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18 December 2006

USA Undergrads - Early Start as Rare Book Collectors & Bookdealers

Rare books find a home with youths :
By Carol Huang | Contributor to The Christian Science Monitor
(Post titles are links - click to see the source.)

"Bill Miglore, who graduated from Amherst College last spring, held up a dusty 1940 copy of Scholastic Magazine. But this copy contains Truman Capote's first-ever published work: a few lines about what he liked girls to wear on dates. The work had gone undiscovered for so long that Capote specialists stopped looking for it 20 years ago.

Fellow panelist Anne Harley, who records, performs, teaches, and researches Russian Gypsy and chamber music from the 1780s to 1850s, collects books of, well, Russian Gypsy and chamber music from the 1780s to 1850s. Her collection illuminating the 'cultural milieu' of the music won her Boston University's book-collecting prize last spring.

Ms. Harley reads aloud an excerpt that 'made her eyes light up' the first time she saw it, inviting the audience to experience the moment the words captured."

This feature story is not a humble one from 'The Music Man' about the farm boy who keeps a dime novel hidden in the corn crib. Huang continues:

Miglore snatched up the long-lost Capote paragraph by running a variety of specialized online searches for the right Scholastic Magazine, which someone had decided to sell on, a leading online marketplace.

"It is a time-consuming and devoted process," Harley says by phone prior to the panel. Her hunt for books is even more exhausting: She travels to Russia at least once a year and wades through an aggravating bureaucracy. Harley has undergone interviews just to look at a book catalog; she's waited days to ask permission to photocopy, only to be denied. A week's work might yield just eight lines of music.

Finding valuable books on a student budget increases the challenge - and heightens the thrill. Miglore found T.S. Eliot's "The Cocktail Party" inscribed by the author to his cousin Martha Eliot in a Boston bookstore - for $4. Fellow panelists gasp with empathetic delight at the story.

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