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Rare Books and the Rare Book Trade

Collecting Rare Books and First Editions - Thomas Paine

Published on 13 Nov. 2014
January 29 is the birthday of early American political activist Thomas Paine (1737), whose pamphlet Common Sense (1776) credited with inspiring American colonists to embrace the idea of independence from Great Britain. The American Revolution had already started but the work served to spur volunteers for the Continental Army. It was widely distributed throughout the colonies, read aloud in taverns, and unabashedly pirated. Some scholars say it was the first American bestseller.
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Collecting Rare Books and First Editions - The Secret Life of Harper Lee

Published on 29 April 2014
This week we celebrate Nelle Harper Lee, author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, To Kill a Mockingbird. Lee was born on April 28, 1926 in the sleepy town of Monroeville Alabama. As a girl, she became friends with another future writer: Truman Capote. The two were outsiders among their peers but discovered an affinity for each other. According to Capote biographer, Gerald Clarke, "Nelle was too rough for most other girls, and Truman was too soft for most other boys."
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Collecting Rare Books and First Editions - Fra Paolo Sarpi, Scholar, Priest, and Heretic

Published on 17 Jan. 2014
The Counter-Reformation began with the Council of Trent (1545-1563) and lasted a full century, until the close of the Thirty Years' War (1648). The movement sparked conflict all over Europe, challenging the very foundations of people's daily lives. As nationalism fermented, states like Venice began to assert their autonomy – and the Catholic Church often took drastic measures in response. In the case of cleric and statesman Fra Paolo Sarpi, they even hired a hitman. Though Sarpi consistently stood up to the Church in an official capacity, he also chose to publish his greatest work, The History of the Council of Trent, under a pseudonym.
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Collecting Rare Books and First Editions - Marie LaFarge was convicted of murder

Published on 16 Jan. 2014
It is the birthday of murderess Marie LaFarge (1816), whose 1840 trial for poisoning her husband with arsenic became a cause célébre throughout France, with the public deeply divided over her innocence or guilt. She was the first person convicted by direct forensic evidence, and the case was one of the first followed closely by the public with daily newspaper reports. The trial was a spectacle attended by people from all over France. It included all the twists and turns of a good whodunit, including a celebrated expert witness and setbacks for both the prosecution and the defense. Marie LaFarge wrote her Mémoires(1841) while in prison. The novel The Lady and the Arsenic (1937) was based on the case as was the French film L'Affaire Lafarge (1938).
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Collecting Rare Books and First Editions - The Irritable Tribe of Poets

Published on 26 Nov. 2013
Only three issues of Theo were published, but it still took me a couple of years to track down a complete set. I'd been fascinated by the magazine ever since I first ran across a copy of number 2, which has a rather unique design; the covers are stapled off center, so that the fore edge is layered; the front wrap ends before the first leaf, so that the name of each contributor is visible, and the rear wrap extends past the text block.
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From the Vault

A sneak peek in our archives


New US tariffs on products of Germany or the UK & its effects on the rare book trade

Message from ILAB President Sally Burdon to all ILAB affiliates in relation to the recently announced tariffs on Products of Germany or the United Kingdom.
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Collecting Rare Books and First Editions - Childhood Classics: ‘The Night before Christmas’

Christmas is fast approaching, and for most of us, it's easy to get lost in the to-do lists and travel itineraries of the holidays. As adults, we can lose sight of the joy, wonder, and magic of this season. One book that has always encapsulated those emotions is The Night before Christmas. This childhood classic has enraptured generations, so much so that some rare book collectors even focus all their efforts on this single title. But as with any good story, there are multiple layers to this tale: the poem that shaped our Christmas traditions is also the center of an authorial controversy.
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This year, the Antiquarian Booksellers' Association of Japan (ABAJ) celebrates its 50th anniversary. On this occasion the Japanese rare book dealers invited colleagues and bibliophiles from all across the world to meet in Tokyo for an International Antiquarian Book Fair in March 2015. ILAB President Norbert Donhofer officially opened the fair on 5th March together with ABAJ President Masaji Yagi and ILAB Member of Honour Mitsuo Nitta in a traditional ribbon cutting ceremony. In his speech he thanked ABAJ for its various contributions to ILAB within the past 50 years and spoke about the present challenges ILAB has to face.
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Music and Theatre in Bohemia and Europe – The Autograph Collection of Fritz Donebauer (Prague)

105 years ago, from 6th to 8th August, 1908, a famous 19th century autograph collection was auctioned by J. A. Stargardt in Berlin. The owner of the collection was Fritz Donebauer, born in 1849 as a son of a Bohemian innkeeper who became a banker and insurance agent in Prague, and most of all: a collector. In his lifetime he owned hundreds of autographs and manuscripts of mostly Bohemian theatre artists and musicians as well as rare documents from the history of Bohemia and the Thirty Years War. Little is known about Fritz Donebauer, whose collection came to auction in Berlin in April 1908, and even less is known about the private collectors, dealers and institutions who bought the documents, manuscripts and handwritten letters. Eberhard Köstler tries to reconstruct Fritz Donebauer's life and the fate of his famous collection.
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Bibliographies - Architecture

Online: Dictionary of Scottish Architects (DSA)
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Central Europe in Six Days – Pre- and Post ILAB Congress Tours, Budapest and Beyond

The ILAB Congress and International Antiquarian Book Fair in Budapest will not only give booklovers the opportunity to enjoy each other's company, admire book rarities, indulge in the various sights and treasures, but will also provide the possibility to visit some of the neighbouring countries. Before and after the ILAB Congress and Fair delegates will have the chance to see some of the most exciting places in Slovenia, Croatia, Austria and the Czech Republic. September is one of the most pleasant months in Central Europe, and the early autumn lights will put the historic beauty of these places in a new perspective.
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