Book Fairs

Boston International Antiquarian Book Fair

The ABAA’s 39th annual Boston International Antiquarian Book Fair runs Friday, November 13 through Sunday, November 15 at the Hynes Convention Center, 900 Boylston St. More than 120 American and international dealers will display an astonishing array of rare books, fine art, maps, manuscripts, and ephemera. Programs include the Tichnor Society Collectors’ Roundtable, a talk on Webster’s famous dictionary, and appraisal & discovery events. Admission: $20 on Friday’s “preview” night from 5-9 p.m.; $10 on Saturday or Sunday. For more information, visit

Courtesy of the BIABF.

Boston Book, Print & Ephemera Show

The Boston Book, Print, and Ephemera Show, Boston’s very own “Satellite Show,” will be held on Saturday, November 14 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Back Bay Events Center. Located at 180 Berkeley St., this venue is  just four “walkable” blocks from the ABAA fair. More than 65 dealers are expected to exhibit. Admission: $10. For more information, visit

Courtesy of Marvin Getman.


Fine Books & Manuscripts at Skinner

One of Skinner’s biannual book & manuscript sales occurs every year during Boston’s Rare Book Week. This year, on Sunday, November 15 at 10 a.m., bidders and watchers can gather at 63 Park Plaza for an eclectic selection of rare books, manuscripts, and maps, including an original working manuscript page of an Elizabeth Barrett Browning poem, a Fourth Folio, and a rare signed first edition of Black Beauty. The top lot, however, is apt to be a complete first edition of Audubon’s Viviparous Quadrupeds of North America, recently deaccessioned from an independent Audubon Society. The estimate is $200,000-300,000. For more information, visit

Courtesy of Skinner.

Exhibits & Events

Rare Book School/ABAA Seminar

Rare Book School and the ABAA are co-sponsoring a one-day seminar series at the North Bennet Street School in Boston on Wednesday, November 11. These seminars have been designed to be of interest to book collectors and booksellers, but signup is open to anyone with an interest in the topics covered. The cost to attend the seminar series is $300. As space is limited, signup for the seminar series will be handled on a first-come, first-served basis. Hopefully, this will be an annual addition to Boston’s book week. For more information, visit

Courtesy of Rare Book School.

Boston Athenaeum

Opening on November 3, the Boston Athenaeum’s exhibit, “Collecting for the Boston Athenaeum in the 21st Century: Maps, Charts, & Plans,” will be up in time for those who arrive in town early and want to take in some cartographic delights. Highlights include a very scarce chart of Casco Bay by J. F. W. DesBarres, a rare French edition of a classic map of the Americas by Petrus Bertius, and (seen here) Sir Thomas Hyde Page’s A Plan of the Action at Bunkers Hill on the 17th of June 1775 … London, 1793. Open every day, $5 admission.

Boston Athenæum, Bromfield Fund Purchase, 2013

Boston Public Library

More maps! Do we detect a theme for this rare book week in Boston? The Boston Public Library’s Central Library in Copley Square hosts “We Are One: Mapping America’s Road from Revolution to Independence,” featuring maps, prints, paintings, and objects, that trace the American story from the French and Indian War to the creation of a new national government and the founding of Washington, D.C. as its home. This 1769 map of Boston is one of the highlights. Free tours are available on Thursdays and Saturdays at 2 p.m.

Courtesy of the Norman B. Leventhal Map Center at the BPL.

Harvard University Libraries

At the Harvard University Libraries in nearby Cambridge, visitors can check out two exhibits: “The World of Walter Crane,” which showcases paintings, manuscripts, sketchbooks, and large numbers of preparatory drawings by the English book illustrator, is on view at the Houghton Library weekdays and Saturdays. Another exhibit of interest, “Occupied Cuba, 1898-1902: Photographs from the Theodore Roosevelt Collection,” is open at Harvard’s Pusey Library, weekdays only.

Courtesy of the Houghton Library

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Several exhibits await at Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts. Of particular interest to paper & print lovers are “Unfinished Stories: Snapshots from the Peter J. Cohen Collection,” a celebration of vernacular photography, and “Pastoral to Pop: 20th-Century Britain on Paper,” a survey of more than 50 British prints and drawings, including works by Lucian Freud, Cyril Power, Sybil Andrews, and Lill Tschudi. The example seen here is David Hockney’s “Pool I” (Lithograph of Water Made of Thick and Thin Lines, A Green Wash, a Light Blue Wash and a Dark Blue Wash), 1978-1980 Lithograph in seven colors. Open daily. Admission for adults is $25.

Anonymous gift ©David Hockney, Photograph ©Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

Massachusetts Historical Society

No less than three excellent exhibits are up at the Massachusetts Historical Society. “The Unitarian Conscience: Letters & Publications from the George E. Nitzsche Unitariana Collection” displays letters and publications that illustrate the engagement of eminent Unitarians, liberal religious thinkers, and reformers. "Always Your Friend": Letters from Theodore Roosevelt to Henry Cabot Lodge, 1884-1918” showcases letters, notes, and telegrams between the two friends—and this 1902 photo of Roosevelt on horseback. “Terra Firma: The Beginnings of the MHS Map Collection” highlights the landmarks of map publishing, e.g. the first published map of New England and the first map of Massachusetts published in America. Closed Sundays. If you visit on November 14, don’t miss the 90-minute, docent-led tour of the MHS’s public rooms from 10:00-11:30.

Collection of the Massachusetts Historical Society.

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Bookish Browsing

Boston’s Literary District

Boston is the first city in the country to host an official Literary District. In essence, it’s a hub of historic sites, bookshops, pop-up writing workshops, and literary events. Check out the online calendar of events and map. Highlights include the new Poe statue on the corner of Charles and Boylston Streets, Brattle Book Shop, Peter Stern’s antiquarian book shop, Bromer Booksellers, and the former residences of a long list of literati, from Benjamin Franklin to Elizabeth Peabody to John Updike.

Courtesy of Boston Literary District.


If rare maps are the hot topic this week in Boston, there’s no better time to check out WardMaps at 1735 Massachusetts Ave. in Cambridge. A family business, Ward Maps sells antique nineteenth- and early twentieth-century cadastral (often called real estate or plat) maps, as well as cartographic and transit-themed specialty gifts. They are the official merchant for merchandise from Boston's public transit agency, the MBTA.

Courtesy of WardMaps.

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