SAKS, JOHN A. Papers re book and manuscript collection, 1936-1983
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John Andrew Saks: Papers Relating to His Book and Manuscript Collection, 1936-1983


Saks, John Andrew, 1913-1983.

Papers relating to book and manuscript collection, 1936-1983 (bulk 1960-1982).

Physical Description
3 boxes (1.5 linear ft.)

Historical/Biographical Note
John Andrew Saks was born in Red Branch, New Jersey and graduated from Princeton University in 1936. From 1936 to 1963 he worked at Saks 34th Street, the store founded by his grandfather, retiring as senior vice president. He married in 1941 (three children) and his wife predeceased him in 1980. Saks was a Fellow of the Pierpont Morgan Library and a member of the Grolier Club from 1975 until his death in 1983. He sold his collection via auction at several sales conducted by Christies, Manson & Woods between 1979 and 1982.

Scope and Contents
Lists, catalogs and correspondence relating to book and manuscript collections of Saks, with emphasis on his collections of Ashendene, Doves, Gregynog and Kelmscott Press material and on his collection of 18th century Venetian imprints and his acquisition of the Sainte Chapelle Psalter. Correspondents include Norman H. Strouse and Charles Ryskamp as well as several book dealers, most notably the firm of Leo S. Olschki of Florence, which sold him many Venetian imprints. Also, a letter from Alan G. Thomas, an antiquarian bookseller of London, about the Sainte Chapelle Psalter, as well as photoprints.of some bindings in his collection.

Finding Aid

Unpublished finding aid available in repository; folder level control.

Ryskamp, Charles. Correspondence.
Strouse, Norman H. Correspondence.

Alan Thomas (Firm), London. Correspondence.
Ashendene Press. Collectors and collecting.
Christies East (Firm).
Doves Press. Collectors and collecting
Gregynog Press. Collectors and collecting.
Kelmscott Press. Collectors and collecting.
Leo S. Olschki (Firm), Florence. Correspondence.

Book collecting. New York (State). New York. 20th century.
Book collectors. New York (State). New York. 20th century.
Private libraries. New York (State). New York. Catalogs.


Occupation (as reflected in collection)

Book collectors. New York (State). New York. 20th century.

Grolier Club, 47 East 60th Street, New York, N.Y. 10022-1098.


Box 1
Book Collection

Vol. 1 (A-F) [From Abus du mariage (Amsterdam, 1641) to Jean Froissart, Chronicles (London: Pynson, 1523). Includes catalog of Saks’ Ashendene and Doves Press collections under name of the press.]

Vol. 2 (G-Me) [From Guadenisis… (Cologne, 1506) to Kelmscott Press; no entries under L or M.[1]

Vol. 3 (M-Z) [From Manuscript. Histoire Ancienne (France; late XIV century) to Vigerius, Marcus. Decachordum Christianum (Socino Press, 1507); no entries W—Z.]Material in 3 black binders; some entries are illustrated with photoprints or photocopies.

Book Collection (Priced)

Vol. 1 (Modern) A-Z [Arrangement: Manuscripts; 17th century imprints (a small number); modern imprints, including detailed listings of Ashendene, Doves, Gregynog and Kelmscott material. Saks acquired many trial pages and ephemera printed by these presses as well as autograph material. Includes some quotations and summaries from Saks and correspondence with dealers from whom he purchased individual items. In black binder.]

Vol. 2: G-Mc [Contents do not seem related to this description. Consists of correspondence from Parke-Bernet Galleries regarding sale of literary property (1969-1970) and correspondence from Chaucer Head Bookshop, William B. Liebman (bookseller), Philip Duschnes and William H. Schwab (bookseller), as well as from Walters Art Gallery, the Houghton Library at Harvard and collector Norman H. Strouse. Also letters from Charles Ryskamp of the Pierpont Morgan Library regarding exhibition of some of Saks’ Venetian imprints. In brown loose-leaf notebook.]


Invoices from firms of Henry Lyon (London) and Leo S. Olschki (Florence), ca. 1967-1980 [These two dealers supplied most, but not all, of Saks’ Venetian collection. In red loose-leaf notebook.]

Venetian booksellers lists A-Z [Pages photocopied from catalogs of printers/publishers of 18th century Venice and arranged alphabetically by bookseller. In brown wood-grained notebook.]

Material relating to evaluation and sale of collections [Saks valued his collection in 1976 and 1978, apparently using his own knowledge of the market to determine prices. Whether he consulted American Book Prices Current or recent dealers catalogs is not specified in his lists.]


Revised evaluations, 1977-1978 (1 folder)

Eighteenth century Venetian books illustrated. Valuations, 1976 (1 folder)

Correspondence (1975-1976) regarding collection valuation, including itemized list for the Kelmscott Press (1 folder)

Correspondence regarding sale of collections by means of auctions held by Christies, Manson & Wood, International between 1979 and 1982, including sale of furniture (in brown wood-grained notebook)

[Christies held the following sales of Saks material, but not all sales are represented fully here: November 1977; April 1978; April 1979; October 1980 (2 sales); May 1981; November 1980 (Christies, London); May 1982 and May 1983. Saks sold his Gregynog collection by private treaty in 1980.]

Gregynog Press. Forty-two books published by the Gregynog Press all in full leather deluxe bindings, comprising the personal collection of Mr. George Fisher, master binder of the press.  Also lists of Gregynog ephemera (1 folder)

“William Horman and His Vulgaria” [typescript], by Saks? (undated, [18] p.) [Regarding a work published by Pynson in London in 1519.]

Invoices from dealers [Miscellaneous folder comprising invoices from Philip Duschnes dated 1936; others dated 1962 and 1974.]

Notes on the Sainte Chapelle Psalter (Paris, ca. 1295) purchased by Saks [Includes TLS from London bookseller Alan G. Thomas regarding this manuscript which had belonged to Henry Yates Thompson.]

Photoprints of modern bindings in Saks collection (17 photoprints)

[1] Finding Aid originally stated: “Includes catalog of Saks’ Gregynog Press collection.” This material was not found in binder on 3/13/2013.  Annotated typescript catalog and photocopy (pre-annotations) found together in folder in Box 3, annotated catalog may have originally been in binder in Box 1. Finding aid changed to reflect (new?) location. MRC

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