A Library of Decorative Arts

Wait here, I gatta makea the books,” said my Italian immigrant grandfather, Papa Nick, to me as he ducked into an unfamiliar barber shop on one of our outings to New York City or Atlantic City. And then there were those times when he was on the phone in Connecticut and had to leave the room while he “madea the books”. I looked all over for book-making stuff in those days—where does he keep the paper, ink, front covers? And what exactly were those books all about? I eventually learned one day that those books (bets) were about horses. I’ve made only one book in my 35 years behind the...

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