Mar 182017
 

New York, you were lovely! Now, we will be digging ourselves out from the permafrost, and reflecting on our time at the book fair. We partnered with Brian Cassidy and despite our cave-like space, we managed to see a ton of foot traffic, as well as some attention from CNN (see below), a representative from China on book arts, and a nice article by Erin Schreiner addressing women in the book trade. It was particularly heartening to see just how much younger this year’s attendees skewed… While the hall remained dominated with older collectors, etc…there were a remarkable number of young, interested, engaged attendees. Even more so on the librarian front. We even had a visit by the remarkable Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson! The future, I think, is looking quite good.

SCROTUS gave us both a good and bad bit at the fair. On the downside, CNN wanted to shoot in the booth…as it was a particularly sexy, interesting collection of material across the booth, but then saw the rather brilliant Billy Childish posters we had front and center. To paraphrase: “Oh, we can’t shoot those, we’d get too much pushback”. Personally, I think that is a sad commentary, but there we are. On the upside, we sold *every* single set we had with us (about 10) and there was no other single thing that amused more people. We had exactly one person grumble about it…and several dozen smile/laugh/commiserate/take pictures/generally enjoy them. The culmination came, during break down, when one of the teamsters, walking by, asked (with an impressive NJ accent) “Ya sell my favorite thing?” “What was that?” “Pissing in the mouth of Donald Trump” (he said, laughing). Great finish to the show.

#nyabaa17 #nyabf17

 

Mar 102017
 

Lux Mentis, Booksellers specializes in expanding the notion of the printed, constructed, and idea of the book. We have an enormous and diverse spectrum of material, from unusual first editions to carefully executed fine press to wildly esoteric books challenging not only the physical object of a book, but the content within. Our mission revolves around building, confronting, documenting, and supporting the printed, painted, and photographed world around us.  We work with a broad range of clients, from collaborating with institutional libraries and private collectors to build collections to supporting and inspiring young mind’s to collect and/or create books. We believe that at the heart of society, books are the brick and mortar that solidifies our identity making us accountable, responsible, and creative humans. It is our job as booksellers to help support that relationship.

#NYCBOOKFAIR2017 #NYABAA17

With that in mind, we like to represent many critical issues in our book selections, embodied by the work of both past and present creators. This year in New York we will showcase books and manuscripts that emphasize women as creators and feminist discourses. The following will be featured at our booth E5:

Gilman, Charlotte Perkins. The Yellow Wall Paper. Boston: Small, Maynard and Company, 1901. Second Edition. Rubbing to extremities, light shelf/edge wear, inscribed on the ffep, else tight, bright, and unmarred. Internally clean and fresh. Publisher’s yellow decorated glazed paper covered boards titled in a rather bilious orangey red. 12mo. 55pp. Very Good. Hardcover.
Inscribed to front flyleaf by the great lady herself:  “To Mrs. Beatrice Forbes Robertson Swinburne Hale! With Love of Charlotte Perkins Gilman. 1910” One of the greatest and most significant weird tales of the late 19th century, a story “not intended to drive people crazy, but to save people from being driven crazy…” inscribed by its ground-breaking feminist author, to a friend and fellow fighter for woman’s suffrage on the occasion of her marriage. (#9123)        $22,500.00

Charlotte Perkins Gilman, “Yellow Wallpaper” 2e, inscribed by Gilman

Cummins, Maureen; Nicole Cooley [author]. Salem Lessons. High Falls, New York: Maureen Cummins, 2010. Limited Edition. Concertina, or “theatre in the round’ multi-folded artist book. Signed by artist and author. Fine in Fine Archival Box. Hardcover.
“Salem Lessons” was printed and produced by Maureen Cummins in the Winter and Spring of 2010, with typographic assistance from Kathy McMillan. The cycle of poems was created by Cooley specifically for this book; the accompanying images are from a penmanship book kept by a Salem, MA boy, Josiah Peele, during the years 1808 and 1809. The project traces the psychic reverberations of the Salem witch trials upon succeeding generations. It address–as all examinations of the trials do–our own modern time and situation. There are thirteen poems altogether, representing both the accusers and the accused, survivors and the condemned, but focusing on the trials and the treatment of women. — from the colophon and website. (#9247)    $2,500.00

Maureen Cummings – Salem Lessons

Jacobs, Diane. Object n. Object v. Portland, Oregon: Scantron Press, 2016. Limited Edition. Bright and unmarred. Wood and glass custom case with laser cut text, materials include glass, chicken egg shells, plaster, tangerine skin, gold leaf, acrylic balls, antique glass/aluminum slide mounts, India ink on vellum, oil paint, water color, human hair, wood, leather, aluminum combs, ceramic, military dog tags, and molded handmade cotton paper. np. Numbered limited edition of 4. Fine.
“object n., object v. was created to link present day gender inequality to our ancient past. Male control over women’s bodies and women’s sexuality continues around the world, as does the hierarchy of objective beauty. While the ancient Greeks were oppressing and objectifying women, an egalitarian society roamed north of the Black Sea. Legendary warrior women known as Amazons rode horses, practiced archery, fought to defend and conquer, and had sexual freedom. In this artist book I have juxtaposed two parallel worlds through objects and imagery. All the text is derived from two books that paint the picture and tell the story. Helen of Troy: Beauty, Myth, Devastation by Ruby Blondell and The Amazons: Lives & Legends of Warrior Women Across the Ancient World by Adrienne Mayor. When I read that self-reliant warrior women existed in the ancient world I was inspired and I wanted to share that knowledge to rekindle a collective vision of equality.” [artist statement] (#9240)        $10,000.00

Diane Jacobs Object v. Object

 

Feb 262017
 

The New York Antiquarian Book Fair is right around the corner! We have fashioned ourselves into a corner this year, literally. However, as always with amazing new delights to share! The gallery below is just a snippet of our booth in New York, link to our show list will be available next week.

As usual, a consistent selection of books arts, fine press, photography, ‘sex, death, and the devil’, in addition to our fondness for esoterica. We’ll have some ‘normal’ books too.

*If you would like passes to the New York Book Fair, please contact us*

SEE YOU THERE!!! #nyabaa17 #nyabf17

Feb 012017
 

We will soon follow the sun and be present at the 50th California International Antiquarian Book Fair, Oakland (ABAA), February 10-12th, 2017. Please visit us at Booth #316 and do not hesitate to ask for passes, we have a limited number to give away.

As usual, we will be debuting a number of new and important items, including the work of Sam Winston (see images below), Occult and Esoterica materials, Fine Press and Fine Bindings, and are other eccentric cacophony of fun, including:

  • 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. (#9148) $1,200.00
  • Cooksey, Gabrielle. The Book of Penumbra [Art Binding]. Tacoma, WA: [Artist Book], 2016. Unique. Tight, bright, and unmarred. Black leather boards with oval cutthrough, 7 carved skulls suspended upon gold wire strung web-like through the opening, marbled endpages. Large 12mo. np [19pp]. Illus. (b/w with gilt plates). Numbered limited edition of 23. Fine in Fine Box. Hardcover. (#9226) $2,250.00
  • Harman, Moses [ed.]; Edward C. Walker, Lillian Harman, Lois Waisbrooker, et al. Lucifer, the Light-Bearer. Chicago, IL: Moses Harman, 1902. First Edition. Some slights tears at folds and edge wear. Three large folio printed broadsides, 8p., 10×13″ Issues: Third series, volume VI, number 7 (February 27, 1902; whole number 906); volume VI, number 12 (April 3, 1902; whole number 911); volume VI, number 23 (June 19, 1902; whole number 922) Very Good. (#9192) $700.00
  • St. James, Margo. 1st Annual Hooker Convention Poster. Margo St. James, 1974. First Printing. Pinholes in corners, small closed tear at one edge with related minor rumple, handful of very pale moisture marks, else bright and clean. Orange paper, blue ink. 23 x 15 Very Good. Poster. (#9183) $750.00
  • [Photography and travel – Great Lakes] Collection of two scrapbook photography and ephemera albums assembled by an American woman traveller and companions, c. 1920s. 1925-1930. Set of two photography albums both secured in original contemporary 1920s tie and knot covers. Each album contains carefully clipped and placed black and white photographs mounted to black craft paper, some captioned by hand in pen. Other materials included are souvenir brochures, chromeolithographic color and black and white postcards, hand-color printed clippings from tourist ephemera and color printed maps with the annotated journey in pencil. Albums contain over 150 black and white silver gelatin
    photographs and approximately 100 pieces of clipped ephemera. Very Good+. (#9186) $650.00
  • Winston, Sam. A Dictionary Story. London: Arc Artist Editions, 2013. Limited Edition. Tight, bright, and unmarred. White cloth boards, black ink lettering, concertina construction; green cloth slipcase. Tall 8vo. np [24pp]. Signed by the artist. Limited numbered edition, this being 63 of 100. Near Fine in Wraps and Fine Sleeve. Original Wraps. (#9224) $1,450.00

We will be showcasing a remarkable collection of ocean liner material and a spectacular inscribed copy (by Charlotte Gilman Perkins) of Yellow Wallpaper.

Ocean Liner cruise ship Archive

 

Charlotte Perkins Gilman, “Yellow Wallpaper” 2e, inscribed by Gilman

The show list for the California International Antiquarian Book Fair can be found here along with our other catalogs. Please note, we do not have miniature books listed in the show list, but WILL HAVE a selection of miniatures available!

Please check the schedule of events and times of show floor opening. A couple of things to note:

  • Exhibit featuring the Special Collection from The Bancroft Library at the University of California, Berkeley. This year’s Book Fair will include a special exhibit from The Bancroft Library at the University of California, Berkeley, which has a long history of collecting the literary fiction of California. In more recent years, that scope has expanded to include mystery and detective fiction, fantasy and science fiction, and western fiction
  • Also, the newly formed ABAA Women’s Initiative invites women and women-identified book and manuscript sellers working in the trade and women and women-identified individuals connected and/or interested in the trade, i.e. librarians, collectors, community members, book artists/binders, to attend a networking reception on Friday, February 10th from 8pm-9pm after the CA Book Fair, at the Oakland City Center, Room 208, Oakland Marriott Hotel. Wine and refreshments will be served. Event invite here: https://www.facebook.com/events/1399736753383558/

If you have any questions about any of the material, do not hesitate to contact us! See you in California!

Jan 182017
 

Due to low attendance, rising costs, and suspected pressure from animal rights activists, Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus announced the circus would close in May 2017 after 146 years.

Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus is a United States traveling circus company billed as “The Greatest Show on Earth.” The circus, known as Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Combined Shows, was started in 1919 when the Barnum & Bailey’s Greatest Show on Earth, a circus created by P. T. Barnum and James Anthony Bailey, was merged with the Ringling Bros. World’s Greatest Shows. The Ringling brothers had purchased Barnum & Bailey Ltd. following Bailey’s death in 1906, but ran the circuses separately until they were merged in 1919.

A brief summary about the early days of circus reveals:

In 1884, five of the seven Ringling brothers had started a small circus in Baraboo, Wisconsin. This was about the same time that Barnum & Bailey were at the peak of their popularity. Similar to dozens of small circuses that toured the Midwest and the Northeast at the time, the brothers moved their circus from town to town in small animal-drawn caravans. Their circus rapidly grew and they were soon able to move their circus by train, which allowed them to have the largest traveling amusement enterprise of that time. Bailey’s European tour gave the Ringling brothers an opportunity to move their show from the Midwest to the eastern seaboard. Faced with the new competition, Bailey took his show west of the Rocky Mountains for the first time in 1905. He died the next year, and the circus was sold to the Ringling Brothers. [Wikipedia]

A fascinating aspect of the circus is the transportation methods used, beginning in the late 19th century. Trains, and train wagons transported people, equipment, animals, and performers state-to-state and overseas by country. A seemingly economical and fast way to travel, the mode of travel wasn’t without its peril.

The Railroad Tradition at Ringling Bros.

1830s Railroads and circuses begin to appear in the Eastern United States

1840s Circuses begin using boxcars and stock cars for limited distances

1870s April 18, 1872 Ð the P.T. Barnum Circus loaded onto flat cars “piggyback” -style on the Pennsylvania Railroad. Rented sleepers serve as solid circus train, the first unit train concept

1890s The best circuses move by rail: Barnum & Bailey has 56 cars, Ringling Bros. has 56 cars

1920s Ringling Bros. totals almost 100 cars traveling by rail

1950s Ringling Bros. shifts to combined rail/truck transportation

1960s Ringling Bros. discontinues using tents and returns to 100% rail transportation

1969 Ringling Bros. forms second rail unit

The first circus to travel by rail was the Den Stone Circus in 1854. Through out the history of the American circus, train wrecks have taken many lives. The last fatal circus train wreck occurred in 1994 near Lakeland, Florida. [www.circusesandsideshows.com]

Regardless of the irony about train wrecks and the circus, the history of rail and commerce is documented in photographs quite effectively and idyllically. It speaks to the nature of the business and revealed a lifestyle of hard labor and endless travel.  Depending on what you believe, we have replaced the circus with our own media circus, and nevertheless the early traveling sideshow and the romanticism of the train has a place in Americana, now almost only captured in images.

[All images in gallery are from Collection of Circus Travel photography albums. c. 1890-1960. A fabulous pair of albums containing upwards of 550 black and white original photographs and clippings of circus vehicles, parades, acts and equipment dating from the late 19th century through the Depression and war years up to the late 1950’s and early 1960’s. 2 volumes, quarto,
approx 34 leaves per volumes, 310 images in volume I, 234 images in vol II with some loose and displaced images throughout. The albums are 1940’s rexine bound ring binders with heavy sugar paper leaves, all images in very good condition or better, the majority captioned with typed tape slips either on the image or adjacent to it on the album page. Very Good+. Spiral Bound. (#9077)]

 

Nov 042016
 

If you missed the 40th Boston International Antiquarian Bookfair, then you missed the trifecta of awesome between Lux Mentis, Jonathan Kearns, and Brian Cassidy. We even had Halloween candy and dorky costumes. In addition to the wildly reoccurring appearance of sex, death, and the devil, we featured new work by Gabby Cooksey, Colin Urbina, and Alexandra Janezic.

When we weren’t gabbing at people, we did happen to find some new and amazing items to share with the world, selections below. As usual, keep in touch!

Oct 262016
 

As promised, here is a selection of materials we are bringing to Boston, much of which is recent acquisitions and new items.  Content is arranged by sections: Primary Source [Archive] Collections; Artist’s Books & Fine Press; Science, Technology, and Historical Medicine; Ephemera; and Esoterica. The catalogs, including the previously released OCCULT short list can be found here: Boston preview list(s)

If you would like to contact about any of the items in advance of the fair, please do so: ian@luxmentis.com, kim@luxmentis.com

Otherwise, we will see you on Friday, October 28th, 5:00-9:00pm!  We have passes for the Friday night preview night, if you would like to attend, please get in touch.

Oct 112016
 

Boston approaches! And it is Halloween, for all you muggles, Samhain, rather.  In lieu of this, Lux Mentis, Booksellers is offering a twee short list of occult, witchcraft, other spiritual beliefs, mythology, and magick-related items for preview [there’s more too].  We will have another more comprehensive list featuring fine press, artist’s books, and new acquisitions shortly.

If you would like to contact about any of the items in advance of the fair, please do so: ian@luxmentis.com, kim@luxmentis.com

See you at the Fair!

boston-40th-international-abaa-book-fair-occult-short-list

Oct 042016
 
What we do is secret

What we do is secret

YABS is really well-timed, so after 3 days of instruction and dialogue, you can put your study to practice at the York National Book Fair. I’ve done a few fairs already, but it’s always something new to see and find.  I helped out Jonathan Kearns this year, but we were able after the initial opening to scout around ourselves.

Jonathan Kearns Rare Books & Curiousities

Jonathan Kearns Rare Books & Curiosities

A special find for me, in my opinion, was a 1810 “family” herbal from Sir John Hill, another one of these folk herbalists who despite their university training, found herbal remedies compelling for the layman.  The text block was re-cased splendidly, with hand-colored illustrations at the end.  Lux Mentis will bring this and many other good finds from York to the Boston International Antiquarian Book Fair 2016 at the end of October! Halloween weekend, in fact! Here are just a few more images of delicious items we found and more to feature in a Boston pre-list soon:

 

Jul 262016
 

Throughout July, we celebrate and advocate for LGBTQ Pride and action, as many cities around the world geared up for parades, events, and solid signs of support. It’s a time for solidarity, remembrance, love, and critical forms of radical expression.

We are remembering one individual in the queer community, Samuel Morris Steward, who literally decorated the world with vibrancy of character, but also teased and taunted sexual standards; already challenged in the gay community. Sam Steward was a stud; an artistic charmer, a handsome wordsmith, a beguiling back room Casanova. His sex appeal was so provocative he kept a catalog called the “Stud File” with basically card catalog classification and rubrics for his multiple lovers.  Mostly due to his training as a librarian.

Born in 1909 in Woodsfield, Ohio, Samuel M. Steward had gone to Ohio State University, then became a professor at Loyola, and later DePaul University in Chicago. In 1936, he published a well-received novel Angels on the Bough, about his family’s life back home during the Great Depression. Armed with letters of introduction by well-connected friends, Steward went to Paris and met Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas, with whom he became lifelong friends. He visited with them often at Bilignin, their country house, and wrote a memoir of that friendship and published a collection of their letters, Dear Sammy (1977).

Despite his connections, Steward failed to live up to his early potential. It was not until he penned his explicit Phil Andros stories (basically as a lark) that he achieved any real recognition. Later in life, he published a pair of amusing mystery novels, incorporating Stein and Toklas as sleuths, including the witty Murder is Murder is Murder (1985). These are feather-light entertainments, poorly plotted and implausible, but they provide a rare and invaluable hands-on insight into the private lives of these two titanic figures. (Huffington Press, “Lover Man: The Samuel Steward Story”)

He also published poetry, loving and emotional, in “Love Poems: Homage to Housman,” he emulates the classicist style of A.E. Housman and an unremitting love between two individuals.

Unsurprisingly, Steward had a relationship with overwhelmingly recognizable artist and illustrator Tom of Finland.  Tom illustrated many of Steward’s book covers under his (Steward) pen name Phil Andros.  The narratives were not unlike Finland’s drawings, hunky manifestations of lusty deviations, situational to Steward’s own kinky lifestyle.  In addition to his own inclination to BDSM communities, he also quite fittingly was a successful tattoo artist in San Francisco in the 1960s.   However, despite a generous community of lovers and artistic aptitude, Steward died in the 1980s, most likely due to addiction issues and pulmonary disease. His life is a message, however controversial for some, that your body and mind is your interpretation and your own. The forms and identity you take is yours alone.

Signed letterpress poetry and selection of original photographs

Signed letterpress poetry and selection of original photographs