Friday, October 10, 2014

Bibliogrp* (for Bibliograp*)

While trying to stay awake during a BIBFRAME webinar recently, my flagging attention was caught by a typo that appeared a couple of times on the monitor: Bibliogrpahic. Some typos are rather fun to sound out, and as I silently rolled this one around on my tongue, I was unaccountably put in mind of the state of New Jersey. It took a few moments, but I soon figured out why: the last part of it sounds a bit like Passaic. And just south of Passaic is Newark, the largest city in the Garden State. (Which demographical distinction further calls to mind the wonderful sister act known as The Roches, who would often trill, "We come from deepest New Jersey..." and who once recorded a song that began: "Didn't you ever feel like the largest Elizabeth in the world?") Wilberforce Eames, a truly formidable force of nature, was born in Newark, New Jersey, on October 12, 1855, and later moved to Brooklyn with his family. Former New York Public Library director Harry Miller Lydenberg, as part of a memorial tribute delivered at the 1956 meeting of the American Antiquarian Society, tells the amazing story of this life-long book collector, bookseller, librarian, and bibliographer, one that I can merely hint at here with the following quote: "Books, books, books, there was no end, bought from auction catalogues, from dealers' lists, wherever they were seen, from home and from the ends of the earth. Fred Morris, that faithful agent and loyal soul, came to me more than once, genuinely distressed because he felt that Eames was buying beyond his means and he felt that 'something must be done.' Equally sympathetic, equally fond of our friend, we could but say finally that the man was prudent enough in other ways, and with such matters we could feel that as he had proven able to meet his other responsibilities with credit, here we could do nothing more than wish him well..." Let us all wish Wilberforce well this weekend, with gratitude for his contributions to all things bibliographic. (Note: I've truncated the original typo for better access; there were 47 in OhioLINK and "too many records found for your search" in WorldCat.)

(Wilberforce Eames, painted for the Society by Mr. DeWitt M. Lockman, 1931, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

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