Old books, rare friends: two literary sleuths and their shared passion

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Doubleday, Jun 1, 1997 - Antiques & Collectibles - 275 pages
13 Reviews
Louisa May Alcott once wrote that she had taken her pen for a bridegroom. Leona Rostenberg and Madeleine Stern, friends and business partners for fifty years, have in many ways taken up their pens and passion for literature in much the same way. The "Holmes & Watson" of the rare book business, Rostenberg and Stern unlocked the hidden secret of Louisa May Alcott's life when they discovered her pseudonym, A.M. Barnard, along with her anonymously published "blood and thunder" stories on subjects like transvestitism, hashish smoking, and feminism. Old Books, Rare Friendsdescribes their mutual passion for books and literary sleuthing as they take us on their earliest European book buying jaunts. Using what they call ""Finger-spitzengefuhl,"" the art of evaluating antiquarian books by handling, experience, and instinct, they treat us to some of their greatest discoveries amid the mildewed basements of London's booksellers after the Blitz. We experience the thrill of finding one of the earliest known books printed in America between 1617-1619 by the Pilgrim Press and learn about the influential role of publisher-printers from the 15th century. Like a precious gem,Old Books, Rare Friendsis a book to treasure about the companionship of two rare friends and their shared passion for old books.

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Review: Old Books, Rare Friends: Two Literary Sleuths and Their Shared Passion

User Review  - Allyson Faith - Goodreads

I loved this book. The working friendship of two fascinating, erudite women intrigued me greatly (harking back to my decades-long interest in that between Vera Brittain and Winifred Holtby). I enjoyed ... Read full review

Review: Old Books, Rare Friends: Two Literary Sleuths and Their Shared Passion

User Review  - Cindy Dyson Eitelman - Goodreads

Another long anticipated book that turned out to be not nearly as good as expected. Some parts were gripping, like the search for AM Barnard...but that occurred halfway through the book. Both the ... Read full review


Prologue I
Youre Suddenly a Miss
Morningside Heights

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About the author (1997)

MADELEINE B. STERN is one of the world's leading authorities on antiquarian books and an acknowledged Alcott expert. She has authored or edited six books covering the life, times, and works of Louisa May Alcott.