|Frederick R. Goff|
This brief introduction only touches on what was for me a satisfying and varied trip. I found several biblio items for my collection, particularly from exhibitors Willis Monie and Brattle Bookshop at the main show, and from Peter Masi and Roselund Rare Books at the “shadow fair” held Saturday a few blocks away. But the most interesting acquisition originated from a bookstore. It was the result of a serendipitous encounter with a fellow collector who was conversing with ABAA bookseller Michael Laird. Laird, a long-time friend, texted me at the show from his booth and told me come over pronto. The collector he was speaking with mentioned he had been visiting New England bookstores. One of them had a few biblio-association items outside of his collecting area. He described them to me. I was indeed interested and grateful for the tip. I soon after called the store to confirm the basics and with Bill Allison, my wingman for the trip, set out the next day to examine the books in person. It was a rainy, cold, dreary drive of an hour and half each way—a day most normal people would stay put-- but not a collector in vigorous pursuit.
This leads us to Margaret Stillwell (1887-1984) and Frederick R. Goff (1916-1982), pre-eminent rare book librarians and bibliographers, most noted for their work with incunabula: books printed before 1501. Stillwell flourished, not without considerable struggle, in a male-dominated biblio-world. She records her triumphs and travails in Librarians are Human: Memories In and Out of the Rare-Book Field 1907-1970 (1973) quoted within.