Books About Books and Bibliographies
From Oak Knoll Books
Oak Knoll Books' Catalogue 256
By Michael Stillman
Oak Knoll Books, the "books about books" specialist, has recently issued its 256th catalogue. This one is divided into two sections, books about books, and bibliography and reference material. Most of these books are targeted to very specific niches, but there are also some with broader appeal. Here are just a few examples.
Americans are generally only familiar with the American Revolution from one point of view, that of the colonists, but there was another side. Here is the British view from a 1976 exhibition at the (British) National Maritime Museum. The exhibition was called 1776, the British Story of the American Revolution. This book provides an overview of the ideas and battles which were contested, and describes 595 items from the exhibit. Item 9. Priced at $20.
Item 305 is a Washington Irving first edition some Irving collectors may have overlooked. It is unusual since this first edition was printed in 1934, about a century later than most Washington Irving firsts. This is called simply Journal, 1803, and it was taken from a manuscript then in the possession of Mrs. Sheldon Tilney of New York City. It was printed by the Oxford University Press. $55.
Item 220 is a collection of articles on forgery. Entitled Forged Documents, Proceedings of the 1989 Houston Conference, Texas was the perfect setting for such a meeting. Forgeries and stolen books have been a particular problem in the Lone Star State. This book contains 13 articles and 4 discussions on the impact of forgeries on collectors, booksellers, and libraries. $45.
Speaking of forgeries and other nefarious behavior, Item 613 is D.F. Foxon's Thomas J. Wise and the Pre-restoration Drama, a Study in Theft and Sophistication. Wise is well-known for his forgeries, but what is not as well remembered is that he was also a thief. He stole leaves from books in the British Museum to complete volumes missing a page or two in his possession, books he later sold to unsuspecting collectors. $35. Item 614 is Wilfred Partington's Thomas J. Wise in the Original Cloth. This 1946 first edition was the first biographical study of Mr. Wise. There's a note which indicates it originally came from the University of Texas Library in Austin, but we will presume it was removed in the proper manner. $75. To learn more about Wise and a bibliography of Wiseana, see the following article from the August 2004 edition of AE Monthly: www.americanaexchange.com/aemonthly/exhibition_detail.asp?eid=176
For those interested in American libraries at the nation's 100th birthday, item 350 is a circa 1971 reprint of the 1876 Public Libraries in the United States: Their History, Condition, and Management. This three-volume set covered every type of library in existence, from schools, colleges, and law to prisons and reformatories. $125.
Books About Books and Bibliographies
From Oak Knoll Books
For those interested in how the other half lives, there is Paul Mellon's Reflections in a Silverspoon, a Memoir. Paul Mellon was the son of famed banker Andrew Mellon. Despite all the advantages of wealth, young Mellon apparently had an unhappy childhood, "being," in the words of Oak Knoll, "shuttled from mansion to mansion." It was a tough life. He followed his father into banking, but in 1941 resigned his directorships and settled into a life of philanthropy. Item 383. $55.
If you are a librarian, dealer, or collector of rare books, you will want to know how to care for them. Here is a guide: The Care of Fine Books, by Jane Greenfield. It tells you about how books are constructed and how to store, handle, protect, clean and repair them. Item 242. $19.95.
Item 411 is Moveable Feasts by Arnold Palmer. This 1953 title purports to tell about the origins and fluctuations of mealtimes, especially luncheon and afternoon tea. Of course, the name Arnold Palmer would become synonymous with afternoon "tee" instead of "tea" within a few short years of 1953, as he was the world's most famous golfer. The author of this book would appear to be a totally different Arnold Palmer, but expect to find this book lost among the other Arnold Palmer's golfing titles if you ever search for it online. $25.
Among the bibliographies offered is Bibliotheca Americana Nova, or, a Catalogue of Books in Various languages, Relating to America, Printed Since the Year 1700. This would not include everything up to the present since its three volumes were printed in 1835, 1844 and 1846, but it does provide the best bibliography/catalogue of Americana available at the time. Bibliographer Obadiah Rich was primarily a bookseller, and he is noted as the first specialist in Americana. He is credited as the first bookseller to understand the potential value of Americana and assisted some of the earliest collectors, such as John Carter Brown, in building their collections. Interestingly, Rich's shop was located in London. Item 651. $450.
Item 753 is Bibliotheca Americana Vestustissima, a Description of Works Relating to America Published Between the Years 1492 and 1551, Additions. In 1866, Henri Harrisse published his bibliography of very early Americana. In 1872, he published this collection of 186 additional titles missed the first time around. $95.
Item 781 is a five-volume bibliography of one of the most famous libraries ever in America, that of Thomas Jefferson. Jefferson's library would become the foundation of the Library of Congress. E. Millicent Sowerby compiled this Catalogue of the Library of Thomas Jefferson between the years 1952-1959. $750.
For those interested in antiquarian book catalogues, there is the General Catalogue of Books Offered to the Public at the Affixed Prices by Bernard Quaritch, the Supplement: 1875-1877. Described as one of the largest antiquarian book catalogues ever produced, this 1672-page catalogue includes 21,470 entries. Item 871. $275. Item 870 is an earlier and smaller catalogue from the famed London bookseller, dating from 1868, containing only 1130 pages and 12,000 listings. $250.
Oak Knoll Books may be located on the web at www.oakknoll.com and their phone number is 302-328-7232.