would never have asked for this privilege not just here but in any of the environments in which I conduct interviews.
In no time I find myself in a cold, climate controlled room that holds shelves full of material far too superior to put on the open stacks. Considering what I’ve seen from the open stacks, I can’t imagine how truly good this material must be. I do not dare pull anything off of the shelves. I just stare at the two hundred or so books and manuscripts that meet my eye. I feel temptation challenging me to look at something, anything, in more detail, but I know that that is not within the rules. So Mr. Lipton and I make polite conversation about approximately how many books and manuscripts are in there and about how the really special stuff – one can only imagine how special this material must be – is kept in a real bank somewhere nearby.
I sense that this vault visit – a visit, if you will, to the heart of the H.P. Kraus, Inc. empire, if one may call it that, is a good note to leave on. I bid my farewells and thank my generous hosts for their time and cooperation. And then, sadly, I put on my coat and go out of the magic kingdom into the real world, taking the crowded New York City subway home. It – the outside, the real world -- is really quite a let down from the antiquarian world in which I was immersed for some hours that day. But I didn’t regret my transition from the one environment to the other. Just being part of the rich history of H.P. Kraus, Inc., if only for a few hours, was good enough for me. At least for the meantime. It is a visit I urge other bibliophiles to make. Trust me – the last thing you’ll be is disappointed.
H.P. Kraus, Inc. is located at 16 East 46th Street, New York, N.Y., 10017. They are open from 9:30 -5:00 pm weekdays. Appointments are recommended. Their telephone number is (212) 687-4808 and their fax number is (212) 983-4790. They can be reached by email at email@example.com. Their website is accessible at http://hpkraus.com. Select items from their stock can also be browsed by visiting the following sites: Bibliopoly.com, worldbookdealers.com, and ilab-lila.com. All images accompanying this article are copywrite H.P. Kraus, Inc., and are used with the firm’s permission. AE subscribers may access the Kraus Catalogue #185 by searching the Bibliographic Database in the Advanced Search mode and entering "Kraus" in the Database Source field. The records are accompanied by images. Again, interested parties might want to investigate H.P. Kraus’s autobiography, A Rare Book Saga, (New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, ) and also Homage to a Bookman: Essays on Manuscripts, Books and Printing Written for Hans P. Kraus on his 60th Birthday, Oct. 12, 1967 (Berlin: Gebr. Mann Verlag, ), both of which are available on abe.com.