Looking for an early printing of Jane Austen's "Pride and Prejudice"? Maybe a first edition of an F. Scott Fitzgerald classic or a sketchbook that provides a window into early Los Angeles?
If books with backstories are your thing, you're in luck. The California International Antiquarian Book Fair comes to the Pasadena Convention Center this weekend.
Here are some of the local treasures you'll find:
Pen Sketches of Los Angeles (1896)
- Owner: Michael Dawson, Dawson's Book Shop, Echo Park
- Price: $4,000
Michael Dawson: The thing that is so interesting about this book and makes it so unique is that it shows streets block by block. When they were doing these whole blocks, they would show every single business in every building. There are other pictorial publications related to Los Angeles at this time, but there is none that has this detailed business view.
Michael Dawson: They would have been made for businesses. It would be paid for by all these ads that the people placed in there. There would be a salesman who would walk through the area and say, "We're doing this fancy book about Los Angeles. Wouldn't you like to be involved? For minimal cost, we'll make sure that the name of your business appears... The guy down the street, he's doing it."
LAPD Log (1925)
- Owner: Jennifer and Brad Johnson, Johson Rare Books & Archives, Covina, CA
- Price: $2,500
Jennifer Johnson: It's bound like a book, but it's not a traditional book. These particular officers were logging every single day what they were doing for work. They happened to be working the secondhand shops unit. One of the things that I found most fascinating is they would even investigate stolen suits. But clothing during that era was so much more expensive, so you can see why they would investigate those types of things.
Austin Cross: I want to look at something here from the 29th of December, 1925. It says: "Went to pool hall at 7th and Gladys in the afternoon and also at 6 p.m. looking for Manuel Navaro, who escaped from Lincoln Heights Jail." How do you come across something like this?
Jennifer Johnson: Often, things like this are collected by people throughout history. This item came from a gentleman who collected a lot of Los Angeles history. He put it away in a storage locker, and it sat there for about 40 years. He decided to downsize, he gave us a call, we came out, and we purchased this amongst a lot of other stuff. People become caretakers of this kind of historic information. We help move it along.
Brad Johnson: It's the sort of thing that has so many data points. That's our role as antiquarian booksellers. We attempt to find things like this, interpret them, discuss their importance, and get them in the hands of the scholar or the collector who's going to make use of this and add to our understanding of our own history.
See the slideshow for more photos.
(Answers have been edited for clarity.)