Shelf:Life - Links to what's new in the world of old, rare, and collectable books, insights into book collecting, the news stories that matter, and occasional comments by TheBookGuide.  Archived Stories.

September 2015

French 16th century book has 'earliest' pictures of tennis
Academics believe a 16th century French book contains the earliest printed images of a game similar to tennis. They are contained in a book by Guillaume de La Perriere, "Le theatre de bons engins", or the theatre of fine devices, published in Paris in 1540 ... more  Add a comment

Unseen Ezra Pound poem sold at auction
An unpublished poem by Ezra Pound, in which the American poet extols in an Elizabethan sonnet the "pools" that are the "dearest eyes" of his friend, the British painter Isabel Codrington, has been sold at auction for £7,500 ... more  Add a comment

Original 1890s Manuscript of "Happy Birthday" Found
Warner Music Group says they own the copyright to "Happy Birthday," a song whose value has been estimated at roughly $5 million.  That copyright claim is one of the reasons why you rarely hear "Happy Birthday" sung in a movie or television show, and why Warner is being actively litigated against for unfairly claiming ownership of a song in the public domain. Now, that battle is about to get a lot more complicated.  Deep in the vaults of the University of Louisville, a librarian has now discovered what appears to be the original manuscript of "Happy Birthday," or at least the earliest known version.  The sheet music dates back to the 1890s, and is for a song originally titled "Good Morning to All," which eventually morphed into the song, "Happy Birthday" ... more  Add a comment

The raiders of rare books
Why are we so fascinated by the bibliomania of biblioklepts (a person who steals books)? Are we drawn to bibliomania because they seem to say something about the nature of our relationship to books? That it is more intimate and more complex than we imagined? ... more  Add a comment

What it's like to top banned book lists
Dav Pilkey's bestselling Captain Underpants books have been pulled from the shelves and out of children's hands for being 'inappropriate' and 'anti-establishment'. Here's why that's so wrong ... more  Add a comment

Aristophil manuscript stock to be auctioned
Aristophil, the scandal-hit French company that amassed the world's largest private collection of manuscripts, has been liquidated and its stock will be put up for sale. The 5 August judgment in the Commercial Court, Paris, was based on its "complete insolvency" ... more  Add a comment

U-boats and octopuses collide in WW1 propaganda maps
While the soldiers of World War I fought on various fronts across Europe, artists and governmental departments on the home front engaged in their own propaganda battle via posters, postcards, and patriotic memorabilia. Antiquarian map dealer Rod Barron's collection of World War I propaganda maps provides a fascinating look at the range of persuasive images being produced by both the Allied and Central sides during the war ... more  Add a comment

First dodo drawing goes under the hammer
The first known depiction of the Dodo is up for auction tomorrow (Wednesday September 2) at Lyon & Turnbull in Edinburgh. The engraving features in the Second Dutch Expedition of 1598 to Indonesia, written and illustrated by the commander of the voyage, Admiral Jacob Cornelisz van Neck ... more  Add a comment

Titanic's last lunch menu expected to fetch up to $70,000
More than a century after first-class passengers aboard the Titanic ate grilled mutton chops and custard pudding in an elaborate dining room, the ship's last luncheon menu is expected to fetch up to $70,000 in an online auction, a curator said on Monday ... more  Add a comment

Ancient copy of 'could rewrite history of Islam'
An ancient copy of the Koran found in a Birmingham library could rewrite the early history of Islam, experts believe. Some of the world's oldest fragments of the Muslim holy text were discovered by the University of Birmingham in July ... more  Add a comment