Updates At Panoply Books

Time For A New Website!

Good News!

We're developing a fresh, shiny new website for you to enjoy! Unfortunately, this means that our website here has stopped receiving our usual care and attention while we prepare to launch something more mobile and search savvy, as has been requested by customers. Our new website will be available at this same address, and will feature a large number of new books available for your perusal. Look for this to be available no later than the end of summer!

For the time being, no new books are being listed on this site. You can visit our latest items for purchase at our eBay store.

Thank you, and we hope to see you again soon!

Technical details, for the terminally curious...

Swimwear and pretty ladies in February

Warm beaches with cool drinks and bathing beauties are delightful thoughts on a chilly February day. Warm up with some pictures from Splash!: A History of Swimwear by Richard Martin & Harold Koda. Published in 1990, glamorous photos include a number of celebrities from the day.


Black History Month & Vintage Black Americana Books

The Ways of White Folks by Langston HughesThe origin of Black History Month can be traced to the 1915 collaboration of historian Carter G. Woodson and civic leader Jesse E. Moorland, co-founders of the organization now known as the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH). The group sponsored a national Negro History week in February of 1926. This was a time when many Americans were already commemorating the birthday of Abraham Lincoln, while Black communities were commemorating the birthday of Frederick Douglas--two American greats whose life work had a profound impact on Black American h

Fifty years later, with a push from the educated intellectual younger generation, the Association leveraged its influence to shift from a week to a month long celebration. Since President Gerald R. Ford's official recognition in 1976, every American president--regardless of party affiliation--has recognized Black History Month and endorsed the annual theme.

Panoply Books recognizes the significance of this history for Americans of all ethnic backgrounds. Even the offensive material offers some important--if not favorable--commentary on our culture and values. Panoply Books was honored to acquire a wonderful, extensive and diverse collection of Black Americana to deepen our formerly more modest selection. Our current collection of Black Americana is focused on vintage books, with subjects ranging from history, biographies, academia, fiction, poetry and art.

February may be the official Black History Month, but it is a history to be remembered--and collected--all year. Panoply continues to add to our collection with new listings every week. "Black memorabilia, sometimes called Black Americana, describes objects and ephemera relating to African American and Afro-European history. Most of this material was produced from the 18th through the 20th centuries. Frequently, these household items reflect racist ideas about black people through offensive and dehumanizing caricatures. However, black memorabilia also encompasses objects with positive connotations, commemorating civil rights advances or achievements by scholars, artists, musicians, athletes, politicians, and other members of the black community." (collectors' weekly)

Early 20th Century Thoughts on Race in the United States--DuBois in The Souls of Black Folk

Was he ahead of his time? Was he prescient? Was he a prophet? Certainly, he was brilliant, and his scintillating writing continues to grab a reader's attention to this day.

Some of us yet hope, that as the generations slide by with the years, that some of the old and rigid insensitive attitudes will fade into distant memory. Even as the idea of a flat earth has fallen from favor and use, so too may the notions that race or skin color in any way indicate worth, ability or even a difference.

The Souls of Black Folk by DuBois @PanoplyBooksHere are a few notable W.E.B. Du Bois quotes:

“I believe that all men, black, brown, and white, are brothers.”

“Either America will destroy ignorance or ignorance will destroy the United States.”

“What do nations care about the cost of war, if by spending a few hundred millions in steel and gunpowder they can gain a thousand millions in diamonds and cocoa?”

“Now is the accepted time, not tomorrow, not some more convenient season. It is today that our best work can be done and not some future day or future year. It is today that we fit ourselves for the greater usefulness of tomorrow. Today is the seed time, now are the hours of work, and tomorrow comes the harvest and the playtime.”
~ Three African-American Classics: up from Slavery, the Souls of Black Folk and Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass

Here's to hoping the people of the world can rise above superficial differences to a more united future. United We Stand, and all that good stuff.

We're excited to offer this handsome first edition of The Souls of Black Folk by W.E.B. DuBois, in addition to other books of his writings.

A Thousand Species of Shells, by Yoichiro Hirase--Japanese Woodblock Prints

This week we researched and listed a unique and delightful book of hand-colored Japanese woodblock prints:

A Thousand Species of Shells - Kai Chigusa
by Yoichiro Hirase

Created by a collector, dealer and scholar of Malacology--Hirase Yoichiro (1859-1925)--to fill an dearth of Japanese books on seashells, these four volumes each contain 100 hand-colored illustrations of seashells. According to the preface, his objective was to create a reference that could be used by artists as well as scientists.

Each volume contains twenty 2-page traditional Japanese prints, featuring 100 images of Japanese shells. This rare, complete set is bound in a traditional Japanese accordion fold style, with solid boards on top and bottom, opening from left-to-right with Japanese and Latin text.

From Wikipedia: "Woodblock printing in Japan is a technique...widely adopted in Japan during the Edo period (1603-1868). Although similar to woodcut in Western printmaking in some regards, the moku-hanga technique differs in that it uses water-based inks—as opposed to western woodcut, which often uses oil-based inks. The Japanese water-based inks provide a wide range of vivid colors, glazes, and transparency."

.. ..

Science History And A Work of Art - Featured Book

In the 21st century, we take reading, writing and publishing for granted, but truth be told, it is a relatively recent phenomenon.

Ferguson's AnatomyWriting and publishing in the 1700s was a very different experience from anything 21st, or even 20th century. All writing was done with a pen and ink, and printing was laborious.

A shop clerk in a small town might be able to read and write, but the cost of pen, paper, and ink was prohibitive. The average person didn't write much, and a single shelf of books was a prized possession. Books were written in long hand on sheets of paper, a craft generally reserved for the elite academic and idle rich, with some exceptions for some middle class who had the leisure time and money to indulge in the luxury. A tome such as this week's feature was an extravagant affair.

Astronomy: Explained upon Sir Isaac Newton's Principles, And made easy to those who have not studied Mathematics by James Ferguson

Sheets of handwriting were taken to the printer whose job it was to make type that matched it. Even something as casual as a newspaper was at most a weekly affair, and only available in major cities. Printing happened one sheet at a time, inking the plate of text that was then pressed to locally made paper. Fortunately, by 1773 the Scottish goldsmith William Ged had invented the stereoplate, or stereotype ...

(click here for complete post)

Black History In July

The Big Sea An Autobiography by Langston Hughes

Yesterday we released our most recent email catalog out into the world. It's packed full in an attempt to share the wide variety of selection available from our recent Black Americana acquisition. From Southern slavery accounts to Harlem Renaissance poetry, there are signed copies, first editions, and unexpected treats!

We're delighted to expand this offering at our store. In keeping with our typical schema, you'll also find a relevant art book and an LP in the mix.

Of course, we have plenty more from this collection available exclusively at our store.

Christmas in July is overrated. Why not repeat Black History month? It's a charged, interesting and dynamic piece of our country's history.

Live Music Event June 3, 2016

On June 3, 2016, there will be live music al fresco at Panoply Books for your listening pleasure. The garden next to the bookstore will be open with seating, and plenty of room to mingle. It finishes in plenty of time to watch the First Friday fireworks.

Live music before First Friday Fireworks

Our music coordinator has invited two musical acts offering genre-defying music, , performing 6-8 pm:

'Rock n' Crud Legends' as per Thurston Moore & Byron Coley
Here's a sound clip of Adult Band:

Experimental murky-sunset gut rock from central NJ

Here's the Facebook Event Page, if you like.

The performances will wrap up in time to enjoy the evening's fireworks over the Delaware River.

Of course, you are invited to visit our genre-defying book boutique and gallery of rare finds. We'll be extending our shopping hours for our fireworks guests: 11 am and 8 pm

#panoplybooks #livemusic #delawarerivertowns #lambertvilleNJ #newhopePA