Bibliographical Society
The Bibliographical Society of London, UK
Founded atLondon,
United Kingdom England
TypeLearned society
Legal statusCharity
HeadquartersUniversity of London, Senate House, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HU
FieldsHistory of books and publishing
Official language
Key people
Walter Arthur Copinger
Richard Copley Christie

Founded in 1892, The Bibliographical Society is the senior learned society dealing with the study of the book and its history in the United Kingdom.

Largely owing to the efforts of Walter Arthur Copinger, who was supported by Richard Copley Christie, the Bibliographical Society was founded in London in 1892; he was the society's first president, and held the post for four years. His own work in the field, however, lacked accuracy.[1]

The Society holds a monthly lecture between October and May, usually on the third Tuesday of the month at the Society of Antiquaries of London.

The first fifty years of the Bibliographical Society were documented in the book The Bibliographical Society, 1892–1942: Studies in Retrospect.[2] The Book Encompassed, a volume of essays marking the Society's centenary was published in 1992.[3]


The objectives of the Society are:

Library and archives

The Society's library was housed at Stationers' Hall in the City of London but moved to Senate House in January 2007. In 2017 it moved again to the Albert Sloman Library at the University of Essex.[citation needed]

The Society's archive is housed at the Bodleian Library and may be used by scholars and members of the Society.[citation needed]


The Society has published a journal since 1893, originally entitled Transactions of the Bibliographical Society. In 1920 it took over publication of The Library (issued since 1889) and adopted that as the main title of the Transactions. (The Library was founded in 1889 by John Young Walker MacAlister.[4]) The different series of the Transactions and The Library are:

The Library (ISSN 0024-2160; 1744-8581) is a quarterly journal and is issued free to members who also receive a copy of all books published by the Society.

In 1937 at the start of the war, Harry Carter (typographer), Ellic Howe, Alfred F. Johnson, Stanley Morison & Graham Pollard started to produce a list of all known pre-1800 type specimens. This project was completed and published April 1940. Because of the war many libraries at the European continent were not accessible anymore.[5]

Gold medal

The Society occasionally awards a gold medal for distinguished services to bibliography to individuals who have made an outstanding contribution to the development of the subject and the furtherance of the Society's aims.[citation needed]

Bibliographical Society Gold Medallists[6]
Year Recipient
1929 Eames, Wilberforce
1929 Haebler, Konrad
1929 James, Montague Rhodes
1929 McKerrow, Ronald Brunlees
1929 Pollard, Alfred W.
1932 Madan, Falconer
1935 Kenyon, Frederic G.
1935 Greg, Walter Wilson
1948 Morison, Stanley
1948 Gibson, Strickland
1951 Ferguson, Frederic Sutherland
1951 Scholderer, Victor
1956 Kronenberg, Maria Elizabeth
1956 Johnson, Alfred Forbes
1957 Wroth, Lawrence C.
1960 Lowe, Elias Avery
1960 Oldham, J. Basil
1965 Jackson, William Alexander
1969 Bowers, Fredson
1969 Pollard, Graham
1975 Carter, John
1975 Ker, Neil Ripley
1978 Nixon, Howard M.
1982 Bischoff, Bernhard
1982 Keynes, Geoffrey
1984 Foxon, David
1986 Kristeller, Paul Oskar
1988 Pantzer, Katharine
1990 McKenzie, Donald Francis
1992 Hobson, Anthony R. A.
1994 Martin, Henri-Jean
1997 Alston, Robin
1999 Barker, Nicolas
1999 Fabian, Bernhard
2001 Watson, Andrew G.
2003 Davison, Peter Hobley
2005 McKitterick, David
2007 Rhodes, Dennis
2009 Hellinga, Lotte
2011 Needham, Paul
2013 Foot, Mirjam
2015 Tanselle, G. Thomas

See also


  1. ^ Lee, Sidney, ed. (1912). "Copinger, Walter Arthur" . Dictionary of National Biography (2nd supplement). 1. London: Smith, Elder & Co.
  2. ^ The Bibliographical Society, 1892–1942: Studies in Retrospect (London, 1949).
  3. ^ Peter Davison, ed., The Book Encompassed: Studies in Twentieth-century Bibliography (Cambridge, 1992) ISBN 978-0-521-41878-2.
  4. ^ "MacAlister, John Y. W." Who's Who: 1389. 1916.
  5. ^ A list of Typespecimens, The Bibliographic Society, London, 1942, printed at the Oxford University Press
  6. ^ "Gold Medalists". Bibliographical Society. Retrieved 29 April 2016.