THE SPIRIT of a MINIATURE BOOK COLLECTOR, The Conclave Keepsake, April 2018
by Jim Brogan

As members of the Miniature Book Society, we are collectors.  Some of us collect letterpress books, some collect art books, some all type of books, and some collect keepsakes. A keepsake as defined by Webster’s as "something that you receive and keep to help you remember a person, place, or event: a memento or souvenir." A Conclave keepsake certainly fits that description in all categories.

The first MBS Conclave was held in 1983 and there are more than a few examples of the keepsakes that were exchanged at that conclave. Over the years, the exchange of keepsakes has grown in some years and not been as plentiful in other years.  However, the practice continues to this day and there were some fine examples created for the Amsterdam Conclave, McKinney, and Oakland.

I can remember the day that I arrived in San Diego to attend my first MBS Conclave in 2008. Seems like only yesterday that I arrived and opened up the unique bag of things that was given to me as part of the registration process. There were maps and various announcements and schedules of activities and menus, all the things that you expect at a professional conference. However, there were also included, in the collection, several keepsakes, those special things that some of the attendees provided as tokens of appreciation for each attendee. 

With each subsequent Conclave, I always look forward to that special bag of special things, the keepsakes. Some are handmade, some large, some very small, some ornate, some less complex. However, the glue that each keepsake contains reflects the expressions and creativity of each provider and the amount of thought that is included in every one of the keepsakes. These, to me, are priceless. 

I am sure that some of the members are fastidious collectors of the keepsakes from each conclave.  There are members who spend a tremendous amount of time providing a keepsake and some require less time and materials.  However, they are all treasures, a reflection of the event, the place, and the person who provided the keepsake. 

I would like to take this time and opportunity to ask tha you certainly give it some thought on attending the next Conclave to be held in Charlottsville, VA, in August of 2018. Also, think about the possibility of bringing along a keepsake for the attendees. As I mentioned, the experience is about renewing old acquaintances as well as meeting new friends. The keepsake is a great way to say hello. It certainly does not have to be elaborate or complex; it is the thought that counts!  I hope that in the next few weeks I will be able to show you some examples of great keepsakes and even show you the process of just how to create some of these little treasures.