noun bib·lio·phile \ˈbi-blē-ə-ˌfī(-ə)l\
: a lover of books especially for qualities of format; also : a book collector
Owners David and Natalie Bauman began collecting rare books at an estate sale in 1973, and since have channeled their passion for collecting books into prestigious galleries across the United States. The Bauman’s remain dedicated to bringing an understanding of rare books to the public and offer the opportunity for people to purchase precious volumes that have been treated with the proper care. The staff are able to offer advice and consultation on home collection development, and customers can also create a personalized ‘want list’ which allows them to request rare volumes and notifies them when the titles are available.
“Forty-one years ago, we decided to turn our love of collecting fine old books into a business. We opened a store in Philadelphia, and put out catalogues whenever we could find a moment in between running the store, attending auctions, and exhibiting at book fairs and antiques shows across the country. It was an incredibly busy, exhilarating time, and confirmed for both of us our desire to bring this passion to as many people as possible. In 1989 we opened a gallery in the Waldorf Astoria Hotel, and the success of that venture encouraged us to expand our presence in New York City into a full street-level storefront gallery on Madison Avenue in 1999. This in turn led to an opportunity to open our second gallery in 2008, in Las Vegas.”
Upon entering the store, one finds oneself in a library of dreams. The dark brown wood and gilded leather tomes line the walls, mirroring the great libraries of history. Floor to ceiling shelves of famous novelists, play writes and poets facing outwards, each title glimmering as the eye passes over infamous titles of the past. The floors are lined in expensive rugs and the lighting is softly yellowed but still brightly comfortable for reading, adding the the library ambiance of the store. The very center of the room invites collectors and shoppers alike to explore the volumes safely, providing guests with a table and chairs. Free catalogs of the newest additions to the collections are available for free at the front of the store for anyone who is interested in purchasing from Bauman’s.
The staff was friendly, and upon request pulled the entire collection of Jane Austen’s for me to browse through. Pulling out a leather chair, I was beckoned to the table and gently instructed on the correct way to hold these valuable, precious books: gently, supporting the spine, cradling, and left to browse. Though they were unsigned they were first edition copies of six of her novels: Pride and Prejudice, Emma, Northanger Abbey, Sense and Sensibility, Mansfield Park, and Persuasion.
The company specializes in a wide variety of genres, with rare volumes and first editions in almost every category including Americana, Art, Architecture and Design, Children’s Books, History, Government and Thought, Literature, Music, Religion, Science, Medicine and Natural History, Sport and Leisure, and Travel and Exploration. In addition, the company also maintains an extensive collection of signed books, historic autographs, fine binding sets and photography.
Some of the highlights of the Las Vegas location include signed patents by Edison, chapbooks by Dickens, a copy of the Declaration of Independence, and first editions of Frost, Poe.. Some of the more known books (such as The Hungry Caterpillar and The Holy Bible) were kept behind glass windows throughout the store, while valuable hand-colored maps and war-era posters were hung on the walls. The center of the store featured a private room for study, encased in windowed and lined on either side by hallways featuring notable items.
For over 40 years, Bauman Rare Books has brought the world of rare book collecting to the public. With stores that function as libraries and museums, the Bauman galleries are continually committed to introducing people to rare book collecting.
For more information visit https://www.baumanrarebooks.com/.