A Day at the Auction

August 15, 2013 Leave a comment
Some of the LECs Bob brought home

Some of the LECs Bob brought home

So when was the last time you were in Ithaca, NY? I decided on the spur of the moment to go to the National Book Auction’s August sale last weekend, as there was an interesting mix of older books, private press, and books from the Limited Editions Club. I had never met David Hall, the owner, but gave him a call and he steered me to a nice place to stay (La Tourelle). The books were available for viewing on Saturday, so I made the 5 hour drive through heavy rain in the Poconos to get there in time for a long look. I found out that the older books had come from my old friend Norman Kane who had passed away in March.

The sale started at 12 on Sunday and lasted about three and a half hours. The auction house is at the forefront of technology with real time online bidding through Artfact, which added to the excitement of the normal audience, phone, and mail bidding.  I managed to get 64 of the lots including Norman’s bookpress, which I shall keep for myself as a reminder of him. I had a three hour dinner with David that night where we solved every bookselling problem in the world plus some. Then it was back to Delaware on Monday morning after lots of packing and a brief visit to John Spencer at Riverow Bookshop who is always worth seeing. Now stay tuned for many new additions to our stock!

Norman Kane's bookpress

Norman Kane’s bookpress

Categories: Oak Knoll Books Tags: , ,

Review of William Stafford: An Annotated Bibliography

August 6, 2013 Leave a comment

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This book is a wonder and a wonderful place to wander if you like William Stafford’s work. It is also a wonder of the bibliographer’s art. Stafford’s production was immense and keeping track of it a daunting task.

Recently, Oak Knoll Press and Lewis & Clark College’s William Stafford: An Annotated Bibliography was reviewed in the Spring/Summer 2013 issue of the Friends of William Stafford newsletter. It is a glowing review that captures the importance of this bibliography for those interested in William Stafford.

For anyone interested in the work of William Stafford, this book is a browser’s dream. The index, seventy pages long, lists so many poems, essays, magazines, anthologies, presses, broadsides, and people’s names, each entry a story in itself, it is truly astonishing. One could get lost, which I can testify to, and find oneself hours later, more informed and having formed an even more profound respect for Stafford’s stature. This is a truly multi-dimensional book.

William Stafford (1914-1993) was one of the most prolific and important American poets of the last half of the twentieth century. During his lifetime, Stafford wrote over sixty books of poetry that still resonate with a wide range of readers. In this bibliography, one will find descriptions of Stafford’s work, from his books, to his contributions in magazines, to his translations of other poets’ works. The Friends of William Stafford newsletter review summarizes each section of the bibliography and gives several examples of what one will find within the covers of the book.

The past (his work), the present (the physical book), and the future (the ability to assess his stature) cohere in this hefty and handsome book. It is a major contribution toward the appreciation and understanding of William Stafford’s work and its resonance through time.

To read the entire review, email publishing@oakknoll.com to request a pdf copy. You can order William Stafford: An Annotated Bibliography online here!

The dimensionality of this book comes from the way it gathers the past, visually realizes the present, and offers the future the opportunity to form itself. This is his legacy in the sense that it catalogues his gift and enables it. It glows because it contains within its covers the past, the present, and the future of William Stafford, poet and thinker.

Interview and Blog by William S. Peterson

July 3, 2013 Leave a comment

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William S. Peterson, author of The Beautiful Poster Lady: A Life of Ethel Reed, recently gave an interview with Nate Pedersen of Fine Books & Collections. It even includes images of some of her posters! Below you’ll find some excerpts.

Additionally, Dr. Peterson started a blog all about Ethel Reed. It gives a short introduction to who she is and what she did, and the numerous posts include images of both her work and herself, some not included in his book! It also includes some images that are in the book, but appear in color in in the blog. Below you’ll see three such images, interspersed with the interview excerpts.

According to the introduction, the aims of the Ethel Reed blog are to “(a) to assemble images of, and information about, all her known published work, (b) to put together a compilation of all the existing images of the artist herself, and (c) to report on new information about her life and career as it comes to light.” There are already over 150 posts on the blog; categories include Images of Ethel Reed, Illustrations (books), Illustrations (periodicals), Cover Designs, and more. Read through all of the interesting posts, and keep checking back for new information and more images of Ethel and her work!

  • Check out the full interview here.
  • Find the Ethel Reed blog here.
  • Buy The Beautiful Poster Lady here!

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So, let’s start at the beginning — who was Ethel Reed?

She was a Boston poster artist who achieved international recognition in the 1890s when she was only twenty-one. This happened to her almost overnight, and newspapers and magazines were soon describing her as the foremost woman graphic designer in America. I decided to write a biography of her because her posters (and book illustrations) are so distinguished — but also because her personal life was so mysterious. She was a woman of many secrets.
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What characteristics distinguish her work?

Her contemporaries noticed immediately that there was some resemblance to Aubrey Beardsley’s work. In almost all of her posters there is a solitary female figure, often brooding over a book, with a billowing gown and, in the background, enormous, almost menacing flowers. Ethel Reed’s women seem to be in a meditative mood, but at the same time they are subtly erotic figures.
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A New York Times Article on “Gardening by the Book”

June 19, 2013 Leave a comment

116839A recent New York Times article describes the Grolier Club’s exhibition, “Gardening by the Book: Celebrating 100 Years of the Garden Club of America,” running now through July 27. For two years Oak Knoll has been the distributor of books for the Grolier Club, and the accompaniment to this exhibition is no exception. The article describes some of the intriguing images and themes from the exhibition, including some from the oldest book in the show: a 1612 catalog of bulbs and flowers by Emmanuel Sweert. Below you’ll find excerpts from the article along with some images from the book.

Check out the full article here

Buy the book here! 

“Organized by the writer and art historian Arete Warren,“Gardening by the Book: Celebrating 100 Years of the Garden Club of America” presents more than 125 illustrated volumes about flowers and gardening, dating from the early 17th to the mid-20th century. All are from the Garden Club of America Library, of which Ms. Warren is chairman.”

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“Live flowers have a lot going for them. Even the most common example can strike you as a natural, inherently beautiful work of art, whomever or whatever you may credit for creating it. Pictures of flowers, on the other hand, can be intriguing for what they reveal about human intellectual history.”

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“Sweert’s book is open to a page depicting 10 varieties of tulips in color, suggesting how Sweert’s opus may have been an early impetus for Tulipmania, the early-17th-century craze that caused the prices of tulip bulbs to soar to absurd heights.”

The newest Oak Knoller: Peggy

March 14, 2013 Leave a comment

Hello!

I am new to Oak Knoll, my name is Peggy and I’m frequently your first point of contact.  I create invoices  of book orders as they come in through our website, phone, fax, and emails; I answer the phones, route calls, process payments for the invoices, and other assorted duties as assigned.  I really enjoy talking to customers on the phone, greeting visitors to our store, and generally being with like-minded book-passionate people.

I’m new to the book business but have always had a love for books and the written word.  I’ve landed this dream job at Oak Knoll where I’m surrounded by antiquarian books in a beautiful old building with classical music playing in the background.  When I’m not at work I enjoy a quiet home life with my husband.  We enjoy gardening, walking, shopping, computers, and spending time with our families both near and far.

I hope to grow old with Oak Knoll, it is a gem of a place to visit and work.  Please come visit if you have a chance, I would love to meet you and put a “face to the name” on the invoice.

16th ILAB Breslauer Prize for Bibliography

February 4, 2013 Leave a comment

ILAB LogoThe call is out for submissions to the 16th ILAB Breslauer Prize for Bibliography. Publishers, librarians, collectors, antiquarian booksellers and all book lovers have until the end of April 2013 to submit books to the prize. The prize will be awarded in 2014 to a book (or books) published between 2009 and 2012. Books in any language from anywhere in the world covering any aspect of bibliography (e.g. enumerative, textual, history of the book, design, binding, book trade, etc.) are welcome.

You can learn more about the prize, its history, and submission guidlines here, and see a list of this year’s submitted books here. (Our submissions aren’t up yet, but they will be when our books reach the prize secretary!)

A prize with prestige and tradition, a strong support for scholarship: The ILAB Breslauer Prize for Bibliography of $10,000 US is awarded every fourth year to the authors of the most outstanding works on the history of the book. Famous scholars like Jean Peeters-Fontainas, I. C. Koeman and Anthony Hobson belong to the prize winners alongside Lotte Hellinga and Jan Storm van Leeuwen who were honoured with the 15th Prize in September 2010. Both, Lotte Hellinga’s monumental Catalogue of Books printed in the XVth Century now in the British Library, BMC. Part XI – England and Jan Storm van Leeuwen’s opus magnum on Dutch Decorated Bookbinding in the Eighteenth Century are shining examples for the enormous amount of knowledge – and work – which stands behind such brilliant studies in a scientific field that is essential for every kind of academic research, and for the rare book trade.

Rob’s trip to Washington D.C.

December 13, 2012 Leave a comment

Late last month, I conducted the first of several trips to various libraries and institutions planned for our fiscal year 2012–2013.

Destination: Washington D.C.

Starting off early in the morning, I began my drive down to the Hotel Harrington. Driving on the nightmare known as the Washington Beltway was surprisingly pleasant and I made great time. With some time to spare, I freshened up and started my walk, past the White House, towards George Washington University’s campus where I met with Brad Sabin Hill, curator of the I. Edward Kiev Judaica Collection at the Gelman Library. After showing me around the beautiful top floor of the library, we discussed future exhibitions that will be occurring at the library. Afterwards, we took a break for a late lunch at a lovely French bistro (my favorite cuisine) and parted ways shortly thereafter.

It was then time for some fun and, since I’m a huge basketball fan, I decided to take the plunge and attend a Washington Wizards game. Luckily enough for me, I got to see the Wizards win their first game of the 2012-2013 season (they should pay me to attend the games now). Afterwards, I had a late dinner at Graffiato, which is the restaurant owned by Top Chef Winner Mike Isabella. I was really interested in going to this restaurant, not for Isabella or Top Chef, but because Isabella’s cookbook Crazy Good Italian was co-written by my favorite food blogger Carol Blymire. If you like food, you would love her current blog Alinea at Home, as well as her past blog (and 2007 winner for best food blog), French Laundry at Home.

The next morning I met with curator of the Rosenwald collection at the Library of Congress, Dan De Simone. I had never been to the Library of Congress before, so I was pretty excited. He gave me a VERY detailed tour of the Rare Books Collection, as well as the numerous exhibitions that they had displayed. If you haven’t been to the LoC, I highly recommend going, as it is certainly a beautiful building, inside and out. After our relaxing lunch, he gave me a copy of his Seven Perspectives of the Woodcut and personally inscribed it as a memento of my first visit to “the big house (LoC).” After saying our final goodbyes, we parted ways and thus ended my adventure in Washington D.C.

-Rob

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