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Rare Books and the Rare Book Trade
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ALAI History

ALAI History 1947-2011

Published on 21 July 2018
On an autumn day in 1947, a small group of book dealers met in Milan to give life to the Circolo dei Librai Antiquari. They were not many, but they were set on granting a cultural dignity to the trade of antiquarian bookselling, on fostering friendship and understanding with foreign colleagues, on cooperating with libraries and institutions for the conservation of cultural property, and on providing collectors with a code of ethics that guaranteed a fair and professional relationship between rare book dealers and their customers. In 1971, the members of the association had increased to a few dozen when the Circle became the Associazione Librai Antiquari d'Italia. The history of the ALAI, the Italian Antiquarian Booksellers' Association, by:
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From the Vault

A sneak peek in our archives

Article

Searching for New Sources in Western History

All historians must be concerned with their sources. In many instances these are easily accessible, far more so today than in the past, in the relative convenience of professionally run university libraries, historical societies or museums. Since World War II academic institutions in the United States have enjoyed an extraordinary growth in their collections of the raw materials of American history, coupled with technological advances which have made it vastly easier to catalogue, locate and reach the original documents within the protective web of institutional control. It has never been easier to reach the books and manuscripts that are the bases of historical research.
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Article

Bibliographies - Cartography

Online: Maps before 1850 - Antique Maps of Iceland - Cartographic Images - Map History / History of Cartography - Yale Map Collection - The Ryhiner Map Collection - Brock University Map Library - MAGIC - Hargrett Library Rare Map Collection - Library of Congress Map Collection - Perry-Castañeda Library Map Collection - The Roger Baskes Collection
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Article

Collecting Rare Books and First Editions: Rudyard Kipling

In the middle of his career, well before the Nazi party was formed, Kipling chose the swastika as a personal symbol because of its ancient Indian connotations of good luck and well-being ...
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Article

A Bookseller’s Adventure in Europe: Part 2

Had to get to Budapest in time for a Committee cocktail hour and dinner with the Hungarians and found that plane travel from Amsterdam directly to Budapest one way cost over $900. I kept waiting for a cheap flight to open up but the cheap airline serving Budapest went bankrupt the week before I made reservations. I finally flew LOT airlines, which is the main Polish carrier. I was served up many a joke by my friends about my chances of arrival in Budapest but they were all totally wrong. The flight to Warsaw and then on to Budapest went without a hitch. We were warned to be very careful taking the taxi from the airport to the hotel and only sign up with legitimate taxis. (This reminded me of Prague.) I found the right one who charged me in the Hungarian currency of Forint (they are part of the Euro zone but have not adopted the Euro). We met that evening with the Hungarian booksellers' association for a "let's get acquainted" dinner and had a welcome speech from Adam Bosze, their President, in perfect English and a passionate speech by the dean of Hungarian booksellers, Lajos Borda, in Hungarian. It was a very pleasant beginning.
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Article

Paris 2016

The International Rare Book & Autograph Fair at the Grand Palais in Paris is one of the most prestigious fairs in the world, attracting nearly 200 exhibitors and over 20.000 visitors each year who enjoy the opportunity to browse, buy and admire more than 100.000 historical documents – rare books, manuscripts, autographs, prints and ephemera from all centuries – in the elegant glass-domed hall of the Grand Palais.
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Article

Italian Borders Closing On Rare Books

News from Italy: With local authorities no longer in charge of heritage protection, it is now illegal to export from Italy any book printed before 1965. Until August 2015, under Italian law, anyone owning a book older than 50 years and wanting to export it from Italy, was required to apply for an export license to the competent regional authority. On August 6th, the Italian Parliament approved a law on the reorganization of local governmental departments. The law 125/2015 repeals the paragraph of the Italian Heritage Code granting Regions the authority to carry out heritage protection on books and manuscripts; and provides for such authority to be "subject to specific agreements with the State". Alas, no specific agreements have been made so far and nobody can tell when, where and how these agreements will be finalized.
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