July 2009 Archives

A bad July for fight fans as boxing greats Alexis Arguello, Arturo Gatti, and Vernon Forrest were murdered, Gatti by his wife, Forrest by thieves, Arguello by his own hand. Life was safer, calmer and more predictable in the ring.

There is much drama to this sport in which the essence of its athletes is revealed as in no other human activity, save war. But, as with war, there is no romance to boxing despite what some writers (Hemingway) would have you believe. Trust me on this.

Great books, though, and a ripe area for collection. The cornerstone volumes are:

Pugiltitle.jpgMILES, Henry Downes. Pugilistica: Being One Hundred and Forty-Four Years of the History of British Boxing. Containing Lives of the Most Celebrated Pugilists, and Full Reports of their Battles From Contemporary Newspapers and Periodicals, with Authentic Portraits from Original Prints, Paintings, and Busts, Biographical Details, Personal Anecdotes, Sketches of the Principal Patrons of the P.R., Etc. The Only Complete and Chronological History of the Ring, from Fig and Broughton, 1719-40, to the Last Championship Battle of King and Heenen, in December, 1863. London: Weldon & Co., [n.d., 1880]. First complete edition. With one hundred portraits and miscellaneous text illustrations in black and white.

The first volume of this massive history of the “sweet science” in Britain was issued in 1866 and has become exceedingly scarce with only three copies located in KVK/OCLC, and LOC providing only a description from a contemporary catalogue. The whole was not actually completed and published until the edition of 1880, which contained a new preface by the author.

“As may be anticipated in a work consisting of more than 1500 pages, covering a period of 144 years, these volumes give probably the most comprehensive coverage of all the similar works” (Hartley, History & Bibliography of Boxing Books).


EGAN, Pierce. Boxiana or Sketches of Ancient and Modern Pugilism from the Days of the Renowned James Figg and Jack Broughton to the Heroes of the Later Milling Era Jack Scroggins and Tom Hickman (1812).

boxers.jpg Early 19th century English sportswriter/journalist Pierce Egan (1772 - 1849) wrote magazine pieces about boxing, which at the time was conducted under the Broughton Rules of 1743 despite being banned in England; fair play amongst outlaws. (The Broughton rules would be superceded by the London Prize Ring rules of 1838 which, in turn, were replaced by the Marquis of Queensberry rules of 1867 upon which the modern sport is based).

It was Egan who bestowed upon the sport its immortal descriptive moniker, “The Sweet Science.” (“The Sweet Science of Bruising!” in its complete form).

His boxing articles were collected into bound volumes and published under the title Boxiana; or Sketches of Ancient and Modern Pugilism. The first volume was published in 1813 (although the title page reads 1812, due to the arrangement, common at the time, where the book was sent to subscribers in installments before being released to the public.) Four more volumes followed, in 1818, 1821, 1824, and 1829. Illustrations were by George Cruikshank and are amongst his earliest work.
Egan and Boxiana were reintroduced to a modern audience by journalist A.J. Liebling, whose series of essays on boxing published in The New Yorker from 1950-1964 frequently referenced Egan. Liebling titled his first collection of these boxing essays The Sweet Science (1956) in Egan’s honor. (The other Liebling boxing collection is titled A Neutral Corner, 1990)). Liebling is THE finest writer on the sport, ever. In 2002, Sports Illustrated named The Sweet Science as the number one sports book of all time.

Liebling, a trenchant critic of the press, is primarily known for his eternal verities, “Freedom of the press is limited to those who own one;” and “People everywhere confuse what they read in newspapers with news.” He was also one of the twentieth century’s best writers in English about food.

First editions of Boxiana are scarce. The Folio Society issued a reprint of the first volume in 1976, and in 1998 Nicol Island Publishers of Toronto issued a reprint of the first volume and announced plans to reissue all five volumes.

Boxiana can be accessed and read via Google Book Search.

SJG.JPGHere’s a bit of boxing ephemera I picked up in 1976. The guy pictured looks like Larry Talbot on a bad night during a full moon. As I’ve written elsewhere, each piece of ephemera tells an interesting story. The story here is short, sweet, and, given my milquetoast childhood and adolescence, completely unbelievable, so much so that I can hardly believe it myself: You hit me, it’s a misdemeanor. I hit you, it’s a class A felony, the judge throws the book at me, it hits me square up-side the head, and I have plenty of free time, 5-10 years, to read to my heart’s content: Mr. Bemis on Cell Block 9.


Hartley 1365 (Pugilistica). Graesse II 464 (Boxiana).
gorey_sign.jpgNothing is more entertaining than a visit to the home of a favorite author, especially when the house in question once belonged to the unrepentant bibliomaniac and pack rat Edward Gorey, who died nine years ago at 75, and left behind a veritable treasure trove of odds and ends. His rambling, 13-room cottage on 8 Strawberry Lane in Yarmouthport, Mass.--just off the Old King’s Highway (also known as Route 6A) on Cape Cod--is now a museum, chock full of “stuff” such as antique cheese graters, bottles, sketches, the trademark beaver skin coat, various cloth creatures--including one of the original Figbash-- made and stitched by hand, toys, and of course a few of the 35,000 books Gorey had acquired during his lifetime, and which helped inform his extraordinary body of work.

ombledroom.jpgThere are imaginary bats and cats, of course (including one real feline in residence, aptly named Ombledroom, pictured here), some bugs and slugs--the full Gorey oeuvre is in evidence, and altogether makes for a delightful way to spend an hour, either solo or with kids, it doesn’t matter, since everyone is welcome, and like the man’s great body of work itself, there is something for everyone. A nice touch is the scavenger hunt each visitor is invited to participate in; there are twenty-six objects from “The Ghastlycrumb Tinies” hidden in plain view in each room on the tour, there to be discovered by one and all. During my most recent trip there last week, I learned that Gorey’s enormous library of books--they had been kept in an adjoining barn--had recently been shipped off to the West Coast, where they will take up residence at San Diego State University, quite a nice turn of events, since the library there is already home to the archives of the writer Peter Newmeyer, who collaborated with Gorey on a number of wonderful books.

gorey_door.jpgRick Jones, a Gorey friend who is now director and curator of the Edward Gorey House, told me that an interesting detail regarding the books is that their former owner wrote in every one when he read it, how long it took, and whether he read it again. With regard to the curiosities, Jones had this wonderful observation: “One cheese grater is a cheese grater; for Edward, a group of them became a work of art.”

Dr Stephen Matyas (who has been written about by FB&C) has just published, “Declaration of Independence: A Checklist of Books, Pamphlets, and Periodicals, Printing the U.S. Declaration of Independence, 1776-1825. With an appendix checklist of American newspapers printing the Declaration of Independence.” Copied can be ordered at his site. He is also offering free copies of the Checklist as a .pdf, as well as a short version and Errata. It appears, at first blush, to be a wonderful contribution to scholarship in the area.
In the fourth decade of the eighteenth century a new form of entertainment emerged in a world hungry for novelty, cleverness, and beauty in the privacy of one’s home.

Artist Martin Engelbrecht (1684-1756) and his brother Christian were printsellers and engravers in Augsburg, Germany during the eighteenth century. Martin Engelbrecht engraved some plates after Rugendas and other masters.; his other works included illustrations for Ovid’s Metamorphoses, The War of Spanish Succession, Les Architectes Princiers by P. Decker, 92 views of Venice, and  a series of prints of workers and their dress, Assemblage Nouveau Des Manouvries Habilles, published at Augsburg, circa 1730. 

Also in about 1730, he created cards for miniature theaters, which when inserted into a display box showed religious scenes and pictures of daily life in a 3D perspective view.  He devoted an entire series of these to the Italian theater. This effort resulted in home theater long before the concept was appropriated for use by cable television and the video/DVD industry.

                                                   Engelbrecht, “The Garden of Eden,” c. 1730.                 

Engelbrecht’s miniature theaters or dioramas evolved from his large-scale Zograscope images and are regarded as the earliest “paper” theaters in history. They were the forerunners of the peepshow books popularized by Dean & Son of London during the mid-nineteenth century, and have been cited by photographers and cinematographers for their early optical effects and appreciated as an aid to creating dramatic perspective on film.

01523.jpg                                                Englebrecht, Oktoberfest, c. 1730 .

“A celebrated engraver of his time, Engelbrecht dominated the print trade in Augsburg. Best known for his portraits of monarchs as well as his intricate landscapes, Engelbrecht’s work is beyond compare. Some of his best work was with optical prints. He used these in his perspective boxes and miniature theatres. Typically 8 cards would be inserted into a peepbox, consecutively, which provided imagery similar to that of a theatre scene, or play. The view had great perspective. (The History of the Discovery of Cinematography).

In the 18th century dioramas became very popular as a means of entertainment. Around 1730, the Augsburg copperplate engraver and publisher Martin Engelbrecht created miniature theater[s]. [They] consist of 5-8 scenery-like sheets, which create a perspective image if arranged one behind the other. Along with religious themes, these scenes show courtly life, the seasons...These small-size dioramas are regarded as the precursors of the paper theaters that became popular in the 19th century.”

engelbrecht2.jpeg                       Engelbrecht, “Vorstellung eines zerstörten Schlosses mit Geister,” c. 1730.

“The first true movable books published in any large quantity were those produced by Dean & Son, a publishing firm founded in London before 1800. By the 1860’s the company claimed to be the ‘originator of childrens’ movable books in which characters can be made to move and act in accordance with the incidents described in each story.’ From the mid-19th century Dean turned its attention to the production of movable books and between the 1860’s and 1900 they produced about fifty titles. To construct movable books, Dean established a special department of skilled craftsmen who prepared the hand-made mechanicals. The designers used the peep-show principle of cut-out scenes aligned one behind the other to give a three-dimensional effect. Each layer was fixed to the next by a piece of ribbon that emerged behind the uppermost portion, and when this was pulled, the whole scene sprang up into perspective.” (Montanaro, Ann. A Concise History of Pop-Up and Moveable Books).                                                                                                                          
From holograph numbering to the rear of each card, we know that Engelbrecht created at least forty-one sets of miniature theater dioramas. Many if not most have yet to be accounted for. All are scarce, many extremely so.


Octoberfest and Garden of Eden images courtesy of David Brass. Vorstellung eines zerstörten Schlosses mit Geister courtesy of InLibris Gilhofer Nfg. Custom display box for Oktoberfest by Charlene Matthews Bindery.

MovFeast.jpgIn case you haven’t heard, there is a brand new edition of Ernest Hemingway’s fictionalized memoir of his expatriate years in Paris during the 1920s, A Moveable Feast, now arriving in bookstores, nicely spiffed up in a fresh dust jacket and bearing, in bold type, a subtitle unequivocally declaring this to be”The Restored Edition.”

What in the world does that mean, you might reasonably ask: restored to what? Restored to what Hemingway intended when he agreed toward the end of his life to publish a truncated version of the notebooks he had kept while living abroad three decades earlier, and which had been rediscovered in 1956 by him, quite miraculously, in the bottom of a steamer trunk that he had left in storage at the Ritz Hotel in Paris and forgotten all about? Or “restored” to modify what has stood since 1964--the year the work was first published by Charles Scribner’s (now just Scribner)--with ten additional essays that  Hemingway also wrote, and which reflect more kindly on Pauline Pfeiffer, his second wife--and the grandmother of Sean Hemingway, who has edited this new edition for publication?

There’s been a lot of huffing and puffing going on, all of it quite fascinating, all of it quite amusing, if you want to know the truth.  On the one hand you have Sean Hemingway, a 42-year-old curator of ancient art at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and editor of two earlier collections of Papa’s writings on war and hunting, declaring in the introduction his belief that his re-cobbled version “provides a truer representation of the book my grandfather intended to publish” than the one offered up forty-five years ago by the writer’s fourth wife, Mary Hemingway. And on the other you have the argument for retaining the original text, as articulated by  A. E. Hotchner, 89, a close friend of Hemingway over the final fourteen years of his life, and the author of Papa Hemingway, an affectionate biography published in 1966. Writing in an OpEd piece published this week in the New York Times, Hotchner pointedly recalls discussing the manuscript with Hemingway, and delivering it personally to Charles Scribner Jr. in New York. “The manuscript,” he asserts, “was not left in shards but was ready for publication.”

With Hemingway’s suicide in 1961--we all know the grim details of that depressing story--the book was prepared for publication by others--Mary was his executor--and the portrait painted of Pauline was not pretty at all. Their tempestuous affair had ended Hemingway’s first marriage to Hadley Richardson, a deeply unpleasant turn of events that the writer eloquently bemoaned in what became the final chapter of the published book. The compelling title, A Moveable Feast, was derived by Mary Hemingway from a beautiful sentence her husband had written which seemed to capture the spirit of the writings perfectly: “If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man, then wherever you go for the rest of your life it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable feast.”

Given that essential circumstance--the understanding that yes, the 1964 work surely represents Hemingway’s writing, but that it was presented to the world as an unfinished work not only groomed and signed off on by others, but titled by them as well--my take on the matter is this: A Moveable Feast--which is a splendidly evocative memoir of a young writer’s emerging life in 1920s Paris--should stay in print, just the way it was issued, and that the material newly published in the “restored edition” appear under another title of the new editor’s choosing. Why not? We all know that neither distillation is likely to reflect the true “authorial intention” precisely, since the author did not live to see through the press what was ultimately selected from his writings. And the reality of the matter is, there is some great material in the new edition--ten previously unpublished sketches--and it very definitely should appear between hard covers.

Lost in all this, of course, is the role of the publisher, Scribner. Ernest Hemingway has been a cash cow for the imprint for many decades, and what this squabble does more than anything else is to insure more sales; this reality is underscored by the announcement that both versions will remain available to a credulous public for purchase.To this point, in particular, I defer to Hotchner, who has this to say about the matter:

“As an author, I am concerned by Scribner’s involvement in this ‘restored edition.’ With this reworking as a precedent, what will Scribner do, for instance, if a descendant of F. Scott Fitzgerald demands the removal of the chapter in ‘A Moveable Feast’ about the size of Fitzgerald’s penis, or if Ford Maddox Ford’s grandson wants to delete referneces to his ancestor’s body odor...All publishers, Scribner included, are guardians of the books that authors entrust to them. Someone who inherits an author’s copyright is not entitled to amend his work...I hope the Authors Guild is paying attention.”

Those who, like your ace reporter, avidly track the national SPRM (Sex&Politics-Related Meltdown) count will have noticed the recent spike in SPRM motility; the press has been absolutely pregnant with recent news from this fertile field of government.

Nothing new here to report except that this is nothing new - really nothing new. Presenting:

01086_title_2.jpgThe Secret History of the Present Intrigues of the Court of Caramania, a roman à clef from 1727 that tore the royal bedsheets off the reigning monarch’s bedstead, exposed his intimate dalliances, and laid bare political hostilities.

I will not torture you with guessing games. “The central character and the unifying theme in SHC is George II (1683-1760, ruled from 1727) and his amours” (Spetting).

The author of this bombshell was something of a bombshell herself.

“This woman was authoress of the most scandalous book call’d The Court of Caramania (1727)...” (Pope, The Dunciad Valorium, Bk. II, line 149).

“A licentious publication by Mrs. Eliza Haywood” (Lowndes).

“This publication...owing to [its] looseness and immorality, involved the authoress in considerable disgrace, and promoted her to a situation in the Dunciad of Pope” (Dr. Drake, on the 2nd edition as cited in Lowndes).

Eliza Haywood (1693-1756) dominated the contemporary British market for amorous fiction and in this political roman á clef assumed a major place in the political sphere of her time with the private indiscretions of public figures elevated to political acts. As such, the novel is oh, so modern, and can be considered on a par (though better written and more explosive when issued) with Joe Klein’s anonymously written Primary Colors (1996) which did not depict the Clintons in the most favorable light, and savaged the President for his extra-curricular activities, pre-Lewinsky.

The Secret History of the Present Intrigues of the Court of Caramania was a smash sensation and went into an immediate second edition later in the year of its publication.

01086_title.jpg Haywood (née Elizabeth Fowler) was an English writer, actress and publisher. Since the 1980s, Eliza Haywood’s literary works have been gaining in recognition and interest. Described as “prolific even by the standards of a prolific age” (Blouch, Christine. Introduction to Eliza Haywood and the Romance of Obscurity. Studies in English Literature 1500-1900 no. 31 (1991): 535-551.), Haywood wrote and published over seventy works during her lifetime including fiction, drama, translations, poetry, conduct literature and periodicals. Haywood is a significant figure in the 18th century as one of the important founders of the novel in English.

Haywood’s writing career began in 1719 with the first two installments of Love in Excess, a novel, and ended in the year she died with the marital conduct books The Wife and The Husband, and the biweekly periodical The Young Lady. She wrote in several genres and many of her works were published anonymously.

Haywood, Delarivier Manley and Aphra Behn were known as the Fair Triumvirate of Wit and are considered the most prominent writers of amatory fiction. Eliza Haywood’s prolific fiction developed from titillating romance novels and amatory fiction during the early 1720s to works focused more on “women’s rights and position” (Schofield, Mary Anne. Eliza Haywood. Boston: Twayne Publishers, 1985, p. 63)

Haywood’s first novel, Love in Excess; or The Fatal Enquiry (1719-1720) touches on themes of education and marriage. Termed an amatory bodice-ripper by some, this novel is also notable for its treatment of the fallen woman.

portrait of eliza haywood.jpgShe began her career as an actress in 1715. During the second half of the 1720s, Haywood continued acting, moving over to the Haymarket Theatre to join with Henry Fielding in the opposition plays of the 1730s. In 1729, she wrote Frederick, Duke of Brunswick-Lunenburgh to honor the future George II of the United Kingdom. George II, as Prince of Wales, was the focus of Tory opposition to the ministry of Robert Walpole. As he had made it clear that he did not favor his father’s policies or ministry, praise for him was demurral from the present king.

Eliza Haywood was active in politics during her entire career, although she had a party change around the time of the reconciliation of George II with Robert Walpole: She became a staunch Tory and an enemy of Walpole. She wrote a series of parallel histories/roman á clefs, beginning with Memoirs of a Certain Island, Adjacent to Utopia (1724), and the present novel (1727), these her most well known. In 1746 she began to publish a journal, The Parrot, which got her questioned by the government for political statements about Charles Edward Stuart, as she was writing just after the Jacobite Rising. This would happen again with the publication of A Letter from H-- G----g, Esq. in 1750.

Eliza Haywood is now regarded as “a case study in the politics of literary history” (Blouch, pp. 7-8). She has also been reevaluated by feminist scholars and is highly rated. Interest in Haywood’s work has been steadily growing as her importance has been recognized, with much scholarship, biographies, and collections and reprints of her novels, which are regarded as stylistically innovative. Her plays and political writing attracted most of the attention in her own time, and she was a full player in the difficult public sphere of the era.

An actress turned writer turned politician...public figures...indiscretions...political consequences: This novel could have been written yesterday.


HAYWOOD, Eliza. The Secret History of the Present Intrigues of the Court of Caramania. London: Printed and Sold by the Booksellers of London and Westminster, 1727. First edition, first issue. Octavo (7 5/8 x 4 5/8 in; 192 x 117 mm). [4], 348 pp. Woodcut head- tailpieces, and initials by Woodfall.

Spetting, A Bibliography of Eliza Haywood, Ab.33.1a. McBirney 213. Lowndes, p. 369 (1st edition), p. 1019 (2d edition). Graesse, vol. C, p. 44 (1st ed.), vol. H, p. 224 (2d edition).

Sources not cited above: Staves, A Literary History of Women’s Writing in Britain 1160-1789, p. 187. Paula R. Backscheider on Haywood, Eliza, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004.

Lowndes provides a Key to the true identities of the characters, which we reproduce below:

Ismonda: Mrs. Howard
Adrastus: Mr. Howard
Marmillio: Earl Scarborough
Lutetia: Mrs. Balladin
Irene: L--y Douglas
Arilla: Mrs. Meadows
Arbanes: Lord Nottingham
Euridice: Lady Charlotte Finch
Doraspe: Duke of Somerset
Ernestus: Lord Finch
Clotus: Earl Suffolk
Aridanor: Duke of Argyle
Barsina: Duchess of Argyle
Elaria: Miss Bridgeman
Her cousin: Lady Craven
Orsabia: Sir Orlando Bridgeman
Almira: Miss Warburton
Idomeus: Lady Isley
Cleomenes: Mr. Lumley
Attalinda” Lady Romney
Arsinoe: L--y Rich
Mazares; Lord Essex
Elearchus: Mr. Berkeley
Cariclea: L--y Hern
Her sister: Miss Hern
Olimpia: Mrs. Foley
Luthelina: Miss Titchburn
Her aunt: Mrs. Stanley

Title page and page one images courtesy of David Brass.

In a recent post, I discussed ephemera in general and a certain piece that elicited memories of my family’s involvement in the liquor business during Prohibition in Chicago.

My all-time favorite piece of ephemera also concerns the liquor business in Chicago during Prohibition - sort of. As with all ephemera, it, too, tells quite a tale.

What About Girls? was published in 1943 by the YMCA’s Armed Services Department warning of the dangers of venereal disease. It was written by Eliot Ness. Yes, that Eliot Ness.

Eliot Ness, special agent of the Justice Department’s Prohibition Bureau. Nemesis of Al Capone. All-American hero. Eliot Ness, legendary gangbuster.

Eliot Ness, Germbuster?

How Ness, the famed Federal agent went from gangbuster to germbuster is a sad story indeed.

Ness’s dream job, to join the F.B.I. after Repeal, was thwarted by J. Edgar Hoover, who disdained Ness’ shameless publicity seeking and gross exaggerations of his at best marginal contribution to bringing down Al Capone. There was room for only one prima donna publicity-hound in the F.B.I. and Hoover filled the position; there could only be one public face of the F.B.I. and it would not be Ness’s matinee-idol mug.

Reality check: Eliot Ness joined the Justice Department in 1928 in the waning years of Prohibition; he caught the tail end of the Noble Experiment, he was never in the thick of it. His job, in essence: play whack-a-mole with Capone’s organization. Take down a small brewery, bottling plant tonight, it’s open again tomorrow. But he made certain the local reporters wrote about him and inventively played up his exploits. Yet “nothing he did contributed to the government’s case against Al Capone” (Bergreen, p. 344). He was merely an annoying flea to Chicago’s top dog.

After his rejection by Hoover, Ness began a slow, pathetic slide downward fueled (ironically) by alcoholism and womanizing.

He took a job as Cleveland Public Safety Director, his mandate: clean up the town; the Mayfield Road gang, led by Moe Dalitz, was running amok. It continued to do so under his watch. His success in Cleveland was mixed, like scotch and soda. By 1938, Ness, once Cleveland’s golden boy, was now understood to be strictly fool’s gold. He divorced his wife; that didn’t go over well with the Catholic citizenry. He began to haunt posh booze troughs. Made time with the babes. By 1941, his reputation was in tatters. His involvement in a hit and run accident (he hit, he ran) while drunk shredded it, and he was forced to resign in disgrace in 1942.

At age 39, his movie star looks fading, his rep sunk, he moved to Washington D.C. and, hat in hand, he begged and got a job as Director, Social Protection Division, Office of Community War Services, Federal Security Agency where he helped coordinate the government’s struggle to cope with what he called, “Military Saboteur Number 1.”

Thus, What About Girls? with Ness’s immortal call to arms: “The idea is to keep diseased women away from you. Is it too much to ask that you keep away from them?”

Uh, yes Sir, it is: unless “diseased women” wear a sign around their necks, we can’t tell the pure specimens from the impure ones. How ‘bout a War Department memo to all ladies: Please present full blood work results to your local Selective Service board.

The “diseased women” were, of course, pay to play gals but the word prostitute is not to be found within the pamphlet’s pages.

Ness had a personal bug about syphilis. Bergreen, who gives much attention to Ness in his definitive biography of Capone, states that Ness’ crusade against syphilis was precipitated by his former nemesis’ battle with the malady. Ness, who spent his last days a forgotten figure and broken man, insolvent, deeply in debt, and regaling indulgent barflies with grandiose tales of former glory, died of a heart attack in 1957 at age 54, the consequence of his alcoholism, on the eve of the publication of his self-aggrandizing memoir, The Untouchables, which led to the famous television series.

This pamphlet, an important view of the government’s actions against V.D. during the war years, presents a marked contrast to the government’s actions forty years later when a new, deadly venereal disease emerged to threaten America, and is a sad reminder of a man who was ultimately Fitzgeraldian in his initial (sham) success, unfulfilled promise, and alcoholic disintegration. It is a fascinating slice of 20th-century Americana.


Bergreen, Laurence. Capone: The Man and the Era (NY, 1994). Cf. Bullough et al., Bibiography of Prostitution 3377.

NESS, Eliot. WHAT ABOUT GIRLS? New York: Public Affairs Committee (YMCA), 1947 [1948]. Reprint of the 1943 first issue. 16mo, 31pp. Red printed wrappers.
In the week that has passed since my last posting, I have exhausted my supply of recreational reading, a circumstance that has occasioned a trip to Parnassas Books, one of my favorite haunts here on the Cape, located on Route 6A in Yarmouthport, now in its fiftieth year at the same location, with many thousands of volumes packed in a three-story building that dates to the 1800s. In an earlier life the structure was home to Knowles General Store, purveyors of every manner of necessity (in years past some of the old-timers could point out where the pickle barrel stood and where the “wet goods”--the liquor--was sold.) I mentioned Parnassus in an entry five months ago, and am pleased to report that my record of always finding something here of interest--and I can date my fist call on bookseller Ben Muse and his wares  to the summer of 1978--remains intact.

archcod.jpgThis time around, the find was not a particularly old book--even though the stock-in-trade at Parnassus is overwhelmingly second-hand books, with a respectable inventory of antiquarian items and a tastefully-chosen selection of new-releases mixed in--but a work I confess I totally missed when it was released two years ago, and am thrilled--dare I say relieved?--to have come across now. How I missed The Archimedes Codex: How a Medieval Prayer Book Is Revealing the True Genius of Antiquity’s Greatest Scientist (New York, De Capo Press, 2007), by Reviel Netz and William Noll, I can not fathom. But there it was, on a shelf, at a very good price, and all I can say is better late than never.

Perhaps a little back-story is in order here. One of the key contemporary collectors I had the privilege to profile in A Gentle Madness was Dr. Haskell F. Norman, a San Francisco psychoanalyst who had put together what was renowned to be the outstanding collection of medical and science books assembled by anyone in the twentieth century. A year before his death in 1996, the Grolier Club in New York published One Hundred Books Famous in Medicine, edited by Hope Mayo and based on a 1994 exhibition conceived and organized by Dr. Norman. In his interview with me, Dr. Norman had explained quite precisely why he had chosen to put his books on the market, so when Christie’s announced that it would mount a three-part sale in 1998, I was not surprised at all, and decided in fact to attend each session. When all was said and done the books brought in a whopping $18 million, breaking all sorts of sales records in the process.

Though a landmark auction in and of itself--and a great tribute to one of the most decent people I ever had the privilege of meeting (remind me some day to explain what I have come to regard as the “Haskell Norman Moment” in the writing of all of my books)--the final day of the sale, Oct. 29, 1998, was marked by yet another extraordinary book event. Halfway through the bidding for the 501 lots, a time-out, in essence, was called, so that another mini-auction could proceed in and of itself. What was about to go on the block--and a battery of television cameras was set up in the back of the Park Avenue gallery to record it all--was a dingy, dreary-looking little volume that had come to be known as the Archimedes Codex.

On the surface, the book is a medieval manuscript prepared in the thirteenth century for liturgical use in the form of a palimpsest, which once-upon-a-time was a standard method for recycling leaves of parchment by scraping away unwanted writings, and inking them over with a new text. What made this palimpsest especially noteworthy was that it contained the earliest known writings of Archimedes (287-212 B.C.), the greatest mathematician of the ancient world. In a fast-moving exchange of bids, an anonymous American buyer outbid a representative of the Greek government, which had hoped to bring the document back to its native land, paying $2.2 million, the most money ever spent, Nicolas Barker would later quip, “for a text that can not be read with the naked eye.”

The Archimedes Codex begins, dramatically enough, with the Christie’s sale, and continues on with what becomes a thrilling account of traditional scholarship and modern technology, written by William Noel, curator of manuscripts at the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore, who  headed up a research team of scholars and conservators known as the Archimedes Palimpsest Project, and Reviel Netz, a professor classics and philosophy at Stanford.Their efforts--fully supported and underwritten by the new owner, coyly referred to as Mr. B--resulted in the discovery of several previously undiscovered Archimedes writings, Balancing Planes, On Floating Bodies, The Method of Mechanical Theorems, and the Stomachion. The manuscript also contained some lost speeches by Hyperides, a noted orator of ancient times.

Addressing complaints from some quarters that such an important manuscript had not found a permanent home in an institution, Noel offers this: “When the Archimedes Palimpsest was sold, some scholars were outraged that the book had returned to a private collection. But if Archimedes had meant enough to the public, then public institutions would have bought it. Archimedes did not. Public institutions were offered the book at a lower price than it actually fetched at auction, and they turned it down. If you think that is a shame, then it is a shame that we all share. We live in a world where value translates into cash. If you care about what happens to world heritage, get political about it, and be prepared to pay for it.”

Once again, a collector came to the rescue. This is a great read, and since January, available in a new paperback edition.
My girlfriend’s father died recently and in amongst his belongings she found a curious pamphlet.

jacobs title031.jpgThe Joseph Jacobs Handbook of Jewish Words and Expressions. For use by anyone calling on the Jewish trade...for making friends with Jewish merchants was issued in 1954 by the Joseph Jacobs Organization, an U.S. advertising agency that specifically targeted the Jewish market. It was created for any business interested in cultivating the Jewish trade, and Calvert Distillers co-opted it for use by its salesmen and distribution to the liquor store owners they called upon so that both could more effectively service their customers with a little schmear of Yiddish to grease the ethnic gears and help all concerned  put a little extra gelt (money) in their pockets and mach a leben (make a living). It’s hands across the Old and New Testaments, brotherhood with a dollar sign.

It’s rather quaint as a piece of ephemeral American Judaica. But as with all ephemera, close investigation reveals it to be much more than a handy lexicon.

Between the lines of this little pamphlet lies the history of the liquor business in the United States during the first half of the twentieth century. I know this story well and can recite it by heart. My family played a supporting role in the writing of it.

Prior to Prohibition, the whiskey business in the U.S. was a Protestant affair. When the Volstead Act became law, distilleries in the U.S. closed down and their inventories were gathered into U.S. Government bonded warehouses for distribution into the legal trade: Few are aware the there were exemptions under the Volstead Act for the sale of alcoholic beverages during Prohibition: wine for sacramental purposes, liqueurs and rum for industrial baking, and whiskey sold in drug stores for medicinal purposes by a doctor’s prescription.(1)
jacobs intro032.jpgThe original owners of these warehoused goods were issued government receipts and a lively trade developed for brokering the receipts which were sold by the original owners to raise cash, and then brokered for resale. Control the receipts, and you controlled the legal flow of booze in the U.S. The brokers and buyers of the receipts were, to a man, Jews.

By 1930, it was becoming clear that the Noble Experiment was an utter failure and distillers, sensing Repeal in the air, began to prepare for it. But they needed capital to gear up for the change and resume production at a level to meet anticipated demand.

During the ’20s, the National Brokerage Company of Chicago(2), one of the more successful traders of warehouse receipts, learned that a distillery in Kentucky was looking for a financial angel. The distillery, an old family business, had an established brand and venerable reputation. And so National Brokerage Company made a deal with the family patriarch. In exchange for investing the requisite scratch, they assumed control of the distillery’s plants and products and handled all sales and marketing; day to day operations of the distillery and the manufacture of its alcoholic beverages were left in the hands of the family. Thus, Jim Beam bourbon became, for all intents and purposes, Judah Beam, the world’s finest bourbon since 1795 (5555, by the Hebrew calendar).(3)

At the same time, the Bronfman family was buying up distilleries in Canada, amongst them, Calvert, and made strong, similar moves into the United States. South of the Canadian border, Lewis S. Rosenstiel bought the Schenley distillery in Pennsylvania and following that purchase went on a distillery buying binge. By the mid-1930s, Jews controlled the distilled spirits industry in the U.S., completely responsible for its finance, sales and marketing.

jacobs 3033.jpgIn the immediate post-WWII years, the liquor business enjoyed the same boom as every other industry in America. Its expansion and growth through publicy-owned corporations required a dramatic increase in personnel and non-Jews entered the trade in supporting roles. Liquor stores, almost entirely owned by Jews because the liquor trade was considered to be low-class by Christians influenced by the temperance movement, began to become owned by gentiles as upwardly mobile Jews rose to other, more acceptable occupations. The industry, though, was still run by Jews and, by 1954, the need for a pamphlet such as this was strong. By the 1960s, however, the corporatization of the industry was complete and the role of the Jews who established the modern liquor business in the United States gave way to a an ethnically neutral (parve) and faceless industry. Like the movie industry pioneered by Jews, the distilled spirits business shed its roots and became pasteurized, homogenized and fully “American.” Indeed, Jim Beam was sold by the Blum group to American Tobacco (now American Brands) in 1967.

Recently in these pages, Chris Lowenstein wrote a fine piece about collecting ephemera, a follow-up to a blog post she wrote earlier for Book Hunter’s Holiday.(4)

As this throwaway pamphlet demonstrates - all ephemera (or paper collectables) are throwaway by nature, not meant to last much less be collected - these pieces of paper can be as valuable as books for illuminating the world in which they were born. For book collectors wishing to enter the field on a tight budget, ephemera is unsurpassed. The pamphlet under notice is worth $15-$20, tops. Those who enter the hobby with ephemera often find that it is so rich yet inexpensive that they never want to collect beyond it.

This piece falls into Judaica, specifically American Judaica, with cross-over into 20th century American industry in general and the distilled spirits business in particular. And, just as many have found the collection of the literature of illegal drugs to be a fruitful and worthwhile area of interest and inquiry, so, too, are there collectors who specialize in collecting the literature of booze, with sub-specialties in bourbon, scotch, etc. Further, the establishment and growth of the liquor business in the United States runs parallel to the establishment and growth of the Republic; it is a sub-specialty of Americana. The Whiskey Rebellion of 1794 anyone?

Thus, this little booklet can serve as the cornerstone to a collection that can grow in many interesting directions. A far-sighted dealer could build a collection of American liquor business-related ephemera, perhaps with the Jewish slant and form a collection more valuable as a whole than in its parts and sell to a university, a Jewish or a liquor industry trade organization. An individual could do the same and gain much personal nachas (joy), something to really kvell (beam with immense, swollen pride) over having amassed a collection of material that has gotten little attention and, having done so, brought to light a slice of our cultural history and heritage heretofore passed over.

As an adjunct, one could include vintage liquor business advertising, i.e.:

calvert ad1940.jpg     Clear Heads Call For Calvert (1940). Buyers of other brands presumably too drunk to buy wisely.

The Joseph Jacobs Handbook provides a pronunciation guide, so the non-Jews who used it would not make the blunder that one gentile performer in Hollywood made during an appearance on Jan Murray’s early 1960s game show, Treasure Hunt: in a mangled expression of solidarity mit der menschen (good Jewish people) and as a self-elected landsman (fellow townsperson) he mispronounced the Jewish holiday Hanukah as CHa-NU-ka, thereby eliciting peals of derisive laughter from the audience and fellow game show participants, and demonstrating that he was a real schmendrick, a beheymeh, a putz.


1. Title II, sections 3, 6, and 7.

2. The principals of National Brokerage Company were Harry Blum who was married to one of my paternal grandmother’s sisters; his father, Philip; my grandfather, Edward M. Gertz; Moe Rieger, married to Blum’s sister; Joe Levy, who was married to my Great-Aunt Eva Bernstein; and Joe Guzik, brother of Jake “Greasy Thumb” Guzik, Al Capone’s loyal business advisor and financial wizard. My Great-Aunt Bernice, my grandfather’s sister, kept the books. My grandfather would sell his share of the business to two of his brothers-in-law, my Great-uncles Joe and Leo Bernstein, just prior to National Brokerage Company’s reorganization as the Philip Blum group and its purchase of Jim Beam. In 1941, my great-uncle Harry Blum assumed sole ownership of James B. Beam Distilling Co.

3. It is instructive that the Jim Beam website makes absolutely no mention whatsoever of this part of its history. It also has some dates completely wrong.

4. Hats off to Chris for slyly referencing A.S.W. Rosenbach’s 1936 classic book of the same name.

In its first No Reserve Bibliophile Sale Bloomsbury-NY blew the roof off the house with an astonishing 90%-95% lot sell-through rate. The rare book auction market has not seen lot sell-through figures like that in more than twenty years.

As reported here earlier, “declining lot prices and percentage of lots sold [for rare books at auction] have hit a wall and splatted against the recession. Median prices, which had risen from $410 in October of 2006 to $485 n January of 2008 have dropped back and below to $400 ‘with no evidence to suggest the correction is over. Not so many decades ago auctions regularly sold 90% or more of lots offered. Over the last five years auctions have struggled to complete even 80% as the percentage of lots sold fell from 78% to 70%.’
In an immediate post-sale interview, James Cummins III, head of rare books at Bloomsbury-NY, said:

“I do not [yet] have a concrete figure for the sell through rate although I believe it to be around 90-95%. The sale brought in $94,421 with premium.

“The sale was conducted differently in a few ways. We didn’t have any telephone bidding, there was no printed catalogue, lots that were unsold were bundled up and reoffered in groups and we were selling at nearly 200 lots an hour.
“We had quite a lively audience of approximately thirty-forty collectors and dealers in addition to absentee and online bidders. This sale was done as an experiment to see how the market would react to quality material being offered at no reserve. It proved to be very successful with many lots selling at higher prices than they had previously been offered at. We are very happy with the results of the sale and look forward to more no reserve sales in the future.”  

This sale and its results are a breath of fresh air to a business that has been struggling with change since the advent of the Internet opened up and democratized the rare book marketplace with buyers seizing control from sellers who have not been happy ceding it. The market has been under pressure for some time and the current recession has only increased that pressure for sellers to come to grips with reality and make downward price adjustments.

It is hoped that the other auction houses will follow suit. And, significantly, that individual dealers, to insure the health and continued viability of the business into the future, will follow  and begin to lower their posted prices to welcome back wary book collectors and openly invite interested newcomers who may feel that current prices push the “gentle madness” of the hobby into a full-blown psychosis that few can afford.

_____ Coming Soon: Caveat Rare Book Emptor: The High Cost of Low Prices
Greetings and Happy Independence Day from Sandwich, Mass., on Cape Cod Bay. I have ten books that I brough along with me, a few of them newly released, and which I will share herewith as worthy of your attention. I think also I will take this opportunity to express my idea of what constitutes summer reading, since we are very definitely in that mode.

So let the record show that yes, I most assuredy do like to be entertained--and in this respect I heartily recommend the new novels of Micahael Connelly  (“The Scarecrow”) and George Pelecanos (“The Way Home”), which I devoured some weeks ago when they arrived from the publishers--and that I also have with me “Rain Gods,” the new James Lee Burke novel set aside as a treat for work well done. I also have a book in hand that I am reviewing for the Los Angeles Times, the title of which I will keep to myself until the piece is filed and published. (I can say, in any case, that it is work-related--it is a book about books--and that I am enjoying it enormously.)

As for summer reading?  Let’s just say that I like a balance, fiction and nonfiction, light and heavy. But then again, I always like such a balance, regardless of what time of year it may be. And while each of the books that follow happens to be published by a university press, do not for a second assume by the titles or the subject matter that they are in any way inaccessible or overly arcane. Each one is impressively researched, thoughtfully conceived, and very well written. That there’s a good measure of intellectual nourishment in each is a bonus, warm lazy weather notwithstanding.

Small Wonder: The Little Red Schoolhouse in History and Memory, by Jonathan Zimmerman; New Haven, CT, Yale University Press, 233 pages, $26.

RedSchool.jpgThis latest installment in Yale’s Icons of America Series (earlier releases have included penetrating considerations of such diverse subjects as Fred Astaire, Andy Warhol, the hamburger, and Wall Street), considers the role of the one-room schoolhouse in the shaping of American culture and where it stands in our collective memory. Jonathan Zimmerman, a professor of education and history at New York University, has culled a rich range of sources, oral histories, poetry, music, and movies among them, to trace the evolution of this mainstay in the American past. How important was the little red schoolhouse? “For the first two hundred years of European settlement in America,” he writes, “the majority of people who attended school went to a one-room schoolhouse.” And how has it been preserved in the American psyche?  “Whatever their political bent,” he writes, “artists and writers imagined the little red schoolhouse as a sacred entity; whether  by communism or racism or simple stinginess, the one-room schoolhouse was pure and unspoiled.”

Civilizations of Ancient Iraq, by Benjamin R. Foster and Karen Polinger Foster, Princeton, NJ, Princeton University Press, 297 pages, $26.95.

AncIraq.jpgThe land between the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers we know today as Iraq has been witness to more than seven thousand years of civilization that have been recorded in some fashion or another over that remarkable span, an extraordinary continuum of human history that is unmatched by any region of the world. Known as Iraq only since the time of the Muslim conquest of 637 AD, the area collectively referred to by scholars of ancient history as Mesopotamia--the land between the rivers--has been home variously to Sumerians, Babylonians, Amorites, Akkadians, Assyrians, Hitties, Kattities, and Sassanians, ruled by legendary leaders such as Hammurabi and Ashurbanipal. “This land saw the first towns and cities, the first states and empires,” Benjamin and Karen Foster, married professors at Yale, write in this superb one-volume overview. “Here writing was invented, and with it the world’s oldest poetry and the beginnings of mathematics, astronomy and the law. Here too are found pioneering achievements in pyrotechnology, as well as important innovations in art and architecture.”

Grimoires: A Hisory of Magic Books, by Owen Davies. New York, Oxford University Press, 368 pages, $29.95.

Grimoire.jpgHere is a book about books that is filled with fascinating, scrupulously gathered information. Grimoires, we learn--and the word is new to me--are books of conjurations and charms. “They are repositories of knowledge that arm people against evil spirits and witches, heal their illnesses, fulfill their sexual desires, divine and alter their destiny, and much else besides,” writes Owen Davies, a British academic and author previously of “The Haunted: A Social History of Ghosts, Murder, Magic, Madness,” among other highly respected explorations of spirits and the conjuring arts. Here, he takes us from ancient Egypt through Kabbalah, medieval sorcery, the post-war Germanic occult phenomenon, up to and including charm books made and distributed in the United States. Among banned books, grimoires rank right up there with the most feared writings through history. Davies includes numerous illustrations; a really fine effort that will be of considerable interest to bibliophiles and collectors alike.

Punched -Card Systems and the Early Information Explosion 1880-1945, by Lars Heide; Baltimore, Johns Hopkins University Press, 369 pages, $65.

Punch.jpgI have to say that I really was excited about this book when I saw it announced in the Johns Hopkins spring catalog, and my keen anticipation has been rewarded. You think I’m nuts, right, all this excitement over a book about punched cards? Well, I’m serious. First of all, I love stuff like his, and second of all, I am writing a cultural history of paper and papermaking, and here, between the hard covers of one book, is a meticulously researched monograph about the very first application of computer science on a widespread, systemic level, and all of it relied on paper. Early punched cards helped to compile the U.S. census in 1890. When Franklin Roosevelt introduced Social Security in 1935, twenty-one million Americans were eligible for old-age pensions that were calculated and processed on massive punched-card registers. Vichy France used similar technologies in its attempt to mobilize against the Nazi threat, while the Germans developed their own procedures to assist in their war effort. Lars Heide’s book will appeal to people in many disciplines, and provide food for thought for those out there who truly believe that we are headed for a “paperless society.” My personal response to that is to quote the words of Jesse Shera, a noted historian of library history who several decades ago quipped that “the paperless society is about as plausible as the paperless bathroom.”
TERRA INCOGNITO, Gaia - Whereas, over the course of fifty-eight years I have mastered near complete ignorance of the subject of women, I am, naturally, going where sane men fear to tread, yet to insure my ongoing safety amongst the double-X chromosome set, I unequivocally assert that today’s headline is not mine - really! - but, rather, the title to a most interesting book from 1798 written by Priscilla Wakefield, its subtitle, “With Suggestions for its Improvement,” being left out because what I know about women you could put on the head of a pin and have room left for a copy of The Feminine Mystique and Our Bodies, Ourselves, and as far as offering suggestions for its improvement, my only feeble - and desperate - suggestion is, “say yes, I beg of you.”

female sex030.jpgWakefield’s knowledge, however, is another matter; women, apparently, have greater insight into themselves than men. Who’d a’ thunk it?

Wakefield (1750-1832)  “wrote seventeen books, principally moral tales... She was well known as an author for the rising generation at a time when the developing field of children’s literature offered welcome opportunities to women...

“Wakefield succeeded because she produced improving and didactic works of non-fiction that middle-class parents were choosing to buy. Unlike Romantic writings that celebrated imagination and fantasy Wakefield’s books have a deliberate moral tone, are filled with information, and focus on real-life experiences in the present day. Characteristically they have a family setting and promote a new-style progressive pedagogy based in domestic conversations; mothers often teach their own children, and girls receive attention as much as boys...

“Personally and politically Wakefield shied away from radicalism but she advocated reform in many areas of public and private life. Her books contain extended criticisms of the slave trade and cruelty to animals; letters to magazines weigh in on social topics such as the plight of apprentices and equal wages for women and men. Wakefield believed that education was the key to the improvement of individuals and society. In Reflections on the Present Condition of the Female Sex (1798), her one book for an adult audience, she called for more educational and occupational opportunities for women. Advocating economic self-sufficiency she offered practical and vocational suggestions, such as establishing institutions to train teachers and encouraging women to be farmers. Wakefield did not contest the division of society into social classes; she directed her ideas about female improvement to women of the nobility, the middle classes, and the labouring poor. Nor did she contest gendered ideas about the ‘female character’. She wrote:

”’‘There are many branches of science, as well as useful occupations, in which women may employ their time and their talents, beneficially to themselves and to the community, without destroying the peculiar characteristic of their sex, or exceeding the most exact limits of modesty and decorum (Reflections, pp. 8-9).’” (Oxford Online DNB).

Though way ahead of her time as a reformer, she was squarely in and of her time. In Reflections..., Wakefield suggested that the “first and second classes” of women be employed in writing, painting, engraving, sculpture, music and landscape gardening - but not the theater - the moral hazard too great. Women of the “third class” were suitable for teaching, working in shops, the stationary business, apothecary’s work, pastry and candy-making, light lathe work and toymaking. Farming was on her list as as a suitable occupation for women.

At approximately the same time, other female writers were making their mark but in fiction; the novel had become increasingly popular since Richardson’s Pamela. Minerva Press was the leading publisher of novels during the late 18th century, most of its stable of writers were women, and many of these writers sympathetically focused on the plight of contemporary womanhood.

One such Minerva Press novelist was Mrs. Bennett.

bennett.jpgIn her last novel, Vicissitudes Abroad (1806), the heroine, Julia, unsuspectingly marries a gambler, who soon abandons her in London. Alone and penniless, she finds that she cannot even pay for a hired carriage, and when the driver abuses her and a crowd gathers, presuming her to be a prostitute, she goes mad and is delivered to a charity hospital. As final insult to injury, the hospital’s doctor offers to waive her hospital care costs if she will become his mistress.

Of Anna (or, Agnes) Bennett (c.1750-1808), the European Magazine, 1790, said her father and husband were customs officers. But other sources claim that her father was a grocer and her husband a tanner with whom she moved to London. She left her husband and began work as a shopkeeper, workhouse matron, and then mistress (“housekeeper”) to Admiral Sir Thomas Pye, whose name she gave to two of her children. He died in 1785, the year her first novel, Anna, or Memoirs of a Welsh Heiress, was published.

In 1763, William Lane decided to cash in on the novel reading craze. He opened a circulating library in Whitechapel. Around 1790, the operation moved to Leadenhall Street in London where he established Minerva Press, a publishing house noted for creating a lucrative market in sentimental and Gothic fiction in the late 18th century and early 19th century.

Over the next fifteen years, Lane dominated the novel publishing industry and made a fortune. In addition to Mrs. Bennett, his stable of writers included many other female authors including Regina Maria Roche; Mrs. Eliza Parsons; and Eleanor Sleath whose Gothic fiction is included in the list of the seven Northanger Horrid Novels, recommended by the character Isabella Thorpe in Jane Austen’s novel, Northanger Abbey (1818). Six of the Northanger Seven were published by Minerva. However many titles were anonymous, including such novels as Count Roderic’s Castle (1794), The Haunted Castle (1794), The Animated Skeleton (1798) and The New Monk (1798). Authors who wrote for Minerva Press are obscure today, and its market became negligible after the death of its charismatic founder who, according to the poet, Samuel Rogers, was often seen tooling around London in a splendid carriage, attended by footmen with cockades and gold-headed canes.

In 1804, he took on Anthony K. Newman as his partner. And while Minerva’s market share fell to about 39% between 1805 and 1819, it continued to crank out copious amounts of the types of novels that became synonymous with its name. Few authors who wrote for Lane and Newman are critically acclaimed today. And after its founder died in 1814, Minerva Press’ share of the print market became negligible, giving evidence to the fragmentation and diffusion occurring within the industry at the time.

It is in the non-fiction works of Wakefield and the novels of the Minerva Press that we gain our best insights into contemporary womanhood, and those seeking a place to begin collecting early women writers should consider Wakefield and Minerva Press as an excellent starting point.

As for this writer, I divide women into two classes: Those who will date me - a suitable but low-paying occupation - and those who won’t (seeking suitable occupation elsewhere). Both have my sympathies and respect, the former for their good taste, the latter for their good sense.


Garside, et al., English Novel, 1806.18. Blakey, Minerva Press. Bloch, The English Novel 1740-1850. Cardiff University, Center for Editorial and Intertexual Research, British Fiction 1800-1829. NSTC B1579. James Burmester, Catalogue 75, no. 188. Thanks to David Brass for permission to quote from my catalog description for Vicissitudes Abroad.

Images courtesy James Burmester (Reflections...; alas, James does not have a website) and David Brass (Vicissitudes Abroad).

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