The Acquisitions Table: Circular to All Who Play at Billiards

L. Decker’s Circular to All Who Play at Billiards, with Incidental Advice to Purchasers of Billiard Tables… Embellished with Beautifully Engraved Diagrams. New York: L. Decker, 1859.

billiardAn early unrecorded billiards catalog published by Levi Decker was just one gem in a stack of 45 pamphlets given by AAS member Kenneth Carpenter and his wife Mary. Out of this stack, fully 40% were entirely unrecorded in OCLC! AAS’s cataloging records will provide the first access to these titles for scholars. Another 40% of the pamphlets received did have records in OCLC, but were scarce enough that only one or two copies were known to exist. The slight form and ephemeral nature of pamphlets has meant they were long considered less important recipients for bibliographic work and cataloging time. As the known universe of books has become increasingly well-cataloged and often digitized, however, pamphlets are taking on an increasingly prominent role – less for their bibliographic interest then for the singular content often contained only within their pages. The particular examples AAS just acquired will prove useful to scholars working on everything from the aforementioned billiards tables, to the auctions of Boston’s Back Bay lots, to those studying minor local poets such as Edward Kesson, who appears based on the copy now at AAS to have sent his poetic pamphlet Lallera to no less a personage than Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.

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