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Oak Knoll books in review

February 8, 2012 Leave a comment

Check out some recent reviews of publications from Oak Knoll!

Ernest Hemingway: A Descriptive Bibliography by C. Edgar Grissom

A massive, near definitive resource that goes places I have never traveled with any other bibliography. Grissom’s scholarship is breathtaking. Oak Knoll Press has touted it as ‘sure to be the definitive resource for Hemingway collectors, scholars and libraries for years to come,’ and I see no reason why it won’t.”– Craig Stark, BookThink

He has been scrupulous in identifying previous omissions and he has corrected the errors of earlier bibliographers. This exemplary study now stands as a solid foundation for future Hemingway scholarship. That it will soon be superseded is difficult to imagine. One last observation: while this title’s price may appear daunting, it has been my experience that making use of reference volume just once often justifies its purchase. I have my copy. Get yours.” –Ralph Sipper, ABAA

“The Good Education of Youth”: Worlds of Learning in the Age of Franklin edited by John H. Pollack

A remarkable collection that successfully combines scholarly articles, an exhibition catalogue, and a photographic essay within its covers. The images in the book reinforce the value of using material culture to understand the historical past, and they give life to the subjects discussed in the essays. Overall, this book is a “must have” for those interested in the educational, social, and cultural history of early America.”–Keith Pacholl, Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography

Series Americana: Post Depression-Era Regional Literature, 1938-1980: A Descriptive Bibliography by Carol Fitzgerald

Fitzgerald’s descriptions for each entry are extraordinarily detailed. The entries are models of technique for twentieth century books. The eight pages of color plates are especially welcome and help to capture some of the charm of the books themselves, many of which were attractively designed and printed. In short, Series Americana, exhaustively researched and painstakingly written, is an essential tool for all research libraries and will provide ample rewards for the librarian, the collector, and the student of American publishing history.”–Russell L. Martin III, SHARP News

Printed Cookbooks in Europe 1470-1700 by Henry Notaker

It will, I am sure, become a collector’s item in its own right for it is a handsome volume, well printed in a pleasing font on cream-coloured paper with each entry well set out. The bibliographic content of each entry is meticulous and will be of great service to everyone whose research involves cookbooks. At the back are lists of bibliographical reference works, libraries, and background literature. Four indices, arranged under names, chronology, and geography, cover all the ways one might want to use the book.”–Malcolm Thick, Petits Propos Culinaires

Aun Aprendo: A Comprehensive Bibliography of the Writings of Aldous Leonard Huxley by David J. Bromer

This volume is unquestionably a valuable resource. The book is extremely well typeset and the use of a grey rule admirably breaks up descriptions. There are also thirteen full-page colour and two full-page black and white illustrations and a magnificent dust-jacket.” –Philip W. Errington, Book Collector

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Some Recent Reviews

October 6, 2011 Leave a comment

Check out these excellent reviews of books published or distributed by Oak Knoll Press that have been recently featured in some of the leading journals in the field of books.

Other People’s Books: Association Copies and the Stories They Tell

Other People’s Books: Association Copies and the Stories They Tell is the ultimate book about books: richly illustrated essays about famous association copies of rare books. Bibliophiles can only be grateful for such an artistically produced, scholarly, entertaining book on tell-tale copies that continues to be, in the digital half-world, still filled with devotion and awe for the printed book. —Pradeep Sebastian, The Hindu

Aun Aprendo: A Comprehensive Bibliography of the Writings of Aldous Leonard Huxley by David Bromer—

Aun Aprendo was obviously assembled with ease of use in mind. Pages are uncrowded and crisply presented, with generous spacing and margens. Collectors, librarians, and booksellers will find this work indispensible. It is unquestionably now the standard work on the publications of Huxley.—Brian Cassidy, Antiquarian Booksellers’ Association of America Newsletter

The Last of the Great Swashbucklers: A Bio-Bibliography of Rafael Sabatini by Jesse F. Knight and Stephen Darley

I must shout my praise to the rooftops for Darley’s detailed descriptions of those jackets he had to hand. The main entries are very clear and detailed, and everything that anyone would hope for…To conclude, the bibliography has catered very well for the rational collector, and will prove to be an excellent addition to his shelves. —George Locke, Antiquarian Booksellers’ Association Newsletter

Books as History: The Importance of Books Beyond Their Texts by David Pearson

Even if you have read the first edition I highly recommend this revised one. —Sandy Cohen, Guild of Book Workers Newsletter

What he does, in eight lavishly illustrated chapters—is demolish the idea, current with the digital faithful, that physical books are passe, that they have been merely text all dressed up, now with no place to go. That book lovers will adore Books as History is a given, I believe. It’s a joy to behold, read, and digest. Stephen J. Gertz—Booktryst Blog

This chapter, like all of the others, is gorgeously illustrated with full-color images of bindings, bookplates, pages of print, pages of manuscript, dust jackets, advertisements, and book art; reading the captions alone would impress the unconverted. Pearson succeeds in providing a history of the book that is serious and though provoking without begin pedantic. In a perfect world, Books as History would be required reading for students of history, contemporary culture, literature, and library science. —Rebecca Rego Barry, Fine Books & Collections

Beautiful Bookbindings: A Thousand Years of the Bookbinder’s Art by P.J.M. Marks

The full-color photographs, especially the close-ups, are magnificent. Beautiful Bookbindings: A Thousand Years of the Bookbinder’s Art is a beautifully produced and printed art-book. The color photography is wonderful and the insights and occasional gossip fun. —Sandy Cohen, Guild of Book Workers Newsletter

Line, Shade and Shadow: The Fabrication and Preservation of Architectural Drawings by Lois Olcott Price

A labor of love for Price for over two decades, this work amply rewards those who have long awaited its publication. The abundance, large photographs by Jim Schenck compliment Price’s descriptive text. High praise goes to Price for clearly presenting a myriad of helpful solutions for a large array of materials and collections. It is nice to have information that was once missing, now all in one place. —Stephanie Watkins, WAAC Newsletter

The book is technical in its precision, full of excellent illustrated examples, and accessible in its straighforwardness. —L.E. Carranza, CHOICE

Congratulations again to Lois Olcott Price for being the winner of the 2011 Historic Preservation Book Prize!

The Making of Aun Aprendo

June 29, 2011 1 comment

Aun Aprendo: A Comprehensive Bibliography of the Writings of Aldous Leonard Huxley by David Bromer is the most current and comprehensive descriptive bibliography of Aldous Huxley’s works every produced. Shannon Struble, the once Oak Knoll intern who helped Bromer prepare and publish the book, shares her story of researching many of Huxley’s publications. Read on to find out about her experiences.

David Bromer is an extremely dedicated collector of Huxley’s works, and by that I mean that he has been collecting books, pamphlets, newspaper and magazine articles, and even film scripts and LPs by Aldous Huxley for almost fifty years. Over the course of his years acquiring Huxley’s works, David realized that the bibliographical references on Huxley were woefully out of date. The only descriptive bibliography of Huxley’s works was compiled in 1939 (Huxley died in 1963), and the last bibliography, published in 1961, was little more than a checklist. Numerous supplements followed, but no one attempted to bring all this information together and combine it with original research until David began this endeavor over twenty-five years ago.

Finally, all of David’s work came to fruition in April of this year, with the publication of Aun Aprendo: A Comprehensive Bibliography of the Writings of Aldous Leonard Huxley. It is the culmination of many years spent visiting libraries when on vacation or attending book fairs around the world, maintaining a database, first on paper and then on the computer, and utilizing the services of employees of Bromer Booksellers who came and went over that quarter decade. This last part is where I came in.

I began working for David and Anne Bromer as the catalogue designer and webmistress at Bromer Booksellers in September of 2007. I was starting graduate school in Boston at Simmons College in their dual-degree History and Archives Management program, and I needed a part-time job to keep me from going insane from school overload. I had worked as an intern for two summers at Oak Knoll Books as a cataloger in the antiquarian books department, and when he learned that I was moving to Boston, the wonderful Bob Fleck sent my résumé to a few of his colleagues in the area. It so happened that Bromer Booksellers was hiring, and after one meeting, they hired me. I could not have asked for a more perfect job, and working on the bibliography only added to my wonderful experience.

I had been working for the Bromers for a few months when David and Anne first approached me about helping David finish his bibliography of Aldous Huxley. My joking response was, “As long as you include me in the acknowledgments.” Little did I know how much I would become involved and how much more my involvement would come to mean to me than a note on the acknowledgments page.

I started out simply trying to locate copies of books that David had been unable to examine so that we could include a description of the books in the bibliography. This expanded to writing the descriptions of books I found and then grew again to finding contributions that were previously unknown. Obviously, this required quite a bit of research online, offline, and everywhere in between, and I’m sure the Inter-Library Loan librarians grew to hate me and my requests to see obscure books about everything from musical theory to LSD.

The project proceeded in fits and starts once I began working on it. Sometimes I would have huge lists of books to locate, multiple inquiries out to booksellers, and the maximum amount of ILL requests in at the library, all at the same time. I learned a lot about librarianship, bibliography, and Aldous Huxley in that first little while. And I certainly learned the value of keeping accurate records, so that I didn’t have to retrace my own steps or ask the same question of the same bookseller I had spoken to a month ago. Then there was my other work, making catalogues, keeping our website up-to-date, and the day-to-day tasks that keep a small shop running. If I was involved with a new catalogue, Huxley was put on the back burner. And, of course, sometimes frustration made me set him aside for a little while as well.

Finally, in October of 2010, we “finished” the text of the bibliography. The reason for this qualification is best explained by David in his Author’s Note:

“This descriptive bibliography is the culmination of a half-century of collecting the writings of Aldous Leonard Huxley. The breadth of his pen convinces me that on the day this work sees print, it will be incomplete, and I will still continue to search for Huxley’s work. It is perhaps not possible to examine or know everything he wrote, but I will keep learning. Although more complete than any bibliography to date, the search continues.”

This is why the bibliography was titled “Aun Aprendo,” which means “I am still learning.” Huxley gave a commencement address with this title in 1951, and the phrase exemplifies his life. It also represents this bibliography and Huxley scholarship as a whole.

From October 2010 to April 2011, the Bromers, Phil Salmon, the manager of Bromer Booksellers, and I worked to publish Aun Aprendo. We knew early on that we wanted to publish it ourselves, but we might not have realized how much work would eventually go into completing this process. By the time we had gone through text edits, design edits, index edits, printing edits, and binding edits, we just wanted to be done. However, all that work, all the going back and forth with the people who helped bring David and Anne’s vision to reality, led to a finished product with which we could not be more pleased.

Phil Salmon, Shannon Struble, Anne and David Bromer

Now, four years after I began working on David’s then-twenty-two-year-old bibliography, with two master’s degrees under my belt and my name on the cover of the most current and comprehensive bibliography of Aldous Huxley’s works, I am just so happy and honored to have been chosen to work on something this important to David and Anne. This bibliography is David’s life’s work, and even after all the time and energy I spent on it in just four years, I have only seen a glimpse of how much David has put into this project. I am included on the acknowledgments page, but the trust and respect the Bromers have bestowed upon me by inviting me to work on this bibliography is all the acknowledgment I need.

-Shannon Struble

What awesome work, Shannon! Thank you for sharing. Click here for more information on Aun Aprendo: A Comprehensive Bibliography of the Writings of Aldous Leonard Huxley.