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Rare Books and the Rare Book Trade

From the Vault

A sneak peek in our archives

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Collecting Rare Books and First Editions - Jenny Lind in London

I like to try and find material relating to the history of performance, both in music and the theatre, and my library customers in particular are always looking for things they can use for exhibitions, for teaching, or to attract researchers. In other words, the unique. Here is one such book. Bound in black morocco by W. S. Johnson, it is a careful contemporary record of the 1849 season at Her Majesty's Theatre in London.
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Some Aspects of Milan - The ILAB Congress 1953

"The Milan conference saw the publication and distribution of A Compendium of Usages and Customs of the Trade (today: The ILAB Code of Ethics). This useful volume defined the customary practices of the rare book trade (as William Kundig had once proposed) for use in disputes, litigation, or legal difficulties … This being Italy, the venue for the farewell dinner could hardly have been more romantic. Coaches were hired to drive us all to Lake Como, where we dined in the ballroom of the Grand Hotel Villa de'Este, the honeymoon choice of many a British bride and bridegroom in pre-war days. After the dinner and not-to-be-avoided speeches, we danced until two in the morning on the cool mosaic floor, ending the evening with Ingelese Blaizot singing French love songs and Percy responding with English ones." (Barbara Kaye Muir)
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Article

1951 - Some Impressions of the 5th ILAB Congress in Brussels

"It is very pleasant on the first day to look around to see who has come from the other national associations; one looks for friends one met in Paris, in London, in Copenhagen." This is the charm of every ILAB Congress. What we call a global network today, has been ILAB's nature from the beginning. You meet old friends and colleagues from all over the world and have the opportunity to establish new friendships and good business relations. It was true for the 5th ILAB Congress in Brussels in 1951, and it will be the same in Switzerland in 2012.
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Collecting Women Writers: Julia Peterkin, Ellen Glasgow, Margaret Ayer Barnes, Alice Walker

"Everyone knows Alice Walker's 1982 novel The Color Purple, but not everyone knows that the first issue jacket has only one address for the publisher on the rear flap – later issues have two." - "Peterkin's Pulitzer-winning novel Scarlet Sister Mary (1928) turns up occasionally, but there we have seen two variants of the jacket and haven't yet been able to determine whether one precedes or not." - "Spoken pompously, and with an air of experience: "Yes, my dear fellow, its the only copy we've ever seen (sotte voce: this week)." What is worth collecting or not among the works of Julia Peterkin, Alice Walker, Margaret Ayer Barnes and Ellen Glasgow.
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Article

In the Media - ATG UK: Proposed EU cultural goods bill ‘unworkable’ say trade bodies

Article in Antiques Trade Gazette (UK), 17th April 2018:
Book dealers seek change to 250-years-old clause in proposed import licensing law.
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Article

Amor vincit omnia - Women Travellers

Much has been written about travelling women, women travellers, willing or unwilling. Many great names spring to mind: Alexandra David-Neel, Ida Pfeiffer, Isabella Bird, or Emma Roberts to name but a few. We know a lot less about women who accompanied their husbands or lovers, or even met them during their peregrinations. Many of them were hardly mentioned in the books the men wrote. Others wrote their own version of what happened, and this is often the more interesting book, because it shows the world from an entirely different angle.
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