Monday, September 22, 2014

The Last Book Sale Care Package


In June 2011, I visited one of the wonders of the book world:  Larry McMurtry's legendary town of books, Archer City, Texas.   With 350,000 books in the town, "Booked Up" was a suitable name for the bookstore.

I bought a few books about books from Building No. 4.  And I misplaced a pamphlet in Building No. 3.  It was about Ben Franklin meeting Samuel Johnson.   But with seven grandchildren residing in Texas (nine, now), I figured I would be spending many a day poring over the bibliographical pamphlets in Building No. 3 sometime in the future.  We planned to spend Christmas 2012 with our grandchildren in Texas.  And a side trip to Archer City was a possibility.

I never made it back to Archer City.  In August 2012,  Addison & Sarova auctioned off the majority of the McMurtry stock in a sale that Mr. McMurtry himself dubbed "The Last Book Sale."

As book luck would have it, two Texas bibliophiles I know were present at The Last Book Sale.  And these two Texans, Kurt Zimmerman and Douglas Adams, bought every single one of the bibliographical pamphlets in Building No. 3!

My wife and I planned two trips for 2014: one to New York in July, and one to Texas in October.  While in Texas, I planned to take a side trip and go pamphleteering in a certain storage unit in Conroe, Texas, where Kurt and Douglas kept the thousands of  bibliographical pamphlets from The Last Book Sale.

My wife and I never made it to New York.  We went to Texas instead.  We spent seven weeks comforting our daughter and her four young children after the tragic death of her husband on July 2nd.

I never made the side trip to Conroe, Texas.  Instead, I asked Kurt and Douglas to choose some books for me, and mail them to my home in Florida.

Kurt and Douglas put some serious thought and effort and heart into their selection of bibliographical pamphlets for my library.  Kurt even called their selection  a "care package."






If these green boxes above look familiar to you, then you have been to Building No. 3 in Archer City!  Yes, Douglas thought it would be most fitting to send the bibliographical pamphlets in three of the very boxes they called home for who knows how many years.

And in the very first green box I unwrapped, I found something that brought home the meaning of Kurt's phrase: "care package."










As there is comfort to be found in old books, there is comfort to be found when a misplaced pamphlet is found and delivered to your very door.   Mere words can't top that.  And I won't even try.

On You Tube, you can view all the bibliographical pamphlets that Kurt Zimmerman and Douglas Adams selected for me.  For best viewing, I recommend you select full screen on the bottom right hand side.

CLICK HERE TO VIEW


You will have a seat at The Last Book Sale with Kurt and Douglas when you read about it in Kurt's blog, American Book Collecting.

And you can view the listings of pamphlets of The Last Book Sale Care Package on Library Thing.


Saturday, August 23, 2014

The Monk, the Bookseller,
and the Manuscript:
Tracking
Lydgate's Boke of the Sege of Troy
Through
Bernard Quaritch's Catalogues


Mr. Quaritch's catalogues are accordingly of great interest to literary men and book collectors, and they are much sought after.
                    The Literary World,
Dec. 1873

I have it on good authority —  from Bernard Quaritch himself  — that he would have preferred his books and manuscripts to be of greater interest to literary men and book collectors than that of his catalogues.  And at one time, he even recommended that his customers destroy their catalogues after making selections from them.  But few collectors, if any, took Mr. Quaritch's advice.  One former owner of a small handlist, dated April 2, 1874, inserted it behind the front cover of a 1947 Quaritch commemorative catalogue.



The former owner wrote on the ffep of the commemorative catalogue that the items listed in the handlist were "priced by Bernard Quaritch himself."



This handlist describes a treasure of "Palæographic, Xylographic, and Typographical Monuments"  that Mr. Quaritch decided to display on private exhibition before dispersing them.



I am familiar with Bernard Quaritch (1819-1899), having more than a handful of catalogues and books by and about him in my library.  But in my research, I could find no mention whatsoever of this handlist or of the April 1874 private exhibition.   What I did discover, however, is that some of the items identified in the handlist were previously offered for sale in a Quaritch catalogue published six months earlier:  Catalogue No. 291, Bibliotheca Xylographica, Typographica et Palæographica.

Catalogue No. 291
link last checked Aug 2014


Here is Quaritch's catalogue listing of the first item on the handlist:  Lydgate's Boke of the Sege of Troy:


At least 14 items identified in the handlist were prevously listed in Bibliotheca Xylographica, Typographica et Palæographica:

17541 Apocalypse 1st ed
17542 Apocalypse 5th ed
17543 Speculum
17546 Catholicon
17567 & 15678 Mentelin's Latin Bibles
17597 Zell's Latin Bible
17997 Homer 1st 1488
18753 Lydgate's Boke
18755 Belial's Law Suit
18782 Madrigals, Ballads and Motetts
18787 Petrarca
18790 Psalterium (mislabeled 18890)
18791 Lancelot du lac (mislabeled 18891)
18792 Koran

There was no lack of publicity concerning Quaritch's catalogue, Bibliotheca Xylographica, Typographica, et Palaeographica:

    The Literary World:  Dec 1873
link last checked Aug 2014

The Publishers Weekly: Feb 7, 1874
link last checked Aug 2014



I rechecked the date of the handlist, thinking it was published on April 2, 1871.  But the last digit, although a poor impression, is definitely a "4."



Moreover, many of the items listed in the handlist, and in Bibliotheca Xylographica, Typographica, et Palaeographica, were acquired in 1873,  either at the Perkins Sale or from the purchase of the non-scientific books from the Royal Society's Norfolk Library.


I was scratching my head as to why Mr. Quaritch would conduct a private exhibition of books and manuscripts that he recently listed in a catalogue.  But a noted bibliophile, highly knowledgeable of the practices of the trade during that period, suggested that the handlist could have been directed toward a different clientele than those who received his catalogue.  Moreover, it was, and still is, customary for booksellers to relist items still available for purchase.

If anything, Bernard Quaritch was thorough to a fault, taking any and all steps to promote his firm and sell his books.  They didn't call him "the emperor of booksellers" for nothing.  Prior to the Perkins Sale, Quaritch published a list of the chief books and manuscripts in the Perkins Library up for auction, and offered his services on commission.

Quaritch's Catalogue of the Perkins Library
link last checked Aug 2014


One of the manuscripts in the Perkins Library was Lydgate's Boke of the Sege of Troy. And in the listing, Quaritch stated that this manuscript "has been supposed to be the identical manuscript presented by Lydgate to King Henry V."   In 1412, Henry, then Prince of Wales, commissioned John Lydgate, a monk from Bury, to compose a poem on the destruction of Troy.  Lydgate completed the manuscript in 1420.  The work proved so popular that Lydgate was commissioned by others to create additional copies of the manuscript.  At least 22 manuscripts of Lydgate's Boke of the Sege of Troy, have been identified, some of which only fragments remain.

Here is Quaritch's listing of the Perkins manuscript of Lydgate's Boke of the Sege of Troy.




The Perkins Sale commenced on June 3, 1873.  Quaritch acquired nearly half the books at the auction.

The Auction Catalogue
link last checked Aug 2014



Here's the auction catalogue listing of Lydgate's Boke of the Sege of Troy.  While the auction cataloguer does not positively identify this copy as the manuscript Lydgate presented to King Henry V, neither does he deny it. But he notes several manuscript entries showing the manuscript to be in the Mundy family as late as 1615.


Quaritch acquired Lydgate's Boke of the Sege of Troy for £1320.  He listed it in the handlist and in Bibliotheca Xylographica, Typographica et Palæographica for £1600.

I wondered how long it took Quaritch to find a buyer for the Perkins manuscript so I decided to track its listings.  The listing of the Perkins manuscript of Lydgate's Boke of the Sege of Troy in Catalogue No. 291 reappeared  in October 1874 when Bernard Quaritch published all his recent catalogues in a collected form, Bernard Quaritch's General Catalogue of Books of 1874

The Perkins manuscript of Lydgate's Boke of the Sege of Troy next appears in July 1877, but with one notable exception.  The cataloguer wrote, "and formerly considered to be the presentation copy to the king."  The cataloguer, probably Quaritch's chief cataloguer, Michael Kerney, extended the listing to three pages, and noted a coat of arms belonging to  Sir William Carrant.  Mr. Quaritch increased the price to £1720.


Catalogue No. 309
link last checked Aug 2014





From November 1874 to  February 1877, Bernard Quaritch published monthly catalogues, and then combined them in October 1877, publishing a massive supplement (1672 pages) to the General Catalogue of 1874, which itself contained 1542 pages.   The Perkins manuscript of Lydgate's Book of the Sege of Troy does not appear in the Supplement.  But I shall make mention of Google's digitation of the Supplement.

When Google Books digitized the NYPL copy of the Supplement, it also digitized an interesting newspaper clipping that a NYPL librarian inserted in the book.


The Supplement
link last checked Aug 2014


 Don't strain your eyes trying to read it!  I typed the newspaper clipping out in its entirety below:



New York Times
Letters To The Editor
Monday, Feb. 11, 1878

Book Collecting
To the Editor of the New York Times

   I trust you will allow me a little space to make some remarks upon an article under the above heading that appeared in the Tribune of Jan. 9               
   In that article my catalogue is stated to be untrustworthy by a writer who advises American book lovers not to buy books upon the faith of my descriptions, but to employ "a pair of impartial eyes" in the person of a London agent who shall examine the volumes, collate them with my catalogue, and act as best suits the interest of his distant friend.  Now, I have but three observations to make upon this magnanimous piece of criticism, and with your permission I will now lay them before the American public:
   1. The author, whose initials are G. W. S., is believed to be a person resident in London and sufficiently well known here as a minor light of American press literature, no less as an agent for transatlantic book-buyers.  If this assumption be correct, and his article bring him a profitable increase of business, he deserves to be complimented on his tact and skillful use of opportunity.  Everything is fair in war, according to the adage, and a perpetual hostility exists between the book-seller and the middleman who obstructs direct intercourse with the book-buyer.  The latter has naturally to remunerate his agent, but the agent expects a further gratification from the dealer ; failing which he sometimes supplies, from a different source, cheaper and inferior copies of the books which he may have been commissioned to buy.
   2. If the article in question had been written by an American savant or book-lover on his return from a trip to Europe, I should have endeavored to ascertain the exact cause of his discontent, and to explain it, if possible, before appealing openly to the justice of the American people. In the present instance, I can determine no motive beyond the jealousy of a virtual rival, which could have prompted such an attack upon my catalogue and myself.
    3. Error is incident to all human affairs, and I do not pretend to exemption from this universal law.  Consequently, there must be, and are many inaccuracies in my catalogues ; but I confidently ask the great body of book-buyers from Boston to San Francisco, to absolve me from the calumnious charge of writing false descriptions, and to grant that I can boast of at least average correctness in what I say concerning the editions and copies of books which I offer them. It may be asserted that those who are discontented with the result of direct purchase take warning but make no complaint. A pretty large experience assures me of the contrary, and also of the fact that, as a general rule, buyers find my books quite, equal to their expectations. Furthermore, and as a final discomfiture to my assailant, (who will excuse me if, in reference to his signature, I style him homo trium literarum,) I beg to say that my practice is to allow any customer who finds that a book ordered by him has been improperly described, the liberty of returning it and reclaiming his money.
                                                         BERNARD QUARITCH
               No. 15 Piccadilly, London, Wednesday, Jan. 23, 1878

Quaritch was responding to an article which appeared in the Jan 9, 1878 issue of the New York Daily Tribune.  Homo trium literarum, by the way, is a classic way of calling a mean "a thief."  The phrase, in latin, means "man of three letters."  And the latin word for thief is fur.  

You can view the  Tribune article in its entirety at FultonHistory.com (scroll left)



The Perkins manuscript of Lydgate's Boke of the Sege of Troy, still unsold,  appears in Catalogue No. 332,  Catalogue of Manuscripts, Miniatures, & Drawings, Nov. 1880.   And it reappears as the lead-off catalogue of Quaritch's General Catalogue of Books of 1880, an enormous catalogue of 2395 pages:

Catalogue No. 332
link last checked Aug 2014

The listing of the Perkins manuscript of Lydgate's Boke of the Sege of Troy is essentially the same as the July 1877 listing.





There is no title page per se for the General Catalogue of 1880.  But the last listing in the 1880 catalogue is a listing for the catalogue itself, part of which is displayed below:


There was no lack of publicity for this general catalogue either, with numerous articles printed, including one in the April 1881 issue of Notes and Queriesand another in the January 1882 issue of The Bibliographer.


The Perkins manuscript of Lydgate's Boke of the Sege of Troy next appears in a shortened version in Feb. 1882 in Catalogue No. 342, Catalogue of Romances of Chivalry.  The reader is referred to Quaritch's Catalogue of Manuscripts [Cat. No. 332] for a more complete listing.


Catalogue No. 342
link last checked Aug 2014





And that is the last time the Perkins manuscript of Lydgate's Boke of the Sege of Troy appears in a Quaritch catalogue — at least in this blog post.  I wouldn't be surprised if a search of the Bernard Quaritch archives turned up additional catalogue listings of this manuscript.

Sometime in 1882, James Ludovic Lindsay, 26th Earl of Crawford, a noted collector of early printed books and manuscripts, purchased the Perkins manuscript of Lydgate's Boke of the Sege of Troy from Bernard Quaritch.   It had taken Quaritch nine years, at least one handlist, at least four catalogue (291, 309, 332, 342), and several general catalogues to sell the manuscript.

Lord Crawford exhibited a number of his early books and manuscripts while giving a talk before the Lancashire and Cheshire Antiquarian Society in Nov. 1883, including his copy of Lydgate's Boke of the Sege of Troy.


I like that last sentence:  An interesting volume might be written on this manuscript.  Indeed, a number of books have been written which included scholarly views of this manuscript, particularly Bibliotheca Lindesiana, written by Nicolas Barker and published by the firm of Bernard Quaritch for the Roxburghe Club in 1977.

Lord Crawford sold the Perkins manuscript of Lydgate's Boke of the Sege of Troy to Mrs. Enriqueta Rylands in 1901.  And this manuscript, now identified as English MS 1, is in the John Rylands Library at the University of Manchester.

This library has an interesting web page about English MS 1, as well as a blog post about the digitation of the manuscript.  And thanks to the University of Manchester, I can post the image of Lydgate presenting The Boke of the Sege of Troy to King Henry V:

Copyright of the University of Manchester

In the Bigynnyng:  English MS 1
link checked Aug 2014


More images of English MS 1:  http://enriqueta.man.ac.uk/luna/servlet/s/5tz07b



ADDENDUM
08/25/14

         subject:  the boke of troy
Dear Jerry, 
I suspect that the G.W.S. who assailed Quaritch in the New York Tribune was the Tribune’s London correspondent George William Smalley. You also illustrate the entry from Quaritch’s Catalogue 342 (i.e. part IV of the General Catalogue). I attach a scan of my own copy of this catalogue, formerly owned by the Earl of Crawford, and appreciatively characterized. There are a few notes and one or two ticks (of interest?) but nothing for The Boke of Troy. (Peter Howard) Serendipity Books and myself jointly bought the remaining stock and reference library of Bill Wreden some 20 years ago, and this was one item I kept for myself — too good to sell!
Yours sincerely,
Ian Jackson, Berkeley




Wednesday, July 9, 2014

In Memoriam:
Jamie Ryan DeJaynes


There are over 3,000 books in My Sentimental Library. But all we see are empty bookshelves for now.




Because the man who built my library has died.




Jamie Ryan DeJaynes
Oct 17, 1975—July 2, 2014




In time, My Sentimental Library will become a family memorial of sorts, commemorating the life of Jamie DeJaynes, the late husband of my daughter, Anita DeJaynes; and the father of four of my grandchildren:
Emma, now almost two;
Dylan, nine;
Hannah, seven;
and Noah, five.


A Native American Prayer

I Give You This One Thought


I give you this one thought to keep—
I am with you still — I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow,
I am the diamond glints on snow,
I am the sunlight on ripened grain,
I am the gentle autumn rain.

When you awaken in the morning's hush,
I am the sweet uplifting rush,
Of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night.

Do not think of me as gone—
I am with you still in each new dawn.


Wednesday, June 25, 2014

My Books
About
The English Book Trade



No great trade has an obscurer history than the book trade. It seems to lie choked in mountains of dust which it would be suicidal to disturb. Men have lived from time to time of literary skill—Dr. Johnson was one of them—who had knowledge, extensive and peculiar of the traditions and practices of 'the trade' as it is proudly styled by its votaries; but nobody has ever thought it worth his while to make record of his knowledge, which accordingly perished with him, and now is irrecoverably lost.
    Augustine Birrell, "Old Booksellers," In the Name of the Bodleian


I have a high regard for Augustine Birrell, politician, barrister, and author.  And I have many of the books he wrote, and some of the books he owned.  But his viewpoint concerning the history of  the book trade surprised me.  I was under the impression that more than a few bookmen shared their knowledge of "the trade" before his book, In the Name of the Bodleian, was published in 1905 — and even before Birrell's essay on old booksellers first appeared in the March 29, 1890 issue of The Speaker.  Dr. Johnson himself shared his knowledge of the book trade in his March 12, 1776 letter to the Rev. Dr. Weatherell.

Frank A. Mumby, in the preface to his 1910 book, The Romance of Book Selling, wrote:
My reason for offering this work is that no one else has attempted to write an adequate history of English bookselling and publishing.
Indeed, there are only a few biographies of booksellers or publishers listed in the 1896 edition of Sonnenschein's The Best Books: A Reader's Guide.

The Best Books




The OED


For the purposes of this blog post, I consider the book trade to include stationers, chapmen, booksellers, printers, publishers, and auctioneers.

The OED


The Oxford English Dictionary tells us that the term, bokeseller, was first used in print in 1527.  Prior to that, a vendor of books was known as either a stationer (stationarii in Europe) or an itinerant tradesman.  A  stationer was basically a contractor who hired scribes, illuminators, bookbinders, and other book artisans to produce the manuscripts and books he wanted to sell.  In England, a stationer was usually located in a small shop near a university, while an itinerant tradesman wandered about the countryside selling his books and other wares.  I touched upon the itinerant tradesman, also known as a chapman, in my blog post about Chapbooks last December.

Click on the Links Above the Images
To View Listings of the Books on Library Thing


A Directory of London Stationers and Book Artisans 1300-1500


The book pictured above contains an alphabetical directory of stationers and  book artisans of the early book trade in London from 1300 to 1500.  The author, C. Paul Christianson,  notes that some of the stationers wore more than one hat, being either bookbinders, limners or textwriters as well.

Printing in England in the Fifteenth Century


An updated version of E. Gordon Duff's 1917 bibliography of the works printed by William Caxton, Wynkyn De Worde, Richard Pynson, and more.   With "Supplementary Descriptions, Chronologies, and a Census of Copies."   As a member of The Bibliographical Society, I received a copy of this book as part of my subscription.

William Caxton & His Work


George Parker Winship knew quite a bit about William Caxton and his works, gaining his knowledge from several scholars.  Francis Jenkinson, Cambridge University Librarian, introduced Winship to Caxton's Bruges.  Gordon Duff guided him through the Althorp Caxtons at the Bodleian.  Seymour De Ricci told him about the provenance history of Caxton works.  And Alfred Pollard lightly edited Winship's January 1908 paper on William Caxton that Winship read at a meeting of The Club of Odd Volumes.  Pollard then sent it to Cobden-Sanderson to be printed for The Club of Odd Volumes.   That paper is printed in its entirety in this book, along with a thirty-three page Letter to The Book Arts Club of the University of California, dated March 1937, which provided additional information about Caxton and his works.   Caxton Scholarship at its best!

Valentine Simmes


Valentine Simmes was the printer to Drayton, Shakespeare, Chapman, Greene, Dekker, Jonson, Marlowe, and other Elizabethans.   The book contains descriptions and illustrations of Simmes's type fonts, ornaments, and watermarks.

Small Books and Pleasant Histories


In her book, Margaret Spufford gives us other names for chapbooks:  Small Godly Books, Small Merry Books, Double Books, and Histories.  She tells us about the distribution and sale of these books, and even their contents.  Included in the book is a chapter on Samuel Pepys's Collection of Chapbooks.

Three Centuries of English Booktrade Bibliography


In the 1890s, Adolf Growoll, Managing Editor of The Publishers' Weekly, was writing a book on book trade bibliography; but he soon realized he had too much material for one book.  So he wrote two of them, one on English book trade bibliography and one on American book trade bibliography.  I have the 1968 Holland Press reprint of Growell's extensive essay on English book trade bibliography, first published in 1903.    Highlights of Growoll's essay include the first English catalogue, which was issued by Maunsell in 1595, and the Term Catalogues, which were issued by Starkey and Clavel from 1668 to 1709.   The book also contains "A List of the Catalogues Published for the Use of the English Booktrade 1595-1902," compiled by Wilberforce Eames.

Sketches of Some Booksellers Of the Time of Doctor Johnson


Many of the booksellers of Johnson's time were publishers too, and probably sold more new books than old ones:  Millar, Davies, Lintot, Dodsley, Nichols, and Cave, to name a few.  But the first bookseller listed in the book, Samuel Johnson's father, Michael Johnson (1656-1731), didn't publish much.  Marston says he may have published two books.   Michael Johnson had his own bookshop, and sold many of his books at village auctions.   The books in Samuel Johnson's Undergraduate Library most likely came from his father's bookshop, and offer an interesting glimpse of the stock, several books of which were published in the 1500s.   Aleyn Lyell Reade included a list of the books in Johnson's Undergraduate Library in Appendix K of Johnsonian Gleanings, Part V, first published in London in 1928 and reprinted in New York by Octagon Books in 1968.

Johnsonian Gleanings Part V


With Reade's Appendix K as a guide, I catalogued Johnson's Undergraduate Library on Library Thing in 2010.

Dr. Johnson's Printer
The Life of William Strahan


William Strahan (1715-1785) was not only Johnson's printer.  He was the King's printer, and the printer for Adam Smith, Edward Gibbon, and David Hume. And in the 1760s, he was Benjamin Franklin's printer.



Memoirs of the Forty-Five First Years
of the Life of James Lackington, Bookseller


James Lackington (1746-1816)  should be known as "the father of the remainders."  It had long been the practice in the book trade to keep a small portion of remainders, sell them at full price, and destroy the rest.  Instead, Lackington began buying up the remainders and selling them at reduced prices.  In his memoirs, he boasted of selling more than one hundred thousand volumes annually.  Lackington's memoirs were quite popular, having gone through ten editions between 1791 and 1795.  I have a later edition dated 1830.


The Profession of Letters

An excellent study of how publishers worked with authors to get books published during the period 1780-1832.


Books and Book Collectors


Part Five of this book is titled "One Bibliographical Sermon," and contains the Windsor Lecture John Carter delivered at the University of Illinois in 1951, part of which you can view  below:



The Book Trade & its Customers


A festschrift of historical essays in honor of Ruth Myers, half on the book trade, and the other half on its customers.

The Dublin Book Trade


The Dublin book trade was a strong competitor of the English book trade, publishing cheaper pirate editions of popular works, sometimes within weeks of the publication of the London editions.

The Book-Hunter in London


I post the Table of Contents just to show you what Roberts covers in his book.  I particularly like his chapters on book auctions and book-hunting localities (1890s).



You'll find the illustration, "A Field Day at Sotheby's" showing the booksellers of the day in Robert's book.  You'll also find it as the frontispiece to W. Carew Hazlitt's book, The Book Collector.



The Book Collector


Here's Hazlitt's viewpoint of "the trade."



The Romance of Book-Collecting


The chapter, "Some Hunting-Grounds of London," gives a glimpse of the secondhand book trade in London before and during this period.  The 17 Nov 1898 issue of The Academy provides an excellent review of this chapter.



The Autolycus of the Bookstalls


Walter Jerrold's chapter, "Some Kerbstone Libraries," attracted my attention, and that's why I bought the book.  And here's a review from the July 1903 issue of The London Quarterly Review:



The Romance of Modern First Editions




One chapter on hunting grounds for bargains (1920s).




Out of Print & Into Profit


This book contains 414 pages and I read every one of them at least once.   There are 22 chapters under four topics written by the best in the book trade:
1.  Buying:  How the Trade Acquired Its Stock
2.  Selling:  How the Trade Sold Books
3.  Creating Fashions and Changing Tastes
4.  Personalities:  A Trade of Individualists


Clegg's Directory of Booksellers


Excellent for researching names and addresses of old booksellers.  First published in the late 1880s and lasting until at least the early 1940s.

Dealers in Books

A directory of secondhand and antiquarian book dealers in the British Isles in the 1950s.  Lists the specialties of the booksellers.


Bookshops of London


The third edition of this book was published in 1987.  I wish I had a copy of this book when I was stationed at RAF Mildenhall, about 75 miles north of London in the late 1980s.   I browsed and bought at more than a few of them.  But there are some I wasn't aware of.

PBFA Catalogue


Faith Legg, Proprietor of the Guildhall Bookroom in Eye, was a mentor to this newbie book collector, and kept me supplied with the PBFA list of booksellers each year I was stationed in England.   Almost every weekend, my wife and I would roam the countryside, visiting the bookstores listed in this catalogue.

All London


I found this book in a local thrift store here in Florida.  And it found a perfect way to say "buy me."  When I took this book off the shelf, it opened to the page where the ribbon marker was:  BOOKSELLERS:  Antique and Rare.

The Chambers Brothers

 A memoir of Robert Chambers with "autobiographic reminiscences" of William Chambers.  Both were booksellers first, with Robert turning to writing, and William turning to printing, editing and publishing.



Bernard Quaritch Centenary


This commemorative catalogue contains an enlightening portrait study of Bernard Quaritch (1819-1899) by his daughter Charlotte Quaritch Wrentmore.

Foyles Bookshop


A feel-good story about two brothers who started selling text books from their home, and then built a book business.

Walter T. Spencer, Bookseller


A lot of familiar names fill the list of Spencer's customers at 27 New Oxford Street:  Frederick Locker-Lampson, Augustine Birrell, Austin Dobson, Kermit Roosevelt,  Oscar Wilde, Sir Richard Burton, Aubrey Beardsley, and Andrew Lang, to name a few.  An excellent read!

The next book needs no introduction.


84 Charing Cross Road


Sheila Markham's Bookseller Interviews


Straight from the horse's mouth!  Words about the book trade from the book trade!  Interviews of 50 booksellers in the first book, and 31 booksellers in the second book.

A History of Booksellers: 
The Old and The New


Curwen's title is deceiving.   To me, these booksellers are better known as publishers:    Tonson, Longman, Constable, Cadell, Black, Murray, Blackwood, Chambers, Knight, Rivington, Nisbet, Moxon.

Reminiscences of
Literary London 1779-1853


Thomas Rees and John Britton reminiscence about the booksellers, publishers and authors they met.  They divide Literary London into three sections:  Paternoster Row, Fleet Street, and the Strand.  And they recount anecdotes about some of the great names in the book trade:  The Rivingtons, The Longmans, Alexander Chalmers, Thomas Hurst, H. G, Bohn,  John Murray, William Pickering, and Thomas Caddell to name a few.

Fleet Street In Seven Centuries


The first words in the Forward of this book are "Fleet Street is all Newspapers."  But before there were newspaper journalists, there were printers and booksellers.



Memories:  C. Kegan Paul 


In its review of C. Kegan Paul's book, in the Dec 9, 1899 issue, The Publishers' Circular and Booksellers' Record provides an insight into why some bookmen haven't shared their knowledge of the traditions and practices of the trade:



Essays in the History of Publishing
in Celebration of the 250th Anniversary 
of the House of Longman 1724-1974


In his introduction, the historian Asa Briggs mentions that when Curwen wrote his History of Booksellers, he had done little research and did not have access to "buried documentary material about the history of publishing."  He continued:
A hundred years later the history of bookselling and publishing, for long directly related activities, remains neglected.
Scholarly yet readable essays about publishing abound in this book.  A case study of Disraeli's Endymion provides an insight into the world of publishing.   Essays include the publishing of Shakespeare, children's books, sports books, and paperback books.  There is even an essay titled "Beyond the Book," which explores the impact of cinema, radio, and television on the book industry.

The First John Murray


An excellent biography covering the public and private life of the first of seven John Murrays.  Included in the book is a checklist of over 1,000 Murray publications from 1768 to 1795.   In referring briefly to the Second John Murray, William Zachs wrote:
The age of the bookselling publisher, in which his father had advanced so stalwartly, had almost come to an end.  But the house of Murray would endure.
Endure, it did.  In my own library, I have nine lists of books published by the House of Murray from 1836 to 1897.



Here are some images of a few publishing houses where a publisher was nothing but a publisher.

The House of Macmillan 1843-1943


Memoir of Daniel Macmillan


William Heinemann:  A Memoir


The House of Cassell 1848-1958


And finally, here's a book about a distant relative of a young American journalist who didn't fare too well in the English book trade.


The Bankrupt Bookseller Speaks Again




This book was not written by a young American journalist.  Nor was it written by an English bookseller.  It was written by the Scottish politician and author, Sir William Young Darling (1885-1962). 

But it sure reads like it was written by a bookseller!
      I like the place. It is a bookshop.
     It has shelves with books on them—two counters facing each other—two windows to the street—a door in the centre—steps up—these are proper—one rises in the world when one enters a bookshop—and a good back shop behind.
    Where would I have done better? Where would this lost dog have gone? I was right to come here.
     This is my trade. This is my calling—keeping a bookshop.
     The only fly in the ointment is that I keep the shop and keep the books.
     I can only keep the shop by selling the books.
     I will not be a book keeper. That is a poor business.
     I will—I must—be a book seller.