August 2012 | Rebecca Rego Barry

Bay Leaf Used & Rare Books

Catalogue Review: Bay Leaf Used & Rare Books, No. 3

I received last week a bookseller's catalogue that made me stop and look. It's a brown file folder, into which is tucked several different sheets and cards, of varying colors and sizes, advertising a collection of 194 items on radical politics, modern poetry, and punk rock. It's more like a press kit than a catalogue, and it's pretty cool.

Who produced this package with so much visual punch? Bay Leaf Used & Rare Books of Sand Lake, MI, a brick-and-mortar shop that stocks a large selection of books, posters, prints, and ephemera. They have produced two previous catalogues on different subjects. This one is titled Poets, Punks & Revolutionaries.

One 5 x 7 full-color postcard shows an original screen-print movie poster, c. 1980-82, from El Salvador. The catalogue copy on the recto tells us that the film is full of images from Revolutionary El Salvador ($300). Another smaller postcard with a picture of staple-bound typed manuscript turns out to hold, on its flip side, the catalogue copy for an original Grand Jury report detailing the Dec. 4, 1969 Chicago Police raid on a Black Panther home ($800).

A two-sided color sheet lists several items on anarchism, from Remembering American Anarchism: A Mural by Susan Greene, an oversized postcard featuring the image of Greene's mural ($15) to a collection of twenty-nine scattered issues of Why? A Bulletin of Free Inquiry (later An Anarchist Bulletin) from 1942-1947 ($975).

In a stapled section titled Punks & Poets, you can find some really cool stuff, such as books and MusiCards signed by The Clash, a flyer from The Western Front Punk Festival in 1979, and an original wire photo of New York's Hotel Chelsea in 1978.

I applaud Bay Leaf on their revolutionary design sense and high production value in creating this catalogue. It's a slap of modernity to traditional catalogues and exceedingly appropriate to the content. It won't provide the same experience to download the PDF (here), but you can peruse more of their offerings and enjoy the photography.