Did you know?  Check our Rare Books Page

The Birth of the Harry Potter Phenomenon

By Katie Behrens. Jul 31, 2019. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Children's Books, Book History

July 31 may seem an unremarkable day to some, but not to fans of Harry Potter. It’s Harry’s birthday as well as that of his creator, J.K. Rowling. The publication of the Harry Potter books has unquestionably changed children’s literature and arguably the world. How did this genre-busting phenomenon even begin?

     
Read more...


Five of Beatrix Potter's Best Books

By Abigail Bekx. Jul 28, 2019. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Legendary Authors, Children's Books

Beatrix Potter’s 23 original tales include her works published between 1902 and 1930. All of the tales take place in the same fictional universe, sometimes referred to as The World of Peter Rabbit. While all of Potter’s work is wonderfully skilled and serves as a paragon of children’s stories, her 23 original publications are the best known and tend to hold the most sentimental value for readers. Here's our selection of five of Potter's best efforts.

     
Read more...


Caldecott Winning Illustrators Series: Lynd Ward

By Adrienne Rivera. Jul 25, 2019. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Caldecott Medal, Children's Books

Every year the Caldecott Medal is awarded to the children's book that best displays a new level of excellence and creativity in the field. These books often come to represent a gold standard for children's book illustration and become favorites of not only children but also of collectors. Sometimes, as in the case of the 1953 winner, the illustrator is not just a major figure in children's book illustration, but in other artistic fields as well. Join us as we continue our Caldecott Medal Winning Illustrators series by exploring the life and career of legendary illustrator Lynd Ward, who not only left behind an impressive legacy in the world of children's book illustration but also was a trail blazer in the field of graphic novels, a genre he is credited with bringing to the U.S. in its earliest form.

     
Read more...


Zelda Fitzgerald's Fascinating Novel

By Abigail Bekx. Jul 24, 2019. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Legendary Authors

Written in the first weeks of Zelda Fitzgerald’s stay at John Hopkins University’s Phipps Clinic, Save Me the Waltz is a fictional autobiographical telling of Fitzgerald’s life and marriage. First published in 1932 by Charles Scribner’s & Sons, the novel did not sell and was heavily criticized by her husband, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and professional critics. It was not until recent years that focus has returned to Zelda Fitzgerald’s work and an effort has been made to examine her work without her husband’s negative influence.      
Read more...


Raymond Chandler: Making Pulp Serious

Raymond Chandler is one of those rare authors who reminds the literary establishment that genre has no bearing over a book’s quality. Chandler bridged gaps in his career. His work helped bring crime fiction to academics, and the serious novel to Hollywood studios. He considered himself an intellectual snob and loved Charles Dickens, Henry James, and Ernest Hemingway. He was a man who studied Greek and Latin, but Chandler emphasized that his own strange preferences brought him to the world of the detective story.

     
Read more...


Ernest Hemingway, Famous Author or Failed Double Agent?

By Andrea Koczela. Jul 21, 2019. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Legendary Authors, Nobel Prize Winners

During World War II, Ernest Hemingway was determined to be a spy. He spoke to no less than four governmental entities on the matter. Three were American: the American embassy in Cuba, the Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI), and the Office of Strategic Services (OSS). One was Russian: the NKVD, a forerunner of the KGB. He accepted positions from three—the American embassy in Cuba, the ONI, and the NKVD—and worked simultaneously for the Americans and Russians from 1941-1943.

     
Read more...


Five Interesting Books About the Moon Landing

By Abigail Bekx. Jul 20, 2019. 9:00 AM.

Topics: American History, History, Science

Today marks the 50th anniversary of the first lunar landing! On July 20, 1969, NASA successfully landed the Apollo 11 astronauts on the moon. Eight years earlier in 1961, President Kennedy kicked the Space Race into overdrive when he called for more efforts and resources to be put into the space programs with the goal of reaching the moon by the end of the decade. July 16, 1969, found Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Collins boarding the Saturn V rocket at the Kennedy Space Center and being launched into Earth’s orbit. After three days Armstrong and Aldrin landed on the moon in Eagle, the mission’s lunar module. They spent two and a half hours outside of Eagle exploring the surface, taking samples and photographs, and planting the American Flag. On July 24, Armstrong, Aldrin, and Collins splashed down off Hawaii, marking the end of the Apollo 11 mission.

     
Read more...


What Were Americans Reading When We Landed on the Moon?

By Brian Hoey. Jul 19, 2019. 9:00 AM.

Topics: American History, Movie Tie-Ins

Sometime around Thanksgiving 1862, Harriet Beecher Stowe, author Uncle Tom’s Cabin (1852), met sitting-president Abraham Lincoln. Upon the initial introduction, Lincoln famously quipped, “So you're the little woman who wrote the book that made this great war!” Accounts of the exact wording vary, and in fact the whole story may be apocryphal, but it still speaks to the way that art and media help us make sense of history as it unfolds around us. Uncle Tom’s Cabin (or, if not Stowe’s novel, then perhaps works like Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl (1961) or 1845's The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass) gave 19th century readers new ways of understanding the “peculiar institution” over which the Civil War would be fought. As the war progressed, books like these continued to act as touchstones for anyone seeking to understand the conflict, the nation, and the world.

     
Read more...


Making History: A Tribute to John Glenn

By Kristin Masters. Jul 18, 2019. 9:00 AM.

Topics: American History, Book Collecting, Biographies, Science

When John Glenn became the first man to orbit around the earth, he reawakened a hope and patriotism in the citizens of the United States. Today would have been Glenn's 98th birthday, fittingly falling only a couple days before the anniversary of the first lunar landing. In his honor, we're remembering what the world was like all those years ago when he rose up and inspired a nation.

     
Read more...


Famous Astronauts and Their Lives After NASA

By Adrienne Rivera. Jul 17, 2019. 9:00 AM.

Topics: American History

On July 20, 1969, Apollo 11 successfully landed on the moon and for the first time, mankind took its first physical steps out in the universe. The 50th anniversary of the lunar landing is fast approaching. The things NASA has learned from that first landing and the numerous following expeditions into space have changed the face of scientific understanding. To celebrate  NASA and the brave astronauts who have made history throughout the years, let's take a look at the lives of some of the most famous astronauts after they ended their careers in space exploration.

     
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:

Download the James Bond Dossier

Recent Posts

Book Glossary
Get your free Guide to Book Care

Blog Archive

> see older posts
A Guide to Historic Libraries Part I