Pride and Prejudice at 200

Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice was published on January 28, 1813 and this bicentenary year has gotten off to a rousing start with an abundance of news articles, blog commentaries, facebook and twitter babblings, and promises of a year filled with festivals, conferences and much more of the above.

Pride & Prejudice 1st edition, 1813

As booksellers our interest is in the printed word and the physical book – I append here with a link to the complete article one of the better photo-essays on the Pride and Prejudice phenomena over the past 200 years, as seen through the various book cover designs, and a great start to collecting – one title, many covers, here just a small sampling of the possibilities:  [this article was posted on Atlantic Wire on January 25, 2013]

“Monday marks the 200th anniversary of Pride and Prejudice — fun fact: the book’s original title was the questionably Skinemax-sounding First Impressions — and the publishing world is awash in versions of the Jane Austen classic with which you might celebrate the monumental event. After all, Austen’s work has been in the public domain for nearly a century. How do you prefer your Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet star-crossed romance? Here’s a selection of covers from years past up through the present; the good, the bad, the jaw-droppingly gorgeous, and a few that pale in comparison to the book’s contents. First impressions are important! Jane Austen memory lane, let’s take a walk down you …”

Continue reading

A Sangorski & Sutcliffe binding - on Abeooks for $8,303

Vintage Classics, c2000

[Images from Atlantic Wire]

Further reading:

And this is just a smattering of all the chatter on Pride and Prejudice this past week – whatever would Jane Austen have to say about all this! [unfortunate that this is the only novel for which she sold the copyright outright to the publisher....!]

The Peacock edition, illus. by Hugh Thomson, 1895

c2013 VABA News Blog

VABA offers free appraisals at the Burlington Book Festival! ~ Sept 22 and 23, 2012

Visit our free book appraisal event at the Burlington Book Festival!

From 11am to 3pm on September 22nd & 23rd, the Vermont Antiquarian Booksellers Association will be offering free appraisals at the Burlington Literary Festival. Present will be Ben Koenig of Country Bookshop in Plainfield, Mark Alexander of Alexander’s Rare Books in Barre, Donna Howard of The Eloquent Page in St. Albans, and Mark Ciufo of North Country Books and Kathy Roberts of K Roberts Fine Books, both in Burlington.  For more information about the festival, visit

Hope to see you there with some of your treasures!

[Posted by Donna Howard of The Eloquent Page]


2012 Summer Bookfair ~ Floorplan of Exhibitors

The VABA Summer Bookfair is less than two weeks away! To date 41 exhibitors have signed up.  If you are a book or ephemera seller, there is still time to register for a booth by contacting Garry or Karen Austin at or 802-464-8438

You can view the floorplan of the fair and the list of this year’s exhibitors by going to the following link –

See you at the fair!

Join Us for the VABA Summer Book Fair ~ August 12 ~ Brattleboro, Vermont

The Vermont Summer Book Fair Returns To Brattleboro
and highlights new features!
The Vermont Summer Book Fair, inaugurated over 30 years ago  by the Vermont Antiquarian Bookseller’s Association (VABA) gathers 40 plus dealers in fine old books, maps, ephemera, manuscripts, postcards and paper to the Withington Skating Facility at Living Memorial Park in Brattleboro, Sunday, August 12, 2012. Fair hours are 10am to 4pm.
This year’s fair features the “Ten Minute Symposia”, a series of impromptu dealer talks. Hourly, designated dealers will discuss an aspect of the old book business, collecting, or their particular specialty in the trade. Each talk will be held in the respective dealer’s booth and will be followed by a Q & A session. We encourage all interested visitors to join in and ask the questions that may have intrigued or puzzled you about old & rare books and related subjects.
Ben Koenig of The Country Bookshop, a frequent contributor to WCVT FM 101.7 Classic Vermont will be one of our speakers as will Garry Austin of Austin’s Antiquarian Books in Wilmington VT, a specialist in all aspects of Theodore Roosevelt material. There will be a schedule in the Fair program.
VABA is also proud to have with us this year the Philadelphia Printshop and Don Cresswell.  You will remember this affable individual from his many appearances on “The Antiques Roadshow”. Don will be sharing some behind the scenes “Roadshow” stories and will be taking your questions as part of the “Symposia”.
Just off Exit 2 of I-91, on Rte 9, The Park complex is identifiable by the local landmark of the Creamery Covered Bridge. Plenty of parking surrounds this well-lit spacious exhibition arena that is home to the Brattleboro Winter Sports Program and events like the “Home Show”. At the Vermont Summer Fair you will see names that you recognize from the the New York, Los Angeles, or Boston ABAA shows, however you will also find some dealers that exhibit only regionally. Some come from as far away as Pennsylvania, and Ohio, and others travel from New York and all our neighboring New England states and Canada. They will all be bringing their fresh material garnered from auctions and attics, barns and book sales, housecalls and pickers. The variety of the dealer offerings will be amazing. Of course you will find books in almost any subject, but the ephemera, maps, autographs, documents, photographs, post cards, prints, and exotica are head turning.
Whether you are an experienced or novice book collector, a librarian or an archivist, a scholar or an academic, or are simply interested in books and the book arts in general, you will find something to your taste. We invite you to visit the fair, explore the booths, and purchase the treasures on display. Listen to a discussion, ask a question or two and enjoy the show. Show hours are Sunday, August 12, 10 am to 4 pm. The show admission is $5.
Posted by:
Garry R Austin
Austin’s Antiquarian Books
PO Box 730
Wilmington, VT 05363
802 464-8438
c2012 VABA

Austin’s Antiquarian Books Blog ~ not to be missed!

One of the best reads on the internet is Austin’s Antiquarian Books new blog. Here’s a recent article by Garry on one of the grand old shops, Whitlock Farms of Bethany, Connecticut ~

Memories of Whitlock Farms ~ by Garry Austin [posted 6-13-2012]

Browsing a bin at a paper show I discovered two letters written on Whitlock Farms Book Shop stationary. They were from the 1920′s and were written to an attorney in New Haven regarding a financial matter. They were signed by the proprietor who was the father of the Whitlocks that I had known, Gil & Everett. I bought them and sent them down to Bethany as a gift.  Memories of Whitlock Farms began to flow.

When I was young and knew everything about the old book biz, I was a frequent visitor to the “Farms” in Bethany. In rapt anticipation I would drive there on my way to, or home from Atlanta or some other of the endless number of shows that I exhibited at. Making my way to Whitlock’s was an adventure, an exploration. As I approached up the road, (it was all dirt then), I felt I was the only person who would be there, it seemed so isolated. As I rounded the corner I was always amazed at the number of cars in the lot. I never knew what to expect but I was rarely disappointed.

Sets in leather were my standard fare then but that shop had so much more. I would ask for entry to the cases and the “keys” would appear. My purchases were mostly curtailed by my lack of knowledge and financial restraints. Still, I took some chances then, leaps of faith, believing that I could move these new pieces and at a profit besides. My faith was always rewarded.

Some times I would get there early in the morning before opening and wait. There was a stray dog that was always about the place then. I would sit outside in the yard, enjoying a cup of coffee and that dog would settle in at my side. He was waiting for the Whitlocks too knowing he would be fed. When that blue Volvo station wagon arrived it was time to go to work. I would be the first customer of the day, I would have the first choice.

Whilock’s maintained two catalogue lists; East Coast & West Coast. You could subscribe to either but not both. When that mimeograph catalogue arrived, one read fast and dialed the phone even faster. Many times I would call and was more often than not disappointed, but occasionally …….

I remember fondly once when Gil allowed me to go into the “Morgue”. This was a high honor. The “Morgue” was a long narrow closet that ran from the main aisle to the eaves at the end of the main shop, just before the shipping area. It was filled with catalogue treasures and special books. Gil let me have the run of it that day and I bought more than I could afford I’m sure.

Whitlock’s was that rarest of book shops. It’s operation spanned generations but with the same family ownership.  That is very uncommon in the United States.  Both Gil & Everett are gone now and so is the book business as they knew and loved it. Whitlocks continues under new ownership. It was purchased by a man who loved it for what it was. He retained the staff and the feel of the place is the same. What also hasn’t changed is that there are still individuals that are captivated by the printed word. Whose intellectual curiosity compels them to seek out and find an author’s work. Who love to hold a bound book closely and feel a warmth that can hardly be described.  There are those that would rather browse 10,000 real books in a drafty old chicken barn on a New England hillside than 10 million virtual records on the internet databases. For them Whitlock’s remains a special place.

About a year or so ago I stopped there on a quiet Sunday. There wasn’t much that I found that demanded I buy it, but there is always something in a shop like this. What was really wonderful was what transpired while I was there. A middle aged woman led a small group of college age people walking in from the road. There were only about a dozen or slightly more. The woman was a Professor and neighbor and this was her class. She spoke of Whitlock’s and how it had been there for decades and what a lovely old book shop it was. I wanted to interrupt her and tell her of the importance of this shop to the community at large and to the trade specifically, but I didn’t interrupt. She encouraged the kids to browse. That’s when the magic began. I would watch them look at books. Picking something out, they would share it with their friends. They became excited, animated in conversation. They had become captivated by the book.  They were seeing old things in a new light. What happened next was encouraging. Several of these young browsers bought books. I hope they will remember Whitlock’s fondly. I hope they will return again. I also hope they will visit an old O.P. shop near where they live and not come to believe that all books come from Amazon and are delivered to a Kindle.

So a belated thanks to Gil & Everett and to all the staff of all the years at Whitlock’s Book Barn. They helped me become a better bookman. I owe them more than I can repay.

© 2012 Garry Austin