OUR STOCK

PRB&M is strictly an antiquarian concern, maintaining about a dozen distinct mailing lists in the areas shown between the bars above. Our Mexicana and other Latin Americana go to ca. 1850, and Bibles in exotic languages to ca. 1870, but nearly everything else we sell dates from before 1820—most categories from well before. Specialists in primary sources, we sell few used-scholarly, out-of-print books; and while chance and extreme irresistibility beget exceptions, our early stock is our raison d'être. The partners are members of the Antiquarian Booksellers' Association of America and the International League of Antiquarian Booksellers; David Szewczyk is a past president of the ABAA's mid-Atlantic chapter and presently a member of the national Board of Governors.

Our stock of all eras and origins is chosen for importance, beauty, romance, and rarity—conformable to the classic standards of bookselling practice and private and institutional collecting—but emphases beyond the standard and classic define its character.  PRB&M's OVERARCHING INTERESTS are in international, intercultural interaction and influence; in peculiar local customs and powerful, passing passions; and in the stresses, and losses and gains, of societies and their minorities and underclasses as they engage with and ponder each other. We document the spread of printing, i.e., of ideas; we are fascinated by the issues of colonial history and the struggles of independence.  We most savor, in a word, expressions of change and of BECOMING.

Thus a comely Greek-German Xenophon, or an early-19th-century Horace roughly printed in the U.S. backwoods, resonates for us in ways that even an Aldine Aristotle does not—happy though we are to offer the Aldine, and make no mistake. Compiling a list from our Spanish stock, one of the largest in the U.S., we may most delight in the first edition of an Iberian scholar's translation of an Arabic scholar's paraphrase of the work of a Greek Platonic philosopher—as tidily printed in Arabic and Spanish by the Spanish Royal press. Because translations represent minds stretching across borders, diglots and triglots please us: A dodecaglot makes our hearts beat fast.


PRB&M's typical Americanum expresses or illuminates the day to day encounters of Old and New World peoples, bubblings of what used to be called The Melting Pot, or the very various lifestyles and self-definings of the young America of our core period. Thus we like "first American editions"—and not just the works of the titans among American authors and printers, but those of typical ones.


Early voyages and travels obviously touch our "encounter" theme; less obviously, so do our early grammars and Bible parts, etc., in New World languages from Mohawk to Quechua or in "exotic" ones like Yoruba and High Wen-Li. A glance at our catalogues shows we sell lots of Latin, Greek, French, Spanish, Italian, German, and other European-language, non-English books, but it may be less quickly clear that we fancy these as printed in places where they are slightly exotic: WHY were the memoirs of that Swedish general printed in French in Frankfurt?


Our religion shelves are predictably strong in missionary materials and "Religion in Society"; and in keeping with our interest in times of struggle and change, and the relations of cultures with their minorities, we offer works of the Protestant Reformation and the rare English and American Catholica of our periods. The Reformation interest we share with many booksellers and others; that in "Catholicism beleaguered" seems at times to be ours and a very few collectors' alone. American Catholica especially, we think, is strangely undercollected and understudied . . .


Our law section offers ancient and canon as well as modern and civil law; individual acts and decrees (law in the raw); and treaties, constitutions, briefs, early commentaries, and dissertations—which show the law Becoming. A PRB&M emphasis: Human Rights.

And have we mentioned that we like early school texts? These show how individuals "become"—and what their cultures want them to become.


PRB&M'S BOTTOM LINE

We pride ourselves on the intrinsic interest of our material,
the accuracy of our cataloguing, and the integrity of our dealings.
We aim, simply, to place
good books and manuscripts
where they will be zestfully used
and possessed with satisfaction.


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