Skip to main content
New York 1959 | | New York 1959

New York 1959

Published on 16 April 2011



Bethel, Conn. / USA December 1959

Dear Colleague,

During the last year three Newsletters similar to the present have been sent to the Presidents of all associations affiliated with the League, so that they might keep their members informed of League news. At the New York Congress it was voted that the Committee should in the future furnish each association with a copy for each of its members, distribution to be made by the associations.

As the purpose of the Newsletters is to keep you informed of the activities of the League and member associations, you are urged to send to the Committee through your President any news of general interest for inclusion in future Issues.

New York Congress. The Congress was a success both from the standpoint of League business transacted and its social affairs. The ABAA extended the most lavish hospitality to the delegates, in which it was joined formally by The Pierpont Morgan Library, Parke-Bernet Galleries, Princeton University Library, Mr. & Mrs. Donald F. Hyde, and The New York Public Library. In addition there were many informal gatherings arranged for the visitors.

Though a resume of the Proceedings is being prepared for distribution, the following outline will serve as an interim report.

Finances. The Treasurer's and Auditor's reports in detail will be included in the Proceedings. In round figures they show the following; as of July 31, 1959.

Cash                                                           $ 5.000.

Accounts Receivable                                     $ 3.200.

Inventory of Publications at cost                    $ 6.200.

There were no Accounts payable. (Expenses of the New York Congress not then included). In discussing the finances the Committee reiterated the necessity of establishing a Capital Fund so that the League can establish a professional secretariat. The League's present solvency is due to the personal assumption by its past officers of many expenses which were chargeable to the League. Such a situation should not continue in a League of 14 associations which have 1600 members. The Austrian association has increased its annual subscription by 10% for which it received the thanks of the General Assembly. To date the other associations are continuing their previous subscriptions though it is hoped that others may follow Austria's example.

Dictionary & Directory. In September there was a stock of 619 copies of the Dictionary; 484 copies of the Directory on ordinary paper and 152 copies on thin paper. You are urged to use your best efforts to sell these publications. Prospectuses are available.

Proposal by Germany, to authorize the Committee to communicate directly with individual members when the Committee deemed it of benefit was defeated. (See Paragraph 1 of this Newsletter for limited authority voted).

Proposal by The Netherlands. This proposal dealing with Article 7 of the Rules was withdrawn following discussion which indicated overwhelming opposition.

Proposal by Great Britain. Proposal was withdrawn because of invitations received for future Congresses, which fulfilled the purpose of the Proposal.

Retirement of Committee Member. Mr. Einar Grenholt Pedersen retired from the Committee after continuous service since the League's inception. Messrs. Sawyer, Tulkens & Gomme as well as your President paid tribute to their good friend and colleague.

Election of Member of the Committee. Mr. Alfred Frauendorfer, President of the Swiss Association, was unanimously elected to the Committee. He is well known through his regular attendance at Congresses as a member and as the head of the Swiss delegation. The Committee warmly welcomes him.

Place and date of next Congress. The Dutch association has invited the League to hold its 1960 Congress in Scheveningen, The Hague's famous seashore suburb, from August 29th to September 3rd. The invitation was received with thankful acclaim. You will shortly receive details from the Dutch association. It is important that hotel reservations be made as early as possible. There will be a registration fee of $ 12 per person for two representatives of a firm or members of a family. Each additional person of a firm or a family will pay $ 18.

It gives us great pleasure to report that for the first time in the League's history invitations have been received for the next five years' Congresses. The dates and hosts:

1961 France

1962 Switzerland

1963 Belgium

1964 Brazil.

Thanks were expressed to the representatives of the respective associations for their kind invitations which assure a continual program of Congresses. The ABAA Board of Governors, as it did for the 1955 Congress, has assumed the cost of rental of the quarters at the Carnegie Foundation Building. The generosity of our colleagues is appreciated.

Confidential Files. Copies of the Files will be furnished to each association to enable if to answer inquiries from members. Information for the files should be promptly sent to your Presidents for transmittal to the central file.





The «Directory», published in 1958, records on 482 pages, in alphabetical order by countries, all Antiquarian Bookshops throughout the world which are members of the League through their national associations. Membership implies responsibility and integrity.

Each entry gives the address, name of proprietor or manager of the firm, telephone number, telegraphic address, postal cheque account number, bank, and specialties. The Geographic Directory lists firms in the following countries: Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, Eire, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, India, Israel, ltaly, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and United States of America. There follows a large Alphabetic Classification by Specialties, an Alphabetical roster of all members and an Alphabetical Index of Specialties and Sub-Specialties.

482 pp. Crown 8vo. Cloth sfr. 30.-; thin paper edition sfr. 110.



in French, English, German, Swedish, Danish, Italian, Spanish and Dutch Edited by Menno Hertzberger

Contains the technical terms used by the Antiquarian Booksellers of the world in their catalogues to describe the editions, conditions, faults, virtues, &c. of the books they offer for sale, with their equivalents in eight languages. - A special system has been devised for cross-reference from anyone language to any other which is simple, direct, and immediate. Many of the terms are peculiar to the trade in a particular country, and no other reference book will give the same direct translation as is found in this Dictionary. 190 pp.            Crown 4to.  Cloth            sfrs 48.-







SEPTEMBER 20th-25th, 1959

By kind permission of Mr. Sol. M. Malkin, Publisher and Editor of Antiquarian Bookman, the following extracts are reprinted from the many pages devotes to the Congress in AB dated October 12.

As “copy” arrived too late to print more in this issue, a further reprint of Mr. Sol. M. Malkin’s excellent resume of the social activities will appear next week.



At 2.40 pm, Monday, September 21st, Richard S. Wormser (ILAB President), formally opened the 12th Congress of the International League of Antiquarian Booksellers, at the Carnegie Endowment Building, with some 60 officially accredited delegates attending.

Announcement was made of the dath of Kenneth Magges (Maggs Bros. London) the preceding Friday, and the president asked that all arise for a minute of silence in memory of him, and of other dealers who had died during the year.

First business was appointment of tellers: Walter Schatzki (US) and W. R. Fletcher (England). Announcemnet was made of delegatio of proxy by Austria to Switzerland, and the Netherlands to France. Telegrams were read from M. Hertzberger (“Father of the League”) regretting his inability to attend because of ill health. André Poursin and Percy Muir (Presidents of Honour) and Einar Gronholdt-Pedersen (retiring committeeman) also regretted their absence.

President Wormser explained ILAB method of voting: England, France and US each had two votes, others one each. (Based on membership total). He also commented happily on the last-minute arrival of Dr. Susan Bach (Brazil). This, he noted, made “easier the lot of Harry Pratley (president ABA, who was to act as proxy for Brazil) since otherwise he would have had to raise a foot as well as both hands in voting.”

The treasurer’s report was read, explained and accepted, with a vote of thanks to the “tireless efforts” of the League treasurer, G. A. Deny (Belgium). Announcement was made of the subscriptions paid to ILAB by each national association, based on a per capita scale. Although no increase was asked, Wormser urged that presidents re-examine their subscriptions, with view to increase if possible. He pointed out that Austrai had already voluntarily raised its contribution by 10%.

The floor was open to suggestions for ways to increase League funds, with Schatzki noting that many dealers had no foreign trade: those who did might well put aside for ILAB a certain percentage of their foreign business. Bach suggested that dealers contribute proceeds of sale of selected books from stock.  Michael Papantonio (ABAA President) asked that ILAB be remembered in members’ wills. J. S. Canner (US) pointed out possibility of low-cost group life insurance with the ILAB as beneficiary. Other methods of raising funds were suggested, and the chair congratulated the delegates for their interest. All ideas would be considered by the ILAB Committee.

ILAB vice-president, Dr. Ernst L. Hauswedell (Germany), reported on status, sales, etc. of the League publications. “Dictionary of the Antiquarian Book Trade” and the “International Directory of Antiquarian Booksellers”. He announced the publication of a 4-page descriptive leaflet, copies of which would be sent ot all members; he asked that dealers use them in promoting sale of the books as well as listing them in their catalogues.

The Netherlands had proposed: “Candidates for membership who are not accepted by the association of their country, or members who are expelled by such association, may appeal such decision to a Court of Arbitration to be formed by the League.” Preliminary discussion by the national presidents had disclosed that each country felt that it should be sole arbiter for membership of its own nationals, and consequently Holland had withdrawn its proposal.

At the two succedding General Assemblies (Sept. 22nd and 24th), the following items, among others, came up for discussion. Germany had proposed: “That, in spite of any preclusion contained in or implied by the League’s Rules, the Executive Committee may communicate information directly to individual members of the associations when in the Committee’s opinion such direct communication only would be of benefit to the League, Associations, or individual members.” Many objections were raised by delegates: lack of clarity of proposal; powers granted Committee were too sweeping; even though no aspersion was cast on present Committee, possible abuse in future should be avoided. Proposal defeated.

Prospects of an ILAB newsletter were then discussed. Three issues of an informal newsletter had been compiled by Wormser and sent to the presidents of each associations and to members of the ILAB Committee. These had contained resumes of executive committee meetings, changes in administration, membership, exhibits, stolen books, and other activities.  Results had been spotty, some presidents had contributed material, others had not. Wormser hoped that all associations would adopt uniform and regular method of contribution data, especially on government restrictions, tariffs, regulations affecting world trade since ILAB’s 1955 Bulletin on subject.  Discussion followed on method of distribution of newsletters, whether copies should go only to associations or directly to individual members. As individuals are not members of the League, but of their national association, direct distribution might be contrary to the League’s established policy of dealing only with associations. Wormser pointed out that for a newsletter to be effective, some means must be found to apprise individual members of important contents. He felt no re-distribution by presidents could be effective. Therefore Wromser hoped that he would not be considered to contravene Rule n°7 (sovereignty of associations) if he asked for vote which would give permission to the Committee to send newsletters direct to individual members through the presidents. Passed.



Fernand De Nobele (France), acting as proxy to the Netherlands, issued an invitation by the Nederlandsche Vereeniging van Antiquaren to hold the next ILAB Congress at Scheveningen (a seashore suburb of The Hague) on Aug. 29th-Sept. 3rd, 1960. Accepted with enthusiasm.

“As it has become only too obvious in past few years, the League could no longer depend on last-minute invitations.” There had been previous discussion by the presidents, with the following result:

Mr. Blauheteau, for the Syndicat de la Librairie Ancienne et Moderne, invited the League to hold Congress in France for 1961.

Alfred Frauendorfer, for the Syndicat de la Librairie Ancienne et du Commerce de l’Estampe en Suisse, invited the League to Switzerland for 1962.

Florimond Tulkens, for the Syndicat de la Librairie Ancienne et Moderne, invited the League to Belgium for 1963.

Dr. Susan Bach, for the Associacao Brasileira de Livrreiros Antiquarios, invited the League to Brazil, 1964.

[This is the first time in history of League that formal invitations have been received for more than a year in advance].

Great Britain had previously proposed: “That Congresses should be held in rotation by all countries affiliated to the League…” but in the light of the League’s five-year plan for Congresses, Pratley formally withdrew the proposal of the British ABA.

Announcement was made of the retirement of Eniar Gronholt-Pedersen from the Executive Committee. Wormser, Sawyer, Tulkens, and Gomme paid tribute to his services to the League as Committee man from its beginning. Frauendorfer was unanimously elected to replace him. As a last bit of business, Tulkens suggested that Unesco be asked to send a special representative for future meetings of the League.

[League agenda was completed in record time, with - as many foreign delegates observed - “typical American business efficiency.”]



Although the Congress itself officially began on Monday, Sept. 21st, a reception and cocktail party at the Grolier Club the preceding afternoon, opened a memorable week of social events for the delegates and members of the ABAA. From 5.30 to 7.30 pm, well over 200 persons thronged the main exhibit room of the Grolier. Papantonio and Wromser thanked the Grolier Club for ABAA and ILAB, respectively, for making the facilities available, and both promised to make the coming week of the Congress “interesting to all of you.” Food and drink were on hand in bountiful quantities, but here was one place where books came first. In honour of the Twelfth ILAB Congress, Grolier had mounted a special exhibit of “Historical and Literary Americana”, highlights from the collections of Thomas W. Streeter and C. Waller Barrett. [Yes, they both have some mighty fine books left!]. In one of his rare public appearances, Streeter spoke for a few minutes: “I came to see principally Barrett’s collection of American literature… I want to pay tribute to Roland Tree and Mike Walsh in my 40 years of buying… I hope you will enjoy the exhibit. … Collecting has been my good fortune, … It’s a great game”. .. Barrett: … “As president of the Grolier Club, we are happy indeed to welcome you on behalf of collectors. .. We were thrilled when you selected US as host country and glad to reciprocate hospitality when Grolier had its 75th celebration abroad. … Feel free to use Grolier while in NY… A hearty welcome to your Congress. May it be instructive, enjoyable, and above all, inspiring”…

[Alas! There was little enough time for us to exchange greetings with some of the bookmen present, let alone view carefully the entire exhibit. We can only hope that Grolier will make available a check list of the treasures on display…]


  • share