Wednesday, June 29, 2016

De Ricci and Bartlett’s 1921 Book Collector’s Guide: An Icon of the Golden Age

Seymour De Ricci’s and Henrietta Bartlett’s The Book Collector’s Guide: A Practical Handbook of British and American Bibliography (1921) is much more than a forgotten price guide.   The timing of publication and bibliographic expertise provide an insider’s view of the Golden Age of American book collecting--then arguably at its peak--when opportunities were abundant and mighty collectors rose to the occasion.  It was a transitory age, too, and reflects in retrospect the coming shift from old paths to new paths in collecting that would take hold in the 1930s.  The story of the book’s birth is also quite a tale with the polymath bookman Seymour de Ricci at the helm and Henrietta Bartlett as his brilliant, but generally unrecognized co-author.