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Ravenna 1964

Published on 20 April 2011




1-6 September 1964 CERVIA (RAVENNA) ITALY


Summarized report of the sessions held at the Town Theatre, Cervia


As is usual, as a prelude to congress of the International League of Antiquarian Booksellers, the committee of the League, together with Past President Wormser and Honorary President and Member Messrs. Hetzberger and Tulkens, met on Tuesday, 1st September at 14.00 hrs.

This preliminary meeting, called to draw up the general outline of the congress, closed at 17.30 hrs.

At 18.00 hrs. the Circolo dei Librai Antiquari welcomed their guests in the reception rooms of the Deanna Hotel.

Mr. BOURLOT, President of the Circolo dei Librai Antiquari, gave an address of welcome to all participants, to which Mr. G.A. DENY, President of the I.L.A.B. replied, returning thanks to the members of the Circolo in Italian.

Then, in an address spoken in French and in English, he thanked all visitors for their presence and expressed his surprise that, in view of the sum of bibliographical knowledge contained in such a worldwide intellectual body, once again at this Congress, no communication of a scholarly or scientific nature had been brought up on the agenda. He closed expressing the wish that the future would gradually fill this gap.

The General Assembly of the 17th Congress of the I.L.A.B. opens on 3rd September, at 16.30 hrs., in the auditorium of the Town Theatre at Cervia, Mr. G. A. DENY presiding.

The President, having thanked all booksellers present, asks the Assembly to observe a minute's silence in memory of those who have gone before.

He extends apologies from members unable to attend ; first of all from our Treasurer, Mr. DUDLEY MASSEY, unable to leave London by reason of his wife’s serious illness; then from Honorary Presidents Mesrs. P. MUIR and A. POURSIN. The session then proceeds with the agenda.


1. APPOINTMENT OF SCRUTINEERS. Messrs. FLETCHER and MATARASSO, members respectively of the ABA and the SLAM are nominated.



The President addresses the Assembly in the following words :

“Ladies and Gentlemen, dear Colleagues :

“Every year I have managed to avoid this report by sending you a News-Letter, which put you up to date with our work.

This year, although the period 1963-64 has proved a busy one for all league Committee members, we have published no News-letter, and this for a very simple reason: if our labours have been varied and many, they related practically exclusively to routine work. But there we have really been blessed.

First, we have had to deal with the Paris International Exhibition ; this idea had to be abandoned, at least in so far as an international and league plan was considered, due to lack of foreign participants.

We had intended to show you at Ravenna the first printed copies of the new International Directory.

If certain associations have indeed carried out immediately the small task required of them i.e. fill in properly the forms prepared for them and return them promptly (and here I wish specially to thank the Italian Association) we have also, and most unfortunately, had to cope with the apathy of certain booksellers. Index forms have been mislead ; then, after enquiries and despatch of fresh forms some have been returned with the only indication “no change”. You will easily see that the printer would have been delighted to print this ridiculous text. Mr. Max Elte, who had so readily agreed to undertake the work involved by this new directory, will tell you more about it at item N° 6 of the agenda. But I do not want to end this matter without emphasizing that we, and more specially Mr. Elte, would have been spared not days but whole weeks of work if everybody had simply filled in the form they were sent in the manner requested, by giving two or three minutes of undivided attention to the task.

Mr. Frauendorfer and I have been more especially taken up with the triennial prize in bibliography. I shall report on that at item N° 5 of the agenda.

The league Committee has met officially on the 11th and 12th May in Copenhagen and unofficially in Paris on 24th June. I shall not enumerate the several unofficial meetings between committee members in Paris, London, The Hague or Brussels, meetings which lasted up to one day, necessary in every case for the solution of some urgent problem.

The jury of the Bibliography Prize met in Paris on 25th June 1964.

The Committee, during this year, have also had to act an intermediaries and to assist in recovering foreign debts.

I should not like to end this brief account without giving you a piece of news which will certainly delight you and which will astonish some of our European members.

Resulting from international meetings in Munich in 1959 and in Paris in 1961 a number of eminent bibliophiles and collectors in various countries decided to form an INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF BIBLlOPHILES. This Association, which was founded officially in October 1963, has for its object to establish permanent links between bibliophiles in different countries and to stimulate, on an international level, the development of bibliophily.            .

Membership of the Association is open to all private collectors as well as to bibliophile societies, libraries, institutions, etc.

As booksellers or dealers in books are barred from membership it has been decided, in view of our mutual interest, that the International League of Antiquarian Booksellers be a member of this Association, membership being vested in the person of the President of the league.

We deem it on honour for the League to have been chosen to represent, in this eminent assembly, the interests of the booksellers of the world.

This closes my report on our activities for the past year”.

No question is put on the report and it is adopted unanimously.


3. TREASURER'S REPORT. In the absence of Treasurer Mr. D. MASSEY the President asks Past President Mr.R.S. Wormser (who has agreed to replace the Treasurer) to present the report. Mr. Wormser reads the balance-sheet for the financial year 1963 and gives details concerning the financing of the new international directory.

After Mr. Tulkens has made some remarks on behalf of the Belgian Association the balance-sheet is passed by 14 votes, with 3 abstentions. (See detailed balance-sheet).


4. SUBSCRIPTIONS FOR 1965. The President calls the roll of the Associations in alphabetical order. All Associations signify their agreement and will pay in 1965 a subscription equal to that paid in 1964. This item is adopted unanimously by the Associations present or represented at the Congress; Brazil is absent.


5. TRIENNIAL PRIZE FOR BIBLIOGRAPHY. PRESIDENT'S REPORT. President DENY recalls that 20 works were offered and normally registered. (See list in our News-Letter N° 11). All these were studied with the greatest care by the members of the jury, who finally met at the Cercle de la Librairie, in Paris, on 25th June 1964.

The President then reads the summarized report of the meeting.

“The meeting opens at exactly 15.00 hrs. under the chairmanship of Mr. G. A Deny, League President. The jury, made up of Messrs. De La Fontaine Verwey, Lelièvre, Nixon and Frauendorfer, meets in full.

The President, after a few words of welcome to members of the jury and having thanked them for the work they have done in the previous 13 months asks Mr. Nixon to open.

Mr. NIXON: Having read the 20 works submitted I consider that it would be a pity to award the three-yearly prize of the I.L.A.B., an amount of $750, to any work which could not be regarded as fully worthy of this honour. Certain items are worthy of interest, but no more, as each of them presents one or several defects, e.g.: errors in descriptions, or important gaps in them, lack of tables, faulty chronology, etc.

Mr. DE LA FONTAINE VERWEY, is of the same opinion and seconds Mr. NIXON.

Mr. LELIEVRE, considers that two or three works are noteworthy and deserve some mention by the jury but they do not deserve the honour of a prize in bibliography.

Mr. FAUENDORFER, had decided to award the prize to one work, but, after an exchange of views with Messrs. NIXON and DE LA FONTAINE VERWEY, in respect of this work, adopts the opinion of the majority and decides to join in their views.

Mr. DENY has also noted the poor quality of the items offered but, as this is the inaugural manifestation of an initiative intended to encourage bibliographical research, he would like to see the prize awarded. After long discussions it is finally decided unanimously not to award the prize for this triennium and the following resolution is adopted :

“It has been decided, unanimously, not to award the triennial prize in bibliography. Certain works, although noteworthy, do not quite stand up to the tests for the award of a prize. The following works, in the order mentioned, have more specially attracted the attention of the jury :


FLOCON (A.). L'UNIVERS DES L1VRES. Paris, Hermann, 1961.

HIMMELSTRUP (Dr. J.). SOREN KIERKEGAARD lnternational bibliografi. Kobenhavn, A. Busck. 1962”

After some amendments to the rules for the following and second three-yearly prize in bibliography, the rules are adopted unanimously. They will be circulated in October.

Dateline for receiving entries is fixed at 30th September 1965. An organizing session for the jury is expected in June 1965 ; a meeting to decide the award will take place in April 1967.

The meeting closes at 17.30 hrs.

(see the complete rules for the the second triennial prize in bibliography)


6. NEW EDITION OF THE DIRECTORY. The President calls upon Mr. Max Elte who gives a full account of the situation. Confirming the President's remarks in his report on the League's activities, he announces that he hopes to be able to supply copies at the beginning of 1965, provided the Associations return corrected proofs in good time.

The Associations confirm their original orders, some increase them. Mr. ELTE closes his statement with the question of publicity, which is without problems, and thanks all bookseller advertisers for their confidence. A few points of detail are raised, dealt with by Mr. ELTE and by the President.


7. CONFIDENTIAL LIST. In view of its confidential nature, this item on the agenda is dealt with mainly in Presidents' meetings. In any case, only a few points of minor importance are raised. Supplement N° 12 is presented by Mr. DE NOBELE to each of the Presidents attending, or to their delegates. Because of a technical point concerning the printing of the cumulative index-cards it has not yet been possible to bring these up to date ; they will probably be ready by the end of 1964 and they will be communicated immediately to Associations having agreed to the conditions of communications of said lists and cards.

Mr. DE NOBELE closes by asking Associations to let him have the names of persons or firms to be removed from the lists.




1) To organize an international antiquarian book fair under the auspices of the League.

2) The Nederlandsche Vereeniging van Antiquaren is prepared to organize and hold the first international antiquarian book fair in Amsterdam.

The President calls on Mr. K.P. JONGBLOED, President of the Nederlandsche Vereeniging van Antiquaren, to put forward in detail the proposal made by his Association . Mr. JONGBLOED reads a long statement, a copy of which is handed to all members present.

He gives numerous details concerning the organization of this fair, its publicity, its length, its venue, its recurrence and announces that, at a rough estimate, would-be exhibitors can reckon on costs of £ 50 ( = $ 140, = DM 550, = FF 700, = Lire 85.000) all included, entitling them to a bookcase with 5 rows of shelves, of which 2 suitable for folios, and to a lighted showcase.

Venue proposed for the first fair is AMSTERDAM.

Mr. DE NOBELE thanks the Netherlands delegates and congratulates them and after some discussion it is decided to determine the recurrence of this sort of fair when the results of the first one are at hand.

It is decided to grant the patronage of the League to this First Book Fair, and the proposal 'thus amended, is carried unanimously by 17 votes out of 17.

President JONGBLOED announces that an organizing committee will be setup and an announcement will be made as soon as the date has been fixed. You will find the latest news concerning this event at the end of the present letter.

Before passing on to the next proposal Mr. H. GRAVES, President of the A.B.A.A (U.S. A ), speaking for his Association, extends a permanent invitation to all booksellers members of Associations affiliated to the League to take part in all fairs organized in the United States under the auspices of the A.B.A.A.  All information can be obtained from the Secretary of the American Association. This offer is warmly applauded.



Members must adhere to rule Nr. 8 of « Compendium of Usages and Customs », and therefore obliged to give at least 10% discount to members of the Associations in the League, of all marked prices of books in their shop .and from their catalogues.

Before calling on Mr. A LAUBE the President wishes most strongly to criticize the unfriendly attitude of a number of booksellers, which has caused the present proposal. He finds it deplorable that this rule N° 8 of the “Compendium of Usages and Customs”  should be a subject for controversy, since it should be unnecessary even to have to make a rule of it. Fortunately, in certain countries, it has never been necessary to invoke it, a minimum 10 % discount being an absolute rule that no bookseller would even dream of discussing.

Mr. A. LAUBE then puts forward his proposal. However, it has been pointed out in Presidents' meeting that it would be impossible for the League to obtain a vote on a matter which, by its very formal nature, could lead to possible sanctions in cases of non-compliance. The President of the Swiss Association brings up the question for the Assembly to decide on.

The question being an internal affair for certain Associations, it is decided to ask national Presidents to use all possible persuasion to impress upon their members that they should grant all fellow booksellers a minimum 10 % discount off the marked price of all books, from stock or from catalogues.

A debate ensues in the course of which certain specific cases are examined.  Numerous delegates speak and Mr. LOEB-LAROQUE (France) puts forward the case of a bookseller cataloguing an item on commission for the account of a private customer. This is accepted as one of the possible exceptions to rule 8.

Each national President having agreed to give the greatest possible publicity to these matters the proposal, thus amended, is carried by 15 votes, 2 abstaining.


9. NEXT CONGRESS. Decisions taken at Brussels concerning congresses having now come into force it is decided that, owing to the proximity of the next date fixed (Spring 1965) there would not be a full congress, but only a General Assembly, which all national Presidents would be called upon to attend.

President I. NEBEHAY (Austria) confirms his country's invitation to hold a Congress of the League in Austria in 1966 or 1967.

This proposal is warmly received and the President of the league thanks Mr. NEBEHAY and the members of his Association.



President DENY, outgoing President, then addresses the congressmen in these words :

“Messrs. Presidents , ladies and Gentlemen, Three years ago, already, you bestowed upon me the honour of choosing me as your President. The sun has run its course, seasons and years have followed and I am now at the end of my term of office.

I should like to take this opportunity to thank you all for you collaboration and for the perfect corporate spirit which I have found at all time in members of the 14 nations grouped in our league. More especially, I should like to thank the members of the Committee, my sincere friends, on whom I have been able to count at all times.

During these three years the work done by the League has really been the work of a team. A team made up of booksellers of different nationalities and languages, but quickly converted into a team of friends , united for better or for worse, applying literally the motto : all for one and one for all.

Like any other committee we have known difficult times, times of discouragement, but also times of gladness and joy. And it is these memories which, when I look back and see the road we have travelled together, make me feel that I have contracted a debt towards the League, a huge debt: thanks to her I have been able to know the sincere and straightforward friendship of other men, something which is very rare in life, and which is priceless."

Then the President asks Mr. Menno HERTZBERGER, Father of the League, to conduct the election of the new President.

Mr. Hertzberger, having praised the outgoing President, proposes to the General Assembly that he should be re-elected.

Mr. G. A. DENY is unanimously re-elected President of the League. Having thanked the Assembly he then proceeds with the election of members of the new League Committee.

Elected unanimously:

Mr. Dudley MASSEY, Vice-President

Mr. Geoffrey STEELE, Treasurer

Mr. Max ELTE, re-elected Councillor

Mr. Antoine GRANDMAISON, Councillor

Councillor A FRAUENDORFER not having completed his term of office remains a member of the Committee.

Mr. F. DE NOBELE being unwilling to stand for re-election the President thanks him warmly and expresses to him the gratitude of the League Committee as well as of all Associations, since  “he has done more for the League than could ever have been demanded of him”.


12. PROPOSALS AS TO HONORARY MEMBERSHIP. To honour their loyalty and to thank them for the countless services they have rendered the League, the President proposes that Messrs. Richard S. Wormser, past President, and De Nobele, past Vice-President, be made Honorary Presidents.

This proposal is warmly applauded and the two new Honorary Presidents are congratulated to the sound of cheers from the Assembly.

The agenda being completed the President thanks all congressmen and delegates and declares closed the sessions of the 17th International Congress of the LLAB.





At the Ravenna Congress it was decided to hold the First International Antiquarian Bookfair of the I.L.AB. in Amsterdam.

We take pleasure informing you that a Committee of the Netherlands Association of Antiquarian Booksellers has already been formed in order to prepare the organization of this Bookfair.

This Committee is composed as follows:

Mr. N. ISRAEL, president,

Mr. B. de GRAAF, secretary,




Mr. M. ELTE, League's observer.

(All correspondence connected with the Bookfair should be addressed to the secretary : Mr. B. de GRAAF, Zuideinde 40, Nieuwkoop, Netherlands).

The Committee has already started its activities and considers to fix the date of the International Bookfair as follows:

Amsterdam: 4 - 10 October 1965

The Committee will endeavour that the widest possible publicity is given to this Manifestation of our League, especially among librarians, collectors and the trade.

This first information will be followed by periodical “newsletters”, which will be issued by our Committee no sooner further data are at hand.





Article 1. The International League of Antiquarian Booksellers, an international association grouping together the National Associations of Antiquarian Booksellers, awards every three years a prize worth, as a rule, US-$750.00 to the author of the best work unpublished or printed, of learned bibliography or of research into the history of the book or of typography, and books of general interest on the subject.

Art. 2. The competition is open, without restriction, but only entries submitted in accordance with the conditions will be considered.

Art. 3. Entries must be submitted in a language which is universall used.

Art. 4. A work already published is eligible only if its publication occurred within the three years immediately preceding the closing date for submission, or have the imprint bearing a date within the three years.

Art. 5. Entries in the form of a specialised catalogue of one or more books destined for sale are not eligible, nor periodicals or public library catalogues.

Art. 6. The Judges.

A. The judges will be composed of:

1) the President of the International League of Antiquarian Booksellers,

2) A member of the committee of the same;

3) Three persons whose bibliographical knowledge is generally recognised. These last three, chosen from countries speaking different languages, will be helped by specialists, designated as necessary.

B. The judges reserve the right to withhold the award if they consider that the entries do not reach a sufficiently high standard.

C. The judges' decision is final.

D. In the case of a tie an unpublished work will have the advantage over a published one.

Art. 7. Three copies of each work whether published or unpublished must be deposited at the office of the President of the International League of Antiquarian Booksellers (Monsieur G.A. DENY, 5, rue du Chêne, Brussels I, Belgium) at the very latest eighteen months before date of award. Next award: Spring of 1967. Last date for submitting entries: 30th of September, 1965.

Art. 8. Works which are unpublished but are not awarded the prize, will be returned to their authors during the two months following the announcement of the award. Works which have been published but not awarded the prize will remain the property of ILAB, except by special arrangement made between the competitor and the President of the League, before the final date for submitting entries.

Art. 9. The ILAB is not committed to publish unpublished prize works. Nevertheless it does not dismiss the possibility of such publications.

Art. 10. The prize winner will retain all rights of publication.

Any further information relating to the Prize for Bibliography awarded by the ILAB can be obtained from the National Associations of Antiquarian Booksellers which are members of the ILAB, or direct from the President of the League.


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