Copernicus Book Thought Destroyed in Fire is Found Again

The Duchess Anna Amalia Library in Weimar, Germany – one of the country’s finest special collections – suffered a terrible fire in 2004.  50,000 books were lost to the flames, a full 25% of which were considered by the library to be irreplaceable.  One of the lost titles was Copernicus’s 1543 treatise De Revolutionibus Orbium Coelestium, Libri VI, an essential work in the history of science. (more…)

History Professor Guides Readers & Collectors

The Country Bookshop in Southern Pines, North Carolina, not far from the world famous Pinehurst No. 2 golf course, has an expert stocking its shelves. Bill Maher, a retired history professor, gets people coming back to the shop for one reason: He knows his stuff. Antiquarian book collectors sometimes forget that there is another class of book collector. These collectors do not collect books for their beauty or rarity but rather attempt to assemble a collection that represents mankind’s current … Continued

Melville’s Meeting of the Minds on Monument Mountain

melville jpg-thumb-500x616-7137Last month would be Herman Melville‘s 195th birthday. Born on Pearl Street in Manhattan, the Moby Dick author found solace and inspiration at his family home known as Arrowhead, nestled in Pittsfield, Massachusetts.

On August 5th 1850, four days after turning 31, Melville met Nathaniel Hawthorne, who, at 46 years old, was an established figure on the American literary scene.  Local Stockbridge attorney David Dudley, Jr. was a mutual acquaintance and set up the rendezvous by inviting the writers, along with Oliver Wendell Holmes, for a hike up nearby Monument Mountain. An unexpected thunderstorm forced the group to take shelter in a cave, which gave Melville and Hawthorne an opportunity to converse at length and ultimately develop something of a literary father-son relationship. The party reached the summit and celebrated in style, toasting their arrival with champagne and a poetry reading.


What Jane Austen Looked Like

She’s one of the world’s most beloved novelists, but we still don’t really know what she looked like.

The only confirmed portrait of Jane Austen is a dour – and amateur – drawing by her sister.  Other potential portraits have occasionally surfaced, but remain controversial.

So perhaps it was inevitable that someone would eventually call in the forensic team.  The Jane Austen Center in Bath unveiled on Wednesday this week a new Jane Austen waxwork, the result of three years of work by forensic artist Melissa Dring. (more…)

Germany Digitizes 700,000 World War I Documents

german archiveTo mark the centenary of WWI, the German government has digitized and made freely available 700,000 documents related to the war on the website of the Federal Archive. The material includes audio recordings, films, and photos in addition to an array of personal and governmental documents. Records of politicians, military and civilian authorities, propaganda films, and even personal letters from the front are all part of the newly accessible treasure trove.

Curators at the Federal Archive said the material will be of particular benefit to genealogists as it includes extensive information about locations where German soldiers served.

German commemorations for the WWI centenary will be subdued. No large public commemorations are planned this year.  The German federal government will instead provide financial assistance to international commemorations and subsidize exhibitions like one entitled “1914: 100 Years Afterward” currently on display at the German Historical Institute in Berlin.

Browse related collectible books:

WWI Books

WWI Diaries

Reprinted with permission from Fine Books & Collections, author

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Asheville, NC Nonprofit Believes Everyone Deserves a Good Book

The POP Project finds new homes for used books.

An Asheville, NC-based nonprofit, the POP (Pages Opening People) Project collects secondhand books to redistribute within communities in Western North Carolina and across the Southeast. It’s a mission not only to find new homes for the books, but to make “homes” for people who might otherwise not have access to books.

“Growing up, books were always a part of my home. Even when we may have had to cut back on other things, books were always a necessity, like bread or milk,” said Sarah Giavedoni, POP’s director of donations. “When I learned that there are homes in my community that have no books, or people who for one reason or another cannot get a library card, I knew I had to get involved. I can’t imagine living in a home without books. It just wouldn’t feel like home to me.” (more…)

Winner of the 2014 Don Dario Scholarship

Black Paw Books Logo

Black Paw Books has been awarded the 2013 Don Dario Scholarship!

Biblio would like to thank to each and every applicant for the 2014 Don Dario scholarship for the Colorado Antiquarian Book Seminar.

Every year we receive many applications for the Don Dario scholarship from our worthy booksellers and it is quite difficult to choose only one of them to win! After much deliberation, the selection committee has chosen Charles Schmieg of Black Paw Books (newly renamed Novanglus Books) to be the recipient of the tuition scholarship for 2014. Congratulations, Charles!

Charles will receive the full cost of tuition for attendance, $250 toward travel and accommodations, and he will also have all monthly bookseller listing fees rebated for one year on our lowest commission billing option. There is also a $250 donation on its way to Room to Read, a non-profit literacy group, to assist them with their literacy education and gender equality campaigns in the developing world.

Everyone here at Biblio wishes Charles a safe journey, a wealth of knowledge to take back home to his bookshop in Rhode Island, and an overall wonderful time in Colorado!

To the many booksellers that were not choose this year, we hope that you will apply again next year! offers an annual scholarship to the Colorado Antiquarian Book Seminar – The Don Dario Honorary Scholarship is offered in keeping with Biblio’s stated commitment to Environment, Independence and Community.

Ludwig Bemelmans, A Consummate New Yorker

Self portrait Pen, black ink, and gray wash The Estate of Ludwig Bemelmans TM and © Ludwig Bemelmans, LLC.

Ludwig Bemelmans is perhaps best known for creating the plucky Parisian schoolgirl Madeline, and while the Caldecott and Newbery winner devoted himself to children’s books, his eclectic résumé also included soldier, novelist, hotelier, restaurateur, set designer and itinerant interior decorator. The New-York Historical Society opens an exhibition today celebrating Bemelmans and his work.

Bemelmans’ life was a uniquely American story. When the First World War broke out, Bemelmans – then a young hotel worker recently emigrated from Austria – enlisted in the Army as a medical attendant.  In 1937, he published his memoirs called My War With the United States. (Viking Press) While he never saw combat – Bemelmans was stationed at Fort Ontario and Fort Porter in New York – the book examines how soldiers suffering psychiatric issues were treated during the war. He also describes how he lived in American barracks while speaking German better than English, reading German books, and even keeping his German Shepard on base. Bemelmans’ unmistakable style graces the cover with a pen and ink drawing of a cannon stationed in front of a fort. Taphophiles can find Bemelmans’ tombstone at Arlington National Cemetery where he was buried 1962 in section 43, grave 2618. (more…)

Orwell’s Birthplace in India Will Become a Museum

George Orwell
George Orwell, Image Credit Wikipedia

The nearly ruined colonial bungalow where George Orwell was born in the small Bihar frontier town of Motihari will be restored and converted into a museum. The property consists of the three-room bungalow in addition to several tiny cottages and a warehouse for storing opium.  Orwell’s father, Richard Blair, was employed by the British colonial government as an opium collector. While the buildings are dilapidated, conservationists have already begun work on their restoration.

Orwell – born Eric Blair on June 23, 1903 in India – left with his mother for Oxfordshire in 1904, never to return to his birthplace.

No other museum exists to celebrate the life and work of the popular and influential author. (more…)