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A Look Inside Presidential Libraries

Today is the anniversary of President Abraham Lincoln's birthday. In addition to having been an exceptional statesman, Lincoln, like many of America's forefathers was also a prolific reader, amassing an impressive personal library. In honor of the late, great president, we've put together a post to give you a look inside presidential libraries.

     
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How a Signature Increases a Book's Value

By Kristin Masters. Jan 30, 2019. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Rare Books, Book Collecting

How much is a baseball worth? Maybe a dollar or two, right? Get that same baseball signed by Alex Rodriguez, and you have a collectible item. If that baseball happened to be a home run ball, you've hit the jackpot! Signatures and autographs in books work much the same way. The rarity of both the book and the signature help determine the value of a book.

     
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The Friendship of Wilkie Collins and Charles Dickens

By Kristin Masters. Jan 8, 2019. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Rare Books, Book Collecting, Charles Dickens

On January 8, 1824, author Wilkie Collins was born. He'd rise to veritable stardom as one of England's best loved authors. Collins enjoyed the tutelage and collaboration of "the inimitable" Charles Dickens, who would become a fast friend to Collins.      
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Celebrating the (Literary) History of America's Presidents

Presidents are famously men of letters: educated, erudite, and charismatic. John Adams (whose birthday we celebrate today), Thomas Jefferson, and other founding fathers established their reputation by contributing to beautifully written documents like the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.      
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Remembering Legendary Author Ian Fleming

Everyone has a favorite super spya character whose cunning nature, quick thinking, or pure mental and physical strength keep us rooting for them long after their books, TV series, or films have reached "the end." Before common names like Jack Bauer, Ethan Hunt, and Jason Bourne dotted the super spy landscape, another famous spy arrested our imagination: James Bond. The dashing and debonair 007 was the creation of Ian Fleming, who has earned a reputation as a legendary author. Yesterday marked the anniversary of Ian Fleming's death. In his honor, we take a look back at his life and his inspiration for writing the iconic James Bond series.

     
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The Brontë Sisters' Inspiration and Exploration of Human Nature

By Abigail Bekx. Jul 30, 2018. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Legendary Authors, Rare Books, Book Collecting

Charlotte, Emily, and Anne Brontë are sisters of great literary skill. All three are still published authors over 100 years after their deaths. The novels they produced explore the intricacy of human nature and the effect one person can have on others. Their lives provide examples of the difficult life faced by citizens in Industrial Age England. Before being published, the sisters were forced to be teachers and governesses. Once they started seeking publication, they were forced to use male pseudonyms in order to be published. All three died from causes treatable with modern medicine. Through their writing and, by extent, their lives, Charlotte, Emily, and Anne Brontë give readers a glimpse into the life of well-educated, intelligent women in the Victorian Era.

     
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Iconic Images of Author Jack London

By Kristin Masters. Jul 25, 2018. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Legendary Authors, Rare Books, Book Collecting

On January 12, 1876, author Jack London was born John Griffith Chaney. The son of astrologer William Chaney and music teacher/spiritualist Flora Wellman, London grew up in poverty. After working as a sailor, going to Alaska for the Klondike Gold Rush, and even doing a stint as a hobo, London came to see writing as his means of escaping the work "trap." He began his career, fortuitously, at a time when new printing technology made it more cost effective to publish magazines cheaply, and he was soon making an excellent living thanks to the burgeoning demand for short fiction. London became one of the most beloved American authors, capturing our imagination with his tales of adventure.

     
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Lengthy Books to Read or Add to Your Collection on the Summer Solstice

By Leah Dobrinska. Jun 21, 2018. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Rare Books, Book Collecting

Summer is officially here in the northern hemisphere!  What better way to spend your extra daylight than by grabbing a favorite book to read or exploring a used or rare book store in search of a collectible? We love a good summer read, whether you plan to enjoy it on the beach, in your backyard, at a lake house, or in the comfort of your air conditioned home. Check back tomorrow for some of our favorite books to read in the summer months. For now, we got thinking about some of our favorite "long" books. After all, today marks the longest day of the year. It’s also the publication anniversary of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, which happens to be the longest book in the beloved series.

     
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Collecting the Works of Saul Bellow

"A novel is balanced between a few true impressions and the multitude of false ones that make up most of what we call life." So spoke Saul Bellow, one of the greatest American authors of the twentieth century. Rare book collectors have consistently been interested in Bellow's works, and that interest will only grow as his books get more scarce over time.

     
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What Is Physica Sacra and Why Is It Important?

By Leah Dobrinska. Apr 27, 2018. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Rare Books

The Enlightenment was a period marked with so many innovations in art, science, and philosophy—not to mention all the political power-plays which took place the world over—that it can be difficult to fully unpack all that was accomplished. Book collectors interested in this period are often on the lookout for Daniel Defoe first editions such as the 1719 version of Robinson Crusoe, or the original works of Jean-Jacques Rousseau. James Boswell’s The Life of Samuel Johnson, published in 1791, is another classic of the time. We mustn’t forget, however, that the 18th century gave rise to the field of natural history, and naturalists compiled some of the most interesting and astounding works of the period. One such work is a magnificent bit of art and science, exemplary of 18th century thought and achievement, and worthy of our admiration and study: Johann Jakob Scheuchzer’s magnum opus, Physica Sacra.

     
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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.

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