Tom Congalton

Tom began collecting old and not-always-so valuable books in 1968 at the age of sixteen, inspired by the memoirs of rare booksellers that he read rather than helping patrons at the library where he worked. After a strikingly mediocre academic career, he pursued a variety of other careers while continuing to buy and sell books, becoming more serious about the whole process around 1978. Tom became a member of the Antiquarian Booksellers Association of America (ABAA) in 1990 and served as President from 2000-2002. He has served on the Committee for the New York Antiquarian Book Fair, the country’s oldest book fair, for the past thirteen years, much of that time as either Chairman or Co-Chairman. He was also one of the founding members of the Antiquarian Booksellers of New Jersey (ABNJ). In 2005 he was invited to lecture as the specialist dealer in modern first editions at the Colorado Antiquarian Book Seminar held annually at Colorado College, and currently teaches at Rare Book School at the University of Virginia. He has published articles on book collecting, and the antiquarian book trade in specialist periodicals in both the United States and the United Kingdom, and has been interviewed by newspapers and periodicals including The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, The New Yorker, Business Week, Investors Business Daily, The Philadelphia Inquirer, and many others. Tom currently serves as the the vice president of the International League of Antiquarian Booksellers (ILAB). email Tom Congalton

Ken Giese

After sixteen years in academic libraries, Ken leapt at the opportunity to work in the trade, even though it takes him away from his long-suffering family for part of each week. He was assistant to Director Terry Belanger at Rare Book (RBS) when love and sudden fatherhood prompted his move to Maryland just before Terry’s retirement in 2009. He then served as special collections librarian on a one-year project at Goucher College to catalog their hidden collections and to indoctrinate undergraduate student workers in the principles of bibliographical description. A native Philadelphian and Temple graduate, he spent his gilded youth in New York City processing rare book and archival collections at the Juilliard School, the Research Libraries (NYPL) rare books division, and the New York Law Institute. He completed his master’s degree in librarianship with a specialization in rare books and special collections at the Palmer School, Long Island University. Ken is an active member of ALA/ACRL’s Rare Books and Manuscripts Section (RBMS), and looks to promote closer ties between rare book librarians, archivists, collectors, and antiquarian booksellers. email Ken Giese

Matt Histand

Matt is happy to finally put his English degree to use, sort of. He was born and raised in New Jersey but met his wife in Philadelphia where they both live with their three sons, one dog,  and two cats, one of which has only three legs and use to live in Tom and Heidi’s garage, Matt assumes, next to a box of books. Previously, he worked as an editor for a magazine covering the promotional industry, which provided him with a wealth (if you can call it that) of free T-shirts. He picks and chooses what he reads very carefully, which means he’s usually eyeing some literary masterpiece but actually reading a comic book. email Matt Histand

Ashley Wildes

Ashley is part My Little Pony and Selkie. She was raised by wolves until Dennis and Miriam Wildes found her one fateful day and decided to bring her up as their own in the too small town of Pitman, NJ, where she survived by reading the Chronicles of Narnia and watching Star Wars ad nauseam. At university she decided she never wanted to make money…ever, thus choosing as her majors writing arts and classical guitar. Naturally this led to several lucrative careers including, but not limited to, guitar teacher, waitress, and unpaid writing for numerous free magazines before eventually landing a job as a trucker for an auto parts company. After a year she was unable to cope with the glamorous life that is delivering auto parts, so our young heroine thought it may be time to move on. However, employers were not exactly breaking down the door. It seemed only right that the next course of action should be to become a hobo. To the eternal gratitude of Tom and Heidi, Matt called Ashley to apprise her of the wondrous opportunities that awaited her in the rare book world. Now she splits her time cataloging at Between the Covers and being a punk rock singer/guitarist in the band Dear Althea. She also writes young adult novels, consumes vast amounts of sugar, and lives in Philadelphia with her cat Mercutio. If you want to bribe her for any reason please send a pony, preferably of the Shetland variety, and Swedish Fish to BTC, and she will take your request into consideration. email Ashley Wildes