American Booksellers Association Donates Archives to Columbia University

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American Booksellers Association Donates Archives to Columbia University


The American Booksellers Association (ABA) and Columbia University Libraries are happy to announce 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consist of first editions on bookselling, ABA membership photos dating back to the turn of the twentieth century, and historical documents pertaining to the history of bookselling in America and ABA’s work with independent booksellers.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.”

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Founded in 1900, the American Booksellers Association is a national not-for-profit trade organization that supports the success of independent bookstores and the community of the book. These bookstores play an important role in their communities and in American history, providing community gathering places, promoting the exchange of ideas, enriching culture, supporting literacy, contributing to local economies, and championing diverse and debut authors, books, and reading.

The Rare Book & Manuscript Library is Columbia’s primary repository for rare books, manuscripts, and the University’s own archives. Founded in 1930, the RBML acquires collections from all over the world that document the breadth of human expression, and makes them accessible for research and teaching for thousands of visitors every year. The RBML is part of the broader Columbia University Libraries system, a globally-recognized academic research library that serves one of the world’s most important centers of research and learning.

Download PDF of Press Release here.