Christopher P. Stephens, Bookman

Chris Stephens has been a book dealer since 1965 - earlier if you count childhood buying and selling.

Stephens has sold major collections to university libraries all over the world. He has operated appealing bookstores in Mt. Carroll, Illinois, Hastings on Hudson, NY and several in NYC, NY. He is a wholesale dealer to other bookstores all over the world.

Chris loves books.

Stephens now maintains a lively internet operation out of his new home in Scranton, PA.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Lipchitz at the Library

Jacques Lipchitz sculpture in front of the Hastings on Hudson Public Library - photo 2013

Thursday, July 11, 2013

"Local" Sculptors: Lipchitz and Zazel

Lipchitz was born in Lithuania in the last decade of the 19th century.  He lived in Lithuania until he was 18 and then he moved to Paris to study art.
Paris was the center of exciting art and now-legendary artists at that time.  Lipchitz flourished.  Considered the first Cubist sculptor, he broke new ground and met with much success.
World War ll brought great danger to Lipchitz.  He escaped to America in 1941.
After the war, Lipchitz settled in America – in the lovely river town, Hastings on Hudson, New York.
riverrun bookshop settled in the same lovely river town 30 years later.  Lipchitz died in 1973, 5 years before riverrun, but the store’s original founder, Frank Scioscia, did live in Hastings on Hudson at the same time as Jacques Lipchitz did.  I don’t think they knew one another. No doubt, however, they both admired the same majestic palisades towering over the Hudson River and both liked the same comfortable streets in town.
By this time Lipchitz was spending months of each year working in his studio in Italy. I’ve heard a story – possibly true – that the village trustees mistook his long studio trips for a permanent move away from Hastings on Hudson.  The sculptor was a village treasure. The trustees tried to purchase one of his sculptures for the town to commemorate his long-time residence here.  According to the story, Lipchitz laughed, assured the trustees that he and his wife had no intention of moving, and GAVE a large sculpture to the village.
However it happened, Hastings on Hudson does have an impressive Lipchitz sculpture mounted in the prominent grassy space by the town library and courthouse.
The artist himself died in Italy and is buried in Jerusalem, but part of him presides over the village from the hill by the library.  You can see that sculpture on your walk to riverrun.  Or, in case you are too far to stroll over to riverrun, I will post a photo shortly.  As well as the little I know of Zazel.

A lengthy and fascinating article about Lipchitz, his art, his life, and his religion.  There is a sense  of immediacy in this article that makes the reader feel privy to inside knowledge:

Tate Gallery artist biography:

art directory biography:

searchable interview plus photos of work:


Thursday, July 4, 2013

John Hancock and the Declaration of Independence


John Hancock put the most famous signature to the Declaration of Independence even though he was not the most famous signer.  His signature made its way into riverrun en route to The University of Texas. 
The document was an appointment, of someone name Robbins, to military office.  Hancock signed in his capacity as governor of Massachusetts. With awe, I scanned the document.
The Hancock signature is large and bold.  He signed the Declaration of Independence as the president of the Continental Congress.  The confidence expressed in that signature lent additional authority the Declaration that we celebrate today.

But isn’t it interesting that we have selected that document, that event, to mark the beginning of our country?
Lots of revolutionary activity went on beforehand.  The Committees of Correspondence were established well before 1776.  The Boston Tea Party took place in 1773 and the First Continental Congress met in 1774.  Those key early battles at Lexington & Concord were fought in 1775 and so was the Battle of Bunker Hill.
The Green Mountain Boys captured Fort Ticonderoga and valuable cannons and the Second Continental Congress sent “The Olive Branch Petition” to King George lll all before the Declaration of Independence was issued.

If I were writing the history books, I wouldn’t date the beginning of the USA to the signing of the Declaration of Independence.  I would date it neither from the restive disturbances and outright battles of the early 1770s nor from any of the many battles of the Revolutionary War, not even the one at Yorktown in 1781 when General Cornwallis surrendered.
For myself, I select the 1787 summer of the Constitutional Convention as the birth of the United States of America.  My USA is 230 years old this summer.  Not everyone would agree, but I have my reasons. Nevertheless, I am perfectly happy to celebrate on this day that others have chosen.
Actually, I am impressed with my fellow Americans in selecting the publication of our Declaration of Independence as the most significant moment in the birth legend of our country. 

It is with the glory of oratory, not of battle, that we choose to date our beginning.