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Rare Books and the Rare Book Trade
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ALAI History

ALAI History 1947-2011

Published on 01 Dec. 2010
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

Analyzing Literature by Words and Numbers

How often do words like "God," "love," "work," "science" or "industrial" appear in British book titles from the French Revolution in 1789 to the beginning of World War I in 1914? Thousands? Millions? What do you guess? Dan Cohen and Fred Gibbs, historians at George Manson University, try to find the exact answer by means of statistic analysis.
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Article

Getting Healthy on Summer Vacation

If you were a wealthy New Yorker in the Gilded Age, you spent the summer in the resorts of upstate New York to escape the stifling heat of the city. Upstate New York meant mountains, snow-fed streams, clean air, and luxury hotels. There developed a cadre of physicians and clergy who came to believe that those pristine regions were the perfect place for people suffering from diseases and chronic "delicacy of chest" ailments. Among them was Dr. Joseph W. Stickler, a physician and pathologist at Orange Memorial Hospital in New Jersey. Dr. Stickler was something of an authority on respiratory diseases and he wrote a book, The Adirondacks as a Health Resort, published in 1886. A copy of that book is in the collection of rare and unusual books at Lighthouse Books, ABAA.
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Article

Captured by Jane - A Woman’s Wit: Jane Austen’s Life and Legacy

A brilliant multimedia review by Maureen E. Mulvihill about the "literary success of New York City's 2009–2010 winter season", full of information about the life, the character and the works of one of the most famous women writers: Jane Austen.
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Article

The International League of Antiquarian Booksellers - Memoirs

It happened that in 1971 I was the president of the Antiquarian Booksellers Association when it was Great Britain's turn to act as host to the biennial congress of the International League of Antiquarian Booksellers, the umbrella organisation for national associations of antiquarian booksellers across the world. It was becoming the custom that the congress be followed by an international antiquarian book fair attracting perhaps as many as 200 exhibitors. The congress itself was the responsibility of the League's committee but the physical arrangements, the social programme and the running of the fair were all down to the host association.
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Article

First Ever Meeting of the ILAB Committee - Copenhagen, September 3rd, 1948

In 1948 the International League of Antiquarian Booksellers was officially founded at the Conference in Copenhagen from 1st to 5th September. Plans were made, decisions were taken by the presidents of the ten national associations who became ILABs founding fathers. They also elected the first ILAB Committee: William S. Kundig, Percy H. Muir, Einar Gronholt Pedersen, Menno Hertzberger and André Poursin. As early as 3rd September their work began with the first ever ILAB Committee Meeting.
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Article

Collecting - Who Is the Real Robinson Crusoe?

With any truly great novel, the questions are usually the same. Where did the story come from? What inspired it? Were the characters or plot based on real-life elements? But these tried-and-true questions might mean a little more when asked about Daniel Defoe's 1719 debut novel Robinson Crusoe, a book literary scholars the world over regard as one of the first realistic fiction novels and one that helped popularize the form we still crave today.
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