Rare Book Monthly

Articles - August - 2010 Issue

Calling Gutenberg on Your iPhone

Bavarianlibtreasures

Treasures of the Bavarian State Library, now available on your iPhone.


By Michael Stillman

Technology advances at a dizzying pace, perhaps even a frightening one for those who grew up in the book world, where technology was virtually a constant for over five centuries. While today forces battle in a courtroom over whether Google can place more digital books on the internet, one of its partners announced a step that moves even beyond the Google Books project. The Bavarian State Library is now making a small part of its collections visible in a means even more personal and convenient than computer viewing through Google Books.

The Bavarian Library announced that it is now making a collection of 52 historic and ancient works available for viewing on your iPad or iPhone. All you have to do is download their "app," Famous Books - Treasures of the Bavarian State Library, to one of these mobile devices to begin viewing. The app is free. To download it, click here. Once you download the app, you will be able to scroll through the pages of these various works from beginning to end. You will be able to enlarge and focus in on the pages in case you find your iPhone screen a bit small for reading.

Among the items available are ancient texts from Persia and the Orient, a Babylonian Talmud, the German epic poem Nibelungenlied, and the medieval epic Parzival, by Wolfram von Eschenbach. However, the piece de resistance of the Bavarian collection is their copy of the Gutenberg Bible, the first work of printing, dating from 1455. The Gutenberg Bible is now available on your iPhone! Together at last - Johannes Gutenberg and Alexander Graham Bell, courtesy of the Bavarian Library and Steve Jobs. This is either the greatest advancement in reading technology or the ultimate insult.

While Bavaria might sound like a traditional kind of place, its library has been on the cutting edge of technology for a while. In 2007, the library announced that it would participate in Google's digitization process, opening its collection of older books for scanning by the internet giant. At the time, their Director stated that this was in keeping with the true purpose of libraries, which he described not as housing tens of thousands of printed books, but as making their knowledge discoverable by the public. Though not everyone will appreciate these developments, this is another step down that path of knowledge and discovery. Opponents continue to battle Google in the courts over its project, and while they may yet achieve some interim victories, the ending is inevitable. Progress cannot be stopped.

Meanwhile, the Bavarian Library has placed itself in the future, rather than the past. Noting surveys that indicate that by 2013 there will be more mobile devices with access to the internet than personal computers, the Library has moved to the next stage of access, even as the process of digitizing books for stage one has barely begun.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <center><b>Swann Auction Galleries<br>Edward Hopper & His Contemporaries:<br>Making a Modern American Art<br>June 30, 2022
    <b>Swann June 30:</b> Edward Hopper, <i>The Railroad,</i> etching, 1922. $70,000 to $100,000.
    <b>Swann June 30:</b> Edward Hopper, <i>Sheet of Studies with Men in Hats and a Saloon Keeper,</i> pen, ink & pencil, circa 1900-05. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann June 30:</b> Edward Hopper, <i>Night Shadows,</i> etching, 1921. $25,000 to $35,000.
    <center><b>Swann Auction Galleries<br>Edward Hopper & His Contemporaries:<br>Making a Modern American Art<br>June 30, 2022
    <b>Swann June 30:</b> John Marin, <i>Woolworth Building, No. 2,</i> etching & drypoint, 1913. $20,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Swann June 30:</b> Charles Demuth, <i>Tulips,</i> watercolor & pencil, 1924. $80,000 to $120,000.
    <b>Swann June 30:</b> Edward Hopper, <i>Under Control,</i> gouache, ink & wash, circa 1907-10. $30,000 to $50,000.
  • <b>Bonhams, June 28:</b> JESSE JAMES. Autograph Letter Signed on the attack at his home which maimed his mother and killed his nephew Archie, 6 pp, March 23, 1875. THE MOST IMPORTANT JESSE JAMES LETTER EXTANT. $300,000 to $500,000
    <b>Bonhams, June 28:</b> THE LETTER THAT ARRIVED TOO LATE: An important letter from Robert E. Lee to Ulysses S. Grant across the battlefield at Cold Harbor, June 6, 1864. $120,000 to $180,000
    <b>Bonhams, June 28:</b> DAVY CROCKETT. Autograph Letter Signed on his political philosophy and his dispute with Andrew Jackson, "at home Weakley County," August 18, 1831. $40,000 to $60,000
    <b>Bonhams, June 28:</b> GEORGE WASHINGTON. Letter Signed to Colonel Richard Gridley, the first engineer of the American Army, Morris Town, January 9, 1777. $20,000 to $30,000
    <b>Bonhams, June 28:</b> SCOTT FITZGERALD. <i>Tender is the Night.</i> FIRST EDITION, INSCRIBED to H.A. Swanseid. $30,000 to $50,000
    <b>Bonhams, June 28:</b> EDGAR RICE BURROUGHS. <i>Tarzan of the Apes.</i> FIRST EDITION. $40,000 to $60,000
    <b>Bonhams, June 28:</b> J.R.R. TOLKIEN. <i>The Hobbit, or There and Back Again.</i> FIRST EDITION. $20,000 to $30,000
    <b>Bonhams, June 28:</b> NATHANAEL WEST. <i>The Day of the Locust.</i> PRESENTATION COPY, inscribed to director Richard Wallace in the year of publication. $6,000 to $8,000
    <b>Bonhams, June 28:</b> FRANCIS PICABIA. Archive of 17 Autograph Letters signed to Jennie Thiersch on art and life, 1948-1951. $10,000 to $15,000
    <b>Bonhams, June 28:</b> JOHN HANCOCK. Autograph Letter Signed to his wife Dolly from the Continental Congress, 4 pp, Philadelphia, March 10-11, 1777. $8,000 to $12,000
    <b>Bonhams, June 28:</b> NIGHTGOWN WORN BY CHARLOTTE CARDEZA DURING THE TITANIC DISASTER AND RESCUE. $40,000 to $60,000

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