Thursday, September 12, 2019

Book cover:
"The Book of the Damned"

The book that launched Fortean studies...

  • Title: The Book of the Damned
  • Author: Charles Fort (1874-1932)
  • Original publication year: 1919, by Boni & Liveright, making this year the 100th anniversary of the book's publication
  • Publisher: Ace Books (an Ace Star book)
  • Publication date of this edition: 1967, per the Internet Speculative Fiction Database, which gives that year for Ace's H-24 edition. Ace also published K-156, which had essentially the same cover, in 1962.
  • Cover price: 60 cents
  • Pages: 287
  • Format: Paperback
  • Cover blurbs:
    • "One of the greatest books ever written." — Tiffany Thayer
    • The original and greatest compilation of 1,001 attested phenomena that science cannot answer and deliberately ignores. Taylor Caldwell says that no other book has "so filled me with wonder, speculation and excitement."
  • Preface writer: Donald A. Wollheim
  • Introduction writer: Tiffany Thayer
  • First lines: "A procession of the damned.
    By the damned, I mean the excluded.
    We shall have a procession of data that Science has excluded."
  • Last two words: "...supernatural influences."
  • Random sentence from middle #1: "But at least temporarily we shall have an impression of a historic fiasco, such as, in our acceptance, could only occur in a quasi-existence."
  • Random sentence from middle #2: "Sooner or later we shall have to take up an expression that fragments of steel have fallen from the sky."
  • Goodreads rating: 3.65 stars (out of 5.0)
  • Goodreads positive review excerpt: In 2015, Kaiser Penderschlo├č wrote: "Neither a crank nor some sort of prophet of Truth, Charles Fort brought wry humor to the usually dreadfully humorless process of questioning our most basic assumptions about reality and dealing with data that just doesn't 'fit'."
  • Goodreads negative review excerpt: In 2013, Mandy wrote: "What a slog this is — I may not finish. Fort builds his arguments slowly and the narrative thread is thin; his method is to convince the reader by overwhelming with similar data points — it is tiresome at best."
  • Amazon rating: 3.9 stars (out of 5.0)
  • Amazon positive review: Earlier this year, Ralph E. Vaughan wrote: "The original compendium of the mysterious and unexplained, and it's still as relevant now as it was to Fort's first readers. I suppose what's kept it fresh is the fact that Fortean events (as they are now known) continue to this day. Though his literary descendants have the advantage of instantaneous communication and worldwide news sources, none of them write with Fort's verve and excitement."
  • Amazon somewhat negative review excerpt: In 2002, John Landry wrote: "Criticizing science is one thing but by coming up with equally as silly theories, Fort has painted himself into a corner. He believes that there is a 'Super Sargasso Sea' in our upper atmosphere that harbors fish, frogs and gelatinous substances."
  • One last thing: In 2008, Jim Steinmeyer published a biography titled Charles Fort: The Man Who Invented the Supernatural. In reviewing the book for The Independent that year, David V. Barrett wrote:
    "There's no doubt that Fort crossed the line between an enthusiast and an obsessive. His life, as graphically portrayed in this book, was often frustrated and unfulfilled. But the legacy he left makes the world a brighter place: paradoxically, both saner and sillier."

The colorful back cover

Monday, September 9, 2019

Another round of pruning family photos, Part 4

Still plugging away...

1. Helen Simmons Carey, (possibly Helen Gregg Simmons Carey). She lived from 1894 to 1957 and was a cousin to some of my ancestors. It doesn't seem to be known who the child is. This photo is on a real photo postcard that was produced by Cummings' studio in Wilmington, Delaware. Based on the AZO stamp box, it was produced between 1924 and 1949. (If you've been following along, you might have noticed that many of these photos have already been scanned and placed in the Find A Grave database. That was the handiwork of Mom.)

2. Look, it's a kid hanging out with books and ephemera! Written on the back is "Edna?" but then that's crossed out and someone appears to have scrawled "Swithin" underneath. If that's the correct ID, it would be Dr. Swithin T. Chandler (1888-1961), who was the older brother of my great-grandmother, Greta Miriam Chandler Adams (1894-1988). The cabinet card was shot at A.P. Beecher at 315 Market Street in Wilmington, Delaware. So they were probably just the photographer's prop books.

3. Someone has written Sophie Simmons on the front of this cabinet card, which was shot at A.K.P. Trask on Chestnut Street in Philadelphia. Obviously, with the name Simmons, this young lady fits somewhere into the family tree. Bauduy Simmons (1805-1882) was one of Greta's grandfathers. But I don't see an obvious Sophie anywhere in the main tree.

4. And, finally, we have Elizabeth Simmons Sheward, per the writing on the back of the card. Hey, I just saw her when I was looking through Bauday's side of the family. I think. There's an Irene Simmons Sheward (1871-1923) and her daughter, Elizabeth Ann Sheward Burns (1894-1985). I wonder if there was a mixup or conflation somewhere in the photo notations. This cabinet card was shot at Jarvis White & Co. in Davenport, Iowa. That company lists itself as the successor to Hastings, White & Fisher.

Sunday, September 8, 2019

Another round of pruning family photos, Part 3

Still plugging away...

1. Adella Fredd??? The cursive writing on the back appears to be that of my great-grandmother, Greta Miriam Chandler Adams (1894-1988). The full text is: "Adella Fredd, Papa's older sister." But Greta's Papa was Lilburn Chandler (1858-1948), and I don't believe he had a sister, or even a half-sister, by that name. So I'm left confused. It's possible, of course, that the caption is incorrect, in which case we're left at its mercy. This cabinet card was taken at A.P. Beecher of Wilmington, Delaware. (It's also possible I'm misdeciphering "Adella Fredd.")

2. Mystery. No caption whatsoever on this miniature cabinet card (2½ inches wide) from M. & W. Garrett of Wilmington, Delaware.

3. Another mystery. I have no idea who, where, or when this is. It's just a thin snapshot. Cool dress.

4. Katie, 1935. This is Katie holding a lot of flowers in 1935. There's a short last name written after Katie, but it's illegible. My best guesses would be Cure, Luce, or something along those lines.

5. Gertrude Horsey Winder and Edward John Winder. Gertrude (1881-1963) was mentioned in a previous post. She was the aunt of my great-grandfather, Howard Horsey “Ted” Adams (1892-1985). Edward (1858–1952) was her second husband. The caption states: "This is Uncle Ed and Aunt Gertrude snapped in 1940 on beach at Fort Lauderdale, Fla."