Our latest listing, Catalogue 58: Carriage Books from the Collection of Deirdre H. Pirie, can be viewed under Catalogues & Lists. It offers over 170 books, catalogues, and ephemera from the 18th-20th centuries, many of them quite scarce. Thanks for looking!

About Us

Horses and art are what I know and love, and when I began selling out-of-print books part-time in 1973, I named the business Blue Rider Books to reflect these two interests. The Blue Rider (Der Blaue Reiter) was a group of early 20th-century German painters, and one of them, Franz Marc, painted expressionistic horses in bright primary colors.

I grew up near San Francisco and studied art history at Wellesley and Columbia. After a career as a staff and freelance art book editor for several trade and university presses, I began selling books full-time in 1983. In that year H.L. Mendelsohn and I opened our shop near Harvard Square. Along the way I changed the name to Robin Bledsoe, Bookseller, although many old friends and customers still think of me as "the Blue Rider."

I rode for many years at a stable near Boston, but I've never owned a horse. Books cost less to keep. My personal collecting interests include 19th-century American equestrian material (see below) and books about artists' books.
Our Research, and Selected Publications & Talks

I'm researching a late-19th-century American racehorse trainer's career and Thoroughbred racing of the day. I'm also studying many aspects of 19th-century equestrian print culture in the U.S. I'd welcome hearing from like-minded researchers, collectors, or anyone with relevant information or items to share or sell.


Publications

"Paul Brown as a Book Illustrator." In M.L. Biscotti, Paul Brown: Master of Equine Art. Derrydale Press, 2001. Also published in abridged form in the exhibition catalogue Paul Brown, Museum of Hounds and Hunting, Leesburg, VA.

"Collecting New England Horse Books." In On Collecting. Letterpress Guild of New England, 2000.

"A Canter through the Land of Children's Horse Books." In Firsts: Collecting Modern First Editions, July-August 1993. Republished in different forms in the National Sporting Library Newsletter (Summer 1994) and Equus (February 1996).

"Equestrian Books in the Post-Equestrian Age." In AB/Bookman's Weekly, June 22, 1992.

"Do You Have a Book on Learning to Post? Building a Dressage Library." In The Salute (New England Dressage Association), Winter 1987-88.

"A Library for Farriers." In American Farriers Journal, September-October 1983.

"Midget Horses in New York." In The Western Horseman, December 1963.

Consultant for many articles on collecting horse books for magazines such as Classic, Horsemen's Journal, Horse Show, The Chronicle of the Horse, etc.

Talks

"Horse Books in New England."  New England Region/Carriage Association of America Learning Weekend, 2011.

" 'I Got the Horse Right Here': Information Networks in Nineteenth-Century American Horse Racing." Society for the History of Authorship, Reading, and Publishing (SHARP), Minneapolis, MN, 2007.

On collecting equestrian books and ephemera, ca. 1900.Ticknor Society Collectors' Roundtable, Boston Public Library, 2003.

"At the Stable All Day: A Racetracker's Life around 1900." North American Society for Sport History, Springfield, MA, 1997.

"Putting the 'How' into How-To Books: Early Photography in Horsemanship Manuals." SHARP, Cambridge, England, 1997.

"Handling Women Who Handle Horses: Practices and Perceptions of American Horsewomen, 1885-1925." Berkshire Conference on the History of Women, Chapel Hill, NC, 1996.

"Antebellum American Riding and Taming Manuals: An Overlooked Source for Cultural History." SHARP, Washington, DC, 1994.

"I Got the (Horse) Book Right Here: Two Centuries of American Racing Books." Stanford University Library, Stanford, CA, 1994.


And Also . . .

"Robin Bledsoe, Bookseller." Sidebar in Michael Walmsley and Marlene Smith-Baranzini, Horse Racing Coast to Coast: The Traveler's Guide to the Sport of Kings. 2006. Featured as a side-trip for visitors to Suffolk Downs, East Boston.

Fran Jurga. "Hooked on Books: Robin Bledsoe's Cambridge Bookshop Is a Treasure Trove for Horse Lovers." In Equine Images, Spring 2002.

Supplied all the books used as props in the Robert Redford movie, The Horse Whisperer, 1998.



^ Back to Top
Site by Bibliopolis