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Rare Books and the Rare Book Trade
 
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The ABA and the International League of Antiquarian Booksellers

Published on 27 March 2018
The ABA and ILAB look back at a long history. The ABA is relaunching its flagship fair in London this year, the oldest antiquarian book fair in the world, under the auspices of ILAB. This text by the late Anthony Rota, ABA bookseller and ILAB President of Honour, was published in 2008 in the ABA Directory.
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ILAB History

ILAB History

Published on 17 July 2013
Today the International League of Antiquarian Booksellers unites 22 national associations under one roof. Some of them had already been established when the League was founded in 1947/1948. Five of them were the driving forces: the antiquarian booksellers of Great Britain, France, Denmark, Sweden and The Netherlands.
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ILAB History

Preliminary Conference

Published on 17 July 2013
In 1947 representatives from Great Britain, France, Denmark, Sweden and The Netherlands met in Amsterdam for a Preliminary Conference. They discussed Hertzberger’s idea of forming an organization that counteracted the animosity and suspicion engendered by the Second World War. The new International League of Antiquarian Booksellers should foster friendship and understanding between the nations as the mutual basis for a fair and professional trade in the future.
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ILAB History

Copenhague 1948

Published on 17 July 2013
The ILAB was formally incorporated in Copenhagen in September 1948, with ten participating countries. Representatives from Belgium, Finland, Switzerland, and Italy joined their colleagues from Great Britain, France, Sweden, Denmark and The Netherlands at the conference table. Denmark was holding a proxy for Norway
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ILAB History

1951-1960

Published on 17 July 2013
“Considering the dubiety with which our activities were treated it is pleasant to record that the Congresses in London in 1949 and in Paris in 1950 were very successful both socially and professionally, while the standard of hospitality in both cities was impeccable." (Muir)
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ILAB History

1961-1970

Published on 17 July 2013
The admission of Japan, the ILAB Bibliography Prize (now ILAB Breslauer Prize for Bibliography) and the first ILAB International Antiquarian Book Fair were the milestones of the 60s.
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1 - 8 / 25

From the Vault

A sneak peek in our archives

Article

From the ILAB Archives: Amsterdam 1947 - A Bookseller's Wife Looks at Her Diary

In 1977, the 24th ILAB Congress and 7th ILAB International Antiquarian Book Fair took place in Düsseldorf, Germany. On this occasion, Karl H. Pressler, former editor of the German booksellers' magazine "Aus dem Antiquariat", published a special issue with articles about the League and its history written by representatives of the international rare book trade such as Menno Hertzberger, Helmuth Domizlaff, Percy H. Muir, Georges A. Deny, Dr. Lotte Roth-Wölfle, Stanley Crowe, and Barbara Kaye Muir.The wife of Percy H. Muir, a celebrated author, accompanied her husband to many congresses and meetings from the beginnings in 1947 up to the 1960s. Some of her memoirs were published in her books "Second Impression" and "The Company We Kept", published by Oak Knoll Press and Werner Shaw Ltd. In 1947 Barbara Kaye Muir joined her husband Percy on his trip to the Preliminary Conference in Amsterdam where the Presidents of the ten founding associations of the League came together on invitation of Menno Hertzberger. She witnessed the official discussions and talks behind the scenes along with the life and economic situation in Post War Amsterdam - and she received a lesson in drinking Dutch Genever.
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Article

The Magic of Encyclopedia Britannica's 11th Edition

"Despite its occasional ugliness, the reputation of the 11th persists today because of the staggering depth of knowledge contained with its volumes. It is especially strong in its biographical entries. These delve deeply into the history of men and women prominent in their eras who have since been largely forgotten – except by the historians, scholars, and antiquarian booksellers who champion the 11th for this quality."
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Article

Deck the Halls – Adrian Harrington Rare Books in Tunbridge Wells

Always a matter of rejoicing to hear of a new bookshop opening, rather than yet another one closing. Not that Hall's Bookshop on Chapel Place in Royal Tunbridge Wells is strictly speaking a new bookshop. Reuben Hall first opened his doors for business in something like 1898 and Hall's has been a much-loved institution ever since – one of the proper old-fashioned country bookshops. Adrian Harrington, formerly of Chelsea and Kensington, president of the ABA in 2001-2003, president of ILAB in 2008-2009, and long one of the most influential figures in the trade, had taken the decision to close down his London shop and relocate – lock, stock and barrel – to Tunbridge. But not just to move his own very successful rare book business, Adrian was determined from the outset to keep Hall's alive as the traditional second-hand bookshop and focal point of the town it had always been.
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Article

Preparing and Carving Meat in the Baroque Period - A New Bibliography by Uwe Frenzel

The Hamburg collector Uwe Frenzel has published a new bibliography about a delightful and delicious field of collecting. His book "Deutschsprachige Tranchierbücher des Barock" provides a detailed and well-founded summary of baroque literature on preparing and carving meat, covering the period between the years 1620 and 1724.
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Article

Collecting Rare Books and First Editions - Chapbooks: Short Books with Long History

Scholars debate over the etymology of the term "chapbook." Some argue that "chap" is derived from "cheap," surely an accurate description of chapbooks, since they were indeed cheap little publications. But the more widely accepted explanation is that "chap" comes from the Old English "céap," meaning "barter" or "deal." Peddlers came to be known as chaps, and they were the primary purveyors of chapbooks. Whatever the origin of their name, chapbooks became a vital tool for dissemination of information and promotion of literacy. As publishing and readers' tastes evolved, chapbooks also provided an ideal means of addressing an increased demand for children's literature.
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Booksellers

A Gentle Way of Doing Business - Selling Rare Books in Edinburgh

Sometimes I think that the bookshop has; become a spectator sport for tourists in Edinburgh. Some visitors behave as if the shop is a museum. "Isn't it wonderful?" they say, "I could spend all day in here", and then promptly walk out. They like the look of the shop, but it would never occur to them to buy a book. Nowadays people turn to computers in the way that they would have turned to books for a lot of their needs. Quite apart from their effect on our trade, I believe that computers are actually changing the way in which people think. Everything is highly focused toward a specific goal, instead of reading around a subject and taking a more wide-ranging approach. We have to keep trying to get young people to look at books and aspire to own them. This is a role for book fairs and shops - just being there on the high street helps to remind people that books can be bought, and that we are not libraries or museums.
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