Dispatches from this year’s New York International Antiquarian Book Fair. ‹ Literary Center


April 25, 2022, 9:19 a.m.

New York International Antiquarian Book Fair, held annually at the Park Avenue Armory in Manhattan, is back! This weekend (Thursday April 21 to Sunday April 24), hundreds of rare and antiquarian book dealers from around the world have set up stands and shelves to display their special and historic items, all available for purchase.

After the physical fair was canceled last year due to COVID-19 concerns, this year’s event is off to a great start, with the bookseller and collector communities happy to finally come together once again. more.

Among the countless treasures on display was a miniature book handmade by Charlotte Brontë in 1839 when she was 13 years old. This book, ‘A Book of Rhymes’, was last seen in public at an auction in 1916 and by Thursday’s opening day had already sold for an estimated $1 .25 million dollars. (Although it had already been purchased, the book remained on display throughout the fair.) It was on display at the stand of the James Cummins Booksellers of New York, which sold the book with the Maggs Bros. from London.

After seeing Brontë’s tiny volume, I paid a visit to the stand at London’s The Old Booksellers of Jarndyce. They were selling two remarkable and similar documents from the same period: two diaries written by a young girl named Emily Shore from 1831-1832. Emily died at 19, but in her short life she wrote three volumes of poetry and three novels, along with other works – but the only texts by her that were ever published were her diaries, heavily edited and published by his sisters several years later, in 1891. Few of his notebooks survive, but Jarndyce had acquired the first two volumes, written in tiny, precise, and perfect handwriting.

Shortly after, I walked over to the booth manned by punching dieWashington, D.C.-based eclectic literary stock dealers who displayed Amy Winehouse’s personal library, including her own screenplay of a school production of “Little Shop of Horrors” in which she played, of all things, Mr. Mushnik.

Then I headed to the stand of legendary New York children’s bookstore, Chelsea’s Wonder Booksamong which many rare special volumes was a handwritten manuscript by Shel Silverstein.

And I made sure to stop Honey and wax booksellersamong which wonderful items included an 1879 French catalog of hot air balloons, and an invitation to the famous private afterparty after Walt Whitman’s 1887 ‘The Death of Abraham Lincoln’ lecture.

And of course, at the fair were countless first and rare editions, signed volumes, and other special ephemera from across literary history.

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