ILAB - History of the International League of Antiquarian Booksellers
1950 – 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)
More congresses worth remembering followed in Brussels 1951, Geneva 1952, Milan 1953, Vienna 1954, Munich 1957. The ABAA hosted two conferences in New York 1955 and 1959. London, however, became the unofficial meeting place for ILAB booksellers: After 1949 the ABA hosted two further events in the British capital: 1956 and 1958.
Code of Ethics
The ILAB logo was designed: a book encircled by the words: “Amor librorum nos unit.” The Milan conference 1953 saw the publication of "A Compendium of Usages and Customs of the Trade" that has become known as the ILAB Code of Ethics to which all ILAB affiliates adhere.
Percy H. Muir, once Chairman of the Preliminary Conference, then first Vice-President of the League, became ILAB President in 1950. Kundig had to retire because of health problems, Muir promised to complete his term. André Poursin (France) supported him in his duties as Vice-President, Nic Tulkens (Belgium) became Treasurer. Georges Blaizot from Paris succeeded Muir as ILAB President in 1952, followed by J. E. Stanley Sawyer (Great Britian) in 1954 and Richard S. Wormser (USA) in 1957 for the last three years of the decade.
ILAB Booksellers in India
“Nobody who has not attempted to prepare such a publication can have any idea of the amount of time and energy it entails.”
The first ILAB Directory was published for the years 1951/1952. Muir was one of the editors, together with his close friend André Poursin. Neveen Marchiset, who takes care of the present directories, will agree with his words.
Brazil and Germany joined the League during the 50s. The German Antiquarian Booksellers’ Association was established in Munich on June 10th, 1949, with Helmuth Domizlaff as President. (The former name Vereinigung deutscher Buchantiquare und Graphikhändler was changed to Verband Deutscher Antiquare (VDA) in 1968.) Domizlaff was invited to the 4th ILAB Congress in Brussels in 1951, where the Germans were admitted as a new ILAB member. The Brazilian Association (ABLA) followed in 1954.
One Father of the League and two Life Presidents of Honour
After Muir’s retirement the author of “Printing and the Mind of Man” was unanimously elected as Life President of Honour, as well as André Poursin. As to Menno Hertzberger, he was honoured as Father of the League by acclamation during the Geneva conference 1952.
The League was expanding. The “International Directory of Antiquarian Booksellers”, edited by Alfred Frauendorfer (Zurich) and Christian M. Nebehay (Vienna) in 1958, records 14 national associations and 481 pages with addresses, advertisements and specialities of ILAB booksellers from Argentina to the U.S.A.; there was even a member in Ahmedabad (India).