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Rare Books and the Rare Book Trade
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ILAB History

ILAB History

Published on 21 April 2018
Today the International League of Antiquarian Booksellers unites 22 national associations under one roof. Some of them had already been established when the League was founded in 1947/1948. Five of them were the driving forces: the antiquarian booksellers of Great Britain, France, Denmark, Sweden and The Netherlands.
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ILAB History

Preliminary Conference

In 1947 representatives from Great Britain, France, Denmark, Sweden and The Netherlands met in Amsterdam for a Preliminary Conference. They discussed Hertzberger’s idea of forming an organization that counteracted the animosity and suspicion engendered by the Second World War. The new International League of Antiquarian Booksellers should foster friendship and understanding between the nations as the mutual basis for a fair and professional trade in the future.
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ILAB History

Copenhagen 1948

The ILAB was formally incorporated in Copenhagen in September 1948, with ten participating countries. Representatives from Belgium, Finland, Switzerland, and Italy joined their colleagues from Great Britain, France, Sweden, Denmark and The Netherlands at the conference table. Denmark was holding a proxy for Norway. Menno Hertzberger proposed William S. Kundig as ILAB’s first president.
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ILAB History

1951-1960

“Considering the dubiety with which our activities were treated it is pleasant to record that the Congresses in London in 1949 and in Paris in 1950 were very successful both socially and professionally, while the standard of hospitality in both cities was impeccable." (Muir)
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ILAB History

1961-1970

The admission of Japan, the ILAB Bibliography Prize (now ILAB Breslauer Prize for Bibliography) and the first ILAB International Antiquarian Book Fair were the milestones of the 60s.
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ILAB History

1971-1980

Established in 1966, the Antiquarian Booksellers' Association of Canada (ABAC) or Association de la Librairie Ancienne du Canada (ALAC) became an ILAB member at the Paris Presidents’ Meeting in 1970. Australia followed eight years later. The Australian and New Zealand Association of Antiquarian Booksellers (ANZAAB), created in 1977, belongs to the League since 1978.
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ILAB History

1981-1990

By the 1980s the biennial congresses were attracting several hundred delegates. A certain amount of business gets transacted (the subjects cropping up most frequently being standards of collation, the training of new entrants to the trade, and relationships with the auction houses). Its harsher critics say that the League is only a talking-shop – and it is true that the social side of congress life is very pleasant, the national association sponsoring each congress taking great care to mount an interesting programme.
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From the Vault

A sneak peek in our archives

Booksellers

Living With - And From - Books, Part 1

We are rare book dealers and from the items we bought and sold over these decades, we had the opportunity to learn something about history, literature, art, life and the world (past and present). We realised that editing a text in English which should be read almost as an "historical tale" is a very hard job, something totally different from the usual bibliographic descriptions with our familiar technical terms. In any case, this pamphlet will be a much more comfortable way for you to share our history with us: let's say that this text was guided by the same "Italian passion" that we have been putting in our works for a century...
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Article

La Bibliophilie in France - Part 2 of 3 & The ILAB Breslauer Prize For Bibliography

In time with the Paris International Antiquarian Book Fair 2018, we would like to present some outstanding French publications that were submitted for the 17th ILAB Breslauer Prize for Bibliography 2018.
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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

Bouquinistes at an ILAB fair - a contradiction? NON!

Since the days of Renaissance, open air bookselling has happened along the Seine riverbanks. Tourist souvenirs aside, a bouquiniste find was often the beginning of a lifelong passion and first piece in a collection. Plying their trade on the famous banks of the Seine, a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1991, the bouquinistes des quais are as emblematic of the French capital as the Eiffel Tower or Montmartre for the millions of French and foreign tourists who visit Paris every year.
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