Rare Book MonthlyNew Letter
Letters to the Editor
. December 01, 2016
"A decade later this book was tiptoeing toward oblivion, its passage unknown but its destination determined: Better World Books where, as one of the tens of thousands of books they convert each year from ink and paper to money to be used for charitable purposes, posted it on eBay where I bought it for $4.95."
It should be noted that Better World Books is not a non profit and not a charity. It is a for-profit business posing as a charity. It was started by two Notre Dame MBAs. It does indeed make charitable donations (often unwanted books) but its goal is profit.
. October 17, 2016
Maybe I have missed earlier versions of this (perhaps I am more focused on the worldwide auction scene these days), but I REALLY like your "16 Auctions Archived, 31 Sales Upcoming - AE Auction Updates." This is a wonderful way to keep abreast of what is going on in today's auction world, which now certainly appears to be "the marketplace" for art, books and works on paper.
Reading about the top 25 lots sold is fascinating and informative, especially for sold material outside the narrow range of the printed book. I think sending an email with these monthly reviews and reminder of the forthcoming auctions is a brilliant move on the part of RBH. Please keep them coming.
I knew about the sale of the E.T. painting -- the mind boggles. But then there is the Harry Potter chair sold by the same house.
L. W. Currey, Inc. ABAA/ILAB
a October 01, 2015
Michael, thank you for your thought-provoking article on the mold problem in Boston. You're absolutely correct to say that in the digital era, old books just don't seem to warrant proper attention, or the funding necessary to protect this heritage. I have no idea how this dilemma will be solved. It will take dedicated, hard working conservators countless hours over countless years to fix the current state of affairs that libraries and museums across the nation are facing. As a collector, I care for my several hundred items quite carefully. And that makes me think that perhaps these collections don't really belong in moldy old buildings where fewer and fewer people have access to them, but rather they're much better off being in the hands of individuals who know the intrinsic value of these rarities. Thank you for sharing your insight. Scott A. Scanlon Greenwich, Connecticut
Andrew May 06, 2015
I very much enjoyed the conversation with Ed Maggs. I do however need to take mild issue with the statement that "Maggs Bros. Ltd is the oldest continuously operating dealer in rare books and manuscripts in the English speaking world." Henry Sotheran's outdo our good friends in Berkeley Square by 92 years having been in business since 1761.
With best wishes
Henry Sotheran Limited
George Kolbe December 01, 2014
I look forward every month to reading AE Monthly. Why lessen the enjoyment by including leftist political orthodoxy into otherwise delightful articles.
The latest offender::
"He continued through life to support political candidates who were focused on helping the needy, rather than those who sought to reduce taxes on the wealthy…"
—The Greatest Book Collector Dies at 100
Had the collectors forebears been of like mind, the collection receiving accolades likely would never have been formed.
John November 09, 2012
I am an attorney who has been monitoring this case. Mr. Fraser has not contacted anyone in regard to selling the Mahler photo, as the individual who posted the last message claims. Furthermore, Mr. Fraser's grandmother does not have Alzheimer's disease and any such false claim shows malicious intent. The grandmother's declaration is 100% valid. Lastly, the Fraser family has no intention of giving the photo to the Schoenberg family for free; Mr. Fraser's father is the only one who has made such a statement. Unfortunately, the father has estranged himself from his family for almost a decade and his comments do not reflect the opinions of the Fraser family.
Reader001 November 08, 2012
In response to the letter to the editor regarding the Mahler photograph. I have been following this story since I first saw it. I would like to rebut the statements made by saying that the grandmother is never stated to be suffering from Alzheimer's disease, in no article does it ever make any statement regarding her mental health. This person has been vagrantly slandering them since I read this article on the Huffington post. There is definitely some personal bias there.
I would also like to point out that the father has estranged himself from the family, so if the grandmother gave the photograph as a gift to the grandson, the father would have no claim to it.
If there was truly no right to possession than a suit would have been filed by now. The fact that there is not, means that there is really nothing to go on other than hearsay.
A reader November 01, 2012
I read the Michael Stillman article on the Mahler photograph which was inscribed to Arnold Schoenberg and the situation which legally revolves around the item. As I have been approached by the seller in this case and asked questions and did background research, I would suggest three additional facts be added as fact to this case, which further cloud Mr. Fraser's claim.
1. His nonengerian Grandmother is suffering from Alzheimers disease.
2. In the affadavit which he purports to have, he blacks out the name of the notary when he has shown it. I know of two such incidents, one to the Schoenberg Family, the second was reported by the New York Times. Therefore the affadavit is of dubious provenance.
3. The rest of the family, including the logical heir, his Father, wants the item returned to the Schoenberg family without compensation of any sort.
As the Grandmother is not in a proper state of mind where she can legally give an item of this value away to anyone, it is highly questionable whether Mr. Fraser has any rights to the piece if it were legally his to sell. At this point, the piece will not sell for the price Mr. Fraser seeks, which is well beyond tolerance for any buyer of this sort of material.
I recommend that anyone interesed in this case read the Schoenblog articles. http://schoenblog.com/
. September 01, 2012
Dear Mr. Stillman,
Re your article on the latest scam, the first indication that this is a scam is the "I am Barrister Willliam" so and so. A barrister in England does one thing only - he argues cases in court, or to put it more formally, before the bar; hence the bar-rister. Mr. Johnson would have been more believable if he had called himself Solicitor so and so. When one has a legal matter in England he engages a solicitor who in turn engages the barrister, if necessary, since the former cannot argue cases before the bar and the latter cannot solicit business.
Just my two cents worth. I enjoy reading the AE Monthly very much.
scrapslady September 01, 2012
Thank you for all your interesting articles, but particularly those from Susan Halas - always something different and fascinating. By the way, we do get taught about the double negative here in the UK, but what about split infinitives? - Michael Stillman take note!
Mr. Stillman replies: "But... we fought a revolution here for the right to occasionally split our infinitives!"
mrsmouse July 01, 2012
I am a volunteer sorter of gifts/donations at my library and I can fully appreciate the problem of catching the jewel in the dross. Most volunteers have limited knowledge, (myself included) the library staff hasn't the time, and there we are, sending 1st editions of Noel Coward to the book sale for 1.00, 1st U.S editions of T.S. Eliot's Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats to the shredder and who on earth knows what else we don't catch. If there is a solution I'd be pleased to hear it.
. April 04, 2012
Thanks for another informative article by Susan Halas !
Dave Shoots, Bookseller
. March 07, 2012
Thank you for the generous mention of my book. Michael Stillman was puzzled by quote
from Richard Burton. I would have liked a puff from the explorer but I don't think
he had much of a sense of humour; in fact my RB is an old friend mentioned in the
book's index - a well known UK architect.
. March 01, 2012
Another great AE Monthly. Can't wait - when's the next one?! Just Kidding.
. January 04, 2012
I read with sadness your piece on Bob Emerson. I was unaware of his passing but had lost contact with him ever since his move to Ohio. I live not far from Falls Village, Ct. and would often drive to their old church building to search through their books. They were a beautiful and wonderful couple. There was always the aroma of whatever Dorothy was cooking or heating up behind a partition.
This also very well coincides with your article on the loss of old time bookshops and the opportunity to meet "grey-haired mystics, guards and guides." I sorely miss that. I would often spend a weekend driving throughout Ct. New York and Ma. with my booksellers guides seeking out open shops and out of the way booksellers operating out of their homes. Even with them now it has become "by appointment." Nothing these days is spontaneous or adventurous. The Internet has definitely done the world of book collecting a massive disservice which will never be amended.
. January 02, 2012
Keep up the good work.
I enjoy your monthly newsletters throughout the year. My love of books was instilled by my father who worked for Connecticut Printers…. The old Lockwood, Brainard, Day dynasty out of Hartford CT.
Long live the book,
Caroline Welling VanDeusen
. January 02, 2012
Just wanted to let you know how much i have enjoyed studying the Top 500 auction items list for 2011. It made me remember a lot, ponder a lot, and I learned a lot. Unfortunately, at no point could I say, "Oh, i have one of those!". I greatly appreciate your efforts!
. December 07, 2011
Thanks for the nice piece on the Library of America. I am on its board of
trustees, and we appreciate all the advertising we can get.
Besides reprinting classics, LOA has done a number of anthologies of
material not easily brought together in one place. Two of the most
celebrated are the two-volumes sets devoted to war journalism of World War
II and the Vietnam War.
An exciting project now underway is an anthology of writing during the Civil
War, which will proceed year by year as the 150th anniversary progresses.
The first volume came out this spring, and the second is on the way.
WRAF November 01, 2011
Forwarded the FIRST article to several friends, readers..Never knowing of anyone spending all that time to put together such a challenging task!
Printed out for reading later, I stopped at Monroe..and thought I'd share what I have in my collection..as obviously I like the star.
Have the HIGH SCHOOL YEAR BOOK of Paul Newman..Who's cover has a photo of the building and HIM WALKING ALONG...
Bet a lot of people will now start searching for year books!
Constantly enjoy reading on the first of the month ! Well done !
. October 02, 2011
I just finished reading your review of Part I, “How History…” Swann (my wife Eydie reading over my shoulder said “He writes very well”) and I felt very proud. I am sure that your writing will contribute to people thinking outside of the box and for themselves when it comes to collecting and purchasing in our fascinating field. Americana Exchange has changed the world of collecting printed and manuscript material in a way that is no punches pulled, in your face truths disregarding cliques and “old boy networks” and has evened the playing field for everyone from novices to experts! I return Congratulations to you! There was one startling omission. You failed to note how I look half my age and half my weight!
. October 01, 2011
Many thanks for the wonderful article about the Chelsea Book Fair in AE this month and being so supportive of the ABA fairs once again. We already received emails from some UK dealers mentioning the article.
. September 01, 2011
Handwriting matters ... But does cursive matter?
Research shows: the fastest and most legible handwriters avoid cursive. They join
only some letters, not all of them: making the easiest joins, skipping the rest, and
using print-like shapes for those letters whose cursive and printed shapes disagree.
(Citation on request.)
Reading cursive still matters -- this takes just 30 to 60 minutes to learn, and can
be taught to a five- or six-year-old if the child knows how to read. The value of
reading cursive is therefore no justification for writing it.
Remember, too: whatever your elementary school teacher may have been told by her
elementary school teacher, cursive signatures have no special legal validity over
signatures written in any other way. (Don't take my word for this: talk to any
Yours for better letters,
Kate Gladstone — CEO, Handwriting Repair/Handwriting That Works
Director, the World Handwriting Contest
Co-Designer, BETTER LETTERS handwriting trainer app for iPhone/iPad
DBuck September 01, 2011
Less than 48 hours after the AP story announcing the discovery of the manuscript, an alleged "autobiography" that proved William T. Phillips was Butch Cassidy, the discoverers recanted everything. Phillips was not Cassidy & the manuscript was a fantasy. The Phillips story had been known and ridiculed for years, by the way. Details here,
bkwoman August 05, 2011
To Paul Lister who commented on my article about Shakespeare and Company, thanks for the information. I should have given more information about Sylvia. I was talking about Whitman's tenure and not about when it was Le mistral. Thanks for clearing that up. Karen
. August 01, 2011
re: Sales Tax
I love how the bookseller with books in the tens of thousands of dollars wants to
increase taxes; especially since he lives in California, where most taxes go to pay
off union pensions. Mr. Stillman obviously does not know what it is like to wonder
whether next month's rent can be paid or if there will be enough food to eat. It is
irrelevant whether he is a Democrat or a Republican. He is a bureaucrat and one that
wishes Big Brother to tax both our souls and our patience. Nor does he seem to
understand that most of the sales through California affiliates come from out of
state and are not subject to tax. Would that he would read his $19,500 copy of the
Celebrated Frog of Calaveras County to realize that his arguments are weighted with
the buckshot of dispassion, with little regard for the common man, who is just
trying to get a jump on tomorrow's bills.
1. Yes I do know what it is like to be short of money.
2. I have not taken a position on the issue of sales tax on internet items shipped from out of state. This article reflected a bit more of the ABA position that these should be taxed as last month's article reflected more of the Amazon position that they should not.
3. These out of state sales are already subject to tax in California - a use tax. Few people pay this tax as they are supposed to, but it is on the books.
4. The issue here is fairness, not whether government taxes too much or too little, or spends too much or too little. The unfairness faced by local merchants who have to collect a sales tax while out of state internet merchants do not, could also be solved by eliminating the sales tax entirely. Californians would have to do with reduced services, or revenue could be raised another way, perhaps though taxes that do not hit people like the letter writer who evidently has limited income. However, the concern expressed for losing this de facto sales tax exemption for out of state sales reinforces the the ABA and local storefront owners objection - that the sales tax advantage for out of staters in driving sales away from local merchants. For Californians, that would mean fewer jobs.