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Between the Covers

our answers

Information about BTC, our history, policies — all your questions answered.

Ann
Ashley
Corey
Dave
George
Heidi
Kellie
Ken
Lara
Martha
Matt
Tom Congalton

as well as...
Muffin
Pumpkin
Tom Bloom
The Online Clerk


Tom Congalton
began collecting old and not-always-so rare books in 1968 at the age of sixteen, inspired by the memoirs of rare booksellers that he read rather than helping the patrons at the Monmouth County Library in Freehold, New Jersey where he worked. After several fits and starts in book collecting (detailed ad nauseum in his specialist dealer speech at the 27th Annual Colorado Antiquarian Book Seminar), he began selling books to other dealers, and by quoting books in the wanted section of the now defunct bookselling magazine AB Bookman's Weekly. After a strikingly mediocre academic career at Monmouth College, Rutgers University, and a few other institutions that would probably not thank you for mentioning that he ever attended, he pursued a variety of other careers for which he was equally unsuited, including helping in the construction of monumental sculptures for an award-winning artist, cooking in restaurants, and for nearly a decade, owning and operating a custom woodworking shop.

Throughout this time he continued to buy and sell books, becoming more serious about the whole process around 1978, when he began to spend increasing amounts of time seriously scouting and selling books to other dealers. Tom became a member of the Antiquarian Booksellers' Association of America (ABAA), the national professional booksellers' trade organization in 1990. After terms on the Board of Governors as an At-Large member, as Secretary, and as Vice President of the ABAA, he served as President of that organization from 2000-2002. He has also served on the Committee for the New York Antiquarian Book Fair, the oldest book fair in the United States, for the past sixteen years, much of that time as either Chairman or Co-Chairman. He was one of the founding members of the Antiquarian Booksellers of New Jersey (ABNJ), present at their inaugural meeting in 1985. From 2005-2010 he lectured at the Colorado Antiquarian Book Seminar held annually at Colorado College, and he currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Foundation that oversees the Seminar. Since 2008 he has co-taught a course for 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 on the subject of rare books, book collecting, and the antiquarian book trade 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, as well as by various specialist periodicals. After serving as Chairman of the ILAB Internet Committee, and as editor of the ILAB Newsletter, Tom served as President of the International League of Antiquarian Booksellers (ILAB) from 2012-2014. email Tom Congalton

Heidi Congalton
was born in Pennsylvania, as this is where her family is from, but has spent most of her years in New Jersey. She met Tom in 1984 in Colts Neck, New Jersey where they both lived. She married Tom the next year because he had so many books, and encouraged him to give up his comfortable cabinet shop in order that he could sell books. The business operated for a short time in their apartment in Old Bridge. They moved shortly after to Collingswood, in Camden County - the reason they bought their house there was because Tom was supposed to be scouting for houses, but instead ended up spending too much time in a now defunct bookstore in Egg Harbor. When asked what houses he had found he volunteered the only one that he had seen, which they bought soon after. Heidi worked at various jobs, first waitressing, then in the accounting department of a law office in Philadelphia, until she joined the business fulltime in 1989. She was responsible for finding and setting up our first offices in Haddonfield. Heidi also attended the inaugural meeting of the ABNJ and served a term as the Secretary of that organization. Along with Shelley Caney, Heidi started the New Jersey Antiquarian Book Fair, the best and longest running antiquarian book fair in New Jersey. Heidi currently does our in-house bookkeeping, while jumping in elsewhere when needed. email Heidi Congalton

Dave Stewart
crawled Between the Covers in 2003, the culmination of a long "career" spent in books. After beginning in new books with Doubleday Books Shops in New York during the go-go eighties, he rapidly ascended to the position of part-time clerk with a variety of establishments, some still in existence. Through circumstances beyond his control, he was accidentally named General Manager of two large Borders Books Shops. Having noticed that this latest development was resulting in an absurd amount of time devoted to something called "work," he set his sights on the rare book world, gaining a position for five years with one of the leading rare book dealers in the United States, where he alternately collated copies of the Nuremburg Chronicles and calculated the cost of shipping to Paraguay. Now with an even leading-er rare book dealer, he fancies himself a Customer Service Director, a point which the rest of the staff is willing to concede him whenever they have a question they don't feel like answering. Dave has a BA in English Literature from Johns Hopkins University, and will soon complete a Master's degree in Library Science at Drexel University for no particular reason. email Dave Stewart

Corey Bechelli
is the graphic designer for Between the Covers. He takes photos of books, designs catalogs, and handles all things visual. He can often be seen begging the printer to work, or reinstalling Windows on some hapless computer. He has to draw, so he creates comics, plays shows, and helps organize art shows. email Corey Bechelli

Martha Farrell
Although born in New York, Martha moved to New Jersey soon after birth and considers herself a Jersey native. This mother of five was a stay-at-home mom for many years before re-entering the workforce. Martha held a variety of jobs before joining Alottabooks in September 2000 as a data entry clerk. When Alottabooks merged with BTC in 2007 Martha transitioned to her new role of office assistant for Heidi. She also cleans and ships our books. Martha has three rowdy dogs (who are like three more children to her) that have earned her house the reputation with the local post office as the "dog house." Martha enjoys spending time with her children, gardening, needlework, watching old movies and TV shows, listening to rock 'n roll music, baking, and just plain relaxing if there is ever time for it. She also makes a mean ice cream cake that is popular with her two sons-in-law.

Ann Paul
Anjanette grew up in Philadelphia and moved to New Jersey when she was 20 years old with two sons in tow. A full-time mother, she has worked part-time with Alottabooks since February, 2000. Since the merger with BTC in 2007 Ann has continued her duties of cataloging books and processing book orders. She enjoys going to Wildwood, NJ every summer with her sons. On the weekends she and her boyfriend love to ride the Harley just about anywhere. Cooking, baking and spending time with her family are her highest priorities (after fulfilling your book needs, of course).

George Brophy
is the only member of the staff who is actually a native of Gloucester City. He has been with Alottabooks for several years, and for BTC he catalogs, ships books, and moves an awful lot of boxes around, for which the rest of the staff is eternally grateful.

Lara Feldman
is a Philadelphia native, born and raised. She has, however, spent the last 6 years of her life living in New York City, taking classes in creative writing, waitressing and performing as a spoken word artist. She has performed at various New York venues such as the LaMama playhouse and The Bowery Poetry Club. She reads and writes like she needs it to survive. She also draws and paints. Lara plans to stay with Between the Covers for a long time to come - she refuses to ever be a waitress again. Lara handles our Internet orders and shipping. email Lara Feldman

Matt Histand
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 hope to return once this housing fiasco is over. Until then, he lives in a nearby town no one has heard of with his three sons, two dogs, and a three-legged cat - which used 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

Kellie Paullen
is the whirlwind of Between the Covers, shelving and pulling the scores of books entered and ordered every day. email Kellie Paullen

Ken Giese
leapt at the opportunity to work in the trade and return home to Philadelphia. He was Assistant to Director Terry Belanger at Rare Book School (RBS) at the University of Virginia until Belanger’s retirement in 2009, whereupon he moved to Maryland to serve as Special Collections Librarian on a one-year cataloging project at Goucher College. A native Philadelphian and Temple graduate, Ken moved to New York City to study philosophy at the New School for Social Research. When this proved to be a poor career choice, Ken began a library career as Government Documents Librarian at the New York Law Institute, and was Technical Services Librarian at the Juilliard School before joining Rare Book School in 2006. He was first enticed into the trade after taking Tom Congalton’s and Katherine Reagan’s new RBS course in 2008. Ken has a MLS degree with a concentration in rare books and special collections from Long Island University, and is a member of the Rare Books and Manuscripts Section (RBMS) of the American Library Association. In keeping with Terry’s vision, and Tom’s bottom line, he looks to promote close ties between librarians and booksellers. email Ken Giese

Ashley Wildes
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.



--> Muffin
aka Admiral Muffin, is notoriously coy about her background. In her post-naval life she and her somtimes aide-de-camp, Pirate Pumpkin, were adopted from a shelter in Voorhees, NJ in 1997.

Pumpkin
aka Pirate Pumpkin, has rebelled from under the oppressive paw of her domineering senior sea-cat, and now does her best to attack and chase the Admiral and steal her food whenever possible. At the end of 2007 Pumpkin was adopted by a former book cataloger of whom she was particularly fond.

Tom Bloom
is not a pipe, as Magritte would say. Nor is he a member of our staff strictly speaking. Tom is a professional illustrator of books, magazines and newspapers, and his work has regularly appeared in The New Yorker, The Wall Street Journal, and The Village Voice. His cartoon illustrations have been used on the front page of The New York Times more than any other artist (at least that's what we've been told, we haven't looked at all of them). Tom has created over 100 catalog covers for Between the Covers, as well as the artwork for this website. email Tom Bloom

The Online Clerk
does not represent anyone on the staff. None of us look like him, and he smiles more than we do. He is a creation of Tom Bloom, animated by Steven Loring with "tweaner" assistance from Corey Bechelli. If you would like to watch him walk in again, simply close your web browser, reopen it, and choose www.betweenthecovers.com from your bookmarked pages.