W. C. Baker Rare Books & Ephemera

W. C. Baker Rare Books & Ephemera

Specializing in books, manuscripts, and ephemera relating to unusual collections, exhibitions, and performances.

Operating as usual


"Idol and Altar at Copan." Lithographic plate by William Parrott after Frederick Catherwood, in Catherwood's 1844 VIEWS OF ANCIENT MONUMENTS IN CENTRAL AMERICA CHIAPAS AND YUCATAN. The "idol" depicts Maya ruler Uaxaclajuun Ub’aah K’awiil ("18 Rabbit") wearing the mask of an old god. Note the different sources of light in the picture, with the light upon the stele coming from below.

#rarebooks #colorplates #lithography #catherwood #centralamerica #honduras #copan #stele #altar #maya #18rabbit

"Idol and Altar at Copan." Lithographic plate by William Parrott after Frederick Catherwood, in Catherwood's 1844 VIEWS OF ANCIENT MONUMENTS IN CENTRAL AMERICA CHIAPAS AND YUCATAN. The "idol" depicts Maya ruler Uaxaclajuun Ub’aah K’awiil ("18 Rabbit") wearing the mask of an old god. Note the different sources of light in the picture, with the light upon the stele coming from below.

#rarebooks #colorplates #lithography #catherwood #centralamerica #honduras #copan #stele #altar #maya #18rabbit

Photos from W. C. Baker Rare Books & Ephemera's post 08/26/2021

Scenes from the life of Death: illustrations for Fray Joaquin Bolaños's 1792 allegorical novel, LA PORTENTOSA VIDA DE LA MUERTE ("The Portentous Life of Death : Empress of the Tombs, Avenger of the Grievances of the Most High and Dear Mistress of Human Nature ... "), published in Mexico City in 1792.
#rarebooks #librosantiguos #literaturamexicana #ladydeath #santamuerte #lifeofdeath

Photos from W. C. Baker Rare Books & Ephemera's post 02/02/2021

Details from the previous post on the broadside advertising the grand exhibition of Signor Antonio Spinetto of Genoa and his troupe of performing canaries.
From the text:
"1 Bird will perch himself on the mouth of a trumpet whilst being blown.
2 Bird will represent a frog ready for the leap.
3 Bird will represent a fowl ready for the spit.
4 Bird will sit in a chair and smoke a pipe.
5 Bird will represent himself at the top of a Pedestal, holding a Flag in each claw whilst the Trumpet is sounding, without moving until he is told.
6 Bird will stand on his head.
7 Bird will represent a Water Carrier.
8 Bird will hold a Lighted Match in Each Claw on a Pedestal, and suffer them to burn within a hair's breadth of his claws, fling them away, and return to the cage.
9 Bird will represent an Infant sleeping in a Cradle.
10 Bird will march round Napoleon's State Carriage, at the order of the Manager.
11 Bird will draw a small Car.
12 Bird will imitate Slack-Rope Vaulting.
13 and 14 Birds will imitate Tight-Rope Dancing.
Next is the Death of Marshall Ney.
15 Bird will represent Napoleon.
16 Bird will represent one of his Generals.
17 Bird will represent Marshall Soult.
18 Bird will represent Marshall Ney.
19 Bird will fire a cannon and shoot Marshall Ney.
20 Bird will afterwards take him off in a small car to the hospital.
21 Bird will draw a Carriage, representing himself going at the rate of 10 miles an hour.
To conclude with the representation of Buonaparte's Carriage, drawn by a CANARY!
The Birds are dressed in appropriate uniform."
#rarebooks #ephemera #broadside #canaries #learnedbirds #antoniospinnetto #genoa #newyorkcity #broadway #birdimpressions #napoleon #marshallney #tightropedancing

Photos from W. C. Baker Rare Books & Ephemera's post 02/02/2021

One of our favorite discoveries last year appeared in the collection of an ancestor of a private appraisal client: a folded, previously unrecorded broadside that had remained in the same house - and, evidently, the same stack of papers, since the mid-1800s. Advertising the New York leg of the American tour of the remarkable bird trainer, Antonio Spinetto, and his troupe of learned canaries, the broadside contains delightful woodcuts of the birds performing a series of extraordinary feats, which it lists in a detailed program (please see our next post for more images).
"GRAND EXHIBITION OF PERFORMING Canary Birds | Now open at No. 323 BROADWAY ... . SIG. ANTONIO SPINETTO, JUST ARRIVED FROM GENOA, WITH HIS WONDERFUL PERFORMING BIRDS." A previously unrecorded broadside, printed by Jos. A. Fraetas & Co. in New York, ca. 1848. Approximately 17 1/2 x 6 1/2 inches.
#rarebooks #ephemera #broadside #americana #newyorkcity #broadway #antoniospinnetto #canaries #learnedbirds


Today is the last day for @dividinglinebooks and @bakerbooks at The Store Next Door. Enormous thanks to everyone who visited and again to Left Bank Books for hosting us! If you have been planning to stop by but haven’t yet had a chance, we’ll be open at 41 Perry Street until 6:00.
#thestorenextdoor #rarebooks #ephemera #oddities #anomalies #sideshow #phrenology #virology #cabinetcard #cdv #broadsides


We're enjoying our time in the Village this week selling at The Store Next Door with Evan Miller of @dividinglinebooks and our friends at @leftbankbooks. We will be open through this weekend and Monday, 12:00 to 6:00, and would love to see you and share our collective wares (more info at the link in the bio).
With many thanks to @michaelbucher_ for coming in to photograph this afternoon.
#thestorenextdoor #perrystreet #greenwichvillage #rarebooks #broadsides #oddities


A small preview of our offerings at the upcoming Antiquarian Booksellers’ Association of America’s (ABAA) inaugural Boston Virtual Book Fair, running this week from Thursday, November 12, through Saturday the 14th. Please join Baker Rare Books and 150 fellow booksellers from around the world exhibiting a broad array of new acquisitions and discoveries. The ticketed preview day on on Thursday will allow customers to browse and purchase rare and valuable books, illuminated manuscripts, autographs, ephemera, political and historical documents, maps, atlases, photographs, fine and decorative prints, and more before opening to the general public on Friday. A portion of the proceeds benefits the Antiquarian Booksellers’ Benevolent Fund. Admission is free and open to all on November 13th and 14th. For tickets and more information, please visit abaa.org/vbf.
#bostonbookfair #rarebooks #ephemera #antiquephotographs #puppenspiel #puppets #anchorpuzzle #pierrepomet #unicorns #drugs #changyusing #chinesegiant #jewishbraillereview #braille #lovecraft #richardkern #montannahouston #zines #dismaland #banksy #natemcdonough #grixly #comix


"(Sat 30) On The Ghostly All Hallowed eav Creeping Squeeking Sneeking in Old Rages The Guests of the Kookoon Spookes Will Assemble in Their Den Where They Will Hallucinate to the Woozy Wail of Spectral Spooky Old Man Halloween Each Raged Spook will Groan to the tune of $1.50 upon passing From the out to the inn 2121 E 4 St." [Cleveland, Ohio: Kokoon Arts Club, 1926]. Broadside (lithograph), approximately 11 x 15 inches.
Poster invitation for Cleveland's Kokoon Arts Club's 1926 Halloween party, featuring a lantern-bearing ghoul unlocking the door to a subterranean chamber. The Kokoon Club, the base of much of Cleveland's early-20th-century bohemia and avant garde, was widely known in its heyday for its wild and elaborately designed social events. For more than two decades, members would compete to design the poster invitation for the large annual Bal Masque held early in the year. The more intimate Halloween parties generated a handful of smaller posters during the 1920s and early 1930s, at least four of which were almost certainly made by the same artist.
The present example is the first of that group, inviting guests to the club headquarters at 2121 East 21st Street on Saturday, October 30. The location and day of the week correspond to 1926, four years before the club moved to a new location at East 40th Street. A clue in a later year's invitation points to the artist as Auguste "Gus" Leysens (1888-1946), a Brussels-born lithographer and active member of the club from 1925 through the 1930s.
Rare, with the only known institutional copy at Kent State University.
#kokoonclub #cleveland #clevelandschool #rags #rages #raged #ragged #ghoul #spookyassembly #halloween2020 #halloween1926


This week, from Tuesday, October 6th, to Thursday, October 8th, we will be listing, for the first time online, a selection of fifteen literary modern first editions from the collection of Brazenhead Books, the "secret bookstore" of our friend, the beloved Michael Seidenberg, who died last summer. Proceeds from the sales of these books, all modestly priced, will benefit Michael's estate. The first twelve books will go on sale Tuesday at noon in Marvin Getman's monthly virtual book fair; on Thursday morning, three additional titles will be posted. Our booth at the fair may be accessed at https://getmansvirtual.com/w-c-baker-rare-books-ephemera - we hope to see you there!
#rarebooks #brazenheadbooks #michaelseidenberg #modernfirsts #yeats #thetower #beckett #murphy #kerouac #visionsofcody #marilynnerobinson #housekeeping #huntersthompson #fearandloathinginlasvegas #williamcarloswilliams #thedesertmusic


A sampling of the nine pieces of Americana (in the widest sense of the term) we will be selling Friday and Saturday (September 25 and 26) at the inaugural Antiquarian Books Seminars Virtual Book Fair. We will be joining the "booths" of more 100 fellow alumni and instructors of the seminar to benefit this important educational program for people interested in learning more about the rare book trade. The fair begins at noon Friday and may be accessed at https://cabsbookfair.getmansvirtual.com. Hoping to see you there!
#rarebooks #abs #cabs #cabsbookfair #blindmusicians #violin #autoharp #cyclist #historicalbicycles #cabinetcards #antiquephotographs #henrywardbeecher #plymouthchurch #littlesandyreview #robertkelly #deepimageaudio #gyorgymate #vietnam #ithappenedinfrontofourveryeyes


Bidding farewell today to one of the stranger items we have handled, the 1742 edition of the Capuchin friar Dionysius von Lützenburg's LEBEN ANTICHRISTI... ("Life of the Antichrist").
One of the last published examples of medieval-style prophecy, the book foretells the life, magical works, reign, and defeat of the Antichrist, with various revelations relating to signs of his coming and the end of the world, the murder and resurrection of Enoch and Elijah, and the Second Coming of Christ, as well as a section on the "Messiah of the Jews."
The book bears the unusual early 20th-century bookplate of Jenö Winkler ("Winkler Jenö," in the Hungarian style), who was also evidently its artist, with his monogram in the print.
#rarebooks #dionysiusvonlützenburg #antichrist #prophecy #apocalypticliterature #bookplates #jugendstil #jenowinkler #winklerjeno #biblioclasm


This week, one of nine new arrivals at our booth (link in bio), alongside the offerings of 150 fellow rare dealers, at Getman's July Virtual Paper & Book Fair, open until 6:00 p.m. (EST) Thursday, July 9!
A new copy of a favorite item we included in our first catalog, GROTESKEN-ALBUM (Vienna and Leipzig, 1922), featuring music for eleven piano compositions in the modernist "Grotesque" style by composers including Béla Bartók, Ernst Krenek, and Egon Wellesz, several of whose compositions were deemed "degenerate art" during the N**i era. Compiler Carl Seelig provides an introduction on the nature of the Grotesque in German, French, and English. The cover features a design incorporating a Harlequin-like contortionist by the influential Vienna-based artist and puppeteer Richard Teschner (1879-1948). The album is one of the first publications of the music of the long-underappreciated composer Karol Rathaus (1895-1954), who warmly inscribed and signed the present copy in the year of publication.
#rarebooks #ephemera #getmansvirtual #roteskenalbum #grotesque #avantgarde #modernist #sheetmusic #entartetekunst #degenerateart #jugendstil #harlequin #contortionist #richardteschner #carlseelig #karolrathaus #belabartok #ernstkrenek #egonwellesz

bedfordandbowery.com 06/04/2020

Is It Really a Rare Book Fair Without the Smell of Old Books?

Grateful to Alex Brady for her thoughtful article in Bedford+Bowery on bookselling in a time of isolation.

bedfordandbowery.com March 7 was the last time Will Baker went out to dinner. It was the weekend of the International Antiquarian Book Fair, which went off just before the city’s official “pause” order on March 20. The owner of W.C. Baker Books and Ephemera recalled an off feeling in the air. “There was this sor...


Please join us live online June 4-7 for the inaugural ABAA Virtual Book Fair. We have set up the Baker Rare Books "booth" (link below) beside 150 of our colleagues, all offering a wide array of newly cataloged rare books, manuscripts, and various kinds of ephemera.
Shown above is one of our featured items, the first full edition of Balthasar Bekker's DE BETOVERDE WEERELD ["The World Bewitched"] (1691-1693), a key Christian and Enlightenment work on demons, witchcraft, mental illness, and the epistemological relationships between science and theology. Among the several notable owners of this particular set was a Dutch aristocrat named Hell.
#rarebooks #provenance #balthasarbekker #descartes #morpheus #opiumpoppies #phantasmata #demonology #devil #demons #witches #witchtrials #nonoverlappingmagisteria #hell #theworldbewitched @ Brooklyn, New York


"Peace if possible | Justice at any rate." 1876 autograph note, signed by radical abolitionist and advocate for the rights of African Americans, Native Americans, and women, Wendell Phillips (1811-1884).

To support those fighting today for justice and peace for _all_, please consider splitting a secure donation among your choices of more than 50 community bail funds, mutual aid funds, and racial justice organizers via Act Blue: https://secure.actblue.com/donate/bail_funds_george_floyd

#wendellphillips #nojusticenopeace #bailfunds #prisonbookprogram


"Greensburg, Pa. / big storm / right on top of a mountain / after the storm." Real photo postcard, ca. 1908.
#circus #americancircus #circustent #bigstorm #mountaintop #afterthestorm #wizard #acrobats #roustabouts #greensburgpa #westernpa #rppc @ Greensburg, Pennsylvania


"Devil Dance," by Walter Bird (1903-1969). Photogravure from BEAUTY'S DAUGHTERS (1938).
#walterbird #devil #dance #mask #snakedancer #purging #cleansing #cham


"IT BECOMES SILENT / DIFFICULT OF ACCESS." Artist unknown, date unknown. Approximately 2.9 x 4.3 inches (image). An photograph I found at a shop in Soho in 1999 and have kept on my desk since but never understood.
#artphotography #foundphotograph #quarantine #silent #difficultofaccess

finebooksmagazine.com 02/19/2020

Bright Young Booksellers: Will Baker | Fine Books & Collections

Please enjoy my rambling in Fine Books & Collections' latest bookseller profile:


finebooksmagazine.com Our Bright Young Booksellers series continues today with Will Baker, proprietor of W. C. Baker Rare Books & Ephemera in Brooklyn, New York. Mr. Baker will be exhibiting at the Greenwich Village Antiquarian Book Fair this weekend. How did you get started in rare books?


We are pleased to announce our return to the Oddities Flea Market for the "Holiday of Wonders" fair Saturday, December 7, at Villain in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. It's the largest Oddities Flea yet, and we'll be exhibiting alongside more than 70 fellow peddlers of the peculiar. We will be presenting - Saturday only - a selection of rare and scholarly books, antique photographs, 19th-century broadsides, and more, for collectors of any budget.

Tickets for "VIP access" to the market, 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. are available from Atlas Obscura for $30. General admission tickets for the main event, 12:00 to 7:00, are available for presale on Eventbrite for $10 and at the door (limited to capacity) for $15.

Villain is located at 307 Kent Avenue Brooklyn, NY 11249.

We hope to see you there!


Obscura Antiques and Oddities is closing. When I first moved to New York in the summer of 2001, I kept stumbling late at night on my way home to an 8 x 8½-foot room in the East Village past a glowing window display of a two-headed calf, an antique globe, and 19th-century medical instruments on the other side. Each time, I was determined to make it back the next morning, but it took a week until I could finally find it during the day. The window looked into a tiny shop on East 10th St. then called the Wandering Dragon Trading Company. When I walked through the door, I entered a world I had always prayed existed - and, in many ways, walked in to the life I’ve been lucky enough to live since. The owners, Evan and Mike, were welcoming, hilarious, brilliant, and brimming with stories, and I soon found myself spending a portion of most evenings sitting on old stools or dentist's chairs listening to 1920s jazz and talking with Mike and Evan and the various regular characters who would also stop in about photography, sideshow and avant-garde performers, religion, and protest, and by the time I left the city two and a half years later I found that most of the friends I had made in New York were connected directly or indirectly to the shop. The organizations and events that grew up among Obscura's habitués over the following decade brought with them many wonderful new friends, moments, and ideas, and I will never properly be able to express my gratitude to Evan, Mike, and the world of wonders and refuge they created. Just found a few pictures taken at the shop's first location in September 2002.
#obscura #antiqueshop #oddities #eastvillage #vanishingnewyork


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