Book Fairs

Boston International Antiquarian Book Fair

The ABAA’s 42nd annual Boston International Antiquarian Book Fair runs November 16-18 at the Hynes Convention Center, 900 Boylston St. More than 130 American and international dealers will display an array of rare books, fine art, maps, manuscripts, and ephemera. Special events at this year’s fair include documentary filmmaker Frederick Wiseman on the making of Ex Libris: The New York Public Library; Aji Yamazaki from the Kyoto Book Artists Society in discussion with Charles Vilnis on Japanese art books; Editor Peter K. Steinberg on Sylvia Plath; and the Ticknor Society panel discussion on starting a collection. Admission: $20 on opening night from 5-9 p.m.; Free on Saturday (12-7 p.m.) and Sunday (12-5 p.m.), For more information, visit

Courtesy of the BIABF.

Boston Book, Print & Ephemera Show

The 7th edition of the Boston Book, Print, and Ephemera Show, Beantown’s very own “Satellite Show,” will be held on Saturday, November 17 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 60 dealers are expected to exhibit, including several dealers who have not exhibited before, bringing fresh stock in rare books, manuscripts, prints, and ephemera. Admission: $15. For more information (and discounted tickets), 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 18 at 11 a.m., bidders and watchers can gather at 63 Park Plaza for an eclectic selection of rare books, manuscripts, and maps, including an octavo edition of A Short Narrative of the Horrid Massacre in Boston, Perpetrated in the Evening of the Fifth Day of March 1770 by Soldiers of the XXIXth Regiment, which contains ninety-six sworn affidavits of witnesses to the Massacre. However, the highlight of the sale is a first edition of Edgar Allan Poe’s Tales in paper wrappers. It is estimated at $60,000-80,000. For more information, visit

Courtesy of Skinner.

Exhibits & Events

Boston Public Library, Norman B. Leventhal Map & Education Center

The Norman B. Leventhal Map & Education Center at Boston Public Library’s Central Library in Copley Square hosts Crossing Boundaries: Art // Maps during Rare Book Week Boston. According to their website: “When the imaginative journeys of contemporary artists incorporate elements from a cartographer’s toolkit, these borrowings can add narrative, semi-narrative or abstract depth to a work of art … Our intention in presenting these juxtapositions is to cross the traditional boundaries of art and cartography to stimulate fresh appreciation of both media.”

Map reproduction courtesy of the Norman B. Leventhal Map & Education Center at the BPL

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Pooh provides the big draw to Boston for lovers of children’s books this fall. Winnie-the-Pooh: Exploring a Classic traces the history and universal appeal of the beloved stories written by A. A. Milne and illustrated by E. H. Shepard through nearly 200 works drawn primarily from the archives of London’s Victoria and Albert Museum. Original drawings, letters, photographs, ephemera, and early editions—including this 1926 first edition—are presented in an immersive display. Open daily. Admission for adults is $25.

Courtesy of the MFA, Boston

Harvard University Libraries

Several exhibits await at the Harvard University Libraries in nearby Cambridge, including, at Houghton Library: Stage Fright: Or the Fate of Frankenstein, which looks at how nineteenth-century playwrights transformed Mary Shelley’s original vision, setting a pattern for future reincarnations of the tale that forever altered popular culture, through prints, playbills, and play texts. Items from the winning collection of this year’s Philip Hofer Prize for Collecting Books or Art and samplings from the collections of this year’s undergraduate book collecting prize winners are also are on view at Lamont Library.

Courtesy of Harvard University Libraries

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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, writing workshops, and literary events. Check out the online calendar of events and the map. Highlights include the Poe statue on the corner of Charles and Boylston Streets, the Khalil Gibran Memorial, the Brattle Book Shop, Peter Stern’s antiquarian bookshop, Bromer Booksellers (and their new gallery), and the former residences of a long list of literati, from Margaret Fuller to John Updike.

Courtesy of Boston Literary District

Omni Parker House

Mark Twain slept here, and so did Charles Dickens. If you’re looking for a hotel, restaurant, or bar with literary charm, all fingers point toward the historic Omni Parker House on School Street. In days of yore, the Omni played host to the Saturday Club, whose members included Ralph Waldo Emerson, James Russell Lowell, Louis Agassiz, Nathaniel Hawthorne, John Greenleaf Whittier, and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. Also, there’s terrific Boston cream pie.

Courtesy of Wikipedia


If maps or vintage transit are your thing, check out WardMaps at 1735 Massachusetts Ave. in Cambridge. A family business, WardMaps 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