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Swann Galleries

Swann Galleries was founded in 1941 as an auction house specializing in Rare Books. Today they are the largest specialist rare book auctioneers in the world, and our business has expanded to encompass the Visual Arts.


Renaissance Dante in Print (1472-1629)

THIS EXHIBITION presents Renaissance editions of Dante's Divine Comedy from the John A. Zahm, C.S.C., Dante Collection at the University of Notre Dame, together with selected treasures from The Newberry Library. The Zahm collection ranks among the top Dante collections in North America. Purchased for the most part by Zahm in 1902 from the Italian Dantophile Giulio Acquaticci, the 15th- and 16th- century imprints presented here form the heart of Zahm's collection, which totals nearly 3,000 volumes, including rare editions and critical studies from the Renaissance to the present. The nine incunable editions and nearly complete series of 16th-century imprints featured in this exhibit constitute essential primary sources for both the history of Dante's reception during the Renaissance and the early history of the printed book.


Zamora 80

In 1945 the Zamorano Club published The Zamorano 80: A Selection of Distinguished California Books Made by Members of the Zamorano Club. The criterion for inclusion was that a selection above all should be distinguished, and that rarity and importance would be secondary. Yet, over time, it appears that the eighty books selected are both distinguished and important, and a number of them are definitely rare. The Club's goal was to choose those books considered cornerstones of a serious collection of Californiana. The books listed in The Zamorano 80 for the most part have withstood the test of time.


19th Century Schoolbooks

19th Century Schoolbooks"The Nietz Old Textbook Collection is one of several well-known collections of 19th Century schoolbooks in the United States. Among the 16,000 volumes are many titles that are rarely held and have not yet been reproduced in microform collections or reprint editions. The collection is used by Pitt faculty and students as well as visiting scholars from other colleges and universities. The ULS received two U.S. Higher Education Act Title IIC grants (1985-1987) to catalog the original collection."


Library of Congress Rare Books and Special Collections: An Illustrated Guide

Library of Congress Rare Books and Special Collections: Table of Contents; Introduction (Larry Sullivan Chief, Rare Book and Special Collections Division); American History; American Literature; Europe; Book Arts; The Illustrated Book; List of Selected Special Collections; Concordance of Images (Includes information on how to order copies of the images).


An excellent report by Maureen Mulvihill of the auction of rare books and manuscripts from the estate of Paula Peyraud

The Paula Peyraud Collection: Samuel Johnson & Women Writers in Georgian Society. An Auction Report by Maureen E. Mulvihill as published in Eighteenth-Century Studies, Fall 2009, with 8 images and a list of selected buyers, prices & new locations of the Peyraud properties.
A pdf of the published report may be downloaded here: http://www.ilab.org/download.php?object=documentation&id=81
Bloomsbury Auctions: The Paul Peyraud Collection, Wednesday, 6 May 2009 Bookplate from Peyraud copy of Frances Burney’s <i>Cecilia</i>
‘DARK LADY’ OF RARE BOOK COLLECTORS, PAULA FENTRESS PEYRAUD (CHAPPAQUA, NY, 1947 ~ 2008). Peyraud Collection Auction, May 2009, Bloomsbury Auctions N.Y. 483 Lots (books, manuscripts, images). Sales total: $1.6 million, including premium. Photograph, Margie Van Dyke. Bookplate from Peyraud copy of Frances Burney’s Cecilia, (lot 218, buyer McGill University). Bookplate bears inscribed initials (“FCP - EKP”), being the collector’s grandparents Frank C. Peyraud & Elizabeth Krysler Peyraud, both visual artists (see “Peyraud,” Benezit, vol. 10, 2006 edition).


JUNE From the Prelude to "The Vision of Sir Launfal"

Over his keys the musing organist,
Beginning doubtfully and far away,
First lets his fingers wander as they list,
And builds a bridge from Dreamland for his lay:
Then, as the touch of his loved instrument
Gives hope and fervor, nearer draws his theme,
First guessed by faint auroral flushes sent
Along the wavering vista of his dream.

Not only around our infancy
Doth heaven with all its splendors lie;
Daily, with souls that cringe and plot,
We Sinais climb and know it not.

Over our manhood bend the skies;
Against our fallen and traitor lives
The great winds utter prophecies;
With our faint hearts the mountain strives;
Its arms outstretched, the druid wood
Waits with its benedicite;
And to our age's drowsy blood
Still shouts the inspiring sea.

Earth gets its price for what Earth gives us;
The beggar is taxed for a corner to die in,
The priest hath his fee who comes and shrives us,
We bargain for the graves we lie in;
At the devil's booth are all things sold,
Each ounce of dross costs its ounce of gold;
For a cap and bells our lives we pay,
Bubbles we buy with a whole soul's tasking:
'Tis heaven alone that is given away,
'Tis only God may be had for the asking;
No price is set on the lavish summer;
June may be had by the poorest corner.
And what is so rare as a day in June?
Then, if ever, come perfect days;
Then Heaven tries earth if it be in tune,
And over it softly her warm ear lays;
Whether we look, or whether we listen,
We hear life murmur, or see it glisten;
Every clod feels a stir of might,
An instinct within it that reaches and towers,
And, groping blindly above it for light,
Climbs to a soul in grass and flowers;
The flush of life may well be seen
Thrilling back over hills and valleys;
The cowslip startles in meadows green,
The buttercup catches the sun in its chalice,
And there's never a leaf nor a blade too mean
To be some happy creature's palace;
The little bird sits at his door in the sun,
Atilt like a blossom among the leaves,
And lets his illumined being o'errun
With the deluge of summer it receives;
His mate feels the eggs beneath her wings,
And the heart in her dumb breast flutters and sings;
He sings to the wide world and she to her nest, -
In the nice ear of Nature which song is the best?

Now is the high-tide of the year,
And whatever of life hath ebbed away
Comes flooding back with a ripply cheer,
Into every bare inlet and creek and bay;
Now the heart is so full that a drop overfills it,
We are happy now because God wills it;
No matter how barren the past may have been,
'Tis enough for us now that the leaves are green;
We sit in the warm shade and feel right well
How the sap creeps up and the blossoms swell;
We may shut our eyes, but we cannot help knowing
That skies are clear and grass is growing;
The breeze comes whispering in our ear,
That dandelions are blossoming near,
That maize has sprouted, that streams are flowing,
That the river is bluer than the sky,
That the robin is plastering his house hard by;
And if the breeze kept the good news back,
For other couriers we should not lack;
We could guess it all by yon heifer's lowing,
And hark! how clear bold chanticleer,
Warmed with the new wine of the year,
Tells all in his lusty crowing!
James Russell Lowell [1819-1891]