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Ex libris :
b journal of the USF Library Associates.
n Vol. 2, no. 1 (summer 1978).
p Summer, 1978
Tampa, Fla. :
USF Library Associates.
c summer 1978
Morris, Mosher and the Konglomerati Press -- The potential of private press as a collecting field -- From our collections : Thomas Bird Mosher and the Mosher Press, 1891-1923 -- Thayer's farewell address -- A non-professional's guide to book values -- Comments from the Executive Secretary -- Exhibits.
University of South Library.
USF Library Associates.
Ex Libris: Journal of the USF Library Associates
Contents Morris, Mosher, and the Konglomerati Press ................................ ...1 The Potential of Private Press as a Collecting Field ................................ .....4 From Our Collections: Thomas Bird Mosher and the Mosher Press, 1891-1923 ..........................6 Thayer's Farewell Address'.......................9 A Non-Professional's Guide to Book Values .................................... ....10 Comments from the Executive Secretary ............................... .14 Exhibits .......................................... .........15 Programs, activities, and services of the Universit y of South Florida are available to all on a non-discriminatory basis, without regard t o race, color, creed, religion, sex, age, national origin, or handicap. The University is an affirmative action Equal Opportunity Employer. Ex Libris Vol. 2, No.1 Summer, 1978 Ex Libris is published quarterly by the USF Library Associates, University of South Florida, Tampa, Florida. Please address suggestions and comments to J. B. Do bkin, Executive Secretary, USF Library Associates, USF Library, Tampa, Fla. 33620. Cover: Title page of the celebrated Kelmscott Press Chaucer (1896). All illustrations in this issue of Ex Libris are reproduced from works in the Special Collections Department of the University of South F lorida Library. Photography is by the photography department of USF's Division of Educati onal Resources.
Morris, Mosher, and the Konglomerati Press by Dr. Richard Mathews WHEN WILLIAM MORRIS began his Kelmscott Press he didn't think he was starting a "movement," but since the appearance of his fantasy novel The Glittering Plain in 1891, an international movement in innovative book arts has looked to Morris for inspiration. Not only did Morris embellish the past with the distinctive stamp of hi s own style, but the constant endeavor for excellence careful work by hand, and a close attention to deta il in everything from type design and handmade paper through the natural-dyed silk ties in the vellum bindings set quality standards of the highest order Susan Otis Thompson, who teaches the history of books and printing at Columbia University, has recently provided the first comprehensive view of Morris' influence in America, and American Book Design and William Morris (Bowker, 1977. 258 pp. illus. $29.95) is exciting and encouraging to read. The work of William Morris was one of the shared in terests which began the Konglomerati partnership with Barbara Russ in 1971. Thompson makes clear many of the ways Morris has informed our printing and desig n, and has made us aware of the extent to which he influenced the American designer s and printers most important to us. Thompson points out that there was a Morris and Com pany showroom in New York by 1881, and others in Boston and Chicago by the tu rn of the century, bringing the fruits of Morris' quality standards and the Arts and Craft s Movement to the attention of Americans. Louis Tiffany was only one of many influ enced by the English work. More specificially in the book trade, Robert Brothers of Boston, Morris' regular American publisher, was so pleased with the first Kelmscott Press edition of Morris' Glittering Plain that they printed a photographic facsimile of it in an edition of 500 copies, advertised in Publisher's Weekly for the rather high price of $2.50. The Kelmscott P ress experiment was widely and favorably reviewed in Ame rican trade publications, as well as in the literary and popular magazines, and soon the Kelmscott Press style began to appear in American print. THOMPSON succinctly and skillfully outlines the ach ievements of the American printers and designers Konglomerati has studied and admired. Her volume is well illustrated and her commentary involves the most si gnificant names in American book production and typography. Bruce Rogers, Daniel Ber keley Updike, J. M. Bowles, Way and Williams, Stone & Kimball, Charles Scribner's S ons, and Houghton Mifflin are only a few of the important ones. Two significant Morris -inspired Americans, however, have been particularly important in our work: Frederic W Goudy and Thomas B. Mosher. America's foremost type designer, Goudy created 124 type faces in his productive life. He drew his first face, Camelot, in 1896, par tly inspired by a Kelmscott Press Chaucer which a rare book dealer had allowed him to examine He established his William Morris, 1834-1896, founder of the modern private press movement.
Village Press to produce books approaching the Kelmscott perfection, and performing the complete book production from type design to printed page, himself. The first book issued from Village Press in 1903 was Printing an Essay by William Morris and Emery Walker, "intended as a tribute and acknowledgement of obligation to William Morris." Similarly, the first words printed at Konglomerati Press in 1971 were "News from Nowhere," the title of Morris' utopia, also intended as a tribute and acknowledgment. In 1924 Goudy bought one of the Albion hand presses used by Morris at his Kelmscott Press, and the connection became physically more direct. He even made a trip to England where he met and spoke with Emery Walker. One of his early biographers reports, "On their first meeting Walker said, 'Morris would have liked knowing you,' a remark that was to Goudy ample recognition of his hard work." Much later, in the 1934 Morris memorial edition of the German magazine Philobiblon, Goudy wrote his longest tribute to Morris, observing that "in printing, it may be (he was) the greatest figure since Gutenberg." For Konglomerati Press, it may be Goudy was the gre atest figure since Morris. The story of his influence is outlined in The Goudy Presence at Konglomerati Press by Ruth Pettis (Konglomerati, 1978. 20 pp. illus. $3). The spirit of tradition, an affirmative of joy in craft, demanding pursuit of excellence and conce rn for quality in life are only some of the philosophical areas of agreement. In 1975 Goudy 's Kennerley Old Style was selected as Konglomerati's press face. The face was designed by Goudy in 1911 for H. G. Wells' The Door in the Wall, published by Mitchell Kennerley. The type face has been used in all our books since that date, most notably in Time and Other Birds by Mary Shumway (1976. 48 pp. illus. $4), which received a major aw ard last year in the Southeast Fine Print Competition. This book, which features, Marga ret Rigg's calligraphy tipped in on handmade Korean mullberry papers, shows Goudy's typ e alongside Eastern calligraphic forms in a somewhat unconventional way. UNCONVENTIONAL publishing was part of the personali ty of another American printer we know well. When Frederic Goudy did desig n commissions as a talented but unknown young man, one of his earliest employers wa s Thomas B. Mosher of Portland, Maine. Mosher set out independently of Morris to pr oduce high quality books of top literature at a price the public could afford, and to set an example in the trade of quality at a reasonable price. Eventually Mosher had 19 titles by Morris in print, including some Kelmscott Press facsimiles. He spread the goals and images of William Morris, but combined this with an oriental spareness which Thom pson refers to as "Aesthetic." She In 1975, Konglomerati Press adopted Goudys Kennerly Old Style as its press face. This book outlines Goudys influence at Konglomerati.
quotes Will Ransom: "In typography and format the Mosher books may be called both sane and charming. With almost the restraint of Cobden-Sanderson, Mr. Mosher used very little decoration. Even color appears very seldom. And that choice took strength of character and a certain conviction in those days when typography was running pretty wildly to decorative and colorful, even wierd, effects. The "restraint" of Mosher, it seems to us, was part of the production techniques which enabled him to produce his volumes at modest cost. He makes interesting use of simple rules rather than ornate borders for title page arr angements. That ruled effect can be seen in the Konglomerati title page design for Goudy Presence. Thompson points out another aspect of Mosher's work, "Virtually everyone agrees that Mosher spread through the English-speaking world the knowledge of good litera ture, in volumes that sold well because they looked like gift books but cost little ." Konglomerati approaches the contemporary literature it publishes in much the sa me way, seeking to publish the best new writing in distinctive, high quality editions a t a reasonable cost. We appreciate the simplicity of Mosher as an "American individualisti c publisher" without the "artsy" trappings of the private presses. American Book Design and William Morris shows the depth and range of Morris' influence not only on these two important figures, but on a whole generation of publishers. That influence has been passed on intac t through the vigorous efforts of publisher-printers like Mosher and Goudy, and in fa ct reinvigorated with American ingenuity, confidence, and individualism. The Morri s impact still resounding today in carefully crafted books from Tinhorn Press, The Pre ss of the Night Owl, Amaranth Press... and Konglomerati. Dr. Mathews is assistant professor of literature at Eckerd College in St. Petersburg. In 1975 he was the William Morris Fellow at Kelmsco tt House, London, and has since edited several works of William Morris for publicat ion in this country. Dr. Mathews also owns and operates Konglomerati Press in Gulfport. This book by Konglomerati Press shows Goudys Kenne rly Old Style type alongside Eastern calligraphic forms. It recei ved a major award in the 1977 Southeast Fine Printing Competition.
The Potential of Private Press as a Collecting Fiel d by Michael Slicker AT FIRST GLANCE, it would seem that the private pre ss movement would have little room in a contemporary American society. Aft er all, we do live in a world of manufactured obsolescence, corporate time schedules and consumer fickleties. Meanwhile, any attempt at private press work tends toward ideals that would seem to oppose a world of timed efficiencies and marketed h alf-lives. As a matter of fact, most private press owners would agree that without an ab iding love of the craft itself, the craftsmen would have allowed the movement to die pe acefully long ago. It is for this reason then that fine press work usually takes on the characteristics of a private l ove affair. The private presses are most often the work of one person, or a small group of people who share certain ideals of literature and bookmaking. Ancien t craft values, have been awakened and revived by these enthusiasts, and it is not surprising that th eir products are characterized by the integrity and loving attentiveness associated with products of ante-industrial age. Nevertheless, though individua l operations are small, the movement is not. For while the Anglo-American private press movement is little more than one hundred years old, with man y of the "classics" of the tradition being little mor e than a few decades old, interest in it has flourish ed with a full-blooded enthusiasm. So, how does this happen? How does a small press, dedicated to non-conformist ideals, manage to captivate an audience and become a vital force in a modern culture? Well, first of all, the products of the private pre ss appeal very well to a 20th Century audience. We live in a visually oriented culture. T he visual symbol, the foundation of private press design, is a symbol familiar to all o f us. We are surrounded by it and respond well to its influences: we eat it, we drink it, buy houses and cars because of it. The effect is clear, and the appeal all-pervasive. The visual communication itself, something often forgotten in commercial literature, is important to us. One of America's foremost artist/printers, Bruce Rogers, states very clearly our own unconscious desires: "A perfect book is both easy to read and beautiful to look at. Pleasure in the reading matter itself is enhanced by pleasure in its suitab le frame. An excellent balance of black and white lessens the effort of reading, and the eye unconsciously approves of both ensemble and details without being distracted by them." USING THE ART of design as a foundation, the privat e press has moved into publishing roles now long vacated, or completely ov erlooked, by large publishing houses. Increasingly, private presses are operating as vehi cles of the creative, the experimental, and occasionally the revolutionary. This situation occurs because the private press is able to be responsive in two directions, to the writer a nd to the audience both, in ways that have become virtually impossible for the large comm ercial printer. Within the format of Title page of an 1834 bibliography of privately owned printed books. From the USF collection.
the smaller press, the visual content of a page may be explored in interesting ways ways not usually found in large commercial endeavors. Because of this, certain modern presses have already left an imprint (both figuratively and literally) on modern literary culture. As experimental design elements filter into the mainstream of book publication, they always exert indirect influences, and are occasionally adapted directly for use by the major publishing concerns. Certainly, the "cleanness" and subtleties of modern textbook design reflect innovations in style first introduced by the private press. Similarly, private presses offer a freedom and variety of content not usually afforded by more commercial enterprise. Historically, a banner of innovative or unknown authors have looked to the private press for the publication of their early works. Ernest Hemingway, D. H. Lawrence, Gertrude Stein, and James Joyce, to name but a few, all owe their early successes to the congenial ity of the private press. Experiments in format, with exotic papers and bold type designs, c haracterize the modern private press, but at the heart of the movement will always remain the printed word. Ultimately, it is this fact, the fact that the private press fosters the evolution of our language and our literature, that will allow it to survive and proli ferate. Taken as a whole, these factors have contributed to a vigorous interest in the collecting field of fine press books. Today, within an expanding market, we find many noticeable trends in book collecting. However, one of the most active and the most vital of these is the collecting of modern private press editions. Collecting such books is rapidly becoming one of the strongest trends in tod ay's market. MOST DEALERS, too, agree that quality private press books is a promising field for modern collecting. It is generally accepted within the trade that the high appreciation rate of such books has been sustained for long enough ti me period that danger of their eventually proving overinflated is slight. Further, because of the relative youth of the field many of the classics within it have not yet fully matured in value. For example, while a great book like the Kelmscott Chaucer, has surpassed a value making it readily available t o the casual consumer, the majority of the works of Thomas Mosher, D. B. Updik e, and Bruce Rogers are readily available for less than $25. In addition, excellent work continues to be produce d from a variety of sources. Most major (and a few not-so-major) metropolitan centers are able to boast at least one private press operation within their environs: In San Franc isco, Adrian Wilson continues to provide a demanding public with wild splashes of co lor, set in unusual formats; in Los Angeles, The Black Sparrow Press provides an intere sting forum for contemporary poetry; and our own local Konglomerati Press produc es work compatible with anyone's standards. A page from the USF copy of the renowned Doves Press Bible (1903 -05).
To assist in keeping abreast with contemporary prod uction of private press material, we suggest a subscription to the quarterly journal, Fine Print (P.O. Box 7741, San Francisco, CA 94120). While somewhat elitist in att itude, this publication provides fine reviews of the latest private press productions. As an added bonus, the journal itself is hand-set and nicely designed. FOR THOSE WHO feel an affinity for the press as a m edium, and would like to explore the current a bit before making a plunge, w e suggest writing directly to a number of presses expressing an interest. (Addresses are a vailable in the reference section of your library.) Most presses provide attractive catalogue s for their work, and introduce new publications with a handsome prospectus set in some rather unusual and delightful formats. The simple truth is that these ephemeral i tems, provide a unique opportunity for the novice collector to experiment with his taste at little expense. As the collector's taste develops, he should allow himself the luxury of a few drifting purchases. Then, sooner or later, he will find hims elf settled. comfortably in his favorite chair, lost in a world of newly created colors and images, wearing the quiet grin of recognition. It is at that point, he begins to real ize he's hooked, and that the delight has just begun. Mr. Slicker is a professional antiquarian book deal er and an expert in the field of rare books. He owns and operates Lighthouse Books i n St. Petersburg. Mr. Slicker will serve as president of the Library Associates during 1978/79. He has previously served on the Associates' Board of Directors.
From Our Collections: Thomas Bird Mosher and the Mosher Press, 1891-1923 THOMAS BIRD MOSHER of Maine was born in 1852 and di ed in 1923. Most important to us is the statement by Norman Strouse in his address entitled 'The Lengthened Shadow' in which he calls Mosher the fir st American to publish books of distinction in limited editions. His premier public ation, the first American edition of George Meredith's Modern Love appeared in 1891, the same year that William Morris launched the Kelmscott Press with The Glittering Plain. There was a shared love of books between Morris and Mosher. Both men felt that drastic action was necessary to combat the ugliness and poor workmanship that exemplified much of the book publishing of their day. Beyond this there is little similarity to be found. Mosher attempted several open imitations of the Morris typographic style even to lifting Morris initial designs for some of his own productions. Many of us credit this to the irresistible temptation to piracy which added color to Mosher's history. The above mentioned Mr. Strouse has written a brief book on Mosher, fittingly enough, entitled The Passionate Pirate. For those of you who care about these things, it seemed that Mr. Mosher paid literary royalties only when forced to. A minor furor was erupted when he published some material by the British author Andrew Lang and had not obtained the least sign of prior permission nor did he proffer, after the fact, payment. Mosher's first book, Modern Love, set a style all his own, which lasted through 32 years of publishing; and although there were many changes in his basic style, the practiced eye of a Mosher addict can spot a Mosher book across the full length of any bookstore. In the Fall of 1976 I walked into a bookstore at Hay-on-Wye in Wales and scarcely through the front door I noticed a group of eight o r more of these slight "Moshers" resting on an eye-level shelf. At 75 pence each they were i rresistible and are now a part of the USF collection. No press has tempted the best efforts of so many of the world's great binders as has the Mosher Press, but even when rebound in full lea ther, whether by Zaehnsdorf, Root, or Riviere, there is always something about the dimens ions and title of a Mosher book that admits its identity to the Mosher collector on sigh t. MOSHER PRODUCED well over three hundred titles in m ore than 700 editions during his lifetime. Each was carefully designed to meet the needs of content, whether in Thomas Bird Mosher 1852-1923 Launching his Mosher Press in 1891, Mosher was, in the words of celebrated bookman Norman Strouse, the first American to publish books of distinction in limited editions.
the small 16mo of "The Old World Series," the substantial volumes of collected poetry in his "Qua rto Series," or the occasional thin folio that turned u p in the extensive catch-all he called "The Miscellaneous Series." All Mosher books were hand-set and printed on Van Gelder handmade paper, Japan vellum, or pure vellum. Caslon was his favorite type, and he used l ittle touches of color with discrimination, and decorativ e headpieces and initials with restraint. Most of his books were bound in white vellum paper or in blue, gray, or green paper over thin boards with a little printed label for the title on the back, and enclosed in slipcase s. Mosher sought to please the eye, to set the proper mood for appreciation of his specially selected treasure s. Unfortunately for Mosher collectors the bindings on most Mosher books are less than durable and without special care and handling many tend to disintegrate with time and use. Mosher is not well-known today, and although the ra re book dealers seldom concern themselves with Mosher books, possibly because they are not rare as qualified by price, these books are hard to come by even in secondhand bookstores. Yet there were authoritative voices who spoke highl y of Mosher in his time. A copy of Bruce Rogers' privately printed Wordsworth Sonnets, was inscribed to Mosher in 1906 in these words, "To the Aldus of the 19th Century." A. Edward Newton was proud to have paid tribute to Mosher before his death. And s uch other writers and book-loving gentlemen as Christopher Morley, Richard LeGallienn e, William Lyon Phelps, and Professor Harry Lyman Koopman of Brown University have recognized the permanent obligation American literature and printing owed to the solitary workma n at Portland, Maine. IT WOULD BE WELL to know something of Mosher the man. What was Mosher's real objective behind all this publishing, which resulted in the amazing combination of beauty of physical presentat ion with enduring literary content, yet at a price that assured that all could drink at these cultural spri ngs who would? In his 1903 catalogue Mr. Mosher summarized the results of his first twelve years of publishing, by which time he could list 160 volumes, and in the foreword defined his purpose in these words: "First and last, the production of these books has been a labour of love ... not for mere profit in do llars and cents but from the desire of producing beautifu l books at a moderate price 'things of beauty rathe r than of mere utility' thereby inducing that personal relationship between craftsman and client without w hich A literary journal published between 1895 and 1914, The Bibliot was reprinted after Mosher s death in 1923. It is the most commonly encountered of Mosher s productions.
all doing is labour misapplied." Some highlights of our Mosher collection include #2 0 of only 40 copies of his first book Modern Love, which appeared in 1891. In 1894 Mosher published the firs t of many editions of the Rubaiyat, our copy is number one of only 25 of this edition printed on Japan vellum. According to Potter the bibliographer of the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam it also contains the first published bibliography of that work. The Bibelot, a reprinting of poetry and prose appeared in twenty volumes between 1895-1914 with an added index volume in 1915. This work was reprinted after Mosher's death and is the most widely seen of all his productions. MOSHER DID MUCH to popularize modern British writing in America and devoted relatively little ef fort to native authors. Among his influential reprintings w as an edition of The Germ, the Pre-Raphaelite magazine. A favorite author of Mosher's was Richard Burton, who se Kasidah was printed by him over a dozen times. Perhaps the handsomest of all of Mosher's books is a folio edition printed in 250 paper copies one of which we are for tunate to possess. There were many printings of Yeats, Wil de, Robert Louis Stevenson, Swinburne, Elizabeth Barret t Browning, William Sharp (Fiona Macleod), Dante Gabr iel Rossetti, Walter Pater, William Morris, Andrew Lang Richard Jefferies, Maurice Hewlett, and others of t he British Pantheon. Few Americans of note received more than a single printing. Proba bly the best known of the Americans he published was Walt Whitman. Our copy of the facs imile of the 1855 edition of Leaves of Grass is a handsome example of book production. It appeared in only 400 copies and is widely sought after today. We invite interested readers to examine and enjoy o ur Mosher Press collection which at the moment contains about 450 of the 702 edition s Mosher produced for commercial distribution. If you are aware of other Mosher item s that we might acquire we would greatly appreciate your help in locating them. This title page illustrates the simple elegance typical of Mosher Press books, contrasting strongly wi th the highly ornamented Kelmscott style.
Farewell Address from Mr. A. Bronson Thayer, President USF Library Associates AS I WORKED on a farewell address to be delivered t o the annual meeting of the Board of the Library Associates, I looked long and hard for some guidelines on farewell addresses but there was little help. Not from Washi ngton's Farewell Address as he relinquished the burdens of Presidency for the buco lic life of a Virginia farmer, nothing for me in Eisenhower's parting shot at the Military -Industrial Complex, and limited relevance for this occasion in MacArhtur's Memorabl e "Old Soldiers Never Die...". I have seldom worked harder (in spirits admittedly) spent so much time and effort, and fell shorter of the goal that was set 12 short months ago for the Library Associates. We did not attain 1,100 members and we just recentl y passed 10 % of that goal. This is of course frustrating, but the Associates the reborn Associates have in fact made a good start. The Ex Libris is our crowning achievement, I believe. Jay Dobkin has turned out five high quality, highly readable issues which wil l be the tie that binds the Associates to its motivated and expanding membership. The luncheo n with a local author in November was a great beginning and we could not have put tog ether two more interesting and entertaining authors than Jack McClintock with his Book of Darts, and Howell Raines' southern genre combined with the culinary pleasures of La Cave compliments of the Clendinens. Mrs. Dalby's introduction to genealogy with the rare insights into her own Nebraska farm antecedents should be an annual Assoc iates activity, Mrs. Dalby willing. The evening with McLuhan was a success but not just as we planned. We learned that there is definite interest in bringing a well-known author to the campus to speak if he is a good speaker. Hopefully this program will be expand ed in 1979 and beyond. The presentation of the Doves Press Bible to the University climaxed an active first year. No t to be overlooked is the artistic and financial succ ess of the Book Sale with recognition and appreciation directed to Dr. Fred Pfister and h is friends. In Michael Slicker the presidency of the Associates passes to a prominent book dealer and an acknowledged expert in the field of rare boo ks. There are many things left undone in these twelve months. I would encourage Mike and the Associates to expand the membership bringing the opportunities and delights of the USF Library to a larger number of Tampa Bay area people and in turn providi ng resources for the Library's acquisition program. Involve local book collectors and collectors in general in Associates activities. Pursue local and University authors. Co operate with other USF community groups. Develop Ex Libris exchanges with other Library Friends organizations around the country. Participate in Jay Dobkin's excellent cour se, History of Books & Printing. Accelerate attic rummaging and cellar surveys for t he Special Collections Department, and define book acquisition policy. My involvement in the Associates extends over two y ears since receiving the baton from our first president, Lee Leavengood. My involv ement in USF has extended from the sticks of lacrosse to the strings of Guarneri and f ew have provided as much enjoyment and satisfaction as the Library Associates. Special thanks to Dudley and Nancy Clendinen for th e Author's Brunch, to my worthy and hard working officers, Mike Slicker, Lau rence Kinsolving, and Barbara Dalby, to Martha Dalfino, as noble a minutes taker and deadline enforcer as I know, and
to Jay Dobkin for his imagination, energy, and gene rosity to the Associates. Thanks and farewell to addresses.
A Non-Professional's Guide to Book Values (Continued from the Spring, 1978, issue.) THE ITEMS that are sold at auction are frequently o f considerably greater rarity and value than those reported in BPI and similar public ations. And, of course, many of the rarest items are privately sold, so records of thei r prices are not available at all. As noted when we began our discussion of pricing guides, no tool or combination of tools reports current (or any, for that matter) prices for every book. If your boo k does not appear, it does not necessarily follow that it has no value. A ll it means is that no example of your book was sold through the auction galleries or deal ers where the reference tools get their figures. Factors Affecting Price So you spot a citation in one of the price guides f or a book with the same author, title, publisher and so forth as yours. Does this mean tha t your book is worth that much? It would be very nice if it did, but it's not that sim ple by a long way. There are a great many reasons for this unfortunate fact, which I shall tr y to elucidate. Edition, Issue and State In nearly all cases the first edition of a book is the most valuable. However, determining the edition is not simply a matter of l ooking at the publication date. Some books, though by far the minority, are so courteous as to have "First Edition" printed on the back of the title page. Even this, however, can mislead the unwary. Pirated editions produced by photo-offset processes (such as those p roduced in Taiwan) are typographically almost exact reproductions of the r eal firsts. Being produced photographically they'd have to be. The Taiwan copi es of first editions are usually on paper like the thin stuff large dictionaries are pr inted on. They also usually have a group of Chinese characters on the verso of the title pag e. So beware of the lying book lest you be taken in by a reading copy in first's clothing. IN MODERN AMERICAN books if the date on the title p age matches the copyright date on the back side of that page (which, by the w ay is referred to as the "verso"), then it may be a first edition. Of course, it also may not. If the dates don't match then you're fairly sure that it isn't. Modern British books oft en do not indicate first edition, but do indicate subsequent editions. Thus a first edition British work would most likely have no marks upon its body to indicate its exalted station There are several things you might encounter that d efinitely rule out the possibility of a book's being a first. Most books have a copyright date printed on the verso of the title page. If the copyright date is followed by either a list of printings, additional dates for copyright renewal, or any other such indication tha t the book has been published before you can be sure it's not a first. For nearly every type of book there are descriptive bibliographies which give in detail the points to look for in determining exactly what a first edition of a given work is like. Such works give complete descriptions of books page by page if necessary (this is called the "collation") as well as information as to the p roper bindings, endpapers and any peculiarities. If your library happens to have such bibliographies you are indeed fortunate, as they can tell you exactly whether your book is indeed the hoped for first. If that is, you have the right type of bibliography th at covers your type of book. These painstakingly accurate bibliographies are ver y necessary in identifying books
positively. Because even if a book really is the fi rst edition you still aren't at home base yet. Within any given edition there can be a number of issues (Batches printed at one time), and the issue of a book can be almost as important as edition in determining value. To put it simply, when the plates for a book are ma de, each book printed from those plates is part of the first edition. Only when some thing is changed or added to those original plates is there a new edition. A publisher may run batches off a set of plates periodically for decades. All from first to last ar e first editions. However, during this time, there may be changes. The publisher's adverti sements at the back of the book may be changed, for example. Or one of the plates may b ecome worn and certain letters broken. Each of these small details may indicate a different issue. And what people are really interested in when they talk about "first editions are in fact that first edition, first issue books. Complicated, isn't it? That's why page-by-p age analysis is sometimes necessary. NOW THAT WE understand issue, we can talk about "st ate." Unfortunately, within a given issue of an edition of a book there can be va riations. For instance, the publisher may run out of red cloth halfway through the first issue and bind the rest in blue. Thus the ones in red cloth would be the first state of the first issue. One might say it would be the first first first edition. And since it would be the very first appe arance of the book it would be more valuable than any other. The ones in the blue bindings would be the first edition, first issue, second state and while perhap s still of value, would be less desirable than the first first first Sometimes the variations are even more subtle and h ard to detect than simply different colored bindings. Sometimes t he differences are so small that you wonder why anyone in his right mind would care. But people (collectors and other buyers) do care, and often back up their concern wi th hard cash. To summarize, the most valuable copies of a given b ook are usually those that were the first to be available. Since publishers produce books in the cheapest and most economical fashion with very little concern for the people who may be collecting them in the future there may be an infinity of variations i n any given book. Only experts using sophisticated bibliographic tools can identify some of these differences. Not every book is very complex to track down, but many are. So whe n you see a price in a pricing guide don't accept it as absolute unless you know that yo ur book is identical in every way. If your book looks like it might be valuable, see an e xpert and be sure. Condition: The second major determining factor in book prices is condition. In all cases the condition of a book plays a dominant role in determ ining relative value. No self respecting collector or dealer would have, at any p rice, a book printed in the last 300 years that was lacking parts of its text, its plate s (illustrations or maps) or particularly its title page (there are exceptions). Collectors are d esirous of books in original condition, complete not only internally but with original bind ing and dust jacket, exactly as issued. Rebound books, unless bound by a famous hand binder tend to lose much of their value. Soiled or stamped books or those with underlined pa ges are also of little interest. Marks of previous ownership except in special circumstanc es (see PROVENANCE below) will likewise detract from value. A collector will, of c ourse, sometimes purchase a less than perfect copy of a rare work to fill a gap in his co llection until a better copy can be obtained. But the prices paid for such copies in no way approach those paid for perfect ones. There are, of course, some books so fantastic ally rare that they are very valuable in
any condition (a Gutenberg Bible for instance). But the se items are so scathingly scarce that you might as well forget about them and accept the fact that fine prices require fine books, as least as far as condition goes. COMPLETENESS EXTENDS to the area of books issued in sets. Broken sets are hardly ever of value. However, a plate volume (illustratio ns) from the Diderot Encyclopedie published in 18th century France would be of considerable value. Many dealers of books and prints break up odd volumes of sets for the illustrations or maps contained. These plates frequently have a higher sa le value by far than the book could command. Many libraries have been victimized by the ease with which valuable illustrations may be razor-bladed from bound volume s. The practice of dissecting books for the illustrative material that they contain is known as "breaking" and it is only too prevalent today. The prime targets are books with i llustrations by well known artists, color plate books, and books with fine maps. In judging the rarity and condition of a book issue d in a multi-volume set, be sure that all volumes are present and note whether they are i ndeed all of the same edition. III Bibliographic Aids THERE ARE, as I commented earlier, literally thousa nds of bibliographic works. It would be pointless for me to list even a selection, as the ones you would need depend greatly on the specific book you are trying to iden tify. It would do little good for me to list books not available to you. Your best bet is t o check your library catalog under "Bibliography." Also, be sure to check with the lib rarian. He/she should be able to help you find out what bibliographies the library may ha ve. There is, however, one bibliographic aid which, if you are fortunate enough to locate, will save you a good deal of time. This is a huge m ultivolume work called The National Union Catalog, Pre-1956 Imprints, (known to librarians as "Mansell"). It lists by aut hor the books held in the Library of Congress and most of the larger institutions in North America. You can eliminate about 90% of the books y ou check just by looking them up in Mansell. In Mansell, you can see if there are ea rlier editions given than the one you have. If your book is the earliest shown, it is wor th checking further. If it is merely one of a number of later editions you can generally forget it, unless there is something unusual about your copy. Mansell, in short, makes a good bi bliographic sieve for sorting out losers from items that are worth checking further. Remember, though, that the first copy shown for a given book in Mansell is not necessarily the first edition. It is simply the earliest one in any of the libraries reporting. IV What To Do With It When You Find It There are books and documents that you will wish to keep regardless of monetary value, but there are also those that you may want t o dispose of for cash. If you do want to get rid of such items, how should you go about it? Unless you just happen to know the right book collector you will probably have to sell your find to a book dealer. Unless you have a great many books to sell (i. e. several thou sand) or your book is of great value
(such as Milton or Dryden first editions, Shakespea re folio or quarto editions, books printed before 1500, etc.) you will have to deal lo cally. Check your yellow pages for book dealers, ask your local librarian and get more than one bid, just to be safe. It several dealers offer you about the same figure it's likely that you will be getting a reasonable deal if you sell. If not, take the highest you can get or hang on to the books until the market value improves. If you should happen upon a book that is apparently very valuable it might be worth your while to contact on e of the major antiquarian booksellers. If your local librarian cannot suggest one, write t o the special collection department of the nearest major university library; they will be able to send you some names and addresses. If you have managed to locate a price fo r your book in one of the pricing guides you must remember that it is the retail price. Unless you sell it directly to a collector you cannot expect to get anywhere near th at much. The dealer must buy for less to stay in business. You should probably expect a d ealer to pay you under 50% of the list price. This may sound unfair, but you must remember that often a dealer has to hold and item in stock for years before a customer for that particular book happens along. So unless you want to peddle your own books, don't exp ect to get the prices you read about. There is, however, a way in which you can sometimes get the full list value of a book. This is done by donating the book to a library and taking a tax decution. By doing this you can claim a deduction for the full market value of the book. So sometimes you can make more money by giving a book away than by selli ng it. It all depends on your income tax situation. V Non-Book Rarities THERE ARE A great many categories of library materi al that may be just as rare and valuable as books. Maps, fine prints, pamphlets, pr inted documents (posters, etc.) and most particularly manuscripts are examples of items that are collected. Local history material (books, photographs, manuscript etc.) is v ery important and is collected by libraries and individuals alike. The University of South Florida, for instance collects just about anything relating to Florida history. Manuscr ipt material (original letters and other writings) may be very valuable if it relates to imp ortant people or historical events. VI Lots of Luck! This is the end. If you've had the fortitude to rea d this far you deserve to find a rare book. While this brief galloping tour of antiquaria n bookmanship is by no means comprehensive (nor is it intended to be), you shoul d now be able to distinguish what might be a rare book from something that definitely isn't. And that should eliminate most of the books you come across, because a rare book i s precisely that; rare! Remember the key points we have established. And above all, when in doubt consult a trained bookman! Good luck, and I hope you find a winner. A Final Word on the Value of Books: Rare books, like antiques, are worth what people wi ll pay for them. There are
absolutely no firm prices. However, all books have value to someone. While many are worth literally nothing as far as money goes, they may provide reading pleasure to many people. In that sense, all books have an intrinsic value. For therein lies the accumulated knowledge and experience of mankind. (To be continued) The Guide was first published in booklet form by J. B. Dobkin in 1976. As a service to Library Associates, the text is being reprinted in Ex Libris in portions, as space permits.
From the London, 1881 edition of William Blades', The Enemies of Books IT IS A great pity that there should be so many dis tinct enemies at work for the destruction of literature, and that they should so often be allowed to work out their sad end. Looked at rightly, the possession of any old b ook is a sacred trust, which a conscientious owner or guardian would as soon think of ignoring as a parent would of neglecting his child. An old book, whatever its sub ject or internal merits, is truly a portion of the national history; we may imitate it and print it in facsimile, but we can never exactly reproduce it; and as an historical do cument it should be carefully preserved. I do not envy any man that absence of sentiment whi ch makes some people careless of the memorials of their ancestors, and whose bloo d can be warmed up only by talking of horses or the price of hogs. To them solitude me ans ennui, and anybody's company is preferable to their own. What an immense amount of calm enjoyment and mental renovation do such men miss. Even a millionaire wil l ease his toils, lengthen his life, and add a hundred per cent to his daily pleasures if he becomes a bibliophile; while to the man of business with a taste for books, who through the day has struggled in the battle of life with all its irritating rebuffs and anxieties, what a blessed season of pleasurable repose opens upon him as he enters his sanctum, whe re every article wafts to him a welcome, and every book is a personal friend.
Comments from the Executive Secretary THE HIATUS occasioned by summer quarter break has a rrived here on the USF campus. The consequent lull gives us a bit of time to consider possible directions for Library Associates activities during the forthcomin g academic year. Most pressing of our priorities is preparation for the annual Library Associates book sale, scheduled to begin November 5, 1978. A major Associates event, the annual sale makes available books donated to the Associates dur ing the past year for which the USF Library has no need. Additionally, sale books are d onated by both individual donors and area book dealers specificially for the sale. The annual book sale is a major source of funding f or the Associates' programs and activities, such as the publication of Ex Libris. Not only does the sale convert unwanted books to support for our programs, but it also gets books that would otherwise go unused into the hands of readers who can use them. Members of the Associates, as part of their membership benefits, are entitled to attend a speci al evening preview of the sale, thus getting first crack at the hundreds of fine book ba rgains offered. We hope to make this year's sale even bigger and be tter than the last. While we have already accumulated many fine books for the sale, w e need the help of our members and well-wishers in the Tampa community to achieve our goal. Donations of books, whether a few volumes or many, are badly needed. Donors are requested to simply drop off any unwanted books they may have at the loading dock on the east side of the USF Library building. Donations for the sale should be marked For USF Library Associates." Persons wishing to donate more books than can conveniently be brought to the Library are requested to call us at 974-2731. Arrangements will be made to pick the books up. Persons wishing information relative to tax deducti ons for gifts of books should contact Mr. J. B. Dobkin at the above number. Membe rs of the Associates can also help by spreading word of the sale among their friends a nd neighbors. Quite often books have been acquired by inheritance or otherwise which are too good to throw away, but for which the owner has no use. Donation of such books to the Associates for the sale will both get unwanted books to readers who can use them and provide support for a better USF Library. We want to make this year's book sale not only a source of strength for our programs, but also a major event for book-lovers th roughout the Tampa Bay region. With your help, these goals should be well within our gr asp by November.
Exhibits EXHIBITS of rare and unusual items from the Univers ity's collection are displayed in the Library on a continuing basis. Display areas ar e located on the fourth floor of the main library building, both in the lobby and in the Special Collections reading room. Exhibits are changed quarterly. Current Exhibit: "Thomas Bird Mosher Press, 1891-1923." The Library is fortunate in having an extensive collection of books published by the Mosher Press, perhaps the paramount private press in the history of American printing. Established in Portland, Maine, in 1891, Mosher produced hundreds of books notable for their typographic excellence, playing an important role in introducing the works of major British writers to America. The exhibit will be on display until September 1. Quarter I, 1978 : "The Christmas Story: From the Seventh to the Twe ntieth Centuries." Using materials ranging from facsimiles of early go spels to children's books of the nineteenth century, this exhibit will docume nt the story of Christmas as told through the centuries. It will include such items a s our facsimile of the famous Book of Kells, children's picture books about Christmas, miniature Christmas books, and a wide selection of original and facsimile Christmas works drawn from the University's rare books collection. The exhibit will be on view from September 2 to December 31. Quarter II, 1979 : "The Dime Novel in America, 1860-1925." The dime novel, though often lacking in literary quality, was perha ps the most totally American fiction ever produced. Dime novels chronicled and celebrate d the great westward movement and the rise of an urbanized, industrial America. To a great degree, dime novels created and popularized the romantic image of the American West This exhibit will trace the dime novel's development from its first appearance in 18 60 to its demise in the 1920's, using original specimens from USF's large dime novel coll ection. The exhibit will be on display from January 4, 1979 through March 14. Appearing in 1891, this book launched William Morri s famous Kelmscott Press. Kelmscott sparked numerous other p rivate presses on both sides of the Atlantic.
UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH FLORIDA LIBRARY ASSOCIATES BOARD OF DIRECTORS Mr. A. Bronson Thayer, President Mr. Micheal Slicker, President-Elect Mr. J. B. Dobkin, Executive Secretary Mr. Dudley Clendinen Mr. Laurence Kinsolving Mrs. D ouglas Phillips Mrs. Barbara Dalby Mr. Arnold Kotler Dr. William Scheuerle Mr. James Davis Mrs. Lee Leavengood Mr. Terry A. S miljanich Mrs. Nancy Ford Dr. Fred Pfister Mr. Richard Stei n Mrs. Mary Lou Harkness Mrs. Ann Prevost Mr. Willia m Zewadski Mr. Horst K. Joost Any person who wishes to help in furthering the goa ls of the USF Library Associates is eligible to become a member. Regular, sustaining, p atron, corporate, and student memberships are available on an annual basis (Septe mber 1 to August 31). Student memberships are open only to regularly enrolled stu dents of the University of South Florida, and are valid only so long as the member r emains a regular USF student. Life memberships are also available to interested person s. Membership in the Associates includes a subscriptio n to Ex Libris, a journal of articles and news about Associates activities, libr ary developments, and other topics likely to be of interest to Bay area bibliophiles. The member is also entitled to attend all Associates functions and, in addition, is eligible for book loan privileges at the University Library, subject to prevailing library regulations. So, if' you are interested in helping us to obtain a better library for the University and its community, and want to participate in the many services and activities offered to members by the Library Associates, please use the m embership blank below and become one of us today.