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ILAB Provenance Symposium at Grolier Club New York

On March 5th, 2019, ILAB brought together a range of experts and scholars from the antiquarian book trade, libraries and surrounding businesses to inform and give advice on the issues of provenance, forgery and theft.
Articles New York Provenance Symposium90

The event has now passed. ILAB would like to thank all speakers on the day, all guests, the Antiquarian Booksellers Association of America (ABAA) and the Grolier Club for joining us.

Please find a link to all videos of the symposium here.

WHO OWNED THIS? Libraries and the Rare Book Trade consider issues surrounding Provenance, Theft and Forgery


9am: Introduction by Sally Burdon, ILAB President & Welcome by Daniel de Simone (Moderator of the Symposium)

1. David Zeidberg: Why Marks of Ownership Still Matter: The Stephen Blumberg Case.
David Zeidberg will focus his talk on the Stephen Blumberg thefts. He testified at his trial in Iowa in early 1991 and had to identify books Blumberg had stolen from the UCLA Library, where Zeidberg was working at the time. It gets to the heart of libraries needing to have proof of ownership. Many of the books Blumberg took could not be returned because the libraries claiming them could not prove that the specific copy was theirs.

2. Jonathan Hill: This could happen to you. Misadventures in Germany
Jonathan Hill, based in New York, will talk about his experience of buying several items at auction in Germany which he later learned did not have clear title at the time of the sale. He will discuss the complications of the laws regarding stolen material in Germany, Sweden, Switzerland, Qatar, and the United States.

3. Margaret (Meg) Ford: Grey Matter - Detecting Stolen Books in Circulation
Meg Ford will outline her encounters with stolen books, notably those from the Danish Royal Library, and consider responsibilities incumbent on the book world at large in combatting theft.

4. Rob Rulon Miller & Pom Harrington: It is Not Always Straight Forward.
Booksellers Pom Harrington and Rob Rulon-Miller discuss their experiences encountered on a day to day basis when dealing with the problems raised by provenance, theft and forgery. What problems have they encountered? How can the antiquarian book trade together with libraries and collectors improve the current situation? Pom Harrington and Rob Rulon-Miller will be in conversation with Sally Burdon.

12- 1pm Lunch break

5. Christopher Marinello: Rare Books and Manuscript Theft: Registration, Research, and Recovery

6. Dorit Straus: Rare books, incunabula, map plates: Can insurance play a role in loss prevention and curbing thefts?

7. Michael E. Salzman: You Call It ‘Provenance’; I Call It ‘Chain-of-Title’

8. Jim Hinck: "Provenance Meets Big Data - Do they have a future together?”

Followed by a roundtable conversation & time for questions. The symposium will end at 4pm.


David Zeidberg

David S. Zeidberg retired in January 2018 after serving twenty-one years as the Avery Director of The Huntington Library. Mr. Zeidberg was graduated summa cum laude from Windham College, Putney, Vermont. He holds a Masters in Medieval & Renaissance English Language & Literature, and a Masters in Library & Information Science, both from Syracuse University. He served as a rare book librarian at Syracuse (1972-75), Curator of Special Collections at George Washington University (1975-1984), and Head of Special Collections at UCLA (1984-1996) before assuming his duties at the Huntington in March 1996. He has written on topics such as teaching using primary resources, library security, and the future of special collections libraries in the age of technology. He has given lectures on the marketing of books in the 15th century and is currently working on an article on this topic and also on a series of essays “Stories behind the Collections” about the Huntington’s holdings. He was the editor of a collection of essays, “Aldus Manutius and Renaissance Culture” (Florence: Leo S. Olschki, 1998), and of “The Huntington Library: Treasures from Ten Centuries” (London: Scala, 2004).

Jonathan Hill

Mr. Hill has been a bookseller for nearly 48 years. In 1978, Jonathan Hill started his company - Jonathan A. Hill, Bookseller, Inc. - and has since specialized in science, medicine, natural history, bibliography and the history of book collecting, and early printed books. Over the years, the firm has issued more than 200 catalogues devoted to these subjects. Jonathan's wife, Megumi, and older son, Yoshi, work with him.

Margaret Ford

Margaret (Meg) Ford is International Head of Books, Manuscripts and Scientific Instruments and a Senior Director at Christie’s. Prior to joining Christie’s in 1994, Meg held Leverhulme and Fulbright Fellowships, and worked in the rare book trade in New York and London. Her rare book research has led to her detection of books stolen from the Danish Royal Library and their near complete recovery.

Meg is an author of The History of the Book in Britain, vol. III (Cambridge University Press: 1999), the catalogue of incunabula in the Bibliotheca Philosophica Hermetica, Amsterdam (1989), and of numerous articles in scholarly journals. She has been an invited speaker at the Library of Congress, the British Library, and elsewhere and has given bibliographic masterclasses at Cambridge University Library. She is President of the Bibliographical Society and a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries.

Pom Harrington

Pom Harrington joined the family firm in 1994, working for his father Peter and uncle Adrian Harrington, who were then trading as Harrington Bros. In 1997, Peter started Peter Harrington Antiquarian Books, which Pom became owner and partner of after his father passed away in 2003. In 2010, Pom Harrington uncovered the forgeries of Allan Formhals, a prolific forger of autographs, who was selling 1,000’s of items on EBay. Working with the police, Pom helped the police to prosecute Formhals, who in 2012 was sentenced to 10 months’ imprisonment.

In 2014, the firm opened a second branch in London’s Mayfair. Pom Harrington has served 7 years on the Council of the Antiquarian Booksellers Association (ABA) and in that time, has been Security Officer and is currently Chairman of the ABA’s Book Fair Firsts.

Rob Rulon-Miller

Mr. Rulon-Miller began selling books in 1969. He was the founding editor of the Newsletter of the Antiquarian Booksellers Association of America (ABAA) in 1989 and served in that capacity until 2006. In 1990, he wrote the ABAA By-Laws and co-authored the ABAA Code of Ethics. He served as ABAA President 1994-1996, and as General Secretary of the International League of Antiquarian Booksellers (ILAB) 1996-2000. Since 2003 he has been intimately involved with the Colorado Antiquarian Book Seminar (CABS), having served as its Director 2004-2009, and again 2013-2016. He remains on the Seminar faculty, and he is currently the chair of the Antiquarian Book School Foundation. In 2019, he celebrates 50 years in the antiquarian trade.

Christopher A. Marinello

Mr. Marinello is a leading expert in recovering stolen and looted works of art. A practicing lawyer for over 30 years, Chris began his career as a litigator and became proficient in negotiating complex title disputes on behalf of collectors, dealers, museums and insurance companies. He has been involved in several Nazi restitution cases on behalf of foreign governments and the heirs of Holocaust victims. Chris successfully recovered the first work of art to be restituted from the infamous Gurlitt hoard and was responsible for the recovery by the heirs of Parisian art dealer Paul Rosenberg of several Nazi-looted artworks held in museums and private collections. In 2013, Chris founded Art Recovery International, a specialist practice providing due diligence, dispute resolution and art recovery services for the art market and cultural heritage sectors and has overseen the development of the non-profit Artive Database project, a system for the identification and recording of issues and claims attached to works of art.

Dorit Straus

Ms. Straus was trained as a Middle Eastern archeologist at Hebrew University in Jerusalem, Israel. She worked at several museums including the Peabody Museum of Ethnography at Harvard University in curatorial and collection management positions.

In 1982, she switched careers and joined the Chubb Group of insurance companies. Over a 30-year career she established a museum and cultural institution insurance program and was the in-house expert for fine art as well as the Worldwide Fine Art Insurance Manager. Following her retirement from Chubb, Ms. Straus continues to advocate for the fine art community by serving on boards such as the International Foundation for Art Research (IFAR) and AXA art insurance company, lecturing at the Association into Research of Crimes against Art (ARCA) in Amelia, Italy, and as an independent consultant.

Nominated by President Obama, Ms. Straus is a member of the Cultural Protection Advisory Committee at the US State Department.

Michael E. Salzman

Mr Salzman is co-head of the art law practice, and general counsel, of Hughes Hubbard & Reed, an international law firm headquartered in New York. Over several decades, he has litigated across the entire span of art law issues, including attribution and authenticity disputes, ownership disputes, scams and frauds of various kinds, auction practices, financial loans secured by artwork, Nazi era sales, copyright, and condition disputes. Some of his cases have involved a medieval Torah stolen from the Bibliothèque Nationale de France, a first edition double-elephant folio of Audubon’s The Birds of America sold by its original subscriber, a newly rediscovered painting of The Lamentation by Ludovico Carracci sold to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and a forged surmoulage of Picasso’s revolutionary 1909 bronze Tête de femme (Fernande). He has been a member of the Art Law Committee and the Copyright and Literary Property Committee of the New York City Bar. He is a graduate of Yale College and Harvard Law School.

Jim Hinck

Mr. Hinck is the founder and CEO of viaLibri Limited, an international book search engine based in Cambridge, England. With the help of a good book (of course) he taught himself programming at the age of 56 and, in 2006, launched with the goal of developing simple but comprehensive search engines and digital tools for use by booksellers and bibliophiles worldwide. He created and continues to operate the bookselling metasearch on the ILAB website.

Mr. Hinck has also been a continuous and life-long bookseller. Together with his wife, Ann Marie Wall, he opened their first bookshop in 1979 in Newport, Rhode Island. Although now a full-time internet entrepreneur, he continues to pitch in, when needed, at Hinck & Wall Rare Books, now also located in Cambridge.

Daniel de SimoneModerator of the ILAB Symposium

In January of 2017, Daniel De Simone retired from the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington D. C. as the Eric Weinmann Librarian, where he directed the operations of the Central Library. DeSimone came to the Folger from the Library of Congress where he held the post of Curator of the Lessing J. Rosenwald Collection in the Rare Book and Special Collections Division. Before his appointment as Rosenwald Curator in 2000, he operated his own New York-based bookselling business for 22 years. He is a member of the Grolier Club, NY, the Association Internationale de Bibliophilie, Paris, the Antiquarian Booksellers Association of America (ABAA) and the Print Council of America.

Sally Burdon, ILAB President

Ms. Burdon is the owner of Asia Bookroom in Australia and has been in the antiquarian trade since 1982. She has served on the board of the Australian and New Zealand Association of Antiquarian Booksellers (ANZAAB) on several occasions, most recently as ANZAAB President between 2010 - 2013. She had the honour of being the specialist speaker at the Colorado Antiquarian Book Seminar in 2013 and remained on the faculty for a further 2 years. She joined the committee of the International League of Antiquarian Booksellers (ILAB) in 2014 and was elected ILAB President in February 2018.

For more detailed information about the event, please follow this link.

The event is fully booked. Please get in touch with the ILAB Secretariat if you wish to add your name to the waiting list. Email us.

DISCLAIMER: The remarks of each speaker are solely their own and reflect their personal views and do not necessarily reflect and are not intended to reflect the views of the ILAB, the ABAA, the Grolier Club or any of their individual members or officers.