Wednesday, September 24, 2014

FABS Study Tour in Philadelphia, June 3–7, 2015

The Philobiblon Club of Philadelphia welcomes the 2015 FABS Study Tour and Symposium, scheduled for June 3–7, and sponsored by The Fellowship of American Bibliophilic Societies.
            The Study Tour will be based at the Hilton Doubletree Hotel in the heart of downtown Philadelphia. On the afternoon of Wednesday, June 3rd, twelve early-arriving travelers will have the opportunity to visit the Philadelphia Orchestra library, housed in the Rafael Viñoly-designed Kimmel Center, an architectural landmark just steps from the hotel. In the late afternoon we will gather for cocktails and a book fair with a dozen dealers offering their wares.
            On Thursday morning, we will begin with two curatorial presentations and an exhibition of Pennsylvania Dutch Fraktur manuscripts in the Rare Book Department of the Free Library of Philadelphia. We will then cross the street to the Barnes Foundation and spend the rest of the morning with its extraordinary Post-Impressionist and early Modern paintings — including sixty-nine Cézannes, sixty Matisses, forty-four Picassos and nearly two hundred Renoirs — assembled by Dr. Albert Barnes between 1910 and 1950. That afternoon the staff at The Philadelphia Museum of Art Library will show us printed materials and manuscripts complementing their exhibition “Notation and the Arts.” We will spend the remainder of the day in the University of Pennsylvania Special Collections and in the Fisher Fine Arts Library Rare Book Room (in the spectacular Frank Furness building, completed 1890). We will have a catered dinner atop the Van Pelt Library in the newly opened Kislak Center, overlooking the central campus.
            On Friday we will walk around the corner and split the morning between The Library Company of Philadelphia and the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, which sit side by side. Established in 1731 by Benjamin Franklin and famed for its collections of 17th-, 18th- and 19th-century American books, manuscripts, prints and photographs, The Library Company will have two curators present selections from various departments and guide us through an exhibition celebrating the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation. Manuscripts will be the focus of our visit to the Historical Society, which owns, among other treasures, two original drafts of the U.S. Constitution. Lunch at the Franklin Inn Club, a private literary club, will fortify us for our afternoon visits to The American Philosophical Society (also established by Franklin, in 1743), The Philadelphia Athenaeum (a private lending library founded in 1814) and the Center for Judaic Studies (incorporating the collections of Dropsy College and allied with the University of Pennyslvania). At each stop, curators will introduce us to their collections and show us treasures, including the Lewis and Clark Expedition journals, architectural drawings and rare Hebraica. In the late afternoon, we will visit the Othmer Library at the Chemical Heritage Foundation to see their recently acquired medieval and early modern alchemical manuscripts, books annotated by Sir Isaac Newton and key works in the history of science.
            The Saturday morning Symposium, “My Life Collecting” will explore the evolution of collectors’ relationships with and ideas about their books, prints, manuscripts and drawings over many years of ownership and acquisition. All our speakers have collected for over four decades: Steve Rothman (Philobiblon President, Baker Street Irregular and English literature collector), Eugene S. Flamm (neuro-surgeon and collector of medicine and the history of bibliography), Susan Tane (business-woman and collector of 19th-century American literature, especially Poe and Twain) and Peter Kraus (bookseller and picture collector). Michael Ryan (Director of the Klingenstein Library of the New-York Historical Society) will moderate what will certainly be a lively discussion following the formal presentations.   On Sunday in the late morning, the Rosenbach Museum and Library has graciously agreed to open its doors to a dozen lucky travelers.
            Save the date, as the event is limited to fifty-two attendees. The cost is $650 per person (exclusive of hotel). To register (or if you have questions regarding the tour), please contact Bruce McKittrick and Kiley Samz (, and place “FABS '15” in your email subject line.

The Zamorano Club

The Zamorano Club has had a number of particularly wonderful presentations at our monthly dinner meetings, all of which have been presented by Zamorano members. In January, David Kalifon gave a talk entitled “Pentiger’s Tabula Itineraria: Exploring an Ancient Roman Road Map through Ortelius’s 1598 Facsimile.”
Chuck Rennie followed in February with “Sex, Science, and Sardines: Reality and Myth in the Steinbeck–Ed Ricketts Friendship and its Literature.” Mr. Rennie was very thorough in his research, presenting a detailed account of the life of Ed Ricketts and his relationship with Steinbeck. For example, on their well-known boating trip up the interior of the Baja California Coast, he noticed that all their docking points were not of any significant interest except that these towns had a cantina.
“The Curious Case of George M. Millard, El Paseo de la Guerra, Santa Barbara” was presented by Charles Johnson. This research revolves around Alice Millard, a well-known book dealer in Los Angeles in the first half of the 20th century. During his research, Mr. Johnson discovered that a bookstore “owned” by Ms. Millard’s husband existed in Santa Barbara. The details of this bookshop, who owned it and its history were discussed. 
Skipping April momentarily, in May we had the pleasure of hearing Kim Keeline present her summary of how the collecting of Shakespeare has evolved, what artifacts were sought early on and present some examples from her collection. 
In June, Donald Sterrenburg presented a wonderful lecture on the process he went through to design a new typeface recently.  This could possibly be one of the last faces designed fully by hand. 
Jumping back to April, we were privileged to hear Zamoranian Msgr. Francis Weber talk to us about his “Zamorano Memories.”  Msgr. Weber (a member since 1969 who has served the club in many capacities, including President of the Board of Governors) has published over 170 books, written nearly 100 essays in our journal alone, and was the archivist for the Los Angeles Archdiocese.  These are just a few highlights of his vast career, and he received a standing ovation at the conclusion. 
Zamoranian Tom Andrews has been honored by Azusa Pacific University with the name of an auxiliary of their Special Collections (the "Thomas F. Andrews Fund for the Development, Preservation, and Scholarship of Special Collections").  Zamoranian Romy Wile’s latest book “Loving Andrew: A Fifty-Two-Year Story of Down Syndrome” has been receiving wide-spread attention, including five awards.
The Club is on summer hiatus with members scurrying around to get their keepsakes printed for the upcoming joint meeting with the Roxburghes in November in San Francisco.  Our fellow California bibliophiles are always excellent hosts and, we are eagerly making our travel plans.

Book Club of Washington (BCW)

The Book Club of Washington (BCW) continues through 2014 with a variety of events and publications. We are sponsoring visits to private collections; tours of book-related exhibitions; a lecture by a book historian; and an onsite visit to a local fine press printer used by book publishers, artists, and museums. The major event this fall is a September visit to the Walla Walla area of eastern Washington where members and guests will tour library special collections, museums, and private book collections. Combined with some social activities, this trip mirrors the outstanding 2013 BCW visit to Portland, Oregon. 
Following the trip to Walla Walla is the Seattle Antiquarian Book Fair, October 11-12. This outstanding annual book fair of around 100 dealers is a positive experience for all bibliophiles. The Book Club of Washington is a regular participant. This year we will share our booth with a representative from the California Rare Book School, helping to promote their outstanding courses. Following the book fair is the Book Club of Washington annual holiday dinner and silent auction to be held the first week in December.
Two publications are planned for the fall. The semiannual issue of the Book Club of Washington’s Journal will feature a lengthy article on Gabriel Price Rummonds and the books published by his Plain Wrapper Press in Verona in the 1970s. Other articles include one on fold-out plates with a bound-in example. The first issue of the Book Club of Washington’s Chapbook Series will also be available.
Details, when finalized, can be found on the website at Events and activities are published on the Book Club of Washington website,  FABS members are welcome to participate.  If you are in the Seattle area and would like to contact us, our email address is

The Washington Rare Book Group

In September we visited the Corcoran Gallery to see their book arts program and meet some book arts students. In October, the group visited the National Sporting Museum Library in Middleburg, Virginia to see their collection of rare books dealing with sports (mostly equestrian). In November, WRBG members visited the Dumbarton Oaks Library to see their vast collections dealing with gardens and Byzantine art. February brought a visit to the Library of Congress to see the Margaret Armstrong bindings, and in March, we went to the Smithsonian Institution to see the "Jefferson Bible." In April, the group toured the new library at Mount Vernon and saw the rare book collection.  In May, WRBG hosted a panel on the use of rare books in art libraries at the annual ARLIS meeting. The final event was the WRBG annual meeting, held at Ft. McNair. Mark Dimunation, head of rare books at the Library of Congress, spoke about special moments in the collections for him in his career at LC.
For the 2014-2015 event year, WRBG has scheduled the following events.  Please check our website at to see the finalized dates and times.
September - The history of the Washington Rare Book Group and the people who made it
happen and the collections they represent at the Waverly Auction House (TBD)
October – TBD
November - Archives of American Art
January - Folger Shakespeare Library
February - Artists' books at the Smithsonian
March - Panel discussion on dealing with 19th Century books (at the Smithsonian)
April - George Washington University Law School Library
May - Annual Meeting talk at Fort McNair

The Ticknor Society

On Tuesday, March 4, 2014, at the Houghton Library, Harvard University, we were treated to a presentation by Karen Nipps about Lydia Bailey. Karen is a former Ticknor Society President. She discussed her new book, Lydia Bailey: A Checklist of Her Imprints, part of the Penn State Series in the History of the Book. Lydia Bailey was a leading printer in Philadelphia in the early nineteenth century. Karen's monograph is the first about a woman printer during the hand press period.
On Thursday, March 27, we had our first cyber-meeting in the form of a Ticknor Webinar, conducted live from the Rare Book School by Ticknor Society member Jeremy Dibbell. In 2013, Jeremy spoke to the Ticknor Society about database options for cataloging book and artifact collections. In 2009, he also gave us a curator's guided tour of the Massachusetts Historical Society's exhibit, "Gluttons for Books: John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, and Their Libraries."
On Saturday, April 12, we traveled to Jaffrey, New Hampshire to visit Robert Stephenson, and enjoyed a tour of his remarkable collection of Antarctica books and artifacts. Robert's collection includes personal belongings of several pioneering Antarctic explorers, rare photographs, and copies of such rarities as Shackleton's South Polar Times, printed on a printing press carried on the expedition! We also visited David Godine’s book warehouse.
On Thursday, May 29, the Ticknor Society held their annual meeting at the American Meteorological Society's beautiful Bulfinch-designed building on Beacon Hill in Boston. Ticknor members had an opportunity to tour the building and the library. Jinny Nathans, the librarian and curator of the American Meteorological Society, welcomed us. Marie Oedel was our host for the evening. Our thanks go to Marie and her husband Dick for preparing the wonderful refreshments. During the business meeting, President Scott Guthery gave a report of the past year’s events, and Janet Steins gave the Treasurer's Report. Board member Alan Tannenbaum next presented two Lewis-Carroll-related gifts to outgoing Membership Secretary Heather Cole on behalf of the Society, in recognition of her hard work. Scott Guthrey next gave his forecast for the coming season, and announced that Ticknor members would receive copies of the Ticknor Society’s beautiful new edition of The Enemies of Books, featuring a new introduction by Janet Steins and new illustrations. This is the Society’s first full-length book production, and it was a marvelous keepsake of the evening.  The book is a classic nineteenth-century discussion of the many enemies of books. Following the business meeting, the featured speaker was Tom Horrocks, a President ex-officio, founder, and Past President of the Ticknor Society. His address was based on his recently-published book, Lincoln's Campaign Biographies, which argues for the importance of the many biographies of Lincoln that appeared before his first election, giving voters detailed background about Lincoln at a time when it was thought unseemly for candidates to campaign actively. After Tom's address, signed copies of his book went on sale, with all proceeds going to the Ticknor Society.  After the meeting, there was a Dutch Treat Dinner at Lala Rokh Restaurant on Beacon Hill.
In Scott Guthrey’s apt summary, “It was a sparkling evening in so many dimensions: historic venue, treats and libations, organization-building, featured address, not to mention an oh-so-tasty dinner.”