Swann Galleries’ Guide to Rare Book Week 2019 in NYC

Rare Book Week kicks off March 5 in NYC. We gathered a selection of our favorite events happening throughout the week, as well as several not-to-be-missed exhibitions. See you there!


New York Antiquarian Book Fair March 7-10


An etching of man reading with literary greats looking down on him advertising the NY Antiquarian Book Fair. Image by Mark Summers. Going on during Rare Books Week.
Image Courtesy of NY Antiquarian Book Fair


The New York Antiquarian Book Fair takes over the Park Avenue Armory for NYC’s Rare Book Week. The fair will bring a wide selection of rare books, maps, manuscripts, illuminated manuscripts and ephemera, as well as a host of programming.

Also on view are Book and Paper Fairs and The Armory Show.



The Grolier Club


Exhibition advertisement for The Grolier Club's Rare Book Week exhibition opening.
Image Courtesy of The Grolier Club


In the midst of its centennial year, the Grolier Club is continuing to celebrate the “Art & History of the Book.” On view will be Alphabet Magic: Gudrum & Hermann Zapf and the World They Designed, which celebrates the couple’s contributions to type design and calligraphy. Opening March 5 is A Matter of Size: Miniature Texts & Bindings from the Collection of Patricia J. Pistner. A free curator-led tour will be offered on March 6 from 1-2.


Love & Resistance: Stonewall 50 on view at the New York Public Library


Gay Liberation Front marches on Times Square, New York City. Diana Davies, 1969. Manuscripts and Archives Division, The New York Public Library. Exhibition going on during Rare Book Week.
Gay Liberation Front marches on Times Square, New York City. Diana Davies, 1969. Manuscripts and Archives Division, The New York Public Library.
Image Courtesy of the NYPL


The NYPL’s exhibition Love & Resistance: Stonewall 50 commemorates the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots and illustrated LGBTQ history with images from photojournalists Kay Tobin Lahusen and Diana Davies, as well as the Library’s vast archival holdings. On March 6 Art Talks: Love & Resistance Out of the Closet into the Stonewall Era will be held in the Schwarzman Building at 6:30 pm.

On June 20 Swann will be holding its first “Pride” Sale, coinciding with WorldPride and the 50th anniversary.


Betye Saar: Keepin’ It Clean on view at the New-York Historical Society


Betye Saar's Liberation, 2011. A washboard with a painted image of a mammie. Exhibition going on during Rare Book Week.
Betye Saar (b. 1926), Liberation, 2011, Mixed media on vintage washboard, Collection of Sheila Silber, Courtesy of the artist and Roberts Projects, Los, Angeles, CA.
Image Courtesy of New-York Historical Society


Best known for her assemblage works, Betye Saar’s washboards take the spotlight in the New-York Historical Society’s Betye Saar: Keepin’ It Clean. The exhibition showcases Saar’s distinct vision in how she reclaims derogatory images of African Americans in American culture.


And, of course, Auctions

Early Printed, Medical, Scientific & Travel Books March 7 at Swann

Two page spread of an illuminated Prayer Book in Latin and French from France.
Lot 168: Illuminated Prayer Book in Latin and French, France, 1530s-40s. Estimate $20,000 to $30,000.

Early illuminated manuscripts, incunabula and post-incunabula lead our sale of Early Printed Books. Highlights include a Prayer Book in Latin and French, France, 1530s-40s, Nicolaus Panormitanus de Tudeschis’s Lectura super V libris Decretalium, Basil 1477, and “The finest edition of Don Quixote that has ever been printed.”

Our exhibition is open to the public: March 2, 12-5; and March 4 to 6, 10-6. While visiting be sure to stop by the 5th floor to view Property from the Ismar Littmann Family Collection of German Expressionism & European Avant-Garde.