Kenneth W. Rendell: The World’s Preeminent Dealer in Historical Letters, Autographs, Historical Documents, and Manuscripts

Private Diaries

Many people have interests that they would like to experience more personally by having a collection, library or private museum and want to develop the concept of a collection, but don’t have the time to find all of the pieces, nor make the hundreds of individual decisions necessary to have a collection that fulfills their interests. The private libraries and museums part of my business does this. I begin with conversations about the collector’s interests, suggest possible ways to explore and develop the interests and ideas, discuss what can realistically be found, how wide an area of original material you find appealing, a budget, time frame, how you want to work (many approve the overall project and want to next see it in their home or office).

 

After agreeing in principle on the concept, scope, budget, and other points, I prepare a more detailed proposal of how I see carrying out the project. After this is fine tuned, I am ready to carry it out. In most cases I give a monthly report on progress and any unexpected opportunities that may have come up.

I have formed collections in almost every area of interest, most focusing on historical letters and manuscripts, and many also containing rare books. Others have included different types of artifacts – from World War II Enigma code machines, and the only surviving part of the original UNIVAC computer, to, seemingly, every conceivable Winston Churchill and Napoleon personal artifact. While we have a policy of never discussing our clients or what they collect, Bill Gates has frequently and publicly discussed our role in assembling his collection, and so many articles about us mention the Gates library that it seems odd not to include it here.

We deliver a project as completed as you would like. We have worked with many architects and designers when new rooms were going to be built or designed, both in terms of what is needed to house a collection and the environment to best preserve it. Computerized inventories and indexes have also been done.

Among the collections and libraries we have formed:

NAPOLEON

An extraordinary collection of his letters and manuscripts written from his early school days, through his rise to power in the late 1790’s, his years as Emperor, his military campaign and exile. Wonderful love letters and the manuscripts of his memoirs combined with books from his library and personal artifacts give an intimate sense of the Emperor and his Empire in his own words, his own books, and his own artifacts. Sculptures and paintings of Napoleon and an extensive reference library make this one of the greatest collections I have formed.

CREATIVITY

Letters and manuscripts from ancient times to the present discussing great creative moments in the writer’s lives, including Michelangelo, Raphael, Machiavelli, Luther, Newton, Newton, Einstein, Mozart, Beethoven, Gaugin, Lincoln, Washington, Thoreau, Whitman, Joyce, Goethe, Dickens, Sartre and hundreds of others.

PRESIDENTS OF THE UNITED STATES

An extraordinary collection of letters from each President discussing their Presidency.

THE WESTERN PURSUIT OF THE AMERICAN DREAM

From early exploration to 1900, one of the finest collections on the American West including letters, diaries, pamphlets, book, coins, medals, guns, clothing, original art, Indian and other artifacts, and three stage coaches.

WORLD WAR II

The most comprehensive collection in the world, containing about 15,000 pieces of every kind including many of the most important letters and manuscripts, and artifacts from George Patton’s battle helmet and Hitler’s uniform to one of the five surviving World War II landing crafts.

FRENCH ARTISTS AND WRITERS

An in-depth collection of letters and manuscripts from the 19th and 20th centuries.

TWO HUNDRED YEARS OF FRENCH CULTURE

The people who have most influenced French culture from 1789 to 1989. A collection of one hundred letters.

19TH CENTURY AMERICA

The 100 books that influenced and are most representative of the century.

20TH CENTURY AMERICA

The 100 books that influenced and are most representative of the century.

AMERICAN POLITICAL THOUGHT BEFORE 1776

A library of books and pamphlets discussing political, economic and social philosophy leading up to the American Revolution.

MUSIC

Original musical manuscripts from Johann Sebastian Bach to George Gershwin.

SOCIAL LIFE IN COLONIAL AMERICA

A library of books and pamphlets that give an intimate view into colonial life.

PRESIDENTS OF THE UNITED STATES

A collection of books from their personal libraries.

PROBABILITY AND LOGIC

A library chronicling the history of the development of logic and probability theories.

HISTORY OF ECONOMIC THOUGHT A definitive library of the most influential works, including a lengthy run of the Economist magazine.

BOOK BINDINGS FROM MEDIEVEL TIMES TO THE PRESENT

An extraordinary and comprehensive collection from medieval chain bindings to art deco bindings of the 1920s and 1930s.

WORLD WAR II

A reference library on all aspects of the war: military, social, political and economic from the 1920s through the 1940s.

THE AMERICAN WEST

An extensive reference library about all types of artifacts, history and cultures.

COLONIAL AMERICA

Letters and documents from the earliest colonists to the beginnings of the Revolution.

THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION

Letters, documents and artifacts, 1775-1783.

THE AMERICAN CIVIL WAR

Letters and documents from the political and military leaders of the Confederacy and the Union.

FRENCH WOMEN FROM MADAME DE SÉVIGNY TO GEORGE SAND

Letters, manuscripts and books from their libraries.

CODES AND CODEBREAKING

Rare and current books, as well as code machines including several different German enigma machines.

SCIENTIFIC JOURNALS FROM THE 17 TH CENTURY TO DATE

Complete runs of the leading English-language journals.

HISTORY OF PARIS

A library chronicling the development of Paris from medieval times through the late 19 th century rebuilding of the city. Many maps were included.

FRENCH CULTURE

A library of first editions from the 18 th through the 20 th centuries representing literature, the arts, sciences and natural history.

MT. EVEREST

A library of books and periodicals about its exploration and mountaineering history.

THE WESTERN MOVEMENT FROM THE MISSISSIPPI TO THE PACIFIC

First editions of the 250 most influential books.

FROM THE ATLANTIC TO THE MISSISSIPPI

The most important books and pamphlets influencing the Western migration in the 17 th and 18 th centuries.

THE 50 (ALSO 100 AND 150) PEOPLE MOST REPRESENTATIVE OF AMERICAN CULTURE

Letters and manuscripts. (Always an interesting project to discuss who they are!)

THE ANCIENT WORLD

3000 B.C. TO 600 A.D. Original writing in all forms: clay, wood, stone & papyrus, from Mesopotamia, Egypt, Greece and Rome.

THE MEDIEVAL WORLD

800 A.D. to 1450 A.D. Illuminated and other manuscripts and documents, both religious and secular.

RENAISSANCE EUROPE

1450 to 1600. Manuscripts, letters and early printing.

THE HISTORY OF WRITING

3000 B.C. TO 2000 A.D. Original writings in all forms from the beginning of writing to modern methods.

MILITARY STRATEGY

The 100 books that have most influenced military leaders.

COMPUTERS

From the earliest concepts of Leibnitz through every modern pioneer, from manuscripts to the only surviving part of the original UNIVAC computer.

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Historical Letters, Manuscripts and Documents - Renaissance Times to the Present

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