For the first time in its history, the Bryn-Mawr Wellesley Book Sale will begin on Monday, rather than Wednesday. As a result, the preview sale day is Monday, March 25, and the usual Saturday-Sunday half-price and bag days now fall on Thursday and Friday, March 28 and 29. The change was necessitated by limitations to access to Princeton Day School due to the coinciding of the Passover and Easter holidays.
With 85,000 books for sale, many for as low as $1-2, the Bryn-Mawr Wellesley event, with proceeds funding scholarships for students at those colleges, is among the largest, if not the largest, on the east coast. In addition to tens of thousand of books on subjects from archery and architecture to youth books and zoos, the five-day event will feature the impressive book collection of the late Peter Oppenheimer of Princeton. Mr. Oppenheimer was a book collector of wide-ranging interests, and his family has donated his collection of more than 15,000 volumes on philosophy, math, history, art, music, literary criticism, and biography. Other notable offerings include a Beatrix Potter collection; a three-volume Sotheby’s auction catalog describing the contents of Chateau de Groussay; The Solitude of Ravens, a gorgeous photography book; an 1878 manual on archery plus other titles on the sport; and Les Oeuvres d’architecture d’Antoine Le Pautre, architecte orginaire du Roy which features detailed 17th Century architectural castle drawings. The rare and unusual titles can be found in Collector’s Corner. The sale proper takes place in the PDS cafeteria and gymnasium at 650 The Great Road in Princeton.
Due to the size of Peter Oppenheimer’s library, half of the books have been set aside for the 2014 sale. His collection will be displayed in two areas, one on the main sale floor, the other in the Collectors’ Corner, which will include his copy of a 1968 first edition of Tom Wolfe’s The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test. Many of Mr. Oppenheimer’s books were published by University presses and most are in “new, or like-new” condition. “When the family asked if they could donate 400-500 boxes of books, we were stunned by the size of the donation,” says Sarah Ferguson, the sale’s warehouse manager. “When we got to his home, we saw a forest of neatly stacked books with only a few paths to navigate from one room to another. The quality of these scholarly books was far beyond our expectations.”
Admission on Preview Day is $20 per person, with hours from 10 a.m. — 5 p.m. Preview sale admission tickets have been issued using a lottery system. Names will be drawn randomly for positions in line for preview sale customers. Tickets may also be bought at the door. The sale is open to the public on Tuesday, March 26, and Wednesday, March 27, from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Half-Price Day, Thursday, the hours are 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Box day, Friday, March 29, hours are 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Box $10, standard paper grocery bag $5. Maximum box size 17” x 13” x 13”. Bring your own box or bag or buy a used box ($1) or a new, reusable Tote bag ($1.50) at the sale.