A family wedding in Kenya inspires Ken to start reading about Africa-and thinking about the book collections that could be made up of works about this vast and varied continent. From the early exploration narratives of the 1700's to the novels of Ernest Hemingway and Isak Dinesen, the possibilities are almost as diverse as Africa is.
He voyaged with Captain Cook, escaped from college via canoe, and attempted to walk across Russia. But, most importantly for our purposes, he also wrote a plain looking, easily discarded book, some volumes of which contain an extremely valuable map. He's John Ledyard, the most interesting New England character you've never heard of and the author of Captain Cook's Voyages, the book we should all be scouring yard sales for!
Founded in 1635, Boston Latin School is the oldest public school in the United States, and boasts many famous graduates, including Benjamin Franklin, Henry David Thoreau, and Leonard Bernstein. One could build a collection consisting entirely of works by and about its illustrious alumni, as Ken suggests to one of his former Boston Latin classmates during a seemingly fairly raucous high school reunion. Plus, some tips on insuring your own rare book collection.
It was a year of violent upheaval and exuberant social change: 1968. Ken takes us there through a unique collection of books, letters, photographs, magazines, newspapers, and more, all to do with this tumultuous time in American history. It's a great example of an unusual collecting style but also an eerie and inspiring mirror of our present moment.
They took advantage of improved communications technology to sell a plethora of affordable goods to consumers across the United States, put local merchants out of business, and opened scores of enormous distribution centers. Sound familiar? It's not who you think, unless you’re thinking of Sears and Roebuck. We've got their old catalogs, which today serve as a nostalgic time capsule and a beautifully illustrated guide to the economic history of the average American.