In my first year as a bookseller, I had the great pleasure of meeting Herbert Banks. He appeared in our store with a long list containing the books for which he was searching. I was immediately struck by his forceful and determined attitude. Mr. Banks, I was to soon to learn, knew exactly what he was looking for and why. As with all great book collectors his depth of knowledge and understanding of his subject far surpassed my own career selling Novascotiana.
What impressed me most during our first few meetings was his sheer determination and, as the years went by, his single minded dedication to his search for the book. Mr. Herbert Banks never gave up. This tenacity was never more evident than when he was on the hunt for local Nova Scotia histories. He wanted all that had been published by all the local clubs, etc. etc. In examining this collection you will see that he was an eminently successful book collector. He has amassed what I believe to be the largest known collection of local Nova Scotian histories. It is sometimes hard to appreciate the sheer volume of work done by collectors when it has all been gathered up and placed in a catalogue and is easily seen and accessed through your library. In fact, Mr. Banks wrote thousands of letters and travelled thousands of miles around the province in search of individuals or groups that might or might not have a connection with the writing of a small town’s history. This particular area of collecting showed Mr. Banks’ true talent and perseverance, which was greatly put to the test by the fever of local pride generated by Canada’s centennial. In 1967, with the help of government grants and an abundance of local enthusiasm, the number of local histories literally doubled in one year.
The major problem for book dealers and book collectors alike was the fact these histories were mostly done by “Centennial Committees” that were formedfor a year or so, published their history, gave it a very limited distribution and then disappeared. The term “limited distribution” in this case means passed out to friends and relatives and anybody who was interested during the month they were floating around. Mr. Banks was well aware of these difficulties and assured us on many occasions that if I worked a little harder and applied myself with more vigour to my chosen profession that I could certainly find him that Sheet Harbour, a Local History, by James E. Rutledge published in 1954, and we eventually did overcome all the difficulties involved and found him his copy. During these times, it never ceased to amaze me that Mr. Banks never became discouraged by the sheer number of local histories, nor by the extremely small printing runs, nor by the disappearance of the authors and editors. As you will see by searching through this catalogue, it would be very difficult to discover a local Nova Scotia history that was not acquired by Mr. Banks.
Sometimes Mr. Banks was frustrated by what he saw as the lack of enthusiasm shown by what he considered the league of second hand and rare booksellers. His main complaint with this group was their seeming lack of care and attention to the long list of books for which he was searching. If books were not being delivered on a regular basis to Barrington Passage that were on these lists or associated with his various projects and current interests, he felt it was because we were ignoring his lists. Mr. Banks was convinced, and often expressed the opinion, that booksellers would swear on all the bibles in their stores that they would consult his list when any material on Nova Scotia came in and as soon as he walked out the door he swore we all threw the list straight in the garbage. There were a few booksellers who made the fatal error of cataloguing and selling to another collector a book that was on the lists which he sent them three times that year. If this happened and he were to find out, then you were usually in for a half hour diatribe on incompetency, mental capabilities, and lack of same and the gross corruption prevailing throughout the whole book selling community.
Over the years I was to learn that booksellers were not the only people to be honoured with Mr. Banks’ attention. Reading over this catalogue you will see a great deal of material relating to Nova Scotia craftsmen and artists. In my opinion this is the finest collection of material dealing with all aspects of this province’s various artistic communities. It is especially strong in the field of Nova Scotia painters. He spent many years collecting all the individual exhibition catalogues put out by the various commercial galleries, government institutions, and artists themselves. As you will discover, the majority of this material was put out between 1930 and 1960 by various branches of the government. Once again this was material published in small numbers for a very short time and, being of a very ephemeral nature, easily lost or discarded. Mr. Banks began his attack on this area of collecting by focusing his attention away from the bookseller and onto the unsuspecting bureaucrat. His campaign proceeded with letters and visits to the departments of Tourism, Education, Recreation Culture, Highways, Small Business, Public Archives of Nova Scotia and the Legislative Library. He was for the most part unsuccessful and very disturbed by the total lack of any publishing records from the various departments. He was invariably incensed by the lack of knowledge the incumbent officials had of the department’s publishing history, who the individuals involved were and the whys and wherefores of the various publications put our over the last 100 years. This lack of adequate record-keeping became a major problem towards the middle of this century with the explosion of the size of government bureaucracies and their eagerness to publish. A very good example of this situation was Mr. Banks’ difficulty in acquiring a complete set of art catalogues published by the Department of Education during the 1940’s. These were lists of paintings by Nova Scotia artists that were part of a travelling art show around the province. These catalogues are illustrated and contain some of the most important works by the best artists of the time, giving titles and dates of the work and some information on the artists. The department responsible knew very little, if anything, about these publications and Mr. Banks was unsuccessful in acquiring any issues until we found an almost complete run in the collection of books and pamphlets of a Dartmouth art teacher.
Another of Mr. Banks’ success stories was his acquisition of a complete run of the early Canadian art magazine titled Maritime Art: The Journal of the Maritime Art Association. This magazine was originally issued on a Gestetner by the Maritime Art Association at Wolfville, Nova Scotia in October 1940. Each of the first fifteen issues published between 1940 and 1943 has an original piece of art work tipped in. These works were usually wood or lino cuts and done by such artists as Donald Mackay, Carl Schaefer, Edwin Holgate, Leonard Hutchinson and Marguerite Zwicker. Though the early issues were done in very small printing runs and therefore very had to find, Mr. Banks was fortunate to find all fifteen in their original state. As the magazine matured it was published on heavier paper, typeset and with color covers and advertising. Of course, Mr. Banks did not stop with these early issues. The scope of his collecting merely broadened as the magazine metamorphosed into Maritime Art: A Canadian Art Magazine and finally developed into Canada’s first national art magazine entitledCanadian Art. His collection begins in 1940 and ends in June 1961, and is one of the few complete runs we have in the Maritime Provinces.
I do not want to give the impression that Mr. Banks spent most of his energies on 20th century material, for you will readily see this is not the case. In my opinion, perhaps the most interesting aspect of Mr. Banks’ collecting, perhaps his own greatest interest and love, was his passionate dedication to Joseph Howe as a publisher and printer. Mr. Banks early on obtained a copy of an article by George L. Parker titledJoseph Howe as Publisher which has a short checklist of material published by Howe from 1828 to 1840. It was this list of books and pamphlets which he truly wanted to own. The beginning of this collection starts with Howe’s second year as a publisher in 1829 and with Canada’s first major historical work by one of our first native historians and novelists, Thomas Chandler Haliburton. The title of this book is, of course, An Historical and Statistical Account of Nova Scotia. It was originally published in two volumes with a large folding map and various plans, engravings and smaller maps. Mr. Banks has a copy of the first edition, first issue as well as the first edition, second issue. It was a major production for a publisher of that time because of its size, maps and engravings and was funded by Howe and by a loan from Haliburton. This publishing venture was a disappointing failure to Howe, as the history did not sell and a quarrel developed between Howe and Haliburton which eventually ended in Howe losing Haliburton as a friend and as an author.
The next two items on this list are from the following year, 1830, and we were able to obtain them both for Mr. Banks. The first is, in my opinion, one of the rarest 19 century Canadian poetical works known. It is by Andrew Shiels and titled The Witch of the Westcot; A Tale of Nova Scotia in Three Cantos; and Other Leaves of Literature. This was again, for the time, a very substantial publishing endeavour because of its size which was 213 pages and the fact that it was a work of poetry, which is a risky publishing choice at any time. Mr. Banks has a unique copy of this book which belonged to that other great Nova Scotian historian of the 19th century, Beamish Murdoch, with his signature on the title page. Its uniqueness is enhanced by the fact that it is in its original publisher’s paper covered boards with a cloth spine with the original label partially intact. This beautiful copy was purchased, after two years of negotiation, from a New Brunswick family collection and placed into the appreciative hands of Mr. Banks.
The other work from this year is Rev. Robert A. Cooney’s’ A Compendious History of the Northern Part of the Province of New Brunswick, and of the District of Gaspe, in Lower Canada. Once again this copy was obtained from a collection in New Brunswick after a few years’ effort, and came in its original boards with a new leather spine. This title is of great collecting interest because it is New Brunswick’s first major history, and one of the few books that Howe published that did not have a Nova Scotia connection.
In Parker’s list of the next two years, 1832 and 1833, the only thing Howe published was Canada’s first major legal publication apart from the statutes of the legislatures, titled Epitome of the Laws of Nova Scotia. The first volumes were published in 1832 and the next two volumes in the following year. They were written by the Nova Scotian historian, lawyer and politician, Beamish Murdoch. Mr. Murdoch’s “Epitomes” are extremely difficult to obtain in a complete set as only odd volumes seem to surface Volume I being the most common. However, we were able to purchase one complete set, though it is the only complete set I have found in 17 years as an antiquarian book dealer. This set, which was sold to Mr. Banks, was discovered in the town that Murdoch died in, Lunenburg, and was complete but unbound. We later had it bound in half brown morocco. As you will also see he has a Volume I in its original cloth covered boards with the cloth spine and the printer paper label. Before leaving the subject of Beamish Murdoch, it should be pointed out that in this collection there is also a copy of his history of Nova Scotia for which he as much better known. This is an exceptional copy for it is in its original publishers binding, that of James Barnes of Halifax. Murdoch’s history is titled A History of Nova Scotia or Acadie and was published in separate parts in 1865.
In the following year, 1834, Howe published what was to become another of the truly rare pieces of 19th century Novascotiana. It is titled A Brief Sketch of the Present State of Relief. This scarce pamphlet was written by the British M.P. John Homer and was only published in a run of 400 and is relatively short, 31 pages, which may also account for its scarcity. The Banks copy has its original printed paper covers and has been bound in one half leather. Jumping up to the next year, Mr. Banks was unable to obtain the pamphlet on Howe’s libel trial which was published in 1835. However, he does have a beautiful copy of A Treatise on Infant Baptism; Shewing the Scriptural Grounds and Historical Evidence of that Ordinance; Together with a Brief Exposition of the Baptismal Offices of the Church of England which was published in 1836. This work was written by a missionary from the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts named Rev. James Robertson who was stationed in Bridgewater, Nova Scotia at the time. Mr. Banks’s copy is in its original publisher’s greenish brown cloth complete with spine label. Unfortunately Mr. Banks was only able to find one item published by Howe in his last three years as a publisher. This item is a very important one to book collectors for it was the last title that Howe published which was written by Thomas Haliburton and the first book published in Nova Scotia under the new Copyright Act. The title is The Letter Bag of the Great Western; or, Life in a Streamer, which came out in 1840. This copy has its original black embossed cloth covers but lacks its printed spine label.
Before leaving Joseph Howe, one should take notice of the most rare and possibly most valuable title in this catalogue. This is the book written by Jonathan Scott, A Brief View of the Religious Tenets and Sentiments of Mr. Henry Alline. It was published in 1784 by Joseph Howe’s father John, who was considered one of Canada’s most accomplished 19th century printers. This title was an attack on Nova Scotia’s famous 18th century evangelist Henry Alline by the congregationalist Scott. Alline was very radical for his time and began a great religious debate in Nova Scotia with his unorthodox preaching methods and evangelistic interpretations of the Bible. The Banks copy has been rebound in brown morocco and is particularly noteworthy for the fact that it comes with the errata in the rear. This collection can make the rare boast that it has two John Howe imprints. The second example is A Poetical Account of the American Campaigns of 1812 and 1813 published in 1815 and attributed to various authors but as yet no real proof as to who actually wrote this work. This copy is once again rebound in brown morocco and is the only copy I have seen. These two examples of John Howe’s printing will show why he deserves the praise given him as a most distinguished printer. They both show his clean type and pleasing design with open and free proportions of text and space that make each book a real work of art.
Mr. Banks did go beyond the borders of Nova Scotia with his interest in 19th century travel journals dealing with trips through the Maritime Provinces. Most of these journals were by British noblemen and military officers coming to the British Dominions to report on the prospective economies, the agricultural possibilities, the inhabitants, and above all the superior fishing and hunting. One of Mr. Banks’ earliest examples is by an S. Hollingsworth and titled The Present State of Nova Scotia: With A Brief Account of Canada, and The British Islands on the Coast of North America. This is the second enlarged edition published in 1787, has been rebound in buckram, and is complete with the beautiful folding map intact. Mr. Hollingsworth was a great fan of Nova Scotia and very impressed with our cod fish, fur, lumber, salt, etc. and made the point that England must protect our ocean routes so as to insure the growth of the colony. A little later on, in 1809, we find a book by Hugh Gray titled Letters From Canada, Written During a Residence There in the Years 1806, 1807, and 1808; Shewing the Present State of Canada. This is not a very well known book and does not appear in the literature of the time. This may be because of the fact that Mr. Gray is better known for his disparaging remarks about the French Canadians in this book than his astute observations on the Maritime lumber trade. A much more desirable title in this category of travel journals was one that Mr. Banks especially appreciated – Joshua Marsden’s A Narrative of a Mission to Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and The Somers Island; With a tour to Lake Ontario published at Plymouth-Dock in 1816. Marsden was a Methodist missionary and he gives elaborate details of the running of the missions, but what Mr. Banks appreciated was the description of the American preparations to invade Canada in 1814 which Marsden wrote while in New York on his way back to England. Mr. Banks was able to obtain a wonderful copy of this book which has been annotated in pen in the margins of many of the pages and also on full extra leaves which have been bound in. There is no clue as to the author of these notes but they appear to be by an individual who made the same voyage that Marsden writes about, but taken two years later. The comments are his experiences travelling through this area in comparison to Marsden’s. There is one very moving and well written passage on the death of a young woman that they may both have known.
From the 1830’s there are two highly desirable travelogues which are present in this collection. The first one is the most important because of its three exquisite aquatints, one of Province House in Halifax, one of Cape Blomidon in the Annapolis Valley, and the third is of Lochaber Lake in Cape Breton. They are some of the finest views done of Nova Scotia in the 19th century which were drawn by the author William Scarth Moorsom and later engraved in England by a J. Clark. The title of the book is Letters from Nova Scotia; Comprising Sketches of a Young Country published in 1830 and this copy is bound in black morocco with marbled boards and has a fine large folding map of Nova Scotia and P.E.I. This travelogue is a favourite of most collectors of Novascotiana because of its wonderful descriptions of garrison life in Halifax during the 1820s and the fact that Moorsom, a Captain in the 52nd Light Infantry, made the first detailed map of Halifax harbour.
The second book published in the 1830s was by Edward Thomas Coke and titled A Subaltern’s Furlough: Descriptive of Scenes in Various Parts of the United States, Upper and Lower Canada, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia during the Summer and Autumn of 1832. This is an unusual title for it is one of the very few travelogues to be published in New York by Harper in 1833. Most of the travelogues of this area were published in England as you will have noticed. The greater portion of the two volumes covers his journey in the United States and Upper Canada for he seems to have cut his visit to the Maritimes short because of fear of a cholera outbreak. Before leaving this collecting theme, one should remark that Mr. Banks was successful in obtaining three other titles which fall into this area. James E. Alexander’s L’Acadie; or Seven Years Exploration in British America, was published in 1849. This is a very popular title with collectors of hunting and fishing books, for the author spends a great deal of time discussing salmon fishing and moose hunting, although he does talk a little about the Micmacs and the lumber trade while on his way to the next fishing hole. The second example from the 1850s is a superb copy in its original state with the gilt lettering to the spine still bright and the black blind stamped cloth looking as it did the day it was published. This is Pine Forests and Hacmatack Clearings; or Travel, Life and Adventure, in the British North American Provinces by Burrow Willcocks Arthur Sleigh and published in London in 1853. Sleigh was born in Canada and this book has a wonderful description of the shady politicians and the totally corrupt legal profession of the Maritime Provinces. The last title is Rambles among the Blue-Noses; or, Reminiscences of a Tour through New Brunswick and Nova Scotia during the summer of 1862 published in Montreal in 1863 and written by Andrew Learmont Spedon. Spedon was not the first to use the term “Blue-Noses” when referring to Nova Scotians in a book. This distinction goes I believe, to Thomas Chandler Haliburton in his Clockmaker series published in 1835.
As I mentioned previously, this collection has two major strengths not found anywhere else – the 20th century local Nova Scotia histories and the material on Nova Scotia artists. Yet another focus for the collection was Mr. Banks’ acquisition of literature written by Nova Scotians. This began and really centered around his garnering of Thomas Chandler Haliburton titles. Many of these I have mentioned earlier, but one that I have not is his wonderful 23 volume set of the works of Haliburton. These volumes are all bound in exquisite one half green morocco with gilt spines with black and red labels and marbled boards. They are all first editions except for the Clockmaker series, which is characteristic of most of the sets made up by London antiquarian booksellers around the turn of the century. His other great find from the 19th century was by Oliver Goldsmith, the grand-nephew of the Irish poet of the same name, who wrote The Rising Village. With other poems. published in Saint John, New Brunswick by John McMillan, the most successful New Brunswick printer of his time. This is an extremely difficult book to find and this 1834 edition is the first Canadian edition and the first and only edition of the collected poems. The Banks’ copy is inscribed on the leaf preceding the half-title by the author and states “Presented to Deputy Commissary General Hewetson by the author”. Further down the page in another hand is “Emma Hewetson 1860”. This small book has been bound upside down in a beautiful rust calf with a harp design stamped on the front and back covers. In 1834 Goldsmith had just been posted to Saint John. Given that this copy, presented by the author to his immediate superior, was most certainly bound either for Goldsmith or Hewetson, it is likely that the binding error is intentional. It just might be a bibliographic joke echoing the title of the third poem in the volume, The Mistake.
Looking through this catalogue, you will also notice that it has a wealth of literary material from the 19th century with works from well known authors such as Elizabeth Frame, Mrs. Lawson, James DeMille through to the early writings of Charles G. D. Roberts and Bliss Carman whose first works appeared before the turn of the century. We helped Mr. Banks to purchase Canada’s first true international bestseller. This book was first published in 1894 and by 1912 had sold 500,000 copies, had been translated into 20 different languages and was later to sell into the millions. The book was titled Beautiful Joe: An Autobiography and the author was Marshall Saunders, a native of Milton, Nova Scotia who spent most of her life in Halifax. The copy in the Banks collection is a true first edition which was published by the American Baptist Society, in Philadelphia in 1894, with the uncorrected title page. Marshall Saunders went on to write 26 books, the majority of which can be found in this collection; however none of them ever achieved the success of Beautiful Joe, not even the sequel, Beautiful Joe’s Paradise which came out in 1905. We may also remark that Mr. Banks was very fortunate in obtaining Marshall Saunders’ rarest title, The King of the Park, published in 1887 by Thomas Y. Crowell of New York and Boston.
Mr. Banks’ enthusiasm for collecting Canadian literature carried well into the 20th century. He has the complete works of Will R. Bird, Thomas Raddall, Ernest Buckler, Charles Bruce, Hugh MacLennan, Archibald MacMechan, Evelyn Richardson, to mention only a few of the better known writers. This collection also has the works of Frank Parker Day, one of Mr. Banks’ favorite writers and, in my opinion, the author of the best Nova Scotian novel titled Rockbound. Frank Parker Day was born at Shubenacadie, Nova Scotia in 1881 and educated at Pictou Academy, Mt. Allison and Oxford. He became a Professor of English at the University of New Brunswick in 1909 and joined the 185th Cape Breton Highlanders in 1914 and later commanded the 25th Canadian Infantry Battalion during World War One. In 1929 he became President of Union College in Schenectady. Mr. Day also wrote two other novels – River of Strangers and John Paul’s Rock which has illustrations by his wife, the well known Nova Scotia artist Mabel Killam Day. Mr. Banks has the only copy of Rockbound I know of with a dust jacket. In point of fact, he has two copies. He also has what I believe is one of the few copies of John Paul’s Rock with the dust jacket and text illustrations from pen drawing done by his wife. Mr. Banks’ copy of River of Strangers is in the finest condition possible with an exceptionally beautiful coloured dust jacket from an oil painting by Mabel.
Before coming to a close, I should mention two more authors that Mr. Banks felt were tremendously important to Nova Scotia’s history. Their names are Abraham Gesner and J.W. Dawson. Both men were very influential geologists and scientists and wrote and published some of the most important scientific material done in Canada during the last century. Dr. Abraham Gesner is the forgotten inventor of kerosene, which was one of the major inventions of the 19th century that led to the development of the modern petroleum industry. He was born in 1797 at Chipman’s Corner in the Annapolis Valley and received his M.D. in 1827 after study at St. Bartholomew’s Hospital in London. It is said that during his spare time in London he studied chemistry and geology which he was to use more effectively than his medical degree. Mr. Banks has a fine copy of Gesner’s first published work Remarks on the Geology of Mineralogy of Nova Scotia. This was printed by Gossip & Coade at Halifax in 1836 and has a beautiful folding plate of Parrsboro and a hand-coloured geological map of Nova Scotia printed by C.H. Belcher. This was the first serious geological work done by a Nova Scotian on Nova Scotia. Also in this collection are Gesner’s two other substantial works, The Industrial Resources of Nova Scotia which was again published in Halifax but by A. & W. MacKinlay in 1849, and the first major emigration guide to New Brunswick which was put out in 1847 and titled New Brunswick, with Notes for Emigrants.
The other author in whom Mr. Banks was greatly interested was Sir John William Dawson, Nova Scotia’s most prolific 19th century author with 400 books and papers to his credit. Dawson was born at Pictou, Nova Scotia in 1820, the son of the publisher James Dawson, and educated at the Pictou Academy and in Edinburgh. In 1842 he accompanied Sir Charles Lyell, the father of modern geology, on his tour of Nova Scotia. It was during this time that Dawson gathered the preliminary material for his monumental work on the geology of Nova Scotia which was titledAcadian Geology. This book first came out in London and Edinburgh in 1855 and went through 4 editions, each with large additions, until the final 1891 edition (4th) was published with 700 pages. The first had 388 pages. This work remains a standard text for Nova Scotia geology and Mr. Banks has both the first and second editions, both in their original cloth binding and containing the folding maps in the back. It should also be mentioned that Dawson wrote the first Nova Scotia science textbook that was used for decades in the province. It was titled A Handbook of the Geography and Natural History of the Province of Nova Scotia and was published by his father in Pictou in 1848. Although he was unable to find a first edition of this work, Mr. Banks did manage to purchase the 5th and 6th revised editions which were published in 1860 and 1863. Sir. J.W. Dawson is also considered to have written one of our finest modern agricultural text books. This was the Scientific contributions toward the improvement of Agriculture in Nova Scotia; and the first edition was published in Halifax in 1853. I do not know if anyone has seen the first edition of this book. I certainly have not and Mr. Banks was only able to obtain the more common second edition which had been improved and revised and came out as Contributions toward the Improvement of Agriculture in Nova Scotia and was published in 1856 by Richard Nugent.
While Dawson was Principal of MacGill University from 1865 until 1893, he became a leader in the anti-Darwinism movement of the 19th century. He was a devout Christian and believed that the proper interpretation would reveal that modern science and the scriptures were not at odds with each other. He wrote seven major books on the topic harmonizing the bible with science and spent a great deal of time giving public lectures on this subject. Of the seven books: Archaia…, Montreal 1860; The Origins of the World, According to Revelations and Science…Montreal 1877; Modern Ideas of Evolution. London 1890; Nature and the Bible… New York 1875; The Geological History of Plants… New York 1888; Facts and Fancies in Modern Science, Philadelphia 1882; Some Salient Points in Science of the Earth London 1893; and The Testimony of the Holy Scriptures Respecting Wine and Strong Drink, Montreal 1898. Mr. Banks has four, the last two being the most difficult to find.
As suggested by extent and content of this catalogue, Mr. Herbert Banks had a great love and respect for Nova Scotian artists, writers, historians and craftsmen. He greatly valued the lengthy cultural traditions of this province and particularly its literary past. As long as I knew him, he never lost his desire to search for the last book he needed, whether it be an unknown fisherman poet from the 1930’s or a small article by a well-known novelist such as Ernest Buckler. His enthusiasm for all areas of Novascotiana was contagious and moved us to search into places and time periods that were not fashionable or easily understood from a later 20th century viewpoint. In doing so he helped us gain some insights into the times that produced such an abundance of valuable material and validated its worth in terms of the history and culture about which he felt so strongly. In my opinion this collection stands on equal ground with the three great Novascotiana collections gathered in this century: The Dennis collection at Acadia University in Wolfville, the Akins collections at the Public Archives of Nova Scotia in Halifax, and the William Inglis Morse collection held at Dalhousie University Kings College and Acadia. The Banks collection may not have the sheer volume of 18th and 19th century material these three collectors gathered in the 1920’s and 30’s, but it more than makes up for the lack by the wealth of the material from the 19th and 20th centuries. Its breadth and depth in such a variety of areas crucial to socio-cultural investigation ensures that it will provide a wealth of source material for many generations of scholars, not to mention booksellers eager to hone their antiquarian skills.
Mr. Banks’ enthusiasm for collecting and his desire to share his knowledge afforded me the experience and information I needed to become a good bookseller. As the years passed Mr. Banks made me a much better book dealer than I would have ever become without his influence, and he did so with respect and in a gentlemanly manner. It was a great pleasure and a priceless gift to have Mr. Herbert Banks as my first great book collector.
by John Townsend
John Townsend was a bookdealer and a member of The Antiquarian Booksellers Association of Canada and The National Archival Appraisal Board. He was co-owner of Schooner Books Ltd. in Halifax, Nova Scotia.