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Rare Books and the Rare Book Trade
Rebecca Lawton
Manuscripts

'My year in St. Andrews was one of the best in my life'‘

Published on 03 July 2018
Rebecca Lawton (M.Litt Mediaeval History 2015) has been working on a collection of Anglo-Saxon manuscripts as part of a collaborative PhD between the University of Leicester and the British Library. ILAB would like to share her original blog post to demonstrate the work and research currently taking place in the field of rare books.
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Manuscripts

Germany buys back 1000-Year old Liesborn Gospels

Published on 30 Aug. 2017
Printing with movable types was only invented 500 years later, the Liesborn Gospel from the year 980, one of the oldest manuscripts still in private possession has now returned to its original place, the diocese of Münster in Germany after a 3Mill Euro investment by the German state and a number of regional trusts.
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Manuscripts

Video link to "Walking Tour of the Medieval Book Trade in Paris" by Les Enluminures

Published on 15 May 2017
On April 8, 2017, Christopher de Hamel and Sandra Hindman led a "Walking Tour of the Medieval Book Trade in Paris". Setting off from Notre-Dame, the small group of participants had the opportunity to step into the Middle Ages and learn all about the life and practice of illuminators, scribes, printers and binders. In the video - see link below - Les Enluminures presents snippets from the guided tour to discover.
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Manuscripts

Collecting - Famous Manuscripts and the History of Handwriting

Published on 25 Jan. 2016
In the digital age, it is no secret that calligraphy is a dying art. Why work laboriously and imperfectly on something that takes days to cross the country, when the computer will set it in flawless text that can be transmitted instantly? A careful look at the grand history of handwriting is not kind to the craft, either. Some historians consider Gutenberg's press, the very device that liberated us from writing by hand, to be the single most important invention of the second millennium. Not only did it make books more accessible, it gave the works themselves unprecedented longevity. Think of all the masterpieces of antiquity (if you can bear) that were lost to rot and ruin because scribes could only produce a handful of them at a time. Aeschylus wrote some eighty plays, of which only seven survive. Shakespeare may have suffered a similar fate, as a writer who luckily had the printing press to immortalize his works - he leaves us with nearly nothing written by hand.
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Manuscripts

Manuscript Collecting - An Endangered Species

Published on 27 Nov. 2013
I am the owner of Barry R. Levin Science Fiction and Fantasy Literature, a firm of rare book dealers of science fiction, fantasy, and horror, and I was discussing with her the acquisition of a manuscript written by one of her authors. When I say manuscript, I mean the physical artifact — the words on the paper. Manuscripts are the most important literary collectible and over the years my firm has handled many of the major ones, a number of them for award-winning novels. We always try to purchase all notes and drafts, so that the creative process can be traced from the original idea to the final setting-copy. To that end I asked Perkins to make sure that her client included in the final manuscript package the final draft, the setting-copy (this is the manuscript copy sent to publisher from which the publisher's printer sets the type). She told me that the author had submitted his copy on a disk - that no setting-copy was sent to the publisher at all. From the standpoint of collectors, archivists and literary scholars, this has to be the last straw.
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Manuscripts

Rare Books on the Blog - Manuscript Road Trip: Mappa Mundi Wisconsinianae

Published on 11 Nov. 2013
Lisa Fagin Davis is currently serving as Acting Executive Director of the Medieval Academy of America. Since 1996 she has been travelling through North America collecting data on the numbers and cataloguing status of pre-1600 manuscripts. Her blog Manuscript Road Trip takes readers on a (virtual) state-by-state tour of manuscripts focusing on less-well-known collections, some of them in very surprising locations. Read her recent blog post
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Manuscripts

50 unseen Rudyard Kipling poems discovered

Published on 26 Feb. 2013
"Kipling scholars are celebrating the publication of lost poems by the author whose exhortations in "If" to "keep your head when all about you / Are losing theirs and blaming it on you" are regularly voted the nation's favourite poem. Discovered by the American scholar Thomas Pinney in an array of hiding places including family papers, the archive of a former head of the Cunard Line and during renovations at a Manhattan house, more than 50 previously unpublished poems by Rudyard Kipling will be released for the first time next month."
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From the Vault

A sneak peek in our archives

Article

Banned Books Week - ‘All that Hell could vomit forth’

This week is Banned Books Week. I've written about banned books before: the infamous Protocols of the Elders of Zion, in the Weimar Republic, in the Soviet Union. Here's something a little earlier: the libellous Philippiques of François-Joseph de Lagrange-Chancel (1677–1758). These virulent satires against the Regent, the duc d'Orléans, enjoyed a huge popularity in manuscript throughout the eighteenth century, as the varied examples here show. 'In spite of its imperfections and crying injustice, it is the monument of satire in France' (Nouvelle biographie générale).
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Article

Martin Luther - Landmark exhibitions in Germany and the US / Part 1 of 2: US Exhibitions

It has been 500 years since Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses to the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany, condemning the corrupt practice of indulgences. This single act marked the beginning of the Protestant Reformation, a worldwide movement whose legacy can still be felt today, especially in Germany.
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Article

The ILAB Congress and Book Fair - Bologna, September 2010

It would be an understatement to say that I was surprised when asked, in the middle of an ABA Council meeting, if Sandy (my wife) and I would like to attend the 39th ILAB Congress and 23rd ILAB International Book Fair in Bologna – it was an unprecedented, exciting and very generous invitation which we had no hesitation in accepting. Neither of us had visited Bologna before, and we found it to be a most beautiful city - a normal working city rather than one devoted to tourism, on an industrial base but with a wonderful, large mediaeval centre. And there are, as you will read later, wonderful libraries and museums: and the food and wine are excellent. So it was a perfect place to hold Congress.
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Article

Getting Healthy on Summer Vacation

If you were a wealthy New Yorker in the Gilded Age, you spent the summer in the resorts of upstate New York to escape the stifling heat of the city. Upstate New York meant mountains, snow-fed streams, clean air, and luxury hotels. There developed a cadre of physicians and clergy who came to believe that those pristine regions were the perfect place for people suffering from diseases and chronic "delicacy of chest" ailments. Among them was Dr. Joseph W. Stickler, a physician and pathologist at Orange Memorial Hospital in New Jersey. Dr. Stickler was something of an authority on respiratory diseases and he wrote a book, The Adirondacks as a Health Resort, published in 1886. A copy of that book is in the collection of rare and unusual books at Lighthouse Books, ABAA.
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Article

Report from the 2008 Grand Palais Paris Bookfair

Some 157 bookdealers (a third from outside France) and 30 print sellers were present at the fair. The Grand Palais location with its vast volumes and excellent natural light, presented almost ideal conditions for both exhibitors and visitors: 3m deep booths and wide alleys with rest areas, a concert area (with thrice daily chamber music concerts), a conference room, various displays (bindings and photographs) and demonstrations (restoration, binding and copper plate printing); and a spectacular exhibition by this year's guest library, the Bibiotheque Nationale de France.
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