New York Antiquarian Book Fair

Called “The Best Book Fair in the World,” the NYABF opens with a preview Thursday evening, April 3, and runs through Sunday, April 6 at the Park Avenue Armory at 643 Park Ave. Over 200 American and international dealers will display an astonishing array of rare books, fine art, maps, manuscripts, and ephemera. Admission: $20 per person, $10 for students carrying a valid school ID, free for children under 16.

Courtesy of New York Antiquarian Book Fair.

The Professional Autograph Dealers Association Show (PADA)

This annual and highly anticipated show for historic autograph collectors has been revamped. The location has changed, and it will be held in the Hunter College Atrium at East 68th St. and Lexington Ave. on Sunday, April 6, from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. Twenty top dealers will bring guaranteed authentic manuscript material in all areas and at all price levels. Categories include, but are not limited to: presidents, politicians, signers, military, composers, musicians, opera, dance, jazz, authors, artists, captains of industry, foreign leaders, religious figures, aviation, space, Golden Age Hollywood, and more. Admission: $15.



Kicking off Rare Book Week, Christie’s will host an auction of maps from Kenneth Nebenzahl Inc. on April 1. The sale of the stock of one of the greatest cartography dealers of the twentieth century includes maps by Ptolemy, Ortelius, Mercator, Blaeu, Visscher, Jaillot, de Wit, Seutter, and a matching pair of English Regency Period Globes (Terrestial & Celestial) by John and William Cary, London, 1815-1819. The first sale of books from Kenneth Nebenzahl’s library at Christie’s in April of 2012 realized a total of $11.7 million, with four books surpassing the $1-million mark. Battista Agnese’s Venetian portolan atlas sold for $2.8 million.

Courtesy of Christie’s.


If birds are your passion, get thee to New York for The John James Audubon Collection from the Indiana Historical Society at Sotheby’s on April 1. On offer are complete sets of Audubon’s two masterworks. The Birds of America (1827-38) preserves in four monumental volumes 435 hand-colored aquatint plates depicting all of the then-known species of birds found in the United States. Smaller is size and reputation, though perhaps not in significance, is Audubon’s Viviparous Quadrupeds of America, which contains 150 hand-colored lithographs of American mammals, on many of which Audubon was assisted by his son John Wodehouse.

Earlier that day, Sotheby’s will feature A Modern Library: The Gordon Waldorf Collection, which boasts remarkable presentation copies, including Faulkner to his mother, Hemingway to his wife Martha, Eliot to his literary patron, F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald both inscribing to a fellow author, and Kerouac at last identifying himself as the narrator of On the Road.

Courtesy of Sotheby’s.

Heritage Auctions

Rare books and manuscripts are on the block during Rare Book Week at Heritage’s New York base, 445 Park Avenue, 15th floor, on April 2-3. Among the highlights are a partially printed power of attorney signed by Herman Melville on Jan. 30, 1847 and related to his novel, Omoo (estimate: $25,000-35,000); a first edition of Jane Austen’s first novel, Sense and Sensibility (estimate $12,500+); A George Washington-signed certificate for the Society of the Cincinnati (estimate $10,000-15,000); and a presentation copy of the first edition of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community? inscribed and signed by King to composer Leonard Bernstein (estimate: $7,500+). Heritage will hold a preview reception on April 1 from 6-8 p.m., open to the public.

Courtesy of Heritage Auctions.

Swann Galleries

See the stars! On April 3, there will be an auction of Astronomy & Science Books from the collection of Martin C. Gutzwiller, the Swiss-American physicist best known for his work on chaotic systems in classical and quantum mechanics. His collecting focus on astronomy stems from his interest in celestial mechanics. On the other side of the book fairs, there will be an auction of Printed & Manuscript Americana on April 8. Highlights for that sale will include a nice 1601 set of Herrera’s Historia General de los Hechos de los Castellanos; a first printing of the 1792 Act Establishing a Mint, and Regulating the Coins of the United States, signed by Thomas Jefferson; a rare 1860 report on the Young Men’s Republican Union’s extensive efforts to secure Lincoln’s election; a collection of California Gold Rush graphics and much more.

Courtesy of Swann Galleries.


On April 7, Bonhams will offer Treasures from the Caren Archive: How History Unfolds on Paper, Part III. Bonhams believes the Caren archive is the largest privately held archive of historical papers. Eric C. Caren has over one million important documents, letters, photographs, broadsides, and newspapers. Bonhams will present about three hundred pieces on April 7, with an estimate of about $1 million. Highlights include two high spots of Americana: a Lexington and Concord broadside, Bloody Butchery by the British Troops, or, The Runaway Fight of the Regulars (estimate: $25,000-35,000) and Paul Revere's The Bloody Massacre perpetrated in King-Street Boston on March 5th, 1770… Boston: Engraved, printed and sold by Paul Revere [but printed by Edes & Gill around March 28, 1770] (estimate: $25,000-35,000).

Courtesy of Bonhams.

Doyle New York

On April 9, Doyle New York holds its biannual rare books, autographs, and maps sale, headlined by a 1778 letter signed by George Washington to General John Lacey, written during the winter encampment at Valley Forge (estimate $50,000-100,000). A section of photography includes works by the most prominent photographers of the nineteenth through the twenty-first centuries; a group of seven mounted silver gelatin prints by Ray Metzger is a highlight.

Courtesy of Doyle New York.


The Grolier Club

Theodore Low De Vinne (1828 – 1914) was one of the most important American figures of the nineteenth-century book world. He was also one of the nine founders of The Grolier Club in 1884, and the exhibition, The Dean of American Printers: Theodore Low De Vinne and the Art Preservative of all Arts, at the Grolier Club through April 26 honors him on the centenary of his death. The Club, located at 47 East 60th St., is open to the public free of charge and is available for viewing Monday-Saturday 10 a.m.-5 p.m.

Photo credit: Robert Lorenzson.

Les Enluminures

From April 2 to April 27, the New York branch of Les Enluminures, located at 23 East 73rd St., will host “Au parler que m’aprist ma mere:” Flowering of Medieval French Literature Lire et écrire le français à la fin du Moyen Age. This exhibit will bring together fifteen textually important manuscripts for the purpose of reassessing certain approaches to later medieval French literature through close examination of a varied group of actual manuscripts. Some of the themes addressed are women writers and bibliophiles and the rise of the vernacular.

Courtesy of Les Enluminures.

The Morgan Library & Museum

A visit to the Morgan, at 225 Madison Ave., offers no less than four major exhibits during Rare Book Week. Visions and Nightmares: Four Centuries of Spanish Drawings showcases over twenty sheets by Spanish artists from the Morgan's pre-eminent master drawings collection. The Little Prince: A New York Story features twenty-five of the manuscript pages, printed editions from the Morgan's collection, as well as personal letters, photographs, and artifacts. A Collective Invention: Photographs at Play displays eighty photographs and signals the debut of photography as a curatorial focus at the Morgan. Medium as Muse: Woodcuts and the Modern Book surveys illustrated publications from 1890 to 1935.

Courtesy of The Morgan Library & Museum.

Bookish Browsing

NYC/CUNY Chapbook Festival

The 2014 Chapbook Festival happens April 1-3 at venues throughout the city. The book fair portion of the festival—with over 60 publishers from around the country—happens on April 3, from 10 a.m. – 8 p.m. at the CUNY Graduate Center, 365 Fifth Avenue. Other events include exhibitions, book arts workshops, installations, demonstrations, chapbook releases, and poetry readings by prize-winning Chapbook Fellows. A full schedule is available.

Courtesy of NYC/CUNY Chapbook Festival.

NYU Fales Lecture

Here you’ll be listening instead of browsing, but you won’t go home empty-handed. Harvard University’s Leah Price will fill your head with enlightenment when she gives the 2014 Fales Lecture in English & American Literature, titled “Books as Social Media,” on April 2 at 6 p.m at the Bobst Library, 70 Washington Square South, 3rd floor. RSVP to

Courtesy of NYU.

Booklyn Artists Alliance

Booklyn is an artist-run non-profit that promotes artists’ books as art. There are exhibitions, events, workshops, and lectures, as well as a portal to buy unique and editioned books, zines, and letterpress productions. The next exhibition—Brooklyn-based artist Caroline Paquita’s paintings, drawings, sculpture, installation, prints, and a new book arts edition—opens on April 12. Located in Brooklyn at 37 Greenpoint Ave., 4th floor.

Courtesy of Booklyn Artists Alliance.