The Bibliographical Society of Australia and New Zealand was founded in Melbourne in February 1969 after long discussions among bibliographers working in comparative isolation in cities of both countries. Modelled on the Bibliographical Society (UK) and on the Bibliographical Society of America, the Society has as its province all the studies that form part of or are related to physical bibliography: the history of printing, publishing, bookselling, typefounding, papermaking, bookbinding; palaeography and codicology; and textual bibliography.
The Society also has an interest in the general field of reference bibliography, and has been enthusiastically involved in efforts to document the holdings in Australia of pre-1800 books through the recently completed Australian Book Heritage Project (the Australian arm of the international Early Imprints Project).
No countries or periods are excluded from its preoccupations, which range from Italian and German incunabula to 19th and 20th century Australian publishers. In all these areas it seeks to encourage scholarly enquiry and thereby to improve the quality of bibliographical work being done in the two countries.
The membership of the Society is predictably diverse: academics drawn from a wide range of historical and literary disciplines, rare book librarians, collectors, printers interested in the history of their craft, antiquarian booksellers. Provision is made for students as well as ordinary members, while institutions interested in the Society’s publications have available to them a special membership category. The bond uniting all these members is concern for and interest in serious and scholarly bibliographical research. Find out more about joining BSANZ here.
A two-day conference is held once a year, often in conjunction with a seminar organised by the Rare Book Special Interest Group of the Australian Library and Information Association. Find out more about BSANZ conferences here.
(Adapted by Chris Tiffin with thanks from a description of the Society by W Kirsop.)