Tuesday, July 15, 2014

A New Summer Catalog-

Two weeks spent watching World Cup Football on the widescreen in the Cataloging Cave left the Book Elves quite bitter about the fact that the lawn in front of the Cave, though serving as quite an adequate croquet field, is very much too small for football. Such problems are not the sort of thing that bother the Book Elves for long, though, and they soon came up with a plan for a new game- Extreme Full Contact Croquet, played nonstop with a 90-minute clock and everybody hitting their balls, and each other, at the same time. It's not the sort of game you will see featured on Wide World of Sports anytime soon, but we are working on a proposal for a cable tv show called "Stupid Things Drunk Elves Do with Big Mallets".

But before the Book Elves departed, en masse, for the Emergency Room with an assortment of contusions, concussions, and broken egos, they finished our latest catalog-

 CATALOG #350: A Selection of Curious Ephemera for Summer, 2014

Sunday, May 18, 2014

For the Birds-

1881 Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Bird's Egg Protection Poster. 

This represents a very early attempt to protect birds and their eggs- the Audubon Society, the longtime champion of birds and their nests, would not be founded until 1886, and in the 1880s there were no Federal laws and only a smattering of state laws, protecting songbirds and their nests and eggs. The MSPCA was founded in 1868, the second-oldest humane society in the United States, and among those on its first board of directors were John Quincy Adams II and Ralph Waldo Emerson. Poster. 9.5"x15". Minor wear, light soil. [40660] $250

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

A New Catalog-

Well, despite the best efforts of the Book Elves, another Bookin’! is ready to unleash upon an unsuspecting public. Their efforts included a 7 day-long May Day Festival which featured a succession of Maypoles, each pole having a tendency to conveniently disappear during the evening just before it was time to light the nightly Mayday Festival bonfire. Excuse me- “May Day” Festival, not “Mayday” Festival, though after about 5 days of it, “Mayday” seemed more appropriate... The Book Elves have grown tired of that joke, but I’m going to keep telling it, because I’m the one holding their bail-bond certificates. Those were another result of the week-long celebrations.
But before they also got banned from possessing fireworks, fire-lighting devices, alcoholic beverages, and tubas (don't ask), they finished our latest catalog, which is available for browsing or download as a pdf-
Have fun!

Thursday, February 06, 2014

1840 Dartmouth College Ode-

An Ode, Sung by the Graduating Class of Dartmouth College, July, 1840. 
Hanover; E.A. Allen, Printer: 1840.

A 9-stanza song which begins-

"And is it so, that we no more,
Together meet in classic halls?
No longer search for hidden lore
Within these long accustom'd walls?"

The apparently original composition goes on to hit most of the points such odes do- we met strangers, part lifelong friends, so long to the good, easy life, and so on, but also strikes on one important point nearer everyday life in the 19th century than the 20th or 21st-

But retrospection brings to mind
Names once recorded with our own,
Who now have answer'd Death's demand
And though they live, from us they're gone".

The last lines show that life in rural New Hampshire bordering Vermont is much the same now as it was then-

Farewell, these Academic shades,
These quiet walks - these sweet alcoves-
These tow'ring hills and hidden glades,
These pleasant streams, and shady groves".

 Single sheet. 4.5"x7.5". Unevenly cut. Minor soil. [40050] $100-

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

Civil War Marriage Poem for a Union Soldier -

"Lines Composed for and sung at the marriage of Mr. & Mrs. Marquis L. Holt"

New Hampshire, 1864. 

Marquis Lafayette Holt (1845-1934) and Rocene Sherwin (1844-1929) were married on March 20, 1864 in Mason, New Hampshire. Marquis was serving in the 3rd New Hampshire Regiment at the time; on August 24, 1864 he was promoted to the rank of Sargent Major of Company A, and he ended the war as a Lieutenant in Company E. After the war he became a minister and moved to Nebraska, where he is listed in 1880 as a reverend affiliated with the Congregational Christian Churches of the United States, serving in Plainfield, Knox County. He is buried in Laurel Hill Cemetery, Neligh, Nebraska.

The 3-stanza, 12-line poem makes several references to the ongoing war- "We wish you, dear friends, joy unmixed with sorrow / And years of contentment when peace's bright to-morrow / Has spread her broad mantle o'er all our dark land / Then, as now, may you trust in an all-guiding hand". Single sheet. 4.25"x5.25", soil. [40049]   $100-

Tuesday, February 04, 2014

Our Latest Catalog-

As the dark days of January give way to February’s ever-brightening afternoons, and weather-prognosticating rodents strut their stuff for the camera lights, I find myself oddly transported back by echoes of fading holiday carols which tinkle in my brain- Christmas tree, Oh Christmas tree -what the heck are you still doing up in the living room? 

The plan was for the Book Elves to have it removed by the Sooper-Dooper Bowl, at the very latest. And yet it sits, dripping brown needles.  More ominously, the concept of a Valentines Day Tree has been suggested, with red paper hearts hot-glued to the tinder-dry needles. I fear an event more reminiscent of the 4th of July, with blazing Roman candles... Boxes, boxes, where did the Book Elves hide the ornament boxes? Oh, right- they used them for sledding.

My work here has just begun,
but here’s the new catalog,
so go have some fun!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Diggin’ Deco-

Art Deco Shipping (Luggage?) Label for the Norddeutscher Lloyd Bremen Line. Paris: 1930s. 

A label issued by the Norddeutscher Lloyd Bremen Line and featuring three of their star ships- the Bremen, Europa, and Columbus. The Norddeutscher Lloyd was a German shipping company founded Bremen in 1857. It became one of the most important German shipping companies of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, competing with the English liners for the North American trade. All post-World War One liners, these three ships met ignominious fates: Columbus was launched in 1924, and scuttled by her crew off the coast of Virginia in 1939; Bremen was launched in 1929 and burned at her dock in 1941. Europa was launched in 1928 and scrapped by the Allies in 1945.

 4.25"x6". Tape repair. [39943] $35-

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

From the new Bookin'! - Peace? Ptui!!

Mose Skinner's Grand Peace Jubilee and Jewsharp Oratorio. 
Boston; New England News Company: 1869. 

A biting satire of Boston's famous National Peace Jubilee, which was organized by Patrick Gilmore and took place in Boston on June 15, 1869. The Jubilee was by all accounts a complete success, with more than 11,000 performers, including 100 choral groups, an orchestra of 525 musicians, and a 486-piece wind band. The Jubilee, in fact, became the "high-water mark in the influence of the band in American life" (Crawford, America's Musical Life: A History).

But before any of this took place the size and scope, as well as the concept of celebrating peace with Southerners (with whom there had been some recent "unpleasantness"), created doubters. An excellent example is this satirical booklet by James E. Brown, writing under the name Mose Skinner, the text of which first appeared as a series of columns in the Wide World news paper. Aside from his obvious doubts about the possibility that such a grand undertaking could ever succeed, one sees doubts about whether it even -should- succeed, the Jubilee being only a few years removed from the bloodiest war ever fought on American soil. 

For instance- "In order to promote kind feelings toward the South, and create a feeling of confidence, Confederate scrip will be considered legal tender, on the five days of the Festival, - and any person passing a greenback (on the sidewalk) will be subject to arrest. One-armed and one-legged soldiers are requested to retire into the country, in order that their presence may not cause any unpleasant recollections to arise in the minds of our Southern friends". Ouch.

Softcover. 4.5"x7.5", 21 pages, plus several pages of advertisements. Front cover damaged, with a small hole, and general wear and soil, creases, etc. [39932] $100 

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Our Latest Catalog-

January is really the cruelest month- there are only few actual holidays for the Book Elves to celebrate, so they fall back on “second-tier” celebrations, for better or (usually) worse. One “holiday” they are especially fond of is January 3rd's Fruitcake Toss Day which coincides (coincidentally?) with Humiliation Day. We have barely recovered from Bean Day on the 6th before it's time for Bubble Bath Day on the 8th. Play God Day (January 9) has been permanently banned in the Cataloging Cave, but the 10th's Peculiar People Day is always a good time. The less said about Feast of Fabulous Wild Men Day on the 12th the better, likewise the 14th’s Dress Up Your Pet Day -that may be the next day we have to ban. National Popcorn Day (19th) and National Pie Day (23rd) seem to lead naturally into National Kazoo Day, January 28th. 
Be sure to join us.
Bring a bib. And ear plugs.