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HISTORY: Established in 1988 through a donation by John Neal Hoover and developed in cooperation with private donors and with the help of other public, and institutional collection transfers, these materials were assembled rapidly in recent years at the Mercantile Library under this collection name and collecting program. The collection began with the cataloging and/or retention of the early priced catalogs which reflected the building of the Mercantile Library's earliest collections, and evolved into a deeper bibliographical resource with the passing of time.
SCOPE: This collection spans rare bookselling activity from the late eighteenth century to the present, and offers an historical view, holistically, of the rare book business in America, England, and continental Europe. The collection is of immense bibliographical, visual, and documentary use, and can serve a range of applications, from the documentation of patterns of connoisseurship locally and nationally, to the study of the history or rare book collecting and printing history.
HOLDINGS: 400 linear feet, archivally boxed and preserved, ca.100,000 printed items. Further additions will be comprised of new acquisitions and collections undergoing processing, such as the Arthur Goldsmith Collection of fine print prospectuses and collecting correspondence.
ACCESS: The collection is arranged alphabetically by bookselling firm, as special collection M-106. The collection is also cataloged on MERLIN, the UM System Online Catalog. Some of the material may be photocopied, digitally scanned, or photographed, depending on condition.
The Inventory of catalogs can be accessed here.
The inventory of bookseller lists and ephemera can be accessed here.