Mar 2

Welcome to the 40th Annual Washington Antiquarian Book Fair!

After months of planning, here we are. With a week to go before Preview Night, I am beyond excited about the possibilities in front of us and as we arrive at the fortieth anniversary, I find myself reflecting on the 15th anniversary of my own involvement with WABF. It’s hard to believe that a volunteer opportunity at our daughter’s school has turned into a true labor of love. I am proud to be the Chief Curator of the Fair.

I remember my first Fair like it was yesterday – the crowds, the booksellers, the parent volunteers, and most vividly my conversation with Ed Bomsey about his grown children and my four-year-old. He now has grandchildren and my daughter is a freshman in college. Time flies.

And while I have no training as a bibliophile and I am not a literature major, a writer, a librarian or an expert on Shakespeare, I do know that I love curating the Fair. When I take time to think about why that it is, I realize it’s because this event is all about connectedness and discovery. The Exhibitors are connected to their collections, each other and the Fair-goers. The Fairgoers are connected to a particular genre, author or time in history. We all discover more when we connect and converse with each other.

Book collecting to me has been a deeply personal experience. While walking through Shenandoah a few years ago (full disclosure, after a particularly hectic couple of hours at the fair, I was heading to my favorite hiding spot) I waltzed by Jerry Showalter’s booth and spotted a book in his display case that stopped me in my tracks. The book stirred memories of my childhood in ways I could not have imagined. I am proud to say that it was my first rare book purchase and I cherish it every day.

I like to think my job is to connect people who love books with people who know books.

This Fair will do just that.

Good as it is to inherit a library, it is better to collect one. – Augustine Birrell 



A classic is read not to enjoy but only to be boast about it. - Aman Jassal