Sunday, November 9, 2008

Boston Book Show

If you are in the Boston area this coming weekend, we are exhibiting at:
Boston Book, Print and Ephemera Show
Park Plaza Castle
at the corner of Columbus Ave and Arlington St
Saturday November 15th from 9am - 4pm

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Business and Politics


Generally, I don't like to mix business with politics, but I have a political button that is just so fitting for my business and my lifestyle. I couldn't help myself.


Thursday, October 23, 2008

Husband and Wife Teams, Part One: Ingri and Edgar Parin D’Aulaire

There is something intriguing and romantic about couples who are joined together by their crafts and passion. It can be seen in many fields of both the arts and sciences and often those couples excel at what they do; I guess two heads are better than one. This couldn’t be truer in the world of picture books, particularly when considering Ingri and Edgar Parin D’Aulaire.

While there are many husband and wife teams who create wonderful picture books, I have decided to first highlight the D’Aulaires. My reason for doing so is multi-faceted; personal affection for their work, their extreme importance to the world of modern children’s books and the undeniable mastery of their craft.

Neither of the D’Aulaires is a native of the United States. Edgar Parin D’Aulaire was the son of a respected French-Italian painter and was raised in the artistic centers of Europe. Initially he was given a conventional education and was expected to choose a different career path than his father. This was not to be. Edgar chose a nomadic artists life, finally ending up in school in Paris where he met the woman who was to become his wife.

Ingri Mortenson grew up in the countryside of Norway. At the age of fifteen, her talent for painting was recognized by the foremost female artist of Norway at that time. With the permission of her father, Ingri would go on to study her craft in Oslo, Munich, and then eventually Paris.

While Edgar had developed a name for himself in Europe, recognized for his work in deluxe edition books, as well as a muralist, he set off for the promises of America, portfolio in tow. His plan was to find illustration work in America in order to save money for his wife to join him. Edgar did, obviously, find work and Ingri was able to come to Brooklyn to live with him. Almost immediately, they decided they wanted to do a picture book about Africa. With the help and faith of William C. D. Glaser, the first of D’Aulaire’s magnificent picture books was born, The Magic Rug.

The significance of this book in the world of picture books was the method by which it was produced. The artists wanted the book to be printed in color, so to offset the cost of producing the book, the D’Aulaires set to work drawing the pictures directly on stone in order to cut out the costly procedure of photographing the work for color separations (I’m simplifying, here, but it’s a complex process).



Shortly following The Magic Rug was Ola. Arguably, Ola is the D’Aulaire’s most important and aesthetically successful books, even more so than their Caldecott Award winning Abraham Lincoln, which came a bit later, in 1939. Drawing from her idyllic childhood in the countryside of Norway, Ingri brings to the reader a completely engaging story as well as a most beautiful book of pictures. As Barbara Bader says in her book, “Ola can’t be told, it has to be experienced…” (pg. 43). There were a number of books dedicated to the Lapp children following Ola, the most notable of which was the 1935 Children of the Northlights.

In 1936 the D’Aulaires hit upon a new topic for their books, figures in American history, fittingly beginning with George Washington. I personally feel that part of the success of their historical books was because these figures were less familiar to them as foreigners. In some way they could approach the characters with a fresher eye, a more eager eye, akin to the knowledge-hungry eye of a child. This certainly came across in both the story and artistic portrayal of the characters. It is no small wonder that parents at the time took to the books with some trepidation, whereas children were unquestioningly drawn in by them.

It is funny to me that only their early career is so well documented. Truthfully, I can see why. Their importance was solidified by their technical ingenuity early on and they continued to create successful books until their final book, but their later books were of little note. Not to say they aren’t enjoyable, because I’m quite fond of their book, The Two Cars (1955) and their two mythology titles, Book of Greek Myths (1962) and Norse Gods and Giants (1967).
I am curious about their artistic process as a couple, not their technical process because that is well documented, but how they inspired one another. How did they live their daily lives? I can imagine that they were adventurous because there is great photo of them on the back of a dog sled on the dust jacket flap of one book and another of them on a boat with their young child. Until I find a source that will be more enlightening, I’m happy to let my imagination invent their day-to-day life. They are one team that I would have loved to have been able to meet.


In my personal collection, I have only one of their books which is a signed first edition, in dust jacket, of their first book, The Magic Rug. It’s an extremely difficult title to find and I feel very lucky to have a signed copy, in the dust jacket, no less.

In my inventory, I have the following:

A 1940 printing of Abraham Lincoln, in DJ for $60.

A 1st Edition (but guild edition) of Benjamin Franklin, in DJ for $75.

A 1st Edition of Buffalo Bill, in DJ for $175.

A 1st Edition of Columbus, in DJ for $130.

A 1st Edition of Conquest of the Atlantic, in DJ for $375.

A 1st Edition of Don’t Count Your Chicks, in DJ for $150.

A 1st Edition of Leif the Lucky, in DJ for $150.

A 1st Edition of Wings for Per, in DJ for $150.

A 1st Edition of Star Spangled Banner , in DJ for $125, and another copy with no DJ and rather worn at the edges for $25.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Another Museum Trip!

In a recent entry I wrote about the wonder and joy of the National Museum of American Illustration. While I do, indeed, love the American illustrators at the beginning of the 20th Century, my first love is for the British illustration art of the same period: Edmund Dulac, Arthur Rackham and Kay Nielsen.

There was a renewal of interest in fairies and fairy tales at this time, and the artwork that this interest spawned is unparalleled. Not to mention that the Western world was completely intrigued and influenced by the Far East, which had its own wonderful impact on the illustration that was created at this time.

In England, galleries were showing artwork by the Robinson brothers, Rackham, Dulac, etc… to accompany the lavish and sumptuously produced limited edition gift books such as Dulac’s Arabian Nights, Rackham’s Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens and one of the most popular and ardently sought after, Kay Nielsen’s East of the Sun West of the Moon. In Australia the popularity of Ida Rentoul Outhwaite and Harold Gaze were on the rise. In America, the Oz books were still popular and much great artistry was put into illustrating Baum’s tales.

Now, it is a rare occasion that one can go to a museum and see artwork by all of these people in one place. Fortunately for lovers of illustration and children’s books, there exists a wonderful place to visit, The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art in Amherst MA, on the campus of Hampshire College (which happens to by my alma mater).

Now through October 27th, there is an amazing exhibit which features the artwork of the artists mentioned above. Flights into Fantasy: The Kendra and Allan Daniel Collection of Children’s Illustration. The exhibit is not limited to British illustrators, however, nor strictly to fairies and fairy tale art, for this is also magnificent artwork by Ludwig Bemelmans and William Pene Du Bois, John R. Neill and Rose O’Neil. Margaret Tarrant and Hilda Cowham.

This exhibit was important for me because I learned about new artists that I had never known about, as well as books by illustrators with whom I am familiar but did not know the books.

Seeing the artwork in person is a completely different experience than seeing it in a book. No matter how good the reproduction of a particular piece is, there is still something lost, whether it be the rich colors or minute lines, or simply the difference in size between the plate and the original.

To learn more about the museum and the exhibit please visit the website: http://www.ericcarlemuseum.org/

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Collecting Books in Hard Times

Gas prices being what they are, the housing slump, uncertainty of the future and the admittance that we are indeed in the midst of a recession, many people are cutting back on activities which are considered a luxury. Collecting books is a luxury; however, many collectors find creative ways to continue their collecting endeavors without having to file bankruptcy. Here are a few ways in which I (and others), am able to keep their collection growing despite the lack of extra expendable dollars.

Decrease spending in other areas:

While I don’t suggest going without meals just so one can buy a high spot, some collectors choose to decrease the number of times per month they would eat out, squirreling away the amount they would have spent on a dinner and putting it in a book fund. If one were to log every dollar they spend for a whole month, it will become apparent very quickly, where it is that they can cut costs. Few stops at big chain coffee retailers, fewer movies in the theater, buying clothes at Target rather than Bloomingdales (okay that was from my personal list), etc…

Go for the less expensive titles in your field of collecting:

When times are good, most collectors concentrate on tracking down those rare, and often expensive, titles, their Holy Grails, so to speak. When times are not so good, we suggest hunting down those titles which you’ve been overlooking because your eyes have been on the big prizes. Your collection will grow and you just might find some real gems that will give you just as much pleasure.

For instance, if you collect Caldecott Medal winners, you might want to consider seeking out the Honor books as well. Many of the honor books are as good (if not better, in some cases) than the Medal books and more often than not, they carry less weighty price tags.

We might also suggest going for more recent titles. For the most part, books published within the last twenty years won’t break the bank. And, buying them now might mean their value will increase in the future.

Conversely…

Concentrate on those high-spots and buy nothing else:

Like a lot of collectors, I tend to buy just about anything in my areas of interest that really appeals to me. But, when something irresistible comes along, I might not have the money required to purchase it. So another method which requires some will power and self control is really holding out for the best copy of the best book and foregoing those titles which have some interest to you but you may be able to find another copy. So save your money for those books that you absolutely, positively won’t find again anytime soon.

Installment plans:

Most booksellers realize that not everyone has unlimited funds with which to buy books. If you have a good relationship with one or more booksellers, it doesn’t hurt to ask if you can pay for a book over time. Of course, I wouldn’t suggest stretching out the process for more than six months, and even that’s a little long, but if you’re sure you can meet the monthly amount, it’s a good way to get a really choice book without having to use a high interest credit card.

Go to book fairs:

Yes, you will have to use gas to get there, but it just might be worth it in the long run. A book fair will usually have dealers from different regions and states, places that might not be on your regular path. Also, many of the booksellers who exhibit at book fairs don’t have open shops or offer appointments to view their stock, and some don’t list their stock online. It’s a great way to see books you might have never known about and form relationships with dealers that you might not have met otherwise. Not to mention that many dealers will often give better prices to customers they see in person. (However, it’s not always polite to ask for a discount, it’s usually best for a dealer to offer one unless you already have an established relationship. Also, when asking for a discount, be reasonable—asking for more than 10% is rather insulting). The stock at book fairs is generally fresh, being offered for sale for the first time by the dealers. Lastly, you will get to handle the books before purchasing them, and really that makes the experience of buying truly satisfying.

Go to every bookstore, even if they don’t specialize in your field of interest:

This is a good way to get good deals on books. For example: A few summers ago I was in Maine on a book-buying trip. While en route to another book store, I happened to see a shop specializing in Military books. While I do nothing with military books (unless they are military themed children’s books), I thought I’d give it a shot. It just happened that the owner had just bought an entire library of military books, and mixed in with it were about ten children’s books that he had to take as part of the collection. He didn’t have a customer for the books and they didn’t fit in with his specialization so he gave me a killer deal on the whole lot. So, don’t overlook any bookseller, they just might have something for you.

Be creative about it. If you love collecting and just can’t stop, you’ll be sure to find a way to do it. The above methods are a good place to start. If you have anecdotes or other methods, I’d love to hear about them!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

"Working" on Vacation

After a short hiatus, I'm back. We all need a vacation now and then, right? As a bookseller and lover of books, every vacation turns into a search for books. With the decreasing number of open shops, the challenge has increased in difficulty. Sadly, one bookshop I frequented in Newport has closed, they are still in business but no longer as an open shop. So it goes.

This did not stop me from orienting the trip around my interest in book illustration. Newport happens to be the home of the National Museum of American Illustration. I've tried to go for the past three summer, but it has always been closed, open only by appointment. I'm of the mind to be spontaneous while on vacation, so having to plan ahead didn't fit into my M.O. Fortunately, this summer, the museum kept open hours on the weekend, so I forked over my $25 to view the permanent collection.

The NMAI is housed in one of the grand mansions of Newport on Bellevue Avenue. The mansion is named Vernon Court and was built in 1898 in the tradition of the French chateau. It really is an extraordinary structure and when it was constructed, the architect had it in mind that the first floor should have a layout suitable for a museum to showcase the grand furnishings and artwork of the owner.
The museum's permanent collection focuses on the Golden Age of Illustration of the early 20th Century. To my personal delight, this includes the Brandywine artists, a school of artists founded by the man credited as the father of American Illustration, Howard Pyle. The collection is truly astounding and it is pure delight to see the originals of artwork I had only been able to admire in books. I also developed a new respect for advertising artist J. C. Leyendecker, whose depiction of men changed the ideal of how a man should dress and carry himself in the 1920s.

The artwork is beautifully presented, surrounded by furnishing from the 17th-19th Century, for which there is also information. The architecture is of the gilded age and perfectly compliments the artwork which is presented. For more information on the museum, I urge you to visit their website: http://www.americanillustration.org/

So, if you love and of these artists as much as I do, the trip to the museum is well worth it: Maxfield Parrish, N. C. Wyeth, Jessie Willcox Smith, Howard Pyle, Elizabeth Shippen Green, Violet Oakley, Charles Dana Gibson, Harrison Fisher, etc...

In honor of my visit the museum, below I will list some of the books from my inventory that feature artwork by the artists whose work I had seen at the museum:

Harrison Fisher:









Dream of Fair Women, published in 1907. Housed in original box with glassene dust wrapper. $425.00

Elizabeth Shippen Green:






Book of the Little Past. 6 color plates by Green, a Brandywine artist. $150.00





Maxfield Parrish:






Golden Treasury of Songs and Lyrics. While the illustrations were used without Parrish's permission, we are now glad that they did. However, at the time it was quite an affront to the artist. 8 color plates. $500.00








Knickerbocker's History of New York. One of Parrish's earliest works. This is the 1915 edition, originally pulbished with Parrish illustrations in 1900. $350.00





Jessie Willcox Smith:


Child's Garden of Verses: 1905 with 12 color plates. $225.00












Dream Blocks. 1908 with 14 color plates. $650.00
Other available Smith titles: Book of the Child, Child's Book of Verses, Seven Ages of Childhood.
For more information on the Brandywine artists, may I suggest: The Brandywine Tradition by Henry C. Pitz, published by Weathervane in 1978.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Thank Your Librarian: Tikki Tikki Tembo and The Funny Little Woman

Recently, my dear friend, Tori, asked me to write a letter of recommendation for her to include with an admissions application for a seminary. She has been a great inspiration and very influential in my life. While I was reminiscing about the many ways she has impacted my life, I began to think about other people who have also been a positive influence on me.
One person who came to mind was Miss Hill, the librarian at my grammar school, Rheems Elementary. At the time the kids in each grade were divided into three reading groups depending on their reading level. They would determine which group a child belonged in by having him or her read a passage from a book to the teacher. I have always been a shy person but when I was in first grade I had a severe case of performance anxiety, not to mention that that particular teacher was a very intimidating woman. So, although I was reading at a much higher level than most first graders, when it came time for me to read my passage from the book, I froze. I did manage to get through it but I was so nervous that it seemed that I struggled with the words. So, the teacher placed me in the middle reading group.

Not that there is anything wrong with that, but I certainly was not challenged by our assigned readings. Since my mother took me to the public library every week, I rarely took books out of the school’s library. One day, a few years later when I was in the third grade, I decided to check out a book that was at a higher reading level than what I was supposed to be reading. When I presented the book to Miss Hill, she raised her eyebrows and asked, "Are you sure you’ll be able to read this?"

"Yes," I replied. (I don’t recall the title of the book, now).

"Well, why don’t you read some of it to me before I stamp it."

Now, Miss Hill was such a kind and fun person that I felt no intimidation and no fear, so when I read to her from the book I did so with confidence. When I finished, she flipped through a binder and scanned down a list of students. When she got to my name, she said, "I think you’re in the wrong reading group."

Thankfully, Miss Hill took it upon herself to bring my reading abilities to the attention of my teacher. After another reading to my teacher, I was promoted to the advanced reading group. Which, for me was a good confidence booster. The reading assignments, however, were still not challenging.

Another reason I remember Miss Hill fondly, is for the enthusiasm with which she read to the children during story hour in the library. I looked forward to those days when my classmates and I would shuffle down the gleaming school halls to the library. We would sit in a semi-circle around Miss Hall and be completely enthralled by her performance. Because really, reading to a child can be like a performance, especially the way Miss Hill read. She would always get into character for the dialogue bits and never rushed the story.

There are two books that she read to us that really stuck with me because the way she read them would send my classmates and I into hysterics. They just happen to be by the same author and illustrator team.

The first is Tikki Tikki Tembo by Arlene Mosel, illustrated by Blair Lent. To this day, the book is still a lot of fun to read to children, even though in recent years it has come under some scrutiny for its accuracy. There are many claims that the story is really not derived from Chinese folk lore. However, I never forgot Tikki Tikki Tembo’s full name because of the way Miss Hill read it to us (Tikki Tikki Tembo-no sa rembo-chari bari ruchi-pip peri pembo).

A couple of years ago, I was really itching to get my hands on a first edition of this book. I was shocked when I did an Internet search and found no copies. At least, no copies that weren’t either ex-library or soft cover reprints. I added it to my want list on ABE and waited. When it didn’t turn up after a few months, I decided to email a few other booksellers I know to see if possibly any of them had a copy that they hadn’t listed online. I was in luck. A dealer in the Midwest happened to have a copy. I had to pay dearly for.

When I received the book, I immediately sat on the floor and read it. All the while, I had the voice of Miss Hill in my head and I swear I traveled back in time. I was seven years old again, sitting cross-legged in the library of Rheems Elementary school. So, whenever I need that kind of comfort, I just pull Tikki Tikki Tembo from my bookshelf and take another journey.

It was with the same vigor and enthusiasm that Miss Hill read Tikki Tikki Tembo to us, that she also employed in the reading of The Funny Little Woman. I can still picture her as she covered her mouth and let her voice rise an octave whenever the Funny Little Woman laughed, ‘Tee-he-he-he.’

I do have a copy of this book in my personal collection, which is signed by Blair Lent. I have an unsigned first edition in my inventory. This book also carries a relatively high price tag because Lent was awarded the Caldecott Medal for the artwork. Oddly enough, it is easier to find than Tikki Tikki Tembo.

Anyway, I’m very grateful to Miss Hill, not only for helping me move up to a higher reading group, but for teaching me, possibly unknowingly, how much fun reading can be.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Upcoming Book Fair

If you happen to be in the Berkshires this weekend and want to stop in and say "Hi!" I will be peddling my wares in Great Barrington.

18th Annual Antiquarian Book Fair
Saturday July 26 from 10am - 4pm
John Dewey Academy (Searles Castle) on Route 7
Great Barrington, MA

This is one of my favorite book fairs. If you've never been to the Berkshires, I highly recommend the trip. Great Barrington is a cool little town set in the scenic mountains of western Massachusetts. There's a bohemian vibe about the town which is home to many artists, writers and musicians.

The book fair is held on the first floor of Searles Castle, which is at the beginning of the main strip if you are coming fromk the south. It's a marvelous structure set on rolling hills, surrounded by a high stone wall and the back balcony (where a few book dealers will be set up) overlooks the property's lake.

Booksellers from all over the northeast exhibit here, so whether your interest is children's books, military books, modern first editions or even old maps or nautical charts, there will surely be something for you to add to your collection.

Monday, July 21, 2008

The Story of Ferdinand

Bookseller v. Collector

As a bookseller who happens to have a passion for the genre of books I sell, there is a constant struggle between my internal bookseller and book collector. I often have the impulse to keep a number of books that come into my hands. However, I am running a business and do need to actually sell books to make a living. Often times, I will sit on a book I particularly like for awhile, and when I stop thinking about it, or images or passages from the book stop appearing in my consciousness, I know it is time to let it move on.

A Hard Learned Lesson

I am slowly learning what books I definitely do want to collect. A number of years ago, I had in my possession a first edition of The Story of Ferdinand by Munro Leaf, illustrated by Robert Lawson. As I was cataloging it, I found myself reading it and really looking at the pictures. I was so taken with it, that that night I read it to my partner. He, too, fell in love with it.

A few months went by and it was time for me to put a catalog together. The highlight of the catalog was Ferdinand. When I put it in the catalog, I really didn't know if it would sell or not as I didn't have a specific customer for it, but I knew it to be a very desirable title.
Wouldn't you know it? It was one of, if not the first book to sell. So, I packed it up and sent it off to its new owner. As the days went by, a knot in my stomach grew and twisted about. What was it that was bothering me?:

The absence of Ferdinand on my bookshelf.

It was on that day I vowed that if another first edition were to come up for sale, I would buy it immediately. It is one of those books that appears so infrequently, that I would have even bought in worn condition with or without a dust jacket.

Reunited at Long Last
A few weeks ago I received my list of Books Matched from abebooks.com. I scrolled down the page expecting to see what I usually see: New copies of Ferdinand, later printings, Spanish editions, Disney versions, etc... To my delight and surprise, a bookseller was offering a first edition in dust jacket, and happily, it was in my price range. I snatched it up and was so pleased when I finally received it.




A Brief History of Ferdinand


Ferdinand would be the jumping off point for Robert Lawson's long history of drawing and writing about animals. Previous to this book, he was mostly engaged in illustrating fairy stories and fantasies. Lawson's friend, Munro Leaf, proposed to write a picture book for Lawson to illustrate. The subject matter was, of course, to be about gnomes, leprechauns and the like. However, when Leaf showed the manuscript to Lawson, it was none other than the Story of Ferdinand. To which Lawson replied that he had never drawn a bull in his life! And that it would be a great opportunity for someone else.

Fortunately for us, the story stuck with Lawson and he felt it necessary to begin researching bulls and Spain at the library. Once he began sketching and drawing, both Lawson and Leaf were so pleased with its evolution, that both were genuinely excited by its possiblities.


The book was risky at the time as it is one of the earliest instances of the pictures in the book being as important as the text they illustrate. Originally it was refused by Little, Brown. However, Kay Massee at Viking was willing to take the risk (It was she who had pushed Bemelmans to do his first picture book, Hansi). The book did not, however, see a large first print run. I don't know the exact number and have found no definitive answer, but I have heard as few as 500 and the highest number is 1500 copies printed. The book was immediately successful and saw many printings in the first year. It is still one of the most popular picturebooks of the 20th Century and has been in print since it was first published.

It was the first original story to be bought by Disney to be made into a film.

It was also controversial in Europe and labeled as pacifist propaganda.


Why Do I Love This Book?
It's simple really. The story is clear, concise and avoids the pitfalls of many picture books, which is that it does not date itself. The images are perfect for the text and have almost a film-like quality. Lawson handles the animals with grace, he gives them just enough human qualities to give the reader a reference point and completely avoids the vulgarity of dressing them in human clothes. The expressions on the faces of both the animals and the people speak volumes where the text is mute. Ferdinand prefers quiet nature to the cruelty of violent sport--which Leaf thought showed that Ferdinand had class, as he noted in reaction to the "propaganda" accusations made by critics.

In Ferdinand, I can still see hints of Lawson's influences such as Charles and W. Heath Robinson, Hugh Thomson and Arthur Rackham. His use of line is impeccable, because the book was to be printed in b&w without half-tones he had to adapt his usual style.
I can read it again, and again and never tire of it, which for me is a testament to why this will stay in my personal collection.


What You Can Expect to Pay for a First Edition of Ferdinand?

It's hard to say, really. It doesn't show up often, so there aren't many records for recent sales. However, at a recent ABAA bookfair, a dealer from Boston had a first edition signed by both Leaf and Lawson in Fine condition in what appeared to be a Near Fine unrestored dust jacket. Their price? $15,000.

I sold my first edition copy, which was Good in a Good dust jacket, for $1500. In reality, I probably could have gotten more, but I didn't know better at the time.

A few years ago there was a book seller in Canada offering a first edition for $3200 USD. The jacket was in pieces with a damp stain. The book also had a damp stain that ran through the entire book.

Linda and Stan Zielinski's Children's Picturebook Price Guide estimates that a Very Good+ copy should sell for $5,000.

So, the range is great. Again, this is one of the few books that I would be very lenient about condition when a first edition becomes available. I assure you, if you don't buy it, someone else will...and quickly!

References:

I have pulled some information from the following sources:

Robert Lawson, Illustrator: A Selection of His Characteristic Illustration With Introduction and Comment by Helen L. Jones. Published by Little, Brown in 1972.

American Picturebooks from Noah's Ark to The Beast Within by Barbara Bader. Published by MacMillan in 1976.

Children's Picturebook Price Guide by Linda and Stan Zielinski, published by Flying Moose Books in 2006.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Introduction

I have always loved children's books. Long after my peers had put away their copies of Tikki Tikki Tembo and Goodnight Moon, I kept on reading picture books and juvenile fiction. Picture books are a particular draw for me because I am an artist as well as a writer.


As a child, my parents rarely bought new books for me to read. I usually ended up with either hand-me-downs from neighbors and cousins, or from trips to the flea market every Saturday. It was only on special occasions that I got new books. So, it only seems natural that I would fall into my current profession.


I own and operate E. M. Maurice Books, specializing in rare and collectible children's and illustrated books. I sell mainly through the catalogs issued throughout the year (usually four per year) and trade shows. I do sell online somewhat but it is through my personal relations with collectors that I am able to continue. I do welcome visits by appointment, but it's rare that this happens.


I try to stock only first editions and I'm very picky about condition and always note any flaws a book may have. I also love to research both books and their creators so I can provide my collectors with information about what they are purchasing or items in their collection they might like to learn more about.


I also believing in carrying a wide range of stock to accommodate collectors at all levels. People from all income brackets love books and I see no reason to alienate a collector by carrying only the priciest books. So, in my inventory you can find books that are well over a thousand dollars, but also ten dollar books. I've included a few photos of the shelves in my office.


My intent for this blog is to do a weekly post about a particular book or creator, highlighting selections from both my personal collection as well as from my inventory. My personal collection ranges from rare books, to books that I bought new because I was drawn to them for their artwork, as well as books that have sentimental value. I welcome questions and comments and of course additional information about the books or creators mentioned!