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Rare Books and the Rare Book Trade
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Manuscripts

English Literary Manuscripts

Published on 29 March 2011
Among manuscript collectors in the English-speaking world, literature has had the most constant appeal; and until recently, when historical manuscripts have really come into their own, literary ones attracted most of the highest prices for post-mediaeval manuscripts. This appeal is due to the universal interest in literature itself; to the demands of doctoral dissertations; to the desire among some individuals, librarians, and editors for definitive collections; and no doubt also to the relative ease, in comparison with historical manuscripts, of selecting an area for collection.
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From the Vault

A sneak peek in our archives

Article

Why ILAB?

Have you ever wondered what ILAB is all about - other than a logo that appears against some dealers' trading names? The answers are to be found in this weeks' issue of Sheppard's Confidential, featuring an article by Norbert Donhofer, in which he asks "Why ILAB?" and sets out the main benefits of the International League of Antiquarian Booksellers.
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Article

Christmas and The Private Library, Part 3

Two other publications helped revitalize Christmas celebrations in the mid 19th century. The first was William Sandys' Christmas Carols Ancient and Modern (1833), where many now-beloved Christmas carols made their first appearance in book form. Among these were The First Noel, Hark the Herald Angels Sing and God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen ... Learn more about the invention of the Christmas tree and children's books for Christmas!
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Article

A Brief History of Propaganda

The term "propaganda" has come to have a negative connotation in much of the English-speaking world. But in some places, the word is neutral or even positive. Why this difference? The reasons can be traced through the word's etymology and the way that this strategy of communication has evolved over the centuries.
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Article

The Art of Book Cataloguing - British Bottoms

The differences between paper and digital catalogs are obvious, but some of the results of those differences continue to surprise me. For example, in the old days orders from my paper catalogs would dribble in over a period of weeks. I used to mail them all first class, in three staggered mailings, hoping to achieve some kind of evenness in delivery, but customers were always complaining that their catalogs arrived late, and demanding exclusive previews. Others, more laid back, would wait for moments of leisure to read their catalogs, and some overworked acquisitions librarians required days or weeks to claw through the pile of incoming mail to discover where my list of treasures was buried. Digital catalogs, on the other hand, play out in an eyeblink. Everyone gets their catalog announcement via a Mail Chimp email blast within the same hour or so. Those who are highly motivated know that they must read it and respond immediately. Consequently, most of the orders arrive by email within the first few hours of the catalog's life. Maritime List 238 was posted Sunday night. By Wednesday even the laid back orders had arrived.
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Article

14th Congress of the International League of Antiquarian Booksellers, Paris 1961

"Our ILAB Congresses are an important part of the infrastructures and networking possibilities of all dealers, the place where friendships are made or renewed and where we have the possibility of visiting libraries and seeing books not always very easily accessible and where we can experience other cultures and other traditions while the fair offers the possibility to meet new customers in a country not all of us visit regularly. In a globalizing world, in a world that seems to become smaller and smaller we sometimes tend to forget that personal contacts, that meeting real people, is still of greatest importance: the ILAB Congress offers precisely that opportunity to meet people who are active in the same profession and with whom we can discuss topics of mutual interest, exchange ideas and explore new possibilities." (ILAB President Arnoud Gerits) After the 40th ILAB Congress in Switzerland in September 2012 the antiquarian booksellers will look forward to meeting each other again in Paris in 2014. The 41st ILAB Congress will be one of many occasions in the history of League where ILAB affiliates come together in France on invitation of the Syndicat National de la Librairie Ancienne et Moderne (SLAM) which will celebrate its centennial in 2014. The 14th Congress, for example, was also held in Paris, and it was an exciting event.
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Article

Collecting Rare Books and first Editions - Wildman Percy Bysshe Shelley

August 4, 1792, is the birthday of poet Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792), who wrote some of the most popular poems in the English language, including Ozymandias, Ode to the West Wind, and To a Skylark, though his greatest success came after his death.
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