Posts Tagged ‘bibliography’

“A love letter to rare books” – revisiting To Put Asunder

January 15, 2015 1 comment


Academically, it gives a birds-eye view of where family law came from and how it developed to the point in its tradition as we know it today.

To Put Asunder is a “must read” for every practitioner who does not merely copy forms, but who practices law “to make a difference”—for clients as well as for self.

-Willard DaSilva, Family Advocate magazine*

Oak Knoll is pleased to announce that, in cooperation with the author Lawrence Stotter, we have significantly reduced the price of his legal history book To Put Asunder: The Laws of Matrimonial Strife (2011), from $150 to $95. We think you’ll find this a great deal for what one reviewer** called “a love letter to rare books and the history of family law publishing throughout history.”

To Put Asunder is a joy to behold: numerous full color illustrations, wide margins, and colored text are housed in an expertly-made binding, complete with ribbon bookmark. A recent review in Family Advocate magazine* declared, “From a visual perspective the book is a masterpiece,” and an earlier write-up on the AALL Spectrum blog** called it “one of the most visually appealing books I have ever read.”

In 2011, The New York Book Festival awarded To Put Asunder second place in its History division, a highly diverse, nationally competitive pool.


According to Stotter, To Put Asunder may well be the very first comprehensive Anglo-American literary history book written on family law in the twentieth century, or ever. It is the only book in print which provides an early history of family law publishing in both England and the United States prior to 1900, and it contains the first and only current bibliography on the subject since A Study of English Domestic Relations of Matrimony and Family Life, 1487-1653 (Chilton Latham Powell, 1917) and American Family Law and American Family History: A Bibliography (Institute for Legal Studies, 1984).

106293Family law has been overlooked academically – historically designated as “church law” rather than traditional common law, and therefore books such as Stotter discusses here are quite rare. The titles pictured on the dust jacket are, with the rare exception of a few antiquarian collectors and dealers, a reflection of books almost totally unknown to lawyers in general, and cannot be currently found in either public or traditional law libraries. These 16th and 17th century books, along with copies of nearly every English-language treatise on the subject published over four centuries, now reside in the Lawrence H. Stotter Collection at the Mortiz College of Law, Ohio State University.

In addition to bringing these rare books to light, Stotter draws attention to two little-known contributors to the field of family law, each of whom receives a chapter in the book. Henry Swinburne (England, 1551-1624) bridged the gap between ecclesiastical laws and English civil laws by writing in English rather than in the traditional Latin. Tapping Reeve (United States, 1744-1823)—whom Stotter considers the Father of American Law—established the first true law school in America, laying the foundation for legal structures in the United States and training many colonial lawmakers and justices.

It makes a great addition to any academic library with an emphasis on the history  of law or to any library with a strong collection of family law material.

– Lance Burke, AALL Spectrum blog**

Head over to our website to learn more about To Put Asunder, read an excerpt, and see the table of contents.

*  Willard DaSilva, editor emeritus of Family Advocate magazine, a publication of the American Bar Association. Review in Family Advocate. Summer 2014 (Vol. 37, No. 1).
** Lance Burke, reference/access services librarian, Elon School of Law. Review on AALL (American Association of Law Libraries) Spectrum blog.  Nov. 2011

Great Hemingway review by Kirk Curnutt

May 7, 2012 Leave a comment

Quite honestly, I had as enjoyable a time reading C. Edgar Grissom’s new descriptive bibliography of Ernest Hemingway as I did Umberto Eco’s The Prague Cemetery (2011). Both are hefty volumes—more than 500 pages—chockfull of semiotic intrigue and inferences lurking in the white space, waiting to be drawn out. (The plot in Ernest Hemingway: A Descriptive Bibliography moves a little faster, however). In both cases, the storyline pivots around the relationships between books. In Eco’s case, the intertextual referent is Dumas père’s Joseph Balsamo (1854). In Mr. Grissom’s case, it’s a source with which all serious Hemingway aficionados have more than a little familiarity: Audre Hanneman’s Ernest Hemingway: A Comprehensive Bibliography (1967).

Read more on The Hemingway Project. You can order the book on our website.

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

Fitzgerald’s Collection of Regional Americana Donated to the Library of Congress

July 8, 2011 Leave a comment

Carol Fitzgerald is the author of the Oak Knoll publication Series Americana: Post Depression-Era Regional Literature, 1938-1980, A Descriptive Bibliography. The book highlights thirteen series of American regional writing published between 1938 and 1980, focusing on various American landmarks including seaports, forts, trails, and folkways.

Now, Fitzgerald has donated her collection of books related to the thirteen series highlighted in Series Americana to the Library of Congress. Also including original correspondence, documentation, and copies of research materials, the collection will be housed in the Rare Book and Special Collections Division. This donation and collection represents the importance of preserving our nation’s history and culture.

Click here to read more about the donation, and click here to find out more about Series Americana: Post Depression-Era Regional Literature, 1938-1980, A Descriptive Bibliography. Carol Fitzgerald is also the author of Rivers of America: A Descriptive Bibliography.

The release of our Hemingway bibliography 50 years after his death

July 7, 2011 Leave a comment

This week honors the 50th anniversary of the death of the great journalist and author, Ernest Hemingway. After suffering from many illnesses during his lifetime, Hemingway committed suicide on on July 2, 1961. In order to celebrate the life of Hemingway and remember the 50th anniversary of his death, Oak Knoll is excited to release our new publication, Ernest Hemingway: A Descriptive Bibliography by Edgar C. Grissom.

Described as the culmination of all previous endeavors in Hemingway bibliography, this bibliography is the only publication to classify edition, printing, issue, and state, provide classical bibliographical descriptions, and describe every printing of every edition. The book is generously illustrated with title pages and copyright pages throughout the text and is accompanied by a DVD-ROM of more than 2,000 color illustrations and more than 50 images of Hemingway’s signature from 1908 to 1960.  As this bibliography is sure to be the definitive resource for Hemingway collectors, scholars, and librarians for many years to come, we are happy to present our book on the anniversary of the death of  such an important literary figure.

Click here for more information on Ernest Hemingway: A Descriptive Bibliography, and click on the following links to read more articles honoring the anniversary of Hemingway’s death.

Harvard University Press blog

Los Angeles Times Entertainment

NPR, find a station

Open Culture: the best free and cultural & educational media on the web

The Last Arena

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.

An excerpt from Rudyard Kipling, A Bibliography

April 7, 2011 Leave a comment

Rudyard Kipling, A Bibliography by Dave Richards doesn’t just include the basic details of each of Kipling’s books. Instead, it provides extensive and specific notes on each of the listings, letting the reader get a true understanding of every book. Take a look at this excerpt from Rudyard Kipling, A Bibliography that contains Richard’s notes on two of Kipling’s titles.


Notes: Of the seven stories and seven poems comprising The Jungle Book, only the stories had previously appeared in periodicals (in 1893 and 1894), and when collected here, each story had an additional verse heading appended.  (All of the poems and all of the verse chapter headings were to be collected in Songs from Books [London, 1913, A265].)  Macmillan continued to publish all subsequent English editions, including the Uniform edition of 1899 and the Library edition of 1950. The imprint changed during the print run of the First English Edition: in the first copies, the printer is ‘R. & R. Clark’, whereas in later printings it is ‘R. & R. Clark Ltd.’, reflecting the English law that whenever a firm becomes limited in liability, it must indicate the change wherever it prints its name. In some copies the blank leaf before the fore-title is lacking. Eight of the illustrations are by the author’s father John Lockwood Kipling. The manuscripts of The Jungle Book and The Second Jungle Book, including all of the stories and some of the poems in those books, were presented to the British Library by Caroline Kipling in 1940.

The English edition differs from the simultaneously published American edition [A77] in several respects. There is no list of illustrations in the London edition, and the final story is entitled ‘The Servants of the Queen’ (appearing as ‘Her Majesty’s Servants’ in the New York edition). The jungle animals’ names vary: in the English edition, the kite is ‘Chil’, in the American, ‘Rann’; in the English, the porcupine is ‘Sahi’, in the American, ‘Ikki’; the peacock is ‘Mor’ in the English, and ‘Moa’ in the American. The American edition of  ‘“Tiger-Tiger”’ [A77] has seven lines of text (beginning in the third line on p. 128) which are not found in the English edition. Conversely, the English edition contains just over eight lines (beginning with the fourth line on p. 72) which are not found in the American book’s text of this story.

Published on 22 May 1894, The Jungle Book was reprinted twice in 1894 (June and August), twice in 1895, and once each in 1896, 1897, 1898, and 1899. The Preface, omitted in the ‘fifteenth thousand’ issue in 1894, was restored in 1899 in the Uniform edition (red cloth with the Ganesha device on the front cover). In that edition the text was revised, and the revised text was thereupon used for volumes bound in the original 1894 format as well as for volumes in the Uniform edition style.  Omitted from these printings were the frontispiece, the fore-title, and the end leaf of advertisements, while the title of the last story was changed to conform to the American title ‘Her Majesty’s Servants’ and its illustrations were omitted. The Jungle Book was reprinted in the Uniform edition in 1900-03, 1905, 1906, 1908, 1910, 1911, 1913, 1915, 1917, 1918, 1920, 1922, 1924, 1929, 1932, 1937, 1943-44, and 1947; the types were reset for the Library edition in 1950 [D26]. In 1934, Mrs. Rudyard Kipling loaned for display at the Second Sunday Times’ Book Exhibition twenty foreign language editions of The Jungle Books, in French, German, Italian, Spanish, Swedish, Danish, Dutch, Russian, Polish, Czech, Serbian, and Slovak.

Ballard writes that this was the first of Kipling’s books to be issued with a dustjacket, and he owned one with a wrapper of “plain paraffine paper” [B98, p. 113 and Ballard 1942 107].  The question is not free from doubt: in Livingston’s extensive correspondence with Kipling’s literary agent A. S. Watt on this point (now at Houghton Harvard), publisher (later Prime Minister) Harold Macmillan is quoted as saying that his firm had no records of a dustjacket, although one employee claimed to remember one (Watt to Livingston, 20 July 1937); Percy Hodder Williams of Hodder & Stoughton, on the other hand, advised Watt that “publishers never used a jacket in the days of the first ‘Jungle Book’” and that instead the books came in “packed between ‘binders’ boards’, just as they were pressed after leaving the binders’ hands” (Watt to Livingston, 31 July 1937).  However, the copy of Dickens bibliographer John Eckel [Eckel 1935 256, NYPL Berg] has an “original glazed tissue dustjacket” (presumably like the Ballard copy’s), with Eckel’s personal note attesting to his belief in its authenticity, and saying that he had seen a second copy with the same wrapper; the Marsden Perry copy [Perry 1936 307] was similarly jacketed, so while these are the only three copies on record with such dustjackets, it seems probable that Macmillan indeed employed them to protect the elaborate gilt ornamentation on the spine and front board of the First English Edition. In and after 1895 a pictorial dustjacket was employed bearing illustrations from the book, to complement the similar bluish gray paper dustjacket lettered and illustrated in dark blue used for The Second Jungle Book published that same year.


Notes: Robert Baden-Powell, founder of the Boy Scouts, had invited Kipling to the ‘Posse of Welcome’ of Cub Scouts staged to greet the Prince of Wales on his return from a world tour on 7 October 1922, and by June 1923 the author was reviewing his scrapbook for material that might be suitable for a book of stories for Scouts. Whether Kipling’s appointment that year as Scout Commissioner (noted on the title-page) inspired him to compile the book, or advance news of his book induced Baden-Powell to make the appointment, cannot at present be guessed, according to Hugh Brogan’s Mowgli’s Sons: Kipling and Baden-Powell’s Scouts [1987, Bl113], p. 53. Appearing in good time for the Christmas trade, the book was priced at 4s, deliberately low to allow wide circulation among (boy) Scouts and (girl) Guides.

The eleven stories and eight poems comprising this collection were composed between 1898 and 1923. One story (‘His Gift ’) and seven poems are published here for the very first time, and the other poem (‘The Nurses’) and four of the stories (‘The Way That He Took’, ‘A Flight of Fact’, ‘A Parable of Boy Jones’, and ‘“Stalky”’) had previously appeared only in periodicals; the author also provides a linking commentary in the form of prefatory paragraphs before seven of the stories, to bring out their special significance for scouting and its principles. The remaining six stories had already appeared in book form, although for this edition he revised the 1897 article ‘Winning the Victoria Cross’, to bring it up to date, and this is the first entire reprinting of ‘An English School’, which had appeared in Youth’s Companion for 18 October 1893 and previously been collected in shortened form in The Boyhood of Famous Authors [1897, B21]. (‘“Stalky”’, written in 1898, was omitted from Stalky & Co. [1899, A144], but was to be included in The Complete Stalky & Co. [1929, A381]). This title appeared in Macmillan’s Uniform Edition in 1925 with twelve full-page illustrations by H. R. Millar (Stewart 507), and in a simultaneously published Pocket Edition. Volume XVI of the Sussex Edition, entitled Land and Sea Tales and Thy Servant a Dog, included for the first time in book form in England the story ‘A Tabu Tale’, a Just So Story which had appeared originally in the September 1903 Windsor Magazine, and had been previously collected in the United States in Volume XX of the Outward Bound edition [1903, A189].

A copy is known with a tipped-in letter dated 15 November 1923 from publisher Harold Macmillan (later Great Britain’s Prime Minister) to printer Edward Clark of R. & R. Clark, Limited, declaring that the “production of this book must be almost a record”, and noting that he had written on the flyleaf of the enclosed copy “the remarkable history of its manufacture.” Those notes comprising the presentation inscription read:  “[‘Copy’ sent to printer Oct 22nd | Early copies sent off  by printer Oct 30th | Final sheets (35,000) sent off  by printer Nov 7th.] | Edward Clark. | Nov. 1923. | from the grateful publishers.” (The Macmillan Archive in the British Library states that 35,500 copies were printed.) The Grolier Catalogue entry for this book says that the official publication date was 23 November, but that copies were actually sold on November 7; the evidence of Macmillan’s notes makes that unlikely, but on the same evidence bound copies were clearly available on 15 November. The book was reprinted twice in November 1923 (42,000 copies) and twice again in December (42,500 copies).

Click here for more information on Rudyard Kipling, A Bibliography.

“I was a collector before I was a bibliographer” The story behind Rudyard Kipling, A Bibliography

April 5, 2011 1 comment

Dave Richards, author of Rudyard Kipling: A Bibliography, explains how his interest in Kipling developed from an original fascination with “soldier poets” of World War I. Read to see how he developed the largest-known Kipling collection.

Dave Richards

Like all bibliographers of Kipling who preceded me, I was a collector before I was a bibliographer. And it didn’t start with Kipling. While a student at Cambridge University, with my first intensive study of World War I, I became fascinated by the phenomenon of the “soldier poets” and their contrast of life in the trenches with their pre-war existence, and much later in life began collecting first editions of Sassoon, Graves, and Owen. A complete collection of Wilfred Owen, however, is something like six volumes, and the collector’s itch cannot be so frequently scratched.

Those years of study in England also included my first academic instruction in the history of the modern British Empire, and it belatedly came to me that, if I collected Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936), I would be acquiring works that spanned from the glory days of the British Raj, through and past World War I, where Kipling lost his older son–and there were so many first edition titles to collect, British and American and Indian and Canadian and French (even, I discovered, Australian and Chilean).

From my collection, eventually the largest assemblage of Rudyard Kipling books and manuscripts collection ever assembled anywhere, and from consulting the old bibliographies in building it and discovering their omissions and mistakes, came the impetus to write the first new Kipling bibliography in fifty years. His first serious bibliographer, E. W. Martindell, wrote the second, Flora Livingston in 1923, “I do not think it possible, even with his aid, for there ever to be a complete bibliography of his writings in prose and verse.”  Maybe not, but I have tried, and keep supplementing that effort with my “Additions and Corrections” feature on the Oak Knoll website (perhaps a unique feature among modern bibliographies, for which I thank Oak Knoll, so no one can say “Not in Richards” once I learn of the new facts!).  My final feeling is that of the author himself: as Kipling wrote in Some Aspects of Travel in 1914:

“Forgive me, ladies and gentlemen! I will not go on with the catalogue, although I feel like the commercial traveler in the story, who said: ‘If you don’t care to look at my samples, d’you mind my having a look at ’em?  It’s been so long since I’ve seen them.'”

Thank you for sharing, Dave! Click here to find out more about Rudyard Kipling, A Bibliography.

Books about Books Part 8: New Partnerships Emerge

August 13, 2010 Leave a comment
Robert Cross of St. Paul's Bibliographies (on right)

Robert Cross of St. Paul's Bibliographies (on right)

The end of 1992 also saw the start of a long process of publishing with St. Paul’s Bibliographies, the English company owned by Robert Cross that I had mentioned previously. We had established contact with Robert a number of years before and stocked his titles in our New Books Department. He had started St. Paul’s in 1979 after a distinguished career in the publishing field. Robert knew everybody worth knowing in the English publishing scene and proved quite adept at seeking out dormant rights for important bibliographies from other publishers. He often took those bibliographies and found that special breed of authors known as “bibliographers” and got them to revise an older bibliography or provide a new one. This was quite a feat as the royalty payments for such small print run books often added up to the equivalent of only pennies an hour for all the time spent in doing the bibliography. I believe bibliographers deserve a special place in heaven for their unselfish efforts.

Robert had established the Winchester Bibliographies of Twentieth-Century Writers series with me as co-publisher in 1992 and taken on the publishing of the Publishing Pathways series, which had strong and continuing sales. We saw each other quite frequently on business but always with social times together and developed a mutual respect and friendship. He had been using one of Fred Ruffner’s companies, Omnigraphics, to distribute his titles in America and I suggested to him in early 1993 that the Cross-Fleck relationship had reached the point where Oak Knoll should take on these books as part of a distribution arrangement. The idea was suggested to Ruffner through Cross’s contact at Omnigraphics, Jim Sellgren. The idea was met with favor, and the entire inventory of books was shipped to Oak Knoll under a partial purchase and partial consignment arrangement in October 1993.

First distribution title for The Caxton Club

First distribution title for The Caxton Club

We published eight new titles in 1993 and seven in 1994. I found a new way to increase our publishing program—distribution for other organizations. In late 1994, we were asked by the Caxton Club of Chicago to help sell copies of their Club History as part of our publishing list. We worked up a very straightforward contract with our attorney. Oak Knoll would not pay any of the production costs, but would hold inventory of the book and pay the Club 40% of the retail price of the books when we got paid (all discounts to booksellers and distributors came out of our share).

Based on the success of this deal, I decided to see if other organizations might be interested. There are many organizations that want to produce manuscripts by their members but do not know how to market a book or sell into the library market. Selling to this market was a specialty of Oak Knoll, so it made perfect sense to offer this service along with advice on retail price, print run, and production costs.

The American Antiquarian Society elected us their distributor in August 1995, the Bibliographical Society of America in May 1996, the John Carter Brown Library also in May 1996, the Library of Congress (selected titles) in June 1998, and the Bibliographical Society of the University of Virginia in January 1999. Since then we have signed up the Manuscript Society, the Typophiles, Catalpa Press, the Bibliographical Society (selected titles), and many other organizations. These distribution deals have increased our publishing list to over 1000 titles of which only about 300 are Oak Knoll Press publications. Booksellers and distributors love this arrangement, as they can deal with one business instead of fifty when fulfilling orders for customers.

Check back next week for more from Books about Books!