Jobs for Medievalists

Phillip J. Pirages Fine Books & Manuscripts is seeking a detail-oriented individual with strong writing, organizational, and personal skills as well as sophisticated understanding of computer technology for full-time employment, working with a small staff.  The person’s chief responsibility would be to assist with writing catalogue descriptions of rare books and manuscripts (see for examples); other tasks might include administrative office work (processing acquisitions, orders, and payments as well as preparing invoices and tracking inventory), responding to customer inquiries, handling general correspondence, assisting with the company’s social media marketing, representing the business at book fairs, and other duties as assigned. We do not have a store front; client visits are by appointment.

To apply, please email cover letter and CV to

Required Skills and experience:

•       Significant writing experience, preferably  for pay and/or publication

•       Knowledge of and/or interest in rare books

•       Strong editing and proofreading skills

•       Strong attention to detail in general

•       Experience with Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, Outlook/Exchange)

•       Experience with database and web searching

Desired Skills:

•       Reading knowledge of languages besides English

•       Familiarity with Microsoft Access

•       Familiarity with QuickBooks

•       Experience with Adobe InDesign

Required Education:

•       Bachelor’s Degree (B.A. or B.S.)

Desired Education:

•       Advanced degree or training in a related area (e.g., Rare Book School, MLS, master’s degree in the humanities)

Other requirements:

•       Ability to travel


Comfortable for the region’s cost of living, and tailored to reflect experience in the trade:  full-time starting pay with no experience as a bookseller = approximately $40,000/yr. ($15/hr. wage + profit sharing + bonus [i.e., at least $20/hr.] + medical insurance);  with experience, employees get regular hourly increases, then (after three years) a pension contribution, which is likely to be 25% of total wages, profit sharing, and bonus

2 weeks vacation + 3 paid holidays

About us:

Long-time members of ABAA and ILAB, Phillip J. Pirages Fine Books & Manuscripts was established in 1978 in Kalamazoo, Michigan, and is now located in McMinnville, in Oregon’s scenic Willamette Valley, about 45 miles from Portland. From the beginning, its founder was willing to sell a range of material, but the business has over the years gravitated toward historical artifacts that are physically attractive in some way—illuminated material, fine bindings, books printed on vellum, fore-edge paintings, beautiful typography and paper, impressive illustration. Among other specialties, the company also sells early leaves and documents, biblical material from all periods, Wing and STC imprints, modern privately printed books, and other interesting and significant material.  For the past 14 years, we have been fortunate to represent one of the country’s most important collectors. This collaboration means that, apart from our own inventory, we are continually building his collection of visually arresting books (items of unusual size, with beautiful bindings, and/or containing striking illustrations) and of other material that is extraordinarily odd or unusual, especially (but not exclusively) in relation to the history of medicine and to the human imagination.

Cokie Anderson

Phillip J. Pirages Fine Books & Manuscripts

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