Wednesday, May 20, 2009


The first ABAA fair that I remember doing was in L. A. We made a liesurely transcontinental trip in our wonderful Renault (16 ? - the one with the seats that could be arranged in about 20 different ways) having made arrangements to stop at a number of National Parks, &c, en route.(Michal had a degree in Anthropology and had done fieldwork in the West.) Anyway we steamed into the rear of the Ambassador on the appointed day and started to unload our books, &c (we had brought some of our material in the car.) (That may also have been the year in which UPS was on strike and some boxes were late arriving.) There was some confusion among those arriving & I was confronted by a young rentacop who told me to stop, that there was a procedure, &c. Having travelled thousands of miles and arrived in a good humor I was not about to listen to whatever it was that he was yammering about. Words were exchanged and fierce looks; finally, someone emerged to say, OK, let them in, and in we marched. The fair was in charge of the (then) wife of a young L.A. dealer. We were as green as corn in May but since between the two of us we had 5 university degrees we did know something about books, if not about the book business. One of our books was a large early 16th Century world history which (in its earlier first edition) was the first book to mention America. Our leader's husband and fellow dealer came over and looked at it in some wonder and said, "Is it real?" Dumbfounded, I didn't know quite what to answer but assured him, yes, it was a real book, and, yes, it was over 400 years old, and yes, he could have it for the ridiculously low price we had on it, less discount, of course, and, if I remember rightly, he did buy it. There were dealers there , now legendary, whom I got to know over the years, very, very few of whom, I am sorry to say, are alive today. The tumult and the shouting dies; The captains and the kings depart . . .

1 comment:

  1. Hi grandpa,

    This is so interesting. I hope you post more stories/ memories here so that I can read them!