Archive for September, 2012

Congratulations Tom Congalton

September 25, 2012 Leave a comment

Tom Congalton of Between the Covers Rare Books, one of the two bookshops that make up The Bookshop in Old New Castle, has been unanimously elected president of ILAB. Read more courtesy of Fine Books & Collections.

A unanimous vote: At the Ordinary General Meeting on 23rd September 2012 in Lucerne the presidents of the 22 national member associations of the International League of Antiquarian Booksellers elected Tom Congalton (United States) as new ILAB President. He succeeds Arnoud Gerits (Netherlands) who served as President from 2010 to 2012. Arnoud Gerits honoured his successor:

“Tom Congalton, over a long period of time, has shown his great commitment to the League and his concise, short but always accurate comments on various topics, his impartial but clever and clear judgements, and his capacity to quickly see and understand the essence of a problem, make him the perfect new President of ILAB. He has been a wonderful Vice- President and I owe him a lot of thanks for his unfailing commitment, support and intelligent contributions to our discussions. To continue the metaphor coined by Adrian Harrington in 2010: the Ship of ILAB is safe in the good hands of Tom.”

Tom Congalton, owner of Between the Covers Rare Books, joined the ILAB Committee in 2006. He is the former editor of the ILAB Newsletter. As chair of the ILAB IT Committee he had been responsible for the launch of the new ILAB website including the ILAB Metasearch in 2009/2010, before he became Vice-President in autumn 2010. With Between the Covers Rare Books, founded in 1985, Tom Congalton is regarded as one of the leading experts in 20th century literature and modern first editions who owns one of the largest rare book inventories in the world comprising over 230.000 books and including 150.000 first editions. The American dealer became a member of the Antiquarian Booksellers’ Association of America (ABAA) in 1990. After terms on the Board of Governors, as Secretary, and as Vice-President of the ABAA, he served as ABAA President from the year 2000 to 2002. For 16 years he also was a member of the Committee of the New York Antiquarian Book Fair. From 2005 to 2010 he lectured at the Colorado Antiquarian Book Seminar, since 2008 he has been teaching at the Rare Book School at the University of Virginia. Tom Congalton is author of numerous excellent articles on book collecting and the antiquarian book trade.

Click here to read the rest of the article.

New books on Delaware history

September 14, 2012 Leave a comment

One of the little known sidelines of Oak Knoll Books is Delaware history. If you are in an historically interesting state and love its history as I do, then your store should certainly reflect that interest. We currently have over 1000 titles in this section of our bookstore at present. And it just grew a lot recently!

We hadn’t purchased a large group of Delaware related items for a number of years but recently purchased three private collections. The largest was just purchased from a long time Delaware resident who was moving from his home in one Delaware town to the quaint town of Arden, Delaware. Arden has its own story as it was founded by Frank Stephens and Will Price in 1900 under the philosophy of Henry George as a single tax community.

The books from the collection have now been processed and added to the other recently purchased collections. Two of the more interesting items were Delaware directories from 1865 and 1898.

And Delaware being what it is, the second smallest state in the union, I experienced the usual “do you know such and such” moment where it turned out that the collector had graduated a few years before me from the University of Delaware’s Chemical Engineering program and knew many of the professors that taught me back in the late 1960s. My first job out of college was at the refinery in Delaware City, Delaware. He had worked there when it was Tidewater before its purchase by Getty Oil. A number of his fellow workers had stayed on after the purchase and I knew them. He got a kick out of some of the stories that I told about the refinery including the one about John Paul Getty’s payphones in his personal English estate house meant to keep his expenses down. ‘Tis a small world.


A brand new review of The Rise and Fall of the Printers’ International Specimen Exchange

September 11, 2012 Leave a comment

Alastair Johnston wrote a nice piece on Booktryst about The Rise and Fall of the Printers’ International Specimen Exchange.

Not all books have a plot, or a beginning and an end. I am not referring to Artists’ books or directories, but rather sample books, like catalogues or salesman’s specimens. And all periodicals have a trajectory: they are born, boom, and then decline and die. The Printers’ International Specimen Exchange, which ran from 1880 to 1896, is a scarce work today, but it is very important in the history of graphic design.

Contribution to Volume X, 1889, by J. Silsbury, Isle of Wight, including imported typefaces Washington & Karnak

The Printers’ International Specimen Exchange demonstrates how an ephemeral publication can have a major impact on aesthetics and the quality of work. It also documents the growth of a movement known as “Artistic Printing” in the USA and “Leicester Freestyle” in England that ultimately gave birth to modernist typography, as seen in the work of Oscar Wilde, J. M. Whistler, and then in the twentieth century, in practitioners like Jan Tschichold, Karel Teige and Jack Stauffacher.

Click here to keep reading.

The Physicality of Books

September 6, 2012 Leave a comment

One of our authors, Joel Silver, has an interesting piece on books as objects up on Fine Books  and Collections.

It’s a Book—Not an App

Have you ever tried to explain book collecting to someone who’s not a collector? This has never been an easy thing to do, but it seems to be much more difficult now than it was just a few years ago. The problem is not that books are unfamiliar objects, or that collecting is seen as an unusual pursuit. Despite increased competition, books can still be found everywhere, and collectors of all kinds are featured on more television shows than ever before. What makes an explanation of book collecting more difficult now is that the main purposes books have served for more than two thousand years—the storage and provision of information—can be achieved today in many other, and often much less expensive, ways.

It was less than a century ago that written and printed materials, such as books, pamphlets, newspapers, magazines, letters, notes, signs, and labels, were the primary sources of information for literate people. There was also speech and gesture, from the instructions given by a parent or teacher to conversations among friends or associates. For the storage and retrieval of information, however, the written and printed word, in its variety of physical manifestations, provided needed information, as well as enjoyable and educational reading experiences.

Click here to keep reading.