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42nd Annual Conference on Book Trade History

BTHC Poster Portrait

Organised by Robin Myers, Michael Harris and Giles Mandelbrote, in association with the Antiquarian Booksellers’ Association Educational Trust.

42nd Annual Conference on Book Trade History

THE HUMOURS OF COLLECTING: Motive and Opportunity in Collecting Books and Related Material across Six Centuries.


This year’s conference on book-trade history can be seen (we hope) as a moment of renewal. We are looking forward to a rich and informative exploration of current research on varied aspects of the history of collecting books and book-related material. Our emphasis will be on the individual collector, whose motives, methods and experience have developed alongside the steady accumulation by libraries and specialist institutions.


Mark Byford, formerly Salvesen junior fellow at New College, Oxford, is an associate member of the Oxford History Faculty. His doctorate focused on religious change in Elizabethan Essex and he has published ‘The birth of a Protestant town: the process of Reformation in Tudor Colchester, 1530–80’ in Patrick Collinson and John Craig (eds), The Reformation in English towns, 1500-1640 (1998). A collector of early modern books and manuscripts, he is a Council member of the Bibliographical Society.

Laura Cleaver is Senior Lecturer in Manuscript Studies at the University of London and Principal Investigator of the Cultivate MSS project, funded by the European Research Council. The project is examining the international trade in pre-modern manuscripts c.1900-1945 and its impact on the formation of collections and scholarship.

Michelle Craig is a Leverhulme Trust doctoral scholar working on the library of Dr William Hunter (1718-1783). Her thesis is entitled ‘From Early Modern to Enlightenment: Provenance in William Hunter’s Library’. She is interested in 18th-century book auctions, library cataloguing systems and the materiality of books, provenance and bindings.

Patrick Goossens studied history at the universities of Antwerp and Louvain. Closely connected with the Plantin-Moretus Museum in his home town of Antwerp, he is a founding board member of its Friends, Treasurer of the Association of European Printing Museums and board member of the printing museum at the Royal Library of Belgium. As well as pursuing archival research into innovation in the printing industry in 19th-century Belgium., he collects historical printing equipment as research tools.

Robert Harding is a director of the London antiquarian book dealer Maggs Bros Ltd., specialising in early modern Britain, and has a personal interest in the history of collecting in the Stuart period, especially around the circle of Thomas Howard, 14th Earl of Arundel.

Julie Anne Lambert has been Librarian of the John Johnson Collection at the Bodleian Library, Oxford, for more than 30 years. She is interested in all ephemera, but her exhibitions have focused principally on trade and advertising: A Nation of Shopkeepers (2001) and The Art of Advertising (17 May – 30 August 2021). Both are accompanied by publications. She also co-curated the exhibition Children’s Games and Pastimes (2005).

Robin Myers is archivist emeritus of the Stationers' Company, where she was in charge of the archive for 30 years. Her many publications include The Stationers’ Company Archive (1990); The Stationers' Company, a History of the Later Years, 1800-2000 (2001); and ‘George Hawkins (1705-1780): bookseller and treasurer of the English Stock’ in The Stationers Company and the Book Trade 1550-1990 (1997).

Julian Pooley FSA is Public Services and Engagement Manager at Surrey History Centre and Honorary Visiting Fellow of the Centre for English Local History at the University of Leicester. He is preparing an analytical guide to the Nichols family papers from the time of John Nichols (1745-1826) to the death of John Gough Nichols in 1873. His recent publications include articles about John Nichols for The Journal of Eighteenth Century Studies and the British Library website, ‘Picturing Places’.

View the full programme here.

To book a place at the conference, kindly fill out the booking form here.

The 42nd annual conference on book trade history (BTHC) will take place Friday 26 and Saturday 27 November 2021 at Stationers’ Hall (Church of St Martin within Ludgate), London EC4M 7DD.

Organized by Robin Myers, Michael Harris and Giles Mandelbrote, in association with the Antiquarian Booksellers’ Association Educational Trust.

Please contact the ABA at to request further information.