Muir, Percy H. (Percy Horace), 1894-1979

Alternative names
Dates:
Birth 1894
Death 1979
Britons
English

Biographical notes:

Born in London on December 17, 1894, Percy Muir began his career as a bookseller in 1920. He joined the London antiquarian booksellers Elkin Mathews in 1930, and would remain with that firm until his death in Norfolk on November 24, 1979. Muir was an influential figure among booksellers and book collectors around the world. As president of the Antiquarian Booksellers Association in Britain from 1945-1947, Muir chaired the first conference of the International League of Antiquarian Booksellers (ILAB) in 1947. He then served as president of the ILAB from 1950 until 1952. At the end of his term in this office, he was elected Life President of Honor. Muir's publications include several bibliographies and contributions to bibliographical journals such as The Library. He composed numerous letters, essays, and addresses on book collecting, including the immensely popular Book collecting as a hobby : letters to Everyman (1944) and its sequel in 1949. Muir was a founding member of the Editorial Board of Book Collectors and wrote many reviews for this journal. His Minding my own business (1956) was both a history of the firm Elkin Mathews and an autobiographical account of Muir's career from the early 1920s to World War II.

From the description of Papers, 1919-1970. (University of California, Los Angeles). WorldCat record id: 40722009

British bookseller.

From the description of Letters, 1932-1962. (Indiana University). WorldCat record id: 49930453

British bookseller, antiquarian book dealer, author, bibliographer. Percival Horace Muir was the founder and first president, 1945-1947, of the Antiquarian Booksellers Association. He was also the first president of the International League of Antiquarian Booksellers (ILAB), 1948-1950.

From the guide to the Gawsworth mss., 1932, 1953-1962, (Lilly Library (Indiana University, Bloomington) http://www.indiana.edu/~liblilly)

Biography

Born in London on December 17, 1894, Percy Muir began his career as a bookseller in 1920. He joined the London antiquarian booksellers Elkin Mathews in 1930, and would remain with that firm until his death in Norfolk on November 24, 1979.

Muir was an influential figure among booksellers and book collectors around the world. As president of the Antiquarian Booksellers Association in Britain from 1945-1947, Muir chaired the first conference of the International League of Antiquarian Booksellers (ILAB) in 1947. He then served as president of the ILAB from 1950 until 1952. At the end of his term in this office, he was elected Life President of Honor.

Muir's publications include several bibliographies and contributions to bibliographical journals such as The Library . He composed numerous letters, essays, and addresses on book collecting, including the immensely popular Book Collecting as a Hobby: Letters to Everyman (1944) and its sequel in 1949. Muir was a founding member of the Editorial Board of Book Collector, and wrote many reviews for this journal. His Minding My Own Business (1956) was both a history of the firm Elkin Mathews and an autobiographical account of Muir's career from the early 1920s to World War II.

From the guide to the Percy H. Muir papers, ca. 1919-1970, (University of California, Los Angeles. Library. Department of Special Collections.)

Percy Muir was associated with the antiquarian bookselling firm, Elkin Mathews, Ltd. from 1930 until his death in 1979. Founded in 1885 by Charles Elkin Mathews, the business began in the Cathedral Close at Exeter but moved to London in 1887 when Elkin Mathews and John Lane went into partnership. Within a very few years publishing became the principle interest of the firm, now Elkin Mathews and John Lane Ltd., with retail sales of books, old and new, taking a secondary place. The two men parted company in 1894 and Mathews, although continuing to publish, returned to a greater concentration on bookselling. He died in 1922. A.W. Evans, ex–curate, ex–journalist, and himself a collector and customer of Elkin Mathews, acquired the business as a going concern from Mathews' widow. Percy Muir joined the firm, as a partner, in January 1930, becoming managing director in 1939. It was under his stewardship that the firm moved from London during the German blitz to Blakeney, Norfolk.

Percy Muir was president of the Antiquarian Booksellers Association in Britain from 1945-1947, and chaired the first conference of the International League of Antiquarian Booksellers (ILAB) in 1947. He became president of the ILAB from 1950-1952 and was subsequently elected the first Life President of Honor. The author of several bibliographies and books on book collecting, as well as an autobiography: Minding My Own Business (Chatto & Windus, 1956), he also made frequent contributions to Colophon, Library, and various bibliographical journals such as Bookman's Journal. He was also a founder and member of the editorial board of Book Collector.

From the guide to the Muir mss. II, 1892-1981, (Lilly Library (Indiana University, Bloomington))

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Subjects:

  • Antiquarian booksellers--Archival resources
  • Booksellers and bookselling
  • Authors, English--20th century--Correspondence

Occupations:

  • Antiquarian booksellers--England--Archival resources

Places:

  • England (as recorded)
  • Great Britain (as recorded)