Rare Book Monthly

Articles - April - 2021 Issue

In Memoriam Antiquarian Bookseller Dorothy Sloan

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Dorothy Sloan (1943-2021). Courtesy of Dorothy Sloan Books

Dorothy Sloan, whose career in the rare book field closely paralleled the post-World War II expansion, saw it come to a close recently.  She was an early advocate of the Americana Exchange and for almost 18 years a continuing member of Rare Book Hub.  She was warm, supportive and open on the questions of the day.  While her heart no longer beats, those who knew and loved her will remember and appreciate her authority over the many books and documents she wrote about over her career. -  Bruce

 

Sloan’s daughter, Jasmine Star, penned the followed obituary, which she is allowing us to share.

 

The rare book world has lost another giant. Dorothy Sloan (1943­-2021) died on March 14. A fifth-generation Texan, Dorothy was born and raised in Houston, where she met her first husband, Stephen M. Sloan, and where both of her children, Julia Ann Sloan (now Jasmine Star) and Anthony Vail Sloan, were born. After Anthony, her youngest child, started school, Dorothy returned to her own education, ultimately earning a Bachelor of Arts in American Studies at the University of Texas in Austin, graduating with high honors. The family then moved to San Francisco, where Dorothy fell headlong in love with rare books—a passion that remained paramount for the rest of her life.
 
In San Francisco, she took her apprenticeship at the venerable firm John Howell Books. In her own words, “I was immediately thrown into the heady inside track on rare books, deals, dealers, and clients. Every single day was exciting to me, and I threw myself wholeheartedly into doing the best job I could”—an ethic that remained with her throughout her career, as all who knew her would attest.
 
In 1979, she returned to Texas, where she worked for the Jenkins Company until 1984. To cite Dorothy, “Again, I stumbled into an accidental learning experience of unusual depth and opportunity. Jenkins had purchased the Eberstadt collection [and] there were mountains of unprocessed books. It was such a thrill to go through a pile of what appeared to be late nineteenth-century dilapidated atlases and suddenly find things like a Choris.”
 
Dorothy met her second husband, Peter Oliver, in 1983, and with his support, she established her own business, Dorothy Sloan Rare Books, in 1984, a challenging endeavor in a trade dominated by men. Never one to be limited by others’ expectations, Dorothy applied herself ceaselessly. Thanks largely to her unparalleled scholarship, persistence, and ethics, she rose to become one of the leading lights of the rare book trade in the United States and beyond.
 
Over the next thirty-six years, she was both thrilled and honored to handle many incredible items, from magnificent imperial folio Audubon prints to, not one, but two complete collections of the elusive Zamorano 80, along with many other invaluable materials, from manuscripts and artworks to countless maps, many of them seminal and groundbreaking. Among her many achievements, perhaps one of the most impressive was becoming an auctioneer—amazing given how shy she was.
 
Although Dorothy Sloan is gone, her legacy will live on through her incomparable catalogues and her website. As long as rare books, bibliographers, and rare book dealers exist, she will be remembered, and her body of work will illuminate the way forward.
 
Dorothy is survived by her daughter, Jasmine Star, and her husband, Peter Oliver. The cause of death was advanced dementia. The progression of the disease was shockingly rapid—mercifully so for Dorothy, who would not have wanted to linger in that state. Those who knew her will be glad to learn that, in her final months, she was peaceful and even cheerful. Should you wish to contact the family, you can reach Jasmine at jasminestarconsulting@yahoo.com. Should you wish to memorialize Dorothy, consider donating to the Cure Alzheimer’s Fund (www.curealz.org) so that, in the future, others might be spared the ravages of this terrible disease.

Alternatively, memorial gifts may also be made to the Dorothy Sloan Fellowship Fund at the DeGolyer Library, SMU. Proceeds from this fund will be used to support visiting scholars at any stage of their careers who plan to pursue research on bibliographical projects or women’s history at the DeGolyer Library. Anonymous individuals have pledged a 1:1 matching gift of up to $30,000. Donors may send checks to the DeGolyer Library, Box 750396, Southern Methodist University, Dallas, TX 75275. Please add  “Sloan Fund” to the memo line. For more information, contact degolyer @smu.edu. Contributions are fully tax deductible.


Posted On: 2021-04-01 17:31
User Name: davereis

The rare book world has lost one of its greatest. Dorothy helped get me started in the book business years ago. She never tired of answering my many questions, and was always supportive of me. Whether meticulously researching and cataloging exceptional material for her business or auctions, donating her time in so many ways to various institutions, or helping people like me navigate the book world, she never seemed to tire of her calling. Her strong belief in win-win scenarios for consignors and buyers alike made her auctions major yearly events. She always will be my favorite book person to deal with, as well as a person I liked and admired greatly. Jasmine and Peter, I am very sad for your loss.


Rare Book Monthly

  • <center><b>Doyle<br>Stage & Screen<br>Auction April 28</b>
    <b>Doyle, Stage & Screen:</b> Lot 12. OKLAHOMA! Celeste Holm's vocal score for Oklahoma! inscribed by Richard Rodgers. $3,000 to $5,000.
    <b>Doyle, Stage & Screen:</b> Lot 20. WILSON, DOOLEY. Fine inscribed photograph to Celeste Holm with Casablanca reference. $2,000 to $3,000.
    <b>Doyle, Stage & Screen:</b> Lot 79. Original production script of the Broadway musical CATS with notes written by Claude Tessier. $600 to $900.
    <center><b>Doyle<br>Stage & Screen<br>Auction April 28</b>
    <b>Doyle, Stage & Screen:</b> Lot 139. STEPHEN SONDHEIM. Autographed musical manuscript signed for "Broadway Baby" from Follies. $500 to $800.
    <b>Doyle, Stage & Screen:</b> Lot 180.<br>Cecil Beaton. Headdress for Liza at the Ball, from My Fair Lady, circa 1962. $700 to $900.
    <b>Doyle, Stage & Screen:</b> Lot 177.<br>Cecil Beaton. Set Design for The Gainsborough Girls, 1951. $2,000 to $3,000.
  • <b>Old World Auctions (April 28):</b><br>Lot 54. Fanciful engraving of earth's interior with magma core and errupting volcanoes (1682). $1500 to $1800.
    <b>Old World Auctions (April 28):</b><br>Lot 165. Rare state of Jefferys' influential map of New England in contemporary color (1755). $8000 to $9500.
    <b>Old World Auctions (April 28):</b><br>Lot 177. Mouzon's foundation map of the Carolinas (1775). $10000 to $13000.
    <b>Old World Auctions (April 28):</b><br>Lot 183. Very rare first state of De Fer's map of the Lower Mississippi Valley (1715). $20000 to $25000.
    <b>Old World Auctions (April 28):</b><br>Lot 253. Scarce Scottish edition based on Ellicott's plan of Washington, D.C. (1796). $2400 to $3000.
    <b>Old World Auctions (April 28):</b><br>Lot 313. Stunning view of Philadelphia by John Bachmann (1850). $3250 to $4250.
    <b>Old World Auctions (April 28):</b><br>Lot 338. Rare Civil War map based on Bucholtz map of Virginia (1862). $9500 to $12000.
    <b>Old World Auctions (April 28):</b><br>Lot 667. First map to accurately show Luzon in Philippines (1590). $6000 to $7500.
    <b>Old World Auctions (April 28):</b><br>Lot 682. Rare map of Shanghai International Settlement published just after WWI (1918). $7000 to $9000.
    <b>Old World Auctions (April 28):</b><br>Lot 738. Coronelli's superb map of the Pacific showing the Island of California (1697) Est. $2400 - $3000
    <b>Old World Auctions (April 28):</b><br>Lot 743. A cornerstone piece in the mapping of Australia and New Zealand (1726) Est. $6000 - $7500
    <b>Old World Auctions (April 28):</b><br>Lot 781. An uncommon signature during Jefferson's Governorship of Virginia (1779) Est. $9500 - $11000
  • <center><b>Sotheby’s<br>Collection of a Connoisseur:<br>History in Manuscript, Part 2<br>27 April 2021</b>
    <b>Sotheby’s, through Apr. 27:</b><br>Ronald Reagan. Series of 37 letters to Senator George Murphy, and related material, 1968-90. £50,000 to £70,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, through Apr. 27:</b><br>Chaim Weizmann. Autograph letter signed, to General Sir Gilbert Clayton, 6 September 1918. £20,000 to £30,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, through Apr. 27:</b><br>Sir Winston Churchill. Autograph letter signed, to Pamela, Lady Lytton, 1942. £20,000 to $30,000.
    <center><b>Sotheby’s<br>Collection of a Connoisseur:<br>History in Manuscript, Part 2<br>27 April 2021</b>
    <b>Sotheby’s, through Apr. 27:</b><br>Oscar Wilde. Five autograph letters signed, to Alsager Vian, 1887. £15,000 to £20,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, through Apr. 27:</b><br>Napoleon I. Letter signed to Admiral Ganteaume, ordering the invasion of England, 22 August 1805. £10,000 to £15,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, through Apr. 27:</b><br>Horatio, Viscount Nelson, and Emma Hamilton. Two autograph letter signed, to Catherine and George Matcham, 1805. £6,000 to £8,000.
  • <center><b>Doyle<br>Rare Books, Autographs & Maps<br>Timed auction, April 29</b>
    <b>Doyle, Rare Books, Autographs & Maps:</b> Lot 1032. RATZER, BERNARD. Plan of the City of New York in North America, surveyed in the years 1766 & 1767. $40,000 to $60,000.
    <b>Doyle, Rare Books, Autographs & Maps:</b> Lot 1011. [BROADSIDE]. Life, Last Words and Dying Confession, of Rachel Wall... $2,000 to $3,000.
    <b>Doyle, Rare Books, Autographs & Maps:</b> Lot 1055. BEATON, CECIL. Scrapbook prepared by Cecil Beaton over the period 1935-1944, with some later inclusions. $800 to $1,200.
    <center><b>Doyle<br>Rare Books, Autographs & Maps<br>Timed auction, April 29</b>
    <b>Doyle, Rare Books, Autographs & Maps:</b> Lot 1051. ADDAMS, CHARLES. Original drawing "I hope the power doesn't go out until after Masterpiece Theatre." $15,000 to $20,000.
    <b>Doyle, Rare Books, Autographs & Maps:</b> Lot 1037. The Campaign Speeches of Nixon of Kennedy, inscribed to William Safire by Richard Nixon and secretarially for John Kennedy. $2,000 to $3,000.
    <b>Doyle, Rare Books, Autographs & Maps:</b> Lot 1036. Celebration of the Commencement of Work on Rapid Transit Railroad. March 24th 1900, one o'clock, City Hall Park, New York. $200 to $300.
    <b>Doyle, Rare Books, Autographs & Maps:</b> Lot 1005. 1955 Brooklyn Dodgers signed baseball including Jackie Robinson. $3,000 to $5,000.
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b> Frances Palmer, <i>Battle of Buena Vista,</i> chromolithograph, New York, 1847. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b> Antonio Colmenero de Ledesma, the earliest publication concerned solely with chocolate, first edition, Madrid, 1631. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b> Romans Bernard, <i>An Exact View of the Late Battle at Charlestown, June 17th, 1775,</i> engraving, 1776. $40,000 to $60,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b> <i>A Short Narrative of the Horrid Massacre in Boston,</i> English edition, London, 1770. $12,000 to $18,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b> William Soule, <i>Lodge of the Plains Indians,</i> albumen print, 1872. $1,500 to $2,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b> Manuscript document to enforce New York’s “Agreement of Non-Importation” during the heyday of the Sons of Liberty, New York, 1769. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b> Clarence Mackenzie, <i>Drummer Boy of the 13th Regiment of Brooklyn,</i> salt print with applied color, 1861. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b> Moses Lopez, <i>A Lunar Calendar,</i> first Jewish calendar published in America, Newport, RI, 1806. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b><br>The Book of Mormon, first edition, Palmyra, 1830. $30,000 to $40,000.

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