The Antiquarian Booksellers’ Benevolent Fund

Since its founding in 1952 by a group of ABAA members, the Antiquarian Booksellers' Benevolent Fund has been dedicated throughout its history to providing timely financial assistance to those in the book trade who find themselves in a time of need.  Originally known as The Charles Grand Memorial Fund (a founder’s reminiscence can be found below), it was specifically meant to provide “for the assistance of needy persons, regardless of affiliation, who are or have been engaged in the business of selling and dealing in books, manuscripts, and printed matter in general,” with the only proviso being that funds may be granted only for personal needs, not for business needs.  In a typical year, the Fund gives a total of $40,000 in one-time disbursements to booksellers in need, the majority of whom are not members of the ABAA.

Historically, the Fund has been sustained by donations from ABAA members, their generosity born out of their understanding of how precarious a livelihood in the book trade can sometimes be.  Most antiquarian booksellers are individual proprietors with limited capital, and are especially vulnerable to unanticipated ill-health, accidents, natural disasters or other types of misfortune. 

The Antiquarian Booksellers' Benevolent Fund is administered by a group of Trustees comprised of the three most recent Presidents of the ABAA.  The ABAA regards its stewardship of the Benevolent Fund as one of its most important responsibilities, and is dedicated to ensuring its robust health into the future.  At the present time, although donations remain strong, demands on the Fund exceed its current income.  We therefore encourage book people of all kinds – dealers, collectors, librarians, friends of the trade, and of course our own members – to make regular donations to this worthy cause, to the best of their ability, and to consider including the Fund when designating bequests in their wills or trusts.

Contributions to both the Benevolent Fund are completely tax-deductible.  Aside from accounting and minor printing and postage expenses, there is no overhead for this fund, which permits virtually all donated monies to go directly to their stated purposes.  Full accountings of the Fund are made to the ABAA Board of Governors at their quarterly meetings, and are posted in the minutes of those meetings.  (Donors are only named if their permission is given, and the names of recipients of the Fund grants are never divulged.)

Continuing support of the Fund is vital to maintaining their effectiveness in responding to requests for assistance, and in continuing to fund the various scholarships and educational activities noted above.  We again urge both our members, and our friends and colleagues in other areas of the book world, to donate as generously as you can to either, or both, of these worthy enterprises.  

Click the following button to make a donation to the Antiquarian Booksellers' Benevolent Fund now.

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If you would like to donate by check, please make your contribution payable to the "ABAA Benevolent Fund" and send it to the following address:

Antiquarian Booksellers' Benevolent Fund
c/o Antiquarian Booksellers' Association of America
20 West 44th Street, Ste. 507
New York, NY 10036-6604

All contributions will be immediately acknowledged in writing. Please indicate if you would like your gift to remain anonymous (only the donor name, not the amount, is noted). Click here to see a list of Friends of the Fund.

 

The Charles Grand Memorial Fund

The Charles Grand Memorial Fund was established in 1952. We thank Rusty Mott for permission to use the following material.

“I quote, in full from my father’s contribution about my uncle Charlie to Antiquarian Bookman, August 4, 1951, and as reprinted in Swann Auction Galleries sale of  The Collection of the Late Charles Grand, New York City, September 26/27, 1951.” Rusty Mott

 

Charles Grand, 1901-1951, by Howard S. Mott

On April 3, 1951, there died, at the age of forty-nine, a man of unusual scholarship and impeccable taste. The name of Charles Grand has long been a byword throughout the country among antiquarian booksellers, print, painting, and antique dealers for scrupulous dealing and unerring taste.

He attended evening sessions at City College, while holding down a fulltime job during the day, graduating in 1926 with honors in English and German. He continued his studies with graduate work in English and journalism at City College and Columbia.

Such was his character and personality that he had the fullest confidence of all he knew (and his acquaintance was very wide). His welcome was everywhere warm and there was considerable eagerness to see what he had to sell.

In his hands was left the disposal of portions of the libraries of Heman LeRoy Edgar and I. N. Phelps Stokes, the latter containing important material. Through Charlie Grand’s hands passed many fine individual pieces, such as the eleventh known copy of The Murders in the Rue Morgue; the second of two known copies of Poe’s X-ing a Paragraph; important Gutenberg leaves; manuscripts by William Goddard, the early Maryland printer, relating to freedom of the press; as well as many other items now viewed with pride by collectors and librarians. Worth noting as an illustration of the diversity of his knowledge is the fact that he had a large part in forming the famous Horace W. David Collection of American Primitive Painting.

It is hard to capture on paper the special qualities that made Charlie Grand such a beloved figure. The important things in life to him were his friendships, books, and pictures and the theatre. He was a well-rounded person with a wide variety of interests. He tried to impress nobody. He was a quiet, modest guy doing what he wanted to do in a way he wanted to do it. His fellow members of the Antiquarian Booksellers' Association of America and the Old Book Table will not forget him.

One of the outstanding characteristics of Charlie Grand was his every-ready aid and generosity to friends in need, even when his own pockets may have been at times pretty threadbare. A group of his friends have decided to set up in his memory a special fund, to be used for loans or outright grants to persons in the book trade who are in need of aid. A goodly amount of money has already been pledged to such a fund, and details are now being planned, pending attorney’s opinion as to proper and legal methods. It is interesting to note that a number of collectors and librarians have requested permission to contribute to such a fund, which will probably be administered by trustees appointed by the ABAA.