Want to own a beloved book? Toni Morrison’s book collection is for sale

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In this September 1987 file photo, author Toni Morrison poses with a copy of her book

In this September 1987 archive photo, author Toni Morrison poses with a copy of her book “Beloved” in New York City.
Photo: David Bookstaver, File (PA)

If you are an avid reader or writer, you might have three bucket list style ambitions in life: 1. have your own library of over 1,000 books; 2. to write even one book as powerful as the many writings by Toni Morrison; 3. Touch even one thing that the Nobel Laureate and Pulitzer touched, hoping that an ounce of her shine somehow rubs off on you.

These first two may be elusive, depending on your space and skill, but the third may actually be a possibility, since Morrison’s personal library, over 1,200, is now for sale, with or separately from the house. of the author in New York, who has reportedly been untouched since her death in 2019, according to Gallery Review.

When literary legend Toni Morrison died last year, her family left her Apartment Tribeca intact. Now the family has brought in Brown Harris Stevens to list Morrison’s three-bedroom residence for $ 4.75 million. In particular, the Beloved the author’s collection of over 1,200 books is available for purchase under a separate arrangement, and the family is willing to negotiate the price. (Morrison’s son Ford says the treasure can be bought in its entirety or piecemeal.)

Uh … say what, now? And what exactly does this incredibly large collection include? Gallerie reports that the home library was alphabetized and perfectly maintained; not a broken spine or a dog’s ear in sight. It includes numerous books “On and by the Obamas and the Clintons, WEB DuBois, Langston Hughes, Zora Neale Hurston, Gayl Jones, Henry Dumas, James Baldwin and Mark Twain”. A copy of The illustrated original of Sherlock Holmes of Arthur Conan Doyle is on the shelf, along with the three books left on Morrison’s bedside table at the time of his death: Robert A. Caro’s Lyndon Johnson Biography, David Maraniss Biography Barack Obama: The Story, and that of Stephen King The comeback (apparently one of King’s less popular works in his collection).

Just like us, the famous author and publisher sometimes neglected to return her library books, which is quite interesting, including a copy of her own first novel, The bluest eye, “With copious notes, underlining, redactions on each page,” reports Gallerie.

Maybe Morrison scribbled the aforementioned library book with notes because she was amazed to find a reader so engaged with every word – although that wouldn’t surprise much. Imagine if this reader knew that his detailed annotations dated back to the original author.

Speaking of Morrison’s own books, we were momentarily delighted to hear a “fine gold illustrated copy of Song of Solomon”Existed, until we realized it was probably not Morrison’s book of the same name but the biblical text. His copy was bookmarked on Chapter Four – striking, as it is also reported that Morrison did not favor traditional bookmarks, instead choosing ticket stubs and random cards to hold the places in his many volumes.

But if there was one article that we, in particular, could covet, it wouldn’t be one of Morrison’s books at all. Instead, we would like to own one of the many library cards in the Dewey Decimal catalog that matched her novels that she had framed and kept. Why? Because as simple as it sounds, it cements the fact that Morrison is part of our American canon, and unmistakably a work of art.

Looking for a piece of Morrison’s legacy? Contact the broker Amanda Brainerd.

Update: Monday 2/11/20 at 7:05 p.m. ET: One of our frequent readers reached out to Brainerd to inquire about the collection, and while Morrison’s son reportedly told at least one media outlet that the collection was for sale, the broker in charge of the sale tells a different story, from less about the planned sequence of events. The first priority is to sell Morrison’s apartment, and the buyer will apparently have the first right of refusal on the collection as a whole. If this offer is not accepted, an attempt will be made to sell the collection as a single unit. If that fails, interested parties can apparently purchase singular items from Morrison’s Library. In the meantime, we can dream …

Image from the article titled Want to Own a Beloved Book?  Toni Morrison's book collection is for sale [Updated]

Screenshot: D. LaBaw

Update: Thursday, 11/5/20 at 7:25 am ET: Writer Michelle Sinclair Colman, who has done extensive research and reported on this story for Gallery, contacted The Glow Up to clarify some of the confusion surrounding the sale of Morrison’s library – which apparently was not not “misinformation,” as Brainerd’s response suggested, but a revision of the original list. In fact, according to Colman’s understanding, the collection was originally intended to be sold separately from the apartment itself, i.e. until the naturally high interest in the collection requires different considerations.

“During my research and writing this article, I was told that the entire collection is for sale. Everyone involved knew my intention was to write specifically about the library, not the apartment, ”Colman wrote to us via email. “But, it seems that the popularity of the article and the number of inquiries Amanda [Brainerd] receipt was quite overwhelming.

As a result, Brainerd’s brokerage firm has [since] asked the Gallery to add the following to their original post:

“Following the printing of the article in Gallery, the demand for Ms. Morrison’s books was overwhelming. The estate is now re-evaluating how to manage the future of this important collection.


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