Books -- Collecting


Book collecting includes the seeking, locating, acquiring, organizing, cataloging, displaying, storing, and maintaining whatever books are of interest to a given individual collector. The love of books is called bibliophilia, and someone who loves to read, admire, and collect books is a bibliophile. When collecting becomes excessive or obsessive, it is called bibliomania.

Book collecting dates back to the beginnings of the book. Collections of illuminated manuscripts, both commissioned and second-hand, by the elites of Burgundy and France, became common in the 15th century. Duke Philip the Good of Burgundy appears to have had the largest private collection of his day, with about six hundred volumes. During the Reformation, when many monastic libraries were broken up, and their contents often destroyed, those who could began accumulating volumes to preserve them. These collections, when later sold off, fed the increasing demand for rar books from avid collectors.

A collection of books is termed a Library. Early libraries were either private collections, or owned by Universities or Academies or other institutions of learning. The earliest known public library is the Francis Trigge Chained Library in Grantham, Lincolnshire, established in 1598. The library still exists and can justifiably claim to be the forerunner of later public library systems. But the modern, free public library dates from 1850, with the British Public Libraries Act.

Book Collecting

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