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General inquiry from Dave Venables regarding Harbin/Montoya copyrights

Dear Dave,
The M and J series are diagram sheets for loan to members and were collected by the society to service members before books were widely available and of course before the Internet

The British Origami Society Library was set up by John Smith very shortly after the Society was formed in October, 1968. John’s idea was to provide instruction sheets for models which could be duplicated by a cheap dyeline process (this was before the days of Xerox) and could be bought at small cost by members. John quickly encountered problems of copyright (the BOS has wrestled with copyright ever since its formation!) and he found he had to divide the model sheets into two categories. The M series contained models where copyright permission had been obtained and of which copies could legitimately be sold to members. On the other hand, the J series was of models and other items where permission to copy had not been obtained. These papers could only be loaned to members, but could not be copied.

At a quick glance most of the M and J series diagrams seem to be by Jessie Seto or Francis McNaul and probably came to the BOS from Lillian Oppenheimer or Alice Gray in the mid 1960s. I have not dug all out to have a look - there may be other illustrators.

The J series was not at all limited to models by Jessie Seto or Francis McNaul. Jessie Seto, Thelma Mason and Francis McNaul formed a separate group of American folders. They were not at all in conflict with Lillian Oppenheimer and the Origami Center, but in many ways they acted separately. The models in the J series would come directly from them and not through the Origami Center. The idea was that origami libraries should be formed on both sides of the Atlantic and that models should be exchanged between the two. Later, the British Origami Society organised an International portfolio and its circulation was organised by Seto, Mason (and Mcnaul, until his premature death). The work of these three folders needs to be written up before they are forgotten.

The A series are mainly origami related articles. A24 - 22 stars are original artwork on dyeline paper. We have photocopies of these but they are not scanned. I have just had a quick look and there is nothing on the diagrams to credit the illustrator although the handwriting looks like Ligia Montoya's (I have a few Spanish books passed onto me from Neal Elias with a dedication to Neal from Ligia in them)

John Smith did not remain in charge of the library for very long and the office passed to Mrs. Smith. After that it passed to Brian Goodall, who held the office of Librarian for many years. Brian greatly re-organised the Library and produced a succession of editions of the catalogue. The one I have before me is splendidly produced in a blue ring binder with the BOS badge and "Library Catalogue" embossed in gold on the spine.

Brian introduced many other divisions of the catalogue apart from the "M" and "J" series", which he retained. In particular he formed the "R" series, which was for books and the "A" series, which was for articles. Into these categories he placed items which might have been in the "J" series, where copying was not permissible for copyright reasons.

The copy of the catalogue I have is undated, but from internal evidence it appears to date from1980 or 1981. Unfortunately it was not kept up-to-date as intended and since Brian Goodall ceased to be Librarian, it has been left far behind. In my catalogue, the "M" series numbers 495 items and the "J" series, 687 items.

I have combed through the catalogue in search of Ligia Montoya models. There are three of them of them in the "M" series, two of which are reconstructions by Joan Homewood. However, there are 38 in the J series. Evidently it was basically thought that the Society had no permission to copy Ligia Montoya’s models.

In the A series (Articles), there is A24, which is of 22 models from hexagons, as already mentioned. Presumably it is in the form of a booklet as opposed to an instruction sheet.. There is also A14 which consists of 12 pages of drawings of stars by Ligia Montoya, also apparently in the form of a booklet. I would not be surprised if there were letters and other material in our Eric Kenneway collection (again not indexed).

I have never heard that Eric Kenneway ever corresponded with Ligia Montoya. But I cannot be certain about this. I am about to index David Lister's extensive collection (over this winter) from his handwritten lists which would have made it easier to say, but my guess is David had correspondence with Ligia and may be able to contribute. You are probably aware of David's Ligia Montoya references in [two of his papers in the Lister List on the British origamaai Society Web site]. These are only brief incidental references to Ligia Montoya in articles oeritten about other matters. However, I did write, for the private magazine, FOLD, a long article on paperfolding in South America which contains a considerable amount of w about Ligia. I have corresponded with Laura Rozenberg and she already has a copy of this.

David Lister.



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