Madeleine B. Stern

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Madeleine Bettina Stern (July 1, 1912 – August 18, 2007), born in New York, New York, was an independent scholar and rare book dealer. She graduated from Barnard College in 1932 with a B.A. in English literature. She received her M.A. in English literature from Columbia University in 1934. Stern was particularly known for her work on the writer Louisa May Alcott. She received a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1943 to write a biography of Alcott, which was eventually published in 1950. In 1945, she and her friend Leona Rostenberg opened Rostenberg & Stern Books. Rostenberg and Stern were active members of the Antiquarian Booksellers' Association of America, at a time when few women were members.[1] The pair lived and worked in Rostenberg's house in the Bronx. They were known for creating unique rare book catalogs.[2] In 1960, Stern helped found the New York Antiquarian Book Fair.[3]

Stern and Leona Rostenberg became widely known in the late 1990s while in their late eighties when their memoir on the rare book trade, "Old Books, Rare Friends" became a best seller.

Books by Madeleine B. Stern[edit]

  • The Life of Margaret Fuller, 1942.
  • Louisa May Alcott, 1950 (revised editions published in 1971 and 1996).
  • Purple Passage: The Life of Mrs. Frank Leslie, 1955 (revised edition, 1970).
  • Imprints on History: Book Publishers and American Frontiers, 1956.
  • We the Women: Career Firsts of Nineteenth-Century America, 1963.
  • So Much in a Lifetime: The Story of Dr. Isabel Barrows, 1964.
  • Queen of Publishers' Row: Mrs. Frank Leslie, 1965.
  • The Pantarch: A Biography of Stephen Pearl Andrews, 1968.
  • Heads and Headlines: The Phrenological Fowlers, 1971.
  • Books and Book People in Nineteenth-Century America, 1978.
  • Sherlock Holmes: Rare-Book Collector, 1981.
  • A Phrenological Dictionary of Nineteenth-Century Americans, 1982.
  • The Game's a Head: A Phrenological Case-Study of Sherlock Holmes and Arthur Conan Doyle, 1983.
  • Antiquarian Bookselling in the United States: A History from the Origins to the 1940s, 1985.
  • Nicholas Gouin Dufief of Philadelphia, Franco-American Bookseller, 1776–1834, 1988.
  • Studies in the Franco-American Booktrade during the Late 18th and Early 19th Centuries, 1994.
  • The Feminist Alcott: Stories of a Woman's Power, 1996.
  • Louisa May Alcott: From Blood & Thunder to Hearth and Home, 1998.

Books co-authored by Leona Rostenberg and Madeleine B. Stern[edit]

  • Old and Rare: Thirty Years in the Book Business, 1974.
  • Between Boards: New Thoughts on Old Books, 1978.
  • Bookman's Quintet: Five Catalogues about Books: Bibliography, Printing History, Booksellers, Libraries, Presses, Collectors, 1979.
  • Quest Book—Guest Book: A Biblio-Folly, 1993.
  • Connections: Ourselves—Our Books, 1994.
  • Old Books in the Old World: Reminiscences of Book-buying Abroad, 1996.
  • Old Books, Rare Friends: Two Literary Sleuths and Their Shared Passion, 1997.
  • New Worlds in Old Books, 1999.
  • Books Have Their Fates, 2001.
  • Bookends: Two Women, One Enduring Friendship, 2001.
  • From Revolution to Revolution: Perspectives on Publishing and Bookselling 1501-2001, 2002.

Books edited by Madeleine B. Stern[edit]

  • Behind a Mask: The Unknown Thrillers of Louisa May Alcott, 1975.
  • Plots and Counterplots: More Unknown Thrillers of Louisa May Alcott, 1976 (in paperback, A Marble Woman, 1976).
  • Louisa's Wonder Book-An Unknown Alcott Juvenile; With an Introduction and Bibliography, 1975.
  • A Double Life: Newly Discovered Thrillers of Louisa May Alcott, 1988.

and others.

External links[edit]


  1. ^ Fox, Margalit (August 25, 2007). "Madeleine B. Stern, Bookseller and Sleuth, Dies at 95". The New York Times. Retrieved 3 January 2015. 
  2. ^ Shine, Cathleen (December 30, 2007). "Madeleine Stern: Literary Life". The New York Times. Retrieved 3 January 2015. 
  3. ^ Fox, Margalit (August 25, 2007). "Madeleine B. Stern, Bookseller and Sleuth, Dies at 95". The New York Times. Retrieved 3 January 2015.