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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

A FORETASTE - ILAB CONGRESS & INTERNATIONAL ANTIQUARIAN BOOK FAIR, BUDAPEST 2016

"In just over a month, Budapest will welcome you in beautiful summerly autumn colors. The bridges over the Danube will glow in darker but vividly warm colors, walks in the Castle District, on the cobbled streets of Buda are the most pleasant at the end of September. The still warmish evenings in the uniquely restored but still romantically dilapidated ruin pub, Ankert, guarantees merriment. The autumn delicacies and delicate horses can give you a kind of entertainment in the Lázár Equestrian Park that you have never experienced before. And finally, cruising on the waves of the our treasure-river, the Danube, will soothe all turbulences of the soul while good company and the pleasures of the table will make you feel at home in Budapest."
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Article

International League Conference - London 1956

Once more "dear old London" proved to be the best place to buy books. The delegates from the United States, Austria, Germany, Norway, Denmark, Netherlands, Switzerland, Finland and Italy followed an invitation of the Antiquarian Booksellers' Association in September 1956. During the 9th Congress held in the history of the League they were overwhelmed by British hospitality, the "inconceivably rich stocks" of British rare book dealers like Quaritch, Edwards, Joseph or Maggs, a reception at Sotheby's, an evening at the opera house and a gala dinner worth to remember with acrobatic dancers and cabaret singers. A look into the archives of the ABA and ILAB.
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Article

Armed Services Editions

It is the middle of World War II. Soldiers are on their way to the front lines of both the Pacific and European Theaters. Other soldiers are already there. Still others have been there and are now receiving medical treatment at military hospitals. There is a break in whatever action faces them. What are all of them doing? Reading!
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Article

Books about Books: A History of Oak Knoll Press, Part 17: Expanding yet again!

The always present problem of lack of space reared its ugly head yet again in 2001 - we had run out of room in spite of our expanded 5000 square foot third floor lease. This is such a sickness with booksellers. They can never be happy with the space they have and must keep expanding. John published 21 titles in 2001, and we had bought a large antiquarian collection, so space was at a premium.
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Article

La photo qui parle - Rimbaud

Cinq mois après sa publication, la photographie de Rimbaud que nous avons retrouvée est devenue le plus documenté des neufs clichés connus où il apparaît. Elle date d'août 1880, et donc des tous premiers jours de la nouvelle vie de Rimbaud. Elle a été réalisée par l'explorateur Georges Révoil, qui a utilisé une technique toute nouvelle (c'est l'une des plus anciennes photos "instantanées" conservées en France).
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