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This article by Jamie Saxon was prepared for the March 24, 2004 edition of U.S. 1 Newspaper. All rights reserved.
Bryn Mawr Book Sale: The Mother Lode for Bibliophiles
A book lover’s idea of heaven is the Bryn Mawr Book Sale — 80,000 books for sale (to support scholarships for Bryn Mawr and Wellesley students from central New Jersey) and, like a good consignment shop, they get cheaper every day. This year, the sale is being held Wednesday through Sunday, March 24 to 28, at Princeton Day School, the Great Road. Hours: March 24: preview hours with $25 admission, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., free general admission, 2 to 9 p.m.; March 25 and 26, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.; March 27, half price day, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.; March 28, box day (first three boxes $5; four and up $6, bring your own boxes), 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Two bibliophiles and cultural observers we know shared some of the treasures they have found at the sale, as well as strategies for the first-timer:
Lanny Jones, Princeton resident, Princeton graduate, Class of 1966, former managing editor of People and Money magazines, author of several books including “Great Expectations: America and the Baby Boom” and “William Clark and the Shaping of the West,” forthcoming in May 2004 from Farrar, Straus & Giroux, to coincide with the 200th anniversary of the Lewis & Clark expedition .
Who goes: Two types: the trade — booksellers who line up the night before for the preview sale the first day, and book lovers.
Favorite treasures found: A Bible once owned by Einstein; old issues of Vanity Fair and Vogue (“I’m a magazine editor, and I tear off the covers and have them framed”), “a lot of Princetoniana that nobody would want, like old reunion books”; and a railroad timetable from the 1920s, thick as a phone book.
Dirty little secret: Has recycled books bought at the Bryn Mawr book sale back to Bryn Mawr book sale.
Ed Tenner, Plainsboro resident, historian of technology and culture (NPR calls him “a philosopher of everyday things”), and author of several books including “Our Own Devices: The Past and Future of Body Technology” and “Why Things Bite Back: Technology and the Revenge of Unintended Consequences” (both published by Knopf).
Why go: “Book sales are a source of unexpected ideas. Book sales are a way of randomizing information — there’s no filter, no librarian, no web master, and the people who’ve priced the books have their own idea of what things are worth.”
Favorite treasures found: A beautiful book about the League of Nations building in Geneva in 1938, the year before World War II broke out, with photographs of now vanished Art Deco rooms (“I’ve written about how I believe lavish buildings spell trouble for an organization”); a bunch of Baedecker travel guides (“I try to stay ahead of what the collectors are doing; once something’s been recognized as really collectible, I move on”); and “one or two scholarly books of interest in my graduate specialty, 19th century German history.”
Advice for the first-timer: Stay away the first four hours of the first day. “There are lots of great books still there after 2 p.m., and it can actually be easier to buy books once you don’t have so much choice; the tyranny of choice can be really painful.”
Look in categories you might not think you’d be interested in. “Even if you don’t collect humor books you might find one book in the humor section that’s really fantastic. I have found quite a few surprises that way.” Lastly, “give yourself a lot of time, look through everything, and get just the books that really excite you.”
We wrote about the great Yansi Fugel washable suits at Merrick’s in Princeton in Best Bets on December 3, 2003. This Friday and Saturday, March 26 and 27, Merrick’s is hosting its annual Yansi Fugel trunk show.
At a typical trunk show, only the designer’s samples are shown and customers place orders. At this trunk show, over 300 pieces of stock in all colors will be available for purchase or order — jackets, skirts, pants, dresses, shirts, and T’s, sizes 2 to 18.
You can “make your own” Fugel suit from the line’s 13 pant styles, three jackets, and eight skirts. Each piece costs about $200, not bad if you factor in the savings from no dry-cleaning costs.
Merrick’s, 6 Moore Street. 609-921-0338. Saturday, March 26, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Sunday, March 27, 12 noon to 4 p.m.
Recent bills signed into law by Governor James E. McGreevey:
A-1172 — Makes throwing bodily fluid at State juvenile facility employee or probation officer aggravated assault.
A-3434/S-2792 — Establishes the New Jersey Obesity Prevention Task Force.
A-2113/S-1426 — Increases public members on New Jersey Commission on Holocaust Education.
Editor’s note: “Inbox” will appear occasionally as a means to communicate news of questionable value and help purge this editor’s inbox
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