Friday, February 27, 2009


My first post is up over at Fine Books & Collections. If you're not reading it already, you should. No kidding, they have some of the most interesting folks writing for them in the bibliosphere. Also, I've been playing with Twitter for a week or two now and will probably keep it going. I like it better than most other banalities of the internet. You should come look me up just to see my book trade label custom background over there! Wicked awesome.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Right Place, Wrong Time

You've been there. The right place at the wrong time. There's even a very catchy funk tune about it. There I was, gun in hand, maniacal gleam in my eye standing next to the governor and .... well... I missed a great opportunity.

There I am, hulking my mass to cover Kim Henry, oblivious that I'd already missed my chance to meet and have a picture taken with N. Scott Momaday. Don't misunderstand me, the Governor is nice and all, but for a bibliophile, there's no beating a wonderful writer and Pulitzer Prize winner.

To add insult to injury, the paper put my cheery Abe Lincoln lovin' mug on the front page of the paper to be doodled on over mornin' joe. Maybe I should try growing a mustache again.

Fine Books & Collections Blog 2.0

The finest bibliophilic publication in the USA has gone 100% digital. Except the annual, so actually 90% digital. Oh, and the publishing they're getting into... 85% digital. But according to "them", the Fine Books website had 45 times more hits than the magazine did subscribers, so we're back up over 100% again. That doesn't sound right. I was a history major, you do the math.

I say all of that to say this: I'm excited. At first I felt angry, betrayed, and a trifle weepy for the scrappy can-do magazine that made us love them over a couple short years. But I was only mad until they invited me to the party. Book collectors have no shame. None.

The new Fine Books & Collections blog will be written by a small flock of bloggers and I get to be one of them! And all the nerds yell Huzzah! The other bloggers are likely well known to all of you already, but will give a good cross section of the bibliophilic sphere. I'm very happy to see Scott Brown, the original editor of the magazine involved in this project especially as we don't get to hear from him much these days. We'll have rare book dealers in from the snootiest auction rooms of large cities where they have taxi cabs. We'll have new booksellers, old booksellers, kind and cranky, academics, and publishers. And me. They think I'm a librarian. I've also been mistaken for being named Barry, so there's no accounting for some things. Over at FB&C, I'll represent we who do not reek of globtrotting ozone, and only ooze trace amounts of green insidious envy onto our cherished tomes while reading of the book fairs, auctions, readings, and sightings. I promise, it'll be good.



Friday, February 13, 2009

Abraham Lincoln is 200!

Bibliophile President Lincoln would have turned 200 years old yesterday. He probably would have loved to receive a good book for his birthday. Or maybe a gift certificate to a bookstore. We had a large event at the museum (where I work) and I completely forgot to mark the occasion for all of you in the blogosphere. So, with a small apology, I'm posting a classic from the Exile Bibliophile Archives.

Isn't this gorgeous? I love the layout, the image, the typography. It all comes together very nicely. I've seen it described as a trade card and a voucher. Isn't it a bit long for a trade card? If it was a voucher of some kind, wouldn't it say something to that effect, or give a value? Is there anything on the back? Is it supposed to look like currency? Anyway, trying to nail down some years on this little gem. The capitol dome was completed with the statue on top by 1869. Wikipedia says 1863, but photos on the Library of Congress page dated 1864 show an uncompleted dome. Also, the dome looks a little tall and skinny in this photo. That could just be the artist's interpretation. I wonder when you could no longer drive your horse and buggy up to the front steps. A completed auction cites it to 1862, as part of a lot of souvenirs from DC from that year. In that case, the completed dome would be pure imagination, or based on another sketch.

Thanks to the Lincoln Log ( I know they were in business May 7, 1862, as President Abraham Lincoln (a documented bibliophile) ordered some books: "Library of the Executive Mansion" orders books from William F. Richstein, bookseller and dealer in foreign and American stationery, 278 Pennsylvania Ave. "1 set Hood's Poems $6.50, 1 Goldsmiths Poems $5.00, 1 Homes of American Authors $6.00." [Thomas Hood, Poems; Oliver Goldsmith, Poems; Homes of American Authors: Comprising Anecdotical, Personal, and Descriptive Sketches, by Various Writers . . ., New York, 1853.] Last item is paid for by President; others out of annual appropriation of $250 for books for White House per Benjamin B. French, Commissioner of Public Buildings." Pg. 180. (Pratt, Harry E. The Personal Finances of Abraham Lincoln. Springfield, IL: The Abraham Lincoln Association, 1943.)

I wonder if Benjamin B. French is the same French of French & Richstein...


Friday, February 6, 2009

Undercover Adventures


Can you hear it? The buzz, the excitement building? The rustling of brown paper grocery bags being counted by Metro FOL volunteers? We're a short couple weeks out from the 30th annual Friends of the Metro Libraries book sale. The fun begins for FOL members on Friday, February 20th. For the rest of you mere, unwashed, "avid readers", the sale will continue Saturday and Sunday. Knowing me, I'll be going all three days. This is the biggest sale in Oklahoma. One of my favorite booksellers come all the way from Nebraska to attend! So, if you can make your way to the Fair Grounds in Oklahoma City, you shouldn't be disappointed.

Since I neglected to set the date for the next Bibliophiles of Oklahoma meeting at our last meeting, I'm invoking Section 3 of the Samuel Beckett Clause, aka "Should we wait for Godot?". The answer, of course, is that our next meeting will be Saturday evening, after the FOL sale. The sale only runs until 5:30 pm on Saturday, so it's only logical. Mostly, because I'll be hungry then. Stay tuned to your communiques for location.