Rare Book Monthly
Book Catalogue Reviews - February - 2009 Issue
New "Books About Books" and Bibliography from Oak Knoll
By Michael Stillman
Oak Knoll Books has issued its first catalogue of the new year, Catalogue 289 of their long-running series. As with most of their catalogues, it offers items in the field of "books about books" and bibliography. Oak Knoll has evidently been acquiring new inventory as this catalogue is filled with books we have not seen before. Here are a few of the items offered in this latest collection.
Item 41 is a copy of the first bookbinding manual written by an American: Manual of the Art of Bookbinding... by James B. Nicholson. This is a first edition published in 1856. Nicholson was well equipped to provide the advice he offered to both the professional and collector/amateur binder as he operated a bookbinding business in Philadelphia. Priced at $850.
For those who appreciate quality bindings, your idol could only be French book collector Jean Grolier. Grolier was the 16th century collector who sent his books to the best binders of the day. Today, over 600 of the books from his library are known to still exist and they are, naturally, quite collectible. Item 114 is an account of Grolier's famous library by Le Roux de Lincy, published in 1866: Recherches sur Jean Golier sur la Vie et sa Bibliotheque... It carries the bookplate of noted American collector Edwin Holden, former President of New York's ... Grolier Club. Item 114. $650.
Item 69 is an excellent resource for those who collect the last continent not covered by ice to be discovered: Book Collector's Notes on Items Relating to the Discovery of Australia, by Rodney Davidson, published in 1970. It is a guide to collecting early Australia, including the "Terra Australis Incognita" of the pre-Cook days and the first explorations and settlements of the continent. This is one of 250 copies and is signed by the author. $100.
Item 119 is a comprehensive set of the works of Nathaniel Hawthorne, with a most notable book collecting pedigree. It is the Complete Works of Nathaniel Hawthorne, 13 volumes published in 1883. This is from the limited large paper edition (250 copies) and each volume contains the bookplate of Robert Hoe, probably the most important American collector of the 19th century. $1,500.
How much do you know about Nova Scotia? It's probably a lot less than did Robert R. McLeod. Fortunately, he compiled his knowledge of this Atlantic Canadian province a century ago in Markland or Nova Scotia, Its History, Natural Resources and Native Beauties. Published in 1903, this book will tell you about the province's history, geology, Indians, mines, agriculture, schools, government and much more. It was designed for businessmen, tourists and sportsmen alike. Item 189. $150.