NEW YORK, Jan 9 — Calling all lovers of American literature and history! Bonhams will soon be auctioning works from Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s personal collection of books. The sale will feature more than 1,000 tomes that the late Supreme Court Justice acquired throughout her career.
An icon of the American progressive left, Ruth Bader Ginsburg was also an avid reader. “Reading is the key that opens doors to many good things in life. Reading shaped my dreams, and more reading helped me make my dreams come true,” she once said. This passion shines through in the vast collection of books and manuscripts that Bonhams will auction on its website between January 19 and 27.
This personal library includes more than 1,000 tomes, ranging from law books to classics such as The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger and Lady Chatterley’s Lover by D.H. Lawrence. The collection also includes feminist essays such as Kate Millett’s Sexual Politics and other texts by Susan Sontag and Erica Jong. And it’s perhaps no wonder, since Ruth Bader Ginsburg made gender equality her combat. She built her legacy on winning a series of Supreme Court victories in gender discrimination cases, one of which involved a man who was denied a widow’s allowance by the US government to raise his child.
A collection that reflects the legendary R.B.G.
Books signed by their authors for Ruth Bader Ginsburg are also set to go under the hammer, including a copy of Beloved by Toni Morrison, estimated by Bonhams to fetch between US$300 and US$500. But the centerpiece of the sale is none other than an issue of the Harvard Law Review dated 1957/1958. This magazine with numerous handwritten annotations by “R.B.G.” could sell for between US$2,500 and US$3,500, according to Bonhams.
For the auction house, the works for sale offer a glimpse of the complex personality of the woman that American Millennials dubbed “Notorious R.B.G.” in reference to the rapper Notorious B.I.G. “Libraries are very personal, they are almost like fingerprints, which tell a lot about the person who put it together. Justice Ginsburg’s library is no different, as it records her evolution from a student (and voracious reader) to lawyer and law professor, to judge and finally, Justice of the United States Supreme Court. The books Justice Ginsburg chose to keep on her own bookshelf showcase the rich inner and intellectual life of one of the most influential women in recent American history,” said Catherine Williamson, director of Bonhams fine books and manuscripts department, in a statement. — ETX Studio