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The 1912 Exhibition

The first ABA (or, more strictly, IAAB* as it was then) ‘Exhibition of Books, Broadsides, Proclamations, Portraits, Autographs, etc.’ was held at Stationers’ Hall 25-29 June 1912, accompanied by a 218pp catalogue. Over 1,200 items were on show and the great majority of books were 15th-17th century. The first fifteen items were all Caxtons. The aim of the exhibition was to illustrate ‘the progress of the Art of Typography in the country from its inception to the year 1800’, with the books arranged chronologically.

* Inaugurated in 1906 as ‘The Secondhand Booksellers’ Association’, the name was changed in 1908 to ‘The International Association of Antiquarian Booksellers’ (IAAB). Having survived a vote to change again to ‘Antiquarian Bookman’s Association’ in 1924, the 1928 AGM agreed to ‘Antiquarian Booksellers’ Association (International)’.

Pasted into the copy of the catalogue in the ABA Library (donated by Ash Rare Books) is the Balance Sheet, which shows a £4. 0s. 0d. deficit.