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In Memoriam: Nevine Marchiset & Book of Condolences

A well-known figure amongst booksellers, Nevine Marchiset passed away on January 26, 2022. She just turned 65.
Nevine Marchiset Wedding of Philippe 3

The Book of Condolences follows this text.

Born in Beirut (Lebanon), she was the second daughter of Claude Ayoub, a golf champion from Alexandria (Egypt), and Nassib Bulos, a sharp lawyer of Palestinian ascent. When she was 18, Nevine left behind the rising Civil War in Lebanon and landed in Paris, later moved to London and finally settled in Paris.

There, she was to meet Alain, a promising bookseller whom she married in 1985. The same year, their bookshop L’Intersigne was born in the heart of the 6th district in Paris. After the birth of their two children, Philippe and Stephane in the late 1980’s, her involvement increased in the management and development of the bookshop. Alongside Alain’s presidency of the French Antiquarian Booksellers' Association (SLAM), Nevine started to become more and more involved with ILAB. Starting as a mere translator in early 2000, she then dealt with the Secretariat of the League. A free spirit and constantly moving person, Nevine devoted a lot of effort to ILAB and every ILAB Congress was a joy for her.

In 2018, Nevine published a book dealing with ILAB’s history (publisher: Oak Knoll), which required a tremendous amount of work in ILAB’s archives.
Throughout her life, Nevine always found a deep interest in each subject matter she focused on, be it the history of her beloved Church in Paris (Saint-Julien le Pauvre) or the evolution of French school and teaching. Over the years, Nevine gathered an important collection of old grammar or French lecture books.

2018 was also to be the year when she was diagnosed with advanced breast cancer. She stepped down from her position with ILAB and her departure was accompanied by a deeply touching video from ILAB Committee members and other booksellers with whom she had worked in the past.

Not only did Nevine find the energy to fight her terrible disease during those years, but she also fought against the EU Directive setting up restrictions on import of cultural goods. With her usual passion, she drafted numerous letters directed at MPs or the European Commission and found many examples illustrating how the Commission’s initial proposal was foolish with respect to rare books. In the final version of the Directive, a value threshold was finally adopted for books and Nevine played an instrumental role in that collective achievement with other members of the League.

Recently, Nevine was recovering from an ultimate brain surgery aiming at slowing down her cancer’s progression, but just as she started to feel better, COVID knocked on the door and took her.

A funeral ceremony will be held in the Church Saint-Julien le Pauvre on February 4 at 2:30 PM (local time), followed on the 7th by a burial.


May she be remembered, like all the other booksellers and booklovers who left this world.

This obituary was sent to ILAB by Nevine's son, Philippe Marchiset who can be reached at: [email protected]


It is a time of shock and great sadness for many booksellers who knew Nevine Marchiset well and worked with her for many years. Nevine Marchiset's contribution to ILAB is invaluable.
ILAB will therefore open a book of condolences for messages received by members of the trade below. Please send us your message to [email protected] and we will upload it here with no delay.


BOOK OF CONDOLENCES FOR NEVINE MARCHISET

For all messages of condolence sent to ILAB in French, please see the French version of this article here. / Pour tous les messages de condoléances envoyés à la LILA en français, veuillez consulter la version française de cet article ici.


Anyone who ever met Nevine would know instantly that she was fiercely intelligent! She was the only person I have ever met who was able to take the minutes of complicated meetings in two languages simultaneously. This was just a small example of her many abilities! It is impossible to adequately describe all Nevine did and achieved for ILAB in her over two decades of dedicated and hard work. Her contribution was so significant that without it I know ILAB would be a very different and much poorer organisation today.
Nevine was always at the very heart of ILAB, and even now will remain so, her deep knowledge of ILAB even to this day helps the ILAB Committee run ILAB. On my desk I have the book she wrote The International League of Antiquarian Booksellers. An Historical Index 1947 – 2017 (Oak Knoll Press, 2018) It is always readily at hand, and I use it frequently, reading sections out in meetings or at other times as a quick reference. Without her generously recording so much of what went before we would have reinvented many wheels.
Nevine’s real knack was in combining the ability to help run and build ILAB so effectively while caring deeply about her colleagues and the trade in general. On a personal level I found her supportive, thoughtful and at times challenging. Working with someone whose heart is in the right place but who doesn’t just agree with you to be polite is a godsend! At times she questioned our ideas and in doing so she pushed us to think things through more carefully bringing us to a much better outcome. I clearly remember the day (in the women’s toilets at the Presidents’ Meeting in Siena!) she said to the nervous ANZAAB president, who I was at the time, one day you will be ILAB president. I could only think that she must have mixed me up with someone else! However, she saw something I didn’t and from that day on the idea began to take shape. Without Nevine this may never have happened. She has had a big impact on my life not just in this but in many other ways and I am forever in her debt.
In 2018 Nevine was awarded the ILAB Medal, an honour held by very few, the ILAB Committee unanimous in the belief that there was no one more worthy of the honour. Nevine’s influence within ILAB will endure as we continue to build on her work.
I remember Nevine’s support, huge knowledge, curiosity, photography skills, generosity, efficiency, strong work ethic, sense of humour and extraordinary intelligence with awe, gratitude and affection and know I always will.

Sally Burdon
ILAB President
27 January 2022


Irene and I are shocked and deeply moved by the news that Nevine has died of COVID. Her wit, knowledge, intelligence, energy, language skills, it is very difficult to accept that we will no longer be able to benefit from it all.

During my years on the ILAB committee and my years as President of the League she was our irreplaceable “main droite”, our “compagnon de route”, she made my life during my years in office much easier and lighter with her many capacities with which she served the members of the committee and various Presidents. Her devotion to the League and what it stands for have been an example for us all. She will be much missed by us all and our thoughts are with Alain and her two sons. May she rest in Peace.

Arnoud Gerits, 27 January 2022


The Antiquarian Booksellers Association (ABA) extends their deepest condolences to Nevine’s family and her ILAB colleagues who knew her from her years as ILAB Executive Secretary. I know she cared deeply for ILAB, what it stood for and its continuing success after she left in 2018.

With sympathy,
Pom Harrington
President ABA
27 January 2022


The Swiss association VEBUKU/SLACES is in deep sorrow for the decease of Nevine Marchiset. All who knew her will never forget her great personality and her full devotion in serving and guiding the concerns of ILAB.
The members of VEBUKU/SLACES express their sincere condolences to Alain, to Philippe and to the entire bereaved family.

Peter Bichsel
President VEBUKU / SLACES
27 January 2022


Dear Alain and Philippe, I'm so sorry to hear this very sad news. In the name of the German Association I would like to express our deepest condolences to you and your family. She dedicated herself for many years to the interests of all of us and achieved a lot. she was a great, very energetic and humorous person. I am pleased to have known her personally and have fond memories of evenings spent together in Stuttgart or Copenhagen. My thoughts are with you and your family.

Sibylle Wieduwilt
President of the VDA
27 January 2022


Lourdes and I were deeply afflicted when I read the message this morning. So many unforgettable moments that all of us shared with Nevine at the Congresses and Presidents meetings.

I think that Nevine was the ILAB´s cornerstone for many years as we served either as Security Chair, Vice-President or President, but we were in office temporarily in contrast with Nevine, she was always there either giving help or advise to the people that took some level of responsibility in the association.

I realized that for Nevine the ILAB was an important part of her life that looked after and preserved for the next people that took office. She was in many aspects a lighthouse for many of us and for this I will be eternally grateful.

Our deepest condolences and a big hug to Alain and the children.

Gonzalo Fernández Pontes
President of AILA
27 January 2022


I am shocked, that Nevine isn’t still with us. She has been and is as remarkable as unforgettable. I have known her and Alain for 20 years, since we met first at the Presidents meeting in Potsdam.
God bless her

Eberhard Köstler
27 January 2022


I am very saddened by the news of Nevine’s passing. She was a great person, full of energy, always enthusiastic and with a great sense of humour. She will be missed by many of us.

Pierre Coumans
President of CLAM/BBA
27 January 2022


On behalf of the Brazilian booksellers, members of ILAB, I offer my condolences to Nevine's family. I did not have the opportunity to meet her but her participation to ILAB certainly contributed to the success of this professional organization.

Patrick Levy
President ABLA
27 January 2022


I am very sorry to hear the sad news about Nevine. She did so much for ILAB, and booksellers all over the world owe her an enormous debt of gratitude. Nevine was a loyal friend, and a fierce supporter of everything we believe in, and we will miss her very much.

Angus O'Neill

27 January 2022

I am still in shock but feel that I should share some memories.
All that has been said is so true. Nevine was highly intelligent, focused, dedicated to her work for the league and most importantly, she had a great sense of humour. She made my presidency of the League a pleasure and it’s no exaggeration to say that I couldn’t have done it without her. At the same meeting where I became president, our web designer and provider, walked out. Nevine not only produced the right company to taker over but was deeply involved in helping me and my committee in taking the right way forward. She was present at every meeting that was needed in this mammoth task and always showed a deep understanding of the issues. She was a personal friend as well and with my wife Hermoine we always found opportunities for fun and laughter. We will miss her terribly. I just hope that St Peter has his paperwork in order when Nevine arrives. Otherwise he might have to move over so that Nevine can run the show properly.

Forever in our thoughts, our condolences to Alain and his family.

Adrian and Hermoine Harrington
27 January 2022


The Dutch Association would like to express their condolences to the family and ILAB.

Warm regards,
Gert Jan Bestebreurtje
President NVvA
27 January 2022


Even though I didn't know Nevine closely for that long, I will always remember her as a special woman who gave her strength and energy to our cause. My heartfelt condolences to Alain and the family.

Robert Schoisengeier
VDAÖ Vice President
27 January 2022


Like my colleagues I am shocked and saddened at the news we've lost Nevine. She was kind to me from our first meeting at the Madrid Congress in 2008, taking me in tow and introducing me as the new ABAA president. We met several more times afterwards, and when I joined the ILAB Committee in 2014 she felt like an old friend. We could always talk candidly about ILAB issues, laughing together many times about the craziness that inevitably comes with all of us eccentrics in the antiquarian book trade, and she was invariably gracious about my terrible French, encouraging me to speak in it even though she and I both knew we'd be better off in English. She was fierce when it most mattered, and she brought both her fierceness and her sense of humour to her battle with cancer. I've missed her since she left ILAB, and I'll never forget her.

Stuart Bennett
January 27, 2022


Heidi and I are deeply distressed to hear of Nevine’s passing. Our heartfelt sympathy goes out to Alain and their two sons. I’ve met very few people who were so full of life and cared so passionately about ILAB and what it stood for. To think that she is no longer with us is only partially mitigated by the joy that we all took from having her company when we did, in my case for over twenty years. Her readiness to laugh and appreciate the humor and irony in life and her delight in the company of fellow book people was unquestioned. In the invaluable capacity in which she served ILAB she wisely steadied and advised many past presidents, committee members, and national presidents when faced with conflicts and perplexing problems. I was among them and will miss that laughter and her irrepressible joie de vivre.

Tom Congalton
27 January 2022


All SLAM members and the SLAM Committee, as well as all the French booksellers are very moved and saddened by the death of Nevine Marchiset.
We send our deepest condolences to her husband Alain and her sons Philippe and Stéphane and assure them of our support and sympathy.

We will all remember Nevine's particularly endearing personality, her enthusiasm, the passion she had for everything she cared about, her love of books and the profession and her permanent commitment.
She was full of life and supported and defended any issue that she felt was important to booksellers.
She was also a great help to SLAM, especially with translation work, and was always available to respond to any request from us.

Wherever she went, Nevine left her mark on people's minds and hearts, and we will always think of her with emotion and gratitude.

Jean-Marc Dechaud, SLAM President
Anne Lamort, SLAM honorary President and ILAB Committee member
Anne-Marie Coulon, general delegate
27 January 2022


I am deeply saddened to hear from the passing away from Nevine.
She was the soul of ILAB during decades, I think without her ILAB would not be what it is now.
Her permanent involvement with all the issues concerning ILAB was unbelievable. She had an answer for almost everything, and you could come up to her when you had any question or concern.
During my time in the ILAB committee and as President I even got to appreciate her more, without her helping hand, I could not have managed everything. She will be always in our heart.

Michael Steinbach
VDAÖ President
27 January 2022


It was a very sad news your here brought to me – I regret very much that Nevine not any longer are among us, she was a very warmhearted person. All my condolences to the family and ILAB.

Inge and Poul Jan Poulsen
27 January 2022


On behalf of the ABAA, I would like to express my condolences to Marchiset family and the entire ILAB community.
Speaking personally, Nevine was so very kind and welcoming to Jen and I at the 2016 ILAB Congress in Budapest. Her spirit and encouragement played a pivotal role in our decision to take on the organization of the 2018 ILAB Congress in Pasadena. She will be fondly remembered.

Brad Johnson
President ABAA
27 January 2022


I am deeply saddened by the passing of Nevine, she is a great loss to all of us in the ILAB Family. She will be very much missed. May she rest in peace.

Roger Treglown
Immediate Past President ABA
27 January 2022


I am deeply saddened about these terrible news. I wanted to meet with Nevine only a week ago at La Rochelle but it turned out to be impossible. Sally has pointed out Nevine’s role in ILAB’s development perfectly and nothing must be added. From a more personal point of view I wanted to say that I was more than touched that Nevine attended to the funeral of my wife back in 2016, as this had shown clearly that there was more than a professional relation between the two of us.
My son joins me in sending our condolences and we also want to ensure her family that Nevine will never be forgotten by us.

Norbert Donhofer
27 January 2022


I am so sad to hear this. Nevine was the most fantastic travel companion on the ILAB trips, sharp and funny and a completely vital and wise person. I loved listening to her speak so beautifully, jumping from French to English - more importantly she always had something intelligent to say… She was a force of nature and I can only imagine what a hole this leaves in the lives of those close to her. My thoughts are with Alain and their sons, and all her family and friends.

Nina Musinsky
27 January 2022

My first memory of Nevine is during the 34th ILAB Congress, held in Vienna in 1998. As a member of the ILAB Committee, I was given the task of co-ordinating a Book Trade Symposium as part of the Congress program. Arnoud Gerits was to be the moderator, with Simon Finch, Rodolphe Chamonal and John Wronoski as speakers. I had only met Arnoud briefly before this, and I found him easy to communicate with. However, although I had not met the other three booksellers in person, I was aware that there was a great contrast in their personalities and I was concerned about the success of the session. As I walked to the venue I was joined by Nevine, who was possibly there in the role of translator. When she realised how nervous I was she, in inimitable style, laughed deeply and told me how she used to overcome her nerves when performing (as an actress?) by deliberately looking at the audience and imagining them seated on the toilet. By making me laugh, she also made me feel relaxed. This was one of the many talents of Nevine.

Another personal memory that emphasises the importance of Nevine to the League, was that of attending my first ILAB Presidents’ Meeting, during the Congress in Paris in 1988. The meeting was incredibly boring and laborious with very slow French translations of almost every word spoken; I recall the translator was continually challenged about the accuracy of his work, which caused tension amongst those present. In contrast, once Nevine stepped into the role of ILAB translator there were very few disputes about her translations, which were enhanced by her intuitive interpretation of book trade nuances, and her legally trained mind. Indeed, Nevine would sometimes step outside her role as translator, expressing her own (often perceptive and accurate) opinions about the matters to hand!

It would be remiss of me not to recall how very highly Bob Fleck thought of Nevine. I believe that it was Bob who canvassed and fought for Nevine to be officially appointed as ILAB’s executive secretary, after the motion to hire an executive assistant for ILAB was passed at the 2004 Presidents' Meeting in Melbourne.

Jonathan joins me in sending our deepest sympathy to Alain, Philippe and Stephane, and to Nevine's extended family.

Kay Craddock AM
27 January 2022


Sending prayers, on behalf of the ALAI members I would like to express my deepest condolences to the ILAB community.
Sincerely,

Gabriele Maspero
27 January 2022


I shall never forget Nevine’s warmth, many kindnesses, and common sense when presented with a problem (or problems!) during the years that I sat on the ILAB committee. She was never rude and always listened to two sides of an argument before voicing an opinion, and her opinion was rightfully respected.Sincerest condolences to Alain and his family.

Helen Kahn
27 January 2022


I was saddened to read the news of the passing of Nevine Marchiset and my condolences to Alain and the Marchiset family. I remember Nevine very well from the Olympia Fairs and her negotiations with me to buy French books for Alain. She was always a pleasure to do business with and a delightful person who will be greatly missed.

John Robertshaw
27 January 2022


I first met Nevine when I took over from Bob Fleck as Treasurer in 2015. From the outset she was my guide and the source of all knowledge concerning ILAB for which I will always be eternally grateful. I couldn’t have taken on the role without her.
Nevine had strong opinions about how things should be done and could be a formidable advocate when she didn’t agree with proposals or new ways of doing things; but there was always a smile and laughter and above all the support I needed.
Her passion and dedication to ILAB was truly inspiring and for me Nevine was the glue that held it altogether. We shall all miss her terribly.

Rob Shepherd
28 January 2022


Like everyone else, I was deeply wounded by the grievous news of Nevine's passing. I got to know her when I was the last General Secretary without her assistance and she was officially our translator. It was so wise of ILAB to hire her as Executive Secretary. How much easier my life would have been had it been so when I stumbled through my first term, not knowing what I was doing. Nevine was so friendly and sympathetic to me. She knew so much, was much smarter than me. She gave me valuable advice and sometimes more or less held my hand. Sally has outlined her enormous contribution to ILAB / LILA. All very true. I have a photograph of a Committee Meeting in Zurich where we are all tramping through the snow, not really prepared for the weather. Nevine is wearing my jacket I loaned her. We have lost one the likes of whom we will not easily see again. It was an honour to me to have her friendship. Au revoir, chérie.

Steven Temple
28 January 2022


On behalf of the members of ANZAAB, I would like to extend our condolences to the Marchiset family at this sad time. Nevine's passion for ILAB was undeniable and her influence far reaching, the work she did to administer the work of the League was invaluable to us all. Nevine was attentive to detail and loved sharing her knowledge of ILAB to friends and colleagues. I particularly remember many warm and enjoyable conversations I had at ILAB Congresses, particularly as a newer bookseller, where Nevine's generosity was a welcome guide to the international community of antiquarian bookselling. Our thoughts are with her family at this time, as well as her many friends and colleagues affected by her loss.

Douglas Stewart
President ANZAAB
28 January 2022


We were so sad to hear the news about our dear friend Nevine and we are thinking about Alain, Philippe and Stephane. We were planning to visit soon and now we will think about the many visits and discussions we had with Nevine, and want to visit in the near future. All that has been posted has been lovely and sad to see but obviously all of us are deeply in sorrow for our friend and we all have such interesting and fun memories of being with her. Vous allez nous manquer Nevine.

Kate and Gordon Hollis
28 January 2022


The first time I joined a Presidents Meeting of ILAB as newly elected president of the Dutch Association, back in 2015, I was quite nervous. But Nevine Marchiset, although she had a lot of work on her hands, noticed this immediately and took me under her wings. She showed me with much warmth and tasty anecdotes that ILAB brass are as human as the next bookseller.

ILAB Presidents and Committees came and went, but Nevine ran the League day-by-day. She was the living memory, and also the consciousness, of what I think she saw as her unruly family.

Nevine could be quite cross with you if you didn’t live up to her expectations, but did not hide her delight when she thought you did something for the League. When I reported that the NVvA wanted to plan the ILAB Congress in 2020 she simply wrote: Dear Frank, YEEEEEEEESSSSSSS. HUGS, Nevine.

I will greatly miss Nevine’s hugs.

Frank Rutten, Amsterdam
29 January 2022


On first hearing the sad news that Nevine’s final day among us had come, I could not help but think of how much I had always admired and respected her and was left without ever having properly acknowledged it. She was a remarkable person, as anyone who ever worked with her will know. The range of her talents were matched only by her energy in applying them. Her replies to emails seemed almost instantaneous and the questions she answered were often filled with essential information that only her rich memory could provide. It was my good fortune to work directly with her after the ILAB website was abandoned by its webmaster and needed a complete replacement in less than a year. It could not have happened without Nevine in charge. Indeed, it is hard to imagine how ILAB could have passed into the computer age without Nevine as its digital shepherdess.

We will miss her dearly.

Jim Hinck & Ann Marie Wall.
30 January 2022


Marina and I echo the overwhelming sadness felt by the whole of ILAB at the loss of Nevine, particularly by such an ironic twist of fate following her courageous fight against cancer, and we send our condolences to Alain and all the family. I have to admit that, as a member of the ILAB committee at the time, I was a little wary of Nevine when she was first proposed by Bob Fleck as Executive Secretary. She was so obviously a formidable ‘force of nature’ , that she might easily have been difficult for the committee to handle. How right Bob was and how wrong I was! Nevine was just what ILAB needed. Her organising abilities, carried out in two languages, completely transformed ILAB into an organisation, fit for the 21st century and of which we can all be proud. In 2018 Nevine was awarded the ILAB Medal. I don’t know whether such a medal actually exists; if it does it should certainly have Nevine’s portrait on the obverse.

Keith Fletcher
30 January 2022

I am very sorry to hear the sad message about Nevine. As past president of the Swiss association I have Nevine good memory. She has done a great job for ILAB and she also helped all the national association with the necessary work to be done and to be part of the community. Nevine was also a very good companion and we all enjoyed very much her interesting presence during all the nice dinners and lunches we had after our sometimes long lasting meetings. Nevine is a big loss for the antiquarian bookseller community.

Marcus Benz
31 January 2022


We are very sorry about the sad news. The Finnish Association would like to express our condolences to the family and ILAB.

Timo Surojegin
31 January 2022


Condolences to Nevine’s family and friends , As past president I have fond memories of our meetings at the congresses , her warmth and kindness.

Marc Van de Wiele
1 February 2022