To filter through hundreds of articles, tick the boxes below



ILAB Library - All You Need To Know About Rare Books and the Antiquarian Book Trade

  • [+] More Collecting - Calendars 

    Collecting - Calendars
    Published since 11 Dec 2015

    New Year's is traditionally a time to look forward, and also to reflect on the past. In the spirit of the holiday, we would like to highlight four calendars, from very different time periods: A 1969 wall calendar commemorating the African American Civil Rights Movement with bold prints, a calendar of color woodcut illustrations published by the leading art journal of the Vienna Secession in 1903, an ornate Renaissance-inspired Italian calendar from 1899 accompanied by the original pen and watercolor drawings, and a luxurious embroidered almanack from 1792 small enough to be tucked in one's pocket.

  • [+] More The Night Before Christmas: A Pop Culture Rundown 

    The Night Before Christmas: A Pop Culture Rundown
    Published since 09 Dec 2015

    For some, it may be years since they’ve heard it recited. Others, on the other hand, may have never had the chance to hear the classic Christmas tale from start to finish. But this doesn’t mean The Night Before Christmas is in any way a relic of Christmas past - a poetic ghost clinging to some kind of existence in this world rather than passing on to another.

  • [+] More Robert Louis Stevenson’s Shocking Christmas Tale 

    Robert Louis Stevenson’s Shocking Christmas Tale
    Published since 03 Dec 2015

    On November 13, 1884, Robert Louis Stevenson received a request from the Pall Mall Gazette. The editors wanted a sensational story to publish in its special Christmas issue, and they offered Stevenson a generous £5 per 1,000 words. Woozy with morphine taken for a chronic cough, Stevenson complained that he wasn’t up to the task of writing something new. So he dusted off a piece he’d written back in 1881: The Body-Snatcher.

  • [+] More Christmas and The Private Library, Part 3 

    Christmas and The Private Library, Part 3
    Published since 12 Dec 2014

    Two other publications helped revitalize Christmas celebrations in the mid 19th century. The first was William Sandys' Christmas Carols Ancient and Modern (1833), where many now-beloved Christmas carols made their first appearance in book form.  Among these were The First Noel, Hark the Herald Angels Sing and God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen ... Learn more about the invention of the Christmas tree and children's books for Christmas!

  • [+] More Christmas and The Private Library, Part 2 

    Christmas and The Private Library, Part 2
    Published since 10 Dec 2014

    Perhaps most significant among such works of fiction were Washington Irving's The Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon (1819-1820), which supposedly drew upon the tract Vindication of Christmas (1652) for many elements of its stories about Christmas; Clement Clarke Moore's A Visit from St. Nicholas (first published anonymously in New York's Troy Sentinel newspaper on 23 December 1823); and, most influential of all, Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol (1843) ... Learn more about Christmas books!

  • [+] More Christmas and The Private Library, Part 1 

    Christmas and The Private Library, Part 1
    Published since 09 Dec 2014

    The literature of Christmas is vast, and any book collector seeking to create a Christmas-themed private library quickly realizes that difficult choices have to be made. Does one collect everything written about or influenced by this holiday? Does one focus only on non fiction books (origins, evolution, secular or religious aspects), fiction (not all of which is cheery), or both?  Does one collect such books as a stand-alone theme, or as an adjunct to other collecting areas (folklore, religion, industrialization, childhood, illustration)? - This is a literary Christmas present by L. D. Mitchell and his famous blog The Private Library

  • [+] More Favorite Christmas Books by Legendary Authors 

    Favorite Christmas Books by Legendary Authors
    Published since 04 Dec 2014

    The holidays are fast approaching, and the spirit of the season can be seen everywhere! This time of year, we often turn to favorite books like Clement Clarke Moore's beloved The Night Before Christmas or Hilary Knight's whimsical Christmas Nutshell Library. If you collect Christmas books or books by legendary authors, you may also want to add these tomes to your personal library. Though relatively unknown, these three books delightfully capture the Christmas spirit with all the style and panache one would expect from Charles Dickens, Mark Twain, or JRR Tolkien.

  • [+] More The poem that gave us Santa Claus 

    The poem that gave us Santa Claus
    Published since 17 Dec 2013

    The poem that gave us Santa Claus as an American tradition was first published anonymously in the Troy (NY) Sentinel in 1823. For generations, the poem was attributed to Clement C. Moore, a wealthy Manhattan biblical scholar. Then about a decade ago, a literary sleuth from Vassar College advanced the notion that the famous poem was actually written by Henry Livingston Jr., a  gentleman poet from Poughkeepsie. The literary landscape at Christmas time has never been the same since.

  • [+] More Why Did Charles Dickens Write Ghost Stories for Christmas? 

    Why Did Charles Dickens Write Ghost Stories for Christmas?
    Published since 03 Dec 2013

    Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol has become a beloved part of the literary canon – and for many an indispensable part of the holiday season. The story embodies the goodwill associated with the Christmas season – and it has the Victorians’ favorite elements of a good Christmas story: ghosts. Dickens wrote other Christmas tales that also incorporated phantoms and ghosts, as did his Victorian cohorts. But why this obsession with ghosts at Christmas time?

  • [+] More Collecting Rare Books and First Editions - Childhood Classics: ‘The Night before Christmas’ 

    Collecting Rare Books and First Editions - Childhood Classics: ‘The Night before Christmas’
    Published since 05 Dec 2012

    Christmas is fast approaching, and for most of us, it’s easy to get lost in the to-do lists and travel itineraries of the holidays. As adults, we can lose sight of the joy, wonder, and magic of this season. One book that has always encapsulated those emotions is The Night before Christmas. This childhood classic has enraptured generations, so much so that some rare book collectors even focus all their efforts on this single title. But as with any good story, there are multiple layers to this tale: the poem that shaped our Christmas traditions is also the center of an authorial controversy.