ROSTENBERG & STERN (FIRM). Records [unprocessed]
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 Guide to the Madeleine Stern and Leona Rostenberg Papers, 1864-2005

Title: Madeleine Stern and Leona Rostenberg Papers

OCLC/RLIN No. (Unique ID): 746089475

 

Dates:             1864-2005

 

Bulk Dates: 1945-2005

 

Extent: 46 boxes; 50 linear feet

 

Abstract: Business records and personal papers of antiquarian bookselling partners Madeleine Stern and Leona Rostenberg.

 

Access Restrictions: Collection is open for research use. Copyright restrictions may apply; please contact repository for requests for copying and for authorization to publish, quote, or reproduce the materials.

Preferred Citation: [Description and date of item], [Box/folder number], Madeleine Stern and Leona Rostenberg, 1864-2005 (bulk 1945-2005), The Grolier Club of New York.

About the Finding Aid: This finding aid was prepared by Meghan Constantinou in Microsoft Word at the Grolier Club in 2011 and edited by Allison Hughes in December 2017.

 

Provenance: This collection was a gift of Estate of Madeleine B. Stern, Oct. 2007.

                                            

Appraisal Information: Duplicate catalogs were approved for deaccessioning by the Grolier Club Library Deaccessioning Committee December 14. 2017.

 

Biographical/Historical Note: Madeleine Bettina Stern, born in New York City on July 1, 1912, and Leona Rostenberg, born in New York on December 28, 1908, first met in 1929 while teaching Hebrew School at Manhattan's Temple Emanu-El. At the time, Stern was a freshman at Barnard College, and Rostenberg was completing her undergraduate studies at New York University. Four years later, after Stern received her Master's Degree in medieval English literature from Columbia University, the two women met again and began a lifelong friendship and companionship. In 1939, the rejection of Rostenberg's Ph.D. thesis (a decision that would be overturned decades later) led her to accept a position with the rare book dealer, Herbert Reichner. With personal and financial support from Stern, Rostenberg announced the opening of her own rare book business five years later in the fall of 1944. Within a few months, Stern left a tenure-track teaching job to join her friend as partner in the firm.

Over the next several decades, Rostenberg and Stern would firmly establish their reputation in the antiquarian book business. Amid running  the business out of Rostenberg's family home at 152 East 179th Street in the Bronx (later moving to Manhattan's upper east side) and taking annual European book buying trips, both women continued to pursue their individual scholarly interests. The pair's work on Louisa May Alcott, highlighted by their discovery of Alcott's pseudonymous sensational novels in the early 1940s, propelled Stern to continue research on nineteenth-century American women. Meanwhile, Rostenberg helped establish the first New York Antiquarian Book Fair in 1960 on behalf of the Antiquarian Booksellers Association of America (ABAA), an organization to which she would be elected president in 1972. In addition, the women published several joint memoirs of their life in the trade together, such as Old and Rare: Thirty Years in the Book Business (New York: A. Schram, 1974), Old Books, Rare Friends: Two Literary Sleuths and their Shared Passion (New York: Doubleday, 1997) and Bookends: Two Women, One Enduring Friendship (New York, Free Press, 2001). Sixty years after the founding of Leona Rostenberg Rare Books, Rostenberg died in New York on March 18, 2005.  Her eternal friend and partner, Madeleine Stern, followed two years later on August 18, 2007.           

 

Scope and Content Note: Business records include bibliographical and financial records. In addition to an incomplete set of catalogs, there is an alphabetical file of descriptions of items sold with purchase information. Professional papers include material about, in some cases, manuscripts of essays, talks and lectures, both joint and individual. There is extensive material about the play by Rita Kohn and the "dramatico-musical" by Katharine Houghton et al. Personal papers include correspondence, diaries, diplomas and certificates, passports and photographs. Correspondence includes a series of letters written by Leona Rostenberg during her residence in Strasbourg in 1936 and detailed letters written by both women to their respective families during the book purchasing trips abroad between 1947 and 1957. Also includes clippings, offprints, and audiocassettes.

Access Points:

 

Names

Rostenberg, Leona.

Stern, Madeleine B., 1912-2007.

Leona Rostenberg (Firm)

Rostenberg family.

Stern family.

Kohn, Rita T.

Houghton, Katharine.

Subjects

Alcott, Louisa May, 1832-1888.

Antiquarian booksellers. New York (State). New York. 20th century.

Women booksellers. New York (State). New York. 20th century.

Genres

Account books. New York (State). New York. 20th century.

Audiocassettes. New York (State). New York. 20th century.

Booksellers catalogs. New York (State). New York. 20th century.

Business records. New York (State). New York. 20th century.

Certificates. New York (State). New York.

Clippings. New York (State). New York. 20th century.

Diplomas. New York (State). New York.

Diaries. New York (State). New York. 20th century.

Ledgers. New York (State). New York. 20th century.

Photographs. 20th century.

Arrangement Note: This collection is organized into the following series:

Series I: Bibliographical records of antiquarian bookselling business

Series II: Financial records of antiquarian bookselling business

Series III: Joint works and professional activities of Leona Rostenberg and Madeleine B. Stern

Series IV: Works and professional activities of Leona Rostenberg

Series V: Works and professional activities of Madeleine B. Stern

Series VI: Personal and family papers of Leona Rostenberg

Series VII: Personal and family papers of Madeleine B. Stern

Series VIII: Photographs and Memorabilia

Series IX: Printed Material

Container List:

Series I: Bibliographical records of antiquarian bookselling business

Box

Folder

Title

Date

1

1-14

Descriptions of books sold by author A-Bou

undated

2

1-17

Descriptions of books sold by author Bou-Crem

undated

3

1-17

Descriptions of books sold by author Cren-Fy

undated

4

1-18

Descriptions of books sold by author Ga-Landr

undated

5

1-20

Descriptions of books sold by author Lands-Mon

undated

6

1-20

Descriptions of books sold by author Mon-Rec

undated

7

1-20

Descriptions of books sold by author Rec-Sz

undated

8

1-16

Descriptions of books sold by author Tat-Zy

undated

9

Collections of Material Sold

undated

10

Additional Descriptions of Books Sold

undated

11

Inventories

1949-2004

11

Customer Files

undated

12

Stock Books

1943-1981

12

Records of Books Purchased on European Trips

1948-1986

31

Bookplates

undated

31

Bibliographic Card Files

undated

32

Bibliographic Card Files

undated

Series II: Financial records of antiquarian bookselling business

Box

Title

Date

13

Customer Invoices

1974-1989

14

Customer Invoices

1990-2005

14

Special Interest Purchase Orders

1995-2004

15

Day Books, Cash Books, Etc.

1946-2004

15

Checkbook Stubs

1998-2003

16

Federal Income Tax Worksheets

1994-2004

Series III: Joint works and professional activities of Leona Rostenberg and Madeleine B. Stern

Box

Title

Date

17

Contracts, Royalty Statements, and Permissions

1964-2002

17

Joint Books and Publications

1975-1996

18

Joint Books and Publications

1997-2004

18

Joint Lectures and Talks

1973-1998

19

AABA Publications

1953-1998

19

Dramatizations about Rostenberg & Stern

1995-2000

20

Miscellaneous Correspondence

1965-2004

20

Articles about Rostenberg & Stern

1967-2002

20

Desiderata Lists

1995-1998

20

Audiocassettes

1975-2001

Series IV: Works and Professional Activities of Leona Rostenberg

Box

Title

Date

21

Books, Articles, and Lectures

1952-1996

21

Other Professional Activities and Correspondence

circa 1940-2005

Series V: Works and Professional Activities of Madeleine B. Stern

Box

Title

Date

22

Bound Set of MBS Periodical Articles

1935-1987

23

Bound and unbound MBS Periodical Articles

1945-2003

24

Books, Articles, and Lectures

1963-2003

25

Book Reviews by MBS

1972-1986

25

Miscellaneous: Correspondence and Other

1967-2005

Series VI: Personal and Family Papers of Leona Rostenberg

 

Box

Title

Date

26

Family Papers

1884-1990

26

Personal Correspondence

1921-1955

27

Personal Correspondence

1947-1956

27

Diaries

1922-1953

28

Academic History

1922-1998

28

Miscellaneous

1958-1988

28

Death

2005

Series VII: Personal and Family Papers of Madeleine B. Stern

Box

Title

Date

29

Family Papers

1864-2002

29

Personal Correspondence

1925-1957

30

Diaries

1925-1957

30

Academic History

1926-1997

30

Miscellaneous

1928-2005

Series VIII: Awards and Memorabilia

Box

Title

Date

32

American Printing History Association Award to Leona Rostenberg and Madeleine Stern

1983

32

NYU Alumni Association Achievement Award to Leona Rostenberg

1998

32

Leona Rostenberg ABAA President Glass Memento

1974

34

Posters and Memorabilia

undated

35

Posters and Memorabilia

undated

Series VIII: Photographs and Scrapbooks

Note: All photographs in need of preservation treatment.

Box

Folder

Title

Date

33

1

England and Switzerland Album

1947-1948

33

2

Scotland and Austria

1954

33

3

Brussels and Switzerland

1957

33

4

Leona Rostenberg Rare Books Scrapbook I

1936-1983

33

5

Leona Rostenberg Rare Books Scrapbook II

1974-1987

33

6

Untitled Scrapbook

1954-2000

36

1

Mack Family Photo Album

undated

37

1

Sweden Album

1925

37

2

Europe Album

1934

37

3

Kennebunkport Album

1935

37

4

Peregrinations of 1936 in a 1930 Chrysler Album

1936

37

5

Europe Album

1937

37

6

Riverbank Album

1938

37

7

Sunnybank Album

1940

37

8

Lake Mahopec, Concord, Mass, Star Lake Album

1943-1945

37

9

Sunnybank Ogunquit Album

1944

37

10

Out West Album

1946

37

11

England Album

1949

37

12

The Grand Canyon Album

1950

38

1

England Album

1951

38

2

Europe Album

1952

38

3

Europe Album

1953

38

4

S.S. Noordam Album

1955

38

5

Miscellaneous Album Pages

1928

38

6

Mack Family Home

undated

38

7

Dr. Adolph Rostenberg

1950

38

8

Miscellaneous Artwork

undated

38

9-14

Miscellaneous Family Photos

undated

39

1

Negatives

undated

39

2-3

Black and White Photos

undated

39

4

Black and White Photos

1915-1973

39

5

Color Photos

undated

39

6

Color Photos

1964-1999

39

7

Discards

undated

39

8

Duplicates

undated

39

9

Original Photos to Scan

undated

39

10-11

Miscellaneous Photos

undated

39

12

Postwar Bookbuying Trips

1947-1954

39

13

East Hampton

1968-1999

39

14

Rugs and Tapestries

1991

39

15

Bookends Photographs

undated

39

16

Leona’s Birthday Album

1993

39

17

Old Books, Rare Friends Book Signing

1997

39

18

Leona and Madeline Portrait

2002

39

19-20

Non-Photographic Artwork

undated

Series IX: Printed Material

            Subseries 1. Catalogs and Lists

Box

Folder

Title

Date

40

1

Bound Catalogs 19, 21 and 22

undated

40

2

Bound Catalogs 23-25

undated

40

3

Bound Catalog 26

undated

40

4

Bound Catalog 27

undated

40

5

Bound Catalog 28

undated

40

6

Bound Catalog 29

undated

40

7

Bound Catalog 30

undated

40

8

Bound Catalog 31

undated

40

9

Bound Catalog 32

undated

40

10

Bound Catalog 33

undated

40

11

Bound Catalogs 34, 37, and 39

undated

40

12

Bound Catalog 35

undated

40

13

Bound Catalog 36

undated

40

14

Bound Catalog 38

undated

40

15

Bound Catalog 40

undated

40

16

Bound Catalog 55

undated

40

17

Bound Catalog 62

undated

40

18

Bound Catalogs 1-2, Lists I-VI

undated

40

19

Bound Lists VII-XIII

undated

40

20

Bound Lists XIX-XVIII

undated

41

1

Leona Rostenberg Book Notes, 1500-1700

undated

41

2

Catalog 1

1946

41

3

Catalog 2

1947

41

4

Catalog 19

undated

41

5

Catalog 22

undated

41

6

Catalog 23

undated

41

7

Catalog 25

1957

41

8

Catalog 26

undated

41

9

Catalog 27

undated

41

10

Catalog 28

undated

41

11

Catalog 29

undated

41

12

Catalog 30

1961

41

13

Catalog 31

1962

41

14

Catalog 32

1963

41

15

Catalog 34

undated

41

16

Catalog 38

undated

41

17

Catalog 39

undated

41

18

Catalog 40

undated

41

19

Catalog 45

undated

41

20

Catalog 46

undated

41

21

Catalog 47

undated

41

22

Catalog 48

1969

41

23

Catalog 49

undated

41

24

Catalog 50

undated

41

25

Catalog 55

undated

41

26

Catalog 56

undated

41

27

Catalog 57

undated

41

28

Catalog 58

undated

41

29

Catalog 61

1973

41

30

Catalog 62

circa 1974

41

31

Catalog 63

1974

41

32

Catalog 65

undated

41

33

Catalog 67

1975

41

34

Catalog 70

1976

41

35

Catalog 71

undated

41

36

Catalog 72

undated

41

37

Catalog 73

circa 1977

41

38

Catalog 75

1977

41

39

Catalog 76

circa 1978

41

40

Catalog 78

1978

41

41

Catalog 79

1978

41

42

Catalog 80

1979

41

43

Catalog 81

1980

41

44

Catalog 82

1980

41

45

Catalog 83

1980

41

46

Catalog 84

1981

41

47

Catalog 85

1981

41

48

Catalog 86

1981

41

49

Catalog 87

1981

41

50

Catalog 88

1982

41

51

Catalog 89

1982

41

52

Catalog 90

1982

41

53

Catalog 91

1983

41

54

Catalog 92

1983

41

55

Catalog 93

1983

41

56

Catalog 94

1984

41

57

Catalog 95

1984

41

58

Catalog 96

1985

41

59

Catalog 97

1985

41

60

Catalog 100

1986

41

61

Catalog 103

undated

41

62

Catalog 104

1987

41

63

Catalog 111

1988

41

64

Catalog 117

1989

41

65

Catalog 118

undated

41

66

Catalog 119

circa 1989

41

67

Catalog 120

undated

41

68

Catalog 122

1990

42

1

Catalog 129

1991

42

2

Catalog 136

1992

42

3

Catalog 140

1993

42

4

Catalog 143

undated

42

5

Catalog 144

undated

42

6

Catalog 150

1995

42

7

Catalog 155

1996

42

9

Catalog 160

1997

42

10

Catalog 163

1998

42

11

Catalog 168

1999

42

12

Catalog 173

2000

42

13

Catalog 176

undated

42

14

Catalog 177

undated

42

15

Catalog 185

undated

42

16

Catalog 188

undated

42

17

“1776” catalog

1976

42

18

Lists I-XXIII

undated

42

19

Lists 51-110

undated

42

20

Lists 112-139

undated

42

21

Lists 141-159

undated

42

22

Lists 160-186

undated

42

23

Lists (Not Numbered)

undated

42

24

Lists (Not Numbered)

undated

            Subseries 2. Books

Note: These books have not been processed. To be cataloged and appraised; duplicates and out of scope material to be deaccessioned.

Box

Title

Date

43

Books

undated

44

Books

undated

45

Books

undated

46

Books

undated

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