Joie du Livre: FABS Newsletter for April 2024


The Ellesmere Chaucer, detail of folio 1r. Image from Huntingdon Digital Library

Whan that Aprille with his shoures soote,
The droghte of March hath perced to the roote,
And bathed every veyne in swich licóur
Of which vertú engendred is the flour;
Whan Zephirus eek with his swete breeth
Inspired hath in every holt and heeth
The tendre croppes, and the yonge sonne
Hath in the Ram his halfe cours y-ronne,
And smale foweles maken melodye,
That slepen al the nyght with open ye,
So priketh hem Natúre in hir corages,
Thanne longen folk to goon on pilgrimages,

-Geoffrey Chaucer, The Canterbury Tales (ca. 1400)

Here is the news from FABS for April.

The April FABS blog post features Douglas Scott Brown's on his American history collection: "Plotting the Path to Justice: The Stories Behind the Stories." Brown takes us on a journey from Montesquieu and Cotton Mather to Isaiah Thomas and Harriet Beecher Stowe, presenting a stunning group of association copies.


The ABAA is accepting entries for the 2024 National Collegiate Book Collecting Contest where more than $6,000 in prizes will be awarded to student collectors. The contest is open to all prizewinners of your college contests, whether or not first prize, and to interested students whose institutions do not offer contests. More information can be found here. All entries should be submitted here (in PDF) by June 10, 2024.


Even if not a member of a FABS society, YOU are welcome at the thriving FABS Special Interest Groups! Join us for an hour's informal discussion of your favorite topic. All groups meet at 4:30pm Pacific, 6:30pm Central and 7:30pm Eastern. To get on the list for one of these groups, contact Jennifer Larson at

April 8: Handpress Era (second Monday of the month). Printed materials before 1800. Our speakers will be Justin Hanisch on the printing history of Louis Renard’s Poissons, ecrevisses, et crabes, an early color-plate book on fishes, and J. David Archibald on Gilbert White's Natural History of Selborne and its outsize influence, including on Charles Darwin.

March 21: 19th Century Group (third Thursday of the month). All things 19th-century and bookish

March 18: Bindings Group (third Monday of the month). Bindings and the bookbinding arts of all periods

March 26: Living With Books (fourth Tuesday of the month) All the pleasures and paraphernalia of home libraries

The 38th Akron Antiquarian Book and Paper Show will be held March 29 and 30 at the John S. Knight Center in Akron. This fair is sponsored by a FABS member society, the Northern Ohio Bibliophilic Society (NOBS) who deserve kudos for reviving it after the pandemic.

Patrick Montgomery and Richard Grosbard, co-chairs of the Grolier Club photography collectors group, cordially invite photography enthusiasts to view their bi-monthly newsletter, which includes an extensive list of links to exhibitions, auctions, sales and websites.

FABS Member Society Online/Virtual Events for April: Free and Open to the Public 


First up in April, the Manuscript Society welcomes Jay Gaidmore to discuss diaries and letters from the Virginia Women Writers Archive. (April 1)

Sarah Deutsch will discuss her new book on California and the making of a modern US West for the Book Club of California (April 8)

Bindings enthusiasts will want to join George Fletcher for a video walkthrough of the Grolier Club exhibition "Judging a Book by its Cover," which spotlights seven centuries of bindings--everything from pigskin with clasps to embroidered silk to modern commissioned works (April 10) You can also see highlights of this exhibition on Omeka.

What connects spiritualism, eugenics and the American West? Find out in Julie Carr's talk about her great-grandfather, a US Congressman and founding member of the Populist Party (Book Club of California, April 15)

Robert E. Walls will discuss Indigenous books in the Pacific Northwest and why they matter at the Annual Meeting of the Book Club of Washington. All are welcome to hear his keynote address (April 21)

Little Women fans won't want to miss Kent Bicknell discussing Louisa May Alcott and her family at the Grolier Club (April 23)

The month wraps up with a talk by Jean Pfaelzer on California as a slave state, from the forced labor of Indigenous people in the construction of the California Missions to brothels in early San Francisco to modern examples of human trafficking (The Book Club of California, April 29)


Stay tuned to the FABS Calendar, as more April events are sure to be posted soon.


Contact: Jennifer Larson,

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