Rosenbach Gets Historical Marker

- by Michael Stillman

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Dr. A.S.W. Rosenbach in 1920, from Wolf and Fleming's biography Rosenbach.


By Michael Stillman

The Rosenbach Museum and Library will get an official historical marker from the Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission, with ceremonies to be held on April 2 at 11:00 a.m. The marker will recognize the contributions of the museum's cofounder and perhaps the most notable American bookseller of the 20th century, Dr. A.S.W. Rosenbach. The "Doctor," as he was known, sold practically every important book to every important collector during a career than ran from the turn of the century until his death in 1952.

While Dr. Rosenbach was primarily a bookseller, he also was a collector, and he and his brother Philip determined to leave their collection, store and home at 2008-2010 Delaney Place in Philadelphia to the public. That store/house is now home to the Rosenbach Museum and Library. Among the many important items it now holds are James' Joyce's manuscript for Ulysses and the first known letter written by George Washington. Next month, the Rosenbach will begin a year-long exhibition of material pertaining to children's author Maurice Sendak, and while this was all gathered after the Doctor's lifetime, it is in keeping with tradition, as he was a collector of children's books.

Among those expected to be in attendance at the event are the Historical Commission Chairman Wayne Spilove and Rosenbach's grand-niece Joan W. Keiser. The latter will speak about the contributions of her family. This is a great honor for one of the legends of the rare book field, one we can't help but be pleased to see. There are many historical markers spread across the land, but most seem to commemorate things such as battlefields and the like. It is welcome to see such an honor now bestowed upon one whose life was dedicated to the collecting and preservation of rare and antiquarian books.