Did you know?  Check your Collector's Resources

Four of the Earliest (and Most Remarkable) Publisher's Dust Jackets

By Andrea Koczela. Mar 30, 2015. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Book Collecting, Dust Jackets

The subject of early dust jackets has been somewhat neglected in bookish circles. After all, how can plain (and often tattered) paper compete with a beautiful binding beneath? Yet early dust jackets have an important place in book history, one full of uncertainty and mystery. Initially, dust jackets were intended to be disposable and thus, most were discarded and destroyed. Few early examples now remain and no one knows with any certainty when dust jackets were first produced by publishers. Moreover, even in cases where early examples have survived, many later disappeared again and remain lost to this day. Below, we detail four of the earliest (and most remarkable) publisher's dust jackets.

     
Read more...


Andrew Lang: Rooted in Children's Books, Fairies, and Anthropology

By Brian Hoey. Mar 29, 2015. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Children's Books, Anthropology

Given that he is hardly a household name these days, it is easy to say that 19th Century Scottish historian, writer, and intellectual Andrew Lang deserves more recognition for his contributions to modern scholarship. Were it simply for the fact that the man’s Curriculum Vitae is stunningly long and varied, it might not seem like such a tragedy that Lang hasn’t even a Facebook fan-page to his name. The fact of the matter, however, is that without Lang’s influence, lasting damage might have been done to the field of anthropology.

     
Read more...


Ian Fleming and the Thunderball Court Case

By Neely Simpson. Mar 28, 2015. 9:00 AM.

Topics: James Bond, Movie Tie-Ins, Ian Fleming

Ian Fleming began writing the ninth James Bond novel, Thunderball, in January of 1961 from his Jamaican home, Goldeneye Estate. His health was failing due to heart disease, and he was feeling burned out on Bond. So, for inspiration, he turned to a James Bond screenplay he'd worked on in 1958 in collaboration with Kevin McClory, Jack Whittingham, and Ivar Bryce. When Thunderball was published in March of 1961, Fleming failed to credit his collaborators for the part they'd played in the creation of the novel and found himself at the center of a SMERSH-sized lawsuit for plagiarism.

     
Read more...


Literature and Dictatorship in the Dominican Republic

By Audrey Golden. Mar 27, 2015. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Literature, Book History, History

What can fiction teach us about political resistance during times of tyranny? While the twentieth century alone has borne witness to acts of terror and dictatorship across the globe, numerous writers have addressed the violence that took place at mid-century in the Dominican Republic. From 1930 to 1961, the country struggled under the dictatorship of Rafael Leónidas Trujillo Molina, often referred to simply as “El Jefe.”

     
Read more...


Ten Things You Didn’t Know About Sherman Alexie

By Audrey Golden. Mar 26, 2015. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Legendary Authors, American Literature, First Editions

Sherman Alexie has been a prolific writer of fiction and poetry for more than twenty years. His works have won numerous awards and have been translated for non-English speaking readers across the world. You may know him as a famous Native American author, but what else should you know about Sherman Alexie? In addition to the fact that he has recently published works of both fiction and poetry (don’t miss Blasphemy or What I’ve Stolen, What I’ve Earned), here are some more facts you may not have known about Sherman Alexie.

     
Read more...


Small Publishers - Champions of Classic, Strange, and Fine Press Books

By Ben Keefe. Mar 25, 2015. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Fine Press, Book Making, Printmaking

Think of your favorite bookstore. Most likely there’s a section in the store labeled “New Releases.” Here you can find titles from authors that any casual reader will recognize: James Patterson, Stephen King, Janet Evanovich. These books are produced and promoted by their publishing companies which are, especially in the case of those three, very recognizable. However, there is a sea of smaller publishers whose books are worthy of the same limelight. These lesser-known companies produce beautifully bound books, forgotten gems and off-the-beaten-path novels. Here is a selection of small publishers that care passionately about books and often express that love in unique and interesting ways.

     
Read more...


Tennessee Williams and the Catastrophe of Success

By Neely Simpson. Mar 24, 2015. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Legendary Authors, theater

The Glass Menagerie narrowly avoided complete disaster when it premiered in Chicago in 1944 with the inebriated Laurette Taylor in the crucial role of overbearing matriarch, Amanda Wingfield. Taylor was found drunk in the alley behind the theater an hour and a half before the opening curtain. Somehow, despite needing to vomit in a bucket backstage between scenes, she managed to pull off a performance still considered legendary. It was this performance on which hung the destiny of one of America's greatest playwrights: Tennessee Williams.

     
Read more...


Flannery O’Connor and the Civil Rights South

By Audrey Golden. Mar 23, 2015. 9:00 AM.

Topics: American History, American Literature, Biographies

By all accounts, Flannery O’Connor didn’t have much of an activist voice in the American Civil Rights Movement despite her role as a prominent Southern novelist and short-story writer. How, then, might we read her works in a 21st-century context? Should we believe the gossip—that she didn’t have much good to say about broadening the country’s conception of equality—even though she appeared to be in favor of integration in her fiction? Many scholars have debated O’Connor’s position with regard to the racial justice, but how should we ultimately remember the author who died just a month after the Civil Rights Act of 1964 went into effect?

     
Read more...


Libraries and Special Collections: An Interview with Cristina Favretto

By Andrea Koczela. Mar 22, 2015. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Book Collecting, Libraries, Interviews

Cristina Favretto has served as a special collections librarian at a number of institutions throughout her career. She is currently the Head of Special Collections at the University of Miami; her previous positions include: Director of the Sallie Bingham Center for Women's History and Culture at Duke University, Curator of Rare Books at UCLA, and Head of Special Collections at San Diego State University. Cristina's goal as a librarian is to build excellent, meaningful collections that are open and significant to the public. She has generously shared her collecting experiences with us in the following interview:

     
Read more...


LGBT Activism in the San Francisco Poetry Scene

By Audrey Golden. Mar 21, 2015. 9:00 AM.

Topics: American History, Poetry, Book History

San Francisco has a long history of activism, and in many ways the city has served as a literal and metaphorical center of postwar LGBT rights struggles. Yet the Bay Area also has an important reputation as the heart of modern and contemporary poetry. Kenneth Rexroth is credited with starting the San Francisco Renaissance in the 1940s, and he famously organized one of the first modern poetry festivals at the Lucien Labaudt Gallery in San Francisco around the same time. Shortly thereafter, Lawrence Ferlinghetti moved to the city and opened City Lights Bookstore in 1953. The now-famous shop went on to publish—and continues to do so—some of the most famous works of contemporary American literature.

     
Read more...


About this blog

How can I identify a first edition? Where do I learn about caring for books? How should I start collecting? Hear from librarians about amazing collections, learn about historic bindings or printing techniques, get to know other collectors. Whether you are just starting or looking for expert advice, chances are, you'll find something of interest on blogis librorum.

Get blog notifications per email:

Get your Restoration Guide!
Get your free Guide to Book Care
Get your free Book Inventory Software