A Fishing-Book Obsession
The College of Charleston Library acquires an exquisite collection
Our friends at the College of Charleston Library have just acquired a remarkable collection of rare sporting books. Yes, books. Remember those things? Even in the age of apps and emails, a book is still a powerful medium, especially when the one you’re looking at is more than 350 years old.
The Greville Haslam Sporting Book Collection, on view at the Library from now until the end of May, has 2,250 volumes, including some 400 copies of Izaak Walton’s 1653 classic, The Compleat Angler, one of which is signed by the author. Back in those days, books were truly an art form, from their elaborate cover designs and illustrations to their deckled edges and gold type. To see a gallery of images, click here.
But what makes the Haslam collection truly special is the man behind them. A high school headmaster, he pursued a life of sport as avidly as he pursued a life of the mind. He was an obsessive fisherman, keeping detailed journals about his adventures (which included meeting cannibals in Borneo in the late 1910s) and making copious notes in the margins of his books. He was also fastidious about his rods, reels, and fly boxes, some of which are on display.