The original painting of one of the most iconic book images, “The Bookworm,” might be sold

The Bookworm It came to the Milwaukee Public Library in 1972 from the collection of René Von Schleinitz. It was the only item from his “significant collection of German steins, figurines and genre paintings” to go the library. The rest was donated to the Milwaukee Art Museum, including other images of his featuring readers and scholars.

Now the library is seriously considering an offer of $400,000 from an undisclosed party for the painting. It is called Der Bucherworm “The Bookworm” and was painted by Carl Spitzweg around 1853. It is  by far Sptizweg’s most famous work and has become one of the most well-known biblio-images on the planet.

More here: Milwaukee Public Library may sell famous ‘Bookworm’ painting by Carl Spitzweg – Journal Sentinel

Regency Furniture for the Book Lover

Ackermann's Repository1811 Regency Furniture - Library Couch

Ackermann’s Repository was a popular periodical, published in England from 1809-1828.

It’s full moniker was “The Repository of Arts, Literature, Commerce, Manufactures, Fashion, and Politics.” It was published by R. Ackermann and became known simply as Ackermann’s Repository.

Ackermann's Repository  1809  Library Sofa

It was published monthly and each issue included a slew of colored plates. In the first series which ran from 1809 – 1815 there was an abundance of furniture illustrations, many featuring pieces for the home library.


Ackermann's Repository 1815 v14 Furniture plate 3 Ackermann's Repository 1811 v6 Furniture plate 15 - A Bookcase Ackermann's Repository  1814 v11 Furniture plate 6 Library Table & chair Ackermann's Repository  1812 v7 Furniture plate 17 Library bookcase Ackermann's Repository  1810 v4 Furniture plate 15

h/t to Evelyn Kennedy Duncan – you can see more pieces at her post;  Regency Furniture 1809 -1815: Ackermann’s Repository Series 1.

Living with and sharing 35,000 books

 The Johnson family has been collecting and accumulating books since the late 19th century.  In 1899 the first family library was built by Thomas Moore Johnson (1851-1919) to house his 8,000 books. It is little wonder that with a library of that size he was known as the “sage of the Osage” (the house and library were built on the Osage River).


Now there are two family libraries and 35,000 books.

The three generations of Johnsons did it the right way. Collecting “rare books” was never the intention. Collecting books that fell within their diverse areas of interest was the mantra and it is still the first piece of advice offered when a beginning collector asks the question – “what should I collect?

Answer – What you love. 

Now welcome David Richards, an associate professor at Missouri State University (MSU) who oversees the school’s special collections and archives and who met Johnson at a book function in 2009. 

With Richards leading the way MSU has recently signed a memorandum of cooperation with the library and, as a result, the entire collection will be cataloged and students and faculty will have access to the collection.

A perfect win win situation. One potential issue is that the house the books live in is not optimized for their preservation. Hopefully, they’ll stay safe until we can find out what’s in there.


Piece in The News-Leader: Living with 35,000 Books. Photos by Dan Holtmeyer/News-Leader.