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NYIABF Presents is an annual event series that uncovers the rare book industry and amplifies novel ideas about literature, print, and material culture. Events are curated by the Antiquarian Booksellers’ Association of America


The series runs on Saturday, April 29. All events are free with fair admission and held in the Field and Staff room. Note that we cannot admit event-goers to the show floor before the fair begins at 12:00 P.M., or after the fair ends at 7:00 P.M.


2023 Schedule: Saturday, April 29


10:00 A.M. - 11:00 A.M.

ABAA Gender Equity Initiative Brunch

Enjoy light refreshments and kickoff the day's events with us!

11:00 A.M.

To Be Loved is To Be Changed: The Importance (and Joy) of Well-Worn Books

With Allie Alvis

You may know book historian and educator Allie Alvis as @book_historia, an illustrious Instagrammer (and Tweeter, and YouTuber) who illuminates the world of rare books for an ever-growing online audience. In their talk, Alvis explains how books change over time and with use, and explores how the restoration process can be an expression of love.


Allie Alvis is a rare-book cataloguer at Type Punch Matrix (Washington, DC; Booth A19) and formerly worked as the Special Collections Reference Librarian for the Smithsonian Libraries and Archives. Alvis has two master’s degrees, one in the History of the Book from University of Edinburgh and one in Information Management and Digital Preservation from University of Glasgow. They have published and spoken on topics ranging from the use of arsenic in bookbindings, the history of bookshelf organization, and the conservation work of Douglas Cockerell and Son. 

1:00 P.M.

Presentations and Provenance: How Signatures Add Value to Books 

with Joshua Mann

Books signed by the authors have always been desirable, but there is a spectrum of value that depends on how the book was signed and who owned it. An inscription to someone notable or influential in the author's life can place a book in an entirely different league of value. Joshua will examine and discuss several examples of signed books from B & B Rare Books' inventory. 


Joshua Mann founded B & B Rare Books (New York, NY; Booth B6) in 2003 with his partner, Sunday Steinkirchner. Joshua's specialties include Victorian literature, modern American literature, signed books and presentation copies, science, and baseball. He has lectured on the value of signatures and author associations, and is a books and manuscripts appraiser at ABAA book fairs. Although literature is the heart of B & B, Mann’s clinical research background in biology & medicine has led to an additional focus in the history of science. Joshua is a New York City native, and his favorite book is The Picture of Dorian Gray.


BSA Lecture:

Wayward Classifications: Dorothy Porter and the Order of Black Books 

with Laura E. Helton


In this talk, produced in conjunction with the Bibliographical Society of America, scholar Laura E. Helton presents her research on librarian, archivist, and curator Dorothy Porter (1905-1995). Porter was the first Black woman to receive a library science degree from Columbia University and went on to build an extensive, world-class collection at Howard University’s Moorland-Spingarn Research Center. She exposed the racism inherent in the Dewey Decimal System and as a result developed new methods of cataloging and classifying books, which Helton investigates in this talk. 


Laura E. Helton is an assistant professor of English and History at the University of Delaware where she teaches African American literature, book history, and public humanities. Helton’s interest in the social history of collections arose from her prior career as an archivist. Her work on the Howard University bibliophile Dorothy Porter has won multiple awards, including the Donald G. Davis Award from the American Library Association and the Maria Stewart Prize from the African American Intellectual History Society. 

7:00 P.M. - 8:30 P.M.

ABAA Gender Equity Initiative Mixer 

Kick up your heels, get to know the booksellers, and enjoy a glass of wine (or two). 



Header image via Walter Reuben, Inc. 

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