Friday, October 19, 2012

Bookseller Henry Stevens Recollects Mr. James Lenox

I recently purchased an 1868 autograph letter from bookseller Henry Stevens (1819-1886) to a potential American client.  The letter itself is lengthy and informative but I'll save that for another time.  Enclosed with the letter as an after-thought, and not mentioned by the seller, was a four-page promotional leaflet for Stevens' classic bookseller autobiography Recollections of Mr. James Lenox of New York and the Formation of His Library (1886).  The rare little leaflet surprise stirred me bibliophilic juices.  Not only did it describe the book itself but cited excerpts from fourteen contemporary reviews.  These excerpts provide a glimpse into the contemporary reception of one of the greatest bookseller accounts written. The leaflet itself is quite a piece of marketing.  The opening salvo still holds true:

 Full of humorous and romantic anecdotes of rare
 and unique books, and of desperate struggles in
 the Auction Room, interspersed with in-
teresting bibliographical gossip of the experi-
ences of half a century of book collecting

  The leaflet is reproduced below for your enjoyment:



  1. Great blog, Kurt. Wasted the better part of two days savoring each bit :-)

    1. Hi Joe, Glad I could entertain you. There will be more to come this winter as I have time to post some new stuff. Hope all is very fine. Kurt

  2. Ditto what Joe said above. Glad to have come across your blog and read about your collection--a subject I collect as well. I recently acquired a copy of Stevens' Recollections of Mr. James Lenox and I wish it had a promotional leaflet laid in. Great find! Look forward to catching up on past posts and reading future posts. By the way, I'm west of Houston, not exactly close to Conroe, but a fellow collector/blogger who is in your neck of the woods writes Thoughts of Bibliomaven. Check him out and keep up the fine work!