From an article entitled “Defining Americana” by the late Thomas R. Adams of the John Carter Brown Library in The Book Collector (Winter 2008), page 562, comes this classic illustration of how bibliophily does not always lend itself to neat academic categories:
My father [Randolph G. Adams] introduced me to the ambiguities of the term Americana when I was quite young. Soon after he went to the William L. Clements Library in 1923, Junius Beal, a Regent of the University of Michigan, member of the Committee of Management and a close personal friend of Clements, wanted to give the library a 1480 edition of Cicero’s Tusculanae Disputationes. My father demurred, saying it really wasn’t Americana. Beal replied, ‘Young man, make it Americana. That is what you are paid for.’ A passage on Atlantis solved the problem.
Conversely, Junius Beal may very well have missed his calling as an antiquarian bookseller.