The word bibliophile simply means book lover. That love can take many shapes and forms: for books in general, books by a particular author, presentation copies, first editions, all editions and printings, books on a favorite subject, or for material written about or within a time period. The most dedicated bibliophiles are also likely to be collectors not only of books, but of manuscripts, images, and ephemera as well. Many collectors do not read the materials they collect, being interested only in bindings, design, illustrations, or production techniques.
There are common bonds among all bibliophiles – the passion for collecting, the thrill of the search, expertise in their fields, and the love of swapping stories about collecting and collections – which forge a camaraderie, mutual respect, and sense of brotherhood which transcend any differences which might otherwise exist among them. The Bolton Society, named for Henry Carrington Bolton, seeks to be such a brotherhood among all lovers of materials about chemistry and its allied technologies.