REPORT OF THE EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE TO THE 1960 CONGRESS
Bethel, Conn. USA 15th July 1960
The Nederlandsche Vereeniging van Antiquaren has invited the League to hold its Congress in Scheveningen, August 29th - September 3rd. On behalf of the members of the League, the Committee thanks the Dutch association for its kind invitation, and is particularly gratified that a meeting will again be held in the fatherland of the League. From preliminary reports, this year's Congress will be one of the best attended to date.
Finances & Subscriptions for 1960 As evidenced by the balance sheet appended to the Agenda of the Congress the League is in sound financial condition as far as its current operations are concerned. The German association has increased its subscription to Belgian Francs 12,000, for the years 1959 and 1960, which is greatly appreciated. Many thanks we owe to the British association (A.B.A.) who, as a result of a sale arranged for the benefit of the League, gave the League the sum of £67. It is hoped that a workable plan for establishing a capital fund will be proposed at this year's congress. A League of associations with 1600 members should have headquarters more proper than the filing cabinet of each incumbent President.
Directory As you will note, too many copies of the Directory remain unsold. Members of all associations are indebted to those who through catalogue listing or otherwise, sold copies of the Directory. The balance can be sold with a little effort. At a recent Book Fair, 10 copies were sold by one exhibitor by merely exposing them for sale at his booth.
Dictionary Many members have advertised the Dictionary in their catalogues. This publication does not go out of date. Continue to advertise and sell it. A stock remains.
Confidential list There is little doubt that the League's most important accomplishment this year is the establishment of an international central file of information. Mr. Fernand De Nobele, who has practically single-handed been the architect and builder of this most valuable contribution to the welfare of the trade will explain its workings at the coming Congress. Each association will have received a copy of the file before then.
Newsletter In accordance with the vote of authorization at the New York Congress, the Newsletter is being supplied to each association in a quantity sufficient for redistribution to each of its members. The contents of the Newsletters are as useful as the League's members make them. If they contain no reports of activities or changes in membership of an association, it is because no report has been received from that association. Our thanks go to the associations which have cooperated.
In order to save printing and other costs, this issue of the Newsletter contains the Annual Report of the Committee, Balance Sheet, and Agenda of the 1960 Congress. Delegates to the Congress are requested to bring this Newsletter with them to Scheveningen for use at the meetings. At the Congress, the Committee will propose that the Proceedings of the Congresses be printed in a number of the Newsletter. This would facilitate publication of the Proceedings and avoid duplication. Some justified criticism has been made of the delay in issuing the Proceedings. The Committee, not in denial but in partial justification must mention that "verbatim" stenographic reports must be boiled down, edited (and often corrected because of errors), typed, translated, printed, distributed to the associations, and redistributed to members. Please pardon the comment that if the League had sufficient funds, part of this work could be taken out of the hands of amateurs who do the work in time taken from business activities, and done by professionals.
The Committee hopes that the Newsletters have been of value and will continue to inform the associations' members of all news received.
Proposals As the Presidents have been informed, the Committee will propose an Amendment to Rule V, Articles 22 and 23.
As the rule stands, if a member of the Committee is elected an officer during his term on the Committee, his term on the Committee will expire during his term as an officer for which he has been elected. To be specific, your President was elected a member of the Committee for a three year term in London in 1956. He was elected President for a three year term in London in 1958. His term as Committee member expired in 1959 during his term as President. Had he offered himself for reelection in 1959 and had he been not been reelected, would have his 1958 election as President been voided? It is the opinion of the Committee that the Amendment it proposes will obviate such anomalous situations. The associations are urged to consider the matter before its discussion at the Congress.
Export and import regulations
At the New York Congress it was decided to obtain up to date information on the export and import and other regulations of countries affiliated with the League. Mr. Alfred Frauendorfer has begun to gather information for a new edition of the League's publication on the subject. In view of the fact that customs and other regulations governing trade among European countries are now at sixes and sevens, so to speak, the new edition will not be issued until definitive agreements are reached.
The League has received a number of small accounts for collections during the year and has in most instances been effective in obtaining settlements. It is pleasing to report that only two claims were against association members.
At the request of two associations, the League Committee has successfully arbitrated a dispute between members which concerned interpretation of the Compendium of Usage and Customs. In addition, the President has made his offices available in settling several minor disagreements.
Retirement and election of two Committee members
The terms as Committee Members of Dr. Ernst L. Hauswedell and Mr. Fernand De Nobele expire this year (Although Dr. Hauswedell's term as Vice-President has not yet expired). Consequently it is necessary to elect two members for the Committee.
Date and Place of next Congress
It is most gratifying to be able to report that the League has again been invited to hold its 1961 Congress in Paris. I shall make no mention of GRAND SLAM DOUBLED.
The Committee has met twice during the year, in New York and in Hamburg. Minutes of the meetings have been sent to the Presidents. The Presidents of Honour, Member of Honour and Immediate Past President have been invited to all meetings. The immediate past Vice-President attended both meetings, the immediate Past-President attended the meeting of New York and Mr. Poursin came to attend the Hamburg meeting.
Each year at this time a balance sheet is submitted to the membership by our Treasurer. Through no fault of that estimable gentleman, the report does not include the most valuable asset of the League; the continuous unselfish services to the League and the associations by their officers and committees, past and present.
Again I can express only inadequately my gratitude for the unqualified co- operation of my colleagues on the Committee. Dr. Ernst L. Hauswedell, Vice-President, has again done more than his share in directing the League's affairs. He is responsible for seeing all publications through the press and has made the facilities of his firm freely available for their mailing.
Mr. Georges A. Deny continues to conscientiously carry out his duties as Treasuer. As has been mentioned, in addition to his lively and intelligent participation in Committee discussions, Mr. Fernand De Nobele has given a great amount of time to the planning of the Confidential File.
Messrs. Dudley Massey and Alfred Frauendorfer have efficiently carried out any tasks assigned to them and through their long years of association with the League, have been most valuable members of the Committee. Your President continues to have the benefit of the advice and counsel of the Honorary and Past officers who have put the League's interests ahead of all personal considerations.
To all these gentlemen and to the many members and officers of the associations your President extends his warmest thanks and greetings. It is an honour and a privilege to be associated with all of you.
RICHARD S. WORMSER, President.
AGENDA 1960 CONGRESS
1. Appointment of Tellers
2. Report of the Committee
3. Treasurer's and Auditor's Reports
4. Subscriptions for 1961
5. Dictionary & Directory Report on Sales
6. Confidential List
8. Proposal by Committee on Elections: To avoid certain difficulties which have resulted from practice in handling Rule V, Articles 22 and 23 the Committee proposes to eliminate the sentence "Two members of the Committee shall retire each year," The abridged text would then word as follows: "The Committee thus constructed shall be elected for a term of three years. Members of the Committee shall not be eligible for re-election more than once in the same office."
9. Proposal by France: The French association asks to resume the discussion on two questions which the League already dealt with: 1) Relations between the League and the World Press 2) Exchange of young people
10. The French association further proposes that the League may support the plan of an international exhibition of rare books in Paris in spring 1962
11. Retirement of two Committee Members
12. Election of two Committee Members
13. Date and Place of next Congress
14. Other Business
RESUME OF THE SCHEVENINGEN CONGRESS
Aug. 29th - Sept. 3rd 1960
As a preface to the Resume of the Congress, two qualifying comments are in order. First, at best, any resume depicts the bare skeleton of a live and active body. Secondly, it does not include an account of the gatherings large and Small, official and unofficial which are to many the raison-d’être of any Congress.
The Moral: Attend the Congresses. A good meal is more enjoyable and nourishing than reading cook books.
1. Appointment of Tellers.
2. Report of-the Committee
3. Treasurer's and Auditor's Reports.
4. Subscriptions for 1961.
5. Dictionary & Directory Report on Sales.
6. Confidential List.
8. Proposal by Committee on Elections:
To avoid certain difficulties which have resulted from practice in handling Rule V, Articles 22 and 23 of the Committee proposes to eliminate the sentence “Two members of the Committee shall retire each year.” The abridged text would then be worded as follows: “The Committee thus constructed shall be elected for a term of three years. Members of the Committee shall not be eligible for re-election more than once in the same office.”
9. Proposal by France:
The French association asks to resume the discussion on two questions which the League already dealt with:
1) Relations between the League and the World Press
2) Exchange of young people
10. The French association further proposes that the League may support the plan of an international exhibition of rare books in Paris in Spring 1962.
11. Retirement of a Committee member
12. Election of a Committee member
13. Date and place of next congress
14. Other business
The first General Assembly was called at 2.45 pm on August 30th in the Kurhaus Hotel.
The President asked that the delegates rise in a moment of respectful silence in memory of members of associations who had died since the last Congress.
Before embarking on the agenda, the President announced that free lessons in English for the French-speaking delegates and free lessons in French for the English-speaking delegates were available. It was suggested that delegates be quiet while the language less familiar to them was being spoken to avail themselves of the service. (The happy result was silence during the translations which was a welcome improvement.
1. Appointment of Tellers.
Two tall tellers, Messrs. W.R. Feletcher (Great-Britain), and Pierre Brun (France) were appointed to count the votes. It was announced that the Dutch association would vote for Brazilian association by proxy.
2. Report of the Committee.
The President stated that, unless there was an overwhelming demand that the Report of the Committee be read, this would be dispensed with, but asked for any comments, pro or con. As there were no objections, the Assembly agreed to have the Report incorporated in the record of the Congress. (Report printed in News letter N° 5).
3. Treasurer's and Auditor's Reports.
Mr Georges A. Deny, Treasurer, explained that two balance sheets and report of operations are prepared. The first as called for by the Statutes, shows balance and operations for the calendar year, which is also the period for which the associations' subscriptions apply. He explained that the drawback of this system is that it does not reflect the League's financial condition at the time of a Congress, usually in September. For that reason a second report of operations for the period ending July 31, 1960 was prepared and is herewith submitted.
The Cash balance on July 31st, 1959 was Bfrs. 244,528. The transactions between August 1, 1959 and July 31st 1960 are:
Travel Expenses ... B. frs. 11,189
Printed Matter ... 40,359
Secretarial charges 18,790
Bank Charges 1,670
Postal expenses .. 7,289
Congress and meetings 59,553
Dictionary ... 10,177
League plaques 4,315
Printed matter (report) 21,879
Printed matter (directory) 143,896
Bank interest 792
The Cash Balance on July 31, 1960 was B. frs. 437.062.
Subscriptions for 1960 B. frs. 18,873
Dictionary ... 3,293
Printed Matter 16,837
Stock on July 31, 1960.
Dictionary 577 copies
Directory (ordinary paper) 346 copies
Directory (thin paper) 135 copies
Mr. Deny also mentioned that the League Committee had at his suggestion placed B.frs, 300.000 not currently needed at interest on three months notice at 3 % per annum.
On motion of Mr. Goodspeed (U.S.A.), seconded by Mr. Penau (France), Mr. Deny's report was unanimously accepted.
In connection with the Treasurer's report, the President mentioned that two associations were still in arrears for their subscriptions. He thought that such delay is inexcusable and hoped that it would not be necessary to place the names of two associations on the confidential list.
4. Subscriptions for 1961.
The President mentioned that he had asked the Presidents of the associations at their meeting with the Committee to discuss the 1961 subscriptions with their delegations, and had asked them to not discourage any demand for an increase by any delegation.
The roll was called and all delegations present, except two, pledged the same amounts as for 1960. Germany because of an internal situation could not then state the amount and the President of the Italian association wished to confer with his Committee.
The President stated that through the subscriptions are sufficient to cover current expenses, it is most unsatisfactory that the League does not have a Capital Fund whose income would make possible a professional secretary, if not an office. He hoped that some workable plan for raising such a fund would be put forward.
5. Dictionary & Directory Report on Sales.
As reported in the Treasurer's statement, 577 copies of the Dictionary remain unsold. All were urged to advertise the publication in their catalogues. ; at the Hamburg Committee meeting, Mr. De Nobele had suggested that the remaining stock of the Directories which is becoming out of date, be disposed of to libraries through UNESCO. He has been in touch with that organization which will publish a notice in its Bulletin for Libraries, issued in French, English, Spanish and Russian, that libraries in underdeveloped countries and libraries which cannot afford to purchase the Directory may obtain copies free of charge. Applications will be made to the League so that it will continue to control the distribution, rather than have the entire stock lie forgotten in some cellar.
6. Confidential List.
The President announced that through the remarkable efforts of Mr. De Nobele, the Confidential List had been completed and was being sent to each association in good standing on its acceptance of responsibility. Supplements will be issued as required. In response to several inquiries, Mr. De Nobele explained the gathering and disseminating of information.
The President emphasized that before any discussion of the Newsletters it must be realized that they contain only what is reported to the League by the associations. He again urged that all associations promptly inform the League of all changes of odrnlnlstrotlon, membership, etc. on the forms provided or otherwise. In several instances changes in administration were learned only through trade publications and in other instances through a ew President appearing at a Congress.
The President noted that it had been decided at the Hamburg meeting to print the report of the Committee and Agenda and Resume of the Congresses in the Newsletter. The plan was adopted to save printing costs. Opposed to this is the fact that under the Statutes, Proceedings of Congresses are supplied to the associations for distribution to their members and charged to the associations at cost. This revenue would be lost to the League. With knowledge of this, the Committee after discussion with the Presidents had decided to continue to print the Proceedings in the Newsletters until such time as the cost might be too great a burden on the Treasury.
Mr. Penau suggested that all associations send copies of their publications to their sister associations. It was agreed that this would be most useful and it was pointed out that the forms on which associations were asked to report news contained these words: «It would be a very well received courtesy if you were to send to the Presidents of your fellow associations a copy of any of your publications of more than local interest. »
It was agreed that the Newsletters' value is in direct ratio to the amount of information sent in by the associations.
8. Proposal on Elections, by the Committee.
The President said that the Committee, following discussion at its Hamburg meeting, favoured the clarification of Rule 23, Article V, dealing with election of the Committee. As the Rule stood, in cases where a Committee member was elected to an office before his term as Committee Member expired, he came up for re-election as a Committee Member before his term as officer expired. To be specific, The President noted that he had been elected a Member of the Committee in 1956, and President in 1958. During his term as President, his term as Committee Member expired, in 1959. Had he been re-nominated as Committee Member in 1959 and not been elected, would he still have been President?
He explained that there is ample protection against self-perpetuation of the Committee by the rule against more than two terms in an office. It was pointed out that anyone masochistic enough to do so could serve 24 years, 6 years in each office, but the likelihood was considered remote. Messrs. Goodspeed (U.S.A.), Poursin (President of Honor), and Dr. Piantanida (Italy) discussed various phases of the proposed change. It was unanimously voted to clarify Rule 23, by omitting the sentence: «Two members of the Committee shall retire each year. »
9. PROPOSALS BY FRANCE.
1. Relations between the League and the World Press.
Mr. Penau read a memorandum decrying the lack of publicity concerning the Congresses in the world press. Mr. Tulkens (Belgium), Mr. Elte (Netherlands), Mr. Goodspeed, (U.S.A.) & Mr. Joseph (Great Britain) spoke of experiences in obtaining publicity in their respective countries, particularly in connection with Antiquarian Book Fairs. Mr. Roy, editor of the review, « La Vitrine » was present on invitation of the Committee and offered to print articles on book collecting in his publication. Inasmuch as the Presidents of most associations were at the Congress, Mr. Penau asked whether they would not meet with him for a discussion of the subject. The Presidents met with Mr. Penau on the morning of September 1st. As the matter is considered of sufficient importance Mr. Penau kindly agreed to draw up a memorandum on the subject for inclusion in this Newsletter. (vide infra).
2. Exchange of young people
This proposal was divided into two parts. The first dealt with exchange of children of members on holiday. Mr. Penau spoke of the infrequency with which such exchanges had taken place. In the discussion on the matter it was agreed that the League could only continue to publicize the possibility of such exchanges, which would be privately arranged by those interested. The Committee accepted Mr. Penau's suggestion that occasional reminders be printed in the Newsletter. On the subject of exchange of booksellers' employees, the second part of the proposal, Dr. Piantanida mentioned certain difficulties, including the personal and individual character of the trade and the hesitancy by booksellers to spend time training a temporary employee.
As in the case of the first part of the French proposal, the consensus seemed to be that discussing the proposals had the effect of keeping them live and recording them as desirable.
10. French Association Proposal that the League support the plan of an International Exhibition of Rare Books in the Spring of 1962.
Mr. Penau outlined the plan for the proposed exhibition, stating that all the books would be for sale, and mentioned that Past-President Blaizot, who has always been interested in the project, would be in charge of it. At the meeting of the Presidents, all agreed that the project would be of great value to the trade and expressed interest in participation. They stated that they could not make definite commitments on behalf of their associations until full details were available. It was recognized that an International Fair presents many problems not attendant on local exhibits.
At the General Assembly a resolution of thanks to the French association was voted for its initiative in planning the exhibit which will be of general benefit.
11. Retirement of Committee Member.
As Proposal 8 on Elections had been accepted, only one Committee Member retired at this Congress. Mr. De Nobele's term on the Committee expired.
12. Election of one Committee Member.
On the unanimous urging of his fellow Committee Members, Mr. De Nobele agreed to have his name offerred in nomination for re-election. The announcement was greeted with applause by the delegates. As there were no other nominations, Mr. De Nobele was unanimously re-elected. He graciously expressed his appreciation of the honour.
13. Date and Place of the Next Congress.
Mr. Penau, on behalf of the French association, extended its invitation to hold the 1961 Congress in Paris. He stated that the exact dote, probably between the 10th & 25th of September, would depend on the Biennial exhibition, with which the association wished the Congress to coincide. Definite dates will be fixed within the next two or three months. At the suggestion of the President, the delegates arose in a vote of thanks to the French association for its generous invitation. Those who attended the last Paris Congress will need no further invitation!
14. Other Business.
The president asked Mr. Frauendorfer to speak of the revision of the League's publication on Export and Import Regulations, as proposed at the New York Congress. Mr. Frauendorfer reported that he had heard from half the associations in response to two letters, asking to be informed of changes in regulations. He stated that with one exception, the replies indicated only minor changes, which were for the better. In the case of Austria, new export regulations governing export have been put into effect. Permits from the «Bundesdenkmalamt» are required for Manuscripts pre-1500 ; manuscripts with musical notations pre-1800 ; autographs valued at over 1.000 Austrian schillings ; Incunabula , Printed music pre-1700 ; illustrated, books before 1800 if illustrations form more than one third of the work! or valued at over 2500 schillings; atlases and maps pre-1700; globes pre-1800 if valued at over 2500 schillings per item; books printed within the present boundaries of Austria before 1800; Engravings (by all processes) valued at over 3000 schillings , drawings, miniatures on parchment and paper valued at over 1.000 schillings. Penalties for violations are up to 250.000 schillings fine and/or 10 months in prison.
Mr. Frauendorfer stated that as Mr. Gronholt-Pedersen had suggested that publication be delayed, because of the possible changes in regulations by the «Six» or «Seven» groups, separately or jointly, the Committee agreed that this was a wise suggestion. Mr Frauendorfer asked that all associations in the meanwhile keep the League informed of important changes in rules so that these may be mentioned in the Newsletters. Mr. De Nobele called attention to Article 4 of the League Code of Practices which states that the seller should receive the full amount of his invoice. In the case of bank charges, thosee are always at the cost of the debtor. He mentioned that, some times, bank charges are applied on issuing and clearing of cheques, and urged that all follow his practice of insisting on full payment without deductions.
The President stated that few overdue accounts had been presented to the League for collection, and that good results had been achieved in all but one case. He said that the Committee had been in correspondence with a leading auction house regarding its refusal to accept for return a book not properly described. After some correspondence, the auctioneer agreed to accept the return of the book.
Mr. Joseph (Great Britain) stated that on the initiative of the Italian delegation, he suggested that a presentation on behalf of the League be tendered to Mr. Menno Hertzberger. The suggestion was greeted with applause and the President asked that Miss Winifred A Myers (Great Britain) head a small committee to implement the suggestion. The lady accepted and Mr. Hertzberger has been presented with a silver salver suitably engraved. Mr. Joseph reminded the Congress that the 4th Antiquarian Book Fair under the auspices of the ABA will be held from June 14th to June 21st 1961 in London and invited the members of all associations to attend.
Dr. Piantanida (Italy) spoke of the advantages of having a permanent Secretariat and permanent address for the League, particularly the former. The Secretary could visit the Presidents annually and obtain suggestions for the next Congress's agenda. The Secretary could also serve as liaison with the press and act for the League in many ways not now possible. The President thanked Dr. Piantanida for his suggestions with which he whole-heartedly agreed, but reminded the Assembly that our finances do not permit us to carry out such ideas however desirable they may be.
The President, before adjourning the meeting, asked for a standing vote of thanks to our hosts for their wonderful hospitality. Mr. Elte graciously acknowledged the applause for the Dutch Association and thanked the delegates for their cooperation.
In closing the final General Assembly of the 1960 Congress, the President thanked the delegates for their interest, promptness and cooperation which made it possible to complete the formal business of the Congress in two days.
RELATIONS OF THE LEAGUE WITH THE PRESS.
Resume of remarks made by President Penau of the French association at the Scheveningen Congress.
It was at the 1950 Paris Congress, I believe, that it was decided to interest the press in our activities. As far as I know, this decision was never implemented, and to date the press has not been invited to our affairs. Consequently our Congresses have gone unnoticed by the general public.
This year 1 notice that a few lines about the Congress have been printed by a local newspaper. (Mr. Elte mentioned at the Congress that a number of newspaper in Holland had published good articles on the Congress). My burdening the League with this proposition is because I attach such great importance to the matter. A publisher who publishes a new book, a theatre manager presenting a new ploy, and an industrialist with a new product all invite the press to a luncheon.
This results in columns of publicity devoted to the new enterprise.
The part played by the press as a free publicity agent is obvious. We must try to get into direct contact with journalists, particularly the representatives of the international news service.
I do not know what attention to books is paid in the so-called art reviews in other countries, but in France the old book is the poor step-child because the press is poorly informed about books.
I do not wish to appear to you as a revolutionary nor do I wish to cast in the role the French delegation for which I speak. I want above all to convince you of the importance of inviting the press to all congresses. This suggestion, I realize, is relatively far from fulfilment as it is necessary to give the press something to get their teeth into.
You will agree with me that to date our agendas are too thin to warrant inviting the press. The discussions must be more lively and the agenda more substantial.
The only remedy is to ask each association to create in their body a committee which would be charged with preparing a proposal for sublitting to the League.
We in France have done this though I humbly realize that we have not given birth to a mountain. But if each association would present one proposition to each congress our sessions might last six days rather than be completed in two. At least journalists would have sufficient material in which to interest themselves.
On September 1, 1960, the Presidents of the associations met under the Chairmanship of Mr. Penau to discuss his proposals. Mr Ray, Editor of «la Vitrine » also attended. Mr. Penau opened the meeting and coiled on those present for suggestions and comment. Mr. Ray mentioned the difficulty of obtaining articles from the trade. Mr. Penau suggested that he call en collectors and specialists for articles and offered to give him a list of prospective contributors.
Mr. Joseph said that the British have used radio and television but that he did not think it produced wonderful results, though he was in favour of encouraging the press. He mentioned that the Antiquarian Book Fair had provided good publicity.
Mr. Goodspeed mentioned that publicity given to auction sales was because of high prices and it often mentioned buyers' names. He believed that booksellers as a rule were not anxious to advertise the amount of their sales and the names of the buyers. This lessens the interest of the press in our doings.
Mr. Roy emphasised the importance of contact with the daily press as well as with the specialized publications.
He suggested the procedure for achieving results and stressed the necessity of making contact with individuals on the staffs, in order to maintain profitable personal relationships. He offered to print any articles on books of general interest in ‘la Vitrine’.
Mr. Dam spoke of a series of radio broadcasts arranged by the Danish association with experts speaking on their specialities. He said that the daily press in Denmark gives notice to book catalogues, often with particulars of interesting items and their prices. The Danish association on its 40th anniversary this year has published a 2 vol. work with articles by private collectors on book collecting, some extolling antiquarian booksellers. He also mentioned the prize awarded by the association to scientific librarians, with attendant publicity in the press.
Mr. Penau said that if a small association could be so active he thought the larger ones could certainly do as well. Mr. Goodspeed spoke of the leaflet “Books and Values” with directory of members prepared by A.B.A.A. for distribution to the public and furnished to librarians. The latter have found it most useful in answering the usual questions asked by those with old books to sell.
Dr. Piantanida dwelt on the problems peculiar to Italy because so many collectors are “amateur dealers” (courtiers marrons) and because of the right of pre-emption vested in libraries which often makes publicity in the press a two edged sword. He urged that information about all publicity efforts be passed on to the league for notice in the Newsletters.
It was generally agreed by those present that the meeting was most helpful in making possible on interchange of ideas.