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2011-06, 370, Brian Taylor, Chris Nicholls, Notes and Queries

Notes & Queries

National Bookshop Day — Saturday 20 August 2011

The Australian Booksellers Association (ABA) will hold the first National Bookshop Day on Saturday 20 August. In hundreds of locations throughout Australia, the ABA will be celebrating bookshops, their contributions to the local community and to Australian literature, culture and society. Shops will focus on their uniqueness, inviting local authors and members of the community to participate in readings, conversation about books and other activities.

At a time when much of the media‟s attention has been focused on issues faced by the industry, the ABA will be getting out the hundreds of „good news‟ stories that happen on a regular basis in bookshops all around Australia.

National Bookshop Day also marks the beginning of National Book Week (20-26 August).

Charles Stitz requests

whether any member knows any of the family or friends of either of the following collectors, who could supply their biographical details:

1. Dr Eric Edward McDonald, an Ear, Nose & Throat specialist attached to Lewisham Hospital, who died in 1976. His considerable collection of Australiana was offered for sale by Angus & Robertson in a 1963 83-page priced catalogue which described it as „The Finest collection ever offered for sale in Australia‟. Dr McDonald lived in Wycombe Road, Neutral Bay in 1960, and in Dalkeith Street North-bridge in 1974.

2. Charles W. Bushell Snr who owned the Bushell Publishing Company P/L (specializing in life assurance journals and textbooks) of Haberfield, Sydney, and who, in 1953 published a private catalogue (soft cover, 120 pp.) of his considerable angling library, entitled Private Angling Library.

Responses please to Charles Stitz at <booksondean@bigpond.com> or (02) 6021 3230.

Another piece of the Liesel Künzler jigsaw comes to light

In the March-June 2010 (365th & 366th) double issue of Biblionews, pp. 70f., I wrote about a further book identifiable as belonging to the Austrian Jewish émigré Liesel Künzler by its having the Arabic stamp at the front, as had so many of the books that I had used in my original article about her in the 359th issue of September 2008, pp. 107-128. In that article I had used inscriptions, stamps etc. in her books to try to produce a biography of this woman who was otherwise completely unknown to me.

The recent advertisements for the performance in Sydney of the musical Dr Zhivago reminded me that I had never yet read Pasternak’s novel and that I should. I had noticed a copy on a bookshelf recessed into the wall of my attic, so went and got it. It proved to be a first edition of the translation by Max Hayward and Manya Harari (London: Collins and Harvill Press, 1958) and still had its dust cover. To my surprise, though there was no Arabic stamp, there was the following undated inscription on the badly foxed front end paper: ‘To my husband / with love / Liesl’. This is the first and so far only reference I have seen by her to a husband.

In the original article we found evidence for her having probably come to Australia in 1952 (p. 121). A series of books had inscriptions (pp. 122f.) from her to a man named Jim that show considerable affection towards him and refer to their having been together in European countries in 1957 and, according to a 1965 inscription, in Capri in 1965, with the latest of the altogether six inscriptions to Jim being ‘To Jim with love / Xmas 1968 / Liesl’. While the inscription in the 1958 Zhivago book is undated, it would seem to be that the mysterious Jim was the husband referred to there. The only problem is that we have in another of her books an inscription in French by its author Caroline Kohn, a.k.a. Lotte Sternbach-Gärtner, which translates as ‘To my friends Liesl and Toni / COCKBURN / with my very sincere affection / Lotte / Paris, 12 March 1969’ (p. 125), so that it is pretty clear that by that date she was married to a Tony Cockburn.

That, of course, leaves us with the problem of where to put this piece of the puzzle: Was Jim the husband referred to and did he die shortly after Christmas 1968, and did she then within a few weeks marry Tony Cockburn to become Liesl Cockburn and give him the Zhivago book over a decade after it was published? This is the one and only mention of Tony; there are no books with inscriptions that tell us she ever gave him a book, so my money ought to be on Jim — but those dates of ’68 and ’69!

Brian Taylor

Memo from the President: the scope of BCSA

At the Special General Meeting on 4 December 2010, called to approve our revised constitution, some members drew attention in a variety of ways to the perception of the Society and its aims.

It was accepted at the time that some thought needed to be given by the Society’s committee in response to this matter and further comments were called for. Correspondence was subsequently received together with some affirmation of certain views. The committee has maintained this topic on its agenda and work is progressing, albeit slowly.

The range of issues raised encompass the definition of a book collector, the name of our major publication, the range of attitudes across generations, methods of attracting new members, the expectations of members, and the relevance and utilisation of a website.

The matter is clearly one of some complexity and it has been the committee’s view that we should carefully explore all aspects and not move too precipitously to any conclusions. Given that some time has passed since the introduction of these issues into open debate and that we again face an AGM, it is important to let members know that this matter has not been sidelined. All correspondence is welcome.

Chris Nicholls, President <cnicholls@pacific.net.au>

Notes on article contributors

Born on Flinders Island in Bass Strait, Doug Mackenzie is a retired mathematics lecturer from the University of New South Wales. A long standing BCSA member, Doug has for many years served as a volunteer for the annual bookfairs of UNSW and University of Sydney.

Bruce Preston, from Sydney‟s Inner West, used to work at the University of Sydney’s Fisher Library. He now writes, owns a website and dabbles in online journalism. The author of a recent mystery thriller and an earlier Sci-Fi novel, Bruce became interested in the idea of electronic books in 1991, founding <www.e-book.com.au> ten years later.

Charles Stitz is a retired lawyer, now an antiquarian bookseller in Albury, NSW. His principal bibliophilic focus is the history of Australian book collectors in the 19th and 20th centuries, their book-plates and other marks of provenance. His Australian Book Collectors was published in November 2010, and he is now working on a second volume, Australian Book Collectors: Second Series.

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