Friday, August 1, 2008

The Society Meeting 2008

The ISHBH 2008 annual meeting was held as planned on 24 July in Montréal, Canada in conjunction with the Joint Meeting of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists. The place for our traditional luncheon, this time at the Hungarian bistro Café Rococo had proficiently been located by our vice Chairperson Mr. Ronald A. Javitch, who is resident in Montréal. The associated business meeting was attended by seven members and one guest. There were no new nominees for the Executive Committee and all of the current officers, except the Editor, who had declined to stand for another period, were re-elected. Prospective candidates were named for the Editor post, which the Executive Committee was given the authority to work from. Subsequently, Dr. Chris J. Bell has been appointed as Editor and elected as an officer of the Executive Committee.

Two field trips were arranged after the meeting. The first was a visit to the private library of the Ronald A. Javitch Natural History Rare Book Foundation. The guests were helped through the labyrinths of book shelves by Mr. Javitch as well as the librarian Tracy, who also proudly displayed the beautiful roof garden that she nurses when not caring for the library and assisting Mr. Javitch in his scholarly research. The library occupies several floors in a spacious building and is focused on herpetology, entomology, gardening, and the history of science. There is a rare book room, which naturally attracted the interest of many from the audience but the other sections with their overwhelming numbers of specialty books were truly impressive to any natural history bibliophile.

The famous Osler Library on the campus of McGill University is only a short walk from the Javitch Foundation and was visited through another prearrangement. Sir William Osler (1849-1919) was a Canadian physician who assembled a large library, especially on the history of medicine that he willed to McGill University. The bequest contained some 8,000 volumes but it has since grown to well over three times that number. Although it is not a library directly herpetological in content, the uniqueness of the books was fully appreciated by the visitors of the Society and the interior of the library is enchanting. There are indeed cross borders between medicine and herpetology, so several old books on serpents, snake venoms and their treatments could be recognized on the shelves. Our thanks are directed to the librarians at McGill.

The group expressed its very special thanks to Ronald Javitch for organizing the afternoon's activities.

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