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London 1968

Published on 20 May 2011

NEWSLETTER 17 - July 1968



London, 30th of April- 1st of May


Concised report (compiled by Chr. M. Nebehay)

Meetings held at May Fair Hotel; Mr. Dudley Massey presiding.


1. President's report:  none.


2. Treasurer's report: the balance sheet shows a balance in favour of the ILAB in the amount of $ 21,753.- per 31-12-1967. Meanwhile some $ 1,800.- to be added. Approximately $ 7000.- to be deducted as printing expenses for the directory (see point 3). As it is relatively early in the year, a number of subscriptions have not been paid yet by : Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, Holland, Japan, Sweden. Treasurer not worried about convertability of funds, nor about the future of the Dollar. Any change would also involve most strong currencies. (See also report on committee meeting).


3. Directory. Mr. Elte hopes to be ready for October and is congratulated for his work. The slips of the German association have not been handed to the printer, owing to the unification of the German associations. (See also under: Information).

Of 1,750 copies on ordinary paper, 1,511 sold.

Of 450 copies on thin paper, 405 sold.

Sale of copies advertisements                                                                       $ 11,733

Printing costs                         $ 6,200

Corrections                            $    800

Other costs.                           $    700


                                             $ 7,700

Approximate profit                                                                   $  4,000

Remainders of older editions to be destroyed. Owing to inserted maps (printed in limited number), it is not possible to print a larger edition, nor does Mr. Elte think this to be advisable. It is desirable that each second year a new edition be printed.


4. Confidential list. Information to be distributed by Mr. de Nobele during the conference.


5. Triennial bibliographical prize. All associations have received printed material through Mr. Deny. It has also been sent to countries behind the Iron Curtain. Closing date: December 31st, 1968. Prize: $ 750,-, costs to the League roughly $ 1,500.-.

It is agreed that the winner be invited by the League to receive his prize either at a full meeting or at a president's meeting. He will be paid flight expenses and will participate at the farewell dinner. Also two days at a Hotel will be paid. The press will be invited for a meeting before the farewell dinner in order to create publicity for the League and its bibliographical prize.


6. Proposals:


a) The rule 25 regarding Presidents of Honour be revised.

Mr. Ingo Nebehay points out that we already have eight presidents of honour and thinks that, valuable as their advice may be, their presence might hinder the work of the committee. The rule 25 is in fact erroneously rendered in French and in English and will be revised with all the rules. (See point 8).

A resolution is accepted not to nominate any new presidents of honour before at least a period of three years after retirement from office.

b) Creation of a permanent secretariat. The treasurer points out that this would only be possible by asking a « per capita fee » for each association. A calculation reveals that the contributions would have to be doubled for that purpose alone in order to cover the estimated costs of roughly $ 6,400.- per year. In other words, it cannot be done. However, Mr. de Nobele, the new president, has asked to hire a part-time bilingual secretary at the League's expense. Agreed to.

c) Determination of the League's registred office. Mr. Christian Nebehay points out that the League is not registered in Geneva which might be fatal, especially for the treasurer. He has found a lawyer in Neuchatel (Mr. Charles Antoine Hotz), who is willing to act as the League's legal adviser against an annual fee of roughly $ 100,-. He will also establish the League -     if so desired - as a non-profit-making organisation (yearly costs roughly $ 80,-). (See point 5 of the committee meeting). Mr. Hotz is also willing to revise the League's rules at a fee of roughly $ 80,-.

d) That rules 30 and 31 be strictly observed. Rule 30 concerns information of the national associations about the committees’ activity, etc. agreed. Rule 31 concerns new candidates. Mr. Ingo Nebehay points out that the committee should inform about the duration of terms of each member of the committee. Dr. Presser points out that the delay foreseen for nomination is too short. There is some discussion, and it is felt that also this point of the rules should be carefully seen to when revising the rules.

e) That three candidates be nominated for each vacancy. After some discussion this proposal is withdrawn.


Two short lectures be delivered during a congress. Brought to the attention of Mr. Gronholt Pedersen,


Triennial Prize. Withdrawn. (See point 5).


7. Training courses. Great difficulties in carrying out an excellent idea proposed by Mr. Hertzberger (See also under).


8. Rules of the League. See point 6 of the report of the Committee.

8a) Compendium if usages and customs. The president distributes copies of the newly printed edition which contains a revised version of article 18. It will be sent out, free of charge, to all members of the national associations.


9. Scandinavian congress. Mr. Gronholt Pedersen informs that the Danish association would be happy to welcome the next conference of the League at Copenhagen early in September 1969. Participation-fee per visitor: US-$ 40,-. The invitation of the Danish association is applauded.

Next events: Presidents meeting and a bookfair in Paris, in 1970, a congress in London, September, 1971.


10. Election of President, Vice-president and two committee members: secret vote.

New president: Fernand de Nobele, Paris.

Vice-president: Max Elte, Den Haag.

Of three candidates for committee-members, the votes are for: Mme Fiametta Witt-Olschki (Florence) and Mr. Stanley Crowe (London). The retiring president Mr. Dudley Massey is thanked for all his work. So is Mr. Antoine Grandmaison, Paris, who very nobly stood back from re-election in order to make the election of another French-man, id est. F. de Nobele possible. Mr. Claes Nyegaard is also very warmly thanked for his work and his retirement is especially regretted in view of the forthcoming congress in a Scandinavian country.

Information : The newly united German association is named: Verband deutscher Antiquare. Location: Mayence. President: Dr. Presser.


After his election as President, Mr. De NobeIe gave the following speech:

1948-1968.          Twenty years of the life of the League during which I do not think I have missed one single congress. I am therefore accustomed to changes of office. The new president is grateful for the confidence which has been shown in him and assures you that he will do his best. So, to mark a change in the procedure, I will not thank you, and I hope that you too will do your best. Some people have claimed that the League was becoming drowsy and even sleeping, in short that it was inefficient. My friend Dudley Massey has been accused of being responsible for this state of affairs. It has even been imparted that there was no point in going so far (to the D.S.A.) and at such a high cost for so little (the Americans will most certainly thank you for this). All this is quite unfair, because if your President did not blow his own trumpet for the work carried out over the past year, it is partly because he is modest; and partly because you are responsible too. Why? Because if you want the League to work, then you must work for it. Give your Committee other suggestions, other proposals than the eternal amendment to the Statutes which, however, I admit, do need to be reviewed.

A reminder of the usages and customs defined by the League and adopted by your associations appears regularly at each congress. After so many years of international collaboration, some people still ask for catalogues to be sent to booksellers at the same time as they are sent to individuals. In the same way they press for the 10%, while others refuse these justifiable desires forgetting that reciprocity can play for them or against them according to their own attitude.

Your Committee is an engine pulling a train whose brakes are jammed. It cannot intervene - as we have learned from experience -    in the internal affairs of a country, and we had to wait for years for the end of the German dispute.

Making propositions to the Committee, suggesting useful amendments to the Statutes, proposing candidates for vacant posts, all this must be done well in advance. Thus any suggestion arising from the discussions held during our meeting cannot be accepted and so confirmed until the next congress in September 1969. The new committee will then have existed for 18 months, and will only have the same length of time left until its term of office comes to an end and a change of members takes place. It will therefore have accomplished nothing more than previous committees.

The News Report which your Committee should publish regularly only appears from time to time because nobody - I mean no association -            can be bothered to forward their news to it. Furthermore, this report can only be distributed through the associations of which the majority of the secretariats put the copies aside for several weeks before forwarding them to their members.

Is there one association which sends in time - or even sends at all - news which could be useful to everyone: such as exhibitions and manifestations about books; new memberships, resignations or striking off of members of their board; fiscal and customs information.

It seems that it would be giving free advertisement to the editor to give bibliographic news. And so, nothing is done.

I have a suggestion to make to you; if you agree to supply this Report with news, it could: appear at fixed dates, contain advertisements which would pay for the cost of printing it, contain articles of bibliographic interest, reports of manifestations about books, autographs and prints. Moreover, this confirms an Italian proposition. But, once again, the next congress will be held in September 1969, and nothing can be done beforehand. What a lot of time wasted discussing dates of congresses, permanent secretariats, etc.

Fortunately, there are some compensations : first of all, friendship; we get to know each other, we exchange ideas, do business, and enjoy a good trip. Nevertheless, let us be practical: do you not think that the example given by the Netherlands and the U.S.A. when they invited us to attend their Book Fairs should be generalised, that fairs should be organised regularly in every country, each in turn, as the congresses?

Fairs are held in Stuttgart, in London... is A.B.A International a myth or a reality?

To sum up, your new Committee will do no more than previous ones unless you take an active part in its work.

If you want a living League, it is up to you to make it live and long live the League!


The Antiquarian Booksellers' Association gave a sumptuous dinner, at Claridges, one evening during the visit of the League Committee to London.

The atmosphere was friendly, the food excellent and toasts and speeches were exchanged. About seventy people were present to receive the members of the Committee.




London May 1st 1968


Report (compiled by Chr. M. Nebehay)


1. Welcome to new committee members: Mme Fiametta Witt- Olschki, Florence and Mr. Stanley Crowe, London.


2. Terms of office for all committee members:

President: F. de Nobele, 3 years (until 1971).

Vice-president: M. Elte, 3 years (until 1971, expiration of second term).

Treasurer: G. Steele, 1 year (until 1969, expiration of second term).

Christian M. Nebehay, 1 year (until 1969, expiration of first term).

Mme F. Witt-Olschki, 3 years (until 1971, expiration of first term).

Stanley Crowe, 3 years (until 1971, expiration of first term).


3. Work to be done: distribution of news. Proces verbal as quickly as possible. Abridged report on committee meetings to be compiled by Christian Nebehay, and to be sent out to committee members and presidents.

4. News letter: appeal to all presidents to give information on changes of addresses, etc. promptly. President asks to use the services of a French information service. Costs approximately 120 F per year.

5. Legal seat of the ILAB: the following inquiries will be undertaken before Mr. Nebehay contacts Maitre Ch. A. Hotz, Neuchatel, again:

a) Past president Deny will inquire at the Palais Mondial, Bruxelles and report after May, 25th.

b) The president will gather information in Paris about the possibility of a seat in Paris in accordance with the law of 1901 concerning non-profit making associations.

Rule 30, second sentence, to be changed according to the demand of the Austrian association. This is a memento only, as it has been agreed to have the rules of the ILAB revised by Mr. Ch. A. Hotz of Neychatel, (See number 8).

President has heard rumours of abstention of votes at election of Vice-president because only one and not two candidates were presented. For future election, the committee will make it clear who stands for re-election, but that it is up to the presidents to name other candidates.


8. Revision of rules. (See also number 6). Dr. Pressler, president of the German association, has suggested during the conference, that the League should make clear to the lawyer what is really wanted. The committee feels that neither language can be given predominance (as for instance French international political bodies), therefore a careful revision of both texts of the rules is of first importance, as many renderings into French or English were discovered to be faulty. Past presidents Wormser and Deny have promised to send to Mr. Christian Nebehay a copy of the rules with all additional amendments, since the time they were printed. The newly revised text to be submitted for approval to the general assembly in 1969.


9. The committee is very pleased to have the next congress in Copenhagen. Expresses full confidence in Danish Association.

10. Funds. It has been decided to transfer the approximate costs of printing the new ILAB's directory to Holland. Treasurer will take that amount out of savings-bank account, thus limiting future income to fall below $ 600,- per year, any amount above being taxable in U.S.A. After some discussion about interests in Holland and how and to whom to transfer this amount, Mr. Max Elte is asked by president to find out whether or not printer's firm will allow a discount of 2% if bill promptly paid.


11. Treasurer's signature. Mr. Nebehay states that he is worried about the fact that the treasurer only has right of signature, thinking of possible incapacity or illness of same. It is found out that the bank- forms provide room for supplementary signatures and the president proposes the following: "in case of incapacity or decease of the treasurer, the president of the League is entitled to act in his name and place". Accepted. Mr. Nebehay will check with Mr. Hotz whether the wording is correct.


12. Mr. Nebehay expresses again his request that photostats of all letters received by and of all answers written by the president be sent to all members of the committee in order to make the committee a workable body, notwithstanding distances. This request is seconded by Mr. Stanley Crowe and accepted.





As you have read briefly at the end of the report of the Presidents' meeting the two rival associations, arising from the division which took place between antiquarian booksellers several years ago, have finally found the path of reason and are now reunited in one association under the name of VERBAND DEUTSCHER ANTlQUARE e.V.

Head Office: 65 Mainz, Grosse Bleiche 16.

Members of the Executive Committee: (elected for 2 years).

President: Dr. Karl H. Pressler (Mainz and Frankfurt).

Vice-President: Fritz Eggert (Stuttgart).

Treasurer: Dr. Fr. Kocher-Benzing (Stuttgart).

Members: Dr. Maria Conradt (Hamburg), Kl. Mecklenburg (Marburg).

We send the President of the new association, and his Committee, our congratulations on this happy solution to what we called « the German problem », a problem which was the cause of many uncomfortable situations as Dr. Pressler describes in his article in the Biirsenblatt fur den Deutschen Buchhandel which gives a complete report of the discussions which preceded the reunion.

After years of fruitless efforts, on October 14th 1967, representatives of the two associations agreed on the necessity to unite. A committee considered a draft of articles prepared by Mr. Eggert. This Committee (Messrs. Eggert, Fritsch and Pressler) met in Munich on November 3rd and decided to send the draft of articles and agreements to the members of the two associations asking them to let them have their comments.

Beforehand it was agreed that it would be better to create a new association after breaking up the two old ones rather than simply joining them.

After the comments were received, a general meeting was held on February 2nd and 3rd 1968. The majority was in favour of breaking up the old associations, but as the quorum was not achieved, another meeting had to be held and was fixed for March 12th, when the name of the new association was found, although there was some disagreement about the words Verband and Vereinigung.

Then on March 29th, by a strange coincidence, exactly 29 members of the Verband and 29 of the Vereinigung met in Frankfurt and finally created the Verband Deutscher Antiquare in an atmosphere of good-will and good humour which ended, after the election of the board, in tasting Schaumuiein and afterwards a dinner.

This only goes to prove that the German booksellers, who are amongst the most individualistic of us all, have shown that they have become masters in the art of compromise and that the problems of reconciliation can be solved if one shows a little good-will and common sense.



The Book Festival has just been held in every town in Spain. On that day, which is precisely the anniversary of the death of Cervantes, the books are taken from the shelves of the bookshops and put in the streets for the benefit of passers- by. In Barcelona, the booksellers take over the famous « ramblas » on this occasion.



18 members of the Nederlandsche Vereeniging van Antiquaren have established a common bookshop in the centre of Amsterdam in a house of historical interest situated at n° 264 N.Z. Voorburgwal. This Association bears the name of A.B.C. (Antiquarian Booksellers' Centre) and on April 1st published a collective catalogue with a preface by Mr. H. de la Fontaine Verwey, the librarian of Amsterdam University, who is well-known for various reasons and particularly for his sympathy towards our profession.

It is therefore an address to be remembered when visiting the Netherlands. It is perhaps useful to remind you that our colleagues on the East coast of the United States also opened a common bookshop a year ago at 630 Fifth Avenue (Shop 2 Concourse) that is in the Rockfeller Centre.


3rd to 5th October 1968 in the Arti and Amicitiae buildings, Rokin 112.

All the details about the organisation of this manifestation were given in the information letter no. 16. We would just remind you that the Fair will be officially inaugurated at 20.00 p.m. on Wednesday October 2nd and will be open on the following days :

from 10.00 a.m, to 17.00 p.m. on Thursday 3rd and Saturday 5th October, from 10.00 a.m. to 22.00 p.m. on Friday October 4th.

We give below the latest instructions to participants

1.Shipping Instructions.

As we have already written in our first newsletter the Dutch government has on this occasion consented to liberalize the importation for all participants in order that no duties at all have to be paid. However, the following instructions must be followed :

a) Please do not take any books (prints, etc.) with you either in your car or as personal luggage. Send everything by parcel-post or as printed matter (registered).

b) Address all shipments, fully postpaid, to : The Antiquarian Booksellers' Centre, N.Z. Voorburgwal, 264. AMSTERDAM

using only the special labels. Do not forget to mention the senders name.

c) Include a list of titles on one of the parcels or packages; send a duplicate by letter (airmail) to the Antiquarian Booksellers' Centre at the above mentioned address.

d) All shipments must be received at the Antiquarian Booksellers' Centre before September 15th 1968.

e) Insurance to be covered by participants individually. The organising committee cannot accept any responsibility whatsoever.

Only when the above rules are strictly observed, freedom from customs' duties can be acquired. Participants who make use of shipping-agents or take their goods with them not only must pay 1% import duty, but are likely to get involved into difficulties when exporting their goods again.

2.Building up and clearing of stalls.

Stalls can be built up on Friday September 27 and from Monday September 30 onwards, from 10.00 a.m, -17.00 p.m.; the arrangement to be completed Wednesday October 2, twelve o'clock. Clearing of stalls Monday October 7,

10.00 a.m. - 17.00 p.m, and Tuesday October 8, 10.00 a.m, -13.00 p.m,

3. Insurance.

The well-known Dutch insurance-brokers, Messrs : Blom and Van der Aa, Amsterdam, will during the next few weeks contact all participants individually in view of insurance.

4. Farewell-dinner.

W e remind you of the farewell-dinner on the evening of October 5 (black tie please).

Hereafter is the list of participants (page 26).



We have learnt through the press that an exhibition entitled The Book and the Censor has been organised by the A.B.A.

The article in the Sunday Times describes the different positions taken by the censor, according to the period and the geographical situation. Amongst the books appearing in the index for different reasons, we will only quote one author and one book :

Rabelais - Gargantua et Pantagruel, censored first in 1533 and secondly in 1938; the second prohibition was decided by the South African Government!




We publish in full Mr. Hertzberger's letter about these courses, specifying that a copy of his letter was sent to all the presidents on June 22nd. The Committee hopes that these courses will be as successful as possible, but emphasises that this now only depends on our colleagues. Indeed, it is to make it easier for the president of each association to circulate the information about the organisation of this first endeavour, that we are inserting it here, asking them to inform their young collaborators and their children about these courses.

IMPORTANT. Mr. Hertzberger (Wittelaan 25, BAARN, Netherlands) would like to have the names of participants as soon as possible, and in any case, at the very latest, before September 15th.

Baarn, June 22nd 1968.

Dear Mr. President,

We would like to thank you for your collaboration during the Presidents' meeting held in London in May, when it was decided to hold a meeting of young people employed in bookshops (men and women) during the Third International Book Fair in Amsterdam.

The object of this meeting, as will be seen from the programme given below, is not a lesson in bookselling. It is simply to be able to show these young people, several aspects of the antiquarian book trade, to enable them to obtain a greater mutual understanding by talking to each other and to give them the possibility of widening their knowledge by asking experienced booksellers questions.

In spite of the fact that we have very little time left to prepare this meeting and also that the dates when it must be held are not very convenient, we rely on your greatest cooperation to have the largest possible number of young booksellers in Amsterdam.

The success of this venture depends on the results you will obtain in this respect.

We consider that if this endeavour is unsuccessful, this should have no influence in the preparation of a two-year course. There are two unfavourable factors against us this time: a) the month of October is unsuitable and b) the time for preparation is too short.

Hotel and travelling expenses are to be paid by participants. The cost of the excursion to the Hague (or Leyde) and the tea and lunch mentioned in the programme will be paid by the I.L.A.B.

To reduce the expenses of the participants as much as possible, we will try to book them into reasonably-priced hotels and, if possible, all in the same hotel.

We would ask you to inform Mr. Menno Hertzberger as soon as possible (and in any case before September 15th) of the number of participants from your country who will come to Amsterdam.

Thank you once again for agreeing to this plan in London, and, in advance, for everything you will do to make it successful.

For the Committee for Courses for Young Antiquarian Booksellers.

(Menno Hertzberger).



October 3rd : 20 h 30. - Guided visit to the Third International Book Fair.

October 4th: 10 h 30. - Visit to an exhibition at the Library of Amsterdam University. Professor Verwey will give a short talk.

15 h 30 - 16 h 30. - Tea. A certain number of booksellers will be present to answer questions from the young booksellers.

October 5th: 9 h 30. - Departure for The Hague (or Leyde). Exhibition at the Royal Library (Meermanno-Westr. Museum). Short speech by Dr. Reedijk.

12 h 30. Lunch at The Hague given by the ILAB.

14 h 00. Return to Amsterdam.


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