Archive for April, 2016


Third Annual Writer’s Residency

   Posted by: rring    in News, Prizes and Awards, students

IMG_1361I am pleased to announce that May Collins P. Woollcott ’16 is this year’s awardee of the South Beach Writing Residency, offered by the family of Hyam Plutzik ’32.

Originally from Atlanta, GA, May is an English major with a focus on creative writing. This semester she is completing a poetry thesis under Professor Clare Rossini, poet and Artist-in-Residence at Trinity College. Upon graduation, May will be moving to Boston to work in publishing. She hopes to attend an MFA program in the coming years.

The family of Hyam Plutzik (Trinity ’32) provides an annual residency (for five years) in South Beach in the Betsy Writer’s Room to a graduating senior with outstanding talent in the literary arts.  The award is bestowed as part of the graduation program (Honors Day).  This residency comes with a $500 travel stipend, six days lodging, and a per diem of $50. During the residency, which can happen anytime during the award year, the recipient will be invited to participate in an Arts Salon to share her work with the community.


Hartford Medical Society Library

   Posted by: rring    in Connecticut history, Hartfordiana

HMS deskRecently I was given a tour of the Hartford Medical Society Library, a local cultural/historical gem which (admittedly) is a bit tough to get to, at the UConn Health Center in Farmington, but well worth it.

The HMS was founded in 1846. The Society’s rules, adopted September 15th of 1846, state: “The object of this Society, is to maintain the practice of Medicine and Surgery in this city upon a respectable footing; to expose the ignorance and resist the arts of quackery; and to adopt measures for the mutual improvement, pleasant intercourse, and common good of its members.”

HMS stuff2Aside from the historical collections of books and manuscript material, which are fascinating, there are a number of artifacts, many of which are described in a catalogue that the HMS published in 1979.

To learn more about the library and its collections, I urge Trinity students and faculty to contact the Librarian, Jennifer Miglus, who is both friendly and helpful!

HMS stacks


Hebrew Bible Printed in England

   Posted by: rring    in book history, From the stacks!

BibleThe Watkinson has a great Bible collection, including this, the first separate edition of the Hebrew Bible printed in England, preceded only by the printing of the text as part of the Walton Polyglot (which we also have!). Editor Nathaniel Forster (1718–57), an accomplished scholar of Greek, Latin, and Hebrew, has included (in the style of the table of contents) “Pentateuchus, Prophetae priores, Prophetae posteriores, Hagiographa”; the leaves following “Prophetae posteriores” are separately signed and printed “Vol. 2.” Based on Van der Hoogh’s version, the text is in Hebrew, with titles and chapter heads also in Latin. Unlike most 18th-century books printed at Oxford, this is scarce. Of the eight reported copies in libraries four are in the Northeast, two in California, one at Duke, and one in Ohio.

Our first librarian, J. Hammond Trumbull, acquired our copy for the Watkinson in May of 1872 from the English firm of Bernard Quaritch, for 15 shillings.

[With thanks to PRB&M for their description]


NY Book Fair

   Posted by: rring    in Book Fairs, Field Trips, Uncategorized

book fair1Every April the ABAA (Antiquarian Booksellers’ Association of America) and the ILAB (International League of Antiquarian Booksellers) sponsors an international antiquarian book fair in New York, at the Park Ave Armory. The other big fairs of the year are in Boston (November) and California (February), alternating years in Los Angeles & San Francisco.

I always come to New York, but this may be the last year that the show is at the Armory, which would be a great shame (they are planning to go up-market and attract folks that can pay a lot more than book dealers to use the space). I usually just come for a day, but this trip I was able to stay for 3 days, and so, I thought a report might be fun.

Some 200 dealers from all over the world place the most interesting items in their stock in booths that measure about 10 x 10 feet … tens of millions of dollars worth of antiquarian material in one big room for four days. It’s a great place to build relationships and buy amazing things for your collection.

The dealers hail from many US states as well as the U.K., Germany, France, the Netherlands, Italy, Spain, Belgium, Switzerland, Denmark, Hungary, Austria, the Czech Republic, Russia, Japan, Australia and Argentina.

There are a cluster of dealers from the UK from whom I love to buy–they have an eye that I agree with, and generally I agree with their pricing! This year was no different, and I will discuss specific acquisitions in later posts. Justin Croft, whom I met perhaps 10 years ago when I was buying for another institution, always has more than enough items to tempt–especially French and English manuscript material. Simon Beattie is another whom I met a decade or more ago, when he was with Quaritch, I think, and I was so impressed when he set up on his own–both because I know how brave that move is (I tried my hand at bookselling for a couple of years), and because his catalogues were just so freaking cool. The design actually made the items more attractive–one wanted to buy them just to reward Simon for the effort! And although I generally don’t acquire Russian materials (one of his specialties), he often has a quirky rare item that fits with what I am looking for at the time (more to follow!).

Susanne Shulz-Falster and Deborah Coltham are two other U.K. dealers with whom I enjoy working. Always charming and enthusiastic (as are Simon and Justin), Susanne has fabulous books related to printing history, but it is often the quirky side items that attract me (again, more to follow). Deborah often comes up with great stuff on the history of medicine (including quackery).

That’s enough for now–back to the fair!