries feature porn magazines on their shelves? No. Is that censorship? No. The notion that the community can have no input on the contents of school libraries is just foolish. Also, the process is not, as you imply, dependent on just one person. Pointing out a book as problematic does not lead to the automatic removal of that book.

However, your most laughable error is suggesting that the religious right is in fact the primary source of danger. The left in our day is far more committed to silencing their enemies, not just by removing their writings from libraries, but by making them utterly unavailable, with severe consequences for those who dare defy them. To suggest otherwise is to be willfully blind to the world in which we live.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <center><b>Potter & Potter Auctions<br>Nobu Shirase and the Japanese Antarctic Expedition: the Collection of Chet Ross<br>October 12, 2023</b>
    <b>Potter & Potter, Oct. 12:</b> [BYRD]. VEER, Willard Van der and Joseph T. RUCKER, cinematographers. The 35mm motion picture Akeley camera that filmed the Academy Award-winning documentary “With Byrd at the South Pole”. $30,000 to $50,000.
    <b>Potter & Potter, Oct. 12:</b> [SHIRASE, Nobu, his copy]. RYUKEI, Yano. <i>Young Politicians of Thebes: Illustrious Tales of Statesmanship.</i> Tokyo(?), 1881-84. $15,000 to $20,000.
    <b>Potter & Potter, Oct. 12:</b> SHACKLETON, Ernest H. <i>The Antarctic Book.</i> Winter Quarters 1907-1909 [dummy copy of the supplement to: <i>The Heart of the Antarctic</i>]. London, 1909. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Potter & Potter, Oct. 12:</b> [USS BEAR]. The original auxiliary deck wheel from the famed USS Bear, 1874-1933. “PROBABLY THE MOST FAMOUS SHIP IN THE HISTORY OF THE COAST GUARD” (USCG). $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Potter & Potter, Oct. 12:</b> HENSON, Matthew. <i>A Negro Explorer at the North Pole.</i> With a forward by Robert Peary. Introduction by Booker T. Washington. New York, [1912]. $3,000 to $4,000.
  • <center><b>Swann Auction Galleries View Our Record Breaking Results</b>
    <b>Swann:</b> Charles Monroe Schulz, <i>The Peanuts gang,</i> complete set of 13 drawings, ink, 1971. Sold June 15 — $50,000.
    <b>Swann:</b> Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Family Archive of Photographs & Letters. Sold June 1 — $60,000.
    <b>Swann:</b> Victor H. Green, <i>The Negro Motorist Green Book,</i> New York, 1949. Sold March 30 — $50,000.
    <b>Swann:</b> William Shakespeare, <i>King Lear; Othello;</i> [and] <i>Anthony & Cleopatra;</i> Extracted from the First Folio, London, 1623. Sold May 4— $185,000.
    <center><b>Swann Auction Galleries View Our Record Breaking Results</b>
    <b>Swann:</b> William Samuel Schwartz, <i>A Bridge in Baraboo, Wisconsin,</i> oil on canvas, circa 1938. Sold February 16 — $32,500.
    <b>Swann:</b> Lena Scott Harris, <i>Group of approximately 65 hand-colored botanical studies, all apparently California native plants,</i> hand-colored silver prints, circa 1930s. Sold February 23 — $37,500.
    <b>Swann:</b> Suzanne Jackson, <i>Always Something To Look For,</i> acrylic & pencil on linen canvas, circa 1974. Sold April 6 — $87,500.
    <b>Swann:</b> Gustav Klimt, <i>Das Werk von Gustav Klimt,</i> complete with 50 printed collotype plates, Vienna & Leipzig, 1918. Sold June 15 — $68,750.
  • <b><center>Sotheby’s<br>Bibliotheca Brookeriana: A Renaissance Library<br>Magnificent Books and Bindings<br>11 October 2023</b>
    <b>Sotheby’s, Oct. 11:</b> Francesco Colonna, Hypnerotomachie, Paris, 1546, Parisian calf by Wotton Binder C for Marcus Fugger. $300,000 to $400,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, Oct. 11:</b> Leonardo da Vinci, Trattato della pittura, manuscript on paper, [Rome, ca. 1638–1641], a very fine pre-publication manuscript. $250,000 to $300,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, Oct. 11:</b> Paradis, Ung petit traicte de Alkimie, [Paris, before 1540], contemporary morocco by the Pecking Crow binder for Anne de Montmorency. $300,000 to $350,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, Oct. 11:</b> Capocaccia, Giovanni Battista, A wax relief portrait of Pius V, in a red morocco book-form box by the Vatican bindery, Rome, 1566–1568. $250,000 to $300,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, Oct. 11:</b> Serlio, Il terzo libro; Regole generali, Venice, 1540, both printed on blue paper and bound together by the Cupid's Bow Binder. $400,000 to $500,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, Oct. 11:</b> Tiraboschi, Carmina, manuscript on vellum, [Padua, c. 1471], the earliest surviving plaquette binding. $280,000 to $350,000.
    <b><center>Sotheby’s<br>Bibliotheca Brookeriana: A Renaissance Library<br>The Aldine Collection A–C<br>12 October 2023</b>
    <b>Sotheby’s, Oct. 12:</b> Anthologia graeca, Venice, Aldus, 1503, printed on vellum, Masterman Sykes-Syston Park copy. $150,000 to $200,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, Oct. 12:</b> Castiglione, Il libro del cortegiano, Venice, Aldus, 1528, contemporary Italian morocco gilt, Accolti-Landau copy. $200,000 to $300,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, Oct. 12:</b> Castiglione, Il libro del cortegiano, Venice, Aldus, 1545, contemporary morocco for Thomas Mahieu, Chatsworth copy. $200,000 to $300,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, Oct. 12:</b> Cicero, Epistolae familiares, Venice, Aldus, 1502, printed on vellum, illuminated, Renouard-Vernon-Uzielli copy. $200,000 to $300,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, Oct. 12:</b> Colonna, Hypnerotomachia Poliphili, Venice, Aldus, 1499, Gomar Estienne binding for Jean Grolier, Spencer copy. $400,000 to $600,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, Oct. 12:</b> Crinito, Libri de poetis Latinis, Florence, Giunta, 1505, Cupid's Bow Binder for Grolier, Paris d'Illins-Wodhull copy. $250,000 to $300,000.

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