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THE RARE BOOK SOCIETY
The Rare Book Society was founded in 2004 to unite all those who care about old and rare books (and other printed or manuscript material) - their history, their care and preservation, their collection and especially their study. It differs from other book and bibliographical societies in that its primary purpose is an educational one.
As part of its activities, the Rare Book Society, in conjunction with the Institute of English Studies (IES) at London University, organises and supports a monthly series of seminars on book-collecting and aspects of book history. The seminars - open to the public and free of charge - are held at Senate House on the second Tuesday of each month during the academic year. They are aimed at a broad audience including book-collectors, book-dealers, historians of all kinds, librarians, indeed at anyone with an interest in collecting any sort of text from the sixth-former to the retired professor. The atmosphere is informal. Details of the current programme can be found under Seminars.
As time, circumstance and funds permit, a future programme of publications is envisaged. The society's first publication, "A Dictionary of British Map Engravers", compiled by two of the Fellows, was published to considerable critical acclaim in 2011. Details are given under Publications.
Some of the activities planned by the Society back in 2004 have now largely been superseded by the work of the London Rare Books School (LRBS). The Rare Book Society fully supports the work of the School, in which some of the Fellows are actively involved. Similar support will be offered to the York Antiquarian Book Seminar (YABS) due to start in September 2014.
Membership of the Rare Book Society is restricted to those elected by invitation - the Fellows - generally reserved for those who have in their professional or published work in some way advanced the study of old and rare books or allied materials. The Society receives no funding from any governmental, educational or professional body.
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