Monday, June 29, 2015

The Book-Buying Binge
of a
Booklover


The booklover is distinguished from the reader as such by loving his books, and from the collector as such by reading them.
                                                                 H. L. Koopman
                                                   The Booklover And His Books

My wife and I spent three weeks this month visiting relatives in New York.  And we got some book-buying time in for me, and some antique-buying time in for her.  We took the western route up from Florida so I could visit what is touted as the smallest antiquarian book shop in Pennsylvania:  Brendan D. Strasser's Saucony Book Shop in Kutztown, a town that had several antique stores as well.


The Saucony Book Shop:





Only a fraction of Brendan Strasser's stock is located in his book shop. And he utilizes every inch of it.  I browsed his stock online before leaving Florida, and he set three books aside for me.  We talked about books while I was browsing his shop—I miss that when I browse books online—and I found two more books to my liking in his shop.



The Lessing J. Rosenwald Collection : A Catalog of the Gifts of Lessing J. Rosenwald to the Library of Congress, 1943 to 1975, Washington: Library of Congress, 1977




I have the catalogues of several prominent book collectors in my library.  And I enjoy seeing which books they acquired for their libraries. Now I've added Rosenwald and his collection of books from the fifteenth through eighteenth centuries to the fold.  To the right is one of the thirteen illustrations from books and manuscripts in the Rosenwald Collection.














Horace Walpole:  a Memoir:  With an Appendix of Books Printed at the Strawberry Hill Press by Austin Dobson, London:  Osgood, McIlvaine and Co. 1890

No. 182 of 425 copies printed by Theodore DeVinne.  I bought this primarily for my Austin Dobson collection.  But I have a set of Walpole's Letters and thought I should have his memoir too.  The appendix of Strawberry Hill Press books is icing on the cake.










Dreamers of Dreams: The Rise and Fall of 19th Century Idealism by Holbrook Jackson, London: Faber and Faber, 1948.

Holbrook Jackson examines the lives and writings of six nineteenth century writers: Thomas Carlyle, John Ruskin, William Morris, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, and Walt Whitman. From the bibliographical library of William P. Wreden, with editorial corrections and marked paragraphs in his hand.






The Making of an American's Library by Arthur Elmore Bostwick,  Boston: Little, Brown and Co., 1915




Bought because the chapter titles sound as interesting as the book title:  Books as Room-Mates, The Art of Browsing, A Literary Laboratory, the Boy and the Book, and Recuperative Bibliophily.












The Booklover And His Books by H. L. Koopman, Boston:  Boston Book company, 1917.



A word about Koopman's quotation, which I borrowed to open this blog post:  I am always a booklover, most times a reader, but sometimes just a collector.  In short, I don't read everything I collect.








Brendan has an extensive selection of books about books. And The Booklover And His Books by Harry Lyman Koopman (1860-1937), the librarian at Brown University for thirty-seven years, will appeal to those who love "The Book Beautiful."



We then visited my friend Terry Seymour who lives nearby in Center Valley.  Terry gave me a tour of his books, interspersed with lots of book talk.  And  then we took our wives out to dinner.  The next day my wife and I crossed over the Tappan Zee Bridge and on to my sister-in-law Annie's house in West Harrison, N.Y.  We visited Hobart Book Village the next week, where I bought even more books.


Hobart Book Village:



We arrived at Hobart around noon on Tuesday, June 9th, and had lunch at The Coffee Pot, located right on Main Street near the bookstores—I recommend the corned beef sandwiches!  The girls (my wife Linda and my sister-in-law Annie) took off to look for antiques at Second Wind Furniture.  I walked over to Adams' Antiquarian Book Shop, and a little while later it started pouring.  I left my umbrella in the van—six percent chance of rain for Hobart—but Bill Adams lent me an umbrella so I could visit the other bookstores as well.  I had the town to myself.  In fact, three of the bookstores were closed.  But Bill Adams granted me access to all the bookstores.  And I browsed the stock of four of them.  All told I bought six books in Hobart Village.

Adams' Antiquarian Book Shop had perhaps the best stock—and I didn't even go up to the third floor where the high-end collectible books were.  Adams' had an extensive section of books on New York, but not the set I was looking for:  Leslie's History of the Greater New York by Danial Van Pelt, published in three volumes in New York by Arkell Publishing Company in 1898.




Bill Adams told me I might find some nuggets at Butternut Valley Books.  And I thought this one was rather unique:


1919 Complete Automobile Rate Pamphlet:  Rates for Liability, Property Damage and Collison Insurance by the National Workmen's Compensation Bureau, New York, 1919






Collision rates were based on the list price of the vehicles.  Depending on the body type, the 1919 Model T Ford was listed from $475 to $775.  Add $75 if the car was factory-equipped with a self-starter, and $25 if it had demountable rims.






Also from Butternut Valley Books:

Wild Flowers From Palestine by Harvey B. Greene, Lowell, Ma. c1898

Pressed flowers from Palestine are pasted to the pages of this book.  I already had one of the author's other books:  Wild Flowers From the Bay State.




 I found two books to my liking at Blenheim Hill Books as well.  This store had a varied assortment of stock and I enjoyed browsing it.

Fear God and Take Your Own Part by Theodore Roosevelt, New York:  George H. Doran Co. 1916

This book is dedicated to Julia Ward Howe, whom I've mentioned in two recent blog posts.  And the Battle Hymn of the Republic is reprinted in the dedication.  The book itself is a series of articles —a call to arms, of sorts— most of which were previously published in contemporary periodicals.



Inserted in the book was a newspaper article about the death of Kermit Roosevelt.  I have a book formerly owned by Kermit Roosevelt, and wrote about it in a 2013 blog post.  I was curious to see if the newspaper article mentioned Kermit's suicide by gun—it didn't.

Found later in the book was this curious sheet of pencilled portraits labeled Father, Sir T. Fairfax, French Commander, Dinwaddie(?), and Braddock.  Fannie C. Cartwright, a former owner, appears to be the person who drew these portraits.  The watermark on the paper itself (Irish Linen [Bond?] dates the paper to around 1920.  I have no idea concerning the significance of these drawings.










Eighteenth Century Essays by Austin Dobson, New York:  Appleton & Co., 1882.

I have a later edition of this work, but wanted to upgrade to vellum, which I shall clean later.  This is the thirty-fifth book in my Austin Dobson Collection, and I just may do a blog post on my Dobson books at a later date.













I found two books at Adams Antiquarian Book Shop as well, both for my Philology Collection.



The Only Sure Guide to the English Tongue, Or, New Pronouncing Spelling Book:  Upon the Same Plan as the Royal Standard English Dictionary ... to Which is Added an Appendix Containing Several Very Useful Lists of Words Properly Accented, Which Had Been Omitted in the Last Three Editions by William Perry, Chief Lecturer, Edinburgh University, Northampton (Scotland Massachusetts: printed and sold by William Butler, 1803.





Love the wooden boards!  Label on front cover reads Presented by Mrs. Albert E. Loomis










Essays on English by Brander Matthews, New York:  Charles Scribner's Sons, 1921









This is the second signed book by Matthews that I have in my library.  And he used the same words both times:  Insist on the Signature.




I took a quick look in Mysteries and More for a book I wanted to buy for my brother-in-law; but I couldn't remember the name of the author—it was Stuart Woods (I ordered the book online later that week).  I bypassed Liberty Books because I saw the girls were already waiting in the van. Although the girls were impressed with the quality and the pricing of the antiques in Second Wind Furniture, they were done browsing in thirty minutes, and waited for me in the car for an hour and  a half.  Note to self:  Go to Hobart alone next time.


Hobart Book Village was the third book town I have visited, and I enjoyed visiting all three of them:  Hay-on-Wye in 1988;  Archer City in 2011; and now Hobart Book Village in 2015.   I regard this as a feat of sorts.  Baseball has its triple play.  Hockey has its hat trick. And horse racing has its trifecta.  The sport of book collecting should have its own term for the feat accompli of visiting three book towns.   How about  biblio-triplicity?



Coxsackie Antique Center:





 We visited my sister-in-law Esther in Coxsackie, New York the following week, and she brought us to the Coxsackie Antique Center.   There is a growing number of booksellers nationwide who rent space in local antique stores.  And there were several booksellers who rented booths in this antique center.  And the prices were extremely reasonable.  I did rather well here in Coxsackie.  To start with, my wife found an oak book stand for me:



And I found a few books, the most interesting of which was a book about Teddy Roosevelt:




The Roosevelt That I Know:  Ten Years of Boxing With the President—And Other Memories of Famous Fighting Men by Mike Donovan, New York: B.W. Dodge & Company, 1909.

Note to self:  spine cloth split; find matching cloth and repair it.


Presentation label pasted on ffep reads 
This Book Presented to
Helen B. Hardwick
West Point, New York
by
Colonel William A. Dawkins
National Chief of Staff
United Spanish War Veterans







Helen B. Hardwick, in turn, gave this copy of the book to the West Point Library in 1942.  The date of acquisition, 6/24/42, is written in pencil in the gutter of the Preface page.  The date of deaccession, 11/94, is written in pencil on the copyright page, next to the letters WD (withdrawn).

Colonel William A. Dawkins was a commander of a regiment from Brooklyn during the Spanish American War.  I have yet to find any other connection between him and Teddy Roosevelt.  But I'm still researching!


And I'm still researching Miss Helen B. Hardwick.





Inventory of the Library of William Nelson Jr. of Yorktown, Virginia Issued by the Botetourt Bibliographical Society, College of William and Mary, Williamsburg, 1972.

A catalogue of some of the books in the private  library of William Nelson Jr. (1763-1803).







I acquired a couple of inexpensive books for my NYC Collection, which I will mention in my NYC blog post later this year.  And then there's this book I bought because I thought it was about trolleys in the suburb of Queens, which is where I grew up.


But had I taken a second look at the front cover,  I would have noticed that the book was about trolleys in Kirkwood, the "Queen of St. Louis Suburbs."

And that would have been the end of my book-buying binge for June.  But we had one more stop to make on the way home:

The Factory Antique Mall:


My wife regards this place as Antique Heaven.  And it will be a stopping place on all future trips north.  We spent an hour and a half at the Factory Antique Mall, and saw less than half of the over 100,000 feet of antiques.  I bought five more books.  And my wife bought over $250 worth of antiques!  There were several booths that had books and at least two booths that had nothing but books, one of which had several thousand books, and in all different genres.


The Book-Peddling Parson:  an Account of the Life and Works of Mason Locke Weems:  Patriot, Pitchman, author And Purveyor of Morality to the Citizenry of the United States of America by Lewis Leary, Chapel Hill: Algonquin Books, 1984.

I had seen several books on the web about Weems, and buying this book was a no-brainer.  I'm looking forward to reading it.

American Authors and Books: 1640 to the Present Day by W. J. Burke and Will D. Howe and augmented and revised by Irving Weiss, New York:  Crown Publishers, 1962 (First published in 1943 by Grammercy Publishing Company).

I buy some books for their contents. But I bought this book because Will D. Howe was one of the authors.  Will D. Howe was one of the publishers of the elusive 1920 first trade edition of William Strunk's book, The Elements of Style.  Howe left the firm of Harcourt, Brace, and Howe shortly after Strunk's book was published.

I added two more inexpensive books to my Philology collection

A Parser and Analyzer For Beginners with Diagrams and Suggestive Pictures by Francis A. March, New York:  Harper and Brothers, 1875





The Practical Speller and Definer by B. K. Benson and F. A. Glenn, Boston: D. C. Heath, 1897




I had to smile when I noticed the fifth and last book I found at the Factory Antique Mall:


The Lilly Laboratories by Eli Lilly and Company, Indianapolis, circa 1942 (published without a title page).

I have a few books about J. K. Lilly and the Lilly Library in my own library.  And now I have a picture of the first Lilly Library—the one located in the Eli Lilly Research Building.





I made one more binge purchase, a set of books that I bought online before leaving New York:

Leslie's History of the Greater New York by Daniel Van Pelt, New York:  Arkham Publishing Company, 1898.


The text blocks are completely intact.  And I will retain the endpapers and the marbled paper on the boards.  Note to self:  Smile when you reback these books!

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

. . . Knocked My Sox Off . . .






I noticed Nigel Beale's Facebook post on March 25th.  And I had to smile.  Because March 25th was my wife's birthday.

In our forty-six years of marriage,  I usually find something I "have to buy" for myself on or before my wife's birthday.  And there is usually something my wife "has to buy" for herself on or before my birthday.  This year was no different.  There was one item I had to buy during IOBA bookseller Stephen Johnson's Flash Sale.  But it wasn't a book:




One of the association copies I would be discussing in a presentation I was giving before the Florida Bibliophile Society the following Sunday was formerly owned by Laura E. Richards,  the author of over ninety books herself, whose mother, Julia Ward Howe, was the author of The Battle Hymn of the Republic.  And now, on my wife's birthday, I was going to buy an ALS by Laura Richards for My Sentimental Library Collection.  And with the 80% discount, the cost of the ALS was more than reasonable.






The "Union," referred to in the letter was the Gardiner Women's Philanthropic Union, an organization that coordinated the efforts of several social reform organizations in the town of Gardiner.   Laura E. Richards (1850-1943) was its Founding President and served for 26 years (bio in hyperlink courtesy of Deidre Johnson).

Since I now had an autograph letter signed by Laura E. Richards and a book from her library, I decided I had to have a book by or about her as well.  And I bought one from Andre Strong Bookseller, Blue Hill, Me. via Abebooks.



One sentence on the third line of the listing caught my eye:  Letter glued to rfep.


 The letter turned out to be a TLS from Gamidy  that was addressed "To my Grandchildren and Great-Granchildren," acknowledging the receipt of a silver tray for her ninetieth birthday.




The book itself was printed for Laura E. Richards's ninetieth birthday.  It contained Mrs. Richards's appeals and statements concerning town welfare, obituary notices she wrote, and several verses, together with three fables chosen as "specially characteristic of their writer."  The Splendid Skipper  mentioned in her little ditty was her husband, Henry Richards, who was known around town as The Skipper.  The word Gamidy on the TLS was definitely written by Laura E. Richards's hand, and was a family nickname for her.  I believe the TLS was already glued to the rfep of the book when it was given to either a grandchild or great-grandchild, making the book a presentation copy of sorts.

A member of the Richards Family, a famous "birder," Tudor Richards (1915-2009), mentions Gamidy in a memoir he wrote while serving in the United States Navy:  Dive Bombers and Other Birds.  He went home on leave in November 1942, and in his memoir he wrote, ". . . I also managed to go down to Gardiner which was the last time I saw Gamidy before she died."

Laura E. Richards died on January 14, 1943.

The next book I bought knocked my socks off!  And it came from another IOBA bookseller.

Back in October 2011, Alice Voith, proprietor of My Wings Books in Chicago, interviewed me for the IOBA Standard.  My interview appeared in the Summer 2012 issue of that journal.  Fast forward to last month.  Chris Volk,  a former president of the IOBA, and one of the owners of Bookfever.com, was cataloguing an inscribed copy of a book when she thought of me and remembered something I said in my IOBA interview:

At this time, there are no IOBA booksellers who list association copies as one of their specialities.

She had been meaning to write me for a long time, and  finally, on April 27, 2015, she wrote me.  She said I would find many association copies from IOBA booksellers if I searched the IOBA book search engine for the key words "association copy" in quotes."  And she offered a ten percent discount on any book of interest that I found on her own website.

Chris Volk also mentioned that she enjoyed reading my blog posts :-).

I buy some books because of their contents.  And I buy some books because of their provenance.  I bought the book from Chris Volk because I had recently read a book about the person who formerly owned it. And it came with an autograph letter signed.






The Teammates by David Halberstam, New York 2003, was the book I had recently read.  And, yes, one of the teammates was the former owner of the book I had to buy from Chris Volk.

College English teacher—turned writer—Frederick Turner was the author of the book I had to buy.  Previously, he had written books on John Muir, Henry Miller, and Geronimo, to name a few.  And in the mid 1990s he was writing a book about baseball:  specifically about when the baseball players returned to the game after serving their country during WWII: When the Boys Came Back:  Baseball and 1946 by Frederick Turner, New York: 1996.

One of "The Teammates" promised Turner a telephone interview for his book.  But Turner preferred the in-person interview.  So Turner wrote him to arrange an in-person interview.



Turner sent Dominic DiMaggio a copy of his book, Of Chiles, Cacti, and Fighting Cocks: Notes on the American West, as a "token of his thanks," and as a sample of his work.



For Dominic DiMaggio,
With all good wishes,
Frederick Turner




I had to have a copy of Frederick Turner's book, When the Boys Came Back:  Baseball and 1946, not only to read, but also to find out if Turner ever got that in-person interview from Dominic DiMaggio.  So I bought an inexpensive copy via Abebooks.



In the Acknowledgments  section of his book Frederick Turner never mentioned what kind of interview he got from Dom DiMaggio.  So I queried Turner.  And on May 12th, he replied.

Dear Mr. Morris,
Thanks for yr kind note. It made me wonder whether I had inadvertently failed to thank DiMaggio in the Acknowledgments.  He's in there & certainly deserves to be: he gave me an extensive interview, inc. a detailed description of the deciding game of the '46 World Series.

Best Wishes, FT


I had obtained Mr. Turner's email address from his website, received permission to quote him,  read his short and sometimes humorous bio—you have to read it—and placed When the Boys Came Back:  Baseball and 1946 on the very top of my have-to-read book pile.  It will later rub covers with Dom DiMaggio's copy of Of Chiles, Cacti, and Fighting Cocks!

And that would have been the end of this blog post.  But on May 20th I learned that Stephen Johnson, the IOBA bookseller who sold the Richards ALS to me, recently suffered a seizure.  I sent him get well wishes, and even found another book I had to buy from him:  a choice association copy for my NYC Collection.

You can send Stephen Johnson best wishes for a speedy recovery via the contact link on his website:  Allingtonbooks.com

And I will tell you about that NYC association copy I "had to buy" in a blog post about my NYC collection later this year.



Thursday, April 16, 2015