News | February 6, 2024

New Homes for American Booksellers Association's Archives and The Bookseller Collection

ABA/Columbia University

The American Booksellers Association (ABA) and Columbia University Libraries have announced ABA’s donation of the association’s extensive organizational and bookseller archives to the university to be housed in Columbia University’s Rare Book & Manuscript Library (RBML).

The archives consist of first editions on bookselling, ABA membership photos dating back to the turn of the twentieth century, and historical documents pertaining to the history of bookselling in America and ABA’s work with independent booksellers. With this donation ABA and Columbia hope to address the difficulty researchers experience in finding information about bookstores and the book industry.

“Columbia has a stellar global reputation as an academic research library and a demonstrated commitment to connecting researchers with history. ABA is proud to make this contribution to Columbia’s Archives and its vital work recognizing the value of the book industry and preserving the rich history of independent bookstores,” says Allison K Hill, ABA’s CEO. “This important partnership will make ABA’s bookselling history accessible to our members for the first time and we hope that these materials contribute to ongoing academic and professional research about books, publishing, and bookselling.”

“We were thrilled to learn that the ABA was ready to move their records into a library,” says Courtney Chartier, the Director of the RBML. “Columbia already has the country’s premier collection on the publishing industry, and the ABA collection will bring an essential new facet to the story, ensuring that the voices of independent booksellers are never lost.” 

“The RBML is open to the general public, and welcomes thousands of researchers from all over the world every year,” adds Kevin Schlottmann, the RBML’s Head of Archives Processing. “Historians, literature scholars, students, and of course booksellers themselves will be able to dive into the rich history of ABA documented in this archive.”

The British Newspaper Archive has also welcomed the ‘Organ of the Book Trade,’ The Bookseller magazine to its collection, spanning 150 years of book-related news in the UK and internationally. The British Newspaper Archive is a partnership between the British Library and Findmypast to digitise the British Library's vast collection of newspapers. 

It is one of the United Kingdom’s longest running magazines, and the country’s only paper magazine that reports on the publishing, bookselling and library industries on a weekly basis. It was founded in January 1858 by publisher Joseph Whitaker and marketed as a ‘Handbook of British and Foreign Literature' comprising "a complete list of all the works issued in the United Kingdom, and the chief works published abroad... intended primarily for the use of Booksellers and Publishers, furnishing them with a handy book of reference, and doing for the Bookselling trade what Bradshaw does for Railways, but so conducted that it may be equally useful to the Book-buyer and to the Bookseller."