The Philadelphia Rare Book Fair is set to take place Thursday, December 8, through Saturday, December 10. The Philadelphia fair has drawn 25 booksellers from across the eastern states to exhibit. Naturally, there are dealers from Pennsylvania and nearby New Jersey, but others will be coming from Maryland, Virginia, Vermont, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New York (city and state) and Washington D.C. Fine Book Fairs, manager of the Philadelphia fair, noted that all are welcome, browsers, seasoned book and manuscript collectors, or those looking to find a special gift for a special person.
The dates and times are as follows.
Thursday, December 8 is preview night. There is a $50 fee for the preview but that includes canapes, wine, beer, soft drinks, and “literary-themed cocktails.” You can reserve your tickets on the fair's website (link at bottom of this article). Hours are 5:00 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.
Friday, December 9, 11:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m. Admission is free.
Saturday, December 10, 10:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Admission is free.
While not required, online reservations are requested for Friday and Saturday to help the organizers with planning.
The fair will be held at Trinity Memorial Church on Spruce Street. Detailed directions and a map, along with information about parking and public transportation, are also found on the website.
There will be a three-course dinner for exhibitors and guests at the Racquet Club of Philadelphia beginning at 6:30 on Friday night. As December 1 is the stated cut-off for reservations, there is no guarantee here, but if interested, you can reserve a ticket on the website and see if it is accepted. The cost is $125. If you are a student of American history it will be well worthwhile. The speaker will be Dr. Kermit Roosevelt, David Berger Professor of the Administration of Justice at the University of Pennsylvania Carey School of Law. He has written numerous books and articles on the law and Constitution and will be speaking on the thesis of a recent book. He traces American identity and values not from the founding and Revolution but from the Civil War and Reconstruction. America emerged from the Revolution basically upbeat and united, while the Civil War and its aftermath left America divided. Those divisions, largely over the same issues, tear at the seams of unity almost as much today as they did then. Dr. Roosevelt has a particularly strong relationship with American history as the great-great grandson of President Theodore Roosevelt, and part of a family of enormous service to America.
On Saturday, December 10, from 2:00 – 4:00, David M. Szewczyk and Cynthia Davis Buffington will be on hand to appraise your books. Mr. Szewczyk and Ms. Buffington founded the Philadelphia Rare Books & Manuscripts Co. (PRB&M) in 1984. Mr. Szewczyk has been in the book business for over 40 years, holds a masters in history and Spanish, and is a Certified Member of the Appraisers Association of America, qualified for donors' IRS tax appraisals. Ms. Buffington has also been in the book trade for over 40 years and holds a Ph.D. in English. She has taught at several universities, most recently and longest at the University of Pennsylvania.
To learn more about the Philadelphia Rare Book Fair and make reservations, click on the following link: finefairs.com/philadelphia