Wednesday, September 24, 2014

The Delaware Bibliophiles

Collectors' Showcases were held at the Brandywine Hundred Library in both February and May. The February meeting was a very special treat and had an unexpected surprise. Professor Martha Carothers brought as her guest Professor Kanwal Khalid from Lahore, Pakistan. Martha had met her on her recent trip to Pakistan and Prof. Khalid was now visiting this country to attend a College Art Association meeting. Martha brought slides she had taken on her visit to the Lahore Museum and Prof. Khalid gave a running commentary on the slides which included images of artifacts from the Stone Age to the present. Also shown were examples of calligraphic writing and Arabic script with miniature illuminations which is Prof. Khalid's area of expertise. It was a very interesting meeting.
It seems we never run out of bookish topics to discuss or items to show. A few of the many highlights of the May Collectors' Showcase were stunning: a binding for a Book of Common Prayer done by Cook & Somerville in 1845 for Christ Church in Franklin, Ohio; a May 1895 poster for Lippincott's magazine by Will Carqueville; an Inspection Certificate from the Port of Wilmington (Delaware) dated 1799 for the importation of 122 gallons of rum on the Brig Betsy; and a small 1831 chapbook, Susan and Edward, or A Visit to Fulton Market, that was described by our newest member as "a collection of one."
We celebrated the Delaware Bibliophiles' 37th Anniversary with a dinner on March 19 held at Harry's Savoy Grill. Our speaker was Philip A. Metzger, retired Curator of Special Collections at Lehigh University, who spoke on "The Books of the Moravian Archives." He showed slides of rare treasures and other oddities including a Moravian bookplate which stated that "Will Owens owns me." It was an interesting presentation.
For our April meeting we met at the home of Henry and Julie Voigt in Wilmington to see his remarkable collection of American menus. Henry started collecting menus about 20 years ago as a result of his interest in the history of American culture and social history as well as the history of printing. We were impressed how well organized his collection was and how carefully maintained in special notebooks. In answer to a question of what was his favorite, he showed the menu from President Abraham Lincoln's second inaugural ball. All in all, menus reflect the history of everyday life and are a great way to learn history. Henry blogs about menus and maintains a website at We also learned that his wife Julie maintains a popular blog, "Art for Small Hands," that is described as a wonderful resource for teaching art to children. We are pleased to note that after meeting with us, they decided to join the Delaware Bibliophiles and are now our newest members.
We note with sadness the passing of long-time member Herb Pratt. He wrote numerous articles for the club's newsletter, Endpapers, and was also the founder of the Chemical Heritage Foundation's Bolton Society, an organization for collectors of antiquarian chemistry books.

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