The Kelley House Museum’s yearly book sale—on Sunday, May 28th from 10 am to 3 pm—will feature a great selection of history and art books at low prices. 

This year, there are more than 50 books on the history of photography donated by Anne Bruhner from the collection of her late husband, sculptor Hans Bruhner. A number of them are beautiful coffee table books. Among the books is Peter Pollock’s 700-page Picture History of Photography. Others include National Geographic’s Odyssey of Art Photography, and W. Eugene Smith – Photographs 1934 – 1975. You will find Lincoln: An Illustrated Biography, by the Kunhardts, on the shelf next to Time-Life Books’ Matthew Brady and His World .

Books scattered on table

A small selection of books that will be for sale.

The oldest book offered for sale is from 1876 and it may also be the smallest: Ropps Easy Calculator: for Mechanics, Farmers, Businessman and Laborers would fit in a shirt pocket. The 1903 Mechanical Movements, Devices, and Appliances for Inventors, Mechanics, Engineers and Draughtsman, by Gardner Hiscox, has 1,649 engravings.

George Francis Dow’s Whale Ships and Whaling, printed in 1925, captures in pictures three centuries of whaling. Over 400 pages of illustrations, engravings, and photos show the industry in all its terrible specifics. If there are any old Boy Scouts out there, a 1929 Handbook for Patrol Leaders might be exactly what you need. 

Issues in contemporary art are explored in a number of illustrated volumes: Groundwaters: A Century of Art by Self-taught Outsiders, by Charles Russell; Free Within Ourselves: African American Artists in the Collection of the National Museum of American Arts, by Regenia Perry; and Dancing at the Louvre by Dan Cameron, which reproduces the exquisite story quilts created by artist Faith Ringgold.

Step way back in time with Longnon’s Très Riches Heures of Jean Duke of Berry, a reproduction and history of the best surviving example of an illuminated manuscript from late medieval Europe. Go even farther back to try Stern’s The Viking Experience, a lavish slip-cased book with removable facsimile documents. Map lovers will want to acquire Cartographia: Mapping Civilizations, by Vincent Virga, which offers 200 reproductions of the most beautiful and fascinating maps from the Library of Congress.

Cartooning is included in the art books too. Rejection Collection, by Matthew Diffee, features cartoons by various artists that never made it into the New Yorker. All of them are good cartoons, but perhaps a little too politically or sexually explicit. For all of these wonderful books, and more, stop by the Kelley House on Sunday of Memorial Day weekend.

The Kelley House Museum is open from 11AM to 3PM Thursday through Monday. If you have a question for the curator, reach out to to make an appointment. Walking tours of the historic district depart from the Kelley House regularly.