Wednesday, March 28, 2012

I thought, since I actually remembered to take a few photos of my booth this time, that I would post them for you.  Just to give you a taste of what the booth looked like... sort of.

Trying to get a good overall view is difficult - for one thing, my booth is handily at a corner and I have some leeway (especially because the fair director lets me get away with it ) to "modify" my booth -- as long as the adjoining booths will let me.

To my right, Discovery Bay Books (David Thornton) finds that having my shelves behind his table actually gives him a vertical space he can use, so he lets me put up large shelves along the left side of his booth.

 To the left of me, Dan Glaeser, (of Dan Glaeser Books) has been a friend of mine for donkey's years and we generally try to work together to find a set up that works for both of us.  (Thanks, Dan!)

I've tried for years to turn the majority of my books face out -- for better effect, so they say -- only to find that I am pathologically unable to leave empty spaces. I bring 25+ boxes of books and darn it, I'm going to slap them all up onto shelves!  (I'm also pathologically unable to let books sit askew on shelves. It doesn't matter if it's my shelves, the shelves of another dealer or someone's house I've been invited too.  I'm a book straightener, surreptitiously if necessary, the same way some people are picture straighteners. It's a SAD, SAD pathology to have.)

See that (Pointing left) there's a book out of place on the top shelf of this first bookcase. 

There are some dealers who also work in / around antiques or antique malls -- they have a skill that I have NEVER been able to master and don't know how they do it. It's an ability to build up layers of books on a table / in a niche which allow all the items to show, but seems to COVER the entire space with really cool results.  One of the dealers at this fair has that ability (and unfortunately, I've lost track of her name) but I really admire that trait.

As with all other book fairs, there are certain items that I bring to which I have a special attachment -- either they are my newest acquisitions, or the coolest items, or the one's I've spent the most time researching.  Every book fair, I secretly hope that these precious items are the one's that make the biggest splash and sell.  And of course, EVERY fair, I find that these are NOT the items that people touched, or picked up, or exclaimed over.   This year, I was really hoping that someone would fall in love with the Babar books.  It was not to be. On the other hand, one of the books that I cherished at the LAST book fair did actually sell and that gave me a bit of a zing.

These are the best of the pictures I took on Saturday.  Because there was a constant stream of people, it was actually one of the few fairs where I didn't have time during the day to take photos of other dealers, to get conversations going, or just sit and watch the parade of shoes go by.  (While I'm NOT a shoe junkie, I find that reading the clothing and shoes that people wear is a really fascinating time waster.  I think I have something in common with Hercule Poirot in that respect.)  I tried to take some photos of dealers, but without a flash on the iPhone and rotten lighting in the venue, they didn't turn out at all.

Later this week, I'm going to feature a few of the books that I took that people DID keep touching and picking up, but didn't buy. 

Why would I do that?

Well, just for the heck of it.  And because the books themselves are still COOL in my mind, even if they weren't cool enough for the customers on Saturday.

Monday, March 26, 2012

It's the Monday after the Sacramento Rare Book fair -- I haven't got my brain connected to my body just yet (though it's definitely better today than it was yesterday). 

A few quick comments about the fair:

--- lots of people showed up to the fair, even though it was threatening rain all day long.
I have to say that the coordinator, Jim Kay did a marvelous job of getting people in the door.  My booth was from time to time, completely packed with people browsing.  This was COOL  - with a capital C.

--- Not as many buyers as there were bodies.  Unfortunately, while the attendance was great and the visitors were all very interested in looking at the items up for sale, the number of actual purchasers was smaller this year than last September.

--- the dealers were, as always, a great bunch. We had wonderful conversations, commiserations, and contact.  I was busy enough on Saturday that I didn't have TIME to wander down the way and talk to the other dealers that I haven't seen since last year.

--Dinner after the fair was Yummy (there's this nifty dinner place right around the corner from the event location - sort of -- that has to-die-for food).  Even waiting on my poor tired toes was worth it!

--- I have some jpgs of my booth and some dealers, but I haven't got the energy today to post them. I'll do that later this week.

--- NO RAIN FOR SET UP OR FOR LOAD OUT!!!!!!   How cool is that!

--- I'm whacked.  Loading 30+ boxes of books and 8+ portable bookcases on four consecutive days is NOT conducive to a happy body.  I don't care how old or young you are. It's WORK.

Ok, that's all I've got for the moment.  I'll write up a better overall post on the fair when my brain kicks back into regular work mode.

Thanks to all the blog readers who came to the show -- thanks to the dealers who spent time chatting with me and thanks to all the people who came out in the (near) rain for a wonderful event!

Friday, March 23, 2012

The van is packed. I've gassed up and I'm about ready to head out the door  -  It's load in day for the Sacramento Rare Book Event and I'm on my way. 

I don't know if I'll have time to post updates through the weekend, but I'll at least try to take some photos for a wrap-up next week.

Wish me luck!

(and good weather!)

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Babar Books for the Sacramento Book Fair

Le Voyage de Babar (The Travels of Babar - Jean de Brunhoff 1932 1st Edition)

I've hinted about the above listed item (and one other that I'll show below) I'm sure, in the last several weeks.  I wanted to save these last two books for last - partly because I was still doing research trying to find some details about publishing history, etc. - and partly because I wanted to unveil them right before the book fair this weekend.

The story of the original Babar Books is one that many people might have heard at least portions over the years -- when one of his sons was home ill, Jean de Brunhoff's wife Cecile told him a bedtime story to help him get to sleep.  The boy ( and his brother who happened to have heard it as well) related the story to their father because they found it so interesting. Jean de Brunhoff was a painter by trade - he took the idea, drew a few illustrations,  and named the elephant Babar - thus history was made.  I'm sure there was much more to it than that, as there always is with creative endeavors.

So - that part of the story of these books is fairly straightforward.  Easy to research (though I hadn't known that Jean de Brunhoff's ties to the publishing world were so close -- his brother-in-law and brother worked for magazine and / or book publishers to some degree, and the family itself had been working in publishing for a number of years.

For me, the basic research about the books themselves has been  easy.  But one of the books came with an  additional item that is extremely unusual / rare.

The Story of Babar (Jean de Brunhoff - 1st American Edition by Smith & Haas, 1933)  (note - the first three books in the series were originally published in the US by Smith & Haas.  The series was taken over by Random House by 1936. Random House released new editions of the original three titles, making them 1st US editions thus)

What I had been calling a mailing envelope for a time - but now I've decided is more a variant style of dust jacket. 

Currently, I've found mention of the envelope once in a listing  -- in the negative. i.e.: "this copy does not include the rare envelope".   I have found ONE auction record in the last 50 years noting the envelope -- and with NO information about the history of this envelope.   There are copies of this book available with a regular dust jacket (one that wraps around the book and has flaps that cover the pastedown pages).  This envelop has a pastedown illustration in monochrome, which mirrors the illustration on the front cover of the  book.
It is obvious that this ephemeral item was intended to be used in the same manor as a dust jacket -- but why would the company make both a regular style dust jacket, and this much more fragile version?   Remember, this is a book specifically published with children in mind -- ok, in the 1930's it's possible that the idea was that adults read the  books to the children and that the books would be handled carefully, but....

I know I've mentioned that dust jackets on children's books from the early 1900's - the 1930's tend to be either in ratty, tatty condition (for the most part) or non-existent, and when found will add a premium to the books.  Two notable examples of this are The Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum where the presence of a dust jacket can add an enormous amount to the price, and Make Way for Ducklings by Robert McCloskey - ditto. (I would include Edgar Rice Burroughs' Tarzan of the Apes - but that's my Scifi side coming through. The difference in price for a 1st Edition with a dust jacket and without is approximately 1000%).

Copies of the 1st Editions of any of the first three Babar books (either in the original French or the US editions) with dust jackets (in any condition) have become scarce - very scarce - and can take the prices up dramatically.   However, since mention of this variant dust jacket is lacking in most references and I haven't so far found any verifiable information other than one vague mention of it's existence and one verified auction sale which included an "envelope" but with no detailed description of it, this particular ephemeral item is somewhat of a wild card in how it adds value to the book. 

Because I'm one of those people who can't seem to give up until I find what I'm searching for, I'll continue to hunt down more information regarding this variant dust jacket / envelope.  If and when I do, I'll be sure and let you all know. Until then - wish me luck at the Sacramento Book Fair (three days and counting!)

Friday, March 16, 2012

Sacramento Book Fair - a few more treats

Not all of the material I'll be taking with me next week is 1) part of the consignment collection I've been highlighting this week and 2) Illustrated Editions.  In fact, the illustrated editions that are from this consignment are generally things that I love to deal with, but  are not my main focus for stock.

I note in my blurb for my online store that I specialize in Modern Science Fiction / Fantasy , Horror and Children's Picture books, along with Modern First Editions, etc.  But truth to be told, my stock tends to vary year to year by current interest and what happens to fall into my hands. 

One year I had a wonderful collection of H. P. Lovecraft and Arkham House material that came in a collection. 

Last year, I dealt with (and for the most part, still have) a really nifty group of Western Fiction titles that turned up.

Currently, it's the Illustrated Editions.

But my personal interests have changed (I like to think of it as expanded) over time -- and right at the moment, I've been actively searching out books in the areas of (deep breath): atomics - atomic energy, atomic bombs, atomic raditation, etc., Aviation / Aeronatics - especially having to do with women in aviation or very early aviation and the theory and mathematics behind avaition, and also Astronatics  (you know - astronauts and the stuff that they get into). Oh, and don't forget computers, computer science and cybernetics.

All of these areas of interest do have a commonality to them -- they relate in one way or another to science fiction  & fantasy.  Yeah, I know it can be a bit of a stretch, but there's LOTS of room for these topics if you look at the long view of science fiction.

So today I thought I'd show off a few of the items I've picked up in the last six months from these areas.
(Note - I was planning on putting together a catalogue of these books with some killer commentary and connections, but plans have changed)

Thad Sears : The Physician in Atomic Defense (1953)
Sears, Thad P. (M.D., F.A.C.P.) with a foreword by James J. Waring : THE PHYSICIAN IN ATOMIC DEFENSE : Atomic Principles, Biologic Reaction and Organization for Medical Defense. 1953. The Year Book Publishers, Inc.. Chicago, IL. Hardcover. 1st Edition/ 1st Printing. VG+ / NONE.  B&W Illustrations.   "This book is the result of a deep-seated conviction on the part of Dr. Sears that the community in which he lived should be prepared for atomic warfare. Accordingly, through study and special training, he has absorbed the fundamentals of atomic energy. To this basic information he has added a dogged determination to arouse civilians and his professional colleagues from their unrealistic complacency. To all this he has brought to bear enthusiasm and a natural gift of exposition and teaching."

Desmond King-Hele: Theory of Satellite Orbits in an Atmosphere (1964)
King-Hele, Desmond: THEORY OF SATELLITE ORBITS IN AN ATMOSPHERE 1964. Butterworths. London, England. Hardcover. 1st Edition/ 1st Printing. VG+ / VG. Illus Type: Graphs. Butterworths Mathematical Texts.   King-Hele was awarded the Eddington Medal from the Royal Astronomical Society in 1971 for his work on "geophysical application of the study of the orbits of artificial satellites." (from Wikipedia).   "The theory has already been used successfully in geophysical research, and is essential to the understanding of the evolution of actual satellite orbits." 

Von Foerster, Heinz (edited by) (assistant editors Margaret Mead and Hans Lukas Teuber)

Von Foerster, Heinz (edited by) (assistant editors Margaret Mead and Hans Lukas Teuber): CYBERNETICS : Circular Causal and Feedback Mechanisms in Biological and Social Systems : Transactions of the Tenth Conference April 22, 23, and 24, 1953, Princeton, N. J.. 1955. Josiah Macy, Jr. Foundation. New York. Hardcover. 1st Edition/ 1st Printing. VG / NONE. DESCRIPTION:   Ex Library copy from the Library of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center (very appropriate) -- it was  removed as a duplicate (according to the stamps) then became part of the John Woolman School Library from Nevada City, CA.    "The three presentations published herewith were presented and discussed at the Tenth and last Conference on Cybernetics (Circular Causal and Feedback Mechanisms in Biological and Social Systems)".  Included are Introductory Remarks by Warren S. McCulloch, Studies on Activity of the Brain by W. Grey-Walter, Semantic Informatoin and Its Measures by Y. Bar-Hillel, Meaning in Language and How It Is Acquired by Yuen Ren Chao, Appendix I: Summary of the Points of Agreement Reached in the Previous Nine Conferences on Cybernetics by Warren S. McCulloch, along with Appendix II: References, and Cumulative Index 1946 throughy 1953.  Among the notables at this conference is Margaret Mead (one of only four women present) . 

And finally (well, for now)  I'll throw this one in, just because (because it was one of the ones that would make the catalogue fun):

Stanley Hendricks: Astronauts on the Moon: the Story of the Apollo Moon Landings (1969)

Hendricks, Stanley: ASTRONAUTS ON THE MOON : The Story of the Apollo Moon Landings. 1969. Hallmark Cards, Inc.. Kansas City, MO. Hardcover. 1st Edition/ 1st Printing. VG+ / VG+. IColor Illustrations  by Al Muenchen.   A Pop-Up and movable piece book.  "Now young space enthusiasts can join the Apollo astronauts in a flight to the moon through the magic of three-dimensional action illustrations."  Uncommon to find with the dust jacket.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

More Treats for the Sacramento Book Fair (part 2)

The Real Story Book (retold by Wallace C. Wadsworth) 1928

the early 1900's was a very good time for folk lore, fairy tales and children's stories of all sorts. An amazing number of compilations (with our without illustrations) were compiled and published during this time period.  Some of the books were cheaply made and didn't last the test of time well. Others have become classics.  All of them, in one way or another, showed the readers a particular perspective of the place and time in which they were formed.

Looking through compilations of children's stories from the turn of the century through the early 1930's a reader in today's world will see attitudes that today can bring shock, embarrassment, or even revulsion.

The book shown above contains two stories in a genre called "Darky stories" or "Darky Tales" -- stories in which the main character is black / African American / ethnically diverse.  One story is Little Black Sambo. The other is Epaminondas -- which I had to look up.

(note, in this case, Wikipedia was my friend as I was not clued in on all the generals of the Classical period of Greece /Rome / Thebes).

I'll get to the classic bit of the story in a moment, but first I'd like to note that these two tales, along with a number of other stories in the compilation  are "Noodle Stories"  or "Noodle Tales" - stories which deal with the "ludicrous doings of very foolish people."

Now that you know that, let's get back to Epaminondas:

 The tale of Epaminondas is a particularly good example of a noodle tale (unfortunately, it is told with the extra punch of the foolish person being a "pickaninny" or foolish black person). The original Epaminondas as related by Wikipedia was "A Theban general and statesman of the 4th century BC who transformed the Ancient Greek city-state of Thebes, leading it out of Spartan subjugation into a preeminent position in Greek politics."  The Epaminondas of this story is a young boy who doesn't have a tenth of the sense that the name was supposed to bring him - he also has a terrible problem with food and following directions exactly as he hears them.  

This particular copy is a 2nd printing -- by the time the book was printed next, these two stories had been excised / removed due to their racial stereotyping.

In an example of a compilation that wasn't quite as politically sensitive we have this:

Ideal Fairy Tales, Mcloughlin Brothers Publishing (1897 with chromolithographs)

This book contains a series of well-known fairy tales, including:  Sleeping Beauty, Diamonds and Toads, Cinderella or the Little Glass Slipper, Puss in Boots, and, Beauty and the Beast.    However, if we read through the stories themselves, I'm sure that the text will have surprises - and probably more graphic violence than you'd expect.

The Wonder-Book for Girls and Boys by Nathaniel Hawthorne (illustrated by Frederic Stuart Church) c1890

This final compilation takes us back to ancient mythology for the stories, including:  The Gorgon's Head, The Golden Touch, The Paradise of Children,  The Three Golden Apples, The Miraculous Pitcher, and, the Chimaera.

The compiler, Nathaniel Hawthorne gave his reasoning for why he chose these stories:  "The author has long been of opinion that many of the classical myths were capable of being rendered into a very capital reading for children. In the little volume here offered to the public, he has worked up half a dozen of them, with this end in view. a great freedom of treatment was necessary to his plan; but it will be observed by every one who attempts to render these legends malleable in his intellectual furnace, that they are marvelously independent of all temporary modes and circumstances."   

Some of these story books were published to be purely entertaining. Others were moralistic in nature, while others still gave examples of how to live a good (meaning Godly) life, or examples of how NOT to behave. All of them give readers today  more than pleasurable reading, but an insight into the attitudes and biases of the people who not only created them, but read them.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Some treats I'm taking to the Sacramento Rare Book Fair (part 1 of several)

It's the Wednesday before the Wednesday before the Sacramento Rare Book fair.  Usually by the Wednesday right before the fair *most* of the packing is done, the books are sorted - for better or worse - and it's time for me to start yanking apart my book mobile and loading boxes, which means I don't have a great deal of time at that point to sit down and write, or take jpgs, etc.

SO.....  with that in mind, I'm starting a week early and doing something I don't generally do -- toot my own (well, the BOOKS) horn -- and showing off some of the cool items I'll be bringing with me to the book fair.

Here's one of them:

More Goops and How Not to Be them by Gelett Burgess (illustrated by Gelett Burgess)

Burgess, Gelett: MORE GOOPS AND HOW NOT TO BE THEM : A Manual of Manners for Impolite Infants Depicting the Characteristics of Many Naughty and Thoughtless Children with Instructive Illustrations. c1916. Frederick A. Stokes Company. New York. Hardcover.  11th Printing. VG+ / VG-.  B&W Illustrations by Gelett Burgess. Goops.  Early copies such as this are difficult to find with the dust jacket intact.   "Children, although you might expect my manners to be quite correct (for since I fancy I can teach, I ought to practice what I preach), 'T is true that I have often braved my mother's wrath, and misbehaved! And almost every single rule I broke, before I went to school! For that is how I learned the way to teach you etiquette to-day. So when you chance to take a look at all the maxims in the book, you'll see that most of them are true, I found them out, and so will you, for if you are as GOOP derided, you may perhaps reform, as I did!" 

This book is a decently early copy (c1916) of the book, but what makes this copy stand out is the dust jacket.  With children's books of this age / era,   (and frankly, with many books that included dust jackets at this time)  it was par for the course to either take the dust jacket off the book and store it, or most likely, for the owner to chuck it in the circular file without a second thought.  Add to that that the book was meant for children (shudder) who if they are anything like my two, are not the most careful with their personal belongings. (an aside here -- if the books belong to me and my business, they KNOW not to mess with them or treat them badly -- but their own library is, unfortunately, an entirely different case).

So dust jackets on children's books from the turn of the century through 1920's, while not unheard of, are generally unusual.

And this:

Frances Hodgson Burnett: A Little Princess (illustrated by Ethel Franklin Betts)
Burnett, Frances Hodgson : A LITTLE PRINCESS : Being the Whole Story of Sara Crewe Now Told for the First Time. 1905. Charles Scribner's Sons. New york. Hardcover. 1st Edition Thus/ 1st Printing. VG+ / NONE. Color Illustrations by Ethel Franklin Betts. DESCRIPTION: This is a First Edition Thus (the book was originally published in 1888 as Sara Crewe or What Happened at Miss Minchin's.   Illustrated throughout with 12 full color plates by Ethel Franklin Betts. T.E.G (Top Edge Gilt).   Burnett explains the rewriting of the novel thusly: "When I wrote the story of Sara Crewe I guessed that a great deal more had happened at Miss Minchin's than I had had time to find out just then. I knew, of course, that there must have been chapters full of things going on all the time; and when I began to make a play out of the books and called it A Little Princess, I discovered three acts full of things...After the play of A Little Princess was produced in New York, and so many children went to see it and liked Becky and Lottie and Melchisedec, my publishers asked me if I could not write Sara's story over again and put into it all the things and people who had been left out before."  Frances Eliza Hodgson Burnett started her writing career before the age of 18 and, due to times of perceived need, continued to write stories and novels throughout her entire life.  When flush, she tended towards the jet-setting life (of her day), traveling between her birth country of England and the US, where she spent much of her married life. She had a fondness for expensive clothing and socializing. When strapped for cash, she would hunker down to her writing and produce another children's story or romantic novel to keep her family going. The results was somewhat mixed, and though most of her work was very popular during her lifetime, it is the children's stories that have captured the imaginations of young girls and boys worldwide and become classics.  

I'll admit that I was one of those girls who fell in love with this book (oh so many ages ago) and imagined what it would be like to live in an attic with no heat, work from dawn to dusk at a back-breaking job and not ever be allowed to touch, much less think about wearing pretty clothes. Of course, when I imagined it, it was dreamily romantic and not starkly realistic with any attendant hunger, cold or child labor issues.  Add in that Shirley Temple's movie made it into a song and dance fest and I was SO there!

These two examples happen to be from the consignment collection I've been mentioning in the last several weeks, but I'll also be including some of the books that I've collected myself in the past several months that will be going to the fair with me.

I'll highlight some more in the next blog entry.

Friday, March 9, 2012

some more consignment books....Scribner's Illustrated Classics

First- a note from my consignor: 

If after seeing the book from my previous blog post about the Delsarte System  (elocution, et al), anyone has a burning interest in old books regarding elocution and oratory -- please let me know.  There are several more boxes of books on this subject available. Unfortunately, their not the cool, illustrated ones with dramatic poses.  The ones that are still tucked away happen to be more... dry.  They do, however, cover a time period from late 1890's through the 1930's  and range from elocution (the way you pronounce things to sound "correct")  and veer off towards linguistics or language acquisition.

And now I'm going to make a plug for Firsts Magazine.

I could have tracked down the information I needed by laborious slogging, but luck and timing were on my side last month when the consignment collection came my way.

To whit:  A subset of the books that came in this collection are from a series called The Scribner's Illustrated Classics.  The lucky thing was that Firsts Magazine issued a wonderful Holiday Issue this last year (December 2011) devoted to the works of N. C. Wyeth, which includes a long, detailed article about his relationship with the Scribner Illustrated Editions.

I did not simply take this information and stop there, mind you.  That would be folly. I took the information I found in this article and used it as a springboard to further research.

Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson (illustrated by N.C. Wyeth)

While Scribner's had had books in a similar format for a number of years (beginning with Eugene Field's Poems of Childhood, illustrated by Maxfield Parrish in 1904), the first formal book in the Scribner's Illustrated Classics is considered Treasure Island, by Robert Louis Stevenson and illustrated by N. C. Wyeth, 1911. 

N.C. Wyeth was not the only illustrator whose work was featured in this bold series, but he did illustrate the largest number of books - 16 - more than any other artist.

The series (by 1911) had a regular format:  Black cloth covers with pictorial pastedown illustrations to the front covers and anywhere from 9-14 interior illustrations in color. Most of the books were originally issued with a dust jacket that included a sizable color illustration (usually the dust jacket illustration matched the front cover illustration, but not always).  These dust jackets are now quite scarce and in some cases very rare. 

Legends of Charlemagne, by Thomas Bulfinch (illustrated by N.C. Wyeth)

 The books themselves, have become collectors items.  Partly that collect-ability is due to the authors whose work was featured. But mostly the collect-ability now comes from the illustrators and the illustrations which are such an integral part of these books.

David Balfour,  by Robert Louis Stevenson (illustrated by N. C. Wyeth)

 Today, several of these books are very difficult to find in early printings (a quick check today showed that modern editions - with or without the original illustrations - are reprinted regularly).  The First Editions, when found in Very Good+ or better condition can range from  three to four figures depending on the author, illustrator and copies available.

Quentin Durward, by Sir Walter Scott (illustrated by C. Bosseron Chambers)

 The book series, begun in 1911, continued on a nearly one-a-year basis through the 1930's though the number of copies issued per book lessened as the depression took hold.  Book titles in the series ranged the gamut from adventure stories, to historical fiction, to westerns, and even poems. Some of the books are true classics of fiction, such as James Fenimore Cooper's The Deerslayer and Daniel Defoe's Robinson Crusoe, while other titles were much more recent, including  John Fox Jr.'s The Little Shepherd of Kingdom Come (published in 1903) and Marjorie Kinnan Rawling's The Yearling (published 1938).

The Black Arrow, by Robert Louis Stevenson (illustrated by N. C.Wyeth)

The books were very popular from the start and were reprinted regularly, though some small changes might occur between printings. Mostly, the number of color plates decreased for the reprint editions.  If the First Edition contained 12-14 color plates, later printings might have 8-9 color plates.  (Probably as a way to save on costs).  Not all reprints were modified and it is not a simple thing to determine First Edition status without some assistance of bibliographies.

The White Company, by A. Conan Doyle (Illustrated by N. C. Wyeth)

The series became so popular that other publishers took note and either worked with Scribners, or cribbed the idea and made their own, even to the point of getting the same illustrators (namely N. C. Wyeth) to work with them. So far I haven't found much information regarding these other illustrated series (haven't had time to yet), but the books were similarly bound, most had pictorial pastedowns on the covers, and in many cases, looked almost identical to the Scribner's books.  The David McKay Company, Cosmopolitan (NY), Houghton Mifflin and even Harper (and Brothers) got in on the act, releasing illustrated editions of classic books during the same time period as Scribner's did - getting in on the craze, as it were.

There's more to the story, of course -- it just happened that the publishers happened to have some of the greatest illustrators in history to work with -- and a buying public that was willing and able to purchase the goods.    And it's lucky for us that the books not only were published, but have survived so that we can enjoy them as well.

(PS:  crass commercial plug here -- the books shown today, in the last blog post, and in any future posts regarding the consignment collection ARE indeed available {on a first come first serve basis}, however they have not yet been posted to my website.  For more information about any of the titles shown here, or any other titles in the consignment, please feel free to email me).

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Consignment update and It's Bookfair time!

 The consignment cataloguing is nearly finished (well, mostly finished, now I'm polishing) which is a good thing, considering that the book fair where the items will debut is coming up in three weeks.

I know I said this before, but the research that goes into putting together this catalogue is, for me, the most exciting, and the most frustrating, part of the job.  My first reaction is always, COOL!!!!  I haven't seen one of those before (or a variation on that emotion), then I head for the references to find out exactly what it is, some background history about the book itself, the author, the illustrator, or even the publisher. The frustrating part comes when I absolutely can NOT find any information regarding points, or details, etc.  (more on that regarding a very specific case in a future blog post)

This group of books mostly consists of illustrated editions. (In layman's terms, that means the illustrations and illustrators have as much or more interest than the actual text).  The majority of books in this consigned collection are youth fiction or picture books and the illustrators included are well known and well loved: N.C. Wyeth,  Howard Pyle, Gelett Burgess, and a few others.  Some of the books, however, don't fit neatly into any niche or genre.

Take, for instance this book:

Northrop, Henry Davenport (compiler and editor): THE DELSARTE SYSTEM OF PHYSICAL CULTURE, EXPRESSION AND ELOCUTION : Containing A Practical Treatise on the Delsarte System of Physical Culture, Including Directions for the Cultivation of the Voice, Correct Attitudes and the Use of Gestures.... c1890. W. S. Reeve Publishing Co.. Chicago, IL. Hardcover. 1st Edition/ 1st Printing. NF /  Illustrated throughout with a combination of line drawing (by an unknown illustrator with examples reminiscent of Charles Dana Gibson), black and white photographs and tinted photographs. The book is broken down into several sections regarding ways to act and react naturally while doing recitations, dramatic interpretation and dance  (and to help one elevate one's position in society by using the correct tone, word usage, etc.)  There is a section which lists the Noms de Plume of various authors , lessons in recitation, descriptive recitations, humorous recitations, pathetic recitations,  recitations for juveniles, encores, dialogues and tableau,etc.  There are a few photographs of famous actors of the day, including Virginia Harned (she famously portrayed George DuMaurier's Tribly on stage and her image is on the 1895 cover of the subsequent book) and Alexander Salvini.  Interestingly, some historians of American dance consider The Delsarte System (the Americanized version of it) to be one of the precursors to American Modern Dance.    

Front Cover

One of the Colored photographs (not-hand colored, though)

Title Page
a couple of the poses.

Or this whackadoodle (and I mean that in the nicest way possible) :

Sonntag, Lincoln: UP-TO-DATE ANIMAL AND OTHER FABLES 1924. Lincoln Sonntag (Self Published). San Francisco, CA. Hardcover. 1st Edition/ 1st Printing. VG+ / VG.   This book was self published by the author in San Francisco, CA.  Little is known about the author, other than that he was a California native, born of immigrant parents in 1858.  He published two books in total, this book of animal fables, and a book of Poetry entitled The Holocaust and Other Poems (1914), He died in 1928, just a few years after this slim book of tales was published.  He did market this particular book -- but not seemingly with great results. The Rochester Herald (N.Y) notes: "Mr. Sonntag issues a collection of a great many fables, in which various humans and animals perform in such manner of foolishness or wisdom that the author may draw a moral conclusion from each tale. Some of them are mildly humorous. If the author would select his best and employ the services of a clever illustrator in colors, the results might be a quite presentable volume."  Damned with faint praise, I think. 

Front cover (dust jacket)

Title page      

There are a few other items that don't categorize well -- I'll get to those as time permits.

In the meantime,  I've started the process of getting prepared for the Sacramento Rare Book Fair which is coming up on March 24th at the Scottish Rite Temple (if you're in the area and would like a free pass, let me know).

For me, book fair preparation is much more than just stuffing books (not really stuffing, mind you) books into boxes and carting them off in the book mobile. For me, book fair preparation is as much mental as physical.

Oh, I do have to get the basic physical bits out of the way  -- Today I denuded two portable bookcases of their "stuff" and folded them up. I intend to have most of the bookcases folded and ready for transport by the end of this week.

And I just this  morning realized that I hadn't started putting new dust jackets on books yet,  which puts me behind my normal schedule by a week or so.  On the other hand, I have completed more of the descriptions to go with the books than I usually have done by this time so I guess it evens out.

Next week is truly the buckle down and get things moving week.

I'll see if I can post photos of the process.

Until then!