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ILAB News 25

Published on 19 Dec. 2012



Do you know that Christmas was banned in the 17th century?

The English Parliament thought that celebrations like Christmas "often led to drunkenness, promiscuity, gambling and other forms of excess". From 1644 to 1660

[a]ll shops and markets were to stay open throughout the 25th December and anyone caught holding or attending a special Christmas church service would suffer a penalty. In the city of London things were even stricter as soldiers were ordered to patrol the streets, seizing any food they discovered was being prepared for a Christmas celebration.

Two hundred years later, on 19th December 1843, all copies of the first edition of "A Christmas Carol" were sold out on its first day of publication. 

ILAB wishes all booklovers, collectors, bibliophiles and booksellers a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year 2013!

Before the year ends we take a look back at some of the most read articles on the ILAB website in 2012. Enjoy!

Christmas and The Private Library 

The literature of Christmas is vast, and any book collector seeking to create a Christmas-themed private library quickly realizes that difficult choices have to be made. Does one collect everything written about or influenced by this holiday? Does one focus only on non fiction books (origins, evolution, secular or religious aspects), fiction (not all of which is cheery), or both?

Learn more about Christmas books with L.D. Mitchell and his famous blog The Private Library.

Childhood Classics: ‘The Night before Christmas'

Christmas is fast approaching, and for most of us, it's easy to get lost in the to-do lists and travel itineraries of the holidays. As adults, we can lose sight of the joy, wonder, and magic of this season. One book that has always encapsulated those emotions is The Night before Christmas. This childhood classic has enraptured generations, so much so that some rare book collectors even focus all their efforts on this single title. But as with any good story, there are multiple layers to this tale: the poem that shaped our Christmas traditions is also the center of an authorial controversy.

A collecting tip by Joachim Koch.

Yul Brynner dancing polka

Yul Brynner made a career out of playing a Thai king who danced the polka. The King and I was one of Rodgers and Hammerstein's outstanding theatrical successes during the "golden age" of musical theater. Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein were initially reluctant to pursue the project proposed by a theatrical attorney seeking a vehicle for client Gertrude Lawrence, a veteran leading lady. But they agreed to write the musical based on a 1944 novel, Anna and the King of Siam by Margaret Landon.

How famous books, based on legends, are turned into movies and music. By Linda Hedrick.

When Wallace Stevens hit Ernest Hemingway

Ernest Hemingway and Wallace Stevens, two famous writers. Two friends? One evening in 1936, on Waddell Avenue in Key West, the 50-something hard-drinking poet and the 30-something hard-drinking novelist met each other. Even a few weeks later, Wallace Stevens had a puffy eye and a broken hand ...

Michael Slicker knows what happened that evening in Key West.


"Book collecting is a vibrant, exciting and engaging pastime"

"Book collecting is often thought of as a hermeneutic pursuit, but it really is an adventure, a treasure hunt, and a fascinating journey of self-discovery. What could be sexier than that? If you attend one of the bigger ILAB sponsored book fairs, you are likely to see famous authors. artists, actors, musicians, filmmakers, and intellectuals. Often perceived by outsiders as a staid and scholarly pursuit, book collecting is and almost always has been a vibrant, exciting and engaging pastime - it's our job to make others understand that."

An interview with ILAB President Tom Congalton about his career and the future of the trade.

ILAB Internships - Julia Kulyamzina in the United States

We're happy to introduce ILAB's new intern Julia Kulyamzina. She spent four weeks in the United States with Tom Congalton, current ILAB President and owner of Between the Covers. She visited Bob Fleck at Oak Knoll Books and attended the Boston International Antiquarian Book Fair.

Read her reports!

50 Years of "Wiener Antiquariat"

The history of one of the most famous antiquarian bookshops spans several generations. It  began in Kestölz in Hungary in the 19th century, from where Michael Nebehay moved to Vienna. His youngest son became an antiquarian bookseller: Gustav Nebehay went to Leipzig where he joined the well-known company C. G. Boerner. After his return to Vienna he established his own business and became a friend of artists like Gustav Klimt and Egon Schiele.

Stefan Nebehay looks back to a long history of family tradition in the rare book business.

Howard Karno & Howard Karno Books

"I was entering the booktrade in 1978, working for Jake Zeitlin. It was from Howard that I always enjoyed a warm relationship that was welcoming from his heart right from the start. Howard gave me a copy of Armand Coppens' The Memoirs of an Erotic Bookseller. From that book I judged that Howard was a true romantic at heart! He was absolutely unique: my eye was drawn to the wonderfully colored Mexican sculptures around the store and then at his home. I remember going to gatherings at the home and enjoying company, seeing some more books and laughing while having a good time."

Jeff Weber about Howard Karno, who passed away in May 2012.

Two from the The Archangel Press

"This year I finally tracked down a copy of Abraham Lincoln Gillespie's The Shaper, which is as far as I know is not only the first separately published work by the poet, but also the only work published in his lifetime. The Shaper was published by the Archangel Press, a press I know nothing about, but which published another one of my favorite books of visual poetry - Kenneth Lawrence Beaudoin's 6 Eye Poems."

No Christmas story at all, but an inspiring article by Adam Davis about the Archangel Press.


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