Greenpoint’s 5th annual Brooklyn Antiquarian Book Fair kicks off Brooklyn Book Week

August 22, 2018 Brooklyn Daily Eagle
This portrait of Mary Shelley by Richard Rothwell, will be on loan from the National Portrait Gallery in London for the "It's Alive:  Frankenstein at 200" exhibition, at the Morgan Library, NYC, this October.  Curators John Bidwell and Elizabeth Denlinger will preview the exhibition in a talk and power point presentation at the Brooklyn Antiquarian Book Fair. Photo courtesy of the Brooklyn Antiquarian Book Fair
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Book lovers by the hundreds from both boroughs will be heading to Brooklyn this fall for what has become one of the largest and most popular literary events in the country. Brooklyn Book Week, as it is informally known, is a weeklong celebration of books both old and new. It kicks off with the return of the Brooklyn Antiquarian Book Fair (BABF) to Greenpoint’s Brooklyn Expo Center, Sept. 8 and 9.    

The 100-exhibitor fair is the largest regional book fair of its kind. The depth and diversity of exhibitors, talks and galleries makes it a showcase for the best of the best in vintage and rare books; prints, photos and ephemera. This is the fair where rare book librarians from top libraries and museums mix with collectors and fair-goers of all ages. Exhibitors, heralding from 20 states, Italy, England and Canada, will have on display and for sale more than 50,000 items.

This year the BABF features a fair-within-a-fair — The Brooklyn Print & Photo Fair, highlighting exhibitors of fine prints, vernacular and found photos.   Six new gallery exhibits devoted to fine prints are featured in the new section, with works ranging from prints by such well-known artists as Milton Avery, and Paul Cadmus to Russian art that spans the early 1900s to 2007.

In the exhibit room show-goers will find the largest known assembly of artwork produced by leading Swedish and Scandinavian artists of the 1960s and 1970s counterculture — the Swedish Underground Exhibition.  Exhibition organizer, Johann Kugelberg, founder of Boo-Hooray, which is known for its archival collections of pop, punk and underground art, will conduct a tour of the exhibition and a talk humorously titled, “Why is the Swedish Underground Important:  I Don’t Speak Swedish?” on Sunday at 2 p.m.

The fair is also celebrating a special birthday — Frankenstein is 200 years old this year. Mary Shelley’s famous novel was first published in 1818 when she was eighteen and there is lots of activity surrounding the occasion.  New York City’s Morgan Library will mount an exhibition this coming October, titled “It’s Alive!” to commemorate the anniversary. The Morgan Library’s John Bidwell and New York Public Library curator Elizabeth Denlinger will present a preview of the exhibition at the BABF on Saturday at 5pm.  Find out why the book’s message is a relevant today as it was when it was written.

Another fair “first” is an exhibit of historic photo booth images compiled by film and darkroom photographer Nakki Granin. Russian immigrant Anatol Josepho built the first curtain-enclosed photo-booth in 1925 and “quickie photography” took off.   Goranin, author of “The American Photobooth,” has brought together images from her vast photobooth collection, curated especially for this event. If you have a family album or box filled with family photos, you are certain to enjoy this exhibit.

Don’t miss BABF’s series of exciting talks throughout the weekend. Exhibitor Lorne Bair will discuss how to collect ephemera of the 20th- and 21st-century social movements, while Heather O’Donnell, founder of Honey and Wax Booksellers in Brooklyn, gives us a look at “New Directions in Book Collecting.” Anna Jozefacka, Lyda Klich and Juliana Kreinik, authors of “The Propaganda Front: Postcards from the Era of World Wars,” will cover what makes the perfect propaganda postcard, illustrated with examples from the late 19th century through WWII.

On a lighter note, exhibitor Garrett Scott will present a talk “From Aristotle to Asa K. Butts, or the Literature of Earth Closets, Troublesome Monkeys, Sex and Reform in 19th Century America.”  Writer A. N. Devers, founder of The Second Shelf, a rare book business and literary quarterly, will give a talk that is focused on writing by women.  Devers will introduce some overlooked and forgotten women writers, explore gender inequality in the literary canon, and suggest how collectors and institutions can help redress a discriminatory literary history.  Talks are free with pre-registration online and a fair ticket.

Don’t miss the fair’s “Bagels & Books,” opening preview Saturday from 10 a.m., benefiting scholarships at Rare Book School.  It’s a great way to get a jump start on all of the fun and great shopping. Tickets are $30 and available online at a discounted price at  


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