Laurence Worms has owned and run Ash Rare Books since 1971. He represented the antiquarian book trade on the (British) National Book Committee from 1993 to 2002 and has been six times an elected member of the ABA Council. He was largely responsible for drafting the revised Rules of the Association and the Association’s Code of Good Practice introduced in 1997, served as Honorary Secretary of the Association from 1998 to 2001 and as President from 2011 to 2013. He is a former member of the Council of the Bibliographical Society and continues to serve on the Council of the London Topographical Society. He is also a founder member and Fellow of the Rare Book Society.
He writes and lectures on various aspects of the history of the book and map trades, and gave the annual Helen Wallis Memorial Lecture at the Cartography 2003 conference at Reading University. More recent work includes the compilation of fourteen “lives” for the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography and the chapter on early English maps and atlases for the fourth volume of The Cambridge History of the Book in Britain. A major essay on the same subject has now appeared in The History of Cartography published by the University of Chicago Press.
He is the principal organiser of the monthly Seminars on Book Collecting and teaches each summer at the London Rare Books School. His long-awaited “British Map Engravers”, co-written with Ashley Baynton-Williams, was published to critical acclaim in 2011, and his weekly blog, The Bookhunter on Safari commands a wide following in the rare book world.
He and his wife Anne have been living in the same house in Tooting since they married thirty-five years ago. They have three children – Thomas, Jessamy and Ottilie.