NEWSLETTER 20 - January 1970
We were very sorry to hear about the death - which, alas, could already be foreseen before the Congress in Copenhagen - of our President of Honour, André POURSIN.
A former industrialist converted to bookselling, nominated President of the French Antiquarian Booksellers' Association (SLAM) in 1945, he was devoted to the association and to our profession which he conceived in a way which was somewhat different from the routine of the old-fashioned booksellers and he also took an important part in the creation of the League. Present at the preliminary meeting in Amsterdam, he was immediately elected a member of the Committee, then Vice-President. He refused to accept the presidency and, in order not to lose his good advice, he was nominated President of Honour, so that he could attend Committee meetings, which he did until he was prevented by the illness which was the cause of his death on September 27th last.
We also mourn the death of one our colleagues who was well known in the German antiquarian booktrade: Anton HIERSEMANN. The consequences of the second world war ruined his activity in Leipzig, from where he had to flee, leaving his entire stock, to Stuttgart where he started up a publishing house. He did not abandon his passion for bookselling and remained out of sympathy a member of the German association of antiquarian booksellers until his end.
Marcel DIEU, an outstanding member of the Belgian association, has also died. One of the early socialists, a confirmed pacifist, he remained faithful all his life to the liberal principles which he adopted when young.
We have also heard of the death of Carl A. E. RAPPAPORT who was spasmodically a member of the CIRCOLO.
The Committee extends to the families of our deceased colleagues their deepest sympathy in their sorrow.
Sunday, August 31st, 1969
1. The President opened the meeting at 15h. by offering apologies on behalf of Mr. Percy Muir who was unable to attend. Mr. Andre Poursin's state of health was very alarming and he could not possibly travel. As for Mr. Deny, his doctor had advised him to take a complete rest and he also sent his apologies for not attending the meeting.
2. The minutes of the Committee meeting held in Paris on February 17th and 18th and published in Newsletter N° 19 were adopted without comment.
3. Mr. Stanley Crewe declared that the A.B.A. would like to organise an International Bookfair under the auspices of the League at the same time as the XXIst Congress of the I.L.A.B. was to be held in London in 1971.
This proposal was accepted without hesitation by the Committee who expressed their thanks to the A.B.A.
4-5.The President informed that there had been some difficulties encountered in the sale of the Directory. However, as they had now been overcome, they would not be mentioned in the minutes. A reply to a remark made about the weight of the Directory would be given in the Committee's Report.
6. Candidature of Canada: The admission of Canada as member of the League, which had been accepted by the Committee, would be approved by vote in the General Assembly. Mr. Cartwright, President of the Canadian Association, would be asked to suggest how much his Association would like to subscribe annually.
7. The President informed the Committee of the remarks made by Mrs Reymond and Mr. Elte about the wording of the new Rules. These remarks were quite relevant and would be considered; the texts to be submitted to the General Assembly would be altered accordingly if they were approved by the Presidents at their preparatory meeting. Other small corrections of details or translation were made to the new text.
8. The President announced that he had withdrawn his resignation which he had given to the President of the S.L.A.M., Mr. Roux- Devillas, following requests from several of his colleagues. In order to justify this resignation, he asked if anyone would like to know his reasons, and, as the reply was in the affirmative, he read the letter which he had addressed to President Roux-Devillas on March 11th.
Following a wish expressed at the General Assembly of the S.L.A.M on July 15th last, Mr. De Nobele reconsidered his decision. His position with regard to the League was therefore now quite correct and unquestionable. A brief statement would be made to the General Assembly.
9. Devaluation of the Franc and possibly of other currencies: The President suggested that a recommendation should be added to the Usages and Customs to take into consideration the case of transactions in progress at the time of a devaluation of currency. A text would be prepared and submitted for approval. (Finally, this proposal was discarded as Article 18 of the Usages and Customs makes it possible to protect oneself against risks of this kind, apart from exceptional regulations in force such as exchange control).
The meeting was closed at 16 h. 45.
Monday, September 1st, 1969
This short meeting was held to prepare the different questions liable to give rise to discussions during the General Assembly.
1. First of all, a recapitulatory revision of the amendments, corrections, additions etc. made to the new rules, was carried out, in both the French and English texts in order to draw up the final edition.
2. Transfer of powers, accounts and funds from one treasurer to another.
As soon as the new Treasurer assumed his office, it would be decided what to do with the funds at present invested in Holland and also whether to transfer to California those funds which were at present in a bank in Pennsylvania. Also the President must have the powers of attorney for all the accounts belonging to the League.
3. In view of the numerous fairs, exhibitions and other various events concerning old books, and as the League cannot sponsor them all, it appeared to be necessary to publish regularly a calendar of events to be held. The associations would be questioned on this and the information received would be published in the next Newsletters.
4. Publicity in the Newsletters. Mr. Crowe reported that he had received a remark from a member of the A.B.A. who was surprised that a League whose aim it is to encourage the antiquarian booktrade, should refuse advertisements from booksellers who specialise in the sale of old books. The President recalled that when publicity was accepted in the first directories, this gave rise to some memorable discussions because the management of the LL.A.B. at the time wanted to limit the space reserved for each bookseller so that the large firms would not crush the smaller booksellers with their more important financial means.
This was the reason why, not having any authorisation given by a vote in a general assembly, in agreement with the Committee, he had decided to limit the publicity, inserted for the first time in Newsletter N° 19, to publishers, excluding old and second-hand books. This was only a first step and the General Assembly would decide that afternoon or the next day what position it wished to take on this point.
The meeting was closed at 10 h. 30.
Monday, September, 1 st, 1969
These preliminary meetings to the General Assembly do not generally call for minutes to be drawn up because they are a « rehearsal » (in the theatrical sense) of the General Assembly. Therefore, the report will be very brief.
After welcoming everyone present, the President tackled straight away the most important and the longest point on the agenda; the revision of the Rules. He informed the Presidents of the amendments, corrections, etc. made by the Committee to the printed text.
A discussion ensued between MM. Ingo Nebehay, Dr. Pressler, in particular, and the President on the position of the Retiring President and the Presidents of Honour. Mr. De Nobele said that in his experience the work of various Committees had always been carried out in a friendly atmosphere and he found that to insist on a possible amendment to the present rights of the Presidents of Honour and the Past President would be distasteful and saw no reason to change this article 24, which would be submitted to a secret vote at the General Assembly.
Dr. Pressler pointed out that the Usages and Customs of the League are mentioned for the first time in our Rules, and asked if it would be advisable to include a special note about the Usages and Customs in the text of the Rules, which will be done as an addition to Article N° 2.
Article 23 gave rise to various questions (Germany, Switzerland). The President admitted that some of their remarks were quite justified, but emphasised that in his opinion there was no danger in accepting this text which enabled a continuity in the office of Treasurer if necessary and that, in any case, it was the General Assembly who would vote on this and so decide in the last resort.
He asked the Presidents to communicate all these remarks and discussions very carefully to their delegates in order to facilitate the work of the General Assembly.
Tuesday Sepember 2nd, 1969.
Short Report :
1. Mr. Elte asked several associations to pay their bills for the supply of Directories or advertisements.
2. Confidential List.
3. Publicity in Newsletters: this question will be raised in the General Assembly, after consultation between Presidents and delegates.
4. Training Courses for young Booksellers: if it is not possible to organise these courses, a suggestion was made to edit, at the expense of the League, either a handbook for the use of young booksellers (bilingual) or courses edited in separate pamphlets in several languages. Mr. Hertzberger reminded that the original idea was not only to instruct the young but also to gather them together to enable them to exchange ideas, make contacts, etc.
5. Mr. Ingo Nebehay (A.) informed that after 8 years as President of his association, his office was coming to an end; he would therefore no longer attend future meetings in this capacity and that was why today he wished the Committee and Presidents of Associations every success in the future.
MINUTES OF THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY
A. First meeting. Monday September 1st, 1969.
The President opened the meeting by thanking all those who, by their presence, showed an interest in this twentieth congress of the International League of Antiquarian Booksellers. A moment of silence was then observed in memory of all our colleagues who had passed away not only during the last year, but since the League was founded right here in Copenhagen. Mr. Franco was thanked for coming to act as interpreter, in spite of personal inconvenience.
1. Appointment of the Scrutineers: The oldest member (Mr. Hertzberger) and the youngest (Mr. K. Fletcher) were chosen. All the countries were represented; therefore 19 votes constituted unanimity.
2. Approval of the minutes of the Presidents' meeting (London, April 30th-May 1st 1968).
The minutes were adopted unanimously without comment.
3. Report of the Committee on the activities of the League : see Annex I of the present minutes.
11 . Candidature of the Antiquarian Booksellers' Association of Canada.
The Committee received a request for admission to the League from this association, and after examining its rules, expressed themselves in favour. This candidature was therefore presented to the General Assembly for approval.
Voting by secret ballot: 16 votes in favour; 1 vote against; 1 blank paper (1 delegate absent).
The result of the vote was greeted with applause and the Canadian Association was therefore made a member of the I.L.A.B. Mr. Cartwright, President of the Association, and its only representative at the General Assembly, expressed his thanks on behalf of his Association.
4· Treasurer's Report: See Newsletter N° 19, Page 39, and Annex II to the present minutes.
Mr. G. Steele reported that all subscriptions, with the exception of two, had been paid for 1969.
He thanked all his colleagues, as well as members of the Committee for their cooperation. He added that he would not miss the work in the future, but he would miss his friends whom he was always pleased to see at meetings. He wished good luck to his successor.
5. Determination of the subscriptions for 1970· At the suggestion of the Committee, it was decided that the amount of the subscriptions would remain the same for 1970 as for 1969.
Canada offered to pay a subscription of $ 100 (for about 25 members). Accepted.
9.A.l° Amendments to the Rules.
The President recalled briefly the reasons for revising the Rules; these reasons were explained in detail in Newsletter N° 19.
Each article was submitted one by one for approval by the Assembly, and some small changes made at the last minute by the Committee and the Presidents, were pointed out.
Articles 1 to 22 were adopted- without discussion.
Article 23 gave rise to a remark from Dr. Pressler (Germany), as to the expediency of the re-election of the Treasurer without restriction. Dr. Pressler and the President each explained the reasons for their respective opinions: the question was then put to vote (by secret ballot). The result was a draw: 9 votes for, 9 votes against (one absent). The President did not wish to use his casting vote in the case of an equal number of votes, and adjourned the meeting for 15 minutes.
On resumption, a second vote gave the same result: that time the President cast the deciding vote in favour of the proposal put forward by the Committee.
Article 24 was adopted without discussion. Article 25 was the subject of opposition by Mr. Ingo Nebehay (A) who wanted the Presidents of Honour to be deprived of their right to attend Committee meetings automatically. They should only be allowed to attend by invitation. A secret vote gave the following result: 12 votes for the proposal of the Committee, 5 against, 1 blank vote.
The meeting was closed at about 17 h. 45.
Second meeting. Tuesday September 2nd, 1969.
The President presented apologies on behalf of MM. Percy Muir and G. Ronnell who had been unable to attend the 20° congress, and on behalf of the Japanese delegates absent for tragic reasons. Mrs. T. Nilsson (Finland), was absent and gave Mr. Du Rietz (Sweden) her vote by proxy. Before returning to the agenda, Mr. De Nobele, President, informed the Assembly that his situation with regard to the S.L.A.M. was now settled and perfectly clear. After being approached by several of his French colleagues, he withdrew his resignation which had been published in Newsletter N° 19. This settled an anxiety which had been disturbing several delegates.
Continuation of the agenda:
9.A.1°. Articles 26 to 40 of the Rules were adopted without discussion.
The President requested a vote to approve the new rules in their entirety. Vote by show of hands: unanimous approval.
Mr. Nebehay thanked the President for the efficient way in which he had conducted the discussions on this important point of the agenda. For the complete text of the rules, see Annex III.
6. Bibliographical Prize.
Mr. Deny, secretary, absent for health reasons, sent his apologies to the Committee together with the following statement:
The first meeting of the Jury of this third triennial prize was held in Paris on February 15th, 1969. The full jury was present and made a first selection of the 29 works that had been entered and registered. A list of these works was published in Newsletter N° 19 (An offprint of this list is available for Presidents of Associations).
Up to today (August 18th) more than half of the works had been examined and it was hoped that the rest would be completed by February 1970, when another meeting of the Jury would be held to decide on the winner of the prize.
On account of the volume represented by these 29 works, Mr. Deny suggested that this meeting be held in Brussels in conjunction with a Committee meeting if possible.
There are still 223 copies on ordinary paper and 18 on thin paper in stock.
20 copies had been interleaved with blank pages and sent to the Presidents so that they could fill in the additions, and amendments to be made to the next edition.
The President requested that any information to be published in the Newsletters concerning changes in members of associations be sent to him written exactly as they are to appear in print.
The new edition of the Directory would be published in 1973.
8. Confidential List.
A statement was made during the Presidents' meeting and they were asked to distribute this information.
9. A. 2°. Publicity in the Newsletters. Mr. Tulkens declared that this first attempt to include advertisements in the Newsletters had been very successful and suggested that it should be extended to include old and second-hand books. Mr. Ferran (F.) asked how often the Newsletters were published and what was the cost of advertising.
Replies: 1° The number of annual publications was uncertain, but at least two Newsletters are published which corresponds with the two Committee meetings which must be held in accordance with the Rules.
2° Tariff: one page $100 - half-page $50. A decreasing tariff could be considered for repeated advertisements. Mr. Van Gendt (N.L.) regretted that he had not been informed of the possibility of inserting advertisements in Newsletter N° 19. Mr. De Nobele asked Mr. Van Gendt to accept the Committee's apologies for this omission and pointed out that we were still undergoing a trial period. However, in future the Committee would ask all Presidents to collect advertisements for the Newsletters. Mr. Ole Dam (DK) suggested that the Newsletter be published four times a year and that the publicity be open to everybody, so as to cover the cost of printing. The President reminded that the frequency of publication was governed by Committee meetings, Presidents' meetings or congresses.
Dr. Pressler (D.) asked if the Committee intended to accept advertisements from booksellers who were not members of an association belonging to the League.
The President replied that in principle he would agree as far as publishers were concerned, but not for antiquarian booksellers but that the Assembly should decide. He then raised a further question: Would the Assembly accept publicity for public sales and similar functions if the organisers of these sales were not members of the League?
Dr. Pressler (D.) asked that a higher tariff be applied to booksellers non-members of the League, 50 % for example. The President repeated that he did not think it advisable to accept publicity from booksellers outside the League, but finally the Assembly was asked to vote on the two following questions:
1° Should advertisements be accepted from booksellers of old and second-hand books.
Result: 18 votes in favour, and one against.
2° Should publicity be unrestricted or limited?
Result: unrestricted; 14 votes; limited, 4 votes. One abstention. In consideration of this voting and the different opinions expressed, the Committee would decide upon the tariff to be applied for advertisements in the Newsletters.
9.N.1° Proposal from Austria.
Article 35 of the new rules, adopted today, answered this proposal put forward by the Austrian Association who recognised this and agreed that it was not necessary to discuss this question.
10. Training courses for young booksellers.
In Amsterdam (Autumn 1968) the Dutch Association undertook to organise these courses, but a change in its Committee had prevented it from attending to this matter before February 1969.
In the meantime, the President appealed to Mr. Menno Hertzberger (N.L.) to help and he went to Copenhagen to try and arrange some sort of programme in spite of the short time which was left for the organisers. This would have been possible, but in the end, the various events taking place during a congress proved to be incompatible with a programme of training courses.
The Dutch delegation then explained the difficulties with which they were now confronted:
1° To find teachers amongst members of the League, specialising in different subjects, who would be prepared to be responsible for these courses over several years and whose fees would not be too high for the League.
2° To find a suitable place for a training centre (in Holland or elsewhere) with a possibility of board and lodging at reasonable prices.
3° To establish a programme extended over several years for the same students who could then meet up again, organise debates themselves, ete.
The Dutch Association had already asked various people in the book trade to serve in the capacity of teachers. The result had been more than disappointing since only five favourable replies had been received whereas at least 12 would be necessary (2 Danish, 1 Brasiian and 2 French).
Mr. Rosenthal (U.S.A.) pointed out that he had never been asked to find teachers and he thought that he could find some volunteers amongst the members of his Association.
In short, the Dutch Association declared that it could not go on with the plans and suggested that the Committee - which, they said, would have more authority - should undertake to organise these training courses.
In reply, the President assured the Dutch Association that the Committee would help them as much as possible to persevere in this task but that they should still keep the initiative. The Committee undertook to appeal to all the Presidents to help in finding teachers. Once these teachers were recruited, the other problems would still have to be solved. The project was therefore not abandoned (and will be pursued - we believe - by Mr. Hertzberger and Mr. Van Gendt jointly).
12. A. Election of a new Treasurer. The President thanked Mr. G. Steele for his devoted collaboration over the past six years and proposed Mr. Glen Dawson as candidate, as his American nationality would make it easy to transfer the powers and the accounts from one to another.
Mr. Glen Dawson was elected by secret vote by 17 votes out of 19 and 2 abstentions.
Mr. Muir Dawson was asked to pass on the Assembly's congratulations and thanks to his brother.
12. B. Election of a retiring member of the Committee.
Mr. Christian Nebehay was re-elected unanimously as member of the Committee; this would be his second term of office. He thanked the Assembly sincerely for their confidence.
13.14. Next Congress and Presidents' Meeting.
1970 - Presidents' Meeting - This meeting was to be held in Paris, on the invitation of Mr. Roux-Devillas. A book fair would be organised at the same time. Mr. Kieffer (F.) was asked to fix a date for these two events. Autumn 1970 was the season suggested, taking into account the date of the Fair in Frankfurt (September 20th-25th) and the possibility of an Exhibition of Art Books in Lausanne.
After Mr. Kieffers’ statement, the President asked that a final programme - including the exact date - be submitted to the Committee, who would distribute it immediately. He added that it was impossible to answer his questions without first being informed of the programme suggested by the S.L.A.M. Some small questions of detail were also to be solved at a later date.
The Dutch Association, who were already experienced in the organisation of international fairs, offered to help Mr. Kieffer by their advice or by any other means.
Mrs. Reymond (C.H.) added that she would keep Mr. Kieffer informed about the possible exhibition in Lausanne. They would both pass on their information to the Committee.
Mr. Rosenthal would like to be informed as soon as possible of the decisions taken as to the various national and international bookfairs in 1970 and the President asked each delegation for information on the fairs or exhibitions planned in their respective countries in order to draw up a calendar of events.
1971 - The Antiquarian Booksellers' Association (G.B.) invited the members of the I.L.A.B. to hold their next congress in London and proposed to organise an international book fair at the same time. Both these proposals were accepted with the thanks of the Committee and the Assembly.
15. Reprints and the Antiquarian Booktrade.
As it was already late, the President, author of this article, asked the Assembly if they would be satisfied to read his statement in the next Newsletter.
The Assembly agreed and the meeting was closed at 18 hours, as no further questions were raised under point 16 of the agenda (sun- dry matters).
The Vice-President, The President,
MAX ELTE. F. DE NOBELE.
To complete this report of the work carried out by the Committee and the delegates, we must add a few words of thanks to the Danish Association and to its President Mr. Bagger, for the organisation of entertainment for those who attended the congress. The hospitality of the Danish people, which some of us had already had the opportunity to appreciate in 1948, proved to be the same a, ever and the various entertainments both intellectual and material which were offered to us were of equal importance.
Visits and receptions at the Ny Carlsberg Glyptothek, to the Royal Library, the evening at the ballet, the visit to the Castles of Helsingor and Frederiksborg alternated with enticing buffets, tasting of smörrebrödsbord and a sumptuous farewell dinner at the Hotel d'Angleterre, ending up with a ball.
We hope that this week was commerciallv beneficial for our colleagues in Copenhagen.
Many thanks to our Danish friends !
Thursday. September 4th, 1969.
This meeting was held in order to sum up the different matters to be looked into or followed up after the General Assembly.
1. Copies of the Directory available.
It was decided to advertise in Newsletter N° 20. Members of the Committee were asked to advertise the Directory in their catalogues (Selling price: less than $6, as the price varies according to the country because of taxes). The President considered that it was disgraceful to make a profit out of the sale of this Directory, as it was a publication containing publicity advantageous to everyone.
Messrs. Crewe, Nebehay and De Nobele thought that a few copies of the next edition should be distributed to the press, and that advertisements should be inserted in different literary and professional reviews (for example, reviews from libraries, etc.).
2. The President declared that he was very satisfied that the new rules had been adopted so quickly. A copy of these rules would be sent as soon as possible to Maitre Hotz, with the minutes of the General Assembly, to be registered in Geneva.
3. Once registered, these rules would be printed in Newsletter N° 20 and an offprint would be made, with the Usages and Customs, with 3.000 copies.
4. The Committee's report would be included in Newsletter N° 20.
5. Training Courses for young booksellers.
A letter would be sent to the Presidents to appeal to them to collaborate in finding teachers to ensure that the courses be held on a permanent basis.
The President did not think that it was necessary to keep the Committee formed for this purpose, as it was utterly ineffective.
A draft programme had been drawn up with Mr. Hertzberger. It would be sent to all the Presidents.
Mr. Nebehay thought that this programme was too wide and that subjects like the history of books could be learnt from libraries (or from books specialising on this subject). In any case it was too heavy for courses intended to last for from 4 to 5 days. A summary could be distributed to the students at the end of the course. Guided visits to national or university libraries or others would probably be beneficial too. These courses could extend over 2 or 3 years.
Mr. Hertzberger thought that it would be easier for him to collaborate with the new committee of the Dutch Association in charge of these courses. To sum up, the Committee would do everything possible to help and encourage the carrying out of these courses.
Madame Olschki-Witt raised the question of expenses, teachers' fees, etc. It was decided that the League would be responsible for most of these expenses including part of the hotel expenses.
4. New Member: Canada.
The Treasurer suggested that the Canadian Association only pay $50 for this year, which was almost over, instead of $100. A list of the members of this Association would be printed in Newsletter N° 20.
Mr. Steele was asked to pass on his powers to Mr. Glen Dawson with his advice and instructions. Also, to pay Mr. Franco his fees as translator and refund him for his expenses.
6. Next Presidents' Meeting and next Congress.
The President would like to suggest to Mr. Matsumura, President of the Japanese Association, to transform the Presidents' Meeting in 1972 into a Congress. He considered that the number of dele- gates would not be very different in view of the distance of this country (50 or 60 instead of 35?) and the expense for the Japanese Association would not be very much higher, whereas their prestige would be enhanced considerably.
Mr. Elte pointed out that a lot of people took part in the congress of San Francisco, to which he was replied that all booksellers have customers to see in the United States.
7. Statement on Reprints.
This was read to have the approval of the Committee before being printed in the next Newsletter. Remarks? Suggestions? Mr. Hertzberger asked if a bibliography of reprints existed. Several do exist but they are not complete.
Therefore, this article would be published in the next Newsletter and the replies would be examined and published. A copy of this statement would be sent to publishers, asking them if they would like to advertise in our Newsletters.
8. Mr. Wormser raised the question of a problem existing between an American and a Danish bookseller over a shipment which was lost between the two countries. It was suggested that they each pay half the price, but according to the Usages and Customs, any loss is at the expense of the sender (the Danish bookseller). The President said that he intended to include a statement about this in the next Newsletter.
9. Mr. Steele asked that Mr. Deny be informed that there exists in the United States a review called « Literary Marketplace », published free of charge by R. R. Bowker (Publishers' Weekly) once every two years and that the editor would accept advertisements for the triennial prize, which would give it some publicity and also the League, with the Presidents' name, address, etc.
10. A dispute between Swiss and French booksellers is covered by Article 18 of the Usages and Customs (question raised at the Committee meeting of August 31st).
11.Date of the next Committee meeting: At the same time as the meeting of the jury of the triennial prize to be held at the beginning of 1970 (February) in Brussels. Mr. Tulkens confirmed that the Belgian association would be pleased to welcome the Committee.
12. M. Nebehay asked if all correspondence is photocopied and distributed to everybody. Mr. De Nobele replied that 99 % is forwarded, but that unimportant things are not photocopied. In future all correspondence would be distributed, even Christmas cards!
Committee Report of the activities of the League during the last fifteen months
Sixteen months have elapsed since the Committee was reorganised on May lst, 1968, when I was given the responsibility and the honour of being elected President. During this time we have all been involved in different activities for the League, without however obtaining any spectacular results.
Since May 1968, the President has been relieved of the purely material tasks thanks to the collaboration of an administrative secretary, which has made it possible to keep the correspondence up to date and even to increase it, and photocopies of all letters exchanged between members of the Committee have almost always been distributed to everybody, including the past President, M. Deny, the secretary of the Bibliographical prize, and the Presidents of Honour. I was called to order on one occasion for including the latter, which I did not particularly appreciate, for even if the Presidents of Honour are not entitled to vote, nothing forbids me to consult them, which is what I did and which I will do again in the future. I entirely agree with you that we must avoid having too many Presidents of Honour and the new rules will settle this question. We will moreover have the opportunity of discussing theses rules during this congress.
In fact, you have been kept informed of our activities and our work by reading the Newsletters which form a link between the Committee, the associations and yourselves.
A book fair was held in Amsterdam under the auspices of the League; it was a great success. A Committee meeting was held at the same time of which the report was published in Newsletter N° 18.
The result of an inquiry made of the participants as to business exchanged during the fair was also published in this newsletter.
Let us remember that only 32 exhibitors out of 61 were willing to let us have the total amount of their sales, even though this enquiry guaranteed absolute anonymity. The total amount of sales was 547.000 Florins, which is approximately 129.000 dollars, which is, I, think a very good result, especially if we take into account the silence of 31 exhibitors.
Also, during this fair, the first attempt of training courses for young booksellers was made, and proved to be a most encouraging experience. In this connection, I am very disappointed that booksellers holding a stand at the fair did not understand what we expected of them in this respect and that they nearly all deserted the fair during the visit of the young booksellers, who filed past the books in silence without being able to receive any of the explanations or information which they were entitled to expect, since this visit was organised for this purpose.
The organisation of the courses for the young this year has given rise to a vast amount of correspondence, a special journey for M. Hertzberger and consultation by post. We will come back to this later.
The Jury for the Bibliographical prize met in Paris last February.
The new edition of the International Directory of Antiquarian Booksellers was prepared thanks to Mr. Elte and came out in autumn 1968. One remark was made about it, and that is that even the copies printed on thin paper were too heavy. As it is difficult to please everyone, I suggest that the person who made this complaint divide his copy into as many parts as there are countries, or at least in two; on the one hand, the geographical list, and on the other, the list of specialities.
The preparation of the new rules was discussed in Amsterdam and again in Paris in February 1969. I had to make a short trip to Neuchatel to examine the text proposed by Maitre Hotz with him and change it a little according to our wishes. I was accompanied by M. Christian Nebehay.
The writing, the printing, the translation, sometimes imperfect, of the texts reading the proofs, etc. of the newsletters also entails a considerable amount of work. Several mistakes. in particular when communicating the names of people to be taken out or names of new members of associations, could be avoided if the secretaries would be so good as to send me the lists of these names written exactly as they would like them to appear, considering that my limited knowledge of Dutch or German may be the reason for these mistakes. I therefore decline any responsibility on this subject. especially as certain associations accept several people belonging to the same firm as members, which gives rise to some confusion. Would you therefore please write any further indications to appear in the newsletters in one of the two official languages of the League. In order to reduce the cost of printing these newsletters, your Committee decided to open its pages to all publicity except that concerning old or second-hand books. This enabled us to reduce the cost of printing the last newsletter by 700 dollars. You will be asked to vote as to whether we should extend this publicity to old books or not.
At the present time, there are very few periodicals devoted to old books and bibliophilism; there are certain publications for books in demand of which two are fairly well-known, but I will not mention the others. Those which are entirely devoted to bibliophilism have difficulty in surviving; if they are not already extinct. Our active Dutch colleagues plan to start a new review which we await with curiosity and interest.
One of the great faults of our profession and probably one of the reasons for the failure of these publications to survive, is the mass of reading material: booksellers' catalogues, sales catalogues, prospectus, publishers' catalogues of new editions or reprints, reviews of national associations of publishers.,. The post brings a pile of them every day and we end up by being completely submerged and only read a few specialised catalogues. It is perhaps therefore a fanciful idea of mine and an unreasonable hope to see the day when the League will publish a periodical review distributed free of cost, or with the participation of the associations, to the 1,600 or so members. I will not go any further. I merely throw out this idea to you today. Perhaps one day our successors will carry out this programme.
Let us return to present day reality:
I have been informed of several disputes between booksellers, but fortunately, we have not had to arbitrate, as things were on the way to being settled. I would like to add being favourably settled, but I cannot. A little common sense and goodwill should be sufficient to end these discussions.
In short, your Committee has done its best, which does not mean that there is not room for criticism. We are ready to hear these criticisms and to take advantage of them if they are justified. Even if you are more or less satisfied, you may also let us know, and it would not be unwelcome.
I will end this report in telling my colleagues of the Committee and also the Presidents of Honour the pleasure I have had to work with them in an atmosphere of straightforward and devoted collaboration and of friendship. I wanted you to know what a united team we are and I thank them heartily as well as Madame Lotthe, our secretary, whose collaboration and cheerful disposition have also been a great help to me.
Treasurer's report, (in U.S.$).
In addition to the report published in Letter 19
In bank at Valkenburg 862.00
Payments received since Newsletter 19 929.72
Total 1,791.72 1,791.72
Money paid out 1,634.62 1,634.62
All dues paid except Netherlands 161.00
Trienniel prize cost 1968-69 445.24
Directories not paid by Belgium, Finland, Sweden (France)
Money received for Directories 11.330,00
[Regular 4,336.00; Thin paper 1.684.00; Advertisements]
The French text of these rules has been sent together with the minutes of the General Assembly of September 2nd, 1969, during which they were adopted, to Maitre Hotz, legal adviser of the League, in order to register our association in the Trade Register of Geneva. This process is very slow and we have not yet received confirmation of our inscription. These new rules remain therefore provisional until their registration and they will be published in full at a later date and distributed to all booksellers who are members of the associations belonging to the League. However, these new rules govern us pending the actual inscription of the League in Geneva.
6th INTERNATIONAL CONGRESS OF BIBLIOPHILES
This congress was held in Vienna from September 29th to October 5th, 1969 and was attended by about 175 bibliophiles, of which a certain number of booksellers, sometimes accompanied by their wives, of all nationalities.
It was officially opened by the President of the Austrian Republic in the magnificent reception rooms of the National Library of Vienna and Mr. Julien Cain proposed a vote of thanks to the organisers; from this speech, let us remember the particularly kind words spoken with regard to our profession by the former director of the Public Libraries of France;
“ ...what we owe to these indefatigable collectors of books who are the booksellers; booksellers, booklovers, collectors, librarians are all united in the same love of books... ".
Visits and special exhibitions had been organised for the booklovers. Only one comment: what food for dreams!
Other entertainments had been planned : excursions, visits to monuments. museums, receptions, evenings at the Spanish School of Cavalry, at the Opera, a gala dinner and... work sessions.
The Association hopes to continue to publish a review reserved for its members and is considering the possibility of publishing books of learning or of bibliography for the uses of both professional people such as librarians and booksellers and of booklovers and collectors.
It was a week with a very heavy programme, but one which was both instructive and pleasant.
INTERNATIONAL CONGRESS OF CARTOGRAPHY
The Third International Conference on the history of cartography was held in Brussels from September 17th to 20th last, on the occasion of the centenary of the death of the Belgian map-maker Philippe Vandermaelen (1795-1869).
Various communications and lectures were given on the following subjects : 1° Globes and armillary spheres yesterday, today and tomorrow. 2° The techniques and science of map-making, up to 1870. According to information received, these lectures should be published in the review Der Globus Freurid, For all information, apply to Professor Ernst Bernleithner, Erdbergstrasse 32, A. 1003 WIEN III.