More from the Great Book Town of Ann Arbor

The fourth bookstore we visited on July 12, 2016 in Ann Arbor.  Here I am in front of Motte & Bailey Booksellers in Ann Arbor, Michigan…

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Motte & Bailey offers over 10,000 volumes of used and rare books in a spacious and well-organized store located at 212 N. Fourth Avenue.

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“Motte & Bailey” is a type of medieval Norman castle, a wooden palisade rising on a mound of earth, found in many places in England, Wales, and Scotland…this name was chosen to reflect the specialty of the store’s inventory, books concerning all the various aspects of history.  But there are books from nearly all genres here, and all in lovely condition.   We found Gene Alloway manning the desk at the front of the book store; he has been active in the business since 1996.

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With Gene Alloway, Proprietor of Motte & Bailey Booksellers, Ann Arbor, Michigan

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Here is an example of a title we purchased at Motte & Bailey:

Two volume set of "Ramona" in a decorated binding (Little Brown, 1900) SOLD

Two volume set of “Ramona” in a decorated binding (Little Brown, 1900) SOLD

I highly recommend a visit to this bookstore if you are in Ann Arbor — it was one of my favorites there.

The fifth book shop we visited in Ann Arbor was charming beyond belief.  I felt as if I had stumbled into a time machine and stepped into a bookshop on some old London street.

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A wiry, spry man with pale gray hair and glasses greeted us as we came into the shop, in his crisp white shirt and a neatly tailored charcoal gray vest.  This turned out to be Richard Leahy, who takes charge of the night shift at the store.  You must envision him from my description, because he does not like his picture taken.   A shame, because he added so much to our visit at this store…but I guess you will just have to go there yourself (in the evening) if you want to experience the pleasure of meeting him.

By now it was about 6:00pm, and we were starving.  We were assured that the store would be open until 8:00pm, and asked Richard for advice on where to eat dinner nearby.  He directed us to an Italian restaurant just a few blocks away.  It was a delightful place called Gratzi.

Grazi Restaurant, 326 S. Main St., Ann Arbor, MI

Gratzi Restaurant, 326 S. Main St., Ann Arbor, MI

Gratzi had an excellent wine list and their food was fabulous.  You know how we usually take photos of what we are served in restaurants?  Especially when it is beautifully presented??  Well, we were so hungry we didn’t even pause for those photos this time!  Take it from me, the food and wine was top notch.

With full tummies, we walked back to West Side Book Shop, where Richard was waiting to assist us as we combed through their beautiful inventory.

Inside West Side Book shop, 113 West Liberty, Ann Arbor, Michigan

Inside West Side Book shop, 113 West Liberty, Ann Arbor, Michigan

Here are a few of the items we spirited away from this book shop:

The Small Yacht by Edwin A. Boardman (Little Brown, 1923)

The Small Yacht by Edwin A. Boardman (Little Brown, 1923)

 

Star-Dust by Fannie Hurst (A. L. Burt, 1921)

Star-Dust by Fannie Hurst (A. L. Burt, 1921)

Star-Dust by Fannie Hurst (A. L. Burt, 1921)

 

The Spirit of the North (Cupples & Leon, 1935) - inscribed by author LeRoy W. Snell

The Spirit of the North (Cupples & Leon, 1935) – inscribed by author LeRoy W. Snell

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Join us in the next post, we will be leaving Ann Arbor (sob!) and driving to East Lansing, Michigan.

Awesome Antiquarian Books – Minneapolis

This may well be our favorite Twin Cities book shop, which we visited for the first time during our recent Minnesota trip!

James & Mary Laurie, Booksellers - 250 3rd Avenue North, Minneapolis, MN

James & Mary Laurie, Booksellers – 250 3rd Avenue North, Minneapolis, MN

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We spent an entirely wonderful day here!

20150630_122601_resizedTheir hours are 11-6 Monday through Saturday and by appointment.  Free parking available in a small lot on one side of the store (limited number of spaces), but also a big parking ramp nearby.

We found a nice space in the lot at opening time, around 11am.

With an inventory of over 120,000 books, our day was well occupied!

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Here’s me, wondering where to start…

This beautiful and large street-level shop also houses more than 30,000 classical and jazz vinyl records, and a gallery of old prints and maps.

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To say we were excited about the book selection here is an understatement, especially since there were many nice examples of our favorite specialty, decorated American trade bindings.  But of course there were thousands of interesting books in all genres, and they were in beautiful condition.  The shop is well organized and easy to browse, with pleasant surprises at every turn.

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Here are just a few samples of some of the beautiful decorated bindings we found here:

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James & Mary Laurie Booksellers was founded in 1969 (they were located for twenty years on the Nicollet Mall in Minneapolis before moving to this location).   We did not have the pleasure of meeting Mary, but Jim is a super guy, and was wonderful to us during our visit.

Here I am with Jim Laurie

Here I am with Jim Laurie.  He’s a tall one!

After hours of perusing and purchasing books, we broke away for a little pick-me-up at Dunn Brothers Coffee, just around the corner.

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Great smile, great coffee!

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When we returned to the book shop, we were invited to descend to their warehouse area, where many more books are stored.  Come on along!

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Here were many more thousands of books, stacked to the ceiling.  Good thing we had that coffee!!

20150630_145244_resizedWe found several wonderful books down here as well, and added them to our purchases.

Can’t say enough good things about this book store — make sure you pay them a visit if you are ever in Minneapolis!

In the evening, we met my sister Karen and her husband Gene in Spring Park for a sunset cruise on her daughter and son-in-law’s boat.

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The weather was perfect for a quiet evening on Lake Minnetonka

20150630_192026_resizedPerfect ending of another Minnesota-beautiful day.

 

 

 

Books and More in Asheville, North Carolina

For us, going to Asheville, NC was all about books.  And let me assure you, they have terrific book stores stocked with amazing books.  But HOLY COW, what a fun city!!

One of the many fun and fine restaurants in Asheville.  I think this is a Japanese Maple??

One of the many fun and fine restaurants in Asheville. I think that is a Japanese Maple!

Sometimes referred to as “The Paris of the South,” this city is brimming with music, books, art and fine southern food and drink.    It is populated with welcoming, friendly citizens who are proud of their city.

Some of the fine people we met during our stay in Asheville…

Me and Kim Justus, an Asheville native

Me and Kim Justus, an Asheville native. She is a Realtor for Coldwell Banker.

We met this fun couple (below) at dinner.  They told us that before they moved to Asheville, they used to travel a lot.  Now they don’t leave town much, because they are afraid they’ll miss something!

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Great bookstores, cool restaurants, bars, fun-buses, galleries, and music venues, chocolate shops, breweries, ghost tours, and food tours.  The fun never stops in this giddy, pretty city.

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The Amazing Pubcycle. YES, those are bicycle seats. a wicked-cool 13-person pedal powered (motor assisted) vehicle. Imagine riding your bike (sideways), hanging out at your favorite pub (on wheels), and touring the city!

A glimpse of the crazy purple LAZOOM bus. Featuring bands & beer or comedy tours.

A glimpse of the crazy purple LAZOOM bus.
Featuring bands & beer or comedy tours.

But let’s start at the beginning.  Our first stop was at The Captain’s Book Shelf, located at 31 Page Avenue in downtown Asheville.  I was immediately impressed with the angle parking on this street (I love angle parking!).  Bring lots of coins, though…there are parking meters, and you’ll want to hang out for a long time.

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The Captain's Bookshelf, Asheville, NC

The Captain’s Bookshelf, Asheville, NC

In existence for 39 years, The Captain’s Bookshelf is an ABAA shop owned by Chan Gordon and his wife Meigan.   We have purchased from them before at book fairs.

This was our first visit to their store.  This shop is a  real treasure trove.  We were in book lover’s heaven as we happily spent hours browsing and buying here.

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Chan Gordon at his desk (probably tallying up our bill!)

Chan Gordon at his desk (probably tallying up our bill!)

Stock include top quality literature high points, lovely decorated bindings, as well as obscure older titles not easily found.

Here is a sampling of fine books we purchased from this store:

In The Days of the Comet, by H. G. Wells (First U.S. Edition, October, 1906)

In The Days of the Comet, by H. G. Wells (First U.S. Edition, October, 1906)

Green Fancy, by George Barr McCutcheon (1st Edition, Dodd Mead, 1917, SIGNED by author)

Green Fancy, by George Barr McCutcheon (1st Edition, Dodd Mead, 1917, SIGNED by author)

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Blue-Grass and Rhododendron, by John Fox. Jr.  (Scribner, 1901 First Edition) signed binding - Margaret Armstrong

Blue-Grass and Rhododendron, by John Fox. Jr. (Scribner, 1901 First Edition) signed binding – Margaret Armstrong023307_2

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Don Fernando, by W. Somerset Maugham. (William Heinemann, London, 1935, First Edition)

From the Housetops, by George Barr McCutcheon.  (Dodd Mead, 1916, 1st Edition - SIGNED by author).  Decorative Designer monogram on cover.

From the Housetops, by George Barr McCutcheon. (Dodd Mead, 1916, 1st Edition – SIGNED by author). Decorative Designer monogram on cover.    SOLD

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Any direction we looked there were gorgeous collectible quality books here.

Definitely worth a trip for any serious book collector.

Our second stop was about a block away at Battery Park Book Exchange & Champagne Bar, in the heart of Asheville at 1 Page Avenue.

Battery Park Book Exchange & Champagne Bar, Asheville, NC

Battery Park Book Exchange & Champagne Bar, Asheville, NC

This enchanting store houses over 22,000 books,  successfully blending two of life’s greatest pleasures…books and wine.  Enter and shop for books in what feels like a great, multi-storied living room, with a comfortable bar offering wine and mimosas, as well as coffee and locally made pastries.

Here we are outside the Battery Park Book Exchange

Here we are outside the Battery Park Book Exchange

Let’s go inside…

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Kyle, Manager at the Book Exchange

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Kerstine, in her dream job

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Mmmmm…blood orange mimosas!

Me, drinking a blood orange mimosa

Me, drinking a blood orange mimosa

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Mr. Moose watches over all

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20150430_151210_resized Explore an amazing labyrinth of interesting books and cozy zones

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Hours of fun…and we turned up some great books here too!

Here are just a couple of them…

Tomorrow Will Be Better, by Betty Smith (Heinemann, 1949, 1st British Edition) Inscribed and signed by author

Tomorrow Will Be Better, by Betty Smith (Heinemann, 1949, 1st British Edition) Inscribed and signed by author

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A rare stated First Printing of Bambi, by Felix Saalten, illustrated by Kurt Wiese. (Simon & Schuster, 1928)

A rare stated First Printing of Bambi, by Felix Saalten, illustrated by Kurt Wiese. (Simon & Schuster, 1928)023280_4

 

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We said goodbye to the Book Exchange…

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and HELLO to dinner at a great little restaurant called Seven Sows Bourbon & Larder (how could we resist that??).  Wonderful food, flights marvelous bourbon.

Seven Sows Bourbon & Larder, 77 Biltmore Avenue, Asheville, NC

Seven Sows Bourbon & Larder, 77 Biltmore Avenue, Asheville, NC

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Somebody looks happy…

20150430_200059_resizedThe food was marvelous.  Hot buttermilk hushpuppies cooked to perfection, Eli’s “Blue Ribbon” Fish Sauce Wings, juicy pork chops.  Their menu here is ever-changing, with all menu items sourced seasonally and locally.  Highly recommended.

Eli's "Blue Ribbon" Fish Sauce Wings

Eli’s “Blue Ribbon” Fish Sauce Wings

I'm not a pork chop fan, but Ron ordered this one and it's the best thing I've ever tasted!

I’m not a pork chop fan, but Ron ordered this one and it was the best thing I’ve ever tasted!

After dinner, we walked around the town a bit, taking in the sights.  There is plenty to do in Asheville!

Outdoor bar at The Wicked Weed

Outdoor bar at The Wicked Weed

Live music is a significant element of the tourist-based economy in Asheville, with numerous nightclubs and performance venues.  The City has a strong tradition of street performance and outdoor music and music festivals.

Musical line-up at The Orange Peel Social Aid & Pleasure Club

Musical line-up at The Orange Peel Social Aid & Pleasure Club

A dessert bus!!

A dessert bus!!

There is so much to do in this City, I do believe you would have to live here to get to around to it all!

Here are a couple more book stores we did not make it to:

Downtown Books and News, 67 N. Lexington Ave. – A used book store that never closes (they are even open on holidays).  They have stayed open every day for 24 years!

Malaprops, 55 Haywood St. – a large general book store, stocking new books and regional writers.  Co-owners Emoke B’Racz and Linda Barrett Knopp celebrated their 30th anniversary in 2012.

The Thomas Wolfe House is also located in downtown Asheville, at 52 Market Street.  The famous American author Thomas Wolfe lived in the home during his boyhood, and it was the setting for his first novel, Look Homeward, Angel.

The Biltmore Estate, America’s largest and most magnificent home, is here in all it’s gilded age glory. The 8000-acre beautiful and grand estate built by George Vanderbilt in 1895 is a major tourist attraction.

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Asheville is located in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains at the confluence of the Swannanoa River and the French Broad River.  The population was 83,393 according to the 2010 U.S. Census, with a population of 424,848 in the four-county Asheville metropolitan area.  It is home to University of North Carolina at Asheville and Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College, with eight other colleges and universities in the surrounding area.

Next stop will be Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania!

 

 

Black Swan Books – Lexington, KY

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The last book shop stop we made on this trip was in Lexington, Kentucky at Black Swan Books.   We had visited the shop two years ago, and were happy to find it still as nice as we remembered it to be.

There is street parking in front of the store and we found a spot without difficulty.

Black Swan Books, 505 E. Maxwell St., Lexington, KY

Black Swan Books, 505 E. Maxwell St., Lexington, KY

This shop has been in business since 1984, and is run by J. Michael Courtney.   Here one can comfortably browse the pleasant spacious rooms filled with neatly shelved books in a wide variety of genres.  The books are  in clean, solid condition.

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The shop offers Americana, Kentuckiana, Military History, Literature, Art, Poetry, Horticulture, Modern Firsts, Modern Library Editions and more.  There is a beautiful rare book room containing a wide variety of collectible books.

Rare book room at Black Swan Books, Lexington, KY

Rare book room at Black Swan Books, Lexington, KY

We found several nice decorated cloth bindings here (Michael has collected them himself for years).

Black Swan has something for every serious book lover in a wide price range (reading quality to highly collectible).  Prices are moderate…but that doesn’t mean that there wasn’t some good natured dealer-to-dealer haggling going on, as you can see below…

Michael and Ron negotiating

Michael and Ron

I told Michael he wins the prize for the nicest book store restroom.  Sorry, I didn’t take a photo — you’ll have to stop in and see for yourself!  Bring a friend.

Make sure you check back soon for our 2014 Spring book scouting trip summary.  We’ll show you some of our finds, and  share a few stories I may have left out along the way.

 

 

 

 

A Visit to Copperfish Books

Today we had the pleasure of meeting Cathy Graham of Copperfish Books in Punta Gorda, Florida at the lovely shop she runs with co-proprietor Serena Wyckoff.  As you can see, the sun is still shining in Florida, while we have had over a foot of snow during the past twenty-four hours at home in Stanley, New York!

Entrance to Copperfish Books, 1205 Elizabeth St., Suite A, Punta Gorda, Florida

Entrance to Copperfish Books, 1205 Elizabeth St., Suite A, Punta Gorda, Florida

The store carries a nice variety of new, used and antiquarian books, all on one floor.

Antiquarian section at Copperfish Books

Antiquarian section at Copperfish Books

Spacious interior at Copperfish Books

Spacious interior at Copperfish Books

Copperfish Books will be exhibiting books for sale at the Florida  Antiquarian Book Fair (March 14-15-16 in St. Petersburg, FL).  They carry Literature, Americana, Florida, History and general stock.

I saw some interesting Florida pieces here, and purchased a decorated binding and a book by James Whitcomb Riley in a beautiful early jacket, illustrated by Howard Chandler Christy and with page decorations by Virginia Keep.

Tannhauser - A dramatic poem by Richard Wagner, translaed in poetic narrative form by Oliver Huckel.  Published by Thomas Crowell & Co., NY, 1906

Tannhauser – A dramatic poem by Richard Wagner, translated in poetic narrative form by Oliver Huckel. Published by Thomas Crowell & Co., NY, 1906

An Old Sweetheart of Mine, by James Whitcomb Riley (Illustrations by Howard Chandler Christy)

An Old Sweetheart of Mine, by James Whitcomb Riley (Illustrations by Howard Chandler Christy)

A decorated page and a Christy illustration from "An Old Sweetheart of Mine"

A decorated page and a Christy illustration from “An Old Sweetheart of Mine”

And here are the two Cathys…meeting in person for the first time!

The two Cathys!  Cathy Graham of Copperfish Books and Cathy Petruccione of Old Scrolls Book Shop.

Cathy Graham of Copperfish Books and Cathy Petruccione of Old Scrolls Book Shop.

Cathy (me!) and Ron

Cathy (me!) and Ron inside Copperfish

We had a fun visit with Cathy Graham, enjoyed shopping in her book store, and look forward to seeing her again soon!

The Gadfly – Enduring and Collectible

The Gadfly, by E. L. Voynich (NY: Henry Holt and Company, 1897)

The Gadfly, by E. L. Voynich (NY: Henry Holt and Company, 1897)

Here is a lovely first edition decorated American publisher’s binding that is also a gripping and critically acclaimed novel set in revolutionary Italy during the mid-1800’s.

The Gadfly was first published in 1897 (United States, June; Great Britain, September of the same year).  It has become a classic revolutionary book which has been reprinted hundreds of times in multiple languages.

Our copy of THE GADFLY bears the bookplate of Maria Rebecca Audubon (granddaughter of John James Audubon) on front fixed endpaper

Our copy of THE GADFLY bears the bookplate of Maria Rebecca Audubon (granddaughter of John James Audubon) on front fixed endpaper

There have been five theatrical adaptations; seven opera, music or ballet adaptations, and six film adaptations around the world between 1923 and 2003 of this book.  It has been a best seller in many countries – The Gadfly is estimated to have sold 2,500,000 copies in the Soviet Union alone.

A later American edition (NY: Cameron Associates)

A later American edition (NY: Cameron Associates, 1957)

The central theme of the book is man’s conflict with the two great antagonisms – intellectual independence against religious and political conformity.  The protagonist, a devout Catholic at age 19, is caught by the Italian police for illegal political activity and is then betrayed while in prison by a priest, through his confession in the Catholic Church.  Shocked and disillusioned, he flees the country for South America, leaving a suicide note for his family and few remaining friends, only to return years later in disguise to seek revenge for his betrayal and continue his passionate fight for honor and justice. An old romance is soon rekindled, and it takes awhile before the woman even realizes who the man is that she has fallen in love with again.

The Gadfly deals with the greatest of human experiences – love between a man and a woman, love for one’s fellow man, and man’s timeless struggle to relate his love of humanity to his political, spiritual and ethical decisions in life.  There is heroism, romance, adventure, great escapes and tragedy here.  The book’s theme is as relevant today as when it was published in 1897, and it is still a compelling story.

Ethel Lilian Voynich

Author E. L. Voynich was born Ethel Lilian Boole in County Cork, Ireland in 1864.  In 1902 she married Wilfrid Michael Voynich, a Polish revolutionary, antiquarian book dealer and bibliophile.  Her husband won fame for his discovery in 1915 of the mysterious Voynich Manuscript,which presently resides in the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Yale University. 

The Voynich Manuscript is an illustrated codex handwritten in an unknown writing system which has been carbon dated to the early 15th century.  It has been studied by countless cryptographers, including American and British codebreakers from both World War I and World War II, but no one has succeeded in deciphering the text. 

Voynich moved to the United States in 1920 when her husband transferred his rare book business here.  She wrote four novels, including The Gadfly, between 1897 and 1911, and translated several Russian Classics into English.  The next twenty years of her life were devoted to composing choral and choral-orchestral music.  In 1931 she translated Chopin’s letters from the Polish and French.

Ethel Lilian Voynich died on July 27, 1960 in New York City at age 96. The Gadfly remains her most important and famous work.  Her books are listed below:

     Stories from Garshin (1893)

    The Gadfly (1897)

    Jack Raymond (1901)

    Olive Latham (1904)

    An Interrupted Friendship (Russian Ovod v Izgnanii -meaning “The Gadfly in exile”) (1910)

    Put Off Thy Shoes (1945) 

Autumn Book Scouting in Corning, New York

Early October is a beautiful time of year for a drive through the Southern Tier of New York State. The forested hills are splashed with vibrant autumn color, and the air is crisp and clear.  And so it was on Saturday morning, when we drove to Corning, New York.

 We never miss the Friends of the Southeast Steuben County Library Sale, which is held twice a year (April and October) at the East Corning Volunteer Fire Hall, just off I-86 between exits 47 and 48.  It is a friendly, well-organized sale, and usually offers some interesting material.  This year’s fall sale is offering about 30,000 items, and they always present a “Special Books” area that is worth a careful perusal.

 I didn’t take photos this time at the sale opening – we were running late and the sale was about to begin just as we parked our car!  But here are just a few of the books we purchased at the sale:

An assortment of decorated bindings from the Corning sale

An assortment of decorated bindings from the Corning sale

 They offered a large and interesting collection of material on Panama and the Panama Canal this time around in their Specials area; books on the hydrological and geographical studies which were done for the massive construction project, maps and diagrams, and a great variety of books on the huge and historic undertaking to connect two oceans.

 You can’t go to this sale without stopping in the charming city of Corning.  Besides the Corning Museum of Glass and the Rockwell Museum of Western Art, beautiful Market Street in the historic downtown offers great walking, dining and shopping.

Market Street, Corning, New York

Market Street, Corning, New York

Centerway Square, Corning, New York

Centerway Square, Corning, New York

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We were happy to see a new used & rare book store in town, Mecca Books at 65 E. Market Street.   It is always cause for celebration where antiquarian book stores are opening to replace the ones that are closing!

Owned by Steve Mecca, the store location was taken over from Mynotera Books (which still has an online auction site).  Steve offers an eclectic selection of vintage hardcover books, vinyl, comic books and other interesting ephemera, at reasonable prices. 

Mecca Books, 65 East Market St., Corning, NY

Mecca Books, 65 East Market St., Corning, NY

Steve Mecca, Proprietor of Mecca Books, Corning, NY

Steve Mecca, Proprietor of Mecca Books, Corning, NY

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The interior of the store is charming, and we were happy to find some nice decorated bindings and books with early beautiful dust jackets here.

Some nice early jackets!

Some nice early jackets!

A couple of decorated American trade bindings found at Mecca Books in Corning, NY

A couple of decorated American trade bindings found at Mecca Books in Corning, NY

 The day was perfect – sun-drenched and warm – for eating outdoors at the Market Street Brewing Co. and Restaurant…

Outdoor dining at Market Street Brewing Co. & Restaurant

Outdoor dining at Market Street Brewing Co. & Restaurant

We walked up and down the length of Market Street, shopping and window shopping. 

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Take a look at this gorgeous vintage baby carriage we spotted in the window of a shop that was closed…

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We stopped in Brown’s Cigar Store (Tobacconist since 1889) at 6 West Market Street, where we met owner Bejay Smith.

Bernard (Bejay) Smih, Proprietor of Brown's Cigar Store, Corning, NY

Bernard (Bejay) Smith, Proprietor of Brown’s Cigar Store, Corning, NY

Besides an impressive array of cigars and tobacco products, the store displays a century-long collection of tobacco memorabilia, original glass, oak and marble humidors and lovely antique display cases.

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There are also several antique shops on Market Street that are worth scouring for books and of course, antiques.

Autumn is a perfect time for book scouting in the Northeast… there are so many pretty and historic places to visit, and Corning, New York is one of the best.  

2013 Rochester Antiquarian Book Fair

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41st Annual Rochester Antiquarian Book Fair –  Main Street Armory, Rochester, NY

On Saturday, September 7, 2013, we came as buyers to the 41st Annual Rochester, NY Antiquarian Book Fair.  Although we are members of the Rochester Area Booksellers Association, we did not exhibit.  We caught some flack for not participating as sellers(!) — our excuse is that we can never quite pull it together to exhibit at book fairs, as we seem to have so much on our plate, particularly in Autumn when this fair occurs.  When I retire from my college job, we will be there!  Honestly, it was a terrific book fair this year and I was wishing we had a booth.

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This year the fair moved from it’s usual location at the Monroe County Fair grounds to the beautiful and historic Main Street Armory, across from the Auditorium Theatre.  Forty-seven book dealers from eleven states and Canada came together to display their books.

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There was a good crowd of book browsers and buyers the whole day.  We browsed, bought and visited for over four hours; the parking area was full when we arrived a little before noon, nearly every book dealer seemed busy with customers, and people were still coming in as we left at about 4:15pm.

We liked the new venue, and other seemed to like it, too — it was spacious, yet more library-like and an appropriate setting for beautiful old books.

Booksellers offered a nice variety of books in all genres, maps, prints and other book related items.

Jonathan Smalter, Vice President, IOBA and owner of Yesterday's Muse Books in Webster, NY with fiancee Kristine Rinebold.  Congratulations to a really nice couple!

Jonathan Smalter, Vice President, IOBA and owner of Yesterday’s Muse Books in Webster, NY with
fiancee Kristine Rinebold.  The wedding is next June — congratulations to a really nice couple!

A lovely little set of Shakespeare's works in it's original box - offered by Jonathan Smalter of Yesterday's Muse

A lovely little set of Shakespeare’s works in its original box – offered by Jonathan Smalter of Yesterday’s Muse

John and Douglas Westerberg of Yankee Peddler Bookshop - Sodus Point, NY

John and Douglas Westerberg of Yankee Peddler Bookshop – Sodus Point, NY

Here are a few of the beautiful books we purchased at the Fair:

The Little Tea Book, by Arthur Gray (NY: The Baker and Taylor Co., 1903)

The Little Tea Book, by Arthur Gray (NY: The Baker and Taylor Co., 1903)

Frontispiece from "The Little Tea Book"

Frontispiece from “The Little Tea Book”

Japanese Art, by Sadakichi Hartmann. (Boston: L. C. Page & Co., 1907)

Japanese Art, by Sadakichi Hartmann. (Boston: L. C. Page & Co., 1907). Binding design by Amy Richards.

Frontispiece in "Japanese Art"

Frontispiece in “Japanese Art”

Wigwam Stories, by Mary Catherine Judd. (Boston: Ginn & Co., 1908)  ALREADY SOLD.

Wigwam Stories, by Mary Catherine Judd. (Boston: Ginn & Co., 1908) ALREADY SOLD.

Extract from Captain Stormfield's Visit to Heaven, by Mark Twain.  First Edition.  (NY: Harper & Brothers, 1909.)

Extract from Captain Stormfield’s Visit to Heaven, by Mark Twain. First Edition. (NY: Harper & Brothers, 1909.)

Frontispiece from "Extract from Captain Stormfield's Visit to Heaven."

Frontispiece from “Extract from Captain Stormfield’s Visit to Heaven.”

We had a great time at the Fair, purchased some beautiful books, and enjoyed talking with our fellow booksellers.  See you at the Fair next year!

An Afternoon with Minsky & Friends

One of the people I most admire in the world of rare books is Richard Minsky.   He has done so much to bring attention to the world of decorated American trade bindings through his scholarly and beautifully produced books on the subject, including American Decorated Publishers’ Bindings 1872-1929 (3 volumes, 2006-2010) and The Art of American Book Covers 1875-1930 (2010).  His diligent research and assembly of fine examples of decorated books from this era not only revived interest in important book cover designers from our past, but also awakened interest in collecting these lovely bindings, which are becoming increasingly difficult to find in collectible condition. And with his own amazing art he has done so much more.  Read about his life, work, and artistry HERE and HERE.

This past Sunday we had the pleasure of attending a cocktail reception and private viewing of his Thomas Watson Ball collection of decorated bindings, preceding the release of his new book, The Book Cover Art of Thomas Watson Ball

Richard held court in his Hudson Valley home, studio and workshop, where his tools of the trade for fine book binding are close at hand amidst his lovely collection of books and art.

Richard Minsky (center) in his studio. Ron is holding the drinks!

Covers by early book artists such as Sarah Wyman Whitman, Louis J. Rhead, Rome K. Richardson, Margaret Armstrong, and many other fine artists of the past beam at you from every corner and case.

Here are two examples of books decorated by artist Thomas Watson Ball:

In The Levant by Charles Dudley Warner, Houghton Mifflin, 1901

Lords of the North, by A. C. Laut (J. F. Taylor, NY, 1900)

Minsky is generous and exuberant in sharing his knowledge of books, of the artists and their work.  His  enthusiasm for the book arts is positively infectious.

About twenty-two people came to this gathering of decorated binding enthusiasts.  Among them was Rebecca Rego Barry, Editor of Fine Books & Collections, and her husband Brett.   Fine Books & Collections is a superb magazine so beautifully produced it is collectible itself, and hosts an excellent website and blog for all of us who buy, sell, collect or just appreciate fine books.  Rebecca, you do a great job!

Rebecca Rego Barry, Editor of Fine Books & Collections

Here I am, happy as a clam to have Richard sign my 2012 desk diary “The Art of the American Book,” decorated with reproduced book covers with text by Minsky.

We were all interested in seeing the tools and materials used in his binding workshop…

The other half of this talent equation is Barbara Slate (she and Richard Minsky have been sharing their life together for over 25 years).  Barbara is an author and artist, whose work includes comic strips, animated segments for NBC’s Today show, and more than 300 comic books and graphic novels.  Her latest graphic novel (below) is Getting Married and Other Mistakes (NY: Other Press, 2012).

Barbara Slate’s graphic novel, Getting Married and Other Mistakes (NY: Other Press, 2012)

Barbara also presents workshops in schools, libraries and art centers across the country, encouraging the creative process in others, particularly young people.

Barbara Slate and Cathy – on a little walk in the woods with Sparky!

Read more about Barbara Slate and her art, writing and workshops  here.

Our thanks to Richard and Barbara for a delightful afternoon amongst great books and book people in a lovely setting.

The distance we traveled to this event was about 250 miles.  Being the irrepressible book hunters we are,  it became another book scouting road trip. We made an overnight stop on the way to take in the Cazenovia, NY library sale and visited several book shops in the Albany, New York area the next day.  I will take you to the places we went and show you some of the books we found in my next post!

A Beautiful Old Book on Cookery — for a Bride

If you are a cookbook collector, you know how difficult it can be to find old cook books which have been preserved in fine condition.   I fell in love with this book we acquired recently – a lovely book on cookery for new brides published in 1908 by Reilly & Britton Co. (first American edition).  The Canadian edition was published by the Copp, Clark Company in Toronto.

Recipes in The Bride’s Cook Book are arranged alphabetically and thumb-indexed.

fore edge of book showing recessed thumb index

Each indexed section begins with a charming color illustration accompanied by an enchanting quote.

The recipes are for two to three people –tailored for a newly married couple.  Some are old and quaint, others are as useful today as they were when they were printed.

The Bride’s Cook Book is a “culinary landmark book” which appears in Culinary landmarks: A bibliography of Canadian cookbooks, 1825-1949  by Elizabeth Driver (2008) — a 1,008-page book containing descriptions of 2,276 cookbooks published between 1825 to 1949 and published by the University of Toronto Press.

frontis illustration

This beautiful copy of The Bride’s Cook Book is available at Old Scrolls Book Shop.


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