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5 Masters of the Whodunit

In today’s world of entertainment, where it seems “pushing the envelope” is an ingredient to success, innovative mysteries of the past penned by literary pioneers remain timeless in their appeal.

In the simplest terms, mystery fiction literature often involves a telling of the circumstances involving individuals, duos, or a team examining the who, what, and why, to solve a perplexing crime – often a murder. The word “mystery” comes from the Latin word mysterium defined as “a secret thing,” and stories within mystery literature are often described as “whodunits.”

Mystery fiction has captured the imaginations of generations of readers. Let’s review the biographies of five writers whose work transcends time.

Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849) was born in Boston to a pair of traveling actors, but orphaned by the age of three. He and his siblings were separated, with Poe going to live with an influential tobacco merchant and his wife. His time studying at the University of Virginia was challenging, and Poe reportedly took to gambling in an effort to pay his tuition and expenses. Ultimately, he dropped out of school. however, it didn’t dissuade Poe from following his dreams of becoming a writer, and at the age of 18, he published his first book Tamerlane. After winning a writing contest and establishing connections within the industry, he began work at the “Southern Literary Messenger” in an editorial capacity. He saw a bit of success with the Messenger, especially for his short stories and reviews, but he continued to struggle financially.

It was during this time in his late 20s that Poe married his 13-year-old cousin. It was one of several scandals that marked his four decades of life. It was also during this time that he crafted what would become the work considered by many to be the first example of the mystery and detective genre, “The Murders in the Rue Morgue.”

“The Murders in the Rue Morgue,” was a short story published in 1841 in the pages of Graham’s Magazine. The primary character of this fictional work is C. Auguste Dupin, who was an amateur detective.

Tales of Mystery and Imagination. Edgar Allan Poe. New York: Tudor Publishing, 1939. Early reprint edition with the Clarke illustrations. Illustrated with eight tipped in color plates and twenty-four black & white plates $100-$150. Jasper52 image

In 1845, just four years before his death, Poe achieved national fame with the publication of The Raven. A year later, his wife died of tuberculosis, reportedly leaving Poe in no state to write for many months. While he ultimately returned to giving lectures, and sought to find support for a magazine he wanted to create, Poe lived just two years following the death of his wife and died at the age of 40. The cause of his death is unconfirmed and remains a mystery.

 

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (1859-1930) was born Arthur Ignatius Conan Doyle in Scotland to an artist father and a mother who reportedly excelled at storytelling. She was a consistent source of encouragement in Doyle’s early years. These sentiments are representative throughout Doyle’s autobiography. Among the author’s observations about his mother, he writes, “In my early childhood, as far as I can remember anything at all, the vivid stories she would tell me stand out so clearly that they obscure real facts of my life.”

With his father’s reported alcoholism regularly disrupting the family structure, other family members made it possible for Doyle to attend a boarding school in England. Following completion of his general studies, Doyle went on to study medicine, while also enjoying his other live: writing. For decades he pursued dual careers as both a physician and author.

Beeton’s Christmas Annual, London: Ward, Lock and Co., 1887, contains “A Study in Scarlet,” with other works, sold for $156,000 through Sotheby’s in 2007. Image courtesy Sotheby’s.

In 1887, he introduced the character for which he would become best known: Sherlock Holmes. His novel A Study in Scarlet, featuring the first appearance of the legendary crime-solving duo of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson, appeared in Beeton’s Christmas Annual. During his career, Doyle reportedly wrote hundreds of works, including short stories, novels, plays, and commentaries. Although his mystery writing attracted the greatest attention, he also wrote about war and military history, political mindsets and spiritualism (another of his interests). He was married twice, father to five children, volunteered for military service during the Boer War, and ran for a political post in Central Edinburgh, albeit unsuccessfully.

 

Agatha Christie (1890-1976) was born Agatha Mary Clarissa Miller in southwest England. Her upbringing mirrored that of Doyle’s in that Christie’s mother was also reportedly an excellent storyteller, and the two enjoyed a close relationship. Her father oversaw the academic instruction for Christie, teaching her at home. It is said that Christie taught herself to read at the age of five. At age 11, Christie suffered a great loss with the unexpected loss of her father.

Late in her teens, Christie began writing short stories. At age 22, she met Archie Christie, an aviator with the Royal Flying Corps, whom she would marry in 1914. During World War I, Agatha worked with the Voluntary Aid Detachment in a Red Cross hospital in her hometown of Torquay. Her work at the hospital would lend itself nicely to her cultivation of classic mysteries. In her debut novel The Mysterious Affair at Styles, she called on knowledge she acquired while working in the hospital’s dispensary to describe the poison used by the murderer in the story. Her description of the poison and its use in her novel earned her accolades from the Pharmaceutical Journal – a unique honor for a writer.

First edition short story collection Poirot Investigates, 1924, with dust jacket featuring drawing of main character detective Hercule Poirot, sold for $48,430 during a 2012 auction presented by the U.K’s Dominic Winter auction house. Image courtesy Dominic Winter

Her debut novel also introduced one of the characters from which Christie’s success would bloom: Detective Hercule Poirot. It was during this period of mid-to-late 1920s that Christie gave birth to a daughter, saw the collapse of her marriage, and suffered mental health challenges, but she continued writing. This resulted in the creation of another of her famous fictional sleuths: Miss Jane Marple. In the 1930s, Christie traveled aboard the Orient Express, and while in the Middle East she met the man who would become her second husband, archaeologist Max Mallowan.

Christie is credited with writing 66 mystery novels, including The Mystery of the Blue TrainMurder on the Orient Express, and Appointment with Death, and 150 short stories and plays. Many of these works were adapted into films and television programs. She was affectionately and commonly referred to as the Queen of Crime.

 

Raymond Chandler (1888-1959) was born Raymond Thornton Chandler in Chicago, Illinois. Like Doyle and Christie, Chandler’s early life involved a lot of time spent with his mother. Following his parent’s divorce, seven-year-old Raymond and his mother relocated to England, where he attended school. Later, he studied international law and business before diving into a career as a journalist. By the time he was 24, his short story The Rose-Leaf Romance and 27 poems had been published. In 1912, he returned to the United States.

Resettled in his home country, he worked several jobs including stringing tennis rackets and keeping the books for a creamery business. This changed in 1917 when Chandler took up arms on the front lines during World War I. Following the war, he wed a woman 18 years his senior, and for a time, life went well. With the onset of the Great Depression, his wife’s health began to suffer, and Chandler reportedly turned to alcohol. In 1932, after losing his job as a bookkeeper for an oil syndicate, he returned to writing, and a year later, his first short story appeared in the popular pulp magazine Black Mask.

First edition, presentation copy of “The Long Goodbye,” inscribed by author Raymond Chandler on the front free endpaper, dated June 22, 1954. It is one of nine lots of novels written by Chandler featured in Heritage Auctions’ Sept. 14 auction. Image courtesy Heritage Auctions

As the 1930s ended, his first novel The Big Sleep was published, quickly followed by Farewell, My Lovely and The High Window. These books gave rise to his prolific fictional character, detective Philip Marlowe.

Like his fellow iconic mystery writers Doyle and Christie, some of the seven novels he wrote became films. He took his connection with Hollywood one step further, using his writing chops to create screenplays. His script “Double Indemnity,” co-written with Billy Wilder, and his solo screenplay for “The Blue Dahlia” earned him Academy Award nominations.

 

Erle Stanley Gardner (1889-1970) was born in Massachusetts and grew up in California, where he graduated from Palo Alto High School in 1909. He enrolled in law school in Indiana, but was suspended after one month, reportedly for organizing illegal boxing matches. However, he did continue to learn about the legal system while working as a typist at a law firm. With no formal college or law school education, he sat for and passed the bar exam in 1911 and began practicing law. To supplement his income, he turned to writing and created a following for himself in pulp magazines. Like his contemporary, Raymond Chandler, his work appeared in the pages of Black Mask.

First edition, first printing, signed and inscribed by Gardner, 1933, sold for $1,875 during a 2012 auction through Heritage Auctions. Image courtesy Heritage Auctions

After his successful run in the pulp magazine world, he introduced his best-known character, attorney Perry Mason. Gardner’s 1933 novel The Case of the Velvet Claws was the setting for the first appearance of the subtle but razor-sharp Mason. However, many readers who never read any of Gardner’s novels became aware of Perry Mason in the pages of the Saturday Evening Post. Beginning in the 1950s, many of Gardner’s novels appeared in the magazine before being published as bound books.

During his lifetime, Gardner penned more than 110 short stories, more than 100 novels, and about 15 collections. Several films and radio programs, and a couple comic books are attributed to him.

 

A glimpse into the lives of these early visionaries of the mystery genre reveals some humbling similarities. Yet, the unique approach taken by each of the authors undoubtedly helped blaze the trail for a genre of literature that continues to captivate readers and book collectors alike.

Children’s Books: Investing in Nostalgia

Do you remember the books you loved as a child? It’s a solid bet that at least a couple of your childhood favorites are also the favorites of collectors, and with good reason. We can all relate to the experience of having books read to us at bedtime, and later, taking pride in learning how to read those books ourselves.

Baum, L. Frank, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, first edition, first state of the text and first state of the plates, octavo, Geo. M. Hill Co., Chicago and New York, 1900. Green morocco slipcase. Auctioned Dec. 16, 2009 for $53,100. LiveAuctioneers / Profiles in History image

We spoke with two experts in the field of collectible books: Helen Younger, founder of Aleph-Bet Books, Inc., and Catherine Payling, MBE, director of Waverly Rare Books, a subsidiary of Quinn’s Auction Galleries, to get their take on the children’s book market. In speaking with them, we learned that juvenile literature is a solid niche within the greater realm of book collecting and has been so for quite some time.

As Payling observed, the market “has been relatively stable during and after recent economic upheavals and broader changes in patterns of collecting.”

Echoing those sentiments, Younger, who has been in the collectible book business since 1977, pointed to the availability and affordability of children’s books as reasons for the continued interest among collectors.

“In the world of collectible books, children’s books, in general, are not among the most expensive – they can be a little more attainable.”

In building a collection of children’s books, keep these points in mind: edition and rarity; condition, desirability, and the potential impact of changing trends.

Lot of three titles signed by Maurice Sendak, illustrated, and authored by Ruth Krauss, “Somebody Else’s Nut Tree And Other Tales From Children,” “A Hole Is to Dig: A First Book of Definitions,” and “Lullabies And Night Songs,” published in 1971, 1952, and 1965, respectively. Sold for $250 at auction June 1, 2017 through Waverly Books. Waverly Books image

For example, Payling said, “If there should be a dust jacket but one isn’t present, then a book without one is [considered] comprised. Is the book signed by the author or the illustrator? Is there interesting provenance?” All are important factors with respect to desirability.

Addressing condition, Younger outlined the standards many reputable dealers use in assessing books:

  • Good: Shows wear, tears, soiling, and perhaps the dust jacket is missing
  • Very Good: The book is in nice condition, although it may show age to some extent. It is clean and presents nicely.
  • Fine: Although it may not look as it did when brand new, it has no defects, it is clean, and nothing is missing.
  • Mint: The book is flawless.

Not only is understanding differences in condition helpful when considering the purchase of a book, it is often the key factor in determining price when selling a book.

For example, as Younger pointed out, Aleph-Bet might list a copy of Dr. Seuss’ The Cat in the Hat with a high price tag, but that might be because it’s a first edition, first printing, in mint condition.

Wells, Carolyn, illustrations by Jessie Wilcox Smith, “Seven Ages of Childhood,” first edition, NY: Moffat Yard 1909, tan gilt cloth, round pictorial paste-on, 56 pages. Cloth slightly darkened on edges from inoffensive cover stain, occasional foxing, VG. $400 through Aleph-Bet Books. Aleph-Bet Books image

As with most collecting interests, experience and time are the best teachers, according to Payling and Younger. Learning how publishers denoted first editions is an important practice, Younger added.

“It truly takes time to learn the aspects of children’s books, and to complicate things further, publishers were not consistent with how they denoted first editions,” she explains. “Some may say ‘first edition,’ some may have a number code or a combination, and some may have the date of publication on the title page and the copyright page, while some may not.”

Payling, who recently purchased a copy of Miskoo the Lucky by Mary Fairclough – one of her favorite books from childhood – recommends the following measures to gain valuable knowledge about children’s books:

  • Acquire some good-quality reference books on your specific area of collecting interest, whether it is by country, century, author and so on, and use them to help make buying decisions.
  • Learn to identify variations in condition.
  • Learn about current market prices from online resources, especially recent auction results, whose price database is free of charge.
  • Check out auction houses and their auction catalogs.

Also, attending book fairs and visiting the shops and sites of businesses specializing in rare and collectible books are all methods for amassing knowledge that will prove helpful in efforts to acquire children’s books, Younger advised.

Beginners may find it advisable to define the focus of their collection.

“Blue-chip authors, such as L. Frank Baum, Dr. Seuss, J.R.R. Tolkien, Lewis Carroll, J.M. Barrie, Maurice Sendak, and Roald Dahl are always sought after,” said Payling. “People are often motivated by childhood memories, so we see buyers looking for children’s titles popular when they were young.” Illustrated books are also highly desirable.

Younger points to children’s books published in the mid-20th century as being the current “sweet spot” in collecting. However, some lesser-known interests are gaining attention.

Milne, A.A., “Winnie the Pooh (And) The House at Pooh Corner,” Russian first edition, NY: Dutton 1967, cloth, 221 pages. Top edge rubbed, otherwise VG+ in frayed dust wrapper with a few mends on verso. $125 through Aleph-Bet Books. Aleph-Bet Books image

“Right now, we’re seeing the popularity of Russian children’s books growing,” she said. Early 20th-century Russian children’s books are distinguished by their consistently high quality of printing, illustration, and presentation. Plus, they reflect the characteristics of an evolving society.

Before the Russian Revolution of 1917, many of the books displayed lush treatment and robust illustration – a “frills and fantasy” presentation – said Younger, who formerly worked as a librarian and fosters a life-long appreciation for books. After the Revolution, children’s books, much like Russian society of that period, were stark, direct, and more focused on being utilitarian.

Another aspect of collecting to bear in mind is changing trends, Payling said. For example, values of Harry Potter books are not as high today as they were at the peak of Potter-mania.

Collecting children’s books can be rewarding, but like any type of book collecting, it requires a time investment. It pays to learn as much as possible, study market activity, and over and above all, to allow one’s own sense of nostalgia to serve as the primary guide to purchases.


About the experts:

Catherine Payling, MBE, M.A. Oxford University, was born and raised in the United Kingdom. She spent 10 years working in prestigious executive roles in London, and 15 years in Rome, Italy, where she served as curator/director of the Keats House Museum. Catherine has resided in the United States since 2011. She was an adjunct professor at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., and is married to Duncan Wu, the Raymond Wagner Professor of Literary Studies at Georgetown. Catherine has a personal collection of books, and she and her husband are lifelong collectors of fine and decorative art.

Helen Younger co-owns Aleph-Bet Books in Pound Ridge, New York, together with her husband, Marc. Her love of books began when she was a child and continued to grow as she traveled through Europe following her high school graduation. She became a professional librarian and, in the mid-1970s, established a book-selling business upon the suggestion of her mother-in-law, who organized estate sales. Helen has been a member of the Antiquarian Booksellers Association of America since 1982.

Key Facts and Tips About Collecting Books by U.S. Presidents

The inauguration of the 45th president of the United States is a fitting time in which to compile a few fascinating facts about books written by presidents of the past and present.

Books authored by presidents are a popular choice with collectors, and for good reason. The depth and diversity of topics addressed in such books is simply staggering. Books penned by American presidents appeal to an immeasurable cross section of people. From die-hard bibliophiles and historians, to educators and even the most casual of readers, there is a shared interest in the memoirs from the Oval Office perspective. Below are a few interesting facts on these presidential books:

Fact #1: The first U.S. president put pen – likely a quill pen – to parchment paper well before he was elected to the nation’s highest office. President George Washington wrote “The Rules of Civility & Decent Behavior In Company and Conversation” before he celebrated his 16th birthday. The “Rules,” of which there are 110, are said to be an extension of a list compiled by French Jesuits in the late 16th century. President Washington reportedly copied the rules as part of a writing assignment. Washington’s version of the “Rules” was first published as a book in 1888, according to an article from The Digital Encyclopedia of George Washington by Katrina Schoorl.

Tip #1: Collecting autobiographies written by presidents, especially modern-era presidents, is often a more affordable option if collecting presidential ephemera is the goal. The investment in a president-written book is often less expensive than presidential signatures, according to Ken Gloss, owner of Brattle Book Shop, in an article in The Journal of Antiques and Collectibles.

The Winning of the West, Daniel Boone Edition, leather-bound four-volume set, Theodore Roosevelt, G.P. Putnam & Sons, New York and London, 1900, sold for $9,000 during a 2013 auction conducted by Wiederseim Associates, Inc.

Fact #2: Many presidents opted to write memoirs or autobiographies, or assist in biographies about them. Presidents Theodore Roosevelt and Jimmy Carter both took this approach. In addition, their prolific literary paths also included writing adventure tales or fiction, respectively. Roosevelt, reportedly the author of more than 30 books, wrote about the settlement of the Western U.S. in the multi-volume work “The Winning of the West.” In addition, Carter’s tale “The Hornet’s Nest,” was the first fiction novel written by a U.S. president.

The Winning of the West, Daniel Boone Edition, leather-bound four-volume set, Theodore Roosevelt, G.P. Putnam & Sons, New York and London, 1900, sold for $9,000 during a 2013 auction conducted by Wiederseim Associates, Inc.

Fact#3: Various U.S. presidents’ writings have achieved bestseller status, but only one has garnered a Pulitzer Prize. President John F. Kennedy was awarded the 1957 Pulitzer Prize for Biography for his book Profiles in Courage, although for years there have been rumblings about the book having been written by a ghostwriter.

Tip #2: One way to enhance a collection of works written by U.S. presidents is to consider including books written by first ladies. In the 2015 blog post Collecting Rare Books and Autographs of American Presidents, from Bauman Rare Books’, author Rebecca Romney refers to books by Eleanor Roosevelt and Jackie Kennedy Onassis. Romney states, “Books signed or written by Jackie O. and other first ladies are naturally a rewarding path to explore as well.”

Personal Memoirs of U.S. Grant, Ulysses S. Grant, Charles L. Webster & Company, New York, 1885, first edition, two-volume set, sold for $676 through Early American History Auctions in 2015.

Fact #4: Thomas Jefferson, the man credited with authoring the Declaration of Independence, was also a serious bibliophile. At one time, his personal library included nearly 10,000 books. In a letter he wrote to John Adams, Jefferson stated, “I cannot live without books,” according to an article by Endrina Tay appearing on the Encyclopedia Virginia site. In addition to published letters, he completed one full manuscript, “Notes on the State of Virginia.” This work was published in 1785, with an initial run of 200 copies paid for by Jefferson, according to information on the Massachusetts Historical Society site.

A video from the Massachusetts Historical Society about the conservation of Jefferson’s “Notes on the State of Virginia” can be viewed on YouTube.

Interested in viewing rare books by presidents and prolific authors alike? Take a look at this week’s Jasper52 books auction. You’re “bound” to find something to enjoy. 

Collecting Modern Editions – An Expert Guide on Doing It Right

Embarking on an adventure in collecting something new and unfamiliar can be very exciting, but it can also be a bit overwhelming.

Case in point: turning a fascination for books into a passion for collecting them. The beauty of collecting books is that there’s a niche in the marketplace for just about everyone. The increase in modern edition books showing up in auctions – and in some cases fetching tidy sums – speaks to an opportunity that many are seizing as first-time collectors.

To gain a bit of perspective about the modern book market and gain a few tips for bibliophiles at any level of experience, we turned to Rebecca Rego Barry, author of Rare Books Uncovered: True Stories of Fantastic Finds in Unlikely Places, and editor of Fine Books & Collections magazine.

What do you feel are some of the most intriguing aspects of collecting modern editions?

For collectors of modern firsts, there is probably an element of capturing the history one has lived through, or celebrating some part of that history. All collectors are trying to tell a story with their collections, and for collectors of modern firsts, that story is often very personal.

Also, for those who collect firsts—modern or not—part of the draw is to see and experience the book exactly as the author did.

Casino Royale, Ian Fleming, Jonathan Cape 1953, First Edition, Author’s Presentation copy, inscribed on front endpaper, marks the first appearance of the character James Bond, sold for $52,344 at Sotheby’s July 12, 2016 auction.

Casino Royale, Ian Fleming, Jonathan Cape 1953, First Edition, Author’s Presentation copy, inscribed on front endpaper, marks the first appearance of the character James Bond, sold for $52,344 at Sotheby’s July 12, 2016 auction.

How should the beginning collector proceed if they want to focus on modern editions but have a limited budget?

Slowly! Beginning collectors can and will make mistakes, so it’s best to take it slowly as you find your focus and educate yourself about book-collecting basics. I would advise new collectors to attend a few books fairs if they can, get the ‘lay of the land,’ so to speak, and talk to booksellers who specialize in the areas that pique your interest. Affordability doesn’t have to be an issue, unless you’re aiming for a collection of high spots (Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Updike, etc.). If you secretly cherish some quirky or offbeat topic or author, that can be the perfect start for a unique and inexpensive collection.

Why do you think modern editions, like the Harry Potter series, are so attractive to collectors?

I think people are driven to collect books that are meaningful to them, so if the first book that truly appealed to you as a reader was Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone in 1997, maybe that’s the book that will launch your collection of modern firsts, or the works of J.K. Rowling, or every different edition of HP, or high points of children’s literature – who knows?!

Collectible modern firsts are typically in very good (or better) condition, so they also tend to look aesthetically pleasing on a shelf, as opposed to, say, flaking, sheepskin-bound medical books from the mid-nineteenth century. For some, that may be a consideration.

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, J.K. Rowling, Bloomsbury 1997, First Edition, First Issue (With an error found on page 53 — duplicate listing for ‘1 wand’ in the list of Hogwarts school supplies), sold for $55,628 at a Nov. 9, 2016 auction at Bonhams. The final price was more than double the high estimate.

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, J.K. Rowling, Bloomsbury 1997, First Edition, First Issue (With an error found on page 53 — duplicate listing for ‘1 wand’ in the list of Hogwarts school supplies), sold for $55,628 at a Nov. 9, 2016 auction at Bonhams. The final price was more than double the high estimate.

What are four things every collector should keep in mind when collecting modern editions?

  1. Can three of them be ‘condition?’ All joking aside, condition is perhaps the most important consideration in modern first editions.
  2. Because modern books are produced in quantity, they are rarely ‘rare,’ so their monetary value is often based on condition, both of the book and, sometimes even more importantly, the dust jacket.
  3. But to back up a little, first you’ll need to determine whether the book actually is a first edition, and that can be tricky, which is why there are guides to help, like McBride’s Pocket Guide to the Identification of First Editions. If you’re working with a bookseller you know and trust, you won’t have to puzzle it out yourself.
  4. While some may like their books pristine and untouched, collectible modern books are occasionally signed or inscribed—so authenticity is obviously an issue, but so is the quality of the inscription. The ‘best’ or most interesting inscribed modern firsts can tell a story about the author and the person he/she inscribed it to: e.g., a friend, a lover, someone involved in the book’s production, a fellow author.
PT 109: John F. Kennedy in World War II, Robert J. Donovan, McGraw-Hill Book Company, inscribed and signed by JFK and all 10 surviving PT 109 crew members, sold for $13,750 at a Dec. 3, 2016 auction conducted by Heritage Auctions.

PT 109: John F. Kennedy in World War II, Robert J. Donovan, McGraw-Hill Book Company, inscribed and signed by JFK and all 10 surviving PT 109 crew members, sold for $13,750 at a Dec. 3, 2016 auction conducted by Heritage Auctions.

What are some of the lesser-known places one can find rare modern issues?

I think church and library book sales are still viable book-hunting venues. Just in the past few years, I’ve found a couple of ‘sleepers’ in this way, one at a church jumble sale in Syracuse, New York, and one at a university library book sale, also in New York. My very best find happened at a church book sale in Massachusetts back in 1999. That was a first edition of Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman, in its jacket, no less.

Several people I interviewed for my book mentioned Goodwill and other charity shops as great places to find modern and ‘hypermodern’ firsts.

What is one of the best quotes you’ve ever come across regarding books?

Well, that one’s easy for me. The quote from Larry McMurtry’s novel, Cadillac Jack, which was the guiding light for my book – ‘Anything can be anywhere.’ And this is borne out almost on a weekly basis when some unknown or ‘missing’ manuscript, book, or piece of art is ‘found.’ It appeals to the treasure hunter in all of us.


Rebecca Rego BarryRebecca Rego Barry is the author of Rare Books Uncovered: True Stories of Fantastic Finds in Unlikely Places (2015) and the editor of Fine Books & Collections magazine. She also writes about books, history and auctions for The AwlSlate, and JSTOR Daily, and her chapter on the Warner sisters will appear in the forthcoming anthology From Page to Place: American Literary Tourism and the Afterlives of Authors (2017).