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In our book the first few pages are headed
(Books presented to me),
and the next heading is
(Books published by instalments, extending over
several years.) Then comes
1900 and so on, each year having a letter assigned to it.1
Now for the practical use of this ledger. Inside the front cover of every one of our volumes we affix a book-plate; and in the left-hand bottom corner of this we write the year-letter and number of the book's entry in our ledger : e.g. A 24, L 7, etc. Thus supposing that we wish to find out when and where we acquired a certain book and how much we paid for it, we have only to raise the front cover of the volume in question, and find its index mark. Suppose it to be ‘E 28.' Turning to our ledger we find that E represents the year 1904, and No. 28 is the volume in question. Similarly A 24 signifies No. 24 of 1900, L 7 is No. 7 of 1911, and so on. If your library be a large one, and a search for the volume would entail trouble, you may conveniently pencil this index mark against the book's entry in your catalogue, but in such a way that it cannot be mistaken for the shelf-mark.
1 We will not venture to suggest that you follow the example of a book-collecting acquaintance who has an extra heading for Books that I have acquired !'
It is as well to write the entries in the ledger upon the recto of the leaves only, so that the verso (being numbered like the opposite recto) may be used for recording the bindings, published prices, previous owners, etc., of the volumes opposite. When all the letters of the alphabet have been used up, they may be repeated doubled, as AA 4, DD 32, etc.
‘To give subtilty to the simple, to the young man knowledge and discretion.'— PROVERBS i. 4.
UST as anyone who sets out to
collect prints or antiques must provide himself at the outset with certain books necessary for obtain
ing a knowledge of the subject, so the book-collector must gather to himself those works which, if studied carefully, will enable him to become thoroughly conversant with the objects of his favourite pursuit. To the real collector there is no more delightful reading than the literature which deals with the subject he has made his own; and the more ample and specialised it be, the greater will be his delight.
What bibliophile has not read, and read again, such delightful works as Burton's 'Book Hunter,' Blades'' Enemies of Books,' and 'Life and Typography of William Caxton,' 'The Library,' and Books and Bookmen' by Andrew Lang, Harrison's 'Choice of Books' and `Among my Books,' Clark's 'Care of Books,' Edwards’ Libraries and Founders of Libraries, and many others of equal charm ? Indeed, these volumes may well be among the first that he who embarks upon the peaceful sea of book-collecting gathers to himself. Nor is there any less fascination in the more specialised works, such as Mr. Gordon Duff's * Early Printed Books,'1 'English Provincial Printers,' and 'The Printers of Westminster and London to 1535,' Bradshaw's 'Collected Papers,' Mr. A. W. Pollard's 'Early Illustrated Books, Wheatley's Prices of Books' Professor Ferguson's · Aspects of Bibliography,' and the publications of the Bibliographical Society. All these and many others are necessary if we are to acquire a thorough knowledge of old books. They are, or should be, in every large public library ; and we may read them through and through at our leisure, learning more from each perusal.
There are certain works, however, which the book-collector should himself possess, for he will
1 Of this book, published in octavo in 1893, it is impossible to speak too highly. Both as a text-book for the student and a reference book for the collector it is invaluable. The other two volumes by Mr. Duff are also of the greatest assistance. The Printers, Stationers, and Bookbinders of Westminster and London from 1476 to 1535' was published in 1906, and 'The English Provincial Printers, Stationers, and Bookbinders to 1557 ' in 1912 -both by the Cambridge University Press. They are still (1919) in print, and cost six and five shillings respectively.
have continual recourse to them throughout his book-collecting career. Doubtless some of them will make an inroad upon his purse, but it will be money well spent, and the knowledge which he will gain from them will save him many a shilling. Their acquisition must be looked upon in the same light as the shelves and fittings of the library
First of all we will take those bibliographies which deal with books published in the English language, and there are certain of General these volumes that are indispensable Bibliographies. to the book-collector. Among them are Lowndes' ' Bibliographer's Manual,' in six octavo volumes, last published in 18691 (alas ! sadly deficient, but still of considerable use), which one can have for less than a pound, and Hazlitt's valuable ‘Bibliographical Collections and Notes on Early English Literature, complete in eight octavo volumes, published between 1867 and 1903. The Bibliographical Society's publications, from 1893 onwards, are of the greatest value, comprising lists of English printers, early editions of rare books, lists of early English plays, tales, and prose romances, with numerous bibliographies. For recourse to these, probably it will be necessary to visit the nearest important public
1 A stereotyped reprint of the revised edition published between 1857 and 1864. Each of the first five volumes is in two parts, often bound separately. Vol. 6 is an appendix.