For your reading pleasure, reproduced below is Nick’s introduction to the newly released edition of the bibliomystery The Widening Stain (available fur purchase here), originally written in 1942 by W. Bollingbroke Johnson. Whodunnit? How about, who really wrote it? Find out–
Listen to Nick Basbanes chat with WNPR’s Colin McEnroe at the following link: “Follow the Paper Trail” http://www.wnpr.org/post/following-paper-trail
Nicholas Basbanes in his home office. North Grafton resident Nicholas Basbanes is a bibliomaniac — someone with a deep love of collecting books.
In January, bookseller Bernard Rosenthal passed away in Oakland, California, at the age of 96. Rosenthal was born in Munich in 1920 into a family of booksellers known throughout the industry as the “Rosenthal Dynasty.” Part of the massive exodus of Jewish antiquarian booksellers from Germany during the Nazi regime–the “gentle invaders” as Rosenthal called them–he ended up in New York, where he set up shop in the 1950s. Rosenthal eventually moved to Berkeley, where he focused on medieval manuscripts and early printed books. (For more on Rosenthal and fellow emigré booksellers of the early 20th century, read Nick Basbanes’ chapter “Hunters and Gatherers” in Patience & Fortitude.)
Rosenthal’s catalogs became the stuff of legend in the antiquarian world, in which he described easily overlooked details and craftsmanship that only came to light after careful examination of the item at hand. “We have committed the cardinal sin of the bookseller: we have READ most of these books…which has, however, brought some surprising results,” Rosenthal wrote in one of his early catalogs.
Fellow bookseller Ian Jackson recently wrote a biography on Rosenthal–read all about it at the Fine Books Blog.
The Center for Book Arts (CBA) opens its latest exhibit this evening dedicated to the work of British artist and CBA faculty fellow Mark Cockram. “Beyond the Rules” includes examples of Cockram’s creative bookbinding and book artistry. Plus, Nick Basbanes speaks on Saturday in Cambridge, Massachusetts, about Henry and Fanny Longfellow. Get all the details on the Fine Books Blog.