Book and Manuscript Dealer catalogs
Held at: University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts [Contact Us]3420 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6206
This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.
Overview and metadata sections
For more than a century the Penn Libraries have been purchasing books and manuscripts at public auction in the United States and abroad. During this time, various library curators and staff received printed catalogs from auction houses which were kept for further reference. In addition, some auction catalogs were saved and cataloged separately when of particular historical or bibliographical importance.
This finding aid serves as a guide to more than 1,600 book and manuscript dealer catalogs from 112 different firms. The collection includes substantial runs of catalogs from dealers of importance in the history of the book trade who are no longer in operation, such the Rosenbach Company, H.P. Kraus, and E.P. Goldschmidt. In addition, it contains catalogs from dozens of other book dealers around the world who are still currently active. The catalogs in this collection do not represent the sum total of those received by the University of Pennsylvania Libraries but rather the subset retained at the Kislak Center for Special Collections as of 2019 and further culled based on several criteria including the availability of catalogs elsewhere, completeness, and subject matter interest. In addition, two sets of catalogs have a discrete provenance. Those of the Edward Eberstadt company are almost entirely from the collection of Robert Dechert (1895-1975), a collector of western Americana who donated his collection and working files to the Penn Libraries. These catalogs often include annotations from Dechert. Likewise, the substantial set of Hoffman & Freeman catalogs are from the collection of collector and donor Arch Elias (1944-2008) who was a frequent customer of that firm. Elias' complete set of more than 100 catalogs from the firm Peter Murray Hill is cataloged separately as Z999 .P48. The catalogs in this collection come from bookdealers around the globe but are predominantly from the United States and United Kingdom. In deciding which catalogs to retain in this collection, special attention has been paid to those issued by smaller firms, especially those owned by women, as well as those based in the Philadelphia area.
This collection does not include catalogs from the London booksellers Bernard Quaritch and Maggs Bros. as these are inventoried separately in Print Collection 60 (Quaritch) and Print Collection 59 (Maggs). Likewise, additional catalogs from the firms included in this collection may be present in the Lawrence J. Schoenberg collection of catalogs (Print Collection 28) which has as its focus dealer and auction catalogs containing pre-1600 manuscripts. Of interest as well are the collections of book and manuscript auction catalogs listed separately in Print Collection 42 (Sotheby's), Print Collection 43 (Christie's), and Print Collection 48 (catalogs from 16 other international auction houses). Researchers interested in bookseller catalogs in the Philadelphia area should also see the collections maintained by Temple University and the Rosenbach Museum and Library which are substantial and include many not present here.
- University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts
- Finding Aid Author
- Timothy Hampshire
- Finding Aid Date
- 2020 May 17
- Access Restrictions
This collection is open for research use.
- Use Restrictions
Copyright restrictions may exist. For most library holdings, the Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania do not hold copyright. It is the responsibility of the requester to seek permission from the holder of the copyright to reproduce material from the Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts.