SWANN, ARTHUR. Papers and correspondence, 1900-1956
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Arthur Swann: Papers and Correspondence, 1900-1956

RLIN ID No.
NYGG87-A16

Main Entry
Swann, Arthur, 1875-1959.

Title
Papers and correspondence, 1900-1956 (bulk 1900-1928).

Physical Description
2 boxes (.8 linear ft.)
3 photographs

Historical/Biographical Note
Arthur Swann worked for booksellers in Liverpool and Leeds before coming to New York City in 1902 and joining the Anderson Auction Company. From 1913 he was associated with the American Art Association, where he organized the rare book and manuscript department. After leaving the Association he served briefly as a vice president of the Brick Row Book Shop in New York City. From 1933 he was a vice president of what became the Parke-Bernet Galleries in New York City. During his long career he prepared the auction catalogs for many significant sales of rare books and manuscripts held in New York City.

Scope and Contents Note
Letters from many booksellers and collectors to Swann concerning his activities in the New York book trade. Also, holograph manuscript of appraisal of library of J. Pierpont Morgan carried out 1915-1916 by Swann with assistance of Joseph Martini (Guiseppe Martini). Collection includes testimonials gathered by Swann in England in 1900 as to his character and ability and two typescripts by him on important sales.
Correspondents include J. Hornstein, Cortlandt Field Bishop, P. J. Foley, and Byrne Hackett of the Brick Row Book Shop. Collection includes undated typescript by Ernest Dawson, “What’s Wrong with the Book Trade?” Also, three photographs and clippings relating to Swann’s departure from the American Art Association in 1927 and other related subjects.

General Note
Swann was a member of the Grolier Club, 1958-1959.

Finding Aid Note
Unpublished finding aid available in repository.

Names
Bishop, Cortlandt F. (Cortlandt Field), 1870-1935. Correspondence.
Dawson, Ernest. What’s wrong with the book trade?
Foley, Patrick Kevin, 1856-1937. Correspondence.
Hackett, Edmond Byrne, b. 1879. Correspondence.
Martini, Guiseppe, 1870-1944.
Morgan, J. Pierpont (John Pierpont), 1837-1913. Library.
American Art Association, Anderson Galleries (Firm)
Anderson Galleries, Inc.
Brick Row Book Shop (New York, N.Y.)

Subjects
Antiquarian booksellers. New York (State). New York. 20th century.
Booksellers and bookselling. New York (State). New York. 20th century.

Genre
Appraisals. New York (State). New York. 20th century.
Clippings.
Photographs.

Occupation (as reflected in collection)
Antiquarian booksellers. New York (State). New York. 20th century.

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


Collection Inventory

Box 1

Testimonials
Testimonials as to the good character and ability of Arthur Swann from employers, clergymen, teachers, etc.

Correspondence
J. Hornstein (bookseller and exporter of London). Correspondence with AS, 1912-1913. [Correspondence concerns purchase of library of W. C. Dulles, who lost his life on the Titanic.]

Letters to AS, 1900-1955 (bulk 1911-1915). [Includes Swann’s letters to John Anderson, Jr. regarding
possibility of work in New York City and copies of correspondence regarding Swann’s
departure from American Art Association.]

Letters to AS, 1919-1926.

Letters from several correspondents praising Swann’s work in cataloging sales, 1921-1927. [A few of
these letters are ALS; the majority appear to be copies and lack signatures.]

Correspondence, Aug. 1927-27 Oct. 1927. [Letters deal with Swann’s departure from American
Art Association and includes his letter of resignation; file includes two copies of “Memorandum:
Mr. Parke” dated 10 August 1927, which is unsigned but probably by AS.]

Correspondence, 28 Oct. 1927-April 1928. [Correspondence with Byrne Hackett of Brick Row
Book Shop and congratulatory letters on his joining the firm.]


Box 2

Appraisal
Appraisal of Library of J. Pierpont Morgan made by Arthur Swann, Joseph Martini (Guiseppe Martini) and
possibly others on behalf of the American Art Association, 1915-1916 (holograph ms., 197 leaves, arranged in four folders). Also correspondence regarding interview Swann gave to the press regarding the Morgan collection.

Clippings
Clippings regarding Swann’s departure from American Art Association and new position at
Brick Row Book Shop, 1927-1928.

Clippings regarding purchase of copy of the Bay Psalm Book by A.S.W. Rosenbach, 1946.

Miscellaneous clippings on matters connected with the booktrade, etc.

Photographs
Anderson Auction Company New York City. Exterior view of 5 West 29th Street in 1904 (black and white
Photograph, 14 x 24 cm.).

Joseph Harrington, employee at Anderson Auction Company (undated black and white photograph, 9 x 10 cm.).

Arthur Swann at Park-Bernet Galleries, [1930s?] (black and white photograph, 20 x 26 cm.; photographer: Taylor & Dull, New York City).

Typescripts
Untitled typescript which recounts the beginning of AS’s association with the Anderson Auction Company
and major sales for which he prepared catalogs, undated (20 leaves; 2 copies).

“Rare Books and Rare People.” Typescript of address to Men’s Club of Forest Hills (Queens, New York), given 9 Nov. 1936 (14 leaves).

“A Few Leads.” Typescript, [1927?] (3 leaves). Author not identified but probably by AS; details
problems with Anderson Auction Company.

Miscellaneous
American Art Association. Contract detailing terms and conditions between AAA and a collector for
whom it conducts a sale, undated.

Dawson, Ernest, “What’s Wrong with the Book Trade?” Typescript, undated (6 leaves).

“Never a Book in the Lot.” Manuscript of poem inspired by Foyles of London’s statement that the store contained twenty-eight and a half miles of books (3 leaves; endorsed in pencil: “Lines by Kyd”).

George D. Smith (bookseller, New York City). 3 catalogs.
Selection from Literary Correspondence of the Late James R. Osgood, 1895.
Catalog of Valuable Rare and Interesting Books. No. 2, Pt. 1, 1895 and No. 3, 1896.

Knights Templars, Palestine Commandary (sic). Certificate of Membership issued to Arthur Swann, 16
Jan. 1922.

Secondary Material about Arthur Swann
Ettinghauser, Maurice Leon. Except from his Rare Books and Royal Collectors (New York: Simon &
Schuster, 1966) (photocopy).

Greenwood, Terrance. “Arthur Swann, Lover of Books,” American Book Collector (Oct. 1932), 214-
217 (photocopy).

Rudy Ruggles Presents Arthur Swann (Chicago: Caxton Club, 1969) [Speech by Ruggles at Caxton Club of Chicago, 1956].
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