RBG's Library at Bonhams

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RBG's Library at Bonhams

Editat: gen. 22, 11:42am

ETA: We are now cataloging the Bonhams sale catalog on LT:

See the flash-mob wiki page for login info, notes, instructions, &c.


Please feel free to post questions here in this thread and I'll check in as I can.

-- Original post --

The full catalog isn't up yet, but once it is, hopefully there will be enough to make an LL out of:


(Thanks to AbigailAdams26 and ablachly for bringing this one to my attention!)

gen. 4, 2:45pm

I cannot wait.

gen. 4, 2:48pm

>2 ablachly: me too. I would love to help with this one!

gen. 5, 9:25am

I just read this and immediately headed over here to see if there'd been a proposal.

gen. 5, 5:08pm

Currently reported that "Over 1,000 books will be sold online at Bonhams ...", which is a nice chunk:

The rest of the library has already been spread around by the sound of things, though the noted opera fan's opera books and CDs went to the Washington National Opera, so maybe another subset of books could be cataloged at a later date.

gen. 16, 8:32am

So, I'm not sure what's going on here. The Bonhams link has stopped working and given that the sale was supposed to start this week, it's very odd that no catalog has been posted. If I had to guess, I'd say that an institution has maybe purchased the collection en bloc and hasn't announced it yet - but we'll see. I've put out some feelers to see if I can find out what's happening.

gen. 17, 5:16pm

And now the link has started working again and I've heard that the full catalog won't be posted until the sale opens, for some reason. A very strange state of affairs.

gen. 18, 8:52am

There's a number of items in the preview lot, this morning https://www.bonhams.com/online_auctions/27540/?pageLimit=48

gen. 18, 5:31pm

Yep, those have been up for a while (until they disappeared for a few days and then reappeared). But the bulk of it isn't listed at all yet. Very different from how these things usually go.

gen. 19, 12:02pm


gen. 19, 12:05pm

More seems to be appearing now - hopefully soon we'll have the full picture.

gen. 20, 12:29pm

Okay we do finally have a full catalog, and Bonhams have done an amazing job and even included full author/title/date information for multi-item lots, which is a delight.


I've written to Bonhams to confirm that they'd be okay with us creating an LT account based on their catalog, and will report back asap.

gen. 20, 12:38pm


gen. 21, 8:32am

Okay, we've got the okay from Bonhams and from Justice Ginsburg's family - and it's possible that they may be able to provide some info on the portions of the library which did not go to Bonhams for sale, which would be tremendously exciting (keep your fingers crossed on that).

I will get things prepped tonight for a cataloging project - in the meantime, if you are interested in helping (and haven't yet said so in this thread) please post a quick note here to say so - that will help as I figure out how to divvy up the catalog.


gen. 21, 8:57am

I would like to help if I'm able!

gen. 21, 6:58pm

Yay! Thanks for doing the work on this. I'd love to help.

gen. 21, 7:10pm

Wow! I am completely fangirling over this catalog.

gen. 22, 11:37am

Okay, we're ready to go. See the flash-mob wiki for login details and instructions:


Please feel free to post questions here and I'll check in as I can.

gen. 22, 12:42pm

I've claimed the lot that includes etiquette.
I'd love to do the First Ladies lot and the Physics lot but I'll hold off to give others a chance first.
So excited to be a (very small) part of this!

gen. 22, 12:48pm

>19 genesisdiem: - thanks! Have fun!

Editat: gen. 22, 5:36pm

Quick request: could we put the link to the Bonhams lot at the top of the Comments field, please, to allow for sorting on that field that will provide a list by lot number? Thanks!

gen. 22, 6:15pm

>21 JBD1: It looks as though it might need to be listed as Lot 002, 012, 112, etc. in order to show up correctly?

gen. 22, 6:50pm

>22 genesisdiem: Yeah it won't be absolutely perfect, but having the lot numbers at the top will be better than the alternative.

gen. 23, 5:50am

Note: I'm finding data entry errors in the auction catalog (author names misspelled, wrong word in title, wrong publisher for edition). Worldcat helps.

gen. 23, 6:57am

Yep - to be expected to some degree with these things :-)

gen. 24, 4:50pm

Still a few sections to grab, folks - feel free to hop in and help!

gen. 25, 8:29am

In Lot 106, at the bottom of the list of books, it says:

"WITH: New Republic, August 2, 1993, featuring an illustration of Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the cover."

Is this its own item, or was it tucked into the copy of the Aries book (item 15)?

gen. 25, 8:37am

>27 karenb: - looking at the image, it looks like that's just a loose magazine issue accompanying the lot. It can be omitted. Thanks!

gen. 25, 9:41pm

If it's the whole magazine, wouldn't it be included as a distinct item? Just curious.

gen. 26, 9:09am

Also, will the catalog info remain up after the auctions end? Or do we have a built-in deadline of tomorrow afternoon (Eastern US time)?

gen. 26, 9:15am

>30 karenb: - good question. The lot pages should stay live, but that's never a sure thing. The PDF should stay up, and I've downloaded a copy of that as a backup just in case some lot pages do disappear.

gen. 26, 9:38am

I'll submit the webpages into the Wayback Machine website as well, for another backup.

gen. 27, 1:41pm

Note that the auction is ending now and holy guacamole, some of these prices!

gen. 27, 1:49pm

>33 JBD1: no kidding! I wondered if there was some sort of charitable tax write-off or if this is just institutions vying for new collections.

gen. 27, 2:05pm

I'd be surprised if it's institutions at those prices, at least in the majority of cases. Very few are gonna throw around that kind of money for these sorts of books, RBG's or no.

gen. 27, 3:06pm

High prices are probably reflecting admirers of RBG who want a piece of her library as a piece of history. Maybe they think the association will be worth more in the future.

If she is like most people, she may own more books than she has actually read. Sometimes you get something because it was given to you or you think it will be interesting to read in the future when you get around to it. In previous centuries someone like a Jefferson may have handled all of his books and read most of them since books were not so common. It is so different now.


gen. 27, 3:16pm

Yeah, exactly. And there are indeed a lot of presentation copies in this library, including bunches of really uncommon/self-published ones.

And of course remember that the Bonhams sale is only a piece of this library, much of which was donated to various places and charities.

gen. 27, 4:05pm

Are the prices being preserved in the Legacy Library, perhaps in each book's Comments?

gen. 27, 4:11pm

>38 Cynfelyn: - Good question. How do folks feel? With sooooo many multi-volume lots, it would be a lot of work (and fairly misleading) to include the total lot price in each book's record. So I'm inclined not to include it, but willing to be persuaded ...

gen. 27, 4:57pm

>39 JBD1: perhaps making a note on the main page but not each individual entry?

gen. 27, 5:49pm

>40 genesisdiem: - Yeah I was thinking something like that too.

gen. 29, 5:05pm

Okay I think we're pretty much all in, I will do a little cleanup and add some info about the sale prices and then I think we're pretty much there. As I mentioned there is a chance we'll get more info about books that went elsewhere, and if so I'll put out another call for help! Thanks to everyone who pitched in!!

abr. 27, 6:53pm

There’s a story on cbs news tonight about RBG’s auction. Back soon if I can get the link.