Showing posts from January, 2013

A bookman and his customer at 84 Charing Cross Road

Recognize this bookman? Trick question, sort of, especially for those unfamiliar with a certain movie version of a certain book. It's actor Anthony Hopkins and he's no bookman ( quite the reader,  though   ), but he did play one in a favorite movie among antiquarian booklovers-- 84 Charing Cross Road.  The 1987 movie was adapted from the 1970 book by Helene Hanff, which chronicled the correspondence between Hanff, a New York writer and lover of English literature and the London bookseller, Frank Doel , who supplied her with the books she discovered she wanted. This picture of Hopkins playing Doel is on a theater lobby card that also features Anne Bancroft in the role of Helene Hanff. Bancroft signed her photo so now I have the signature of the actor who played Helene Hanff to go along with the signature of Helene Hanff . Now if I can just get Frank Doel , I mean Anthony Hopkins--make that Sir Anthony Hopkins--to sign the other half of this card...

L'Auto-Carro Libreria: An Early Italian Bookmobile

This photo is cropped from the photo below that features a page from a 1922 issue of the once popular, long-defunct Italian publication L'Illustrazione Italiana . UNA NUOVA INIZIATIVA PER LA DIFFUSIONE DEL LIBRO proclaims the title at the top of the photo, or, in English (as best I can tell), A New Initiative for Distributing Books . I assumed at first this early bookmobile in Firenza (Florence) must be affiliated with a local library. Translating the caption below the photo and researching clues within it, I learned otherwise. The caption reads: L'AUTOCARRO LIBRERIA DEGLI EDITORI TREVES E DELL'ANONIMA LIBRARIA ITALIANA, FOTOGRAFAT IN FIRENZE DURANTE IL SUO VIAGGIO INAUGURALE or, in my best attempt at English through an Internet translation site, " The truck bookstore of the publisher Treves and of the anonymous Italian  books  , photographed in Florence during its inaugural journey ." So the bookmobile was a publisher's method of

A Napoli bookseller's postcard

This panoramic postcard from Napoli bookseller, Emil Prass, folds out to a length of 11 inches. The reverse side, when folded on the image, has one blank side for a written message and the other side formatted for an address and postage. I date it to the early 1900s, as I have found examples of Emil Prass imprints for various books published between the late 1890s and early 1900s, which establish Prass at the address on the postcard and in that time period. Those books dealt with local and regional history about places such as Naples, Pompeii, and Capri. As the print ad in the lower corner indicates, Prass was an international bookseller, but most of the books he published, that I found, are in the English language. His book shop's address is given as Piazza dei Martiri, 59-60 and Via Chiatamone, 5.  The Wikipedia page for Piazza dei Martiri  has a photo of how it looks today (above) and Google Maps Street View (below) offers another perspective. Researching Pras