The ABA and ILAB look back at a long history. The ABA is relaunching its flagship fair in London this year, the oldest antiquarian book fair in the world, under the auspices of ILAB.
This text by the late Anthony Rota, ABA bookseller and ILAB President of Honour, was published in 2008 in the ABA Directory.
Aimee Peake of Bison Books, Winnipeg (Canada) looks back at her week in sunny California, filled with impressions of books, bookseller encounters and exhibiting at the California International Antiquarian Book Fair.
At the Ordinary General Meeting on 4th February 2018 the presidents of ILAB’s national member associations voted for Sally Burdon (Australia) as new ILAB President. She succeeds Gonzalo F. Pontes who served as President from 2016 to 2018; and will be supported by ILAB Vice‐President Fabrizio Govi (Italy).
This year is the 125th anniversary of the first appearance of Three Men in a Boat, published by J. W. Arrowsmith in Bristol (who, three years later, was to bring out that other classic comic novel, George and Weedon Grossmith's The Diary of a Nobody). Although slated by some critics at the time, the book sold in huge numbers, leading Arrowsmith to comment: 'I pay Jerome so much in royalties, I cannot imagine what becomes of all the copies of that book I issue. I often think the public must eat them.' It has never been out of print since.
'"Edgar Poe - the underground stream in Russia." So the Russian Symbolist poet Aleksandr Blok noted in his journal for November 6, 1911, a topic for a future critical study. The article was never written, but the prospect has remained an enticing one. For Poe's fame, however clouded by conflicting interpretation, is of long standing in Russia' (Joan Delaney Grossman, Edgar Allan Poe in Russia: a study in legend and literary influence, p. 7).
One of the joys of dealing in modern literary first editions is the neat and nearly uniform size of the vast majority of one's inventory. Your basic octavo volume, when packed for a book fair, nestled convivially amongst its fellows, will fit neatly in a standard document storage box. After having done a few hundred fairs, one can pack up quickly and neatly, leaving no space in a box for the books to shuffle about, with the resultant deterioration in condition that loosely packed books usually suffer. I particularly recommend books of poetry and drama for this purpose – usually slim volumes that, when inserted between other books, tighten one's box load to a satisfying solidity.
This large, folding chromolithograph (it's over 6.5m long) is Adams' Illustrated Panorama of History (London & Paris, A. H. Walker, 1878). First published in 1871 under the title Synchronological Chart by the Oregon pioneer minister Sebastian C. Adams, and in various later editions under different titles, this was, for a timeline chart, 'nineteenth-century America's surpassing achievement in complexity and synthetic power. Adams, who lived all of his early life at the very edge of U.S. territory, was a schoolteacher and one of the founders of the first Bible college in Oregon. Born in Ohio in 1825 and educated in the early 1840s at the brand-new Knox College in Galesburg, Illinois, at the heart of the American abolitionist movement, Adams was a voracious reader, a broad thinker, and an inveterate improver. The Synchronological Chart is a great work of outsider thinking and a template for autodidact study; it attempts to rise above the station of a mere historical summary and to draw a picture of history rich enough to serve as a textbook in itself.
The Breslauer Prize for Bibliography, awarded every four years by the International League of Antiquarian Booksellers is one of the most prestigious awards in this field. Writers, publishers, librarians, journalists, scholars, antiquarian booksellers, book collectors and all who are interested in bibliography and the history of the book were invited to submit books to the 17th ILAB Breslauer Prize for Bibliography by the end of April this year. Bibliographies are an indispensable tool for booksellers but this collection of publications is more than that. It portrays the variety and depth of our profession; academic excellence combined with the love and passion for the subject. A truly international Prize, representing authors, editors and publishers from all corners of the world.