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Rare Books and the Rare Book Trade
Obituaries

A Life for Rare Books - W.R. “Bill” Fletcher 1906-1996

Published on 20 July 2018
"As I stood admiring the book and ruminating on its worth, that wise and shrewd bookseller, Bill Fletcher, doyen of the British trade, and a man some thirty years my senior in both age and experience, came up to me. 'What are you looking at, my son?' he inquired. I told him. 'What's so special about that then? he asked. I explained. 'Then why don't you buy it?' Bill said ... I replied to the effect that were I to buy it with a view to selling it again, I would in effect be trading gold for gold. 'Shall I tell you something, my son?' Bill responded. 'The price of gold [pause] is going up!'" (Anthony Rota, Books in the Blood). Keith Fletcher recounts the life and personality of his father, the doyen of the trade and former owner of H.M. Fletcher Rare Books: Bill Fletcher.
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Obituaries

In Memoriam: Bob de Graaf, Antiquarian Bookdealer, Publisher and Bibliographer (1927-2011)

Published on 20 July 2018
When antiquarian bookdealers, talking among themselves, call a colleague a "great dealer", they don't always mean the same thing. Some mean a dealer with many staff, a large turn over and great profits. Others mean a dealer who masters the art of really studying a book, a dealer who is able to discover something in or about the book that suddenly makes it interesting for all readers, not just the obvious specialists. When Bob de Graaf once said: "I have not become a great dealer", he hastened to add: "No, that is not false modesty." And he repeated, with meaning: "I have not become a great dealer, but I have never aspired to be one." With great sadness ILAB announces the death of Bob de Graaf on February 10, 2011. An obituary by Anton Gerits.
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Obituaries

Pierre Berès, Disparition d’un bibliophile

Published on 20 July 2018
Pierre Berès est mort dans sa maison de Saint-Tropez le lundi 28 juillet 2008, peu après avoir fêté son 95ème anniversaire et quelques mois seulement après la dernière des six grandes ventes au cours desquelles furent dispersés, du 5 juillet 2005 au 18 décembre 2007, le fonds de la librairie de l’avenue de Friedland ainsi que le cabinet personnel de manuscrits littéraires et de livres rares qu’il avait conservés dans son appartement de la rue Barbet de Jouy.
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Obituaries

Paul Haas (1950-2010)

Published on 20 July 2018
On 3rd November, Paul Haas passed away, shortly before his 60th birthday. Paul Haas hailed from a large family: Born on 17th November 1950, he was the third of nine children, three of whom worked, and work, in the antiquarian book trade. After high school, he was apprenticed as a mechanical engineer. He took evening classes and then studied history and German language and literature at the University of Düsseldorf. Together with Stephan, born as the fourth child of nine in 1952, Paul visited flea markets and rare book shops. One day in 1979, in a shop in Arnhem, Stephan came across a particularly fine book and decided: "I'm opening my own shop." It only took Paul a few hours to make up his mind: "I'm with you!"
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Obituaries

Frits Knuf

Published on 20 July 2018
Le célèbre et remarquable libraire membre de la LILA, Frits Knuf, est décédé aux Pays-Bas dans la nuit du 9 février 1999, à l’hôpital près de la ville de Buren dans laquelle il habitait et qu’il aimait tant.  Le 15 février, des centaines d’amis et collègues ont accompagné son épouse et sa famille jusqu’au paisible cimetière de Buren où Frits repose à tout jamais.
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Obituaries

Leona Rostenberg

Published on 20 July 2018
Leona Rostenberg, who died Thursday at age 96, was one of New York’s outstanding rare book dealers, and half of a remarkable team of literary sleuths who discovered the secret “blood-and-thunder” writings of Louisa May Alcott.
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Obituaries

Max Israel

Published on 20 July 2018
Max Israel, antiquarian bookseller and publisher, died on Friday October 12, 2001 at the age of 85. He was one of the last representatives of a generation of antiquarian booksellers who founded flourishing companies, mostly in Amsterdam, after the second World War; companies that were soon highly respected both at home and abroad.
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Obituaries

Anthony Rota

Published on 20 July 2018
We are very sorry to report the death of Anthony Rota, peacefully on Sunday 13th December. There will be a private family cremation. Details of a memorial service will be announced in the new year. Anthony Rota was President of the ABA from 1971 to 1972, a long-serving ILAB Committee Member, Treasurer and Vice-President, President of the ILAB from 1988 to 1991, and subsequently an ILAB President of Honour ...
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From the Vault

A sneak peek in our archives

Article

University of Oxford – Podcast on book historical topics

The Centre for the Study of the Book at the Bodleian Library, Oxford, is now offering podcasts on book historical topics. The series is hosted by Adam Smyth. His interviews with Oxford and visiting researchers like Willi Noel and Tiffany Stern highlight the current research on the material history of the book. The first podcasts include:
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Article

Collecting Rare Books and First Editions: The Letters of B. Traven

One of the great things about working for a bookseller is you get to see some very cool items. One of the best in recent days is a collection of letters from the writer B. Traven - best known for his novel The Treasure of Sierra Madre - sent to the model and actress Ruth Ford. If you're only familiar with the classic movie starring Humphrey Bogart, you've been missing out because B. Traven was a man of mystery worthy a movie all his own.
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Article

Collecting Rare Books and First Editions: "Every Boy Needs A Hero"

American boys, in the first half of the 20th Century, often found their heroes in print, tantalizingly displayed on the shelves of the corner drugstore. These heroes usually took two forms: the superhero, such as Superman, the Green Lantern, Spiderman, etc, who populated the comic book pages published, primarily, by DC and Marvel. Their other heroes were of the mundane, albeit of an idealized nature. Tom Swift. The Hardy Boys. Their ilk, the genre known as 20th Century Boys' Serial Fiction, shall be the subject of this short essay.
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Article

The Summer of Love - Magazine as Seismograph

It is fitting that the first issue of San Francisco Earthquake was published in the fall of 1967 as it is a product of the hangover after the Summer of Love. That Summer was largely a media fabrication and the Earthquake through its five issues is a Burroughsian attack on Time-Life media and a potent example of Fluxus and Situationist detournment. But let's be honest, even the mainstream media reported that the flower in the hair of wannabe hippies had wilted by 1967. For example, Joan Didion's articles on Lifestyles in the Golden Land had been appearing in the Saturday Evening Post as early as 1965.
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Article

Stamped with a National Character: Nineteenth Century American Color Plate Books - An Exhibition

Historical events seldom create neat time periods, but in this case the century fairly defines an era. The first American color plate book, William Birch's The City of Philadelphia...As It Appeared in the Year 1800, was published in parts in 1799-1800. At the end of the century, the mid-1890s saw the dawn of the widespread use of the trichromatic half-tone process, which quickly replaced the various mediums for producing color plate book illustrations that had been in use throughout the preceding century.
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Article

Rare Book School Summer Courses 2012

RARE BOOK SCHOOL (RBS) provides continuing-education opportunities for students from all disciplines and levels to study the history of written, printed, and born-digital materials with leading scholars and professionals in the field. Highlights of the Summer Courses:
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