Scientist, Scholar & Scoundrel. A Bibliographical Investigation of the Life and Exploits of Count Guglielmo Libri, Mathematician, Journalist, Patriot, Historian of Science, Paleographer, Book Collector, Bibliographer, Antiquarian Bookseller, Forger, and Book Thief.

New York: The Grolier Club, 2013,

First Edition. octavo, printed wrappers. 200 pp. The Grolier Club, Item #29454

Published in connection with an exhibition held at the Grolier Club March 28-May 24, 2013. Guglielmo Libri (1803-1869) represents an extreme form of bibliomania. He was born into one of the oldest families of Florence, and in the wake of brilliant undergraduate work in mathematics seemed destined for a successful academic career. After fleeing to France for political reasons in 1830 he established himself as a book collector, eventually assembling a library of some 40,000 rare volumes in science and mathematics. Largely on the strength of this collection he was appointed Inspector of Libraries in 1841; but the libraries he visited began to report unusually large numbers of missing books and manuscripts, and within a few years he was widely suspected of having built his collection through a sustained course of theft. Libri eventually escaped with his library to London, where he was welcomed as a refugee from the French political upheavals of 1848. France convicted Libri in absentia of book-theft in 1850, but that did not prevent him from auctioning his books in two immense sales in 1861. Jeremy Norman tells the fascinating story of history's most audacious book thief, using books, manuscripts, letters and catalogues from his own superb collection of "l'affaire Libri." Introduction by Jeremy Norman, followed by detailed descriptions of over 100 items in the collection. Includes a bibliography, and an index. Fournier and Didot types; designed by Jerry Kelly. New.

Price: $25.00 save 30% $17.50