In my last post I mentioned buying a Lathrop Harper catalog and since discovered that I had actually bought two. I thought for sure I had and it was the 200th one I wanted to mention, but I couldn’t find it on Saturday. Turns out it was still in the bottom of the bag that held all the estate sale goodies. So now that I have a total of three Lathrop Harper items I have good reason to talk about him. I love those old booksellers of the past and Lathrop’s my favorite because he used to sell books to Belle Da Costa Greene for the Morgan Library. You may remember that I wrote a post about her in September (The Belle of the Books). I’m crazy about Belle, so if Belle liked this guy I liked him too.
I love being a bookseller, but how I wish I could have been one in another time. Probably not Lathrop’s, as bookselling was a male dominated profession then. But I fervently wish I could have done this at a time when bookselling still required passion and scholarship. I have plenty of the first and have happily spent the last 13 years reading, studying, and learning. Even so, all I know about books and bookselling would fit inside a thimble with room left over.
The amount of information a bookseller could strive to know is so vast I doubt a lifetime is enough to master it. But what a trip it is to try!