LAURENCE WORMS – ASH RARE BOOKS
LAURENCE WORMS OF
Laurence Worms has owned and run Ash Rare Books since 1971. He represented the antiquarian book trade on the (British) National Book Committee from 1993 to 2002 and was seven times an elected member of the Council of the Antiquarian Booksellers’ Association (International). He was largely responsible for drafting the revised Rules of the Association and the Association’s Code of Practice, introduced in 1997 and revised in 2016. Among numerous other roles for the Association, he served as Honorary Secretary from 1998 to 2001, and as President from 2011 to 2013. He is a former member of the Councils of both the Bibliographical Society and the London Topographical Society.
He writes and lectures on various aspects of the history of the book and map trades, and gave the annual Helen Wallis Memorial Lecture at the Cartography 2003 conference at Reading University. Other lectures have been given at the universities of Cambridge, London and Sheffield, as well as at the Bibliographical Society, the British Library, the National Library of Scotland, the Royal Geographical Society, Stationers’ Hall, the Warburg Institute, and at Gresham College. He taught annually at the London Rare Books School from 2007 to 2019 and is the author of Cataloguing for Booksellers (2015). He was also responsible for organising the rare book trade internships now available for students taking a Masters degree in the History of the Book at London University.
Some of his more fugitive essays and lectures are now available online at Laurence Worms: Essays and Lectures. Further published work includes the compilation of fourteen ‘lives’ for the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, a number of articles for The Oxford Companion to the Book and the chapter on early English maps and atlases for the fourth volume of The Cambridge History of the Book in Britain. A major essay on the same subject also appeared in The History of Cartography published by the University of Chicago Press, a publication for which he has also contributed other articles and has recently completed an essay on the nineteenth-century British map trade. His much-admired British Map Engravers, co-written with Ashley Baynton-Williams, was published in 2011 and has become the standard work - and there is also now a free online Supplement to the published book, and a companion volume on American Map Engravers is nearing completion. He also contributed the numerous biographical notes to Peter Barber’s highly successful London : A History in Maps, co-published by the British Library and the London Topographical Society in 2012, as well as the notes to Ralph Hyde’s monumental London Parish Maps, published by the Society in 2020.
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