Nov 292017
 

Famed photographer Cindy Sherman said of photography: “I’m really just using the mirror to summon something I don’t even know until I see it.” Photography is a kind of magic, capturing easily forgotten moments and transforming situations into impossible spectacles. Or perhaps photography acts as an archive, as some events are forever at the mercy of history and the only evidence we have is the picture. It is a form of accountability, and art is accountable to life. So enjoy our various selections of photography in our latest catalog: A Mirror to Summon. Please let us know, if anything teases your interest.

Nov 082017
 

It is that time of year! The 41st Annual Boston International Antiquarian Book Fair, starts this Friday, November 10-12, 2017. Passes are available for the Friday preview night, please let us know if you would like a pass or two.

We have a show list on our website with most, but not all, of what we will have in Boston. We will be debuting a few very special things that must remain a secret for now. Please let us know if there is anything that catches your eye. Find your pleasure in our Boston show list.

With a few new surprises!

Oct 132017
 

To continue with our short list series, here are a few strange and unusual items bound to be loved by someone.

We will have more to come, including a vernacular photography catalog before the Boston ABAA fair and of course, the Boston show list.  Featuring new and exciting things!

With that in mind, our next fair is the 41st Annual Boston International Antiquarian Book Fair, November 10-12, 2017. We’ll keep you posted for passes for the Friday night opener!

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Countess of Caithness, Duchesse de Pomar [Marie (Mariategui) Sinclair]. A Midnight Visit to Holyrood. London: C.L.H. Wallace, Philanthropic Reform Publishers, Oxford Mansion, 1887. Limited Edition. Originally printed for private circulation, but published on the three hundredth anniversary of the execution of Mary Stuart, February 8th, 1887. Slight foxing on the frontispiece and portrait of Mary Stuart, and a strange series of period puncture wounds to front cover penetrating text to stab portrait of Mary, Queen of Scots on page 45. Else, tight, bright, and a scarce and odd book. Original dark green cloth, lettering and pictorial device on front and back covers, edge, in gilt, black coated endpapers. Frontispiece with tissue guard and one portrait. 103 pages, 2 unnumbered leaves of plates, illustrations, Very Good+. Hardcover.

Recollection of the communication between Marie Countess of Caithness and the ghost of Mary Queen of Scots from Holyrood House in Edinburgh.  Marie used to visit Holyrood House near midnight and claimed to listen to the dead queen’s spirit voice. The work was originally published for private circulation only, and it is likely that the Countess gave copies to her friend exclusively. This edition, printed by C.H.L. Wallace appears to be limited.

The Countess was increasing influenced by theosophy and universial In 1876, and joined the Theosophical Society founded by known occultists Madame Blavatsky and Colonel Olcott in New York. In 1884, during their stay in Paris with Lady Caithness, Blavatsky approved the creation of the “Theosophical Society of the East and West,” the French branch of the Theosophical Society. Lady Caithness’s theosophy was marked by esoteric Christianity influenced by Jakob Boehme and Swedenborg. She held a spiritualist salon in her Parisian mansion, every Wednesday from spring to autumn in the early 1890s. As to the damage inflicted on the book itself, a few theories arise: it is possible it is just book vandalism. A more compelling and fascinating theory is the book was part of hysteria or ritual to evoke the spirit of Mary Queen of Scots. The book is inscribed to “Miss Blackwell” of which there are two well-known spiritualists in London and Paris; Anna Blackwell and Elizabeth Blackwell. Anna was a prolific writer and participated in the spirit communities during the late 19th century in London and Paris. It is also recorded she was a medium and was said, at times, to be tormented by the ghosts and spirits that threatened her. (#9384) $350.00

 

Fleischauer, Louis ; Aesthetic Meat Foundation. Flesh Art Book. Berlin: Aesthetic Meat Front/AMF, 2014. Limited Edition. Tight, bright, and unmarred. Cased in leather ‘corset’ (see below). 44pp. Illus. (color and b/w plates). Fine in Fine Case. Hardcover.

Limited first edition of 36, this edition is 1/36, with the trade edition cased in a custom leather ‘corset’ cover binding, secured by metal grommets and two leather strap loops. Leather still bears a hide scent and features a painted patina, a fire burnt treated, manipulated, and animal-like with elements cut into tails. The AMF logo is carved into the leather at the top of the cover, as well as the edition number: 1/36 on the back. Text printed on high quality matte clay coated medium weight paper. Signed by Louis Fleischauer, “Pure Kaos Against Total Control” 2016, on the opposite end papers. Includes a small archive of performance fliers for AMF [2002-2015], AMF Korsets / Fleischauer Creations marketing cards and a DVD-R of live performances, signed with a fingerprint impression and numbered 1/36. Edition is divided into several sections: Flesh Art Manifesto, Sculpted Skin (Wearable Art/AMF Korset), Rituals of Transformation, Human Instruments, Aesthetic Meat Front (Rituals + Actionism), Transformed Flesh, Interviews + Random Thoughts. Scarce copy, most editions are with private collectors, this is the last acquired copy from AMF with the leather casing and performance inclusions and also is the first numbered and sculpted edition, as well.

This book is a retrospective of Aesthetic Meat Foundation, (Aesthetic Meat Front is the performance collective of the entire art and creative project of Aesthetic Meat Foundation), featuring a mix of ritual, sculpture, and wearable art. AMF performances in the United States are generally rare, but emulate the same power as Ron Athey and Einstürzende Neubauten fused with an anti-industrial complex manifesto. “Louis Fleischauer, is a sculptor, and body-artist using organic materials such as animal hides, bones, flowers, blood and his own skin. In his public rituals he turns humans into living sculptures and instruments, including his own body. Through a mix of agony and euphoria Louis falls into a state of trance. His sculptures are a reflection of this experience.” – from the AMF biography. (#9084) $550.00

 

Sprinkle, Annie. Annie Sprinkle Self-portrait [MSS Notations]. [No Place], 1981. Unique. Signed by Sprinkle with numerous notations all over the image, notation at rear, else bright and clean. 16x24cm. b/w photograph. Signed by the artist. Fine. Photograph.

“Original self-portrait photograph of sexologist Annie Sprinkle. Sprinkle is known as the “prostitute and porn star turned sex educator and artist.” Annie Sprinkle began working at the ticket booth at Tucson’s Plaza Cinema at 18, when Deep Throat was playing. The film was busted, and when Sprinkle had to appear in court as a witness, she met and fell in love with Deep Throat’s director, Gerard Damiano, and became his mistress, following him to New York City where she lived for twenty years. Annie’s first porn movie was Teenage Deviate, which was released in 1975. Perhaps her best known mainstream porn featured role was in ‘Deep Inside Annie Sprinkle’ (co-directed by Sprinkle and sexploitation veteran Joseph W. Sarno) which was the #2 grossing porn film of 1981.

She is considered a role model for a new generation of feminists, she challenges old conceptions and established role models of sexuality and was a pivotal player in the 80’s “sex positive feminist movement” and has long championed sex worker rights and health care. The photograph is heavily annotated with a detailed analysis of the image.The verso contains the anotation p.4 102% suggesting that the image was published although we have been unable to trace the publication. A fantastic image of a true sex goddess.”

Together with Annie’s “Post-Porn Modernist: My 25 Years as a Multimedia Whore”, which includes a ‘clean’ version of the image with the caption, “It was this latex ensemble, which I had brought back from Europe, that started America’s latex trend (or so it seemed to me). It made quite a splash at the HFC [Hell Fire Club]. Or should I say quite a splash was made on it.” (#8115) $1,250.00

 

Pell, Sara C. In Dillafluff Land. New Jersey: Standard Publishing Concern, Publishers, 1910. First Edition. Light shelf/edge wear, front boards loose with light toning, few page tears, one leaf loose but present, American Red Cross stamp, else bright and unmarred. Oblong 8vo. Approx. 58pp. Illus. (b/w plates). Good+ in Wraps. Hardcover.

“Esther from Aunt Ann, Xmas 1910”. The black and white Illustrations are by A.G. Learned. Extremely scarce, no known copies. Odd, children’s nonsense nursery rhymes with accompanying anthropomorphic figures very similar to Dr. Seuss’ characters created much later, and similarly, the rhyming is reminiscent of Edward Lear. The book was marketed and reviewed in major publications, but little is known about the author or other published books. The characters were affectionately described as “freakish” and “queer” in reviews. (#9118) $150.00

Woven paper undergarments, Diane Jacobs

Jacobs, Diane. Woven Paper Undergarments [Bra and Panties]. Portland, OR: Scantron Press, 2010. Limited Edition. Bright and unmarred. Woven paper strips, letterpress printed, sculptural. 11x23x3″ np. Fine.

“In this body of work I intend to expose the tenacious, white, patriarchal power structure by using language as my witness. Over a three-year period I collected slang and derogatory words that exploit women. The exhaustive list came from friends, family, and several dictionaries on slang. Strangers also contributed by writing on anonymous pink and blue cards their answer to the question what are the worst names you have ever been called? In my first projects, I sculpted hats, bras, and underwear made of letterpress-printed woven paper. This series of work makes feminist references to craft, the body, and a misogynist culture.” (#8766) $2,000.00

Greer, John Michael. The Weird of Hali: Innsmouth. Oregon: Arcane Wisdom Press, 2016. Limited Edition. Tigh, bright, and unmarred. Custom bound in green faux alligator laminate cloth boards with gold foil inlay embossed Lovecraft image, smythe sewn, and signed, hand-numbered by author with hand-printed ink stamp image of H.P. Lovecraft. Colored endpapers with image of Old Ones and include high gloss print insert of Lovecraft inspired artwork. 9.5×6.25”. 276pp. Limited edition of 500 copies. Fine. No DJ, as Issued. Hardcover.

Cover art by Caniglia and book design by Larry Roberts. “Like every other grad student at Miskatonic University, Owen Merrill knows about the Great Old Ones, the nightmare beings out of ancient legend that H.P. Lovecraft unearthed from archaic texts and turned into icons of modern fantasy fiction. Then a chance discovery—a lost letter written by Lovecraft to fellow Weird Tales author Robert Blake—offers a glimpse into the frightful reality behind the legends, and sends Owen on a desperate quest for answers that shatters his familiar world forever.

As he flees across the witch-haunted Massachusetts landscape toward the mysterious seaside town of Innsmouth, Owen finds himself caught up in a secret war between the servants of the Great Old Ones and their ancient enemies, a war in which yesterday’s friend may be tomorrow’s foe and nothing is as it seems. The history of the world is not what he has been taught—and the tentacles reaching out for him from the shadows of a forbidden past may hold not only his one chance of escape from the terrifying forces closing around him, but the last hope of life on Earth…”(publisher’s note) (#9096) $75.00

Greer, Michael. Weird Hali of Innsmouth

Bizarre Female Domination [Personal Scrapbook]. unknown, nd [circa 1970s]. Unique. Light shelf/edge wear, two leaf loose, very slightly musty, else tight, bright, and unmarred. Brown paper wrappers, mounted images/text at front and read. 4to. np. Illus. (color and b/w plates). Very Good. Original Wraps.

A very thorough and engaging collection of imagery and text involved, as the name implies, around the area of the BDSM scene from a Domme female/submissive male perspective. Neatly tape mounted images on lined white paper, the color and b/w images range from relatively small (approx. 2′ square) to full page (cut from magazines and original photographs). There are also some short text elements around the subject matter, too. Most interestingly, interspersed throughout are full page collections of ‘want ads’ from around the country and Canada…the shared qualities of most reflect either specific interest or, perhaps, that he ‘knew’ them. Overall, an eccentric stimulating collage of pre-internet collection of bondage erotica. (#8389) $450.00

Anon. Sumatran Batak divination book [pustaha]. Indonesia, Early 20th century. Unique. Twelve (two-sided) panel concertina fold; fastened on handcarved alim (or agarwood) tree-bark original boards; inscribed and drawn on smoothed and pressed alim tree-bark; 4.75 x 39″ (unfolded); illus. Handwritten in red and black ink pigments. Boards stained with natural pigments, in remarkable condition, less one split in bark panel. An exceptional and critical book for Indonesia history and culture. Very Good. Hardcover.

The ‘pustaha’ [named by the Batak people of interior province of northern Sumatra, Indonesia] are manuscript books constructed and composed by their “datu” or magicians and healers. Origins of the pustaha remain somewhat clouded to non-indigenious research, although, records of provenance date to the 18th century. The Batak people settled mainly in the Lake Toba region of North Sumatra, and included three dominant dialects: Toba, Angkola, and Mandailing.

The books themselves are frequently made with alim tree-bark; written and illustrated with other natural ink pigments. The pustaha is significant for the Batak, as the texts are idiosyncratic to the datu, meaning they are didactic tools for apprentices, but also for members of the community to interpret important decisions and advise on community issues, as reconciled by the datu. The books are often written in note-like script. The script is almost illegible for most members of the community, and indecipherable to Western scholars, however the syllabe script is thought to be derived from East Indian Sanskrit or to some scholars, Indian Palava script. Many contemporary pustaha were made and sold to tourists of the region, as well. The content of the books vary, but generally are divination books, including diagnosis of illness, protective/destructive magic, and acts of cult. Many of the books are also astrological in nature and contain solar and lunar charts and tables, and in the case of this particular pustaha, which contains animistic figures. This book features four carved lizards in low relief on one of the boards, which is associated with fertility and fertility rites. The verso has a carved image of star or a floral symbol. Many of the figurative llustrations in the book [a child] [a goddess figure with serpents] [star], also allude to creation myth, as the ‘tendi’ manifestation of ‘life’ and ‘death’ represented these symbols. The text is inscribed and illustrated on both sides of the bark. Although colonized by the Dutch government in the 19th century, many Batak people retain indigenious treligious beliefs, although increasingly marginalized.

Voorhoeve, P. “Batak Bark Books,” Conservator, University of Leiden, John Rylands Library and the Manchester University Press, 1951.

Teygeler, Rene. “Pustaha. A Study into the Production Process of the Batak Book,” 1993. (#9148) $1,200.00

 

Sumatran pustaha

 

[Count of Saint Germain (attributed)]; Koss, Nick [ed.]. Triangular Book of St. Germain. Seattle, WA: Ouroboros Press, 2015. Limited Edition. Triangular hand-bound and stitched in red and black letterpress wraps; 48 pp.; full color interior printing in English and French text; illus.; limited to 444 copies. As New. Original Wraps.

The edition of the ‘Triangular Book’ was deciphered, transcribed and translated by Nick Koss, who also executed the research and editing of the text. An excellent essay by Koss about the provenance of the manuscript is featured in “Clavis 3: Cipher & Stone.” The edition is limited to 500 copies in three editions. 26 special copies bound in full leather accompanied by a hand-wrought silver Longevity Talisman featured in the original manuscript. 26 copies in full leather and 444 copies bound in letterpress wraps. Design and typesetting by Joseph Uccello. – from the colophon. (#9180) $65.00

[Garcia, Fernando Aguayo; Queer Nation]. Proper Conduct / On October 6, 1989, Police Rioted in the Castro… [Rally Poster]. [San Francisco]: [Queer Nation], 1991. First Printing. Bright and clean. Cyanotype poster. 12×35.5″ Illus. (mono plate). Near Fine.

Poster for a protest organized by Queer Nation in San Francisco to demand justice for victims of the 1989 Castro Sweep Police Riot, when more than 200 San Francisco police officers reacted to an ACT UP march by invading the gay Castro District, declaring the entire neighborhood an unlawful assembly and violently clearing the streets. The Queer Nation protest took place at the San Francisco Hall of Justice following a Police Commission finding that the police sweep of the Castro had constituted “proper conduct.” The poster was designed by gay Latino artist and activist Fernando Aguayo-Garcia and was produced in an extremely limited number of copies using the cyanotype process. (#9272) $350.00

Heart In Your Business: 14th National Motorcycle / Bicycle Show. New York, 1928. Unique. Excellent condition, bright and unmarred, heart shaped advertisement for the 14th Annual National Motorcycle and Bicycle show in New York City, Madison Square Garden. Very Good+.

The first National Auto Show was held in 1900. Apparently, as early as 1915, the two-wheel industry was expanding so the national show split from the automotive industry to have their own independent show. The newly built Madison Square Garden accommodated track racing as well. Rare piece of motorcycling and bicycle ephemera. (#9315) $45.00

 

 

Brown, Frederic. ETAOIN SHRDLU. Portland, ME: Ivy Derderian/Wolfe Editions, 2009. Limited Edition. Tight, bright and unmarred. Unprinted tan cardstock wrappers; green textured heavy stock DJ, lettering and pictorial elements in black ink, advert endpages. 8vo. 13pp plus ads. Illus. (b/w plates). Numbered limited edition this being 6 of 40 copies. Fine in Wraps. Original Wraps.

The first solo project from Ivy Derderian, working at Wolfe Editions. Printed in Linotype Bonodi Book, created on an Intertype (the Linotype’s successor). From the prospectus:

“Frederic Brown’s entertaining short story about a sentient Linotype, titled Etaoin Shrdlu, was originally published in 1942 in the magazine Unknown Worlds. While Mr. Brown was well known for his science fiction short stories and novels as well as his award-winning detective fiction, it is clear that he knew his way around a Linotype and a print shop.

Ivy Derderian, with the help of Wolfe Editions, announces a new publication of Etaoin Shrdlu, designed in the manner of pulp magazines of the 1940s. The text type is Linotype Bodoni Book, titles were set in Ludlow Ultra Modern. Text is printed on acid free Dur-o-tone Aged Newsprint, cover is acid free St. Armand Colours. The two engravings used are from a 1923 issue of The Linotype Bulletin.”

Designed and printed to reflect its pulp heritage using Dur-o-tone Aged Newsprint (acid free) and cover wraps on St. Armand Colours. Illustrations from a 1923 issue of The Linotype Bulletin. A wonderful blending of content and design. (#7080) $225.00

 

Harwood-Jones, Markus/Star . Confessions of A Teenage Transexual Whore [Complete in Ten Parts]. Toronto: Self, nd [circa 2010-2012]. First Thus. Tight, bright, and unmarred. Taped bindings over printed paper wraps, color inkjet reproductions. 8vo. Var. pag. Illus. Near Fine in Wraps. Original Wraps.

“A 10-part zine series telling Star’s short stories of survival sex work over the course of two years.” [From the author] (#9294) $145.00

 

Eckels, Howard Samuel. Post Mortem Stains and Putty Color. Philadelphia: Press of H.S. Eckels & Co., 1922. First Edition. Minor shelf/edge wear, joint starting at staples, light/even toning to textblock, ownership signature and notation at front, else tight, bright, and unmarred. Navy cloth boards, printed label, fold-out map (in red) of circulatory system. 12mo. 53pp plus adverts. Illus. (color print). Very Good+. Hardcover.

Includes ‘modern’ book curse, “‘Notice’ / This book is the property of G. L. Dodds. / Read if you care to but do not mark, destroy, or carry out of back room. / G.L. Dodds / P.S. I weigh 157lb. Let this be a warning to you. / G.L.D. (#8966) $245.00

 

Dwight, Thomas. Frozen Sections of a Child. New York: William Wood & Co, 1881. First Edition. Light even toning, tips through, wear at head and tail, ownership signature at first blank, moderate shelf/edge wear, else tight, bright, and unmarred. Black cloth boards. 8vo. Illus. (b/w plates). Good+ [Textblock Very Good]. Hardcover.
Includes fifteen full-page drawings from nature by H.P. Quincy. A century or so before CAT scans and MRIs, this work offered detailed tomogrpahic images. Remarkably important (and one of the great titles in publishing). First edition of a classical work of great importance in pediatrics, and the first American group of serial sections. This work provided tomographic images a century before the CAT and MRI. Dwight was a Harvard medical school and, later in life, succeeded Oliver Wendell Holmes as the Parkman Professor of Anatomy. ”A classical work of great importance in pediatrics, and the first American group of serial sections” (Choulant-Frank, p. 409). (#8962) $225.00

Sep 302017
 

We have a had a run of interesting, unusual fine press and/or artists books land recently, but this stood out and I thought I’d throw up a quick overview:

Julie Rafalski, Tahu Deans and David Henningham re-enacted Cold War psychic drawing experiments in a Leipzig building that had formerly housed an East German supercomputer. They also reconstructed the computer as a set to be reconfigured and photographed.

These pictures, films, drawings and transcripts make up the content of this book. Operating like the distinct CMYK dots that merge optically to form a full-colour picture, the artists have worked together to take the viewer through corridor spaces, doctored photographs, and a psychic spying apparatus redolent of the building itself. Not every page is accessible without the use of a knife.

And because gilding the lily is always a good thing…

The books are editioned using a vector-based system so that each book is assigned a non-hierarchical relationship to the others.

Sep 252017
 

We have just received three copies(!) of Jamie Murphy’s simply brilliant edition of J. Swift’s Modest Proposal. We will soon(ish) have three(!!!) copies of the deluxe edition, too. I have trouble reducing to words just how much I adore this work, but if you will bear with the simulacra of various images, I will try to convey the exquisite power and delicacy in execution embodied in this work. As you likely know,  A Modest Proposal For preventing the Children of Poor People From being a Burthen to Their Parents or Country, and For making them Beneficial to the Publick, more commonly known by its short-title, is Swift’s 1729 satirical pamphlet suggesting the impoverished Irish might ease their economic troubles by selling their children as food for rich gentlemen and ladies. It was a hastily printed pamphlet, modest in execution. The Salvage Press’ edition is not…it is rich in dark leather and marbled paper and monumental in size: imperial folio.

Jamie approaches the work from both a modern-situational aspect, but also from a profoundly personal one, with not one but two children with a rare genetic condition. “I had heard of A Modest Proposal years before but hadn’t read it until this period. The text seemed relevant and current – are the Irish not still in a shocking financial condition? Are we not still being plundered by absentee landlords? Are our children not about to incur the fallout from a previous generation’s mistakes? I started to think about reprinting the text. My daughter Olivia was born in 2016, presenting signs of the same genetic condition as my son. I knew they would have to be involved, and in one way this project was designed to mark their births.”

Jamie approached David O’Kane to illustrate the work, as he felt David’s preferred technique, scratching an image directly onto lithography stones, would create a rather haunting effect. Jamie’s suggesting that David use images of his children for inspiration, while challenging, nevertheless helped shape and shadow the remarkable power of the images.

David notes, “Swift’s voice was critical of those in power but also of the exploited masses and their deference to that power. In this sense it is still critically relevant today. The baby in the deanery dining table image appears to be eating her own hand, while simultaneously pointing an accusatory hand toward the viewer. The empty chairs await the hungry landlords. The question raised by the image is whether we want to pull up a seat at this horrific meal or find another way of setting out the table?”

Jamie asked Jessica Traynor to write nine new poems, each responding to the original text. Like the others, her contribution also integrated current events. As Jessica recalls, “So much history unfolded around me as I worked on the poems – the migrant crisis bled into Brexit, bled into the Citizens’ Assembly, bled into the Trump presidency, and I wrote poems in response to all of these events. But it would be impossible to write about the Ireland of the 21st century without writing about direct provision [the system of dealing with asylum seekers].”

The result is that rare Aristotelian work, with the whole being so much more than the sum of its parts. It is wry, and soul-draining, and funny, and touching, and brilliant, and challenging, and so much more…all once. You can return to it over and over and find something new in the image, prose, poetry, and/or design that you missed before. It is, simply, brilliant.

Jamie commissioned a wonderful video that explores the creation of the work and The Irish Times wrote this wonderful article on the work, rich with additional information and well worth a read. Enjoy both. We hope to have a standard at the Boston ABAA book fair, though there are fewer than 10 copies remaining. A complete description can be found here. I will almost certainly have one of the Deluxe editions, however, as they are a fair bit more dear…but that is for another time [teaser: 5 unique back-painted bindings, each reflecting a major theme]. Finally, that Jamie is barely 30 bodes well for the future. He has produced some remarkable work (see, e.g. Albert, Ernest & the Titanic)…but this hints of things to come. I, for one, cannot wait.

A Modest Proposal from ror conaty on Vimeo.

 

Sep 042017
 

Embroidered silk postcard [SS Arabic]

We’ve a wonderful collection around the golden age of ocean travel as told through menus, programs, and postcards. Built over a period of 3 decades, it covers the period from approximately 1880 to around 1930.

Highlights of the collection and important aspects include:

 

 

  • Original dining menus featuring culinary specialities of the period
  • Passenger lists serving as registers for historical documentation
  • Examples of design and style for advertising of the 19th and early 20th century
  • Documents featuring the description of innovations in transportation of the 19th and early 20th century [image gallery below]

    Embroidered silk postcard [RMS Lusitania]

Archive Encompassing the Golden Age of the Great Ocean Liners. [circa 1880-1930]. Approximately 850 items of ephemera from the golden age of ocean liner travel; including a cloth ticket wallet, numerous menus and passenger list cards from a wide variety of ships and routes, a souvenir handkerchief, deck plans, agent’s timetables etc. All in very good or better condition, minor edgewear to some of the more fragile pieces, essentially forty years or more of historical material, spanning the closing years of the 19th century and two world wars. Very Good to Near Fine.

The history of ocean liners is the history of western prosperity, the lure of emigration and the race for technology to catch up with both. The roots of passenger liners are based in 1818, when the Black Ball shipping line of New York started offering a regularly scheduled passenger service across the Atlantic and realised very swiftly that ticket prices could be increased in accordance with the level of comfort they were capable of offering. Previously buying a transatlantic ticket had relegated the hardy traveller to the same status as whatever other cargo the ship was carrying, indeed often slightly lower status; livestock and produce needed to be carefully nursed through the often perilous journeys, passengers were largely expected to fend for themselves.

The proliferation of steamships after the 1830’s, larger, faster creatures altogether; sometimes able to make the enormous journey in a little over two weeks, led to new and creative methods of utilising space and maximising profit. History changed on July 4th, 1840 when the very first ship to bear the legendary Cunard name, “The Britannia” left Liverpool on a ground (or perhaps sea) breaking 14 day journey to New York. It was for the times the very height of luxury, it travelled with a live Jersey cow on board, and chickens, to provide the passengers with fresh milk and eggs.

The advent of the tourist based pleasure cruise didn’t really take off until the 1860’s and the first cruise voyage to originate in America carried none other than Mark Twain, who characteristically immortalised the experience in “The Innocents Abroad.” By the 1880’s, a decade before the earliest items in this collection, the ocean cruise industry was in full swing; doctors regularly advised sea air and ocean voyages for the improved health of their patients, and the allure of foreign continents was proving irresistible to many as companies started offering “steerage” tickets as a very rough and ready way for the huddled masses to make their way to new opportunity.

The final years of the 19th century saw the advent of the first super liners, Germany initially led the field in creating enormous, painfully luxurious vessels that were effectively the floating luxury hotels we have come to expect today. Able to forge through any weather without hardly spilling a first class passengers cocktail, they became the preferred mode of travel for the super rich; reaching their zenith with the Cunard Line’s floating masterpieces “The Mauritania” and “The Lusitania”, the ships that required their passengers to dress for dinner and offered the romance of fine dining rooms where dinner suited elegance and mouth watering menus were accompanied by string quartets, whilst immaculately turned out stewards glided around supplying every need.

This particular collection contains representative ephemera from the largest and most luxurious lines of the period, and some of their flagship vessels, the one notable exception being, of course, The RMS Titanic, firstly because it should be remembered, Hollywood notwithstanding, that it failed, through little fault of its own, to do what transatlantic liners are supposed to do and secondly because all Titanic material is by definition mementos mori and therefore exists rather beyond its socio-industrial context…drifting more into the sargasso of legend. In the manner of such things however, the phantom of the Titanic is unavoidable and present here are pieces of material related to ships who in any number of ways were influenced and overshadowed by their relationship to the largest and most evocative maritime disaster of the time.

The period covered by this material (1896-probably the 1940’s in the case of a couple of deckplans) encompasses the successes, failures and tragedies of the largest passenger shipping lines in the world; Cunard, White Star, Norddeutscher Lloyd Bremen, the Hamburg Amerika Line (notwithstanding the blanket ownership of J P Morgan’s “IMM” after the early 1900’s) and a number of others. It was a period of fierce competition in the arenas of sheer size and speed, and the degree of luxury which could be attained. Norddeutscher Lloyd’s “Kaiser Wilhelm der Grosse” was built to rival Cunard’s “Campania” and “Lucania”; White Star’s “Oceanic” was put into play to combat “Kaiser Wilhelm” and so on. It was a period of fierce continental competition; at times the fabled prizes rested with the German lines, at others with the British Cunard liners and eventually the laurels passed to the American lines as more and more US ingenuity and drive was brought to bear on what was essentially the “space race” of the era. The mighty giants of the period; Mauretania, Deutschland, Lusitania, Olympia, Normandie have passed into the mists of ocean going myth, all of them are represented here; in fact, in the case of many of these pieces, this collection will represent their sole representation anywhere. Hardly any of the items in the collection were intended to last longer than the duration of a single voyage and their survival within this archive offers a unique record of the Golden Age of ocean travel. Similarly, outside of the realm of international business rivalry, shadowy political preoccupations began to affect the industry, with the British Admiralty quickly cottoning on to the concept that every ocean liner was a potential warship and subsidised lines like Cunard to build ships like “Lucania” and “Campania” in such a way that would make them swiftly convertible to battle stations in time of war. These two ships alone at that time had the largest triple expansion engines ever built, signifying the summit of achievement in that realm of technology until the inception of the turbine engine.

This archive represents a porthole into a period of unprecedented elegance, prosperity and innovation. Comprising of a tremendous number of items (we believe this to be one of the largest collections of material to come to market for a very long time), spanning a breadth of periods, lines and purposes; from beautifully chromo-lithographed menu cards to deck plans and passenger lists, souvenir programmes, handkerchiefs and fans, ticket wallets and books of postcards; an enormous and attractive collection of postcard ands promotional material spanning not only most of the world but most of the world’s significant shipping lines and a treasure trove of other ephemera and memorabilia.

The collection contains, as an example and in no particular order:

~Hamburg-Amerika Line: “SS Reliance”, illustrated menu card for farewell dinner, September 1928

~Norddeutscher Lloyd Bremen: “Friedrich der Grosse”, illustrated menu card, October 1900

~N.Y.K. Line (Nippon Yusen Kaisha): “SS Kashima Maru”, souvenir passenger list, February 1934

~Norddeutscher Lloyd Bremen: “SS Berlin”, 3 illustrated menu cards from April 1931 Norddeutscher Lloyd Bremen: “SS Bremen” illustrated gatefold menu, June 1937

~United States Lines: “George Washington”, Illustrated Passenger List, New York to Bremen, October 1924

~Nederlandische-Amerikanische: “SS Maasdam”, Illustrated Passenger List, Rotterdam to New York, July 1894

~Hamburg-Amerika Line: “Deutschland” Illustrated Passenger List, July 1901

~Hamburg-Amerika Line: “Moltke”, Illustrated Passenger List, July 1903

~Norddeutscher-Lloyd Bremen: Passenger voyage timetable for sailings to North and South America, The Far East and Australia June 1929

~Red Star Line: “SS Pennland” Decorative souvenir programme for the Grand Concert, July 1927

~Pacific Mail Steamship Co.: “PMSS Manchuria” Illustrated Passenger List, Yokohama to San Francisco May 1912

~Compagnie Generale Transatlantique: “La Lorraine” Illustrated Passenger List, New York to Le Havre, August 1919

~N.S. Gemeinschaft “Kraft Durch Freude” (KdF) promotional brochure advertising National Socialist excursions from Hamburg. 1930’s.

~Hamburg-Amerika Line [HAL]: Calendar of “Pleasure and Relaxation Cruises” October 1905 to June 1906

~American Line: “St. Paul” Illustrated Passenger List, Southampton to New York August 1929

~White Star Line: “SS Majestic”, Illustrated Passenger List, New York to Cherbourg, April 1931

~Hamburg-Sudamerikanische Line: “Monte Sarmiento”, Illustrated Menu/Postcard, July 1927

~Inman Line [I&I Steamship Co.]: “City of Chicago” Illustrated Passenger List, Liverpool to New York, April 1889 (with ink annotations by a passenger).

~Norddeutscher Lloyd Bremen [NDLB]: “SS Bremen” Elaborate menu card with silk ties, August 1933

~P&O and British India Steam Navigation Co.: “P&O Cruiser Ranchi”, Illustrated Passenger List, Mediterranean, August 1926

~NDLB: “SS Bremen”, elaborate menu card for Brahms’ birthday dinner August 1933 NDLB: “SS Bremen” illustrated wine menu, April 1929

~H.A.L.: “Kronprinzessen Cecille” Illustrated Passenger List, Hamburg to Mexico 1911

~H.A.L.: “President Grant” Illustrated Passenger List, July 1912

~NDLB: “SS Bremen” Illustrated Kosher menu card for March 1934 (!)

~H.A.L.: “Albert Ballin” Illustrated Passenger List, Hamburg to New York, July 1926

~NDLB: “Kaiser Wilhelm” Illustrated menu card August 1903

~H.A.L.: “Pennsylvania” Illustrated Passenger List, Hamburg to New York November 1905

~Cunard Steamship Company: “RMS Campania” Illustrated Passenger List, New York to Liverpool July 1906 [also listed on timetable; Saxonia, Lucania and Carpathia]

~Cunard Steamship Co.: “RMS Campania” Illustrated Passenger List. Liverpool to New York August 1900

~Cunard Steamship Co.: “RMS Saxonia” Illustrated Passenger List, Boston to Liverpool 1903

~NDLB: Guidebook to Munich, card wraps, English text, given free aboard ship and containing an interesting potted history of the NDLB and its manifold successes.

~NDLB: Cloth ticket/travel document wallet, beige and purple, 1930’s, excellent condition. H.A.L.: A selection of on ship purchased postcards in original paper chemises.

~Royal Mail Steam Packet Co.: “RMSP Aragon” Illustrated Passenger List, Southampton to Buenos Aires, February 1911

~NDLB: “SS Berlin” embroidered souvenir handkerchief depicting the liner at full steam. NDLB: “Grosser Kurfurst” Illustrated menu card, (some loss to upper edges), March 1904.

~Pacific Mail Steamship Co. “SS Manchuria” Illustrated Passenger List, San Francisco-Far East Circuit, March 1912. Heavily annotated by passenger.

~NDLB: “Friedrich der Grosse” Illustrated menu cards, July 4th 1911, July 5th 1911 NDLB: “Kronprinz Wilhelm” Illustrated menu card, July 1903

~NDLB: “Grosser Kurfurst” Illustrated menu card, September 1901

~Cie. Gle. Transatlantique: “La Provence” Illustrated menu card, beautiful art nouveau design, August 1910

~NS Gemeinschaft “Kraft durch Freude”: “Oceana” Illustrated itinerary card with exhortation from the Nazi party “We wish you a happy homecoming, Heil Hitler!” Italian voyage January 1938

~NDLB: Luggage label with string for a stateroom on the “Adolf Vinnen” in the name of Mr. and Mrs. Meyer of New Jersey. Hamburg-New York 1912

~H.A.L.: “SS Graf Waldersee” Illustrated Passenger List. New York to Hamburg July 1902 H.A.L.: “SS Normannia” Illustrated Passenger List, New York to Hamburg September 1894

~Great White Fleet: “SS Heredia” Caribbean Cruise of Gulf Park College leaving New Orleans March 1928, elaborate illustrated menu card.

~Tokyo Kisen Kaisha: Illustrated Information Brochure circa 1917

~H.A.L.: “Albert Ballin” Illustrated and elaborate bell shaped multi leaved menu and concert programme August 1935

~RMS Titanic: 2 commemorative cards (1987 and 1991) sent at sea from the resting place of the great liner; stamped with all vessels present and the sigil of ~Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute with hand written co-ordinates of the wreck site and the details of the Russian Research Vessel “Akademyk Keldysh” which carried the Mir I and Mir II submersibles.

~H.A.L.: “Graf Waldersee” Illustrated menu card, August 1900 H.A.L.: “Pennsylvania” Illustrated menu card, February 1901

~H.A.L.: A group of four further Illustrated menu cards from the “Pennsylvania” during a voyage in January-February 1901

~Cie Gle Transatlantique: Large format photograph of the liner “SS Normandie” under construction noting that the vessel was 1020” feet long. In 1935 the ~“Normandie” was the largest and fastest passenger vessel on the seas. She is still cited as being the most powerful steam turbo-electric powered ship ever built.

~Nippon Yusen Kaisha: “SS Fushimi Maru” Illustrated menu card, May 1915

~Nippon Yusen Kaisha: “SS Awa Maru” Illustrated menu card, May 1915

~Nippon Yusen Kaisha:”SS Tenyo Maru” Illustrated menu card, September 1916

~NDLB: A selection of decorative menu cards in card chemise for a voyage by the “SS Berlin”

~Various: A selection of folding souvenir deck plans for ships in the Red Star, Cie Gle Transatlantique and United States Lines.

~NDLB: Beautiful illustrated menu card “SS Columbus”, April 1925. At that time the “Columbus” was the flagship of NDLB and was notable for being almost permanently on hire to Thomas Cook and for being the first liner to have its own swimming pool on deck.

~NDLB: “SS Koln” Illustrated Passenger List, November 1902, Bremen-Galveston

~NDLB: “SS Amerika” Illustrated Passenger List, July 1906

~NDLB: “SS Havel” Illustrated Passenger List, New York to Bremen, November 1894

~Cie Gle Transatlantique: “MS Lafayette” Illustrated Passenger List, Le Havre to New York September 1937

~Cie Gle Transatlantique: “MS Ile De France” Illustrated Passenger List, Le havre to new York, September 1937. The Ile de France was the first refrigerated ocean liner and was thus the first vessel to bring fresh French Brie to America.

~Cie Gle Transatlantique: A selection of 6 Illustrated Cruise Itineraries from the “SS Normandie” [1930’s]

~Cunard Line: Notepaper from “Mauretania”, “Queen Mary” and “Queen Elizabeth” Cie Gle Transatlantique: Single sheet not on “Normandie” notepaper

NDLB: “SS Columbus” Illustrated Menu Cards, July 1937 [2]

~Cunard White Star: “RMS Laconia” Illustrated menu card, June 1937. The “Laconia” was, like it’s previous namesake in WW1, sunk by a submarine in World War 2 on September 12th 1942. The aftermath of the sinking, during which over 1600 people died, became known as “The Laconia Incident.” Kapitanleutnant Werner Hartenstein of the U-156 surfaced after the sinking in order to pick up survivors when he became aware that non-combatants were on board, he requested assistance from U Boat High Command in Germany and several U Boats entered the area flying red cross flags and signalling that a rescue operation was under way. The U-Boat convoy, fore-decks laden with survivors, lifeboats in tow and still flying Red Cross flags headed towards a neutral exchange point. Unfortunately, a US B-24 Liberator, despite the resistance of it’s crew and the frantic radio signals of Hartenstein was ordered to attack the U-Boats. The U-Boats were forced to dive and abandon the survivors, some of whom were later picked up by Vichy French naval ships. Admiral Donitz, as a direct result of the Laconia Incident rescinded any previous directions to do with rescuing survivors of enemy ships. Hartenstein and his crew were killed a few months later.

NDLB: “SS Europa” 3rd Class Illustrated menu card June 1931. Very striking. Cunard Line: Atlantic Interlude, cruise brochure 1930’s

~Cunard Line: “RMS Aquitania” card booklet from the 1920’s. Aquitania was the last four-funnel steamer, and noted as being one of the most beautiful ships afloat, and was the longest serving commercial ocean liner at the time of her retirement in 1950

~Cie Gle Transatlantique: “La Provence” fold out cutaway diagram of the liner in card wraps showing many of the joyous luxuries available on board.

~H.A.L.: Brochure for first class travel on the line, 1930’s

~H.A.L. Winter Service Timetable 1896-1897 advertising voyages on the “August Victoria”, “Columbia”, “Normannia” and “Furst Bismarck”

~Raymond Whitcomb Cruises: advertising taking the “Normandie to Rio” 1939

~Tokyo Kisen Kaishu: “SS Kitano Maru” Illustrated menu card, december 1936 (some underlining by passenger)

~T.K.K.: “Kitano Maru” Illustrated menu card for farewell dinner February 1937 autographed by passengers.

~T.K.K.: 2 Blank illustrated menu cards with Kabuki and Samurai designs from the TKK 1930’s design blueprint.

~T.K.K.: “Miyazaki Maru” Illustrated menu card, march 1916. 

o

Aug 072017
 

 

We are beginning to release a series of special themed short lists, this one inspired by the “death positive” movement, not just for collecting, but for understanding about death culture and documentation.

Death Becomes Her” can be viewed on our catalogue page, along with other catalogues of the mostly recently past.

Next big fair is ABAA 41st Annual Boston International Antiquarian Book Fair, November 10-12, 2017! Can’t wait!

 

Jul 242017
 

I have had the great pleasure of working with Gabby Cooksey since she burst forth from North Bennet School and began inflicting her genius upon the world. I had the great pleasure of placing her first binding in Univ. of Virginia’s Special Collections and the greater pleasure of watching her explore, evolve, and expand with each new work. I have said since I saw her first work that she makes design decisions as a new, now young, binder that I would expect from one with decades under her belt… Part of this is to NBS’s credit, but much has to do with Gabby’s profoundly subtle and sophisticated way of looking at her projects and finding elegant solutions at nearly every turn…

It was not long before she branched out and began writing text, creating art, and printing all elements of some projects. Thus we have today’s gem: The Book of Penumbra, of which Gabby writes,

“Death has always fascinated me because it happens to all of us yet no one talks about it. I wanted to see what other cultures personified death as through myths and legends. The gods in this book are very hushed and for some, even if you speak the name, you’ll be cursed. I wanted this book to be shadows, to be played in the light. I chose a delicate paper so one could see through to the page behind it. The text is in all sorts of shapes because I wanted each story to represent the god being told about. For instance, Sedna is in the shape of drowning, Anubis is his eye, Mac is a pit with someone at the bottom. The borders are all plants, roots, and things found on the earth. Some represent death like the poppy, and the yew tree.”

Completed in an edition of 23, bound in wraps, and housed in a box with an inlaid coffin, it is a beautiful bit of work. As she is seldom content with ‘exquisite’, I received a package out of the blue and found a one-off art binding of the book with seven skulls suspended by gold in the cut-through front board (insert above). Always pushing, always expanding…ever brilliant. I am always excited about what she will produce next. Explore the book below…

Jul 182017
 

In November of 1897 the Library began a program of daily readings for the blind in a special “pavilion for the blind” complete with its own library. In 1913 Congress directed the American Printing House for the Blind to begin depositing embossed books in the Library, and in 1931 a separate appropriation was authorized for providing “books for the use of adult blind residents of the United States.” [LC]

This Act was amended in 1934 to include sound recordings (talking books), and expanded again later to include children, music, and ultimately to include anyone with physical limitations that prevent reading regular print. This program is important to me personally, because of what a remarkable effect it had on my grandmother’s life when she, a lifelong avid reader, lost the ability to read to macular degeneration. The program is still thriving…now sending out books to the vision impaired on flash drives.

There were few record players in homes in the early twentieth century, and thus between 1935 and approximately 1942 the Talking Book project produced about 23,000 record players (at a cost of approximately $1.2 million). While funding from the WPA dried up in 1942, the program continued until 1951, when the Foundation stopped producing its own record players because they were now readily available to the general public. It is this period that is particularly interesting for me, as it is the period where critical components of the record players used were produced by the company my in-laws’ owned and operated until their retirement (though this program far predates their ownership).

Between the mid-1940s to the mid 1950s, Bowen and Company produced the guts for several models of the record players that were provided to clients of the Talking Book project. On a recent visit, my FiL said he had something interesting for me and proceeded to hand over a Model 9C record player and a packing case filled not only with albums, but with a remarkable trove of the technical specs and schematics for the machines design and evolution…as well as some supporting material and, interestingly, a copy of a late advert, when the company had been given permission to sell the players to the general public. It is unusual to find one of the early players in any condition…to find one like this (with many extra needles) and records and (amazingly) a pile of the design/evolution documentation pretty much makes my month. Enjoy the huge pile of images to follow [photo credit to Mary Pennington]

Jul 142017
 

So after a few weeks of decompressing, we are back from RBMS 17 Iowa City! With epic stop overs in Indiana, Chicago, St. Louis, Kansas City, and more! By visiting the dead during the trip, we certainly appreciate our education and places of memories. Much like books, graveyards emulate a sense of memory.  While strolling through the local cemetery in Iowa City, we devised a plan to take the crypt a to it logical bibliophilic conclusion. What if you could shelve yourself much like a book, after walking on this complicated earth, in a familiar setting, housed in a familiar form? Thus, the idea of ‘bibliocrypt’ was born! Picture a crypt that embodies a library shelves…stone bindings on the outside, shelves with book-urns lining the inside. #bibliocrypt

Too morbid? Well, we did engage with the living, many living and breathing archives and libraries, librarians, and archivists doing amazing and engaging things to enrich our conscious world.  RBMS is typically a time of exchange and growth for many in the field. We were there to listen and talk to people in a wildly critical time of scholarship and information exchange.  Unlike most book fairs, this is best time to actually discuss components of library collection development, new modes of material description, and aspects of outreach and engagement.  We did a pretty good job of bringing materials that reflected the over theme of the conference: “The Stories We Tell” from artist’s books, narratives, to strange and odd visual storytelling.  A pared down booth!

In the future weeks, we will be thinking about yes, death, our biblioarcanum and new catalogs and lists coming out.

Our next big show is Boston ABAA, November 10-12, 2017. #biblioarcanum

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