"May blessings be upon the head of Cadmus, the Phoenicians, or whoever it was that invented books." -Thomas Carlyle
Welcome to my virtual book collection. Since collecting actual books is somewhat cost-prohibitive, I've begun to amass all of the books I would love to have if I had the means. Some are new, lots are old, all are unique or beautiful or unusual or in some other way have captured my fancy. Enjoy browsing!
Special Collections: Fine Bindings ~ Fairies and Fairy Tales ~ Terror and Madness ~ Poetry ~ Food, Drink and Apothecary ~ Science Fiction ~ Illuminations, Lettering and Hand-Coloring ~ Magic ~ Supernatural and Occult ~ Alchemy ~ Science and Technical ~ Maritime ~ Costumes ~ Humor ~ Children's books ~ Legend of King Arthur ~ Americana ~ 18th Century ~ 19th Century Authors and illustrators: Edgar Allan Poe ~ Jules Verne ~ Edmund Dulac ~ Kay Nielsen ~ Arthur Rackham ~ Edward Gorey ~ Charles Dickens ~ H.P. Lovecraft ~ William Hope Hodgson ~ Mark Twain ~ Lewis Carroll ~ Salvador Dali ~ George Cruikshank ~ Emily Dickinson ~ Geoffrey Chaucer ~ H.G. Wells
The Bindings of To-morrow: A Record of the Work of the Guild of Women-Binders and of the Hampstead Bindery
London, Printed for the Guild of Women-Binders, 1902
Introduction by G. Elliot Anstruther + 50 chromolithograph plates picturing bookbinding designs, each with letterpress description on preceding leaf; tissue guards. 36x20 cm. (10¼x7¾”), green cloth, spine lettered in gilt, page edges untrimmed. No. 196 of 500 copies. First Edition.
Spectacular series of fine chromolithographed plates featuring the art nouveau book-bindings from the Guild of Women-Binders.
Cien Libros Valiosos
Libreria l’Amateur, Buenos ‘Aires, Diciembre 1948.
8vo. 63,  pp. illus. Bound together with several other “books about books’ from Buenos Aires. Each catalogue limited to 550 copies or less.
Fac-similes of Old Book Binding in the collection of James Gibson Craig
Edinburgh, privately printed, 1882.
Number 2 of only 25 copies, 27 chromolithographed plates heightened with gold or silver, many double-page or folding, original morocco-backed boards, t.e.g., rubbed, particularly at edges of boards, folio,
B-A Note: A book from the library of James T. Gibson Craig Esquire, which contains facsimiles of beautiful book bindings also in the Craig Library. Sort of a self-referential book.
James Gibson Craig was a baron in the UK in the late 19th century. From wikipedia: “The Gibson-Craig, later Gibson-Craig-Carmichael Baronetcy, of Riccarton in the County of Midlothian, was created in the Baronetage of the United Kingdom on 30 September 1831 for James Gibson-Craig. Born James Gibson, he assumed the additional surname of Craig in 1818. ”
He had an extensive library including many volumes bound by celebrated binders of the time. From the NYT obituary: “Mr. Gibson-Craig traveled in Italy for some years after leaving college, and it was during his residency in that country that he acquired the taste for rare books, old pictures, china, bronzes, and miniatures, for which he was so eminently distinguished, and he there laid the foundation of the splendid collection he has left of these objects, which is certainly one of the finest in Great Britain.”
It appears as though he also participated in Sir Walter Scott’s “The Bannatyne Club”, which was founded to print rare books of Scottish interest. He is listed as co-author on a book of the same title, but I have been unable (in my quick research) to locate any synopsis or extracts from that book.
Craig’s library was sold at auction by Sotheby’s in 1887 and 1888. The catalog of the auction itself is also a rare collectible item
Smithers (Leonard) Catalogue of Rare Books
Numbers 1-14, plates, some folding, original pictorial or printed wrappers, including 5 with cover designs by Aubrey Beardsley, numbers 2 and 5 with a vertical fold, a few spots, but generally in good clean condition, number 2 with a very short tear at head of upper and lowerr cover, 1895-1898; A group of 4 prospectuses for works published by Smithers; includes Aubrey Beardsley’s Mademoiselle de Maupin; Vincent O’Sullivan’s A Book of Bargins, 1896 (with a frontispiece by Beardsley); Arthur Symons’ London Nights, 1895 and Stendhal’s La Chatreuse de Parme, 1896, some light browning, but generally in good clean condition, all housed in a moden cloth drop-back box, 8vo (18)
The Philobiblon of Richard de Bury.
New York: Societatis Grolierianae [The Grolier Club], 1889.
Beautiful, limited Grolier Club edition of a classic work of biblophilia — a tribute to the pleasures of books and the proprieties of collecting and librarianship, written in the 14th century by a Benedictine bishop known for his extensive private library.
The first volume contains the original Philobiblon in Latin, printed in black-letter with red and gilt decorative capitals and typographic ornaments; the second and third volumes contain Andrew Fleming West’s English translation (here in itsfirst appearance) and notes on the work. The third volume additionally contains several facsimile representations of different early printed and manuscript versions of the text. The edition was of 297 copies on paper and three on vellum, printed by the De Vinne Press.
The Ideal Book, Essays and Lectures on the Arts of the Book
William Morris. Edited by William S. Peterson. University of California Press, 1982.
Printing Types: Their Birth in the Typefoundry Depicted in Woodcut and Verse
Karl Mahr. Privately Printed, 2000.
Woodcut illustrations throughout. 44.4x29.5 cm. (17½x11½”), red cloth with black spine, front cover lettered in gilt. First Edition. The text for this edition was translated and set by hand at the Private Press and Typefoundry of Paul Hayden Duensing in Athens GA.
B-A Note: What an odd title! Poems about printing?
A Code for the Collector of Beautiful Books.
Maurice Robert and Frederick Warde. New York: Pr. by the Printing-Office of the Yale University Press for The Limited Editions Club, 1936.
First edition: with a preface by Francis de Miomandre, the whole translated from the French by Jacques LeClercq. Musings on the nature of bibliophily and on the making of “a true book de luxe” — in effect, a mission statement for The Limited Editions Club. When Frederic Warde reworked the original text, first published as Code de la bibliophilie moderne, for this edition, he added a list of terms and definitions specifically for the American collector. Warde, whose design credits for Limited Editions Club books include Lewis Carroll’s two Alice books, also handled the design for this volume, which was printed in Bembo types and bound by the Russell-Rutter Company.
B-A Note: This was just too appropriate to pass up.
Comfort found in good old books Fitch, George Hamlin. San Francisco: Paul Elder & Co., 1911.
First edition of this tribute to literary classics (the Bible, Shakespeare, Virgil, Dante, St. Augustine, The Arabian Nights, Don Quixote, The Nibelungenlied, etc.), written in honor of the author’s deceased son. The volume is illustrated with a total of 32 tipped-in, mounted plates: portraits, facsimiles of title-pages, etc.
Provenance: This copy bears the large and utterly charming hand-drawn ex libris of John C. Ryan, depicting a medieval wanderer and a coat of arms with a squirrel rampant; Ryan’s signature (dated 1911, San Francisco) is on the title-page.
Enemies of Books
William Blades. THE ENEMIES OF BOOKS. Trubner & Co., London, 1880.
A curiosity and a classic from the great age of ‘books about books.’ In the late nineteenth century book collecting was one of those subjects (like cookery now) where an author could expect an assured, if sometimes modest, sale. This went on until about 1930 when Holbrook Jackson’s fat tome ‘The Anatomy of Bibliomania’ was published. Titles like Books in Chains (Blades again) Book Hunter in Paris, Art of Extra Illustrating, 33 Years Adventures in Bookland, Bibliophobia (Dibdin) Eugene Field’s Love Affairs of a Bibliomaniac, Autolycus of the Book-Stalls, Shadows of the Old Booksellers, The Souls of Books, Book Song, Behind my Library Door, The Romance of Book Collecting and one of still current interest The Lost Art of Reading.