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Carolyn Whitlock


“Back in the day”, Mr. Sarna was a very active member of the ABA. I remember that he gave each attendee at convention one year a souvenir key chain with a little elephant bell on the end which, of course, was a Sarna bell. I have a set of the Sarna bell candlesticks that Harry mentioned and I’m sure plenty of other collectors have these, too.

At the end of her The Bell Tower supplement entitled “Souvenir Bells of the ABA Conventions, 1945-1980, Becky Mayer tells us that Mr. Sarna provided eight different convention bells over the years. His first convention souvenir bell was given in 1950. He also did the convention bells or gave bell-themed convention souvenirs in 1954, 1958, 1960, 1961, 1962, 1963, 1964, and 1971.

Ms. Mayer also notes that at the 1958 convention, S. S. Sarna gave a gift of a brass telephone dialer with a bell attached. The 1961 bell was also a gift of S. S. Sarna and it was in the design of a bottle opener. In 1962, the bell was a five inch napkin and placecard holder, compliments of S. S. Sarna. 1963 brought yet another Sarna convention bell that was a brass bell with a whistle in the handle. In 1971, a Sarna bell with a bottle opener as a handle was given. So, you can see that Sarna made more than animal bells and strings of bells.

In her bibliography and credits, Ms. Mayer wrote:

We pay tribute to S. S. Sarna for his generosity in providing eight years of bells from India – to mark the meetings of the early years. The first bell designed especially was inscribed with the year, date, and site. This came out in 1950 for the sixth convention. It is a “beggar’s bell” with red and black stars inlaid and three clappers! This was the best Sarna gift.