About Alcuin Books

When I chose the name Alcuin back in 1979, it was with a sense that this man whose vast learning accompanied by his commitment to God had integrated faith with scholarship. His obsession with books and building up libraries began in York and in 778 was transferred to Charlemagne's Palace School at Aachen. His development of  the Carolingian minuscule is at the center of the proliferation of manuscript transmission.  In  my university studies with an emphasis on medieval and renaissance studies,  I began to explore social and intellectual history; particularly, as a prelude to the Enlightenment.   Now If many see the new world of technology as offering a “new dark ages”,  we believe the world of  the book allows a greater vision than what occurs when people are dependent entirely upon the media. 

Until 1970, my collection [many would prefer the term accumulation] represented serious reading in a variety of subjects.  I already had a BA in History with an emphasis on Early Modern Europe with graduate work in renaissance and reformation studies. But when I met Herb Caplan, the founder of Argus Books in Sacramento, my discovery of the variety of books including incunables alongside obscure ephemera inflamed my imagination.  I made my way from the University of California at Davis to the Berkeley campus where n I obtained an MLS with an emphasis on the History of the Book under the tutelage of Robert Harlan.  Eventually, I became a librarian and earned my MA in Western History with my thesis, "Books, Booksellers and Libraries in the Sacramento Gold Rush, 1849-1862"  which was published in parts over a three year period in AB Bookman's Weekly in the annual Western Americana issues.  After also acquiring a Master of Divinity degree from Trinity Divinity School, I moved from small catalogs and sales to universities to an open store in Phoenix which was established in 1990. Since 2003 I have been located in Scottsdale, Arizona in the city's old town area.

We have a serious selection of  rare, scholarly and limited editions with important ephemera in a variety of fields. Besides maintaining an inventory of over 12,000 books in our store (of which a little more than 7,000 are found online) we offer  free estimates of value as well as professional written appraisals when required.   We are members of the American Booksellers Association of America (ABAA) and the International League of Antiquarian Booksellers (ILAB).   We have conducted appraisals since 2014 on the PBS program Arizona Collectibles as well as provide guest lectures and seminars at various locations.