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Brussels 1963

Published on 19 April 2011




Brussels, 22nd June, 1963.

Dear Friends,

In concluding my last letter in News Letter No l0, I assured you that everything would be done to find a constructive solution to the German problem.

I am very happy to tell you that our efforts have not been in vain and thanks to the good will and conciliatory spirit shown by the leaders of the Vereinigung and the Verband, a working committee has been set up in Germany. This Committee formed on 24th May 1963 under the name of Arbeilsgemeinschoft will group together the two German associations and will represent them at the League meetings. This speedy settlement will thus enable all German booksellers to participate in the next Congress in Brussels, now that harmony has been restored'

Before closing the chapter on the “German affair” I would like to take this opportunity personally to pay my respects to those who have helped the League committee in its difficult task and to express my deep gratitude to the members of the Committee who have helped me, sparing neither time nor personal convenience, to achieve speedily the League's aim.

G. A. DENY, President.



LONDON 23rd MAY 1963 AT 9.30 A.M. AND 2.30 P.M.


Present , Messrs. G. A. DFNY, President ; F. DE NLOBELE, Vice-President; D. MASSEY, Treasurer; M. ELTE, A. FRAUENDORFER, G. STEELE, Members of Committee; A. POURSIN, President of Honour,

The President opened the meeting at 9.30 a.m. precisely and after a few words of welcome conveyed the good wishes of Messrs. Hertzberger, Member of Honour ; Muir, Tulkens, Presidents of Honour ; and Wormser, ex- President of the League ; who were unable to attend.

Mr. Deny began by giving his report on the activities of the League. This was mainly concerned with the considerable amount of work entailed by the anticipated reunion of the German associations. In conclusion the President announced with great pleasure that the two German associations had just signed an agreement setting up a working Committee, the first meeting of which was to be on the following doy, 24th May. He was happy that this agreement had put an end to the rift between the German booksellers, and that this had happened before the Brussels Congress, so that all our German colleagues would be able to take part in it.

The President then replied to numerous questions about the constitution of this working Committee (Arbeitsgemeinschoft). He then gave to everyone present a copy of the new edition of the Compendium of Customs and Usages, which had just been printed. Having expressed his gratitude to the Committee for their help the President asked the Treasurer, Mr. Dudley Mossey, for his report.

Finance. The Treasurer presented the accounts up to 3lst December 1962. It was clear the finances of the League were in a flourishing state. The Treasurer said he wished that certain associations would send in their subscriptions more promptly, for which everyone agreed.

The 1963 subscription from Germany had been held in abeyance in view of the question of re-unification. This being no longer necessary, it was decided to get in touch with the Arbeiisgemeinschoff with a view to reassessing their contribution on the basis of the large associations, i.e. those having more than 150 members.

New fiscal laws having been passed in Belgium, League funds which had formerly been banked in that country had been transferred in equal amounts to England and America.

The Treasurer reported that not many copies of the Dictionary for the Antiquarian Book Trade had been sold and he drew the attention of all members of associations to the usefulness of this work.

Prize for Bibliography. The President, who is also president of the adjudicators of the Triennial Prize for bibliography, reported that the scheme had been a success and that the first meeting of the adjudicators would be held on the following day, 24th May. This Committee consisted of: President, Mr. G. A. Deny. Members, Professor de la Fontaine-Verwey, Chief Librarian of the University Library of Amsterdam; Mr. Pierre Lelievre, inspector General of French Libraries; Mr. Howard, M. Nixon, Assistant Keeper of Printed Books at the British Museum; Dr. Frauendorfer, member of the League Committee. The jury would have to vote on 20 works submitted and accepted according to the rules, a complete list of these books was appended.

New edition of the Directory. Now that the German question had been settled the Committee was concerned about getting out a new edition immediately. The presidents of the national associations would shortly receive questionnaire slips which they were kindly asked to complete. A list of specialities and an advertising tariff would be attached. Presidents were asked to waste no time in returning these slips.

Committee of Honour. The question of reorganizing the Committee of Honour of the League appeared on the agenda of the Congress at Basle (Art. X). The delegates who were present promised to get in touch with certain persons in their respective countries. Up to the present, Belgium alone had submitted the names of two persons whom we are proud to see on our Committee:

Mr. A. Van Acker, former Prime Minister, President of the Chamber, former antiquarian bookseller.

Mr. H. Liebaers, Chief Keeper of the Royal Library at Brussels (Albertine).

Other Business. The procedure for the Congress at Brussels, application for membership by Japan, the international exhibition of books and other matters on the agenda were discussed at length; some of these questions would appear on the agenda for Brussels to come before the Assembly.

Confidential List. Mr. de Nobele, Vice-President, once again drew the attention of the presidents and all members to this list. Reports from associations were in fact very rare. lf this could be said to reflect a healthy state of the trade throughout the world we could not but congratulate ourselves. Unfortunately it appeared that the lists and cards already published were simply not read. Books were supplied to persons whose names were already on these lists and even for very high prices. Disaster resulted which could easily have been avoided. Each association had at least one file supplied by the League and supplemented by up to date lists. The service was organized in the general interest and all were urged to take advantage of it.

Before closing the meeting the President thanked the Committee for attending in full strength, and President of Honour André Poursin, whose wise advice was often very helpful. He especially thanked the Treasurer, Dudley Massey, who had kindly made arrangements for the meeting and for that of the Judges of the bibliographies.





All the judges met under the direction of Mr. Deny, President of the League. The Treasurer, Mr. Massey, also attended, as certain financial matters had to be discussed. After the usual thanks and welcoming words to the members of the jury-panel who were kindly collaborating with the League, the President opened the meeting with a short account of how the prize came to be awarded, and its aims.

Mr. Pierre Lelièvre regretted that the jury did not have a larger number of works to consider, especially that there were none in manuscript; Messrs. de lo Fontoine-Verwey and Nixon suggested certain amendments to the rules and certain restrictions to be borne in mind in making future awards.

The President pointed out that the existing regulations had been drown up as basic rules, the committee being unable to foresee how bibliographers would respond to the prize, or the different kinds of bibliographies which would be submitted. He promised to transmit all the suggestions to the Committee of the League and that the regulations for the award of the prize in future would be reconsidered in the light of their recommendations.

After having noted the list of entries submitted for the first triennial prize, the first works were distributed for perusal, the rota was arranged and after some discussion the meeting closed at 6 p.m.




The Belgian Association has asked us to inform you that all the Meetings and General Assemblies of the League will take place at the Albertine Library (Royal Library), Boulevard de l'Empereur, Brussels 1. A Secretariat will be in operation there on Sunday, September lst, and will be open from l0 to 12 am. and from 2 to 4.30 p.m.

Those attending the Congress are asked kindly to go there for the purpose of registration and receiving the necessary literature. Members of the Reception Committee will be at their disposal.




The new edition, up to date, of the Compendium of Usages and Customs has just been published. Associations may order copies from the Treasurer at 1 U.S. dollar for ten copies, postage extra.

We are also pleased to announce that we can again supply blocks of the I.L.A.B. emblem  “Amor Librorum Nos Unit”. We would remind members that the League can only supply Associations, not individuals.




1. Appointment of Scrutineers

2. President’s report on the League’s activities 1962-63

3. Treasurer’s Report

4. Subscriptions for 1964

5. New edition of the Directory

6. Committee of Honour of the League

7. Proposals.


Whereas the ABAA desires to be presented at the yearly Congress of the League by a number of members commensurate with its size and whereas many of our members go to Europe in the earlier months of the year, we propose, in the belief that this proposal has the support of many members of the League, that future congresses be held not in fall but in spring.

B. France

1. Study of an information service announcing reprinting of old and out-of-print books

2. Setting up a table of taxes, export and import, affecting our trade.

C. Austria

Addition to Article 31 of the rules:

“The members of the Executive Committee be elected by the General Assembly by secret ballot.”

8. Confidential list

9. Date and place of next congress

10. Proposals for future congresses

11. Other business and proposals.




Held from 1st to 6th. September 1963 at the ROYAL LIBRARY (ALBERTINE)

The Belgian Association had invited the League to hold its Annual Congress in Brussels from 1st to 6th September, 1963, the agenda having been published in News Letter No. 11.

On Sunday, 1st Sept. at 3 o'clock, the Committee of the League assembled in the Conference Hall of the Royal Library. The Executive Committee was assisted by immediate past President Richard Wormser, member and Presidents of Honour, Messrs. Hertzberger, Poursin and Tulkens. This first meeting, at which the broad outlines of the Congress were indicated, ended at 4.45 p.m.

At 5 o'clock in the Great Hall and rooms of the Provincial Council of Brabant, the formal opening of the 16th Congress of the I. L. A. B. took place.

Mr. Tulkens, President of the Belgian Association, welcomed those present and Mr. G. A. Deny, President of the I. L. A. B. replied on behalf of the League.

On Monday, 2nd Sept. at 3 o'clock, in the large Conference Hall of the Royal Library, which had been graciously put at our disposal, the General Assembly of the 16th International Congress opened, Mr. G. A. Deny presiding. Having thanked those attending the Congress and our hosts for their hospitality, he read a letter of welcome addressed to the members of the Congress by Mr. J. Van Hove, Deputy Curator, in the absence of Mr. Herman Liebaers, the Chief Curator of the Royal Library and Member of Honour of the League, who was abroad.

The President asked the Assembly to observe a minute's silence in memory of members who had died. He read a letter from President of Honour, Mr. Percy Muir, who was unable to be present, and announced that the Brazilian Association had asked the Belgian Association to represent them at the Congress with powers to vote on their behalf. He then turned to the agenda.


1. CHOICE OF SCRUTINEERS. Messrs. Herbert Marley and Marc Penau, former Presidents of their respective associations, were chosen.


2. PRESIDENT'S REPORT ON THE LEAGUE'S ACTIVITIES, 1962-63. President Deny briefly outlined these, which had been mentioned in News Letters 10 and 11. He went rapidly over the course of events and the Committee meetings which had culminated in the constitution of the « Arbeitsgemeinschaft Deutscher Antiquare » whose first President, Dr. Ernst Hauswedell, he was happy to welcome in the Assembly. He gave some details relating to the constitution and activities of the Jury for the Triennial Prize for Bibliography, the first prize winner of which would be announced at the next Congress in September, 1964.

He referred to the new edition of the Directory (item 5 on the agenda) which he said would be discussed later.

Dr. Hauswedell then asked leave to speak. He said he was glad to have the opportunity at the first plenary session of the 1963 Congress of I. L. A. B. to thank all those who had contributed their advice, their time and their ideas to help settle the German question. It was a great success for the League Committee, especially for the President now in office who had gone to such trouble in this matter. Dr. Hauswedell hoped that from now on the Committee would be able to devote its time to more important and interesting matters than the German reunion. He expressed his gratitude in the name of all his German Colleagues. The President thanked Dr. Hauswedell.


3. TREASURER'S REPORT. The President asked Mr. D. Massey to address the meeting. He pointed out that the Balance Sheet of the League up to the 31st December, 1962, was printed in News Letter No. 11, he read this to the meeting. Following a suggestion by Mr. N. Israel, President of the Dutch Association, it was decided that in future Balance Sheets should show in special type sums derived from capital interest to supply the fund for the Triennial Prize for Bibliography.

The Treasurer's report was unanimously adopted.


4. SUBSCRIPTIONS FOR 1964. The President called on the Associations in alphabetical order. Each agreed to pay the same amount for 1964 as was paid in the previous year. This was carried unanimously except in the case of Finland who was not represented at the Congress.


5. NEW EDITION OF THE DIRECTORY. In conjunction with new directory a permanent file of all members was to be compiled. The President showed the Assembly a copy of the form which would be sent to the members of all national associations. The Committee expressed the hope that after the 1964 edition had been published, presidents of associations would be good enough to advise the League of all changes of address, of new members and of expulsions  occurring among            their  members. This little matter of routine would enable future regular editions of the Directory to be issued without much difficulty.

A long discussion ensued chiefly between Dr. Hauswedell (Germany) Messrs. Bondy and Fletcher (Great Britain), Grandmaison and Penau (France) and Tulkens (Belgium). The President confirmed that the 1964 Directory would be supplied to the Associations at 3 U.S. dollars plus postage.

Dr. Hauswedell (Germany) immediatly ordered 250 copies for his association. The President thanked Dr. Hauswedell and suggested that other associations might follow his good example, upon which the following orders were placed :


AUSTRIA, 35 copies.

BELGIUM, 30 copies.

FRANCE, 200 copies

HOLLAND, 100 copies

ITALY, 50 copies

SWITZERLAND, 40 copies.

Thus a total of 705 copies was subscribed for on that day. Before leaving this important point on the agenda, each president asked for a number of the forms for information. These were supplied or would be sent on.


7. COMMITTEE OF HONOUR OF THE LEAGUE. This question had already appeared in the agenda of previous congresses and at Committee meetings. The President was gratified to announce that the following persons had been kind enough to accept our invitation and would be members of a new Committee of Honour, a complete list of whom would be published in the next News Letter.

FRANCE Mr. Julien Cain, Administrator General of French Libraries.

Mr. Pierre Brisson, President and Director General of Figaro.

HOLLAND. Dr. H. de la Fontaine-Verwey, Chief Curator of the University Library of Amsterdam.

SWEDEN. Mr. Harry Martinsson, member of the Swedish Academy.



U. S. A.

« Whereas the A.B.A.A. desires to be represented at the yearly Congress of the League by a number of members commensurate 'with its size and whereas many of our members go to Europe in the earlier months of the year, we propose, in the belief that this proposal has the support of many European members of the League, that future congresses be held not in fall but in spring.»

The President said that an exactly similar proposal had been made by Austria which had arrived too late to appear on the Agenda. After a long and useful exchange of views and counter proposals, Mr. H. Edwards, President of the A.B.A (Great Britain) affirmed his association's desire to maintain the status quo ; but Mr. W . Schatzki, President of the A.B.A.A. (U. S. A )stuck firmly to the proposal, so it was decided to put the matter to the vote. But before doing so the President pointed out that it was impossible to change the date of the September 1964 Congress.

He said that the work of the Jury for the Triennial Prize for Bibliography had been based on that date : furthermore, the League was by statute obliged to re-form the Committee at that time. It was decided to vote on the question of the date of the future Congresses as from 1965. This having been unanimously accepted, the proposal for a change was adopted by 11 votes to 6 and as from 1965, Congresses would take place during May or June.


A. Study of an information service announcing reprinting of old and out-of print books.

B. Setting up a table of taxes, export and import, affecting our trade.

A. The President supported by Dr.            Hauswedell pointed out that a German firm directed by Mr. Erich Carlsohn of Weisbaden, was already dealing with this. « The Börsenbatt » had already published 2.000 titles of reprints but the whole was to be edited in volume form and would contain more than 6.000 titles, to which would be added annual supplements. It would be sufficient for associations or booksellers who were interested to get in touch direct with the “Börsenblatt” or Mr. E. Carlsohn or to buy his book when it appeared.

B. The second proposal having been examined at length at the Presidents meetings, it was decided to set up in Paris a commission charged with the examination of the fiscal situation in the different countries. Mr. De Nobele agreed to form this Committee. The information thus obtained would be communicated to the Presidents of the Associations. Mr. De Nobele asked that each association should supply him without delay with the following information.

1. Classification of books in different categories and dates on which they are subject to tax.

2. Export tax paid.

3. Import tax paid.

4. Difficulties encountered (demands for licences, demands for exit permits, authorisation of payments, etc.)



Addition to Article 31 of the Rules.

“The members of the Executive Committee be elected by the General Assembly by secret ballot”.

M. Nebehay, President of the Austrian Association, having received formal assurance that, in accordance with Article 18 of the Statutes, the name of a delegation asking for a secret vote would not be revealed by the President of the League, decided to withdraw the proposal. He asked notwithstanding that this declaration be published in the minutes. This was agreed.

Vice-President De Nobele was then asked to speak on item 8 of the a genda .


8. CONFIDENTIAL LIST. Mr. De Nobele said that this matter did, and should appear on the agenda because it had to be gone into, but in view of the confidential nature of the information involved it was not possible to do so in the General Assembly. However, he had a recommendation to make. He had received during the winter a letter from a colleague telling him that a very bad payer had defaulted in a sum of 14.000 Swiss francs. When he consulted his file he found that this bad payer had been on the list for 4 years. He therefore urges that no one should hesitate to ask their Association for information, the latter were in a position to give some guarantee against bad payers.


9. DATE AND PLACE OF NEXT CONGRESS. Mr. Piantanida announced in the name of the Circolo dei Librai Antiquari (Italy) that his association would be happy to receive us in September 1964 at Ravenna. This town had been chosen because in 1964 it was to celebrate the 700th anniversary of the birth of Dante. The exact date of the Congress had not yet been fixed.


10. PROPOSALS CONCERNING FUTURE CONGRESSES. Mr. Schatzki (U. S. A.) revealed that the booksellers of California hoped to organize a Congress in California in 1967 or 1968. M. Nebehay (Austria) announced his association's intention of inviting us to Austria. No date was fixed.

11. OTHER BUSINESS. Mr. Grandmaison, President of the French Association, announced that following decisions in principle made during the Congresses at Scheveningen and Paris, regarding the organisation of an international exhibition of rare books under the patronage of I.L.A.B., his association would like to organize this exhibition in Paris at the end of 1964. It was at once decided to arrange a meeting of the Exhibition Sub- Committee. Mesdames L. Roth-Wolfle and Cohn (replacing Miss Rostenberg absent), Messrs. Hertzberger, Marley and Simonson and the Presidents of the National Associations with Mr. De Nobele as Chairman. The first meeting was fixed for 6th September at 9 o'clock.

Before closing the 16th Congress, President Deny again thanked Presidents and delegates for their help and their friendly collaboration and Mr. Franco, our devoted and talented interpreter.

meeting was tixed tor 6th September at 9 o'clock. Before closing the 16th Congress, President Deny again thanked




The question of an exhibition has often been mooted in the General Assembly and although it did not appear in the agenda for the last Congress in Brussels, was again brought up there last September where it was the subject of special meetings between the League Committee and the Presidents and with the members of the Sub-Committee formed in Paris, comprising Mrs. Cohn (replacing Miss Rostenberg), Dr. Lotte Roth-Wolfle, Messrs. Hertzberger, Marley and Simonson. These discussions took place under the direction of Mr. F. De Nobele as Chairman, who also acted as liaison with the French Association (S.L.A.M.), the host country and their representatives, Messrs. A. Grandmaison (President) and G. Blaizot, who promoted the Exhibition.

A general plan for organizing the Exhibition has been drawn up for examination by the members of the working committee, the terms of which have been brought to the notice of the Presidents of the National Associations.

We have asked the Presidents to communicate this information to their members as soon as possible because the organizing committee has no time to lose.

Here therefore are broad outlines :

THEME : Presentation of Antiquarian and modern books, manuscripts, autograph letters, drawing and all important productions of the graphic arts.

DATE : Probably November, 1964.

SHARE OF EXPENSES : An ad valorem percentage will be charged on all books or other items exhibited. All books, etc., must be for sale.

A CATALOGUE will be issued. As its preparation will take time, exhibitors are urged to reserve at once the books etc. they intend to exhibit. They will be asked for a description of these. National Associations will be asked to undertake dispatch and to insure and affect all Customs formalities. Duplicates should be eliminated, also books of insufficient interest or doubtful quality.

Any further information can be obtained from the secretary of your association. Please let him have with THE LEAST POSSIBLE DELAY your undertaking to participate.

After the national book fairs of Stuttgart, London, New-York, Los Angeles, the Exhibition in Paris will be the first to bring together booksellers from all countries, thus the first international exhibition should be a success thanks to your cooperation.

The League Committee is grateful to the French Association for having persisted in the realization of this project, in spite of many difficulties, and it hopes that their generous invitation will have a good response.


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