Brayton Ives, collector

Brayton Ives (1840-1914), Civil War general, president of the New York Stock Exchange, and railroad president, formed a library on the model of those from which he obtained his books: Sunderland, Hamilton Palace, Beckford, Syston Park, and Woodhul. The auction of his collection in 1891 was said at the time to be the “greatest sale of books ever held in America.” In the sale catalogue, Ives noted that three of his books, the Gutenberg Bible, the Virgil of 1470, and the Homer of 1488, “will command forever the admiration and respect of educated people as the worthy objects of the highest form of skillful and conscientious typographical work.”

Remarkably, these three books are now at Princeton, having arrived at different times. First was the 1470 Virgil, purchased by Junius Spencer Morgan after the auction and given to the Library in 1895. Ives’s 1488 Homer was bought by Robert Hoe and then acquired by Cyrus McCormick, Class of 1879, at the Hoe sale in 1911; McCormick’s widow gave the volume to Princeton in 1948, twelve years after her husband’s death. When William H. Scheide moved his family library to Princeton in 1959, he brought with him Ives’s Gutenberg Bible.

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  1. Dear Sir,
    Could you give me a [rough] estimate of what you charge p.hour? I do have a range of books in English bindings with detached panels and need some advice, since Dutch binders are not too keen on working as it seems…
    RGDS, Ernie Quist.


    John James Dyer
    21 Berenda Drive
    Longwell Green
    BS30 9YX
    Tel & Fax: +44 0117 9322151
    Mobile: +44 07817180593

    Dear Sir/Madam

    I am an antiquarian book restorer with 29 years experience. I am located very close to the beautiful Georgian city of Bath, and also the historic city of Bristol, in the south of England, UK. I am experienced in all aspects of restoration and conservation, and of course the refurbishment of old bindings. For example Rebacks, (preserving and relaying the original spine) Corner repairs, etc. Rebinds, Full Leathers, (Fullbound) Halfbound, Quarterbound, all bound in various calf leather, morocco leather, cloth, or paper.
    Prices are very competitive. If you are interested and need quotations or guidelines on one or several books please do not hesitate to contact me at the above address.

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    John Dyer

    In this day of MEGA BITES and WEB BROWSERS we still need books. They are objects of knowledge, information and most certainly objects of beauty.