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ILAB Library - All You Need To Know About Rare Books and the Antiquarian Book Trade
Published since 21 Jun 2012
"If you keep an open mind in this business, you learn something new every day." Greg Gibson on collecting the unusual: "Fire insurance mapping began in London in the 1700s, but it had never been applied with a systematic approach. In 1867 Daniel Alfred Sanborn, a surveyor from Massachusetts, saw the need for such a service, and quickly occupied that niche. By the late 1800s he had offices spanning the continent, sending out thousands of surveyors to record the footprints and construction details of buildings in American cities. Insurance companies could then use this information to write accurate policies, based on potential fire risk as documented by Sanborn’s company."
Published since 18 Jun 2012
"One of the most unusual bindings one is likely to encounter among books purchased at yard sales, garage sales, friends-of-the-library book sales and the like is papier mâché." L.D. Mitchell on Papier Mâché and The Private Library.
Published since 11 Jun 2012
Should I cover my tattoos and piercings before a job interview? Should I throw a divorce party? These questions are considered in the 18th edition of Emily Post’s famous book on “Etiquette”, revised and updated by the author’s great-granddaughter. If you want to learn how to have a love affair or a cup of tea in high society during the 1920s, read the original edition, or Jack Lynch’s collecting tip! Jack Lynch ist English professor at Rutgers University in Newark and the author of “You Could Look It Up: The Reference Shelf from Babylon to Wikipedia”. In his blog “You Could Look It Up” he introduces (no: he presents) useful, classic, amazing, funny and extraordinary dictionaries of all possible subjects and from all centuries.
Published since 03 Jun 2012
Here's an interesting idea for a private library: collect nothing but titles that have been penned by prisoners. If you think such a book collection might contain mostly accounts of prison life, think again ... some of the world's greatest, as well as some of the most influential, literature ever written was penned by prisoners.
Published since 25 May 2012
Given that the first book printed from moveable type in Western Europe, the Gutenberg Bible, contains numerous references to wine, and given that the technology for printing that first book may itself have been modeled upon the screw press used to extract wine from grapes, this writer has always found it puzzling that the cultivation, processing, distribution and consumption of wine is rarely a major thematic element in works of fiction.
Published since 18 May 2012
It’s that time of year when many of us begin to get that itch to get away. Summer is right around the corner, and with it the mystical promise of summer travel. If you’re stuck at home this holiday season, or looking for a little inspiration for this year’s travels, you may find help from a seemingly unlikely source: Mark Twain. That’s right: this titan of American literature got his start as a travel writer.
Published since 15 May 2012
For many years L.D. Mitchell's blog The Private Library showed collectors that it is possible to build a collection without the benefit of much money. He published numerous articles on every imaginable subject of book collecting, he wrote about the most beautiful, the most important, the most common, the most attractive, the most unusual, the most interesting, the most extraordinary, the most amazing ... books one could read, buy, collect and simply enjoy. The Private Library has become an irreplaceable resource for all booklovers. Since April 2012, it is a static archive. L. D. Mitchell will no longer post new original content. ILAB is very grateful that he has given permission to publish some of his best articles and collecting tips from The Private Library on the ILAB website. Thank you very much, L.D.
Published since 11 May 2012
Best story of the week was Ed Bayntun-Coward’s recollection of his encounter with a glamorous woman at a party. She asked what he did for a living. Ed replied smoothly that he was an antiquarian bookseller – “What a contraceptive”, she responded, immediately turning on heel and walking away.
Published since 23 Apr 2012
Sheikh Mansur was a Chechen resistance fighter who waged a six-year campaign against Catherine the Great’s forces before his capture in 1791, calling upon fellow Muslims to join him in jihad. ‘He was the first to preach and lead … the Holy War against the infidel Russians in the Caucasus … Dropped, as it were, from the clouds full grown, a warrior, preacher and prophet and, in spite of [his] many failures … he drew after him now one, now another, of the the fierce tribes of the mountain and the forest … He it was who first taught them that in religious reform lay the one chance of preserving their cherished liberty and independence’ (Baddeley, The Russian Conquest of the Caucasus, p. 47).
Published since 06 Apr 2012The German composer Engelbert Humperdinck (1854-1921) is best known for his opera "Hänsel und Gretel". He began working on it in Frankfurt in 1890. He first composed four songs to accompany a puppet show his nieces were giving at home. Then, using a libretto loosely based on the version of the fairy tale by the Brothers Grimm, he composed a “Singspiel” of 16 songs. The opera premiered in Weimar on 23 December 1893, under the baton of Richard Strauss, who called it "a masterpiece of the highest quality”. With its synthesis of Wagnerian techniques (Humperdinck had assisted Wagner 1880/81 in his production of Parsifal) and traditional German folk songs, Hänsel und Gretel was an overwhelming success. In 1923 the London Royal Opera House chose it for their first complete radio opera broadcast. Eight years later, it was the first opera transmitted live from the Metropolitan Opera in New York. Eduard Hanslick, a Bohemian-Austrian music critic, attended the premiere of „Hänsel und Gretel“ in Vienna. The former supporter, then severe critic of Richard Wagner published his impressions of Humperdinck’s opera in 1894. Adam Bösze has translated the text into the Hungarian language for his blog on rare books and the history of music.