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Printed Page Bookshop
July 2016

And you think YOU buy a lot of books...
For most of us, book collections are small, personal representations of our tastes, interests and budget.  But there was a time when book collections were a public representation of ego, wealth and acquisitiveness.  It was the golden age of book collecting.
               The late 19th and early 20th centuries were a time of conspicuous consumption and dazzling displays of wealth.  It wasn’t enough to be rich; one had to burnish one’s wealth with class, taste and refinement – and material possessions, including books.  J.P. Morgan, Henry Edwards Huntington, Eli Lilly and others were engaged in the chase for treasures around the world.  Some of the finest book collections ever sold went up for sale in the first 20 years of the 20th century, and those men bought them.
               In the summer of 1914, the New York Times published a boastful headline:  “England’s Rarest Books Being Bought by Americans.”  The New World was maturing, and was stripping England – indeed, all of Europe – of its heritage.  The culture that Europeans believed Americans were incapable of creating, they were buying. One by one the best English private libraries – the fourth Earl of Ashburnham’s, Henry Hut’s and so on – fell to the Americans. 
               Henry Huntington collected books on the English Renaissance, medieval manuscripts and incunabula (books printed before 1501) plus American history and literature.  He managed to accumulate 420,000 books and seven million manuscripts. That works out to 150 books per day for each day of his 77-year life. Henry Folger acquired nearly half of the Shakespeare First Folios in the world.   Eli Lilly managed to buy a paltry 20,000 books.  Morgan (whose library is pictured above) bought three Gutenberg bibles, early children’s books, incunabes and first editions of Byron, Dickens, Poe, Twain and other giants of literature.  The Morgan Library says it's impossible to determine how much he spent on books. One thing the collectors had in common, besides their appetite for books, was that they worked in close partnership with booksellers to find what they wanted. 
               You probably aren’t another J.P. Morgan, and we certainly aren’t another A.S.W. Rosenbach (Lilly’s go-to bookseller), but the same principles apply.  Let us know what you collect, and we’ll help you on your way to getting what you want.  Maybe not Gutenbergs, though.  First Folios are tough, too. But 150 books a day?  We could do that.
Primary source:  The Millionaire and the Bard, by Andrea Mays

This Month's Puzzler

On June 28, 1712, this man was born in Geneva, Switzerland (then a city-state formally known as The Republic of Geneva). His mother died of fever nine days after his birth, and he and his older brother were raised by his father, a Swiss watchmaker, and his paternal aunt.

Even though he was a precocious child (e.g., reading Plutarch's "Lives" at age ten), he was an unambitious young man who drifted through life until his mid-thirties. In 1749, he entered an essay contest sponsored by the Dijon Academy. When his essay, "A Discourse of the Arts and Sciences," was awarded First Prize, it ignited a spark of intellectual activity that continued for the next several decades and ultimately made him one of history's most influential thinkers.

Today, he is best remembered for "The Social Contract" (1762), a philosophical treatise that was read by many of America's Founding Fathers and which inspired the leaders of the French Revolution. That book began with the immortal words:

"Man is born free, and everywhere he is in chains."

In 1762, he also came out with the novel "Emile," a classic in the history of educational thought. The book, which he described as "the best and most important of all my writings," has a striking contemporary relevance, as in this extraordinary dehortation:

"The only moral lesson which is suited for a child -- the most important
lesson for every time of life -- is this: 'Never hurt anybody'."

While "Never hurt anybody" was one of his guiding principles, this week's Mystery Man formulated an additional rule for those entrusted with the education of children. He called it the first rule of instruction, and suggested that all teaching practices were subordinate to it:

"Never tell a lie."

"Emile" also contained this enticing observation about a universal human problem:

" Provided a man is not mad, he can be cured of every folly but vanity."

Who is this man? (Answer below)


Children don't live by bread alone

      For several years, Printed Page has partnered with East Denver FISH to provide and deliver food to local families who cannot get themselves to food banks.  When FISH takes an order from a family, it notes the ages of the family members.  Many are children.
Now, Printed Page is providing children's books to accompany the food.  We donate books, and children's book specialist Traci Sanders (above) sorts them by age-appropriateness.  We think this is important, because a sweeping international study by Stanford and University of Munich researchers concluded that a child's achievements at school are correlated to whether his parents own a very simple object:  a bookshelf.  "Books at home are the single most important predictor of student performance in most countries," the study concluded.  We're putting books in children's hands. 
If you have children's books to donate to the cause, we welcome them.

Be our guest at the upcoming book fair
We have a limited number offree passes to the Rocky Mountain Book and Paper Fair August 5 & 6.  If you want one, let us know. 

Puzzler answer

Jean-Jacques Rousseau  (If you like our Puzzler, find more on our Facebook page)
Thanks to Dr. Mardy Grothe for the use of his puzzler.  Visit him at

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