Sunday, December 31, 2006

Happy New Year!

Best wishes for a
Happy and Healthy New Year
to all our friends,
and see you all in 2007!

Friday, December 29, 2006

Winter Fun Safety Tips

Now that Winter is here everyone will be donning their polar fleece and rushing outside to participate in the wide variety of fun Winter games and activities we all enjoy.

But with fun comes danger.

Even as we enjoy ourselves outside this Winter, I wanted to take a moment to warn folks to remember that just because something is fun does not mean it is also safe. Thin ice on ponds, icy slopes next to busy roadways, ice-packed snowballs, and frantic squirrels on sugar highs in search of just one more piece of Christmas candy can all present dangers to the unwary at this time of year.

I know we have all downed a bottle of scotch or two before getting behind the rope on a sled, lined our front yards with anatomically correct snowmen (and women, and that one time, both...) and "ski streaked" in our day, but please remember-

there are some Wintertime activities
that are just dumb, no matter how much
fun they sounded like they were going to be-

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

The Hard Way to Make an Ice Cube-

As the year ends and we still have no snow in the Pioneer Valley (a situation that may be about to change) I thought we'd crank up the Wayback Machine today with an albumen print from my own collection-

A pencil notation on the back of the mounting identifies this as the Boston Ice Company's ice house in Lake Village, New Hampshire, probably around the turn of the century. If you look closely to the left side of the picture you can see that they were still building the shed there even as they were loading ice blocks via the conveyor apparatus on the right. This detail shows the men near the foot of the loading machinery-

Makes me want a cup of hot cocoa just looking at it!

Friday, December 22, 2006


The weather for much of the last few weeks has been very mild, but that didn’t stop Hatfield from having its annual Luminarium Night.

The Sunday before December 24th everyone in town lines their driveways and the street in front of their house with candles in paper bags or plastic jugs, and then congregates in front of City Hall for carol singing and Santa’s arrival. The local farmers make floats from farm carts and wagons, decorate them with hay and lights and drive people around town, and I’m told that folks come from as far away as Rhode Island to see the thousands (actually, probably tens of thousands) of candles lining all the streets. We put 60 candle jugs out this year, and it always takes longer to light them than we think it will!

It was very pretty, even without snow.

Monday, December 18, 2006

A Few New Overstocks for Stocking Stuffing-

December 18, 2006.

We just got a few more boxes of some great new publisher-overstock titles on jigsaw puzzles, the art of Florence, the history of hospitality, and even a art thriller- just in time for the Holidays!

Pears, Ian. The Portrait. New York; Riverhead Books: 2005. The author of several well-known art-history crime novels turns to a tiny island off the coast of Brittany for his latest thriller. This novel is “a harrowing psychological portrait of a painter at the turn of the 20th century and the art critic who first elevated and then turned on him, revealed in the painter's rambling monologue. Having abandoned the London art scene and exiled himself to the tiny Breton island of Houat, the Scottish painter has brought the critic to his remote, ramshackle home to sit for a portrait. Reminiscing with ease and familiarity one minute, with anger and menace the next, the painter eventually reveals the depths of his resentment, and the machinations he has practiced on the critic to exact his revenge”. Hardcover. 5.5”x7.75”, 211 pages, dj. New. [95064] Published at $19.95.

Publisher's Overstock Price- $9.95

Williams, Anne D. The Jigsaw Puzzle. Piecing Together a History. New York; Berkley Books: 2004. “From chaos, beauty emerges-bit by bit. Now, a jigsaw authority with a personal collection of over 8,000 that is considered one of the largest and most diverse in the world, offers the big picture on the enduringly popular, sometimes infuriating, and deeply satisfying hobby that has enthralled puzzlers worldwide for centuries. This volume discusses the jigsaw's history, which dates back to the mid-1700s, and its cultural impact on society. It examines the minds of such famous puzzlers as Queen Elizabeth II, Bill Gates, and Stephen King, and provides a lively look at what goes into the construction of jigsaw puzzles.” Hardcover. 6”x8.25”, 250 pages, color and b/w illustrations, dj. New. [95065] Published at $22.95.

Publisher's Overstock Price- $9.95

Wirtz, Rolf C. Art & Architecture of Florence. Konemann: 2005. “Also known as Firenze, Florence in Italian is Florentia, the "flowering" city. Under the Medici family in the 15th century, such artists as Leonardo da Vinci, Botticelli and Brunelleschi turned the city into an artistic center and awakened Italian humanism. Such was its status that Pope Bonifatius VIII believed the city should be considered a fifth element-water, earth, air, fire, and Florence. This guide takes modern visitors to such timeless destinations as the Dome of Santa Maria del Fiore, the Piazza della Signora, and the treasures of the Galleria degli Uffizi”. This book is compact enough to take on a tour, but pleasingly heavy and chunky, and isn’t that what we all look for in a book? Hardcover. 6”x6.5”, 559 pages, color and b/w illustrations, dj. New. [95066]

Publisher's Promotional Price- $16.95

Brownier, Jesse. The Duchess Who Wouldn’t Sit Down. An Informal History of Hospitality. New York; Bloomsbury: 2003. “Partisan, witty, and laced with surprising historical detail, this book looks at the darker undercurrent of hospitality. Beginning with the example of his own hosting of a poker game, in which he disarms his opponents' aggression with superb refreshments, Jesse Browner travels back in time to unravel the dynamics of host and guest. He visits the summer home of staunch vegetarian Adolf Hitler, catches John James Audubon in the act of playing a cruel prank on a defenseless guest, and documents the court of Louis XIV-an elaborate etiquette machine that rendered the French nobility powerless against him.” Hardcover. 5.75”x8.5”, 198 pages, dj. New. [95067] Published at $23.95.

Publisher's Overstock Price- $9.95

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Of Parties & Catalogs-

Well, we had our annual Christmas Party for the Book Elves in the Cataloging Cave at Foggygates last night and, well- let's simply say that we won't be posting pictures on the website anytime soon. To begin with, I could be wrong, but I'd always assumed (before last night) that the question "how many drunk reindeer can you stuff into the boss's office?" was rhetorical...

But before they stumbled off into the night, swathed in plastic holly and singing "Good King Sauerkraut Looked Out, On His Feets Uneven...", the book elves finished work on our new catalog-

"BOOKS ON DECORATIVE ARTS- including folk art, interiors, metalware & iron, textiles, & other Americana & related subjects", with a special section on the China Trade, features 284 books and catalogs, and is available for browsing on our website, or as a printed catalog. If you would like a printed copy, please send us your mailing address.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Going, Going, Gone!

Today we're going to crank the Wayback Machine waaaaay back, for a view of Christie's Auction Rooms in London sometime around 1820 or so, as pictured in Ackermann's Repository-

Our latest catalog is released tomorrow- stay tuned!

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Three Great New Books-

We just got a few boxes of some great new publisher-overstock titles on Shaker songs, the Arts & Crafts Movement and Romantic & Neo-classic architecture and art, just in time for the Holidays!

"The Arts and Crafts Companion" by Pamela Todd. Published by the Bulfinch Press: 2004.

"As a revival of traditional craftsmanship in the wake of the sweeping shift of manufacturing toward mass production, the Arts & Crafts Movement evolved on both sides of the Atlantic, embraced by designers and architects like Edwin Lutyens, Frank Lloyd Wright, William Morris, Charles Rennie Mackintosh, Louis Tiffany, and Gustave Stickley. This book, illustrated with 250 color and 50 black and white images, is a superb reference, tracing the origins of the movement; the personalities behind it and their distinctive designs; and the many aspects of the Arts & Crafts style in architecture and interiors, pottery, glass, applied arts and decoration, and the garden."

Hardcover. 10"x10.5", 320 pages, loaded with color and b/w illustrations, dj. New. Published at $45.00.

Publisher's Overstock Price- $19.95

"Neoclassicism and Romanticism. Architecture, Sculpture. Painting. Drawing" Edited by Rolf Toman. Published by Konemann: 2006.

"Illustrated with some 900 color photographs and reproductions, this volume explores the complexities of Neoclassicism and Romanticism in architecture and art through in-depth articles by eleven scholars, and reveals how these seemingly antithetical styles are in fact closely related. Looking at the period from the renewed interest in the art and architecture of classical antiquity in the mid-18th century (following the excavations of Herculaneum and Pompeii and the arrival of new architectural theories), through the effusions of the mid-19th century, it includes the work of such artists as Johann Heinrich Füssli, Eugène Delacroix, J.M.W. Turner, William Blake, and Francisco de Goya."

Hardcover. 11"x12.5", 520 pages, profusely illustrated in color and b/w; dj. New.

Publisher's Special Promotional Price- $39.95

"Shaker Songs. A celebration of peace, harmony, and simplicity" Edited by Christina Goodwillie. Published by Black Dog & Leventhal: 2002.

The simple beauty of Shaker craftsmanship and architecture was also reflected in their music, which long played a central role in Shaker worship. This elegant book includes a CD of 28 traditional songs, some performed by the Boston Camerata, and features more than 200 years of Shaker music in beautifully and simply illustrated pages of scores and lyrics, as well as explanatory text. Includes such favorites as "Simple Gifts", "Mother Ann's Song", "Four Little Angels", "Consoling Dove", "Joyful Praises", "O Zion Arise".

Hardcover. 7.5"x9", 128 pages, color and b/w illustrations, dj. Music-CD in front pocket. New. Published at $15.95.

Publisher's Overstock Price- $9.95

Monday, December 04, 2006

Busy Week-

Well, it's a busy week at Foggygates, with things humming from last week's DECEMBER catalog, and preparations for next week's DECORATIVE ARTS catalog.

Meanwhile, we've opened up a new store on Ebay where we are listing some "stocking stuffer" type books for sale at fixed prices, most for less than $25.00. Please take a look when you have a chance, by clicking the Ebay Auctions link in the right-hand column, because we will be loading books there all week.

And stay tuned, there's lots more coming!

Friday, December 01, 2006


We are surrounded by trees here- a giant, 200+ year old maple out front, and hickory, walnut, maples and pines everywhere. I love trees in summer, but there is something about winter that brings out the best in trees...

The silver setting sun hugs close
among the maples- grey-boned ghosts
march row on row against the sky,
as day gives way to silent night.
Those black-ribbed maples,
marked with scars,
reaching silent to the stars,
their grey and yellow fingers bare
against the chill night's frosty air,
which wraps our knees against our coats,
we huddle close, our breath makes ghosts,
the starlight beckons, blazes, boasts,
against the black and velvet void,
those shimmers mark
a flaming spark, to light our
ghostly breaths in grey.

Come, sit with me
'till break of day.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Our Latest Catalog-

Now that Thanksgiving is over the Book Elves are in full Christmas Mode, stringing lights, unpacking ornaments and hiding my 'Alvin and the Chipmunks' cd. In fact, after they got done stringing about 300 strands of lights the little disk on our electric meter spun so fast it tore out of its bracket, went flying off through the air and decapitated the garden gnome. But before they bought 900 life-size plastic Santas on Ebay and used them to recreate the Battle of Waterloo on the croquet court, they finished our latest catalog-

"RECENT ACQUISITIONS -Old & New Books on ANTIQUES & THE ARTS & Related Subjects for DECEMBER, 2006" is now available on our website. It features 220 titles on furniture, glass, ceramics, silver, interiors, metals, fashion, trades, color, and life in other times. We also have printed copies- please send us your mailing address if you would like one.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Emily Dickinson. Vivacious redhead.

There's an interesting pair of articles in this morning's Springfield Republican newspaper about local poet Emily Dickinson, the 'Belle of Amherst'. The main article addresses her legendary reclusiveness, which some scholars are now casting doubt on. The second article reveals that Emily, known to us only through that famous black & white photograph taken when she was 17, was actually a redhead!

No, this is not the pronouncement of some 21st century revisionist-historian scanning her work for hidden clues and reading tea leaves- Amherst College actually has a lock of her hair which she sent to a friend.

Friday, November 17, 2006

A Truly Great Silver Book-

This week we are releasing our new "Books on American Silver and Silversmiths" catalog, and have we got a bargain for you!

"COLONIAL MASSACHUSETTS SILVERSMITHS AND JEWELERS. A biographical dictionary based on the notes of Francis Hill Bigelow & John Marshall Phillips"

By Patricia Kane. Published by Yale University Art Gallery in 1998.

A book almost a hundred years in the making, and quite simply the most important book on American silversmiths since Belden’s study of the Ineson-Bissell Collection at Winterthur. Pioneering collector and scholar Francis Hill Bigelow died before his notes, for a proposed Magnum Opus on Massachusetts silversmiths, could be completed and made into book form.

John Marshall Phillips, Curator of the Garvan Collection at Yale, took over the project and added to the research, but his untimely early death once again stopped the study in its tracks. Finally, in the 1980s, Patricia Kane and her colleagues, working from the original notes, embarked on a project to complete this ultimate reference, now published here in all its massive glory.

There are biographies of 296 silversmiths and jewelers who worked in Massachusetts before the American Revolution, along with 93 craftsmen in allied trades. Kane’s preface chronicles the ninety-two years of research and scholarship that went into the book, and her essay focuses on the creative ferment in Boston. Barbara McLean Ward’s essay describes the tools of the trade. Gerald W. R. Ward discusses the differences between metropolitan and rural silversmiths.

The ‘New York Silver Society Newsletter’ called this a “masterful accomplishment … and a source book that will well serve the next generations of gold, silver, and jewelry historians.” Our Book Elves at Joslin Hall simply describe the book as “damned heavy”.

Hardcover. 8.5”x11.5”, 1,241 pages; marks, dj. New. [90139]

This book was published at $150.00 and was a bargain at that price, but for a limited time we have a carton or two of Publisher's Overstock copies to sell for only $75.00 each!

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Our New Silver Catalog-

Thanksgiving is fast approaching at Foggygates, and the book elves are in a tizzy making preparations. The carriage house is piled high with pumpkins, squash, potatos, and onions, and Fedex just delivered 2 cartons of "Satan's Helper XXX Hot-Death Pepper Sauce" (you know, sometimes I just don't ask what's going on, because it usually works out better if I don't know ahead of time. I believe politicians call that "plausible deniability"). There are 24 semi-wild turkeys out back which the book elves have been raising "free range" style all year, or at least there were until somebody left the pen gate open the other day.

But before they embarked on the Great 2006 Thanksgiving Wild Turkey Roundup (we've got Arlo interested in the song rights) they finished our latest printed catalog-

"BOOKS ON AMERICAN SILVER & SILVERSMITHS" features 190 books and catalogs on, well... American silver & silversmiths. Nothing tricky here, it's all pretty straightforward.

This catalog may be browsed on our website , or if you'd like a free printed copy, please send us your mailing address.

Monday, November 06, 2006

An Interesting Shaker Image-

I came across an interesting woodcut over the weekend featuring an African-American Shaker. This is a woodcut from an 1831 issue of "Atkinson's Casket" and is titled "Shaker's Worshipping"-

It has many nice details, including hats and coats hung on pegs, a presumed “outsider” looking on, and, at the right side, an African-American Shaker. You don't hear too much about Afrian-American Shakers, or at least I never have. Here's a closer detail-

We put the print up for auction on Ebay last night -you can see the auction here, or click our Ebay Auctions link in the right-hand column.

Friday, November 03, 2006

To the Memory of What-??

Funeral cards were very popular in Victorian times- they would be sent to family and friends announcing the death, with the same sorts of particulars you might see on a tombstone; they were not invitations to a funeral, as such, but acted as an anouncement of a death and were saved as a remembrance of the deceased.

But some of them were not all that they seemed at first glance. While preparing our latest "Grave Affair" catalog I ran across a very interesting little piece (not for sale in the catalog) which appears to be a funeral card, but is not...

For a larger picture, where you can see the lettering better, go to this page on our Grave Affair website. You can see our new "Grave Affair" catalog here.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

A Grave Affair-

It's Halloween and the book elves are in fine fettle, rigging Foggygates up as a Haunted House. As they pointed out, we had the advantage that the
place is a 100+ year-old Victorian that's full of spiders, squeaky doors and dark corners already, and since we never get around to dusting we don't have to buy fake cobwebs this year. And then there's the resident ghost... but before they rigged up the 1,500-watt speakers on the porch roof and put Bobby Pickett's "Monster Mash" on an endless tape loop, they finished our latest printed catalog, on an eerily relevant topic-

"A GRAVE AFFAIR", a catalog featuring 154 books and other items about gravestones, epitaphs, cemeteries, funeral and mourning customs, how Society deals with death, and related topics, is now posted on our 'A GRAVE AFFAIR' website.

The new website also features a bibliography of 500+ books on graveyards, gravestones, epitaphs, cemeteries, mourning and funeral customs, and related topics, a links page, and some surprises...

While you're there you can also sign up for our 'Grave Matters' email list, where we announce website updates, and will be running catalog-related specials this week.

Please email us if you would like a printed copy.

Have fun, and have a Happy Halloween!

oh, and um...


Saturday, October 28, 2006

Time Tunnel-

I love old postcards. We're still unpacking boxes from the move a year ago, and today I found a stash of postcards from my old office drawer. It's like looking into a Time Tunnel (remember that show?).

The Japanese Garden at Boston's Museum of Fine Arts, around 1910-

"Mrs. Jack Gardner's Venetian Palace", now the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston's Back Bay, on a postcard postmarked 1908-

This card is addressed to a "Miss Anne Hitchcock" of Utica, New York and has an interesting inscription- "I still want you but am going away in July. Will write a letter soon, Love FBS". You have to wonder...

Here is the Esplanade in Boston along the Charles River on a 1923 postcard. Today Storrow Drive's ugly four concrete lanes go right through ths scene-

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Did you hear a cracking noise?

Right next to the house we have two huge, 250-year old sugar maples. One of them, by far the larger, lost its main trunk some years ago, but the right half of the tree remained, with three 50+ foot long, very thick limbs/trunks going off at about a 30-degree angle from the main trunk. I had always marvlled at how the old trunk supported all that weight...

Well, on Friday afternoon a cold front came through with 50-mph winds, and right in the middle we noticed a huge crack start to open up in the main trunk, working down from the top. As the winds blew the entire remaining part of the tree went back and forth and we could see the crack get bigger and then smaller, bigger and then smaller. Suddenly several tons of sugar maple were hanging on by an increasingly small thread...

The tree guys took one look at it yesterday morning and shook their heads. So down it cames, before it came down on its own and took out (depending on which way it fell) the carriage house, the kitchen or the porte cochere, removing, whichever way it went, a nice birch which stands directly underneath it.

It's a big, complicated job to get the tree down without smashing things underneath it, and they've been hard at it for two days now.

The episode has inspired some psuedo Haiku-

Storm winds make the big tree sway
and wave -how graceful...
What was that odd cracking sound?????

Big tree falls down and goes BOOM!
uh oh... Say Goodbye to
recently re-roofed carriage house.

Storm winds crack the giant tree-
Tree surgeon tells wife-
"Christmas in Bermuda this year!"

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Our New Fall Catalog-

Fall has arrived at Foggygates and the gold and red maple leaves are falling thick and fast on the lawn. The Book Elves quit work in the Cataloging Cave early every afternoon to go out and rake them into huge piles on tarps and then drag them back into the woods. That's the second way they get rid of leaves. The first involved half a dozen vacuum cleaners they picked up "cheap" on Ebay and about 3,000 feet of heavy-duty extension cord. But before they blew out every fuse in the house and got themselves featured on an upcoming installment of the cable show "Don't Try This at Home", they finished our new printed catalog-

"RECENT ACQUISITIONS AND OTHER INTERESTING BOOKS ON ANTIQUES AND THE ARTS for FALL, 2006" features more than 220 books and catalogs on furnture, glass, ceramics, silver, textiles, art, and related topics. Please let us know if you would like a copy. You can also browse it on our website.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Ceramics in America-

The latest volume in an acclaimed series of ceramics essays has just arrived from the publisher-

"Ceramics in America –2006", edited by Robert Hunter. Published in 2006 by the Chipstone Foundation.

A selection of essays on historical ceramical subjects, issued every year. This year's studies include- ceramics representations of Uncle Tom’s Cabin; commemorative wares in George Washington’s hometown; ceramics at Hampton, Maryland; dated examples of pottery by the slave-potter “Dave”; African-American face jugs; 17th –century tobacco pipe production in the Chesapeake region; J. Palin Thorley (1892-1987), potter; Dutch maritime tiles; a Yankee jug in Dixie; early examples of American architectural terracotta in Charleston, South Carolina; many more! Also contains book reviews and a checklist of recently published books and articles on ceramics in America.

This is a softcover book, 8.5”x11”, xiii + 336 pages, color and b/w illustrations. New. $60.00.

Let us know if you would like a copy!

Friday, October 06, 2006

Of Tomes & Trattorias-

A hazy reminiscence from our last Italian trip...

In Florence it always rains at night in September.

It can be cozy - or murderous. I dodged maniac scooters and cars as I ran down the narrow cobbled streets with lights glinting off them like slivers of ice and ducked in for the 8 pm seating at my favorite neighborhood trattoria. A little vino, a dish of white beans in tomato sauce, maybe try the sole, some sambuca.

A companion...

She was tall and dark and slender, her eyes flashing with centuries of Florentine pride and passion. She moved as smoothly and naturally as a river running swiftly between rocky banks, and when she walked into a room everyone would turn and gaze. It was another of her talents that she could slip out of a room without anyone noticing, just the soft scent of perfume, a swift rustle of silk and she would be gone. She was my main contact in this city of brick and stone and soot-stained art, and I had no reason not to trust her. Sure, her last contact here had come to a bad end in vat of boiling rotini, but that was five years ago.

We opened a bottle of Chianti -not the kind you buy back in the States for $5 a bottle, the good stuff. The waiter came with a plate of porcini quickly grilled and drizzled with a little olive oil. She made small talk, asked about my flight, pushed the plate toward me and I reached out with my fork...

Something about the glint in her eye set off an alarm in the back of my mind. The Chianti was working, but there was still that danger flag. I hesitated and she frowned and reached for something in her purse. I wasn't looking, not really, but I saw the cracked leather spine of a small book in there. Faded guilt lettering stamped on the red spine label told me all I needed to know -it was the mushrooms.

I reached for the purse and she struggled with me for a moment, then gave up and went limp. I took the book and handed the purse back to her. Everyone in the trattoria was frozen, watching us. I knew better than to make a move. She gave me a quick, wry smile and got up and walked quickly out the door. No point following. I knew I'd never see her again. I finished off my Chianti and left. I've kept that little 18th century book on poisonous mushrooms for a dozen years, but now I'm going to sell it.

I'm a bookseller.

That's my job.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Upcoming- A Grave Affair-

We've been hard at work cataloging material for a new edition of our "A GRAVE AFFAIR" catalog, which is devoted to gravestones, mourning cutoms, epitaphs and other death and mourning-related material. We've been putting things aside for some time now for the new edition, and have some really interesting material. The schedule at this point is to issue the catalog for Halloween Week, so if you'd like a copy, please let us know!

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Harmonious Coloring-

We have a very interesting book about Victorian color theory in interior decorating in our new Catalog 184-

"The Interior Decorator, being the Laws of Harmonious Coloring adapted to Interior Decorations. With Observations on the Practice of House Painting" by D[avid] R[amsay] Hay, published in Philadelphia by Henry Carey Baird in 1867. First American, from the 6th London, edition.

David Ramsay Hay was one of the most influential color theorists of the Victorian era, and was a practical craftsman as well, attaining the status of Decorator to the Queen. This title was first published in 1828, and completely re-written for the 6th edition. The text is divided into two parts, the first treating the theory and laws of colors, the second addressing decorating issues more practically.

The second section begins by describing plain painting materials and types of colors and paints, and then moves on to decorative painting, including imitating woods and marbles, gilding, paper-hanging, stippling, decorative borders, imitation damasks, gold embroidery and leather. There is additional material on the analogies between sound and color, “cheap” painting, and “Reminiscences of the painting and decorating of Abbotsford”. This last refers to one of Hay’s most famous commissions, the redecorating of fellow-Mason Sir Walter Scott’s manor.

An influential and increasingly uncommon treatise on Victorian-era interior painting and decorating, and one of a very few Baird books to have a color illustration.

Hardcover. 5”x7.5”, 207 pages, colored frontispiece; publisher’s black cloth with gilt spine title; a little wear, but a very nice, clean, tight copy. [09461] $300.00

To see all the books in Catalog 284, click here.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Odd Things in the Peach Tree-

We've got a nice Ann Beattie first edition up on Ebay at the moment with a great inscription-

I love inscriptions like this- it's great to find nice, warm, clever inscriptions and sometimes I just can't resist buying books with them, even if they are outside our fields. This one ends Sunday night and is still very reasonably priced- click the link to our Ebay auctions in the right-hand column for a link to the auction.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Wandering Tailors-

We have an interesting mid-19th century travelogue in our new September-October catalog, the tale of a wandering tailor-

"Wanderings of a Journeyman Tailor through Europe and the East, During the Years 1824 to 1840" by P.D. Holthaus, translated by William Howitt. Published in London by Longman, Brown, Green, and Longman's in 1844. 3rd edition.

Holthaus was a journeyman tailor, from Werdohl in Westpahlia, who took up his knapsack, needle and pen and set off through the highways and byways of the world, over Europe, Asia and Africa. Through Turkey, Wallachia, Greece, Syria, Egypt, Italy and France he walks and sews. Howitt notes in his Preface-

We see here the German, both as master and man...marching off, and establishing himself in the remotest countries, and amongst the strangest people. The Germans...insinuate and settle themselves down in every region, and often amongst people where we little expect to find them. Holthaus himself works in Constantinople, Athens, Beyrout, etc. He depends for the gratification of his passion for travel, solely on his needle. He literally sews his way from continent to continent..."

"His travels are not only well written, and display a great deal of shrewd observation and excellent feeling, but they have a peculiar advantage of observing everyday life from a new point of view. Our traveler does not glide on luxuriously in an easy-cushioned carriage, with his letter-book stuffed with introductions to all the prominent men of every prominent place; but he trudges on through desert-ways, works amid the swarming mass of strange cities, meets with all the rubs and rebuffs attendant on his humble station, and looks on things not as they show through the halo of wealth, luxury and favour, but to the eyes of the multitude

Hardcover. 4.5"x7", 286 pages, woodcut portrait frontispiece showing Holthaus in a broad-brimmed hat, with his walking stick, knapsack, dagger, tobacco pouch and pipe; old quarter leather and marbled boards, covers scuffed, but else a nice copy. [09526] $275.00

See more items from our new catalog by clicking here.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Our New Catalog!

We had the big 6th Annual Library Sale/Vintage Auto/Antique Tractor Show & Volunteer Fire Dept Barbecue this weekend in Hatfield, and the Book Elves were beside themselves, wolfing down burgers and hot dogs, along with glasses of cider from the old cider press they were operating at the Farm Museum. There was that one regrettable incident involving the Mayor's vintage T-Bird and what the police are blindly insisting on calling "auto theft" and "joy-riding", but before three of the Book Elves were seen driving off down Main Street on a 1948 John Deere tractor, completely nude and blitzed on hard cider, singing "We Are Family" at the top of their lungs, they finished our new catalog-

Catalog #284 - RECENT ACQUISITIONS FOR SEPTEMBER-OCTOBER, 2006 is now available in printed format, or on our website. If you would like a printed copy of the catalog, please email us, and remember to include your mailing address. Or you can browse it on our website!

HIGHLIGHTS include -

*The earliest printed book on American silver collections.

*The scarce 1917 Memorial Exhibition catalog of paintings by John J. Enneking.

*Howard's 1838 study of color as used by artists, a very early example of the use of chromolithography in book illustration.

*A 1935 Maggs Brothers catalog completely devoted to books about Royalty, issued to commemorate King George V's Silver Jubilee.

*A beautiful leatherbound copy of the catalog to the 1963 Metropolitan Museum of Art exhibition of American furniture & other arts, limited to 445 copies.

*James Jackson Jarves' influential 1867 study of Japanese arts.

*An important and influential 1846 book on fresco painting techniques.

*An unusual pamphlet promoting of a scheme to fix up Independence Square for the 1876 Centennial.

*A very interesting 1881 study of the development of the Christian altar and its fittings.

*A very scarce 1915 Worcester County exhibition catalog of American silver.

*The first book on American gems, published in 1838.

*An enlightening 1894 study of the evolution of the electric light bulb.

*A scarce 1867 book on the laws of color as used in interior decoration.

*An important and comprehensive 1895 report on worker housing around the world.

*Noted antiquarian Charles Dorman's copy of Harrington's 1939 book on Delaware silversmiths, limited to 300 copies, and with extensive handwritten notes by Dorman.

*An interesting 1845 book about collecting paintings.

*A complete 1890s guide to Victorian construction and decorating work methods and tools.

...and many more books on silver, ceramics, glass, furniture, folk art, metals, textiles and other arts, and related topics.

Please take a look by clicking here.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

The Booklet that Started a Catalog-

A few years ago at the Los Angeles Book Fair I came across this very cool 1862 catalog/promotional book. When I got it back to the office I began to catalog it, but then the idea popped into my head- why not look for some other material and issue an entire ice-related catalog? That eventually morphed into "Fire & Ice", our new catalog out this week. Here is the book that began the project-

"Ash’s Patent ‘Piston’ Freezing Machine and Wine Cooler, For Freezing and Cooling Liquids..." London; George Simpson, Ice Merchant: [1862]. 2nd edition.

The title page continues- “The first perfect application of the natural law of congelation adapted to domestic use; producing results never before accomplished. Also a cheap and effective method of preserving ice, and a recipe for preparing the celebrated freezing powders, (the best substitute for ice yet discovered), together with a variety of other choice recipes for mixing desert ices, ice puddings, &c., including valuable information, interesting to housekeepers, confectioners, &c., and essentially important to residents of all hot climates”.

The Ash Machine, manufactured by Simpson, used an up and down motion which produced ice or cooled liquid in a fraction of the time that cranked machines did. The first 34 pages of this booklet describe and illustrate the machine and the various uses to which it may be put; the booklet then goes on to describe a method for storing ice in the ground, an ice chest sold by Simpson, Simpson’s Patent Freezing Vase, a Patent Butter Cooler, the Seltzogene seltzer bottle, and several other Simpson inventions. This is followed by several pages of testimonials and then a list of nobility, clergy, gentlemen and ship’s officers who use the Ash machine. An interesting and elaborate early promotional book.

Hardcover. 4.5”x7”, 54 pages, line illustrations; elaborately impressed brown cloth with gilt titles; some soil, a little cover wear; text browned, lightly soiled, and with foxing to the title page. [09352] $400.00

See the entire Fire & Ice catalog here.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006


The last dregs of Summer linger around Foggygates and the Book Elves cling to their lawn chairs every afternoon, resolutely sipping ice-cold lemonade even as the sun sinks behind the trees and the temps dip into the 40s. Evening cookouts are no longer as much about cooking food as keeping warm, which may have given them the idea for our latest printed catalog...

FIRE & ICE -Catalog 282

is now available. It features a selection of books on two diverse yet oddly-related topics- the use of fire and the use of ice in everyday life. Books and other materials on fireplaces, lighting devices, fire-making tools, as well as ice harvesting, icy foods and pastimes, and the making and use of ice for refrigeration are all included.

We have printed copies available (if you would like one, please remember to send us your mailing address), and the catalog is also posted on OUR WEBSITE.

Have fun!

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Bon Apetit!

Yes, that's Julia Child and her kitchen in corn! This year's "Mike's Corn Maze" at Warner Farm in Sunderland, Massachusetts, features Julia Child, "The French Chef", a graduate of nearby Smith College. Mike has a complete website devoted to this year's maze, past mazes, and other interesting stuff. The designers have even added some "additions" this year to keep things interesting, including a potato bazooka and tomato trebuchet (a sort of catapult). The maze opens this coming weekend, and stays open through October. Amy and I will be mosying over and will have a full report...

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Giant Thistle-

We had the world's tallest thistle growing behind the garage this summer. We never measured it, but Amy is about 5'3"...

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Fire & Ice

It's funny- some catalogs put themselves together with very little interference from me, and others have to be dragged, kicking and screaming, all the way to the printer. Our new "Fire & Ice" catalog is behaving like that. I'm finally into final paste-up, and it will go the the printer in a few days, to be sent out sometime in early September. It's an interesting catalog, one I've been getting together for at least two years, but kept putting off. One part of it is fire-making devices, fire-powered lighting, fireplaces & fireplace accessories, and so on, and the other is ice-harvesting, ice-deserts, ice-sports, you name it. There are some very cool items included. One of my favorites is a nice copy of Marshall's 1885 book "Ices, Plain and Fancy", which includes some mouth-watering colored illustrations of iced deserts-

Stay tuned for more information!

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

When Irish Eyes are Smiling...

We just got a great book on Irish arts and their history, at a bargain price!

"Making the Grand Figure. Lives and Possessions in Ireland, 1641-1770" by Toby Barnard. Published by Yale University Press in 2004.

”In this pioneering study of the material culture of Stuart and Hanoverian Ireland, Toby Barnard reveals a hitherto unsuspected richness and diversity of lifestyle, habitat and mentality. The compass of the book is impressively wide, from the governing elite of Dublin Castle to provincial towns and the countryside beyond. Looking yet further, it follows the Irish overseas to Britain and the continent of Europe. Through such everyday articles as linen shirts, wigs, silver teaspoons, pottery plates and engravings, Barnard evokes a striking variety of lives and attitudes. Possessions, he shows, highlighted and widened divisions, not only between the rich and poor, women and men, but also between Irish Catholics and the Protestant settlers.”

There are chapters focusing on the house, interiors, goods, pictures, the park & garden, sport, dress, Dublin, going abroad, and Society.

Hardcover. 8”x9.5”, xxii + 497 pages, b/w and some color illustrations, dj. Published at $50.00. We have a limited number in stock for $25.00.