What Good Is an Old Book?

DANIEL TRAISTER

Abstract

At what point does the hitherto unrecorded anonymous 18th-century novel fetching upwards of £1,000 seem not only a silly but an institutionally irresponsible acquisition?—Michael T. Ryan2


In December of 1984, the University of Pennsylvania Libraries bought an anonymous two-volume novel published in London by Thomas Lowndes in 1776. Item 99 in Catalogue 107 issued by the London firm of Marlborough Rare Books Ltd., The Husband’s Resentment; or, The History of Lady Manchester cost £550, or approximately $687.50 at the then-current exchange rate. Marlborough fully described the physical copy offered for sale—(“lge 12mo, half-titles, titles, 224 + 236 pp., . . .

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Copyright 1992© American Library Association


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