ILAB - History of the International League of Antiquarian Booksellers
ILAB Down Under
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.
Dr. Frieder Kocher-Benzing
At the Vienna Meeting 1972 the representatives of the national associations elected Dr. Frieder Kocher-Benzing as new ILAB President. The German bookseller was a specialist in the history of printing, had been an ILAB Committee Member since 1966, and Vice-President from 1970 to 1972. Furthermore, he became the longest serving secretary presiding over the 3rd to 11th awards of the ILAB Breslauer Prize for Bibliography. The Prize is so deeply connected with his name that he was finally elected ILAB President of Honour.
Stanley Crowe succeeded Kocher-Benzing as ILAB President from 1975 to 1978, followed by the Dutch antiquarian bookseller and publisher Bob de Graaf until 1981. ILAB Congresses and Book Fairs took place in London 1971, Amsterdam 1975 and for the first time in Asia in 1973. “Japan was a tremendous force in the global market for antiquarian books”, Mitsuo Nitta said in his interview with Sheila Markham. “Our economy was booming and universities were competing against each other to acquire treasures for their rare book collections.” No wonder that the 22nd ILAB Congress and 5th International Antiquarian Book Fair in Tokyo were an outstanding success.
Biannual Presidents’ Meetings were held: 1972 in Vienna, 1974 in Turin, 1976 in Brussels and 1979 in Copenhagen, while Hans Marcus and the German booksellers organized the 7th International Antiquarian Book Fair in Düsseldorf. The decade ended with the 25th ILAB Congress and the 8th International Fair in Zurich.