In the spring of 2019, former Clements Library director Kevin Graffagnino proposed the idea of a book project which would be the sequel to the Clements’ 2017 publication The Pioneer Americanists: Early Collectors, Dealers, and Bibliographers. While The Pioneer Americanists consisted of a curated collection of autobiographical and biographical entries of some of the most noteworthy 19th century American librarians, bibliographers, book collectors, and dealers, this next title would focus on those of the 20th century. The book would be Kevin’s final publication before his retirement from the Clements while also serving as a memorial to the late Bill Reese and his work as a book dealer. Americana is a Creed was the result and was brought to press in late 2019.
A collection of essays and book excerpts about notable librarians, bibliographers, book collectors, and dealers, each chapter is preceded by a short introduction to the person profiled. In addition, there is an introduction discussing the history of bibliography, book collecting, and dealing across the decades of the 20th century.
The hardcover volume is illustrated with photos of those profiled as well as related holdings from the Clements Library’s collections. Its 405 pages were edited by J. Kevin Graffagnino (Randolph G. Adams Director of the Clements Library), Terese M. Austin (Head of Reader Services), and Sara Quashnie (Information Resources Assistant). Americana is a Creed features a variety of notable persons from the book world including: Edward Everett Ayer, Wymberley Jones De Renne, Wilberforce Eames, William L. Clements, Henry R. Wagner, Charles E. Goodspeed, George D. Smith, Bruce Cotton, Charles P. Everitt, Arthur Alfonso Schomburg, Harold C. Holmes, Edward Alexander Parsons, Wright Howes, Edward E. Eberstadt, Charles F. Heartman, E. Millicent Sowerby, Thomas W. Streeter, Margaret Bingham Stillwell, Ernest Wessen, Douglas C. McMurtrie, Randolph G. Adams, Michael J. Walsh, Dorothy Porter Wesley, David Magee, David A. Randall, Leona Rostenberg and Madeleine Stern, Charles Hamilton, Marcus A. McCorison, Charles L. Blockson, Michael Zinman, John H. Jenkins, and William S. Reese. An extensive bibliography of related sources is also included.
Information Resources Assistant
Americana is a Creed: Notable Twentieth-Century Collectors, Dealers, and Curators is now available to order on the Clements Library Marketplace with direct shipping to customers.
Book Reviews and Accolades
“It is so handsome and elegantly crafted. The tribute is wonderful and makes my heart sing. Thank you so much for this lovely work of love.” —Dorothy Hurt, widow of Bill Reese
“The introductory essay to the recent volume is a gem that weaves the complex threads of collecting into a coherent view on the changing times, themes, and personalities. The individual pieces are similarly illuminating.” —Bruce E. McKinney [Rare Book Hub]
“Americana is a Creed: Notable Twentieth-Century Collectors, Dealers, and Curators is a big, beefy book as sprawling and exciting as its subject and a cracker jack follow-up to its big, beefy precursor. . . . Americana is a Creed will resonate with anyone who appreciates its religious-like fervor, and for those who don’t – well, this may just make a believer out of you.” —William Butts [Manuscripts, Vol. 72, No. 2/The Manuscript Society]