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Rare Books and the Rare Book Trade
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Obituaries

Dr. Lotte Roth-Wölfle 1912 – 2011

Published on 02 May 2011
It is with great sadness that the German Antiquarian Booksellers' Association reports the death of its long-deserved member and Member of Honour Dr. Lotte Roth-Wölfle. She died on April 29, 2011, shortly before her 100th birthday, and only one day after the re-opening of her beautiful antiquarian bookshop which has been situated in Munich since 1945. Dr. Lotte Roth-Woelfle was a remarkable woman, probably the oldest rare book dealer in Germany and in Europe. From time to time she still visited her shop in Munich's Amalienstraße which has been a famous address for rare and fine books for more than 60 years. The shop is now run by Franziska Bierl, while Lotte Roth-Wölfle's daughter Dr. Christine Grahamer continues the tradition of the family company Robert Wölfle KG in the third generation, also still in the same premises.
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Obituaries

In Memoriam Menno Hertzberger (1897 - 1982)

Published on 05 April 2011
For Menno Hertzberger the addition 'Internationaal' to his firm's name was not just an embellishment: From the very beginning onwards his business was internationally orientated, and it aimed for a wide public of bookcollectors, librarians and fellow-dealers. As early as 1921 Menno held his first auction-sale and he soon became known as an important auctioneer as well. The growth of the firm necessitated a move to larger premises and in 1935 the firm's new address became Keizersgracht 610 in Amsterdam, a large and elegant house along one of the famous canals. Menno Hertzberger, the Father of the League, died in 1986. Bob de Graaf's obituary characterizes him as a truly international antiquarian bookseller and a man with a vision: to unite dealers worldwide under one roof, the ILAB.
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Obituaries

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

Published on 24 March 2011
"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 18 Feb. 2011
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 17 Feb. 2011
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 08 Nov. 2010
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 22 July 2010
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 22 July 2010
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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From the Vault

A sneak peek in our archives

Article

Jen Campbell: Weird Things Customers Say in Bookshops

"I love working in book shops", Jen Campbell says. "They attract especially strange comments and requests." Over the years she has written down all these strange questions customers ask when they drop in. The best of them have recently been published by Constable & Robinson with wonderful illustrations by The Brothers McLeod. An awesome and unbelievably witty book on the eccentricities which make bookselling one of the most fascinating professions on earth. A must for booklovers!
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Article

How Thieves Target Rare Books

The "Tome Raider" in the BCC News: "A book thief who served a four-year jail sentence should have turned over a new leaf. Instead, he has been sent back to prison after targeting one of Britain's most distinguished libraries. The case highlights a little known, but widespread crime."
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Article

Collecting Music - The Archive of Universal-Edition

The arts, the book and music – interesting for collectors are artistically designed books by music publishers. Until now this subject was often neglected, whereas the design of CD and vinyl covers was discussed in detail. ECM records, for example, has published a two volume book on the art and design of their CD booklets. And Kompakt Records presented its record and CD designs at the Art Cologne in 2013. But what about music editions and arts? Veronika Pfolz gives insight into a fascinating field of collection: the wonderful works published by the Universal-Edition, which was founded in the 1901 by Emil Hertzka and has become one of the best publishers of contemporary music.
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Article

Collecting Artists' Books - Corrugations: Some Speculations on Australian Tin

The artist's book is a thriving art form in Australia. While books most typically convey ideas through their text, artists' books express meaning through a combination of illustrations, typography, and the form of the book itself. In Corrugations, Australian artist Katie Clemson worked in collaboration with the poet Anne Bell to capture the essence of the land where she grew up and create a tribute to a material that has become a characteristic part of Australia's architectural landscape: corrugated iron.
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Article

A Wonderland of Books, Indeed! Happy 184th Birthday, Mr. Dodgson!

One of my most favorite Children's writers of all time was born on the 27th of January, 1832. Scratch that – one of my most favorite writers, period, was born on the 27th of January, 1832. Many critics of great literature have commented on the fact that one of the most lasting kinds of literature is the kind that speaks to both children AND adults – writers whose works you can read when you are both 5 and 75 and learn something equally important at both of these starkly different ages. It is my super humble (though really awesome) opinion that the writer we honor today, on what would be his 184th birthday, is one of those writers. It is perhaps also appropriate that we honor his memory, as in less than a month there will be an ABAA Fair in Pasadena named after some of his most well-known work.
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Article

Collecting - The Rembrandt Connection

A wonderful story of a young collector who became an antiquarian bookseller: "I saw the documentary about its ten year renovation on television. I watched the opening ceremony on television too and I have heard from people who have been there that the museum is very beautiful. I am deliberately delaying my visit. I am feeling a bit uneasy because I know that they are still there, but not exactly where. I know that they will look at me, just as they did the first time. They will remind me of my promise and I will feel guilty, fall silent and won't have a proper answer ..."
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