The 15th ILAB Breslauer Prize for Bibliography is awarded to Lotte Hellinga and Jan Storm van Leeuwen.
52 bibliographies and other works on the history of books, book production and libraries were submitted by their publishers. The average standard of the entries was remarkably high and for several works it was painful to have to deprive them of the recognition that goes with a prize, and that they richly deserve.
At the same time, the jury was quite unanimous in its opinions and there can be little doubt that the books to which the prizes were awarded are exceptional, perhaps even in a class of their own. It is therefore fortunate that the new endowment of the ILAB Bibliography Prize, mostly realized from a grant by the B.H. Breslauer Foundation of New York, has enabled the jury to award two first prizes of $10,000 each to Lotte Hellinga and Jan Storm van Leeuwen. Without this flexibility the jury would have found its task well-nigh impossible.
The second prize of $5,000 is awarded to Friedrich C. Heller.
Only after the winners were selected – three very different works on widely differing subjects – was it found that they share the merit of not only contributing to bibliography, but also to “the history of the book” and that of book reception. This may sound like following fashion, but rather demonstrates that rigorous bibliography inevitably leads to the practice of history. The prize-winning entries also show the importance of illustrations chosen to support and even integrate the text. It is encouraging that, at a time when works of reference are increasingly posted on-line instead of printed on paper, not only the three prize winners, but the great majority of the submitted entries as well, have been published in book form and prove the enduring efficiency and appeal of the codex.
The jury is pleased to make special mention of two publishers, Hes & De Graaf and Oak Knoll Press; over decades now, they have published and distributed numerous important works of bibliography that require considerable investment without certain return.
The 15th ILAB Breslauer Prize for Bibliography will be officially awarded during the 39th ILAB Congress and 23rd International Antiquarian Book Fair in Bologna 2010.