University of Virginia Library

2. Book-Collecting Journals

The other principal category of general bibliographical journals consists of those ostensibly directed toward an audience of book collectors.


Page 176
They are not necessarily less scholarly, and indeed many of them are notable for their learned commentary. Thus the dividing line between this category and the previous one is not distinct; but it makes some sense, for purposes of classification, to separate those journals associated with book collecting—by virtue of their title, their content, or their sponsoring organization—from those journals associated with bibliographical societies. In practice, of course, the two groups together constitute the central core of general journals in the field of bibliography. The principal book-collecting journal in English at present, the Book Collector, illustrates the point, for its editorials, bibliographical descriptions, notes and queries, and reviews maintain a high scholarly standard. Because it began in 1952—that is, after the start of the SB checklists—there is no problem about its indexing; but part of the run of its predecessor, Book Handbook (1947-52), appeared before the SB coverage, as did all of Bibliographical Notes and Queries (1935-39), the forerunner of the notes and queries section of the Book Collector—and while Book Handbook is indexed in Turner, Bibliographical Notes and Queries is unfortunately not indexed anywhere.

In fact, the indexing of book-collecting journals in general is extremely sparse, with only a few of the important ones receiving even fragmentary coverage. Thus one can go to the English Subject Index for nearly all (1919-30) of the Bookman's Journal and Print Collector and for a small segment (1915-22) of the Irish Book Lover; to the IBBB for most (1930-34) of Desmond Flower and A. J. A. Symons's Book Collector's Quarterly and for Charles F. Heartman's American Book Collector (1932-35); to the International Index for part (1934-39) of the Colophon; and to Library Literature for the New Colophon (1948-50) and part (1936-39) of the Book Collector's Packet. But even after consulting four indexes, one has only partial coverage of most of the journals included and no coverage at all of such landmarks as Paul Leicester Ford's Bibliographer (1902-03), Heartman's American Collector (1925-28), the Limited Editions Club's Dolphin (1933-41), and the publications of the Grolier Club, the Book Club of California, and the Zamorano Club (Hoja Volante). As for the numerous book-collecting journals which flourished around the turn of the century, their contents may now be outdated, but the best of them contained a great amount of material which is still useful—if for no other reason—as a source of information about individual copies of books; this material certainly deserves to be made accessible through a consolidated index. Yet of all these periodicals, only Wheatley's Bibliographer (later Book-Lore, then Bookworm) is included in a standard


Page 177
index (Poole).[18] A thorough index to bibliographical literature should also cover at least Bibliomane (later Bibliophile and Book-Worm; 1881-94), Book Lovers' Almanac (1893-97), Legler's American Book-Lore (1898-99),[19] Literary Collector (1900-05), the Edinburgh Book-Lover's Magazine (1900-09), and Bibliophile (1908-09), and perhaps Philobiblion (1861-63) as well. With so many book-collecting journals neglected, it is not surprising that still lesser and more specialized ones, like Dime Novel Round-Up (1931- ) and Miniature Book Collector (1960- ), are ignored; yet all these periodicals contain material of permanent interest. The two principal journals in this area, aside from the Book Collector, that have started since 1949 are the new American Book Collector (1950- ) and the Private Library (1957- ), both of which are of course covered by the SB lists. But the need for a comprehensive index to the periodical literature of book collecting for at least the period before 1949 is undeniable; such a work would make possible for the first time the systematic use of this large body of bibliographical commentary.[20]