REPORT OF THE EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE TO THE 1961 CONGRESS.
Bethel, Conn., U.S.A. July 25, 1961.
The Syndicat de la Libraire Ancienne et Moderne has invited the League to hold its 1961 Congress in Paris, September 3-8th. You have received the preliminary programme of the most lavish social events. We express thanks to President Pénau and his committee for their well-planned arrangements.
Finances and Subscriptions for 1961.
The Italian Association increased its subscription for the year and the German Association continued its increased subscription of the post two years in spite of its reduced membership. The Committee expresses its thanks to both associations for their tangible assistance to the League. As previous years, the balance sheet shows that the League's income covers its current operations. The figures do not record the value of hours spent by the Committee and officers of many associations devoted to routine duties which, in a League of this size should be performed by a paid secretariat. As is obvious, what have become annual appeals for the establishment of a capital fund have been fruitless. The day will come, however, when the League cannot function without a permanent office staff. In common with his predecessors, your President had hoped that he could turn over to his successor, on established secretariat which would relieve him of at least the clerical port of his duties.
As decided last year, the remaining copies of the Directory were advertised in the UNESCO Library Bulletin as available for free distribution to libraries in underdeveloped areas. Copies have been sent to libraries requesting them. The question of issuing a new edition of the Directory should be discussed, with consideration of the Committee's recommendation that future League publications be issued by a commercial publisher under the control of the League.
This publication continues to add to the League's prestige. The treasurer will report on sales.
The first year's operation has pointed certain factors in the List's operations which must be discussed at the forthcoming Congress. In spite of this the List has been proven to be one of the most valuable of the League's undertakings, due to Mr De Nobele's prompt and efficient handling of information received.
As voted in Scheveningen, the Resume of the Congress, Committee Report, and Accounts have been incorporated in the Newsletters. This system results in a loss of revenue to the League which is authorized to charge the associations the cost of separately printed Resumes, whereas the Newsletters are distributed gratis. As inclusion in the Newsletters was voted subject to its not being too great a burden on the Treasury, it is advisable that we re-examine the matter considering the narrow margin by which we cover expenses.
Most associations are cooperating in sending information for publication, but there remains a number of asscciations whose letterheads this Committee has never seen.
The Proposals as listed in the Agenda are for the most part self-explanatory and will be discussed at the Congress. The Proposal by the Committee regarding reimbursement of travel expenses to the Committee is to correct a seeming inequity in the present rules.
Committee of Honour of the League.
The advisability of revising the roster of the Committee of Honour was discussed at the March Paris Committee meeting. When the plan was inaugurated, member associations were asked to invite the most distinguished individuals in their countries to the Committee. In addition to the prestige lent by these dignitaries, it was hoped, as they were also selected for their bibliophilic interests, that they would serve as friends in court when unjust or burdensome government regulations were imposed. In practice, with the best of intentions, members of the Honorary Committee were so occupied with their regular onerous duties that they could find no time to interest themselves in our affairs. It was suggested at the meeting that we revise our ideas for the Committee and select younger members not so high-placed who would be more active.
League Business Meetings at the Congresses.
The Committee is as concerned as are delegates to the Congresses about the thin fare offered at the business meetings, and particularly the limited discussions possible at the General Assembly. Under our system, governed by the rules, protracted discussions ore conducted at the Presidents meetings, and discussed by the Presidents in caucus with their delegations. This at times makes for uninteresting General Assemblies, chiefly due to the routine matters covered there. Last year, the business at hand was concluded in two days ; the same may be possible this year. It has been suggested, if a day left open for business sessions is not needed for that purpose, that there be an informal exchange of ideas on matters bibliophilic, bibliopolic end bibliographical in a General Assembly. Possibly there can be such a session in Paris. The matter will be opened to the floor there. Ideas could come from it for making the business sessions more interesting.
Export and Import Regulations.
In the absence of settled arrangements among the countries, publication of a new pamphlet on the subject has again been postponed.
Election of President and Vice-President.
The term of the President expires this year. The Vice-Presidency has been vacant due to having with great regret accepted the resignation of Dr. Ernst L. Hauswedell, who so well and unselfishly served the League. His term would have expired this year.
The League is fortunate in the nominations of Mr. Georges A. Deny for President and Mr. Fernand De Nobele for Vice-President. Your President is most gratified by the prospect of turning over the League's administration to these two gentlemen whose capable cooperation he has enjoyed during his term of office.
Election of Two Members of the Committee.
Mr. Max Elte of the Netherlands and Mr. Geoffroy Steele of the United States have both served with distinction as President of their respective associations. They would bring to the Committee their administrative experience and proven devotion to the principles of the League.
Date and Place of the Next Congress.
At the 1959 New York Congress, the League was honoured by an invitation by Switzerland to hold its 1962 Congress there. We look forward to hearing on Alpine echo of the invitation in Paris. The Committee has met twice during the year, in Scheveningen and in Paris. The Presidents of Honour, the Member of Honour and the Immediate Past-President have been invited to all meetings. Between meetings there was a voluminous interchange of correspondence on special and routine matters.
This year, as in each third year, there is a change in the League's administration. Your President believes that this is simply a Change of Watch, not a new voyage. As his hindsight is superior to his foresight, he realizes that during the past three years, he might have done many things better than he did and done other things which he has left undone.
I owe thanks to the members of all the associations, particularly to those who have been delegates to the Congresses, for their patient intelligent support. No words I write could adequately convey to my good friends and associates on the Committee my appreciation of their unflagging devotion and understanding of my foibles. My thanks, too, to my other good friends, the past and Honorary officers for their advice so generously offered.
To my successors go my good wishes and offer of my services in any capacity should they ever be considered of use.
Thank you all for the great honour you have bestowed on me.
RICHARD S. WORMSER, President.
AGENDA 1961 CONGRESS.
1. Appointment of Tellers.
2. Report of the Committee.
3. Treasurer's and Auditor's Reports.
4. Subscriptions for 1962.
5. League Publications.
6. Confidential list
8. Proposal by France that the League support an International Exhibition of Books in Paris in 1963.
9. Proposal by Belgium that booksellers communicate to the Congress any discoveries of interest to bibliophiles which they have made during the year.
10. Proposal by the Committee that Rule V, Article 29 be amended by adding the sentence : “Non-European members attending meetings shall be allowed the average of the amounts paid to European members for that meeting”.
11. Committee of Honour of the League.
12. Retirement of the President. (The office of Vice-President is vacant).
13. Election of President - Election of Vice-President.
14. Election of two members of the Committee.
15. Election of Treasurer.
16. Date and Place of next congress.
17. Other business.
RESUME OF THE MINUTES OF THE CONGRESS HELD IN PARIS FROM 3rd - 8th SEPTEMBER 1961 IN THE CERCLE DE LA L1BRAIRIE.
At 3 o'clock p.m. on Monday, September 4th, President Wormser opened the first General Assembly of the Fourteenth Congress of the International League of Antiquarian Booksellers. Before getting down to work, a minute's silence was observed in memory of those members and their relatives who had died since the Congress at Scheveningen.
After attention had been drawn to the method of conducting the meetings the Agenda was dealt with.
1. Appointment of Scrutineers. Mr Larsen (Norway) and Mr Jongbloed (Holland) were appointed. It was decided that Holland would vote for Brazil, she having been empowered to do so.
2. Committee's Report. The Report, which was printed in News Letter n" 7, was adopted unanimously without further perusal.
3. Treasurer's Report. Mr G.A. Deny, Treasurer, briefly outlined the League's statement of accounts, which is in Belgian Francs, and recalled that his statement dealt with the period from 31st July 1960 - 1st August 1961. A Balance Sheet was drawn up each year giving the exact position for the financial year, i.e., 1st January - 31st December. No observation being made, and no questions asked, the Treasurer's Report for 1960-1961 was unanimously adopted.
CASH BALANCE ON JULY 31st 1961 IN BELGIAN FRANCS
The cash balance on July 31st was: 437,062 BF.
Transactions between Aug. 1st 1960 and July 31st 1961
Travel expenses 13,862
Printed Matter 24,534
Secretarial charges 6,052
Bank Charges 815
Postal expenses 11,226
Congress & meetings 55,561
Printed matter a.s.o. 16,606
Confidential list slips 10,560
Cash Balance July 31st 1961. 524,023 Belgian Francs.
Receivable: 15,179 frs.
Stock: Dictionary 539 copies - Directory (ordinary paper) 245 copies - Direcory (thin paper) 134 copies.
4. Subscriptions for 1962. Each Association was reminded of the total subscription paid for the current year, and each undertook to continue the same amount for the year 1962. The President thanked them, pointing out that the question of a permanent secretariat was still hoped for though the League lacked the necessary funds for its establishment. An annual revenue double that at present subscribed would have to be forthcoming to enable such a Secretariat to function. He stressed that this important Question should be kept in mind.
5. League Publications. The President revealed that there had been a request for a Japanese translation of the Dictionary of Booksellers Terms, and after an exchange of views the Assembly favoured the authorisation of such a translation, leaving the arrangement to the succeeding President.
6. Confidential List. Mr W .R. Fletcher, President of the A:B.A., wished that more ample and more detailed information might be supplied to the Associations; to which Mr De Nobele replied that on the one hand, information was set out under eighteen different headings, to which each Association had the key (and he hoped that the various grades would be noted), while, on the other hand, he could only provide information which was submitted to him. For the most part, this was so scanty that all he could say was where it originated.
7. News letters. In response to the many observations which had been made to him, the President wished to clarify the list of booksellers who are no longer members of Vereinigung Deutcher Buchantiquare und Graphihandler, which list appeared at the end of News Letter N° 7. Among these were foreign booksellers who used to belong to that Association bud did so no longer. It must, therefore, be clearly understood that these booksellers were still members of their national association and enjoyed all the priveledges accorded by the League. A certain lack of precision had perhaps allowed a misunderstanding to arise for which the Committee tended its apologies. The announcement should have read: “The following firms no longer belong to the German Association “Vereinigung…” and nothing else.
Mr. Fletcher (ABA), who had contributed to this discussion, earnestly hoped that the League would make every effort in its power to reconcile the two groups so that there might be one German Association, including all the members from the two different groups.
The President replied that the Committee associated itself with this wish and he assured the Assembly that the members of the League' Committee, not only in their official capacity, but also personally, had worked, were working, and would continue to work to try to bring the opposite parties to a resolution of their difficulties. Other members also on their own initiative had also tried to bring about a reconciliation. After various interpolations (at one of which the President pointed out that the Statutes of the League forbid the interference in the internal affairs of an Association), the Assembly unanimously expressed by a show of hands their desire for the unification of the German Association by the time of the next Congress.
Returning to the purely material question of the News Letters, the President once more reminded the Assembly that the information which the Associations disseminate was provided by themselves. Consequently, in order to maintain their interest the Associations must send in regularly to the League all information relating to their administration (new members, exclusions, various activities) as also all general information concerning books in their country, exhibitions, book fairs, changes in regulations (methods of despatch, duty, customs protection laws, etc.)
8. Proposal by the French Association - International Exhibition of Rare Books in Paris 1963 under the patronage of the League. Mr Georges Blaizot, in the name of the French Association, sketched the broad outlines of this project, explaining the extent and complexity of the problem (it was to be an Exhibition in the true sense of the word, as well as an exhibition of books for sale) ; quality and choice of books (a selection board would be essential in order to avoid duplication), preparation of a catalogue, method of despatch and return, customs, regulation of sales, date and place of exhibition, organisation (arrangement and show cases). He proposed that a special international committee be set up to study and resolve on all these problems.
Replying to an observation by a delegate that the proposal had not been voted upon, President Wormser recalled that the proposal to hold the Exhibition had been unanimously adopted in Scheveningen the previous year, and it was not a question of going back but of going forward, i.e., the foundations of this exhibition had to be laid, and he asked members to be good enough to respond to Mr Blaizot's request that an International Committee be formed. Apart from M. Blaizot himself, the following were designated - Miss Rostenberg (U.S.A.), MM. Hertzberger (Holland), Marley (Great Britain) and Simonson (Belgium). These four were asked to get in touch with Mr Blaizot without delay for the first Committee meeting.
9. Belgian Proposal. Mr Tulkens said that, with the object of making the meetings even more interesting, Belgium had thought of inviting booksellers each year to give a brief account of any interesting bibliographical discoveries they had made. Mr Deny supported this by pointing out that if the administrative side of our assemblies was not of interest to anyone but ourselves, it might be that such discoveries would draw the attention of the press, and thus the general public, to the League's activities.
9. (2). Further to this suggestion President Wormser made known a proposal from Holland which had arrived too late to be included in the Agenda, but the Assembly nevertheless agreed to discuss it. The Dutch Association considered that it would be necessary to raise the level of bibliographical researches and to this end proposed that the League institute a prize to be awarded annually or triennially to the author of a work on bibliography or bibliophily. The prize would be worth 250 dollars or 750 dollars if awarded triennially, and judged by a Committee set up by the League. The prize would be presented during a meeting of the Assembly.
This proposal caused much interest and many delegates aired their views by the close of the discussion. The Belgian and Dutch proposals were adopted without opposition. The Treasurer, on being consulted, said that as things were at present the League could afford to award this prize.
9. (3). Another last minute proposal by the French. Mr Penau asked that Article III of Customs and Usages, « Every purchase made by a bookseller to another bookseller must, unless there is a stipulation to the contrary, be paid in cash immediately on receipt », be completed by the following phrase, «Sales are always made to a firm order without right of return unless by previous agreement, or if the goods dispatched do not conform to the sellers description ». This proposal was unanimously adopted.
10. The Committee’s Proposal: That Statute 5, article 29, be amended by the addition of these words “Non-European members of the Committee attending Congresses will be indemnified by a sum equal to the average paid to European members of the Committee attending a Congress” .
Mr. Wormser pointed out ironically that these would not be retrospective.
On being asked by Mr Howell (U.S.A. ) for a precise statement, Mr. Deny replied that as things stood at present these costs were bound to rise to 2.000 Belgian francs a year. The amendment was unanimously adopted.
11. League Committee of Honour. In 1955 the League formed a Committee of Honour, calling upon certain personages whose presence would give it prestige. The League also hoped for support from these persons, last whether by reason of their being too important and, therefore, too busy or whether owing to our negligence we had not sought their help, or whether they had died, it is a fact that this Committee of Honour has not given us any effective help. Consequently, the Committee is entrusted to revise the List of Members of Honour and is invited to appoint, in place of those deceased, others highly placed but whom are more able to devote themselves to our problems if necessary.
12. Presidency and Vice-Presidency. Mr Wormser pointed out that he was at the end of his term and warmly thanked all those who had helped him during the past three years, not excluding Mrs Wormser who had been a wise counsellor (loud applause).
The whole Assembly thanked and acclaimed the retiring President.
Mr. Tulkens then proposes Mr. Deny as the new President. He was warmly acclaimed President of the League for three years and addresses a few graceful words to the Assembly, and to Mr. Wormser and Mr. Hertzberger.
Mr De Nobele (France) was elected Vice-President for one year only (he insisted) to complete his term of three years.
Mr Dudley Massey (Great Britain) was elected Treasurer in place of Mr Deny, the new President. Mr Geoffrey Steele (U.S.A.) was elected a member of the Committee. Mr Max Elte (Holland) was also elected a member of the Committee.
16. Date and place of next Congress. Mr Seebas announced that this would be in Basle at the beginning of September 1962. He was loudly applauded and warmly thanked. (The exact date has just been fixed 2nd to 7th September 1962).
17. Other Business. Mr Howell (U.S.A.) suggested that the Japanese Booksellers Association be invited to send observers to the Congress in Basle. This was agreed.
Mr Penau (France) asked about Spain, and received the reply that there was no special booksellers Association in Spain.
Mr Howell asked that the two proposals N°' 8 and 9, be adopted. The President confirmed that the necessary steps would be taken.
Mr Blaizot said that the Committee formed regarding the 1963 exhibition had already met and the main points had been established.
The Congress closed with a vote of thanks to Mr Franco for his rapid and accurate translations. (Applause).
INTERNATIONAL LEAGUE OF ANTIQUARIAN BOOKSELLERS MEETING OF THE COMMITTEE WITH THE PRESIDENTS OF THE NATIONAL ASSOCIATIONS.
The newly elected President, Mr Deny, welcomed the two new members of the Committee, Mr Elte (Holland) and Mr Steele (U.S.A.).
1. Final text of the French proposal set out in Article 9 of the Agenda of the Congress after the re-reading and translation of the text of the French proposal, and after a long debate, it was considered that the new text must be considered of the highest importance and adopted, bearing in mind all the possibilities to be envisaged in this section. . With the consent of the French President, it was decided that a text would be studied and completed by Messrs Elte and Israel (Holland) and presented to the next meeting of the League Committee in Spring 1962.
2. New Edition of the Directory. As this question was on the Agenda for the next Committee meeting the President asked everyone to let him have suggestions and proposals of every kind concerning presentation, modification, additions and so forth. Numerous proposals were at once put forward and discussed. The President again asked that all ideas and suggestions be put forward in such a way that they could be examined in due course .
3. Transfer of the Treasury. In order to facilitate the League's accounts it was decided that the new President, who was the former Treasurer, would continue to act as Treasurer until 31st December, so as to close the accounts in Belgian francs on that date. Then he would go to London to make arrangements with the new Treasurer (Mr Massey) for the transfer of funds, etc. It was decided to place part of the funds on deposit at interest in two or three countries, so as to limit the loss in case of devaluation. The President and the Treasurer were qualified to make these transactions.
The stock of Dictionaries and Directories are at present deposited in Brussels, Part or the stock would be sent to England to enable the Treasurer to carry out his task of supplying the Associations.
4. The next Congress. After Switzerland in 1962, Belgium would hold the Congress in 1963. Madame Bach (Brazil) replying to a question by the President said that Brazil had officially fourteen booksellers, but in practice only seven. At the present time, as Brazil was going through a troubled period, it was not advisable to organise a Congress there but she hoped that order would be restored by 1964.
Mr Piantanida (Italy) took the opportunity to say that his country would be honoured to organise a Congress in Italy as soon as possible. Before closing the meeting the President asked all representatives to be good enough to state precisely the addresses of their Associations as well as the names of their Presidents.
After various subjects had been touched on and the Agenda completed, the President thanked the Committee and Presidents and declared the meeting over.