NEWSLETTER N° 28 - MARCH 1977
A LETTER FROM THE PRESIDENT
Dear colleague - wherever this may reach you.
The International League of Antiquarian Booksellers IS the means by which antiquarian booksellers in sixteen countries are united and cooperate. Usually there are two business meetings a year - one when the Committee meets, and another when the National Presidents and the Committee meet. Every other year there is a Congress at which you are invited to attend. This enables those present to act as delegates and take part in the meetings and discussions.
As is the case with most meetings of this kind, they are mainly routine but essential and without them the League could not function. The Minutes are circulated to you in "Newsletters" such as this. They may not be exciting but I hope you will read them.
There are several points on which I would be glad to have your personal interest and co-operation. They are ways in which you, if you will, could aid your fellow antiquarian booksellers across the world.
In 1977, the League will publish a new edition of the International Directory of Antiquarian Booksellers. This is the most important publication of its kind providing a worldwide, geographically arranged list of antiquarian booksellers, with their specialities. It is invaluable to booksellers. Librarians everywhere need it for use and for reference. Will
you please tell them about it. It should be ready early in 1977, and will be available to you at a liberal discount through your National Association.
Then, there is one other way in which you can do both the League and yourself a service. This Newsletter will circulate in many countries. Why not use the next issue to say what you seek and what you sell: Space is inexpensive and costs, in U.S, Dollars, $75.- for a full page. $45,- for half a page and $25.- for a quarter page. All you need to do is to address your advertisement to Bob de Graaf, Zuideinde 40, 2479 Nieuwkoop, Netherlands and enclose a remittance. If it helps this can be in your own currency at the current rate of exchange, but if it is a cheque requiring clearance, please add to cover this.
Now, I would like to seek your aid in quite a different way. In September, 1977, the International League of Antiquarian Booksellers will hold a Congress in Düsseldorf at the invitation of the German Association. Included in the programme will be a Seminar at which two or three subjects of special interest and importance to the Trade will be discussed. As an example, one subject already proposed is "How to train young antiquarian booksellers in this day and age". There arc many topics and problems varying from country to country. Will you please spare me a few moments' thought and send me your idea of a subject or subjects you think we could usefully talk about. I need your suggestions as soon as possible, so please write soon and send them to me - Stanlev Crowe, 5 Bloomsbury Street, London WCIB 3QE.
In the meantime, I send you my greeting and good wishes.
MINUTES OF THE COMMITTEE MEETING
Brussels: September 28, 1976
Present: The complete Committee:
Dr. Frieder Kocher-Benzing, President
Stanley Crowe, Vice-President
Hans Bagger, Treasurer
Mitsuo Nitta, Pierre Petitot, William Salloch. Bob de Graaf, Committee Members
Also: Georges Deny and Fernand De Nobele, Presidents of Honour. And Dr. Maria Conradt as an observer
Interpreter: Edgar Franco.
Apologies were received from Messrs. Dudley Massey and Fl. Tulkens, Presidents of Honour.
The meeting was opened by the President at 9.00 a.m. He welcomed those present, and asked permission for the proposed new candidate of the Committee, Dr. Maria Conradt, to attend the proceedings, which request was granted.
The President then proceeded to consider the Agenda prepared for the forthcoming Presidents' Meeting and to discuss it point by point.
1. Nomination of scrutineers: This was left to the Presidents’ Meeting.
2. Approval of the official reports of the General Assembly held in Amsterdam, published in Newsletter n. 27: This report would be approved by the Presidents' Meeting.
3 a): President's Report: The President proposed to deliver his report at the forthcoming Presidents' Meeting. This was approved.
3 b): Secretary's Report: The acting Secretary asked permission to act likewise which was approved.
3 c): Treasurer's Report: The Treasurer delivered a Statement of Cash Receipts and Disbursements over the period Januarv 1-August 31, 1976 (see separate Report added herewith). He commented on items in his Report and informed the meeting that all subscriptions for the current year had now been received. There was discussion about the high cost of printing and distribution of the League's Newsletter. The acting Secretary explained that, due to the large amount of minutes of the various meetings in Amsterdam, the editorial part of Newsletter 27 was much more extensive than usual, whereas the number of advertisers had decreased. When asked, the Treasurer summed up the total assets of the League: Cash at the Danske Bank Danish Crowns 112.759,79 (equalling about $18.665,~) plus 7.635,15 Swiss Franks at the Swiss Franks account at the Rabo Bank, Utrecht plus 25.000 Dutch Guilders at the saving's account at the same bank.
Mr. De Nobele expressed his satisfaction that the Swiss lawyer, Maitre Hotz, is now no longer engaged by the League.
4. Directory: Mr. Bagger regretted that he had to inform the Committee, that while this project had appeared to run smoothly, it had now met serious problems. When the first proofs were returned it was discovered that the entries of a considerable number of British & American colleagues were lacking. This will entail not only a complete rearrangement of the geographical part of the Directory, but also of the Indexes. Apart from the amount of work involved, the expense is bound to be high. An amount of 10.000 Danish Crowns has been reserved for corrections but the present misadventure means that we shall need at least the same amount and probably more for extra correction etc. The Treasurer had already made an appointment with Mr. Lawson, the British President, in order to discuss this matter.
Mr. De Nobele mentioned that similar problems had risen with former Directories as well.
Mr. De Graaf stated that the Committee had on various occasions, emphasized that the responsibility for the correctness and completeness of all entries lies with the national associations and not with the editor of the Directory.
The Committee agreed that the extra expense would have at least partly to be borne by the associations at fault.
Mr. Crowe proposed that this should be discussed at the Presidents Meeting.
The Treasurer commented on the size of the edition (3000 copies), the total costs of the production (161.000 Danish Crowns) and the value of the total amount of the Advertisements (85.000 Danish Crowns). The difference of Danish Crowns 76.000 being the net costs to the League's Treasury, this translates into a cost-price of some 25 Danish Crowns (or about $4.50 per copy. At a suggested sales-price of $15,- ($10.- net to booksellers) the League would make a profit when roughly half of the edition is sold.
Mr. De Graaf gave warning that liquidity problems could arise if the printer's bill is due before ordered copies have been paid for.
Mr. Deny wondered whether the size of the edition is not too high: On previous occasions a fair number of copies had to be pulped. Mr. Bagger replied that the last edition which numbered 2500 copies is now completely sold out.
Mr. Bagger mentioned that the proofs had not yet be returned by Great Britain, the Netherlands and the U.S.A. Mr. Franco informed him that he had brought the corrected Dutch proofs with him.
Three associations (France, Great Britain and the U .S.A.) had wanted to include a map in the Directory but so far these had not yet been received.
Mr. Nitta suggested to ask all the Presidents to mention the number of copies of the Directory their associations would be willing to subscribe.
5. Security: The President stated that a Report on the possibilities of a Central Register of stolen books had recently been prepared by the ILAB Security Sub-Committee and that this had been sent to all Committee Members and Presidents. He requested Mr. Crowe to comment on this Report.
Mr. Crowe explained that the Report was the outcome of a meeting held by the Security Sub-Committee in Munich on April 28th-29th, 1976. Participants: Messrs. Werner Fritsch, Jorg Schafer and Dieter Schierenberg; Karl Hartung and Horst Hoppe as guests; and Dr. Dachs and Dr. Kaltwasser as representatives of the Bavarian State Library.
As the full Report had already been distributed Mr. Crowe limited himself to mentioning the salient points, dealing in a more detailed way, however, with the matter of the costs: The costs of the services rendered by the Bavarian State Library (mainly for use of their computer) will be charged to the League at a rate of DM 4000,- a year. This service would include the processing and maintaining of the card file, the xeroxes for the proposed monthly lists and an offset film for the proposed bi-annual lists. In addition to this amount the League would have to pay for the printing of the bi-annual lists and for the costs of distribution of both the monthly and the biannual lists. A rough estimate of the latter category of expenses has amounted to DM 5000,- in order that the total costs of running the Central Register would come to about DM 9.000 a year. Mr. Crowe, preferring to stay on the safe side, suggested that the total expense rather be considered at DM 10.000.- or about 4.000. U.S. Dollars.
The United States and Canada have established a Security System of their own, and Japan and Brazil would not appear to benefit greatly from a Central Register primarily destined for European countries.
Mr. Crowe therefore proposed that the costs be divided between the twelve European associations within the League. Following the pro-rata system (number of members of each association) the following figures would give an idea of the approximate yearly costs for each association:
France $ 800,--
Germany $ 800,-
Great Britain $ 800,-
Austria $ 150,-
Belgium $ 175,-
Denmark $ 220, -
Finland $ 25,-
Italy $ 280,-
Netherlands $ 280,-
Norway $ 75,-
Sweden $ 130, -
Switzerland $ 300,-
During the discussion which ensued, the President considered that although these costs are considerable, they might in some measure offset internal security costs.
Mr. De Nobele wondered why the antiquarian book trade only should bear the costs of the system. What about the libraries and the private persons?
The President specified that the costs mentioned were only a part of the total expense, and that the other costs would be borne by the libraries.
Mr. De Nobele further found the system of monthly lists both too bureaucratic and too slow.
Mr. Deny agreed with this point-of-view and quoted from a recent Interpol report on stolen objects of art.
Mr. Crowe exhorted those present not to discuss the numerous side issues, the less so as this had already been done in the Security Sub-Committee. The proposal is there and there is an approximate estimate of the costs. It is now up to the Presidents either to accept or to reject the proposed system. The central point was to set up a system to disseminate the knowledge about stolen books; the Presidents’ Meeting has now to decide whether the proposed system is viable or not.
Meeting adjourned at 10.30 a.m. in view of the forthcoming Presidents' Meeting.
MINUTES OF THE COMMITTEE MEETING
Brussels: September 29, 1976
The Committee Meeting was resumed the next day at 9.00 a.m.
Present: The entire Committee. Mr. Deny, President of Honour, Dr. Maria Conradt. - Interpreter: Edgar Franco.
5. Security (Continuation): The Committee agreed that the best procedure would be that the Presidents discuss the proposed system within their own associations and report to the Committee before the end of November 1976.
The question was raised whether it would be possible to reach a principal affirmative vote on this point of the agenda during the forthcoming Presidents' Meeting.
Mr. Salloch suggested that the U.S.A. and Japan abstain from voting on this item.
Mr. Dc Graaf drew attention to the fact that the whole system would collapse if some associations decided not to participate.
The President confirmed that this is a question of all together or not at all.
Mr. Salloch commented on the costs which in his opinion were rather high. He wondered whether some other system would be less expensive.
6. Confidential List. Mr. Petitot reported that he had sent a detailed letter to all associations shortly after the Committee Meeting in Stuttgart. This letter set out a scheme and requested each association to send in names. So far. not a single reply had been received.
The Committee regretted this lack of co-operation.
The proposal to produce a new and viable system for the supply of information regarding bad or slow payers had been agreed unanimously. From the beginning it had been made clear that such a system could only function with the assistance of all associations. The Committee would emphasize this point again during the Presidents’ Meeting. The President stated that the Committee had done what was required. If the associations do not respond, there is little more it can reasonably do.
7. Bibliographical Prize: Review and Future: Mr. Deny, Secretary of the Bibliographical Prize, reported that the Jury had for the last time convened in Brussels during the month of July. After considerable discussion it was decided to award the prize to Mr. C. William Miller for his work: Benjamin Franklin's Philadelphia Printing, 1728-1786. A descriptive Bibliography (Philadelphia, 1974).
Mr. Deny, speaking on behalf of the Jury, proposed that two changes be made in the rules of the Bibliographical Prize: Two copies (instead of three) to be sent for review to the Jury and to increase the Prize to $1.000,- (formerly $750,-).
Mr. Deny stressed both the need and importance of good publicity. He would like to invite each association to nominate one or perhaps two of their members to be responsible for giving publicity to the Bibliographical Prize. This is especially important towards obtaining as many bibliographical works as possible for consideration by the Jury.
Finally Mr. Deny announced that, after having organized five Prizes during the past fifteen years, he would like to be replaced as a Secretary of the Jury. In his opinion there are three potential candidates who possess the necessary knowledge to replace him: Mr. Fernand De Nobele, former President, Dr. Kocher-Benzing, the retiring President and Mr. Stanley Crowe, the proposed new President.
The Committee agreed with the various proposals of Mr. Deny, as regards the new Secretary of the Bibliographical Prize. This is a matter of election and hence a prerogative of the Presidents' Meeting.
In answer to a request by Mr. Bagger, Dr. Frieder Kochcr-Benzing declared that he would be willing to accept nomination in case the Presidents' Meeting would elect him as the new Secretary.
Finally Mr. Crewe asked Mr. Deny whether he was satisfied with the number of entries (17) and with the quality of the books offered for review.
Mr. Deny answered in the affirmative, but added that of course he would be delighted to receive as many books as possible. He repeated that this is essentially a question of publicity.
8. Amendment to the Rules: As proposed by the Syndicat de la Librairie Ancienne et Moderne article 22 should be suppressed and replaced by the following: “The Committee consists of seven members: President. Vice-President. General Secretary, Treasurer and three members, each chosen from a different country”.
This proposal was left to the Presidents' Meeting.
9. Further Congresses and Meetings: (At this point of the Agenda Mr. De Nobele left and Mr. Hertzberger entered the Meeting.)
The President announced that the German President. Mr. Rumbler. would give full details about the forthcoming Congress in Germany during the Presidents' Meeting. Also Messrs. Warren Howell and August Laube, respectively Presidents of the American and of the Swiss
Association would discuss plans for 1978 and 1979.
10. Symposium : It had been agreed in Amsterdam that a Symposium should take place during the Congress in Germany in 1977. and this was discussed. Mr. Salloch commented on a recent Symposium held in the U.S.A., and Mr. Nitta on the Symposium held during the Congress in Japan. It was agreed that it is desirable to circulate a paper or papers beforehand, and possibly to include them in the League's Newsletter. It was thought that it would facilitate discussion by division into three language groups, French, English and German. If sufficient persons made it desirable, other language groups could be instituted.
The Presidents will be asked to suggest suitable subjects for discussion and the Committee will consider the organisation of this event at their next meeting early in 1977.
11. Elections: This was left to the Presidents' Meeting.
12. Any other Business: None.
Meeting closed at 10.35 a.m.
MINUTES OF THE PRESIDENTS' MEETING
Brussels: September 28, 1976
Present: The complete Committee:
Dr. Friedcr Kocher-Benzing, President
Stanley Crowe, Vice-President
Hans Bagger, Treasurer
Mitsuo Nitta, Pierre Petitot, William Salloch. Bob de Graaf. Committee Members.
Also: Mr. Menno Hertzberger, Father of the League and Messrs. Georges Deny, Einar Gronholt Pedersen and Fernand De NobeIe. Presidents of Honour.
Dr. Maria Conradt (Observer).
Together with the Presidents and Representatives of the following National Associations:
Mrs. Wachtmeister (Sweden) and Messrs. Van Gendt (Netherlands), Heinemann (Canada), Howell (U.S.A.), Laube (Switzerland), Lawson (Great Britain), Magis (France), Moorthamers (Belgium), Rumbler (Germany) and Taeuber (Austria).
Mr. Bagger, Member of the Committee, is also present as President of the Danish Association and holds the proxy for Norway.
Mr. Nitta. Member of the Committee, holds the proxy for the Japanese Association.
No news being received from Brazil, Finland and Italy, thirteen countries were represented holding a total of seventeen votes (France, Germany, Great Britain and the U.S.A. have two votes each).
The President opened the Meeting at 10.30 a.m. He welcomed those present, and asked them to observe a minute's silence in memory of those who had lately passed away. All stood as a mark of respect.
Apologies were received from Messrs. Dudley Massey and Fl. Tulkens, Presidents of Honour.
The President then proceeded with the Agenda for the Presidents’ Meeting.
1. Nomination of Scrutineers: Messrs. Einar Gronholt Pedersen and Fernand De Nobele were asked to act as scrutineers and they accepted the nomination.
2. Approval of the official reports of the General Assembly held in Amsterdam, published in Newsletter no. 27: These reports were approved unanimously and without discussion.
3 a): President's Report: The President summarized what had been achieved by this Committee during the past year, his last year in office. Since April 5, 1976 the legal seat of the League is no longer in Geneva meaning that no further expenditures have to be paid. Under the editorship of Mr. Bagger a new Directory is in the course of being prepared and it is expected that it will be published in a few months from now. Mr. Petitot had organized a new system for the League's Confidential List. Security matters have received full attention of the Committee and a Report of the Security Sub-Committee has been offered to the Presidents for discussion. The Jury of the Bibliographical Prize has reached a decision and the 5th Triennial Prize has now been awarded. The Committee had met on September 23, 1975, January 28. 1976 and September 28. 1976. Newsletter n° 27 had been published in May 1976. On behalf of the League the President had offered congratulations to Dr. Ernst Hauswedell, former member of the Committee. at the occasion of his seventieth anniversary.
The President finished with some personal words of gratitude, wishing his successor that the Committee's work continue in the same fine spirit of cooperation and friendship. (Applause).
3 b): Secretary's Report: The acting Secretary, Mr. Bob de Graaf, reported on the League's correspondence, the editing of the Minutes and the Newsletter. He solicited the help of the national Presidents in obtaining advertisements for the Newsletter which now operated with a loss.
At the end of his term as acting Secretary he thanked all those who in the past had helped with translations as well as his fellow-Committee members for their continued interest and cooperation. (Applause).
3 c): Treasurer's Report: The Treasurer commented on the individual items of his Statement of Cash Receipts and Disbursements. There being no question on this Statement he proceeded presenting his proposals for Dues and Subscriptions for 1977 (See separate Report on Dues and Subscriptions attached herewith). All countries present confirmed the suggested subscriptions for the year 1977 with the exception of Canada which country wanted to increase its subscriptions to $200,- (suggested: $130,-).
The President then asked for a vote on the combined reports of the President, the acting Secretary and the Treasurer: The three reports were approved unanimously.
4. Directory: Mr. Bagger related the misadventures he had recently encountered in preparing the new edition of the Directory (cf. Minutes of the Committee Meeting under this item). Mr. Howell confirmed that it had been established that 37 names are lacking from the American entries. Both he and Mr. Lawson (Great Britain) agreed to share in the extra costs involved. Mr. Laube criticized the quality of the first proof; in his view a second proof is absolutely necessary.
Mr. Moorthamers seconded the request for a second proof, adding that it would not be necessary to take further action if everything was in order.
Following a question by Mr. Magis it appeared that no proofs had been forwarded of the advertisements so far.
In response to a request from Mr. Bagger, the following countries indicated the number of copies they wished to order of the new Directory:
U.S.A.: 400 copies: Germany: 300 copies: Japan: :200 copies; Netherlands: 100 copies; and Austria. Belgium. Canada. Denmark and Switzerland 50 copies each.
Mr. Magis wondered whether the mention of banking accounts is necessary.
Mr. De Nobele exhorted the British members to make use of the European giro-system.
Mr. Bagger drew attention to the fact that this edition of the Directory is 500 copies larger than the former one. The idea is to sell extra copies in order to make some profit for the League. He requested all Presidents to cooperate in this matter.
Mr. Deny remarked that within countries of the European Economic Community sales are subject to Value Added Tax.
The President closed the meeting at 12.30 a.m.
MINUTES OF THE PRESIDENTS' MEETING
Brussels: September, 29, 1976
Present: All those who had attended the previous Presidents' Meeting.
The President opened the meeting at 10.45 a.m.
5. Security: The Report the Committee had received from the Security Sub-Committee had been sent to all Committee Members and National Presidents on August 20, 1976. As however some Presidents claimed not to have received this Report, it was decided to make some photocopies and to deal with item 6 of the Agenda before item 5.
6. Confidential List: Mr. Petitot reported that following his detailed instructions and his request for names to be included in the Confidential Card Index System of the League he had received no single response.
It would seem that the papers prepared and posted by Mr Petitot shortly after the Committee Meeting in Stuttgart earlier this year, had not reached several Presidents. The Committee promised that these papers will be forwarded for a second time.
Mr. Rumbler had serious doubts on several points of the proposed Confidential List. The German Association is only willing to cooperate if a legal definition of categories, internationally standardized, is supplied.
The President explained that this is a general system, set up as simply as possible. It is up to the national associations to decide what persons are to be included and under which of the three proposed categories.
Mr. Laube related a recent personal experience. He gave a warning that it is necessary to keep Confidential Lists entirely confidential.
Mr. Lawson explained the system of the British Confidential List. He suggested that before proceeding an international lawyer should be consulted.
Mr. Howell said that in the U.S.A. it is illegal to disseminate such kind of confidential information. A lengthy discussion followed .
Mr. De Nobele stated that the same issues were debated within the League as long as 25 years ago.
Mr. Magis, supporting the previous speaker, reminded those present that all had agreed at an earlier stage that it is absolutely essential to have a Confidential Card-Index System: Now a concrete proposal is being offered.
Mr. Heinemann advised extreme caution.
Mr. Rumbler repeated that a number of specific points must first be clarified before the information is really trustworthy. Germany is willing to supply names but only under certain conditions.
Mr. Crowe invited all Presidents to cooperate in this matter which is of vital importance to all of us. He asked all present to discuss this proposal within their own Committees and to report back to the Committee before the end of November.
Mr. Petitot clarified that the Confidential List was limited to three categories but that the Card Index-System would contain all pertinent data.
5. Security: (At this point Mr. Tulkens entered the meeting). Mr. Crowe explained the proposed system and commented on the costs (cf. Minutes of the Committee Meeting under this item. He emphasized that the matter had not to be decided in this meeting and asked the Presidents to take a copy of the Security Sub-Committee's Report with them, in order to discuss it within their own committees. He requested all Presidents to report back to the Committee before the end of November 1976.
Mr. Howell informed those present that a security system is already functioning in the U.S.A.: Stolen books are regularly reported in the Antiquarian Bookman. This periodical is also widely read by European antiquarian booksellers.
Mr. Lawson wondered whether some libraries, often victims of thefts, would not be willing to share in the costs. He also mentioned that the British Association had addressed itself to the UNESCO with the request of financial help. Mr. Lawson read the letter which was received in answer which sounded somewhat hopeful. Possibly UNESCO would also be willing to support the League's internationally oriented Security System.
Mr. Magis suggested asking a private computer firm to make an estimate of costs. He also wanted to know if, when the results after the first year proved to be unsatisfactory, the project could be abandoned.
Mr. Crowe answered in the affirmative.
7. Bibliographical Prize: Review and Future: Mr. Deny reported on this year's award of the Triennial Prize and changes proposed by the Jury (cf. Minutes of the Committee Meeting under this item). The changes in question (2 copies to be sent for review - increase of the amount of the Prize to $1000,- ) were approved unanimously.
Mr. Deny was thanked for all the work he had been willing to do as the Secretary of the Bibliographical Prize during the past fifteen wars and in his place Dr. Frieder Kocher-Benzing was elected as the new Secretary. (Applause) .
8. Amendment to the Rules (For the exact wording of the proposal by the S.L.A.M. cf. the Minutes of the Committee's Meeting under this item) .
The Amendment was adopted without discussion, unanimously.
9. Further Congresses and Meetings : The original plans provided for a Presidents' Meeting in Los Angeles in 1978 and a Congress in Switzerland in 1979.
Mr. Laube stated that both the Societe Internationale des Bibliophiles (of which several antiquarian booksellers arc a member) and the International League of Antiquarian Booksellers have congresses every two years in the month of September. During the past years the dates have partly or nearly overlapped which is unfortunate. In the view of Mr. Laube the members of the Societe are our customers and they wouldsurely appreciate if the League would change the data of its Congress to alternating years. Therefore Mr. Laube suggested that after the Congress in Germany in 1977 another Congress should take place in 1978. The Swiss Association was willing to organize such Congress in Switzerland.
An extensive exchange of opinions followed Mr. Laube's statement in which chiefly Mr. Howell and Mr. Laube took part. It was finally agreed that the Swiss Association would organize a Congress in 1978 and the American Association one in 1980 (at the American East Coast). For the Presidents' Meetings of either 1979 or 1981 Mr. Nitta tentatively mentioned Kyoto.
10. Symposium: As time was progressing Mr. Crowe shortly summarized what was discussed on this item of the Agenda during the preceding Committee Meeting. (Cf. Minutes of the Committee Meeting under this point). He suggested that the organisation be left to the Committee, but asked the Presidents to report on themes they wanted to discuss.
Mr. Nitta mentioned the training of young antiquarian booksellers as a possible topic for discussion.
11. Elections: Proposed by the Committee were the following:
a) For President: Stanley Crowe
b) For Vice-President: Bob de Graaf
c) For General Secretary: Dr. Maria Conradt
d) For Member of the Committee (re-election): Mitsuo Nitta.
The President proposed a secret vote to be controlled by the scrutineers.
The above mentioned candidates were elected unanimously with 16 valid votes (out of 17: one vote invalid). In the exchange of thanks and congratulations which followed the new President, Mr. Stanley Crowe, warmly thanked the retiring President. Dr. Frieder Kocher-Benzing, for everything he had done for the League during his term as a President. (Applause).
There being no further business (point 12), the new President closed the meeting with a vote of thanks to the interpreter, Mr. Edgar Franco at 2.10 p.m
(Minutes Bob de Graaf revised by Stanley Crowe).
A LETTER FROM THE PRESIDENT
Dear colleague - wherever this may reach you.
This Newsletter will tell you what is currently happening within the International League of Antiquarian Booksellers. Since, as an Antiquarian Bookseller, this represents matters of interest to you, I hope you will spare a few moments to read it. If you have any useful comments please send them to me.
I want in this brief preamble to mention one or two subjects. The first Antiquarian Book Fair took place in London a little less than twenty years ago. Now they are frequent and spread across the World. It has been said that there are already too many but I would regard this as arguable. The indisputable factor is their importance. This is indicated by the recent Antiquarian Book Fair in London, on June 14th, 15th and 16th, when the volume of trade in three days was not a lot short of a million dollars. Looking forward to the International Antiquarian Book Fair in Diisseldorf, following the Congress, where I shall hope to meet many of you, I think the same sort of result can be expected confidently. To my way of thinking it matters little whether there are too many or too few - that will take care of itself. I regard as of paramount importance for the continued success of Antiquarian Book Fairs sponsored by members of the League, that the exhibits shall always be of good quality and the integrity of Booksellers taking part beyond question.
Many of you - and let me add - the more the merrier - will be coming to Diisseldorf in September. During the Congress we shall hold a Seminar and discuss several important aspects of our trade - you can read about it further on in these pages. We live in times of change and this seems a sensible thing to do. Whatever country we come from, we are united in our common interests, and I hope in the future that whenever we meet as a body, we shall have time to discuss among ourselves subjects of importance to us. If, dear colleague, there is a matter which you feel could or should be usefully talked about, please write to me. I cannot promise that it will go on the Agenda but I can assure you of serious consideration.
I hear that Dr. Susan Bach has now retired from office as President of the Brazilian Antiquarian Booksellers Association. I thank her for the years of friendly co-operation and extend a welcome to Mr. WaIter Geyerhahn who has succeeded her.
Our sympathies go to the Boekhandel De Slegte of Amsterdam whose premises in the Kalverstraat were destroyed in a disastrous fire. We wish them every success in the formidable task of building again a fine stock of antiquarian books and prints.
Finally, I record with pleasure and send our congratulations and good wishes to Mr. U. Sakai, President of the Antiquarian Booksellers Association of Japan, on the marriage on May 15th, 1977, of his son Takehiko with a charming young lady called Michiko. May their life together be long and happy!
MINUTES OF THE COMMITTEE MEETING
LONDON, FEBRUARY 21, 1977
Present: The complete Committee:
Stanley Crowe, President
Bob de Graaf, Vice-President
Hans Bagger, Treasurer
Dr. Maria Conradt, General Secretary
Mitsuo Nitta, Pierre Petitot, William Salloch, Committee Members
Mr. Dudley Massey, President of Honour.
Apologies were received from Messrs. Fl. Tulkens, Menno Hertzberger, Einar Gronhodt Pedersen, Presidents of Honour.
The President opened the Meeting at 2.30 p.m. and welcomed those present. He then proceeded to consider the Agenda.
1. To approve the Minutes of the meetings in Brussels:
These Minutes were approved unanimously and without discussion. The Minutes were signed by the President.
(a) President: In regard to the changes in the dates of Congresses discussed at the Presidents Meeting in Brussels to avoid conflict with those of The International Society of Bibliophiles, the President reported that he had received confirmation from Mr. A. Laube that the Swiss Association would hold a Congress in Zurich, in September, 1978. The President had received an enquiry from the Provincial Booksellers Fairs Association of Great Britain as to whether they could join the League. He had replied that the rules of the League only permit membership to National Associations. Those of their members who are already members of the A.B.A. have the advantage of League membership, Arrangements for the Dusseldorf Congress and Book Fair progress.
Our past President, Dr. Frieder Koeher-Benzing, has been invited by the German committee to undertake certain duties in this respect.
The formal announcement of the winner of the Bibliographical Prize had been made by the Antiquarian Booksellers Association of America. and the presentation of the Prize will take place at the Annual General Meeting of the A.B.A.A. on March 30th, 1977. The new Secretary of the Bibliographical Prize, Dr. Frieder KocherBenzing, hopes to be present.
There have been made changes in the presidency of three National Associations. In Austria, the President is now Mr. Werner Tauber. In Italy, Mr.Renzo Rizzi, and in the Netherlands, Mr. A. van Gendt.
(b) Secretary: The General Secretary reported that her work had been mainly routine. Plaques of the Sign of the League for display are available, and also copies of the Statutes of the League. Both may be had on application to the General Secretary. The President agreed to enquire how many plaques are still in the hands of the manufacturers and, if only a small number, to purchase them.
(c) Treasurer: The Treasurer presented a statement of receipts and disbursements from September 1st to December, 31st, 1976. The last subscription due for 1976 had now been paid. Two advertisements in the last Newsletter remained unpaid. Not included in the statement is the cash in a Dutch Savings Account. This will be included in his statement presented at the Dusseldorf Congress. Accounts for the dues for 1977 had been sent to all National Associations. Payment had been made by Brazil, Denmark, Italy and Sweden. A letter from Mr. Rumbler, President of the German Association, had been received proposing a specific contribution from the League towards the cost of the Düsseldorf Congress. It was pointed out that normally the League pays the cost of
the accommodation required for the official meetings of the Congress, and it was proposed that the German Association be asked to provide an estimate.
3. Directory. Editor's Report: The second proofs of the Directory have been sent to the National Associations. It is now only possible to correct misprints. The Directory will be published early in April, 1977. The President will write a preface to the Directory.
The need to give publicity to the new edition of the Directory was discussed, both to make it more widely known as a publication, and to sell more copies. It was agreed to consider taking advertisements in certain appropriate journals and to offer copies for review where advantageous. It would be made clear that copies may be obtained from all National Associations, and through normal book-trade channels. Wherever possible, orders would be passed to the relevant National Association. It is hoped to get the Directory included in lists of new publications in as many countries as possible.
4. Newsletter. Editor's Report: Mr. De Graaf informed the Committee that the next Newsletter, No. 28, will be published on March 1st. Regarding the advertisements, they have increased a little compared to the Newsletter 27. Newsletter 29 will contain the Agenda for the Congress at Düsseldorf. More advertisements are needed to make the Newsletter self supporting and the National Presidents are asked to encourage their members to take advertising space. The deadline for the publication of Newsletter 29 will be July 1st, 1977.
The President proposed that articles on matters of interest to the trade should be included in the Newsletter. This was agreed and left to the Editor's discretion according to space available. The New York Public Library had requested the receipt of the Newsletter. It was agreed that this should be sent and it was considered appropriate that it should be made available by the A.B.A.A. It was thought, in principle, that similar requests from important libraries would be conceded but at the discretion of the Committee and with the co-operation of the relevant National Associations.
5. Congress at Dusseldorf.
(a) Elections. Mr. Petitor's term expires in September, and he would be nominated by the Committee for re-election.
(b) Seminar: The President circulated a memorandum as a basis for discussion. The Seminar will take place on Wednesday afternoon, September 28th, 2.30 p.m. to 4.30 p.m. From a list of possible subjects for discussion the Committee made a selection. The President will invite a member to write a paper for discussion. It will be circulated in English, French and German.
6. Security: - The Security Scheme in conjunction with the Bavarian State Library - it had been made clear at the Presidents Meeting in Brussels that without unanimity this Scheme could not proceed. Only four countries offered affirmative support, Belgium, Denmark, Holland and Italy. In view of this, the Committee agreed to take no further action. It was, however, agreed to explore as to whether the four countries sending affirmative replies might form the nucleus of a security scheme which might operate to their advantage and with other associations might later combine.
Thanks were expressed to the sub-Committee under the chairmanship of Mr. Werner Fritsch for their valuable services in exploring the possibility of the Bavarian State Library Scheme.
7. Confidential list: No information or support had been received in respect of this important project. In the face of lack of interest, the Committee cannot do more.
The President thanked Mr. Petitot for his arduous work and requested him to continue to foster the Confidential List.
8. Bibliographical Prize: The President had received a letter from the new Secretary for the Bibliographical Prize, Dr. Frieder Kocher-Benzing, informing him that the printed material relative to the Sixth Triennial Prize for Bibliography was being distributed to the National Associations.
So far only two associations had appointed special representatives to deal with matters concerning the Bibliographical Prize but it is hoped others will follow suit. Germany had nominated Mr. Valentin Korner and Austria, Mr. Michael Krieg.
It was noted that this Prize, the only one of its kind and sponsored by Antiquarian Booksellers, was worthy of a special effort to make it known to all those likely to be interested. Mr. De Graaf suggested that it would be worth while, when publicizing the Prize, to mention the works which had gained the distinction of winning.
9. Future Congresses and Meetings: This year the Congress will be held in Düsseldorf, Germany, September 26th - September 29th and the International Book Fair following takes place, September 30th - October 3rd. In 1978 a Congress and International Book Fair will be held in Zurich, from September 17th - September 24th.
The President broached an important matter concerning Congresses: the increasing expenses. He expressed the view that Congresses should be the meeting point for as many members from every country belonging to the League as possible, in which the Committee unanimously concurred. Unfortunately, with mounting costs, increased hotel prices and differentials in exchange rates, there is a danger that only the more affluent may be able to attend. He proposed that as soon as convenient the Committee should examine the whole pattern and arrangements for future Congresses, and if necessary, make recommendations to the national presidents. This was agreed.
10. Any other business: President of Honour, Mr. Dudley Massey, raised on behalf of Mr. Steele, former Treasurer of the League, the question of disposing of papers accumulated during his term of office. It was agreed that only books of account should be preserved and retained in the League's archives, in Holland.
Mr. Bagger stated that he intended to propose in Düsseldorf, that the reimbursement for travel expenses for Committee members, be increased as the $ 150.- now allowed made deter Younger members from joining the Committee.
The President proposed that the "customs and usages" of the League which are the basis accepted by the trade at large as their code of conduct, should be printed separately so that every member, and in particular all new members, will receive them.
There being no further business, the President closed the meeting at 6.15 p.m.
(Minutes: Maria Conradt, revised by Stanley Crowe) .
CONGRESS IN DOSSELDORF
A Note on the Seminar
As proposed by the Dutch Association and unanimously supported by all Associations, in Amsterdam in 1975, a Seminar is arranged to take place at the Palais Wittgenstein, on Wednesday afternoon, 2.30. to 4.30., September 28th. It is hoped we shall have a full attendance and here, for the guidance of those taking part, are a few notes. We shall discuss the three subjects tabulated below which are matters of importance to Antiquarian Booksellers everywhere. The discussions are open to everyone taking part in the Congress.
As people talk and discuss best in a language with which they are mostly familiar, the League Committee decided to offer those taking part the choice of three separate language groups, English, French and German, each guided by a chairman. The questions to be discussed are the same in each case. The discussion papers have been prepared in three languages and the texts are printed below.
The timetable will be as follows: -
2.30. Welcome by the President of the League.
2.50. Divide into three separate groups and discussion commences.
3.55. Discussions close.
4.pm. Reassemble and each chairman to report briefly conclusions (maximum of five minutes allowed). Each report to be translated.
4.30 President of the League to close the proceedings.
A Report of the discussions will appear in the next Newsletter.
SUBJECTS FOR DISCUSSION, SEMINAR, 1977
1. That the supply of books printed between 1450-1800 will considerably diminish in the course of time and will only support fewer dealers at much increased prices.
a. Does the meeting agree? If answered affirmatively, is the meeting of the opinion that it will apply equally to all the various categories of the antiquarian book trade, roughly divided into (1) old and rare books; (2) scholarly old books, science, travel and similar; (3) old prints and maps.
b. Is this statement thought likely to prove true of all countries? Please name any considered least liable to be affected.
c. Is there any positive way in which the antiquarian trade can itself influence the situation?
d. Is it thought probable that a price-mechanism dependent on supply and demand will in any case control the situation.
e. If a shortage of material coming onto the market should develop, would much increased prices encourage the supply?
2. That the opportunities for antiquarian booksellers in the world at large in years to come will remain, but will be more demanding in standards of personal and professional knowledge and experience, and will only be open to those with considerable capital resources.
a. Is this opinion shared? Can personal and professional knowledge and expertise on the part of the antiquarian bookseller be the prime conditions for success, or is the amount of capital available a much more important factor?
b. In certain circumstances either now or in the future can personal capacities and knowledge outweigh a lack of capital?
c. What possibilities are open to antiquarian booksellers to attract capital and how can a rate of turnover be increased?
d. How can an antiquarian bookseller best survive in a modern world, with ever increasing costs and in a changing situation: should he seek amalgamation with another bookseller or booksellers, or should he reduce his scope of operation by specialisation?
3. How best to train young antiquarian booksellers in this day and age to confront the future?
In the light of answers to questions 1 and 2, what do you suggest?