Feb 192017
 

We are starting what we hope/intend will be a regular element of the blog: images and/or video profiling various specific artists books. We debut with Jun Suzuki‘s metal meta masterpiece, In the Beginning. Part of Kaldewey Press’ artist book series (this being Kaldewey 7), it is an elegantly simple piece of work, concealing subtle complexity.

The limited edition of thirty-five is comprised of hinged metal sheets (oxidized) with red ink Japanese characters and the English equivalent in cut-out letters…and one letterpress printed leaf tipped in. It is housed in a slipcase designed ‘spine up’, so that the leave hang free.

The book illustrates the process of the creation of language. The last page includes the first sentence of the earliest known work of Japanese literature. The work is found in a handful of special collections and we have not found another copy in the market in at least a decade.

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)]

 

Dec 122016
 

While it has been easy to be a pessimist at this time of year, especially in lieu of worldly affairs, in spirit of Jolabokaflod in Iceland, we continue to celebrate the book and specifically the art of the book. We are pleased to release another catalogue list at the end of the year: “[Artist [Book] Art]: Exploring the nature of the black arts,” and like the title suggests is a selection of some of our recent book art and fine press titles from various talents representing the medium. Please visit our catalogue list here.

Please remember to mark your calendars as the next two big book fairs are rapidly approaching: the California ABAA Fair will be from Feb. 10-12 and the NYC ABAA Book Fair will follow, March 9-12.  We will be showing at both, do let us know if you need a pass or two (there will be a reminder after the first of the year

Enjoy!

Nov 272016
 

harpy-engraving-by-melchior-lorck-1582-via-paysagemauvais1

Happy holidays [or “Harpy Holidays” if you caught that] from everyone here at Lux Mentis, Booksellers. We’ve put together a short, fun catalogue of interesting and affordable items that can be viewed online in a reasonably fun format (and a static copy is also active our catalogue page).  We will be releasing a new Artist Book catalogue shortly, as well…so do keep an eye out.

Finally, please mark your calendars as the next two big book fairs are rapidly approaching: the California ABAA Fair will be from Feb. 10-12 and the NYC ABAA Book Fair will follow, March 9-12.  We will be showing at both, do let us know if you need a pass or two (there will be a reminder after the first of the year.)

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:

 

Oct 042016
 

The last day of YABS was something more than I expected. While we dispersed at the end of the day, I hope somethings stuck with people. Not sure how often, other than exclusive or private conversations, booksellers have frank discussions.  I won’t belabor the negatives here, rather that the discussions trigger some action. Before the end summary, we started off the day actually handling materials, one of my favourite things. Sophie facilitated a hands-on session discussing printing techniques and showing examples. It is definitely worth knowing the difference between lithography, engraving, etching, woodcut, photo polymer, etc.

Our after break speaker lead us through a fascinating narrative regarding the extremely real issues around fakes and forgeries. I’ve always known the book world is like detective work, in a sense (not even ironically if you are a mystery specialist). There are people that would spend a lifetime faking antiquarian books, as presented by Adam Douglas of Peter Harrington.  No big surprise in our fraudulent and suspect world. Ian even pointed out, it might be interesting to collect faked books, as a theatre of the absurd aspect in a black library. We ended out the rest of the seminar with personal narratives and expertise in the trade from Nigel Burwood, Ed Maggs, and ended the day with gems of wisdom from Jonathan, once again.

I think for me, the important bit was the discussion afterwards, sparked by Jonathan and continued by several of the participants in the class. Gender and race should always be on the table, especially in a profession where the representation is not there. The book trade, much like the rare book librarianship, is desolate with representations of diverse communities and has had a history of marginalizing women. The difference with the profession is the library field has actively tried to cultivate relationships with marginalized communities through mentoring programs, scholarships, and encouraging women, people of color, people who are differently-abled, and gender diverse communities to seek professions in the library. The book trade, well, not so much. Part of that is there isn’t an incentive or action to do so, partially due to the fact that the trade has little to no accountability. I’ve already experienced some form of harassment, and it is almost up to individuals or a few concerned minds to address the issues, there is no Ombudsman Office in the trade.  Conflicts begrudgingly get worked out over drinks and sometimes produce piss poor attitudes from people. No one is asking everyone to be at the front of the protest or the march, but more recognition of privilege and some forthright decency and respect would be amazing.

As I suggested, in order to challenge or at least instigate change, even if a small part, YABS might consider supporting a diversity scholarship for individuals from underrepresented communities, with an emphasis on ethnic background. Rare Book School has had great success with their scholarship initiatives with demographics, but it will take some active follow-up and target communication to encourage people to apply without tokenizing communities. It takes thought and work. I think the trade is and should be up for it.  However, I don’t think participants ended the seminar feeling threatened or irritated. Rather, prodded consciously to perhaps recognize issues more soundly or even thoughtfully in the future.

So, if you are still reading [blather]… Again, without the support I wouldn’t have been able to attend YABS, ironically what I am talking about here. I could rant on about issues, but would rather end on a note of productivity and inspiration from the collegial nature and accumulated knowledge from YABS. Now, let’s put all this to good use. 🙂

 

 

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