|Rare Book & Manuscript Library|
At a Glance
This collection is arranged alphabetically.
Scope and Content
The collection contains both institutional records of the Association of Book Travelers and personal papers of Bev Chaney in relation to his work on The First Hundred Years: Association of Book Travelers: 1884-1984.
This collection includes: correspondence, manuscripts, notes, newspaper and magazine clippings, ABT meeting minutes, ABT member photographs, printed materials, interviews with ABT members past and present (most notably Alfred A. Knopf), and commemorative printed materials including the 50th anniversary pamphlet and final and advance copies of The First Hundred Years: Association of Book Travelers: 1884-1984. The main theme of the collection is book selling practices of members of the Association of Book Travelers from its inception as the Brotherhood of Commercial Travelers in 1884 to its centennial anniversary in 1984.
Using the Collection
Rare Book and Manuscript Library
Restrictions on Access
This collection is located off-site. You will need to request this material at least three business days in advance to use the collection in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library reading room.
This collection has no restrictions.
Terms Governing Use and Reproduction
Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. Responsibility to secure copyright permission rests with the patron.
Identification of specific item; Date (if known); Association of Book Travelers records; Box and Folder; Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University Library.
Ownership and Custodial History
Gift of Beverley Chaney, Jr., 1985.
About the Finding Aid / Processing Information
Columbia University Libraries, Rare Book and Manuscript Library
Papers Processed BRC/RL 12/--/85.
Papers Reprocessed Jenny Mathias (Pratt Institute MSLIS 2011), June 2010 06/--/2010.
Finding aid written Jenny Mathias (Pratt Institute MSLIS 2011), June 2010 06/--/2010.
2010-07-29 xml document instance created by Carrie Hintz
2019-05-20 EAD was imported spring 2019 as part of the ArchivesSpace Phase II migration.
History / Biographical Note
Beverly Chaney, Jr. was a traveling sales representative, or book traveler, for 38 years with three major publishing houses including 20 years with Houghton Mifflin. Chaney acted as president of the Association of Book Travelers from 1967 and 1968. In the early 1980s, he was appointed by the Association of Book Travelers to compile and edit a 60 page illustrated chapbook entitled The First Hundred Years: Association of Book Travelers: 1884-1984 to commemorate the centennial of the association.
The Association of Book Travelers (or ABT) began as a fraternal order called the Brotherhood of Commercial Travelers in New York City in 1884. It is the oldest known book trade organization in the United States.
The organization underwent several name changes throughout its formative years. The Brotherhood of Commercial Travelers membership was open to anyone connected with the book trade or the stationary trade. In 1925, the ABT was founded as the Associated Book Travelers. Membership was restricted to publishers' male sales representatives. In 1940, the Brotherhood of Commercial Travelers and the Associated Book Travelers merged and became the Brotherhood of Associated Book Travelers. Membership included both 'house reps' who were salaried employees of one particular publishing house and 'commission reps' who were self-employed and represent a number of publishing houses. Historically, the ABT was an all male organization, however women began to join the organization in the1970s. Bebe Cole was the association's first female member and became its first female president in 1979 and 1980.
The commemorative chapbook entitled The First 100 Years: Association of Book Travelers: 1884-1984 was compiled and edited by Beverly Chaney, Jr., known as Bev to his friends and colleagues, and the ABT historical association. It was composed, printed and bound by The Stinehour Press in Lunenburg, Vermont in a spcial limited edition of 750 copies. Copies were distributed to all ABT members in attendance at the 1984 centennial celebration at Windows on the World restaurant atop the North Tower of the World Trade Center. Remaining copies were also made available for purchase from ABT for a small sum.