Cabinets of Curiosity Literature

presentation by Will Baker

Schedule to be announced

The collectors of oddities and anomalies of nature have been publishing catalogs of their collections since as early as the 17th century; yet their codification as a sub-genre of literature is a recent phenomena. Will Baker has been at the forefront of it and his presentation will give a fascinating look at the process of building a new canon.


Will Baker is a bookseller, appraiser, and collections management consultant for W. C. Baker Rare Books & Ephemera, ABBA/ILAB. He received his first Master’s degree in Museum Studies from New York University, where he focused on the early development of natural history museums and 19th-century American dime museums. During that period, he worked as a researcher in the Anthropology division of the American Museum of Natural History, and as a curatorial assistant at the sword swallower Johnny Fox’s Lower East Side dime museum the Freakatorium. He later worked as a rare book cataloger for the William Reese Company and as the librarian and executive director of New Haven’s Institute Library. In recent years Baker has performed extensive consulting work for the Carnegie Museum of Natural History in Pittsburgh and has helped research and catalog Florence Fearrington’s landmark collection of rare books relating to cabinets of curiosities.