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

  • Collecting Rare Books and First Editions - Steampunk'd at The Private Library

    Collecting Rare Books and First Editions - Steampunk'd at The Private Library

    Take something that lots of folks today consider very cool and/or sexy - various types of advanced technology, for example - and move it to a setting that has the historical reputation of being excessively ... "rigid" - Victorian England, for example - and you have one of science fiction's (and fantasy's) most popular sub-genres, steampunk.

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  • "What you're doing with all these books here?" The Cookie Monster in the Library

    "What you're doing with all these books here?" The Cookie Monster in the Library

    For our youngest collectors: A library is a room full of shelves without cookies. Just books, no cookies, not even a glass of juice ... Sesame Street on YouTube.

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  • Photographically illustrated Books

    Photographically illustrated Books

    It is widely known that in 1839 William Henry Fox Talbot invented the positive-negative system of photography that effectively was the medium until the digital age supplanted it 150 years later. It is less wellknown that from 1852 he concentrated on perfecting his photoglyphic engraving process, the precursor to photogravure, which revolutionized high-quality book illustration and art reproduction from the 1880s.

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  • The House Call

    The House Call

    It’s a thrilling experience, a rite of passage into the trade. A member of the public thinks so highly of your skills as a book maven, (or your status as a cash cow), that they invite you into their private space to examine, and make an offer on, their books. You get to walk around pronouncing on the current state of the market, on what’s hot and what’s not, all the while maintaining an ingratiating stream of patter that, you hope, will convince the owner that you’re a sage and trustworthy expert.

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  • Antiquarian Book Fairs - Paper Town

    Antiquarian Book Fairs - Paper Town

    It was a beautiful morning, one of the last fine days of the summer, with trees just beginning to turn the corner toward the explosion of colors that precede winter's monotone. But instead of going into the woods, where I know the swamp maples along the brook are already flashing their pinks and deeper reds, I got in my car and drove to Paper Town.

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  • Collecting Photography - A Thousand Words…

    Collecting Photography - A Thousand Words…

    Neither of my kids, doubtless traumatized by having a bookseller for a father, is much of a reader, but both are splendidly visually literate. He’s a photographer and she’s a florist. Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and all that other stuff I don’t know how to work, is about images, not words. That’s how we communicate with one another these days. Even our book descriptions depend on images now. Rare is the catalog that is not lavishly illustrated, and if our online listings hope to have any chance of selling, they’d better feature plenty of images. We’re in the cradle period of images and imaging. Some day soon images will be text, and text will be arcane. We will be practitioners of black arts.

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  • Wanted! ILAB Internship!

    Wanted! ILAB Internship!

    A global "ILAB School" without borders: The International League of Antiquarian Booksellers offers internships to students and beginners in the rare book trade who wish to widen their knowledge through practical learning and to plug into the worldwide network of antiquarian bookselling.  All ILAB booksellers are very welcome to join the ILAB Internship Program and to provide young students an opportunity to gain invaluable hands-on experience in the international rare book business at any time and in any place in the world. Applicants are carefully chosen after they have contacted ILAB Vice-President Norbert Donhofer, who has initiated the Internship Program in 2009 together with Eric Waschke (Canada) and Professor Dr. Olga Tarakanowa (Moscow State University of the Printing Arts). Former interns spent six to eight weeks in Austria, Netherlands, Germany and Hungary  (Alena Lavrenova and Anastasya Zhikhareva),  Australia (Pavel Chepyzhov), the United Kingdom (Valentina Rudnitskaya), the United States (Julia Kulyamzina), and in Spain (Ksenia Batueva). Right now ILAB is looking for the following internship:

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  • Bibliographies - Johann Gutenberg

    Bibliographies - Johann Gutenberg

    The “Gutenberg Bible” was the first book printed, and is one of the rarest treasures today. 48 copies survived that are kept in the Gutenberg Museum (Mainz), in Berlin, Copenhagen, Paris, Cambridge, London, Eaton, Oxford, Tokyo, Vienna, the Vatican and other places. Among the many website on Gutenberg these are recommended:

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  • Richard Francis Burton - English Explorer, Scholar, Soldier and Diplomat (1821-1890)

    Richard Francis Burton - English Explorer, Scholar, Soldier and Diplomat (1821-1890)

    "Quite unsuited and ill-prepared for life at Oxford, but enjoying its social life, he was in 1842 rusticated from the college for attending a horse race. Shortly after returning to an aunt's house in Hampstead, London, he bribed himself into the army of the East India Company as a second lieutenant in the 18th Regiment of the Bombay Native Infantry. After a crash course in Hindustani, and having taught himself a little Arabic, he sailed from Gravesend on 18.6.42 in the barque "John Knox", bound for India via the Cape of Good Hope ..." The life, deeds and works of the British explorer, translator, writer, soldier, orientalist, ethnologist, spy, linguist, poet, fencer and diplomat Richard Francis Burton, by Raymond Howgego.

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  • New Work on Virginia Woolf, and Literary Portraits by Carl Kohler

    New Work on Virginia Woolf, and Literary Portraits by Carl Kohler

    Commissioned by the U.S. literary magazine Rapportage, and displaying the expressionistic drawing of Virginia Woolf by Carl Kohler (Sweden), Maureen E. Mulvihill, a scholar & writer in NYC, has written an absorbing essay on the final weeks of Virginia Woolf in 1941, with special attention to the Woolfs' Hogarth Press and other book-related matters. The essay is included as a special exhibit in the traveling retrospective of Kohler’s literary portraits (bookings: Sweden, NYC, Brooklyn NY, Chicago, and Cork, Ireland). Dr Mulvihill's essay offers "a larger logic" to this famous literary suicide by situating Woolf's decision within the broader frame of many stressful circumstances during the last three months of Woolf's life. This essay is lavishly illustrated, including a Gisele Freund photo of Woolf, and photos of display cases of the Woolf show at The Grolier Club (NYC 2008) and at the Brooklyn Public Library (Brooklyn, NY 2009). This essay was also included in the recent Woolf show at Smith College, Mass. (2010). In addition to showing us a volume from her own collection of rare and special books, Dr Mulvihill provides a strong apparatus of content-rich endnotes and an Appendix of Woolf's musings on women in the world of books.

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  • Notes from Sydney - The ILAB Internship in Australia from October to December 2011

    Notes from Sydney - The ILAB Internship in Australia from October to December 2011

    Here I am reporting from sunny Sydney where I am highly enjoying my ILAB internship. I am a student at the Moscow State University of Printing Arts where I participate in the courses about the antiquarian book trade held by professor Olga Tarakanova. My internship is part of the program which is organized by the International League of Antiquarian Booksellers to give a hand to young booksellers like me to get in touch with foreign colleagues. So I got lucky to go to Australia, and I want to write about my experiences here in the form of brief posts to keep you informed about what is going on down under!

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  • Collecting – Arthur Conan Doyle: Social Justice Warrior

    Collecting – Arthur Conan Doyle: Social Justice Warrior

    Arthur Conan Doyle was hardly a meek man, nor one prone to seeking diplomatic solutions when dramatic alternatives were available. When he attempted to enlist in the military forces he wrote that “I am fifty-five but I am very strong and hardy, and can make my voice audible at great distances, which is useful at drill.” This audible voice proved to be very significant for two individuals in particular; George Edalji and Oscar Slater. My interest in these two men was sparked by our recent celebration of “Arthur Conan Doyle Week” at the end of May in honour of his birthday. Fortunately or otherwise, the Olympia bookfair has prevented me from typing up some of the more fascinating aspects of Doyle’s life that I discovered during that week.

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