Publications Editor’s Report
for the year 2008–2009 to the Annual General
Meeting of the Book Collector’s Society of
Australia to be held at 2:30pm at the Summer Hill
Community Centre, on 5 September 2009
GETTING Biblionews out on time has continued to be a difficult task for me on account of my ongoingly heavy family and university commitments during this last year, so that only yesterday did I receive from the printer copies of any issue for the well advanced year of 2009.
I have tended over the last year to put together issues that could be called thematic issues rather than issues with a number of articles on disparate topics.
Thus the September 2008 issue was concentrated around the fate of books in or affected by totalitarian societies, but especially the Nazi regime with items about both the German Jewish printer Emil Witton and the Austrian Jewish woman Liesel Künzler, who both emigrated to Australia, in one case before the war and in the other after the war. There were also reviews of relevant books by Jürgen Wegner and Colin Steele. I am pleased to be able to say that the contents of this issue were picked up through various routes by people in Germany and America, who asked for further
assistance about these topics, which I have been able to give them.
The December 2008 issue revolved around The Bulletin, with Norman Hetherington’s article about his time with that magazine and Richard Blair’s about his father’s time there. Helen Kenny’s review of David and Richard Blair’s book of their father’s writings was also reviewed in the issue.
I have also tended lately to celebrate significant anniversaries of the Society by means of double issues that on the one hand cover some of the Society’s history, especially as described in very early issues by the doubtless most important of its founding fathers, Walter Stone, and on the other hand contain as wide a representative variety of articles across the Society and its branches as is available to me. That is the case with the March-June 2009 double issue, which contains not only historical items about the NSW “headquarters”, but also the Victorian and the South Australian branches.
The former is represented by Jeff Bidgood’s inaugural Walter and Jean Stone Memorial Talk and two items by Walter Stone, the latter by Frank Foster for Victoria and, I suspect, Valmai Hankel for South Australia, whose wonderful long seminal article on Book collecting I also included. This issue also includes on the reverse of the front cover the Book Collectors’ Society of South Australia as the newly admitted South Australian Branch of the Society. It is thus itself a very significant historical document for the Society.
I have previously expressed regret that our series Studies in Australian Bibliophily has not had a further volume added to it for some years. However, Jeff Bidgood has put together Number 7 in the series with a small volume titled Mark Ferson, Bookplate Artist.
As this is my last report as Editor of Publications, it remains for me to thank—apart from the many contributors of articles, reviews and other items—John Newland for his ongoing expert assistance in laying out the issues, Neil Radford for his help as Reviews Editor and indexer, Mark Ferson for providing the address labels for each issue, and Darel Hughes for seeing that my outgoings for postage have been ultimately refunded.
5 September 2009.