High Fall, NY: Maureen Cummins, 2010. Hardcover. Number 28 of 30 copies. Signed by the artist and writer. A powerful work on the famed Salem witch trials that is the result of a decade’s long collaboration between the book artist, Maureen Cummins, and poet Nicole Cooley, based on their research at the American Antiquarian Society while resident artists. The book pairs Cooley’s cycle of poems, written specifically for this book, with images from a penmanship book of stern biblical commandments kept by a Salem boy, Josiah Peele, in 1808-09. The book seeks “to trace the psychic reverberations of the witch trials on subsequent generations” (artist’s statement). Each of Cooley’s thirteen poems is written from the voice and perspective of one of the participants in the trials. They represent the accusers and accused, survivors and condemned, focusing primarily, as the trials did, on the women. They are presented chronologically, beginning with the slave Tituba, the first accused, and ending with the girl Susannah Martin, who refused to confess to being a witch. Printed on Johannot paper with the endpapers done on a handmade Belgique sheet. The poems are printed offset with the titles in letterpress. The images are silkscreen printed. She states that the covers are like vintage writing slates such as Josiah Peele might have used. The book’s binding allows for multiple structures - that of a codex or concertina, or as a “theater in the round” that presents the chorus of voices within. Housed in a black linen box decorated with the marks of the accused, who were unable to sign their names. Maureen’s work is held in over one hundred permanent public collections internationally and has been included in exhibitions at the American Craft Museum, the Corcoran Gallery of Art, and the Rotunda Gallery (amongst others). She has received over a dozen grants and awards and has been an artist-in-residence at numerous venues, including the American Antiquarian Society and the Irish Museum of Modern Art. Size: 7 x 8 inches. In fine condition. Unpaginated (45 pages). ARTB/041317. Fine.
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Philadelphia: Joseph Allen, 1855, 2016. Hardcover. Karen Hanmer’s artist-made books are physical manifestations of personal essays that intertwine history, culture, politics, science and technology. She utilizes both traditional and contemporary book structures, and the work is often playful in content or format. Karen was the winner of the Jury Prize for Binding in the 2009 Helen Warren DeGolyer American Bookbinding Competition. One of only ten graduates of the American Academy of Bookbinding’s Fine Binding program, she has studied with many notable fine binders. She exhibits widely, and her work is included in collections ranging from Tate Britain and the Library of Congress to UCLA and Graceland. Her masterful bindings wed the ancient art of book binding with the high tech use of the computer to aid her process. She writes about this work: "This binding was created for an exhibit in Charleston, SC. As a Midwesterner unfamiliar with the area, I inquired about local icons and incorporated several: an antiquarian text block on the local Revolutionary War hero “The Swamp Fox” decorated with South Carolina’s palmetto motif, on a background of the once ubiquitous “Charleston green.” The resulting production is this masterfully constructed and executed unique designer book binding that perfectly befits the text. Bound in full green goatskin with back pared onlays in several shades of green, tooling and hand-titling in blind along bottom edges of the boards. With three-color hand-sewn endbands and three edges sprinkled in three colors of acrylic. Marbled endpapers by Pamela Smith. Measures 7.5 x 4.5 x 1 inches. Housed in green cloth clamshell box with green leather spine label. In fine condition. 252 pages. FINEBINDING/080618. Fine.
Boston: Oliver Ditson, 1861. Paperback. This is an early edition of the Star Spangled Banner, part of a collection of national songs, the others being Hail Columbia, Yankee Doodle, America, and the Marseilles Hymn. The cover sheet has a lithograph illustration of the crossed flags of the United States and France. In 1861, because of his indignation over the Civil War, a fifth verse was written by Oliver Wendell Holmes. In it he writes of a foe from within that strikes a blow at her glory and down with the traitor that dares to defile the flag. The song did not become America's "Official Song" until 1889, but it was not officially adopted as the nation's anthem until 1931. In good only condition. The pages are separated, tattered at the edges, and has light water stains not affecting the readability. Still a nice copy of this scarce item. MUS/081811. Good.
Chicago: Ann Tyler, 2007. Hard Cover. Number 39 of 50 copies. Signed and numbered by the book artist. Ann Tyler is a highly regarded book artist from Chicago whose works have been widely exhibited and are held in a number of public collections. This is a powerful artists’ book on the history of lynching in the United States. In creating this provocative and disturbing book along with her colleague Constance White, Ann researched the history of lynching within the United States and “engaged in a critical analysis of the effects of torture on language, the body, and the body politic.” The verso of each page features a shocking quote about a lynching from original sources. The quotes are juxtaposed with full color glossy photographs of innocent rabbits that are attached to the recto of each page with white photo corners. While each quote is disturbing in itself, it is not apparent until you reach the bibliography on the last page that the quotes are about the lynching. of human beings. The result is a shocking book with horrifying text such as “the teeth were knocked out and the fingernails cut off as souvenirs.” Fine in pink cloth boards with silk screen black design on front cover and bound with black ribbon. Pristine interior. It is letter press printed in Snell Roundhead and Caslon types on Cranes Lettra acid free paper. Includes a one page bibliography. In fine condition. Unpaginated [32 pages]. ARTB/071718. Fine.
Philadelphia: Joseph Rakestraw (tract 2), 1820 and 1822. Hardcover. Second tract published by Joseph Rakestraw. RARE AMERICANA. This volume includes two tracts written in 1820 and 1822 that provide an engrossing account of an important debate of the day on whether the Bible requires the observance of the Sabbath and, if so, whether it is proper for a civil government to enforce this observance. Tract one reprints the text of an essay appearing in the Boston Patriot that holds the position that the enforcement of the Sabbath is “not warrantable from Scripture.” It is followed by two responses in disagreement. The second tract of essays on the Sabbath’s observance first reprints the Boston Patriot essay, and then prints several essays for and against the position of the writer in the Boston Patriot. Both tracts are in very good condition, with aging and some foxing. The front and rear pages of tract two are more heavily foxed. There is also foxing to the front and rear pastedowns. In a later black cloth binding with very light bumping and rubbing and the gilt title “Sunday Police” to front board. Tract one: 36 pages; tract two: 48 pages. 12mo. Black cloth boards with gilt title to front board. AMHIST/022609. Very Good.