ROSENBACH, A Biography by

ROSENBACH, A Biography

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The Napoleon of the book auction rooms of the English speaking world was an unconventional bibliomaniac, who in his 76 years, revolutionized book collecting in the US. His purchases were front page news -- a First Folio of Shakespeare, a -- Gutenberg Bible, A Bay Psalm Book, the manuscript of Alice in Wonderland. And in the course of his career he made himself into a legend (some of the details are refuted in this record -- and some are amplified). Written and printed family papers, business papers, etc. provide the skeleton for the biography, but the intimate close-up of the man himself, his essential quality, relationship with his socially conservative and pious Philadelphia Jewish family, his problems with his brother Philip, a partner in his business -- all this could only come out of first hand knowledge. A superb portrait emerges, although the personal and human side is in the final analysis subordinated to the career as a rare book dealer. The Rosenbach Foundation may be considered his monument to scholarship in this country. But his permanent place was made in his role of ""making bibliographiles of others"". Anyone who cares about books -- and bookmanship -- will find this irresistibly good reading. To those only superficially concerned, it may seem overlong and overladen with the details of the search for the treasure, and the machinery of its acquisition, though for them too this endearing portrait of a notable figure of our times is good biographical adventure.

Publisher: World