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Rare Books and the Rare Book Trade
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Collecting

The Book Huntresses: Women Bibliophiles

In his 1930 work on book collecting, Anatomy of Bibliomania, Holbrook Jackson claimed that "book love is as masculine (although not as common) as growing a beard." Times have changed; the recent inauguration of a new book collecting prize by New York bookseller Honey & Wax, "an annual prize of $1000 to be awarded to an outstanding book collection conceived and built by a young woman", is possibly the final nail in the coffin of the idea that bibliophilia is a man's pursuit.
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From the Vault

A sneak peek in our archives

Article

Some Aspects of Milan - The ILAB Congress 1953

"The Milan conference saw the publication and distribution of A Compendium of Usages and Customs of the Trade (today: The ILAB Code of Ethics). This useful volume defined the customary practices of the rare book trade (as William Kundig had once proposed) for use in disputes, litigation, or legal difficulties … This being Italy, the venue for the farewell dinner could hardly have been more romantic. Coaches were hired to drive us all to Lake Como, where we dined in the ballroom of the Grand Hotel Villa de'Este, the honeymoon choice of many a British bride and bridegroom in pre-war days. After the dinner and not-to-be-avoided speeches, we danced until two in the morning on the cool mosaic floor, ending the evening with Ingelese Blaizot singing French love songs and Percy responding with English ones." (Barbara Kaye Muir)
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Article

Lines in the Ice

I really rather enjoy these smaller-scale exhibitions (i.e. the free ones) at the British Library. You get a distinct sense that the bright young curators have just been left to get on with it, without undue interference from the message-spinners and marketing types. The latest, Lines in the Ice: Seeking the Northwest Passage, which opened a few days ago, is excellent and demands a visit.
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Article

Book Trade History - George Berger and his Sons 1796-1868

GEORGE BERGER was a very active bookseller and publisher in the first half of the 19th century, who worked out of Holywell Street, off the Strand, and who at one point, prior to the arrival of W.H. Smith, was the largest newsagent in London (Louis James, Fiction for the Working Man, 1963). Yet, as was the case with many of his contemporaries – George Purkess, William Strange, and George Cowie, for example – very little was known about him. Until now…
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Article

Yogurt – A California Book Fair Review

There wasn't much trouble with anything this trip. ABAA's SoCal Bookfair Committee and White Rain Promotions orchestrated a nearly flawless event, right down to the spacious and well stocked dealer's lounge, lunch during setup, and a catchy, slightly goofy "Alice in (book)Wonderland" theme, not to mention polite, efficient, and omnipresent security, wide aisles, and excellent lighting. And if crowds seemed a little thin and lackluster (they were) we could blame it on the extraordinarily warm and sunny weather. There can be no greater pleasure on this earth than walking to work hoping not to get too hot and receiving a phone call from your kids back in Massachusetts complaining of sub zero temperatures and snow shoveling tasks.
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Article

77.000 Japanese Yen to support literacy in South Sudan, donated by ABAJ

The antiquarian booksellers of Japan are preparing for the great day on 23 April 2015. At the general meeting of the Antiquarian Booksellers' Association of Japan (ABAJ) in Tokyo on Monday evening they discussed the final plans for the big ILAB Pop Up Book Fair at the World Antiquarian Book Plaza where the Japanese booksellers will welcome visitors and raise money for the UNESCO literacy projects all day. As a big step ahead the ABAJ booksellers themselves made a very generous donation of 77.000 Japanese Yen! The pictures show how they fill their first Empty Bookcase poster with symbolic spines.
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Article

Martin Luther - Landmark exhibitions in Germany and the US / Part 1 of 2: US Exhibitions

It has been 500 years since Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses to the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany, condemning the corrupt practice of indulgences. This single act marked the beginning of the Protestant Reformation, a worldwide movement whose legacy can still be felt today, especially in Germany. The Reformation had a profound effect not only on theology and the church but also on culture, science, business, politics, language and education.
The German state has set up a large programme for 2017 to celebrate the 500th anniversary of Luther's 95 theses with exhibitions, readings and events for all ages and interest groups.
In two separate articles we would like to draw attention to some landmark exhibitions in the US and Germany showcasing Luther Bibles, bible collections and other bibliophile treasures.
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