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Grolier Club Exhibitions

First Impressions. Bibliography: Buying and Selling the Book as Object.

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Lauderdale Set of Early English Auction Catalogues.


One of the Library’s most valuable resources for the study of the early English book trade is a collection of 71 book auction and bookseller catalogues dating between 1674 and 1701. Originally assembled by James Maitland, 8th Earl of Lauderdale (1759-1839), the collection contains virtually one-third of the English book auction catalogues known prior to 1689. Many of the copies are annotated with the prices and, in some cases, the names of buyers at the sale, providing a glimpse into book ownership at the turn of the century. The auctioneer’s copy of the sale catalogue of the library of William Hopkins (1647-1700) notes the Oxford College affiliations of many of the buyers. 

Purchased in 2005 at the Breslauer sale with Grolier Club Library Harper Funds, generously supported by Grolier Club member donations. 


Vente d'une bibliotheque de consequence après décès … vingt-deux Août mil sept cent soixante-six …. M. l'Abbé Sehier.

Louis-Mathieu Sehier, d. 1766. Rouen: L. Dumesnil, 1766.

This poster announces the upcoming sale of the library of Louis-Mathieu Sehier, curé of the Saint-Vivien church in Rouen. As an auction catalogue of the library has not been found (and indeed may not have been produced), this poster provides the only evidence of this mid-eighteenth century French provincial sale. Although many such posters were produced, they were rarely preserved due to their ephemeral nature.

Purchased in 2017 with Grolier Club Library Harper Funds; supported by a gift of Susan Tane in honor of the Grolier Club members who spoke at the “When Spouses Collect” Special Functions dinner on September 5, 2019.


Catalogo delle opere date finora alla luce da Gio-Battista Piranesi.

Giovanni Battista Piranesi, 1720-1778. [Rome: G.-B. Piranesi, 1772?].

This engraved single-sheet catalogue uses playful illusionism to advertise the works of Italian artist Giovanni Battista Piranesi. Famous for his monumental etchings of Roman ruins (Vedute) and imaginary prisons (Carceri d'invenzione), Piranesi catered to wealthy tourists visiting Rome as part of the Grand Tour. The virtuosic depiction of loose sheets of paper pinned to a brick wall advertised the artist’s consummate skill as well as the items available for purchase. The catalogo was issued in over a dozen states between ca. 1760 and ca. 1780.

Purchased in 2005 at the Breslauer sale with Grolier Club Library Harper Funds, generously supported by Grolier Club member donations.


Brevet de libraire ... accordons à Me Detouche, Marie Anne, veuve Cruège ...

Bureau de l'imprimerie et de la librairie (France). [Marseille, 1859]. 

This printed bookseller’s license on vellum, dated 31 October 1859, was issued to Marie-Anne Detouche of Marseille when she took over the business of her deceased son. Although strict regulations in France made it difficult for women to enter the trade on their own account, many took over the print- and bookselling businesses of their male relatives. A widow who chose not to remarry could maintain control over the business for the rest of her lifetime.

Purchased in 2019 with Grolier Club Library Harper Funds.


J. M. Edelstein Postcard Collection of American and Foreign Libraries and Bookstores.

ca. 1900-1996.

Librarian, bibliographer, and Grolier Club member J. M. Edelstein (1924-1996) spent a lifetime collecting postcards of libraries and bookstores in the United States and abroad. The collection of nearly 3000 items offers an unrivaled panoramic view of twentieth-century book culture as shown by its interior and exterior spaces.

This selection of postcards of New York State bookstores features one of the Gotham Book Mart cats, who famously roamed the shelves of Frances Steloff’s midtown Manhattan shop.

Gift of the estate of J. M. Edelstein, 2005.

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Ernst Weil Papers.


German-born bookseller Ernst Weil (1891-1965) started his own business in 1943 after partnering with Hans Taeuber in Munich and E. P. Goldschmidt in London. His interests included the history of science and medicine as well as early photography. His papers reflect his activities as a student, bibliographer, bookseller, and artist.

This pastel drawing of a castle in Saxony was drawn by a young Weil in a sketchbook of 1911, showcasing his little-known talents as an artist.

Weil’s daybook from 1946 reflects the activities of a well-established London bookseller in the period immediately following World War II.

Purchased in 2014 with Grolier Club Library Harper Funds.


The First Sale of the Robert Hoe Library will begin on Monday, April 24th, 1911 …

Robert Hoe, 1839-1909. [New York: Anderson Auction Company, 1911?].

The fortunes of the early Grolier Club are inextricably linked with those of its founding member, Robert Hoe (1839-1909). It was Hoe who first called together eight New York colleagues to establish the Club in January 1884; and it was Hoe who provided the land for the Grolier's first building at 29 East 32nd Street in 1890. But Hoe's reputation in bibliophile history is based far more firmly on his book collection, one of the greatest assembled in America up to that time, rich in illuminated manuscripts, early printing (including a Gutenberg Bible), illustrated books, and fine bindings. The sale of the collection in 1911 brought almost $2 million for the 14,996 lots, an auction result unequalled in the United States until the Thomas Streeter sales of 1966-1969.

Gift of Michael Winship, 2011.


Business records. 

1913-2015. Brick Row Book Shop.

This collection of business papers, including customer correspondence; financial records and shop-copies of catalogues, tells the story of the Brick Row Book Shop, one of the oldest antiquarian book firms in the United States. Founded in 1915 by Grolier Club member Edmond Byrne Hackett, the shop was named after a famous block of buildings on the Yale campus, on the site of what is now Yale's Stirling Library. The firm was based primarily in New York City until Hackett's death in 1953, after which, under Hackett's successor, Franklin Gilliam, it moved successively to Austin, TX, and then in 1971 to San Francisco, CA. In 1983 Gilliam sold the Brick Row to its current owner, Grolier member John Crichton, who has maintained the shop’s traditional emphasis on English & American literature, Americana and antiquarian bibliography.  

Gift of Mary Cooper Gilliam and John Crichton.


Leona Rostenberg and Madeleine B. Stern Papers.


The papers of antiquarian booksellers Leona Rostenberg (1908-2005) and Madeleine B. Stern (1912-2007) are a remarkable record. Through business documents, correspondence, photographs, ephemera, and an extensive dual series of personal diaries, the Rostenberg & Stern archive draws a detailed picture of the long and busy life of this extraordinary couple in the antiquarian book trade, touching on their many friendships in the field, their popular books about these colleagues and their libraries, and about the enduring friendship that was the foundation of their shared life.

Gift of the estate of Madeleine B. Stern, 2007.


Personal Papers, Correspondence, and AB/ Bookman’s Weekly Business Records.

Solomon M. Malkin, d. 1986. ca. 1930-1970.

AB/Bookman’s Weekly Records.

Jacob L. Chernofsky, 1928-2004. 1974-1999.

From its founding in 1948 until its demise in 1999, AB/Bookman’s Weekly was, as Nicholas Basbanes has noted, “the leading trade publication in the antiquarian world” of books. The magazine began as a column in Bowker's Publishers Weekly called “Antiquarian Bookseller”; in 1948, under the editorship of Sol M. Malkin, it spun off as a separate publication, and in 1953 Malkin purchased the magazine from Bowker, changing the name in 1967 to AB/Bookman’s Weekly; in 1972 Malkin sold the magazine to Jacob L. Chernofsky.

For more than four decades, until its demise in late 1999, the magazine was essential reading not only for used and rare booksellers, but also for book collectors and rare book librarians, as well as those interested in the history of books and printing. The Club’s collection of correspondence, audio tapes, and photographs documenting the long and influential run of AB/Bookman’s Weekly are the result of successive gifts by Sol Malkin’s widow and Grolier Club member Mary Ann O’Brian Malkin, and Jacob L. Chernofsky’s widow, Ellen Chernofsky.

Two Photographs of Booksellers by Steven L. Gelberg.


In 2000, Peter Howard of Serendipity Books made plans with photographer Steven L. Gelberg to issue an annual portfolio of twenty photographs of booksellers. Although the project never materialized, Gelberg took a handful of photographs, including these sensitive portraits of Ian Jackson (1951-2018) and Bernard Rosenthal (1920-2017; Grolier Club member, 1956-2017).

Gift of Roger Stoddard. 2017.


Bernard Rosenthal.

Steven L. Gelberg. November 2000. Black and white photograph, 12 x 8¼ in.

Ian Jackson.

Steven L. Gelberg. November 2000. Black and white photograph, 11¾ x 7¾ in.