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Book Reviews- Jewels In Her Crown&A Book of Her Own

‘Jewels in Her Crown: Treasures from the Special Collections of Columbia’s Libraries’ commemorated the 250th anniversary of Columbia University. The exhibition of 250 items included books, manuscripts, archives, drawings, ephemera, musical scores and works of art. Continue reading


Book review- Fossicking for Old Books.

This is the second of Anthony Marshall’s collections of essays, mainly about book selling. It might also be his last, as the original publishing venue for (most of) these pieces, the Australian Book Collector, has ceased publication. Marshall will be known, to buyers and sellers of old books in Melbourne, as the proprietor of the delightful Alice’s Bookshop in the thoroughly gentrified inner suburb of North Carlton. Other less formal data about him emerge—as is inevitable with familiar essays—in the book. Continue reading

Book Review- John Lang Australia’s Larrikin Writer.

Victor Crittenden has long been engaged in the study of aspects of early European settlement in this country. He has written extensively on the First Fleet, the Teggs, nineteenth century periodicals and nineteenth century writers, as well as compiling and contributing to reference works. Continue reading

Weeping Walrus and Gingerbread: a Comb Through the Mustache

THE MOST FAMOUS, the most distinctive mustaches of the twentieth century, I suggest, belong to Adolf Hitler, Salvador Dali, Joseph Stalin and Groucho Marx. So distinctive are they that, like the Cheshire Cat’s grin, these mustaches remain hovering in the mind’s eye long after the faces to which they are attached have disappeared. A scrubbing-brush, wacky waxed spikes, two conjoined dead rodents and a paint job. You could add any one of them to a portrait of the Mona Lisa and everyone would immediately know whose mustache she had on—though in Groucho’s case you would give her his round glasses too for absolute certainty. It is interesting to note that these mustaches divide neatly into two distinct camps: monster-tyrants on the one hand and creativesubversives on the other. Continue reading

Editorial: September 2006

THE VICTORIAN BRANCH of the Society has a nice tradition of annual dinners and interesting after-dinner speakers. I am grateful to Richard Overell, the Victorian Editor, for providing the text of last year’s after-dinner speech by Anthony Marshall, the erudite proprietor of the well-known Alice’s Bookshop in Melbourne. His topic, as befits an after-dinner speech, is both unusual and entertaining. Mr Marshall has done impressive research on the mustache in literature—famous authors who had mustaches (most of them men), and well-known literary characters with mustaches. Continue reading

Notes & Queries: Another Witton/Witkowski coincidence

In my article on Edgar Ederheimer in this present 60th anniversary issue of Biblionews I refer to two coincidences in respect to Dr Nic Witton and his family, originally named Witkowski. In my 2005 Insel article I hypothesised momentarily, on p. 68, that it might have been a certain Hans Schmoller who had transmitted the concept of the illustrated Insel books to the Penguin publishers that gave rise to the King Penguins, but dropped the hypothesis on the grounds that he had only joined Penguin ten years after the King Penguins began to appear. Continue reading

Notes & Queries: Three postscripts to “The Little Island Books of Leipzig…”

Since the publication of my article “From the Little Island Books of Leipzig to the King Penguins of London” in the 346th Issue of Biblionews for June 2005, pp. 43–72, there have been three developments that merit comment. Continue reading

Notes & Queries: Two new publications

Our Victorian Editor, Richard Overell, has sent the following email: “Could you please mention the recent publication of The World of the Book by Des Cowley and Clare Williamson (Melbourne, Miegunyah Press, 2007). This is a beautifully illustrated, informative account of the highlights of the State Library of Victoria’s rare book collection and accompanies their permanent exhibition, ‘The Mirror of the Book’. It is available for purchase at $59.95 and is great value at that price both for oneself as a book collector and as a Christmas gift.” Continue reading

Book Review- Bibliophiles at Oxford

Bibliophiles at Oxford is subtitled “A Celebration of Fifty Years of the Oxford University Society of Bibliophiles”. The Society was established in 1950 as a club for undergraduates who had an interest in collecting books and manuscripts. Regular talks and visits were held every year until Trinity Term 2000.Since then the Society has been bibliographically resting, so to speak, “due chiefly to the difficulty of maintaining a committee of student officers”. This is a sad, if understandable situation, as most students have moved into the digital environment, while the cost of antiquarian and manuscript material for purchase moves out of the reach of most of them. Continue reading