Source : John Howell Books Americana
|Source Title||Americana - Books, Manuscripts, Maps, Prints, Photographs, Paintings - The Inventory of John Howell - Books Part I|
|Description||Various material from the inventory of John Howell - Books.|
|Scope of Text|| "Antiquarian booksellers lead privileged lives. They are merchants, to be sure, but what merchandise they buy and sell! It is the very stuff of human life, wisdom and vanity, nobility and squalor, adventure and serenity, distilled into words and preserved on paper. A bookseller can never be lonely; his shop is always full of people (though at times he may wish more of them were in the aisles rather than on the shelf, customers rather than tenants.)
Partly no doubt from necessity but largely as a result of their own enthusiasm good booksellers are teachers. A neophyte collector will learn from bibliographies but he will learn far more by frequenting the company of the leading members of the book trade. In my thirty years as a curator I gained as much from Warren Howell and his peers as from academic historians and bibliographers. A lifetime spent with books can bring much curious knowledge to an enquiring mind, and men like Warren gladly shared that learning.
Good booksellers not only know good books, they know where they belong. There is a certain intoxication in the power to choose which collector, personal or institutional, shall have first opportunity to acquire a rare title. Every great collection owes more to booksellers than it ever had to pay in dollars on invoices submitted. Certainly the Yale Collection of Western Americana owed much to Warren. Out debt was small compared to that of his beloved Bancroft Library, but it included many choice titles. And we were only two among many collections which he helped to build.
Now his books are being dispersed at auction. The firm of John Howell - Books has ceased to exist. But long after all of us who knew Warren have disappeared, generations of scholars will have cause to be grateful to him. That is monumental enough for any bookman."
New Haven, Connecticut
From the preface to the sale catalogue.
|Total Records in AED||718|