A fortnightly publication of the JRBS
Vol. 1, No. 1
June 1-15, 2020
Welcome to the inaugural issue of Book Notes , a self-conscious echo of Sidney S. Rider’s publication of the same name—at least, in spirit. Rider (1833-1917) was a Providence bookseller, publisher, and collector of Rhode Island history. He produced 870 fortnightly issues of his “historical, literary and critical” notes from 1883 to 1916, a prodigious production which remains a valuable source for scholars. I know there is enough of interest happening in Rhode Island in terms of bookish activity to support the effort; keeping up with a two-week production schedule will be the biggest challenge, but I feel it will add value to membership in the JRBS.
Members and non-members are welcome to send me contributions for review and possible publication.
More than a newsletter but less than a journal, our topics will be of interest to Rhode Island bibliophiles. The dual focus will be to chronicle local matters, and to import select news from the national scene. We’ll feature the history of the book in Rhode Island—its authors, collectors, libraries and librarians, booksellers, printers and the press, bibliographers, bookbinders, etc.; notices and reviews of new books about books; essays critical or appreciative on older works and their continued relevance; notices of interesting new acquisitions at Rhode Island institutions; journalistic reports on book fairs; notices of new dealer catalogs or individual items of potential interest to members; memorials of JRBS members; and student book collecting contest entries. Features like “Around the town” (interviews of local book people), “In the news” (high-spot sales, major auctions, etc.), “From my bookshelf” (member show-and-tell) or “In the stacks” (fascinating finds from library colleagues) might also appear on an occasional basis.
In the News
The American Antiquarian Society (AAS) has announced the appointment of Scott Casper, its new president, succeeding Ellen Dunlap, who served in that role for 28 years. Their news release is here.
In the Trade
The recent ABAA’s Virtual Book Fair was by many accounts a success, and of all
the items I saw which might be of interest to a bibliophile group, this one took
the prize. I have quoted a part of the bookseller’s description, below.
“The earliest known representation of a book auction. The table of books on display include many bawdy titles of the restoration era, such as ‘Sch: of Venus’, ‘Aratines Post.’, ‘Play of Sodom’, ‘Poems by the R H the E[arl] of R[ochester], alongside standard medical works of the period, ‘Culp Midw’, ‘Artist[otles] Mast[erpiece]’, and other various titles including ‘Don Quixot’, ‘Og[ilby] America’ (also his Roads Africa and Asia), ‘Heylins Cos[mography]’. Below the image is printed 8 lines of verse: ‘Come Sirs, and view this famous
Library, ‘Tis pity Learning shou’d discourag’d be: Here’s bookes (that is, if they were but well Sold) I will maintain’t are worth their weight in Gold Then bid apace and break me out of hand: Ne’er cry you don’t the Subject understand: For this I’ll say – howe’er the Case may hit, Whoever buys of me, – I teach ’em Wit.’ Book auctions first became popular in the Low Countries, where Lodewijk Elzevier was granted permission to hold them in The Hague in 1596. The first recorded book auction in England was held in London in 1676, when the library of the clergyman Lazarus Seaman was put up for sale at his own house. This print, however, is the very first pictorial representation of a book auction. Its engraver Sutton Nicholls was a printseller, draughtsman and globemaker who worked for various map publishers: Philip Lea, Robert Morden, Edward Wells, Henry Overton, Thomas and John Bowles, &c. British Museum, Personal and Political Satires 1415. Provenance: Library of Martin Orskey (Dominic Winter, June 2019) (Inventory #: BB001)”
Rick Ring, President
The John Russell Bartlett Society
Celebrating our 37th year of promoting book culture