Ah, Manhattan in the spring! Truly a wonderful place to be during New York City’s Rare Book Week while Austin Abbey Rare Books exhibited at the New York City Book and Ephemera Fair. I thoroughly enjoyed Eric Holzenburg’s fantastic exhibition at The Grolier Club, For Art’s Sake: The Aesthetic Movement in Print & Beyond, which explored the important role of print media in the development and spread of Aesthetic ideals in applied art — including book design. Although the exhibition closed on March 11th, you can still see gorgeous examples of books and decorative objects inspired by the Aesthetic Movement in the exhibition catalogue, a hard cover graced with a reproduction of Helena de Kay Gilder’s magnificent binding design for The New Day (1876).
Austin Abbey Rare Books spent most of Thursday, March 9th setting up for The New York City Book and Ephemera Fair. Our treat for a job well done was an evening visit to the opening of the New York Antiquarian Book Fair. We spent a lovely evening there visiting with friends and purchasing a book or two. Early Friday, we were up with the dawn, so we could arrive at the fair well in time for the 8am opening, but it made for a long day, as the fair ran until 7pm.
Adrienne Kitts, owner of Austin Abbey Rare Books, before the start of the New York City Book and Ephemera Fair
We were very fortunate to enjoy a central location at the fair, affording us some great neighbors, including Bob Seymour of the Colebrook Book Barn, who had a presentation copy of a Leon Trotsky book that sold even before I had a chance to take a look at it! Our other close neighbor, John Leger, of Le Bookiniste, who like myself, has a fetish for the perfect copy, had a wonderfully artistic display of books ranging from art to espionage. During the half hour before the fair started, a line began to form, and when 8am hit and the fair opened, there was an excited rush of collectors, ABAA dealers and international dealers into the fair. The fair was pretty busy for most of the morning, and then settled into a steady stream of visitors during the afternoon. We had a marvelous time chatting with our visitors about the publisher’s decorated cloth bindings and rare Americana we had on display — a truly wonderful day.