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2010-12, 367, 368, Editorial, Richard Blair


DESPITE MY INTENTION for this issue to revert to the traditional quarterly journal format, Brian suggested I consider making this another double-issue to bring us up to date. Whilst I was initially reluctant, in view of the additional work-load, this is what has happened. A further upside of this is that more material could be utilised and I am happy to be able to include three substantial articles from our Victorian Branch, but more on that anon.

In my first issue as editor (#365-366) despite the utmost care taken, I am aware of three errors, all on successive pages. I was horrified to find, after printing, a wayward line of text in the wrong place (p. 64) — which we ruled out with a pencil in all copies — but I am at a loss to understand how it occurred. Fortunately the errant line did also appear in its rightful place. On page 65 under Editor‘s Notes the word ‘for’ was inadvertently overlooked on the first line. Finally, I apologise to Michael Hough for entering his incorrect email address in his item (p. 66) on the history of the BCSA which he is in the process of compiling. Michael‘s correct email address is <mhough@comcen.com.au>.

Life members Jeff and Betty Bidgood were my first point of contact with the BCSA when I joined in 2000 and were most hospitable in the many years during which they hosted our Sydney meetings. Jeff has more recently been helpful to me since I assumed the dual role of editor and layout person of Biblionews.

In the last issue we reported on the launch of Jeff‘s book Mark Ferson: bookplate artist. Jeff has prepared another publication, in collaboration with Dr Neil Radford (University Librarian, University of Sydney 1980-96 and President of BCSA 2002-05). Jeff and Neil drew together the four indexes of Biblionews produced over many years and converted them into an Index on DVD for the years 1947–2008, covering Issues 1–360. Jeff addressed the Sydney branch at the September launch and Neil formally launched the Index. Their words are reproduced in this issue along with the Index preface.

I have already appreciated the fruits of this task having on several occasions consulted the index for information.

As indicated, three of our four major articles are from Victoria. Two of these derive from talks to Melbourne-based members. However, not the first article, from Michael Taffe. It‘s obvious from the opening sentence of Michael‘s article that he has had a long time preoccupation with PR (Inky) Stephensen‘s Mandrake Press. Michael‘s fondness for Mandrake Press Booklets is admir-ably conveyed in his article, based largely on his own collection.

We all know about Eric Partridge‘s famous Dictionary of Slang which dates from the 1930s and has run to numerous editions, but John Arnold explores an earlier part of Partridge‘s life when he launched the Scholartis Press. Not only do we get an insight into the history of this fairly short-lived press, but John charts the banning of the Norah C James work Sleeveless Errand, the coverage of which alone is worth the cost of an annual subscription to BCSA. This was the subject of a talk delivered to Melbourne members on 24 September 2010.

Richard Overell, Rare Books Librarian, Monash University, has had a longterm active involvement with the Victorian Branch, but his daughter Rosemary Overell demonstrates that the Overell book collecting bloodlines have been perpetuated. Indeed, Rosemary, who is well into a PhD in Cultural Studies, has given us an enlivening account of her long evolving love of children‘s books, accompanied by some well-selected dust jackets. She addressed the Melbourne branch in May 2008.

I take this opportunity to thank Richard for providing and facilitating this Victorian material and organising the illustrations. I am also pleased to note, we have further articles on hand.

Jürgen Wegner has been a regular contributor to Biblionews over many years. In offering some interesting insights into bibliophile George Mackaness, Jürgen reflects on some annotations of Mackaness and how they ‘can give us a valuable insight into the formative years of Mackaness the man.’

We have three book reviews from our reviewer Colin Steele. I draw particular attention to his review of The Oxford Companion to the Book. At $450, this work may be beyond the budget of most in terms of an affordable gift, but it makes a worthy reference work, despite Colin‘s view that it is deficient in some areas.

We have an obituary from Michael O‘Brien on Dr Warren Perry of Melbourne, who died in early November aged 101. Warren had been our eldest member. He had a distinguished military career and was an authority on Australian military history. His wife Nancye remains a BCSA member. A short obituary follows on Professor Alan Crown, who, whilst apparently never a BCSA member, made some worthy contributions.

Notes & Queries contains a response by Patrick Storrs Fox to Brian Taylor‘s ‘Black letter and black patterns’(Biblionews 365-366); also a further School of Arts library catalogue in Sydney pursuant to Geoffrey Burkhardt‘s appeal (Biblionews 363-364, September-December 2009).

I have adopted a suggestion by Neil Radford to re-introduce Notes on article contributors.

I am indebted to Brian Taylor for his contributions, invaluable advice, support and proofreading.

Sydney Secretary, Mark Ferson, has furnished the names of several recent new members who we welcome to the Society. Alphabetically by state or territory they are, from NSW: Nazira Chattah, Randwick; Virginia Cullane, Canowindra; Brian Morrissey, Burwood; Susan Pinson, Manly Vale; Colin Thaine, Milsons Point; and Garry Tipping, Beecroft; from ACT: Ray Edmondson, Kambah; and from Victoria: Dr Jonathan Burdon, Canterbury; Robert Littlewood, Central Park; Leslie Logan, Doncaster; Douglas Stewart, Prahran East; and Dr Beverley Wood, Carlton.

Just before this issue was finalised, we heard of the death of our esteemed longtime member Norman Hetherington, on 6 December, aged 89. An obituary for Norman will appear in the next issue.



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