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Old Books—A Modern Treasure Hunt

Yorkshire book-dealer Christian White shares the thrill of the chase in a life spent hunting forgotten rarities left on the shelf.

Have you ever wondered how material comes to be held in library collections? Join us as we welcome Christian White, a dealer of rare books. Discover the thrill of the chase and a life spent hunting down unique and coveted books and manuscripts.

Hear about, and imagine, the excitement of finding a volume of early eighteenth century theology that belonged to the library of Sir Isaac Newton!

Discover the story behind the purchase of a 1611 copy of George Chapman’s translation of Homer. This rare find was used by Samuel Johnson to highlight chunks of text for his famous "Dictionary of the English Language". Learn about Christian’s latest treasure: a copy of Adam Smith’s "The Wealth of Nations", covered in the scrawling of the British philosopher and economist Thomas Malthus.

Alongside the talk, come and see examples of the kinds of books that Christian deals in. A recent item that the University purchased from him for the Library's Special Collections will also be on display.

A close crop of a book shelf showing the spines of books
A close crop of a book shelf showing the spines of books