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London 1956 | | London 1956

London 1956

Published on 12 May 2012



September 9th – 13th, 1956








This year the League has the honour of being the guests of the British Association and at the same time celebrating with our British friends the Fiftieth Anniversary of their Association – Antiquarian Booksellers’ Association (International). We bring to London our congratulations and sincere good wishes upon the ABA reaching its fiftieth year, and also wishing that the future years will add lustre to the name of the ABA our much honoured and eldest Association.

This report will deal with the work of the Committee since our last Congress, and will be the basis for our Agenda as the Congress.



A copy of the Balance Sheet has already been sent to each President, an up to date account together with the Treasurer’s Report, will be submitted at the Congress.

In looking at the Balance Sheet it must be noted that a loss of £181.7.6 occurred on Administration, and a loss of £250.5.3 on receipts and expenditures. These losses were mostly incurred y the New York Congress, where expenses of interpreters and typists were high. The cash position was £428.0.0 – and had fallen at May 31st to £100.0.0. However, by sales of the Directory (Supplement) and the Dictionary, the amount owing to the League at this date was £1766.0.0.

At September, there would be a substantial cash position brought about by the sale of our publications, but we are still a long way from achieving the proposal by Austria in New York i.e. the creation of a permanent office.

To do this we need more money either by increased subscriptions or by special gifts, similar to that received from the ABA two years ago, which together with the receipt from the sale of our publications might give us a capital of some £3000.0.0 – refreshed each year by the Annual Subscriptions – and so make a Permanent Office possible for the good of the League, and all its Members, and certainly a more efficiently run organisation.

Will all Presidents give this matter their close attention, and perhaps make some suggestions at the Congress? Our League is now ten years old, and deserves permanent headquarters.



The report by the two Editors Messrs. Muir and Poursin was given as a supplement to the Minutes of the London meeting of the Committee, held on February 10th last. They explained the difficulties they had to overcome to finally get the work completed.

700 copies of this Supplement our of 1000 have been sold, the necessity of issuing a new and complete Directory must be discussed. The full co-operation of all Presidents is needed to publish, say in 1958, a new edition of the Directory.



The Dictionary was ready for distribution early in April, and once again we must all thank Mr. Hertzberger, our Editor in Chief, for completing this important work.

An edition of 2000 copies had been printed of which 970 had been sold up to July this year.

The Committee authorised the President to present copies to all those who had helped in the preparation of this work, their names are to be found in the Preface and are repeated here:

M. Georges Blaizot (France)

M. André Poursin (France)

M. Lucas (France)

Mr. J. I. Davis (London)

Dr. E. Hauswedell (Hamburg)

Mr. G. Strand (Copenhagen)

Mr. G. Pehrsson (Stockholm)

M. J. L. Gili (Great Britain)

Mr. B. de Graaf (Amsterdam)

M. Maurice Blancheteau (France)

M. Lucien Scheler (France)

Mr. Percy Muir (Great Britain)

Mr. R. Wormser (New York)

Mr. Nebehay (Vienna)

Mr. G. O. Adelborg (Stockholm)

Prof. M. Armanni (Milan)

Mr. G. F. Brouwer (Amsterdam)

to each and all we offer our appreciation and gratitude.

The Committee also authorised the President to send Presentation Copies to all those who form our Committee of Honour, this has been done, and the President sent a personal letter to each Member.

A new title-page would be printed for the remaining 1000 copies – showing that the Dictionary was “Published under the Auspices of the ILAB”.



This matter had been fully discussed by the Committee at both its meetings, it had been advised by M. Pierre Chrétien (President of SLAM) and to whom the Committee are greatly indebted. The Decision arrived at, as mentioned in the Minutes of the Brussels’ Meeting, is that the idea of holding an International Exhibition is postponed.



Confidential Lists (due in May and November). No lists were received either in November or May. Some Countries had sent in a ‘nil’ return, and two lists were still in preparation. Although this is a very happy state of affairs, Presidents are reminded that November 1956 is the next date for receiving Confidential Lists.

Presidents must always realise that it is their duty to protect and help all Members, especially those in other countries, by supplying quickly, information that may prevent a bookseller in his own, or other countries, becoming a victim to an unscrupulous dealer or other person.

The Committee also recommend that publishers of trade papers should not publish advertisements from persons whose name appears on a Confidential List.



At the New York Congress, a Sub-committee had been formed of Messrs. Gomme, Hauswedell, and Tulkens to revise our Rules.

Each of these members submitted drafts at our meetings in London and Brussels, which after long discussions, were finally amalgamated and drafted in English and French, copies being sent to all Associations. At the London Congress Presidents will be asked to accept and ratify these New Rules. Also to authorise their printing and distribution, and to allocate the costs.



The proposals of France and America will be seen on the Agenda at the end of this Report. The Committee has fully discussed these proposals, and now leave it for the Presidents to discuss them in Committee and General Assembly.

A Proposal from Holland was received too late to be discussed by the Committee in Brussels, it will, however, be mentioned at the first committee meeting. The proposal is similar to that made by Switzerland at the Vienna Congress 1954, which after two successive votes the Delegates showed no interest in the Proposal.



In accordance with Rule 18, two members of the Committee are retiring, and are eligible for re-election.

Mr. Gronholt Pedersen and Mr. Laurence Gomme. Mr. Gronholt Pedersen, with the unanimous wish of the Committee has agreed to stand for re-election. Mr. Laurence Gomme has expressed his desire not to stand for re-election. Mr. Gomme was elected to the Committee at the Paris Congress in 1950, and since then has been a valuable member of our Committee, his commonsense, clear mind, and pleasant demeanour have made him one of our most popular members, we shall miss him. He will remain a member of the Sub-Committee for the revision of the Rules until such time as they are completed.

There is now a vacancy upon the Committee which must be filled at the London Congress. For geographical reasons the Committee has asked the ABAA to submit another name as a candidate for the vacancy. Names of all candidates will be published at the opening of the London Congress.



An invitation to hold the 1957 Congress in Munich has been received from the German Association – this invitation when made to the Committee was greeted with applause.


In compiling the Committee’s Report I have kept only to the essentials, or rather to the actual work your Committee has been engaged upon; I have kept it as short as possible, without, I hope, omitting any facts, and also in the hope that it will be read by all Presidents and Members of their Committees. The few problems and suggestions already mentioned will be fully discussed at the London Congress.

We must all remember that we are taking part in the fiftieth anniversary of the ABA, and a large attendance will be a pleasant way of bringing our congratulations to this great Association.

In conclusion I would like to mention the Members of the Committee who have wholeheartedly supported me through the first year as your President.

We have met twice – London (February 15th) and Brussels (June 2nd and 3rd) – Our two Presidents of Honour, Mr. Muir and Mr. Poursin have attended both meetings, their knowledge of past debates has been of great service to us all, we are lucky to have these two gentlemen, whose interest and faith in the League is sincere and inspiring. Our Vice-president, Mr. Tulkens, the President’s right hand, has at all times, acted with efficiency and quickness, which is very comforting, and has made many arduous duties of the League pleasant interludes from one’s everyday business. I do not think any President ever had such a hard-working and charming Vice-president as Mr. Fl. Tulkens.

Dr. Aeschlimann, our Treasurer, has attended both meetings and given us full details of our accounts, which for convenience sake are still kept in Brussels. Dr. Hauswedell, an excellent Member of the Committee has devoted considerable time upon the revision of the Rules, for which we are grateful. He has often made good suggestions, especially the one presenting a copy of the Dictionary to all our Members of the Committee of Honour.

Mr. Gronholt Pedersen attended the meeting in Brussels and was most helpful concerning the Rules, and the Dictionary, especially as to how they affect the Scandinavian Countries.

Owing to distance and pressure of business neither Mr. Gomme or Mr. Hertzberger were able to attend our meetings. Mr. Gomme has kept touch by correspondence, and submitted early this year the first full draft for the Revision of the Rules, upon which the other two members of the Sub-committee based their draft for the Committee’s approval.

Mr. Hertzberger, by correspondence and a personal call, has answered a number of questions concerning the Dictionary. In all the League must be very proud of their Committee, who have worked in harmony and friendship, this loyalty to your President makes his duties pleasant and enjoyable, and to all of them he offers his sincere thanks.



1. Appointment of Tellers

2. Report of the Treasurer and Statement of Accounts

3. Auditor’s Report

4. Subscriptions for 1957

5. Report on Directory (Supplement)

6. Report on Dictionary

7. Confidential Lists

8. Report from Committee on International Exhibition

9. Rules

10. Proposal by France

            Confidential Lists. Circulation of information among Associations as to the methods used in compiling their lists.

11. Proposal by USA

            That a resolution be submitted to the General Assembly, stating that the ILAB is against the practice of the “Settlement” and abhors it, and that ILAB urges each member association to do everything in its power to discourage and prevent the practice in its respective country.

12. Retirement of two Members from the Committee at the end of their term of Office.

13. Election to fill vacancy on the Committee

14. Date and Place of next Congress

15. Other business.

Mr. Peter Murray Hill, President of the ABA, formally opened the Congress on Sunday, October 9th, and in welcoming all visitors to London said: “You are heartily welcome to London. As you know, this year is the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Antiquarian Booksellers’ Association (International). This year marks also, of course, the end of the first decade of the International League of Antiquarian Booksellers/Ligue Internationale de la Librairie Ancienne. That the tenth annual Congress is now about to be held in London, we, as the host nation take this as a great compliment, and we sincerely hope that you all enjoy yourselves.”

The principal address was given by Sir Louis Sterling – an eminent collector, who had just donated his famous library to the University of London.

Mr. J. E. Sawyer, President of the League, then thanked all members of the British Association for acting as hosts and for their President’s warm words of welcome.

At the first business meeting of the Congress, the President asked all delegates to give serious thought to all items on the Agenda and especially to the Committee’s report.

The President’s recommendation in the report, concerning a capital fund for the League of £3000, was accepted in principle by all Presidents, and many suggestions were made to raise this amount – such as Auction Sales, Gifts, etc.

The President reminded those present that for many years the League had lived on the generosity, the time and the money of those who were in office. The League was growing and was now ten years old. It deserved a permanent office. The President and the Committee now await proposals from all Presidents after they have discussed the suggestion with their respective Associations.

With regard to our new publications, Supplement to the Directory and the Dictionary, the President reported that sales had been very good. It was a possibility that both publications would be out of print within the year. Prospectuses of the Dictionary were still available, in English and French, for those booksellers who were eager to support the League’s publications.

It was with regret that the President had to report the illness of our treasurer, Dr. Aeschlimann, which had prevented him from attending the Congress. A special message of sympathy and good wishes for his early recovery was sent on behalf of all.


As I conclude this short preface to our tenth Congress, it must be recorded that the number of those attending was greater than ever before; and that the friendship and co-operative spirit that prevailed was truly remarkable. The good such a meeting does for the League in general and the individual bookseller in particular is immense. Without the League it would not be possible to break down frontiers and languages, as the League has done these last ten years. Who amongst us has not made a host of good friends? May it continue, and may the League go forward, ever increasing in prestige and honour.

Come what may we shall never forget London 1956 and the sumptuous hospitality of our hosts – the Antiquarian Booksellers’ Association (International).




Item 1. Nomination of Tellers

Two Tellers – Mr. Kenneth Maggs and Mr. N. Cowen – were appointed. The President announced that, as Brazil was unable to be represented, they had asked the British Association to vote for them. This arrangement has been approved by the Committee and was agreed by the Assembly.


Item 2. Treasurer’s Report and Statement of Accounts

The President called upon the Vice-president (acting Treasurer during Dr. Aeschlimann’s illness). Mr. Fl. Tulkens presented the financial report and statement of accounts which were unanimously adopted.

Arising out of the President’s recommendation for the raising of a capital sum for the League, Mr. Murray Hill, speaking on behalf of the ABA said that a suggestion had been made to him that books, manuscripts, etc. could be sent to London from all parts of the world, and a grand auction sale could be held in aid of the funds of the League. The ABA with the co-operation of Messrs. Sotheby’s, would undertake to organise that sale.

The President thanked Mr. Murray Hill for his suggestion, and asked the delegates to consider carefully this generous offer from the ABA.


Item 3. Auditor’s Report

Appended to the financial Report.


Item 4. Subscriptions for 1957

It was unanimously agreed that the subscriptions for 1957 should be the same as for 1956. The current subscriptions, as agreed in Geneva in 1953, are as follows:

In Belgian Francs

Austria            3,828

Belgium           5,568

Brazil               4,000

Denmark          4,930

Finland             1,160

France            21,750

Germany          8,700

Gt. Britain        17,400

Italy                 6,380

Netherlands       6,960

Norway             2,320

Sweden             3,944

Switzerland        8,342

USA                  20,880


Item 5. Report on Directory (Supplement)

Out of an edition of 1,000 copies printed 700 had already been sold. Members were reminded that the Supplement gives for the first time details of the members of the German and Brazilian Associations. A small profit had already been made on this publication and there were still 300 copies in hand.

This Supplement to the Directory had been the work of their two Presidents of Honour – Messrs. Muir and Poursin, who were sincerely thanked for producing this very necessary reference book for the League.

The problem of producing a new Directory – not a Supplement – was discussed, and, upon the President asking for two editors, Messrs. Nebehay and Frauendorfer agreed to undertake the necessary work. This offer was at once accepted, and it was agreed that the form in which the next Directory should take would be left to the Committee.


Item 6. Report on Dictionary

Out of an edition of 2,000 copies only 975 copies, at this date, were left. Copies had been presented to the Members of our Committee of Honour, to personalities in the Literary and Scientific world, and to all those who took part in compiling it; and each association had received two copies for advertising purposes. The total cost of this work had nearly been covered, and when all copies are sold, the result will show a good profit to the League.

The President thanked Mr. Hertzberger, on behalf of the League, for all the work he had done as Editor-in-chief of the Dictionary.


Item 7. Confidential Lists

The President reminded all Presidents that lists were due for exchange among Members in May and November. No complaints of any kind had been received by him during the last year.

The ABAA once again reminded the delegates that they were forbidden by the laws of their country to issue a Confidential List.


Item 8. Report from the Committee on the International Exhibition

The President reported that an International Exhibition had been postponed, but would not be forgotten. The Committee had acted upon the advice of Mr. Chrétien, President of SLAM (Chairman of the Exhibition Sub-Committee), who have a brief outline to the delegates of the amount of money involved (some £6000 to £7000) and of the impossibility at the present time of finding suitable premises in Paris. The President in thanking Mr. Chrétien for the work he had done, reminded delegates that an International Exhibition would be a wonderful advertisement for the League, and as France was the home of culture it was the best place for one to be held.


Item 9. Rules

The Sub-committee, Messrs. Gomme, Hauswedell and Tulkens, submitted revised drafts to the Committee, who had made several revisions. This revised draft, after one year’s work, was placed before the Assembly.

On a number of the rules it was not possible to arrive at a unanimous decision, so after two further sessions of the Committee with the Presidents, a final draft was submitted to the Assembly and was unanimously adopted.

It must be recorded that each rule was submitted separately to the General Assembly before this draft was accepted.

Power was given to the Committee to make slight alterations necessary to the wording without amending the sense or meaning of the rules.


Item 10. Proposal by France

Confidential Lists – Circulation of information among Associations as to the methods used in compiling their Lists.

Mr. Chrétien, speaking for the French Association, expressed the view that each Association should explain to other Associations the method adopted in compiling its list. It would also be desirable that, before placing any one of the Confidential List, an Association’s President should communicate with the President of the Association of the country in which the person in question habitually resided, in order to obtain further information about the person before placing him upon the list. This proposal was seconded by Mr. Murray Hill, and, after a general discussion, carried unanimously.


Item 11. Proposal by USA

That a resolution be submitted to the general assembly stating that the League is against the practice of the “Settlement” and abhors it, and that the League urges each member association to do everything in its power to discourage and prevent this practice in its respective country.

A general discussion followed, and this matter had been fully discussed at the meeting of the Committee and the Presidents, where each President had explained his own politics with reference to his own country.

This proposal was seconded by Mr. Murray Hill, and, when put to the vote, it was carried unanimously.

The President was given permission to make a statement to this effect to the Press.

The President and Committee request that all Presidents inform their Association, at their next meeting, of this decision, taken and passed unanimously, in the presence of the General Assembly.


Item 12. Retirement of two members of the Committee at the end of their term of office.

Mr. Gronholt Pedersen, one of the retiring members, had agreed, at the unanimous request of the Committee, to stand for re-election. Mr. Gronholt Pedersen was re-elected unanimously.

The President expressed the regret of the Committee at the decision of Mr Laurence Gomme not to stand for re-election.


Item 13. Election to fill a Vacancy on the Committee.

Mr. Steele, President of the ABAA, proposed Mr. Richard S. Wormser, Mr. M. Hertzberger seconded the proposal, and Mr. Wormser was unanimously elected.


Item 14. Place and Date of next Congress

Dr. Karl – President of the German Association – invited the Congress to meet in Munich in 1957. He suggested mid-September, so that after the Congress was over delegates could stay over for the additional attraction of the Munich October Festival (October 1st). This invitation was accepted with enthusiastic applause, and the President thanked Dr. Karl and the German Association for their invitation.


Item 15. Other Business

Mr André Poursin, President of Honour, spoke on the duplication of rare books held by many great Libraries in all countries. He suggested that through the League it may be possible to persuade Librarians to part with some of these duplicates, and place them in circulation for Collectors.

Mr. Steele, speaking for the American point of view, was not in favour.

Mr. M. Hertzberger suggested that some help may be obtained from the International Association of Librarians, which he thought would be sympathetic to this idea. At the request of the President, Mr. Hertzberger promised to pass on details of the Association he had mentioned.

Mr. Deny (Belgium) proposed that all members of the League should display in their premised a plaque with the badge of the League, which would be a sign that they were reliable traders. The badge could be supplied by the League at a small profit, and would thus create more friends and capital for the League.

The President asked all Associations to consider this matter. In the meantime, it would appear on the Agenda of the next Committee Meeting.


Mr. Deny, on behalf of the delegates present, moved a vote of thanks to the President for his brilliant organisation of the Tenth International Congress, to the Committee who had worked with him, and to Mr. Franco, who had acted as interpreter in the Committee and in the Congress.

The President expressed his thanks, and said that his sincere thanks to the Committee who had worked with him, had already been given at the end of the Committee’s Report. He also wished to remind those present of what a tower of strength the Vice-President, who was also acting as Treasurer, had been. Finally, he wished to express his thanks to the ABA and Mr. Murray Hill, the President of that organisation, and to his committee and helpers for everything they had done for the International League, by the organisation of this triumphal Congress.

Mr. Murray Hill replied.


The Congress concluded at approximately 17.00 hours.

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