September 24, 2012

Tom Congalton: New President of the International League of Antiquarian Booksellers

A unanimous vote: At the Ordinary General Meeting on 23rd September 2012 in Lucerne the presidents of the 22 national member associations of the International League of Antiquarian Booksellers elected Tom Congalton (United States) as new ILAB President. He succeeds Arnoud Gerits (Netherlands) who served as President from 2010 to 2012. Arnoud Gerits honoured his successor:

“Tom Congalton, over a long period of time, has shown his great commitment to the League and his concise, short but always accurate comments on various topics, his impartial but clever and clear judgements, and his capacity to quickly see and understand the essence of a problem, make him the perfect new President of ILAB. He has been a wonderful Vice- President and I owe him a lot of thanks for his unfailing commitment, support and intelligent contributions to our discussions. To continue the metaphor coined by Adrian Harrington in 2010: the Ship of ILAB is safe in the good hands of Tom.”
Tom Congalton, owner of Between the Covers Rare Books, joined the ILAB Committee in 2006. He is the former editor of the ILAB Newsletter. As chair of the ILAB IT Committee he had been responsible for the launch of the new ILAB website including the ILAB Metasearch in 2009/2010, before he became Vice-President in autumn 2010. With Between the Covers Rare Books, founded in 1985, Tom Congalton is regarded as one of the leading experts in 20th century literature and modern first editions who owns one of the largest rare book inventories in the world comprising over 230.000 books and including 150.000 first editions. The American dealer became a member of the Antiquarian Booksellers’ Association of America (ABAA) in 1990. After terms on the Board of Governors, as Secretary, and as Vice-President of the ABAA, he served as ABAA President from the year 2000 to 2002. For 16 years he also was a member of the Committee of the New York Antiquarian Book Fair. From 2005 to 2010 he lectured at the Colorado Antiquarian Book Seminar, since 2008 he has been teaching at the Rare Book School at the University of Virginia. Tom Congalton is author of numerous excellent articles on book collecting and the antiquarian book trade.

Norbert Donhofer (Austria), the new Vice-President, joined the ILAB Committee in 2008. Under his guidance the ILAB Internship Program has been set up which enables young booksellers to study the rare book trade in different countries and from different perspectives. In 2011 and 2012 young dealers from Russia spent three months in Australia and Europe, where they were taught and hosted by ILAB booksellers. From 1988 to 2012 Norbert Donhofer served as Committee Member of the Austrian Antiquarian Booksellers’ Association (VAO), from 2000 to 2003 as Vice-President and from 2003 to 2012 as VAO President. In 1998 he organized the 34th ILAB Congress and 17th ILAB International Antiquarian Book Fair in Vienna. Norbert Donhofer’s rare bookselling career began in 1981, where he worked at the Viennese antiquarian bookshop V.A. Heck after graduating at the University of Vienna. Before he established his own business in 2003, he had been managing director at F. A. Deuticke for 20 years.

In further elections the presidents of ILAB’s 22 member associations voted for Paul Feain (Australia) as Treasurer and Ulrich Hobbeling (Germany) as General Secretary. Paul Feain established Cornstalk Bookshop in Sydney in 1980. An ILAB Committee Member since 2004, he served as the League’s General Secretary and Security Chair. Now, he follows Poul Jan Poulsen (Dennmark), who had been the brain and soul of ILAB for numerous years, in which he very carefully took care of the League’s finances as ILAB Treasurer. Ulrich Hobbeling joined the
Committee in 2008. Twenty years ago he took over his father’s business H. Stenderhoff which specializes in 15th to 20th century rare books and prints.

After two years as ILAB President Arnoud Gerits retired from the Committee, as well as Committee Member Alain Marchiset (France) and Poul Jan Poulsen, who joined the Committee in 1991. For his great devotion to his work for the League within the past 21 years, Poul Jan Poulsen was awarded ILAB Member of Honour and ILAB Treasurer of Honour, whereas Adrian Harrington, President from 2008 to 2010, was awarded ILAB President of Honour. Umberto Pregliasco (Italy), 

Gonzalo Fernandéz Pontes (Spain) and Michel Bouvier (France) joined the ILAB Committee as new members. Gonzalo Fernandéz Pontes is the first antiquarian bookseller from Spain who joins the ILAB Committee. A graduate in ancient history and archaeology, he had taken part in several excavations in the Middle East, before he established his bookshop in Madrid in 1992 which specializes in travel, exploration and Spanish history. Gonzalo Fernandéz Pontes is a regular guest lecturer at the University of Madrid. As President of the Spanish Antiquarian Booksellers’ Association (AILA) he organized the 38th ILAB Congress and 22nd ILAB International Antiquarian Book Fair in Madrid in 2008.

Born into the third generation of a family of antiquarian booksellers, Umberto Pregliasco (Italy) has been dealing in rare and fine books and manuscripts of all centuries for more than thirty years. In 1996 he became a member of the Committee of the Italian Antiquarian Booksellers’ Association (ALAI), where he served as President from 2004 to 2010. In 2010 Umberto Pregliasco hosted the 39th ILAB Congress and 23rd ILAB International Antiquarian Book Fair in Bologna, one of the big events in the history of the League. He is guest lecturer at the University Siena and author of many articles.

Michael Bouvier (France) opened his Paris bookshop in 1980 and specializes in art, literature, science and the history of printing. He became a member of the Syndicat National de la Librairie Ancienne et Moderne (SLAM) in 1988, and a member of the Compagnie nationale des experts in 1991. From 1998 to 2009 he was a member of the SLAM Committee: for three years as General Secretary, six years as Treasurer, and another three years as Counselour. In 2000, Michael Bouvier opened a second bookshop, which specializes in photographs and autographs.

The ILAB Committee - President: Tom Congalton, Vice President: Norbert Donhofer, Treasurer: Paul Feain, General Secretary: Ulrich Hobbeling, Members: Brigitta Laube, Umberto Pregliasco, Gonzalo Fernández Pontes, Michel Bouvier, Immediate Past President: Arnoud Gerits

40th ILAB Congress and 24th ILAB International Antiquarian Book Fair from 23nd to 30th September, 2012, in Lucerne and Zurich (Switzerland)

The Ordinary General Meeting was held on the first day of the 40th ILAB Congress 2012, organized by the Swiss Antiquarian Booksellers’ Association (VEBUKU). The 40th Congress will be followed by the 24th ILAB International Antiquarian Book Fair in Zurich from 27th to 30th September 2012 where 64 leading antiquarian booksellers will present the best of the trade. From manuscripts and incunabula to avant-garde, from Erasmus, Philipp Melanchthon and Charles Darwin to Leonardo da Vinci, Pablo Picasso, DADA and the Bauhaus artists: together with the Fine Art Zurich, this most important event, supported by the International League of Antiquarian Booksellers (ILAB), will change Zurich into the international market place for everything rare, extravagant and beautiful. The 24th ILAB International Antiquarian Book Fair will be officially opened on 26th September 2012 at 6 pm at the Zurich Convention Centre. For more information, please contact the ILAB Web Editor ( or browse the ILAB Website