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Amsterdam Conference

In 1947 representatives from five countries, Denmark, France, Great Britain, the Netherlands, and Sweden, met in Amsterdam to discuss the formation of an International League of Antiquarian Booksellers (ILAB), with the aim of establishing new hope for international peace through open markets, to foster friendship and understanding, and to counteract the animosity and suspicion engendered by World War II. ILAB was formally incorporated in Copenhagen in September 1948.

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ILAB: A Timeline

1948

Copenhagen 1948

This is the article excerpt. If it's not set, then the article lead will be used. The ILAB was formally incorporated in Copenhagen in September 1948, with ten participating countries. Representatives from Belgium, Finland, Switzerland, and Italy joined their colleagues from Great Britain, France, Sweden, Denmark and The Netherlands at the conference table. Denmark was holding a proxy for Norway. Menno Hertzberger proposed William S. Kundig as ILAB’s first president. Kundig, “a man with authority, position, and money ... a good host and a first-class raconteur” (Kaye) was unanimously elected. The first ILAB Committee consisted of William S. Kundig (President), Percy H. Muir (Vice-President), Menno Hertzberger, Einar Grønholt-Pedersen, André Poursin.
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1949-1950

The ILAB was formally incorporated in Copenhagen in September 1948, with ten participating countries. Representatives from Belgium, Finland, Switzerland, and Italy joined their colleagues from Great Britain, France, Sweden, Denmark and The Netherlands at the conference table. Denmark was holding a proxy for Norway. Menno Hertzberger proposed William S. Kundig as ILAB’s first president. Kundig, “a man with authority, position, and money ... a good host and a first-class raconteur” (Kaye) was unanimously elected. The first ILAB Committee consisted of William S. Kundig (President), Percy H. Muir (Vice-President), Menno Hertzberger, Einar Grønholt-Pedersen, André Poursin.

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.

Percy H. Muir

1951-1960

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.

1961-1970

ILAB Breslauer Prize for Bibliography

The admission of Japan, the ILAB Bibliography Prize (now ILAB Breslauer Prize for Bibliography) and the first ILAB International Antiquarian Book Fair were the milestones of the 60s.

“Dans le monde du livre ancien et de la recherche bibliographique, deux personnages sont, jours après jours, confrontés à des problèmes de recherche, d’identification et d’évaluation d’oeuvres anciennes, précieuses ou non: Le Conservateur de bibliothèque et le libraire antiquaire. Le second, tout particulièrement, car de sa science et de ses connaissences dépendent son commerce et sa réputation.“ (Georges A. Deny)

Georges A. Deny from Brussels was ILAB President from 1960 to 1965 and the first Secretary of the ILAB Breslauer Prize for Bibliography who laid down the ground rules. The Prize is awarded every fourth year to the author of the most original and outstanding study in bibliography. Deny supervised the first and second awards to Jean Peeters-Fontainas “Bibliographie des impressions Espagnoles aux Pays-Bas méridonaux” in 1967.

1991-2000

Expanding to the Global Market

During the 30th ILAB Congress and the 13th International Book Fair in Tokyo 1990 the Antiquarian Booksellers' Association of Korea (ABAK) were elected as the 18th ILAB member. Two years later Czech booksellers formed the Svaz Antikváru CR (SACR which joined the League during the 32nd ILAB Congress in Amsterdam in 1994. The Spanish Asociación Ibéria de Librerias Anticuarias (AILA), founded in 1990, also joined ILAB.

2001-2010

Kay Craddock

The beginning of the 21st century saw the first woman at the head of the League: Australian bookseller Kay Craddock was elected ILAB President during the Congress and the International Antiquarian Book Fair in Edinburgh 2000. Craddock, meanwhile ILAB President of Honour, was succeeded by Bob Fleck from 2002 to 2006, and Michael Steinbach 2006 from to 2008.

After the Boston Presidents' Meeting in 2001, the Danish, Swedish, Finnish and Norwegian associations organized a very special event: The 36th Congress and 19th International Antiquarian Book Fair took place in four countries, with a sea journey in between. On this occasion the 13th ILAB Bibliographical Prize of $10,000 was awarded to Anna Perälä, for her atlas of Finnish typography, 1642-1827, a monumental two volume work, published in Finnish, Swedish and German. Kay Craddock presented the award to Anna Perälä at a dinner in Helsinki.

In 2003 the Presidents travelled to Potsdam for their annual meeting, only a year later the ILAB affiliates met for a Congress and a Book Fair in Melbourne, well organized by the Australian and New Zealand Association of Antiquarian Booksellers (ANZAAB).

2004 saw the first Virtual ILAB Book Fair on the recently established ILAB website. The four day event included a beneficial auction for UNICEF, a book fair, lectures, appraisals, and a "Biblio Quiz" for book collectors. Presidents’ Meetings in Montréal 2005, Wilmington 2006, followed by the 21st International Antiquarian Book Fair in New York. Kay Craddock and Keith Fletcher were unanimously elected ILAB President and Member of Honour.

Past Presidents & Presidents of Honour

This page will list all Past Presidents and Presidents of Honour of the League.

(Page under construction!)