Saturday, November 19, 2011


The Personal Libraries Library is two years old! Over the past two years, the Library has had 118 members and has accrued over 200 books. Much printed matter has been created and sent out to the members and friends of the Library. To celebrate the two year anniversary, I have sent out another package of posters and printed ephemera.

Included is the poster of a spread of mine shafts from Jay Ellis Ransom's A Range Guide to Mines and Minerals from the Robert Smithson Personal Library Collection.

Also included is a new Pocket Wishlist that details some of the books needed for the Library. The wishlist is specially-made to fit in your wallet. Please carry this with you for those moments when browsing at a bookstore.

A commemorative poster celebrating the two years of the Library is also included. The poster was printed by letterpress in the PLL Press. Above is the poster in progress, while below shows the poster in process.

Please contact the Library at personallibraries{at}gmail{dot}com if you have any questions or want to join.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Fall 2011 Acquisitions: From 'Cryptanalysis' to 'Pleasure of Ruins'

New acquisitions include:

Cryptanalysis: A Study of Ciphers and Their Solutions by Helen Fouche Gaines (Smithson Personal Library)
Mathematics and the Imagination by Edward Kasner & James Newman (Smithson and Borges Personal Libraries)
Four Short Novels: Benito Cereno, Billy Budd, Bartleby the Scrivener, The Encantadas by Herman Melville (Borges Personal Library)

Also new to the Personal Libraries Library is John Stacks' Stripping. This volume is one out of the Sierra Club Battlebook series, that also includes Oilspill, Clearcut, Oil on Ice, and Mercury. The title page image is directly related to Robert Smithson's work.

More new acquisitions include:

Italo Calvino Personal Library:
Joan of Arc and The English Mail-Coach by Thomas De Quincey
Tristam Shandy, Gentleman. by Laurence Sterne

Jorge Luis Borges Personal Library:
Fear and Trembling by Soren Kierkegaard
Above the Dark Circus by Hugh Walpole

Robert Smithson's Personal Library:
The Story of Maps by Lloyd Brown
Pleasure of Ruins by Rose Macaulay
The Age of Energy: Varieties of American Experience 1865-1915 by Howard Mumford Jones

A ruin-cum-living tower in Macaulay's influential Pleasure of Ruins.

Engravings of Abraham Ortelius of Antwerp (1527-1598), who "compiled and edited the first general atlas of the world in modern times," and Gerard Mercator (1512-1594), whose eponymous mercator projection is the primary way that we understand the world in maps. It distorts the shape and size of many landmasses and countries, particularly towards the poles.

Please contact the Personal Libraries Library Librarian at personallibraries{at}gmail{dot}com if you want to check out any of the books or for inquiries about membership.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Summer Acquisitions 2011

New Acquisitions to the Maria Mitchell Personal Library Collection:
Gravitation by Sir George Airy
Physical Geography by Mary Somerville

New Acquisitions to the Italo Calvino Personal Library Collection:
Poems by Wallace Stevens
As You Like It and A Midsummer Night's Dream by William Shakespeare

New Acquisitions to the Jorge Luis Borges Personal Library Collection:
A Man in the Zoo by David Garnett
The Book of the Thousand and One Nights by Sir Robert Burton

New Acquisitions to the Robert Smithson Personal Library Collection:
A Soldier of Humor and Selected Writing by Wyndham Lewis
A Rebirth of Images: The Making of St. John's Apocalypse by Austin Farrer
The Pyramids of Egypt by I.E.S. Edwards
Geology Illustrated by John S. Shelton (below)

A page spread, "Some Characteristic Features of Glacial Deposits:"

and "The Scablands of East Central Washington:"

Other new acquisitions in the Robert Smithson Library include:
Of Time, Work, and Leisure by Sebastian de Grazia
Exploring American Caves by Franklin Folsom
a beautiful Cape Editions copy of Henri Lefebvre's Dialectical Materialism

and Sylvia Plath's Ariel, to join The Bell Jar.

If you are interested in any of these new books & the Library, contact the Librarian at personallibraries{at)gmail{dot}com

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Summer 2011 Printed Matter!

The most recent PLL printed matter mailing has traveled far and wide: from across the US to far-flung locations such as Iceland and South Africa! The ephemera, in one form or another, is sent to all members & friends of the Library.

Included in the matter is this poster featuring a beautiful spread of zinc and copper ores from Jerome Wyckoff's Geology: Our Changing Earth, from the Robert Smithson Collection.

Also included, and nestled in their own gold-sealed-folders, is a number of index-page letterpressed prints. Catalogue members received two out of the series of five, while Acquisition members received one.

Keep an eye out for more printed matter later in 2011.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

June Acquisitions / Somehow None for the Calvino Collection

Our new acquisitions include, from the Jorge Luis Borges Personal Library Collection:

Moll Flanders by Daniel Defoe
Professional Secrets by Jean Cocteau

and Geometry and Faith by Thomas Hill from the Maria Mitchell Personal Library Collection.

From the Robert Smithson Personal Library Collection, we just accessioned:

Ritual Magic by E. M. Butler
Some Versions of the Pastoral by William Empson
The Making of Americans by Gertrude Stein
Symbols, Signals & Noise: The Nature and Process of Communication by J.R. Pierce
Rock Art of the American Indian by Campbell Grant

Grant's book includes many incredible photographs and illustrations. Above illustrates sandstone paintings by the Chumash of California. It details that "only the Chumash and the neighboring Yokuts painted on smoke-blackened surfaces."

Some Versions of the Pastoral joins Empson's other book The Structure of Complex Words on the shelf. They make a fine pair.

Please contact the Librarian at personallibraries{at}gmail{dot}com for information about the Personal Libraries Library or if you are a member and want to check out any of these new books.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Openings (and New Aqcuisitions, April 2011)

One cannot travel anywhere in the back country of the United States, especially west of the Great Plains, without being impressed by the many evidences of old mines showing grayly on the flanks of ragged mountains and crumbling ghost towns wrapped in sage and silence at the ends of long abandoned dirt roads.

-first sentence from A Range Guide to Mines and Minerals by Jay Ellis Ransom

In addition to the incredible A Range Guide to Mines and Minerals from Smithson's Personal Library, new March/April acquisitions include:

Learning and Language: The Debate between Jean Piaget and Noam Chomsky by Massimo Piattelli-Palmarini (Calvino Personal Library)

Sunny Memories of Foreign Lands by Harriet Beecher Stowe (Mitchell Personal Library)

Culture & Anarchy by Matthew Arnold (Smithson Personal Library)

Tycho Brahe: A Picture of Scientific Life and Work in the Sixteenth Century by J.L.E. Dreyer (Smithson Personal Library)

The Complete Poetry of William Blake (Borges Personal Library)
Selected Prose, Poetry, and Eureka by Edgar Allan Poe (Calvino Personal Library)

It is with humility really unassumed--it is with a sentiment even of awe--that I pen the opening sentence of this work; for of all conceivable subjects I approach the reader with the most solemn--the most comprehensive--the most difficult--the most august.

-first sentence from Edgar Allan Poe's Eureka: An Essay on the Material and Spiritual Universe

Sunday, February 27, 2011

February 2011 Reading Room & New Acquisitions

The February Reading Room Hours bring to an end the era of the small-bookcase for the Library. I am diligently sanding, staining & finishing the bookshelves for the Library to grow into. Look for the new shelves & Library room next month!

In addition to another successful Reading Room, the Library continues to grow in members and books.

The newest acquisitions include:

The Cyclical Night: Irony in James Joyce & Jorge Luis Borges by L. A. Murillo (Smithson Collection)
The Varieties of Religious Experiences by William James (Borges Collection)
Monsieur Teste by Paul Valery (Calvino Collection)

Also, are two more books to add to the Flaubert contingent!:

The amazing covers of Flaubert's The Temptation of St. Anthony and Victor Brombert's The Novels of Flaubert, from the Borges & Smithson Collections, respectively.

And lastly is Snapshots, by Alain Robbe-Grillet, from Smithson's Personal Library. The Library's edition has this amazing sheet taped in the back, showing Haslam's Bookstore's acquisition of the book on February 25, 1975. The Personal Libraries Library has now accessioned the same book almost exactly 36 years later! A beautiful parallel & paratext.

Please contact the Library at personallibraries{at}gmail{dot}com with queries about the books or membership. Also, please browse the Catalogues to see other books in the Library.