I remember when all I collected were books by my favorite authors. Now, in the advanced stages of book collecting, I collect books by and about my favorite authors, books from their libraries, catalogues of their libraries, Shakespeare books and articles they wrote, and autographed letters they signed.
Sometimes I am at a loss as to where to catalogue them on my website,moislibrary.com, and where to shelve them on my bookcases. Should I sort everything by author or by subject?
Take, for instance, my Samuel Johnson Collection, and its new offshoot, the books of Mary Hyde (Lady Eccles). She wrote books about Samuel Johnson. I have her books shelved with my other Johnson books; however, I have her sorted in a different area on my website than where I have my other Johnson books. I need to find a way to link them together.
As for books from the libraries of my favorite authors, I have designated shelves for them as well as several photo albums to display them on the web: picturetrail.com/mylibrary. I call these photo albums "My Sentimental Library," after the library that Harry B. Smith created.
I have yet to acquire the catalogue of the Sentimental Library that Harry B. Smith sold to A.S.W. Rosenbach, but I do have the auction catalogue of his "second" Sentimental Library.
My most recent acquisition in this book collection offshoot, is the auction catalogue of P.K. Foley, author of the bibliography, American Authors, 1795-1895. Other auction catalogues I possess include catalogues of the libraries of Barton W. Currie, A. Edward Newton, Theodore De Vinne, Robert Blackwell, Robert Hoe, and Wilberforce Eames. Heading my way is the auction catalogue of Lady Eccles, listing her Shakespeare quartos which are up for auction in New York this month. Currently, I shelve these catalogues with my other auction catalogues, but I am seriously considering shelving them with the works of the authors instead.
Not all author libraries show up at auction; some libraries are donated to universities, or sold by booksellers. The Hyde Collection of Samuel Johnson went to the Houghton Library. I will acquire that catalogue when it is published in the next two years. Who knows? They may publish it as a book, similar to the Bookshelf of Brander Matthews. Columbia University published this book listing all the books from the Brander Matthews Library that were donated to Columbia University.
Booksellers play a part in this particular offshoot as well. John Hart sold books from the library of Austin Dobson, while Lee David Feldman, of the House of El Dieff, sold books from the library of Siegfried Sassoon.
My newest offshoot is collecting Shakespeare books written by my favorite authors. William Strunk, author of the Elements of Style, is also the author of Topics and Questions on Shakespeare. Brander Matthews wrote a hefty book called Shakespearian Studies. Tonight, on ebay, I saw a Shakespeare book that William Osler wrote! I'll have to acquire that one too!
Finally, there are the autographed letters signed by my favorite authors. I have ALS's from Harry B. Smith, Austin Dobson, Christopher Morley and Wilberforce Eames. My most recent acquisition, one that my friend, Sandy Malcolm, pointed out on abebooks, is an ALS from S.Austin Allibone, author of Allibone's Dictionary of Authors, one of my favorite bibliographies, which is another offshoot; but one that I will not get into tonight!
04/01/2004 - 05/01/2004