John F. Grabau Bookbinding Specimen

 

grabau-portrait-buffalo-saturday-night-1922

One of the items to be featured in our upcoming architectural exhibit, Building Buffalo, is a uniquely bound guest book believed to have been owned by the Darwin Martin family.  The beautiful designs on the cover closely reflect the window designs of the Martin house, and the book includes the signatures of numerous Martin relatives.

The book, which was probably bound at the turn of the 20th century, was created by internationally renowned bookbinder John F. Grabau (1878-1930),  a local teacher, lecturer and master of the hand-tooled art.  Examples of his work were owned by four American presidents, European royalty and many literary celebrities, and Grabau’s works were exhibited at numerous significant exhibitions.

Among the visitors of the Martin family who signed their names as guests between 1907 and 1930 include American poet Carl Sandburg, who was presented to the Buffalo social organization the 20th Century Club in November of 1920, and organic architect Frank Lloyd Wright.

 

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William H. Loos, former B&ECPL Rare Book Curator passes away…

William H. Loos

William H. Loos (February 26, 1937 – January 24, 2017)

 

Sad news for current and former Rare Book staff to learn of the passing of William H. Loos, the highly respected Rare Book Curator who held the position for 30 years, retiring in 2002.  A native Western New Yorker, Bill Loos graduated from the University of Buffalo and Syracuse University, specializing in Rare Book Librarianship.  During his distinguished career with the library system, Bill was instrumental during the recovery of the missing Huckleberry Finn manuscript part, as well as the acquisition of the Milestones of Science collection.  He also “rediscovered” among our collections the Negro Exhibit pamphlet from the Pan-American Exposition in 1901. His work with local and national literary celebrities garnered him much acclaim in numerous local publications during the 1980’s and 1990’s, and he appeared as an articulate lecturer throughout the northeast, regaling his listeners on the pleasures and perils of being a rare book  custodian.  He will be sadly missed.

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Travel Scrapbooks of former Grosvenor Librarian

A recent donation of five travel scrapbooks that once belonged to a former Grosvenor Library staff member have been added to the many unique collections in the Grosvenor Rare Book Room.

jane-van-arnam-bermuda-cruise-1936van-arnam-bookplate

Jane Van Arnam, later Wiseman, was the daughter of Seymour and Harriet Van Arnam who resided at 76 Highland Ave. in Buffalo. Seymour was an executive at the Pitts Company, a leading manufacturer of machinery prior to World War II, and Harriet was active in church, clubs, and charity work. Jane graduated from the Buffalo Seminary in 1920 and soon after joined her sister Anna as an assistant in the Catalog Department of the Grosvenor Reference Library, later moving to the Periodical Department and working as a librarian until 1954. Her meticulous skills as a reference librarian are evident from the 5-volume travel scrapbooks she maintained from 1925 until the late 1940’s.

Within the carefully organized volumes are photographs, post cards, letters, menus, passenger lists and pamphlets from the many trips she took throughout Europe, Canada, the U. S., South America and other exotic places.  The scrapbooks as a whole provide a glimpse into the life of a working Buffalo blueblood, as well as the world of popular travel in the early-to-mid-20th century.  Jane died in 1989 at the age of 86.

 

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See where the magic of conservation takes place…

bookconservation

This Friday, October 28, 5 – 8 p.m., is the Buffalo State Art Conservation Department’s annual Open House. If you have any interest in the ways that historic–even rare–paper, bound works, ceramics, painted works, etc. are kept “alive” for future generations to love, you really should attend this open house. This is where the magic of conservation happens!

What you come away from this once-a-year event with is an appreciation for the fact that conservationists are exceptional people with great knowledge of art, art history, culture and science–yes, science!!! Students accepted into this highly competitive program come in with a lot of experience and demonstrated knowledge already and go through this intensive graduate program so that they emerge the most well-prepared conservationists for whatever they encounter in the field.

Please see http://artconservation.buffalostate.edu/news/glance-world-art-conservation-during-open-house for more information.

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Buffalo and UB libraries to hold wedding of the folios, merging Buffalo’s treasured Shakespeare works

BUFFALO, N.Y. – Buffalo has much to boast about these days, though most residents may not realize that two complete sets of the rare and treasured folios of William Shakespeare – the very first printings of his transformative canon of plays – are held in public trust by the Buffalo & Erie County Public Library (B&ECPL) and the University at Buffalo.

Source: Buffalo and UB libraries to hold wedding of the folios, merging Buffalo’s treasured Shakespeare works

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The Library’s Rich Archives Collection

The Rare Book Room of the B&ECPL houses among its local, national and international treasures the historical artifacts of the previous library institutions that preceded our present library system.  Thousands of paper items have been preserved through the years including documents, certificates, flyers, photographs and library reports.  Our predecessors left behind rich collections of Buffalo library history and the Rare Book Room has recently enhanced our finding aids to reflect the many papers and objects in this collection.

In this blog entry we would like to showcase some of the objects in the library archives.  Among them, printers blocks for publications produced by the Buffalo Public and Grosvenor Libraries; an old printing press, inker stand and an antique lion’s head embosser; a sketch of the Grosvenor Library building from 1941 by H. G. Durston; watercolor sketches of the murals from the same library; metal photographic plates from 1906; and the Royal typewriter from the 1940’s that belonged to our beloved first curator of Rare Books, Jane Van Arsdale.

 

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“Shakespeare First Folio discovered on Scottish island”

Read all about it: a BBC report “Shakespeare First Folio discovered on Scottish island” by Sean Coughlan tells of a newly discovered First Folio bound in three parts. Emma Smith of Oxford University foretold of this find when she was here on March 28. She, as this article explains, was the person who first studied and authenticated this copy. It’s a fascinating First Folio story–one that William Shakespeare himself might have enjoyed!

First Folio Mount Stuart House

 

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