[On summarizing the import of the Martin sale:] It’s one of the great sales ever in America and probably the greatest sale in America of an American library since the Hoe sale.In conclusion, the H. Bradley Martin sale of 1989-1990 was a terribly significant sale of a stupendously varied and robust library that realized some major funds as well as publicity for Sotheby’s and for Martin’s executors. It also led H. Bradley Martin into the historic pantheon of legendary great bookmen. From it, we can surmise that book collecting on a massive scale and also the book auctioning industry was/were still alive and well in late 20th century America. We can certainly hope and make an educated guess that this is still the case, that out there are future potential H. Bradley Martins quietly acquiring, expanding, and nurturing their collections for future sales.
Perhaps the best way to end this article is with a brief tribute to supporters of H. Bradley Martin that have gone as yet unmentioned, namely his wife and his family. The Introduction to Part I (Audubon) of the Martin sale catalogue refers directly to Martin’s family: “Throughout, Mr. Martin was supported and encouraged by his wife and children. ‘I suppose we were one of the few families to consider the care and cleaning of books a favorite activity,’ Mrs. Martin says. ‘We loved working together and we rejoiced with each new addition.’” [Sale 5870/The Martin Library, Part I: Audubon/The Library of H. Bradley Martin/John James Audubon/Magnificent Books and Manuscripts (Tuesday, August 6, 1989)]. And Mrs. Jacqueline Martin, Martin’s widow, contributes a touching preface to the ninth and final catalogue that is worth setting off by itself and pondering – for, as any good bookman (or woman) knows, true collecting is impossible without the genuine support of your spouse and/or family:
With this, the ninth volume, the catalogue of Bradley’s library is complete. It has been a monumental undertaking, one that has been both rewarding and exhilarating at times, but one that has created a vital part of Bradley’s legacy. Next to his family, his books were dearest to his heart, and I am grateful that the collection as a whole is now recorded for all who share his love of books.
No matter how difficult I have found the dispersal of the collection, I do find comfort and a sense of peace in the fact that these books that Bradley loved so dearly are now being loved again by others. I try to compare it to growing seeds in a garden where they will continue to grow and be nourished.Jacqueline A. Martin, New York, April 1990 [Preface, Sale 6036/The Martin Library, Part IX: Books and Illuminated Manuscripts/The Library of H. Bradley Martin/Highly Important Books and Illuminated Manuscripts (Thursday, June 14, 1990).]