Cover image for Dictionary of American antiquarian bookdealers
Dictionary of American antiquarian bookdealers
Dickinson, Donald C., 1927-2016.
Publication Information:
Westport, Conn. : Greenwood Press, 1998.
Physical Description:
xv, 272 pages ; 24 cm
General Note:
Gift of Library Foundation, 2000.
Added Corporate Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
Z479 .D53 1998 REF. Adult Non-Fiction Grosvenor Room-Rare Books Reference

On Order



The first published reference source to bring together biographical information on American antiquarian bookdealers, this book provides librarians, dealers, and collectors with useful information on those dealers who were prominent in securing and distributing used and rare books, manuscripts, maps, autographs, documents, and ephemera. The book covers 205 notable dealers who died before August 1, 1997. Prominent dealers are identified as those who carried quality stock, issued carefully documented sales catalogs, participated in professional organizations, and helped develop important private and institutional collections.

The book considers such well-known figures as Abraham Simon Wolf Rosenbach, Charles Sessler, and Hans Peter Kraus. Each profile describes the dealer's subject specialities, the style of catalogs and sales lists issued, the dealer's impact on private and institutional collecting, professional activity, and, when relevant, the final disposition of the dealer's stock. Entries conclude with a selected bibliography of sources. The information, drawn from both primary and secondary sources, will be useful to library reference workers, bookdealers, collectors, and anyone interested in the history of the American antiquarian book trade.

Author Notes

DONALD C. DICKINSON is retired Professor Emeritus at the School of Information Resources and Library Science at the University of Arizona, Tucson. His teaching specialities included reference services and bibliography, and he is the author of Dictionary of American Book Collectors (Greenwood, 1986) and Henry E. Huntington's Library of Libraries (1995). He has a longstanding interest in the antiquarian book trade, particularly in the background and achievements of members of that trade.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

Dickinson here brings to life the achievements of 205 prominent antiquarian and secondhand booksellers working in the US, mostly in the 20th century, who died before August 1997. Entries include not only the bare biographical bones but also accounts of personalities, how stock was acquired, related activities, and important customers of the knowledgeable and often erudite men and women who shaped the collections of individuals and libraries. His sources comprise the bookseller's own writings if any, often elusive secondary references, and a note about the location of any archival records. Appendixes group biographees by geographical location and by subject specialty, and a fairly thorough index covers personal and corporate names and relevant titles. Previous works by Dickinson (retired, Univ. of Arizona library school) include Dictionary of American Book Collectors (CH, Mar'87) and Henry E. Huntington's Library of Libraries (CH, Oct'96). Antiquarian booksellers, not always fully appreciated, occupy a unique niche in business history and have made notable contributions to American intellectual life as bibliographers, publishers, promoters of authors, developers of new subject fields, and encouragers or even agents of buyers. A useful reference for American studies collections and interesting for anyone who has ever bought a secondhand book. E. A. Swaim; formerly, Wesleyan University

Table of Contents

Abbreviations for Works Cited Frequently Dictionary
Appendix I Geographical Locations
Appendix II Subject Specializations