AS INDICATED in my editorial to the previous, March & June (341st & 342nd) double issue for 2004, this too will be a double issue, in order to try to overcome to some extent the unfortunate fact that our journal has fallen rather badly behind in respect to the regularity of its appearance (though this issue has, in turn, been delayed by the death of my university computer some weeks ago, which prevented my accessing emails from contributors; I have only just received a replacement). It is also, as mentioned in the previous issue, the first one for many, many years that will not have been computer-prepared for us by Jeff Bidgood, and is instead the first to be prepared by John Newland, to whom I am most grateful for the effort he has put into it. John is excellently qualified for the task, as he formerly produced single-handedly the NSW Guild of Craft Bookbinders’ illustrated journal Morocco Bound as well as books for another group.
John is using a different computer publishing program from Jeff’s, so there may be some departures from aspects of the former formatting, layout etc. This double issue contains further contributions from our Victorian branch that have been so long promised by me after being brought together for publication by our Victorian Editor Richard Overell. There is Julien Renard’s fascinating article on the trials, travails and tribulations of producing reprints of fine books with their coloured illustrations in his own series, Editions Renard. And there is Richard’s very informative article on the disposal by auction of Dr John Chapman’s marvellous collection.
Sadly, we also have an obituary from Michael Taffe for Victorian member Jim Stewart. We have not yet exhausted our supply of Victorian material, but there is always a certain amount of juggling necessary to arrive at the appropriate number of pages for an issue, so some long material will be held over to the next issue. Instead, we have slipped in a New South Wales article by Jeff Bidgood containing a lot of interesting information about Sydney booksellers he encountered in his earlier years as well as about our Book Collectors’ Society. Though I am a few years younger than Jeff, his reminiscences called up memories of my own from my early teenage years when I once glimpsed old James Tyrell in his Wynyard shop and Mr Jones in his, before it went under the sledge hammer to make way for the curved Qantas building up on the corner of Elizabeth Street.
Normally we do not publish communications that could be interpreted as commercials, but Oak Knoll Books has been so generous in providing review copies to us over recent years, as indicated in our Reviews Editor Neil Radford’s note in this issue, that we have made an exception in the case of their letter. I hope readers will take note of Neil’s request for reviewers and of the fine example set by that indefatigable reviewer Colin Steele, who has provided us with so many for this issue that we have had to hold one over to the next issue.
I must apologise for some errors in the previous March-June issue (which on the inside erroneously carried only the date “March 2004”). For some reason the main title of the book reviewed by Jack Bradstreet disappeared from both the review and our table of contents, leaving only the sub-title. The book is actually titled: Victorian sensation: Vestiges of the natural history of creation.
It has been drawn to my attention that an extreme and, to many, offensive political opinion was expressed in one article. I should as editor have deleted the offending epithet, but was so focussed on getting the copy-editing done in order to get the very late issue to press as soon as possible, that it slipped past me. Political comment in a journal of this kind is only appropriate where government policy affects the interests of the Society, such as the imposition of unreasonable taxes on books etc. Even then the comment should not be unnecessarily offensive.
Finally, New South Wales lost two valued members in 2004: Eric Russell, possibly the Society’s oldest member at the time of his death, and Alan Rickard, a frequent contributor to Biblionews, his last contribution being to the December 2003 issue, which is alluded to in Neil Radford’s note in this issue. I hope that we will have obituaries for both men in the next issue.