Tag Archives: Rare Books

Getting Away With History

“A thief who steals rare books and manuscripts is a specter haunting our libraries. And unlike graduate students, researchers, and others who hope to gain from the scholarship libraries make available, the thief aims to profit from the money that irreplaceable pieces of cultural history can bring on the market. Those who steal rare material from libraries commit a different kind of larceny than their bank-robbing counterparts: The items they take have both monetary and cultural value. This sentiment was noted by Judge Lewis A. Kaplan, who presided over the case of book thief Daniel Spiegelman, when he said Spiegelman had “deprived a generation of scholars and students of the irreplaceable raw materials by which they seek to discern the lessons of the past.” (via ITI)

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Rare Potter book has cast a spell on library

“A first edition Harry Potter book that broke auction records is causing a stir at a literature exhibition. The rare copy of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, which is annotated and illustrated by its author JK Rowling, is the centrepiece at the Bodleian Library event. The first in the seven-strong series sold for £150,000 at Sotheby’s two weeks ago.” (via Oxford Mail)

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Yale’s Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library turns 50

“In 1963, Yale University opened the most modern of structures to house its most ancient of books. The Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library was an architectural incongruity amid the university’s traditional neo-Classical and neo-Gothic campus. Among Yale librarians, Gordon Bunshaft’s avant-garde design was about as popular as loud noises and gum-chewing patrons. They decried it as a “white elephant” and a “floating folly,” and the director even marked up postcards of the building to highlight perceived design flaws.” (via Boston.com)

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Rare Book School at the University of Virginia

“On a steamy morning last week Mark Dimunation, the chief of the rare book and special collections division at the Library of Congress, was in a windowless basement room here at the University of Virginia, leading a dozen people in a bibliophile’s version of the wave.He lined up the group and handed each person a sheet of copier paper with a syllable written on it. After a few halting practice runs — “Hip-na-rah-toe …” — the group successfully shouted out, “ ‘Hypnerotomachia Poliphili,’ 1499!”

via NYTimes

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At Brown University, Stumbling Across a Rarity in the Rare Book Room

NY Times – “Day after day, a tall, shy woman weaves her way unnoticed through the earnest and learned campus swirl of Brown University. She enters the hush of a library, then promptly vanishes from sight. Down goes Marie Malchodi, 48, who attended but never graduated from Brown, down to the library’s subterranean warrens, where she works as a “book conservation technician.” She sweeps her long dark hair into a bun, pierces it with a paint brush, and starts her day, caring for ancient books and ephemera that are sensitive to the touch.”

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Richard Prince’s Library Privileges

NYT – “You’ve probably been wondering what the tidy rare-book librarians at the National Library of France — that storied caretaker of French literature — have been up to these past couple years. It so happens that they’ve been huddled among the dark shelves of their naughtiest stacks, digging through dusty boxes of pulp pornography, detective stories, light erotica, a Dutch magazine called Suck and “authentic novels of flagellation from the early 20th century.”

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Duke Libraries Receive $13.6 Million Rubenstein Gift

Duke Today – “Duke University trustee David M. Rubenstein will give $13.6 million to the Duke University Libraries in support of the Rare Book, Manuscript, and Special Collections Library, President Richard H. Brodhead announced Wednesday. The donation is the largest ever to the libraries. In recognition of Rubenstein’s gift, the special collections library will be renamed the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, following approval by the Board of Trustees.”

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Students Get Up Close And Personal With Rare Books

NPR – “Three stories underground, in the University of Virginia’s main library, 60 librarians, collectors, scholars and other bibliophiles divide into small groups. They’re barely breathing as they lean over texts that have been around for centuries, like the 1497 Latin edition of Sebastian Brant’s The Ship of Fools. Staff members like Barbara Heritage shuttle from room to room, bearing precious cargo. “Our job is to be almost like stage hands,” she says.”

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Rare Bible open to multitudes

San Antonio News Express – “To people wandering by, the big book in a display case on the Central Library’s sixth floor might look like just an old, heavy volume of forgotten prose about who knows what. But to Frank Faulkner, manager of the library’s Texana/Genealogy Department, the 1611 first-edition King James Bible may be the most valuable item in the San Antonio Public Library’s collection of literature, artwork and artifacts.”

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Jefferson’s books found in Mo. university library

AP – “Dozens of Thomas Jefferson’s books have been found in the rare books collection at Washington University in St. Louis. Scholars are now poring through the 28 titles and 74 volumes, searching for the occasional handwritten note from the nation’s third president. And librarians say it’s possible more of Jefferson’s books will be found in the school’s collection.”

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