Saturday, September 23, 2023

1968's "Voices from the Love Generation"

  • Title: Voices from the Love Generation
  • Editors: Edited and with an introduction and epilogue by Leonard Wolf (1923-2019), in collaboration with Deborah Wolf. They were married. I believe that Deborah Goleman Wolf is still alive; she is the author of the 1979 nonfiction book The Lesbian Community. Leonard Wolf went on to write many notable books about Dracula, especially focusing on Bram Stoker's novel. That makes him a good candidate to appear on Papergreat again in the future.
  • Cover design: William McLane
  • Interior photographs: Credited mostly to Ralph Ackerman (1941-2008), with some by Thomas Weir. The three photographs with this post are all by Ackerman. Weir is known for taking some famous shots of The Grateful Dead, though he is not related to the Dead's Bob Weir.
  • Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
  • Year: 1968
  • Pages: 283
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Provenance: This copy was formerly shelved in the Ramsdell Public Library in Housatonic, Massachusetts (not to be confused with Miskatonic University).
  • Dust jacket blurb: "Leonard Wolf, professor of English at San Francisco State College, has been involved with the Haight-Asbury Hippie community for over a year as an observer and as director of Happening House, a communications center in the district. Along with his admittedly straight sensibility, Mr. Wolf brought to his work in the community an open mind and a determination to understand the movement as it really is. Voices from the Love Generation is a collection of interviews with fifteen Hippies, recorded and arranged by Mr. Wolf and his wife Deborah. The startling candor, the rough language, the frankness about sex and drugs, indeed, the mere effort at communication with the straight world that characterize these interviews, are a tribute to the trust and respect the Wolfs have earned from the Hippies. This book is by the Hippies, not about them."
  • Dedication: "This book is affectionately dedicated to the entire Haight-Asbury community."
  • Quote from Lenore Kandel interview: "Love is a gift. No bargain. You love someone, you take them, and you accept them entirely. And they're supposed to accept you, wherever you're at, if they love you. The only way I know it's going to happen is by experimentation, by living, and by telling the truth."
  • Quote from Patrick Gleeson interview (pictured at right): "For one thing, I feel that if you want to find the roots of our present problems, the vital roots, you can go back to the seventeenth century and see them becoming public issues and big problems then. You can see the rise of technology [and] the thing Swift was so worried about — abstraction. It's only through abstraction that we can have cybernation and cybernation will finally free us from the hangups of the physical universe."
  • What is "cybnernation" in this context? Per Leonard Wolf's extensive glossary, cybernation is "electronically controlled industrial automation." 
  • Quote from Wes Wilson interview: "I think the hippies are sort of like a beginning of something which is going to be different. I think there will probably be very few people in the Haight-Asbury who will go into a very disciplined scene. ... I don't think the system we're living in is going to outlast the hippies. The system will change. The thing that's happening with hippies is a growth, not a static thing."
  • Full list of subjects interviewed: Peter Mackaness, Lenore Kandel, Steve Levine, Patrick Gleeson, Maggie Gaskin (pictured at top of this post), Charlotte Todd, Peter Cohon and Sam, Sandra Butler, Pancho, Tsvi Strauch, Teresa Murphy, Wes Wilson, Ron Thelin, Shirly Wise, and Peter Berg.
  • Rating on Goodreads: 4.20 stars (out of 5)
  • Goodreads review excerpt: In a long, insightful 2012 review, Tracey Madeley noted: "Throughout all the interviews there is a naivety and a hope for a better way of living. This is a great primary source for anyone wanting to study hippies, their values and ideas."
  • Rating on Amazon: 4.80 stars (out of 5)
  • Amazon review excerpt: In a long and also insightful 2011 review, Mary Mekko noted: "Anyone who wasn't there will find these extensive interviews, in many cases classic hippie-druggie rambling, to be very insightful. They show the innocence of some of the aspirants to a New Life, those who wished to shed encumbrances, broken families, unhappy pasts including their aimless academic pursuits, odd jobs, careers, or lack thereof. Attracted by the Free Love ideals, both young men and women found the experience of free sex encounters at that time in history to be liberating. Aided by acid trips, the world appeared to them to be their love oysters. ... A great book for recording the genuine thoughts of the time, before the 'scene got ugly.' Note also ... that the Haight-Ashbury was a CHEAP neighborhood. The whole movement depended on free handouts, free food, donated clothes, welfare checks and parents sending money. ... This is the kind of book one should read, in retrospect, to see how our society has come in the direction it has. The young people seem incredibly innocent, if not disingenuous. They so much yearn for a world of peace, love and harmony — where they won't have to work, put up with rules, roommates, discomfort, etc. etc. And where has such a place ever existed, I do wonder? One can almost yearn along with them as one reads their ramblings. In the end, the movement was a yearning ending in a yawn."
  • Related post: "The Flower People"

Wednesday, September 20, 2023

How about a Bloody Mary and some catfish terrine?

Another find on my trip to the Queen Creek Goodwill store was this copy of 1990's The Evolution of Cajun & Creole Cuisine. If I were still a book picker who was targeting finds for resale, this might have been a decent find, flippable for a few bucks more than I paid for it. But I bought it because I wanted to share the inscription on the inside front cover. It's a short list of ingredients for Eddie's Bloody Mary Mix! (Their exclamation point, not mine.)

  • 46 oz. V-8
  • 16 oz. Vodka
  • lemon juice
  • 2T Worcestershire 
  • 1T Tabasco
  • 1 t. Horseradish
  • 15 dashes salt
  • 15 dashes pepper
  • 2 dashes celery salt

I've never had a Bloody Mary, so I have no idea whether this is a typical, superior or inferior recipe.1 According to a cursory browsing of the internet, some suggested ingredients to take a Bloody Mary to the next level include pickle juice, garlic powder, Old Bay, orange juice, Clamato and beef bouillon. But please mix responsibly and, especially, drink responsibly.

Another fun thing I found in flipping through the book was the above photo of Terrine of Smoked Delta Pride Catfish. Terrine is basically in the same family as gelatins and aspics, which received a lot of coverage back in the early days of Papergreat, about a decade ago. Here are the links if you want to check out some of those horrors:

1. I'm more interested in the origin of the name Bloody Mary than I am in drinking one. Interestingly, there are way more contenders than the obvious idea that it's tied to the monstrous Mary I of England, who had a lot of her subjects killed. In a 2002 Chicago Tribune article, Andy Badeker writes: "It was named for (pick one) Mary Tudor, the 16th Century English queen with a heretic-burning habit; the actress Mary Pickford; a bartender's girlfriend who was regularly late; or Chicago's Bucket of Blood club, where 1920s newsmen went to have their livers hardened. These credits come from John Poister's 'The New American Bartender's Guide' and Salvatore Calabrese's 'Classic Cocktails.'"

Monday, September 18, 2023

Great links: "A Wrinkle in Time" mystery is solved

In May, Sarah Elizabeth asked a simple question on the Unquiet Things blog: "Why is it that in this current year of 2023, no one seems to know who the cover artist is for this iconic Dell Laurel-Leaf A Wrinkle in Time cover art?? In a time when we have so much information available to us at our literal fingertips, how could it possibly be that the above marvelously and terrifyingly iconic imagery is perpetually credited to 'unknown artist'?"

Solving this mystery was not straightforward, but it was solved.

I was one of the members of Generation X for whom this was, indeed, an iconic paperback (first printed in 1976). We were assigned to read it at C.E. McCall Middle School in Montoursville in fifth or sixth grade, circa 1981 to 1983, and I recall many worn copies of this exact paperback lining a shelf below the classroom window. The cover was an attention-grabber, even if the story itself wasn't the easiest entry point into science-fiction for this middle school student. But I'm so glad my teacher introduced us to thought-provoking, challenging books. That matters.

Elizabeth's post spurred a lot of speculation and work by book sleuths. And the mystery was finally solved: The illustrator was Richard Bober (1943-2022). It took nearly a half-century for him to get public credit.

Taking the handoff from Elizabeth and finding the answer was Amory Sivertson of the podcast WBUR podcast Endless Thread, which focuses on questions and stories related to Reddit posts (Elizabeth had set Reddit to the task of solving the mystery.)

You can listen to the 44-minute podcast or read the full transcript here. It's hugely entertaining, especially for book sleuths. (And, as an aside that I can agree with wholeheartedly, someone says, "15% of everything is destroyed by cats." Also, the mystery comes to a conclusion in a Pennsylvania basement.

As Elizabeth wrote triumphantly, "I am a bit overwhelmed, and I don’t know what more there is to say about it anymore, but the case is cracked, and the mystery is solved!"

The story even caught the attention of The New York Times, where staff writer Amanda Holpuch described Bober's cover artwork thusly: "The mystery cover art shows a strapping centaur with delicate wings flying above a menacing green face with bright red eyes. Craggy mountains and fluffy dark clouds surround the haunting figures. The website Book Riot called the art 'nightmare fuel.'"

Menacing green face? Yes.

Haunting figures? Yes.

Nightmare fuel? Yup.

But mystery cover art? No longer. That was Richard Bober who fueled our 1970s and 1980s imaginations with his cover artwork to accompany Madeleine L'Engle's award-winning novel. 

Sunday, September 17, 2023

Examining "The Abominable Snowman" from all sides in 1977

Previous Contemporary Perspectives/Raintree children's books covered on Papergreat:

Today's book...
  • Title: The Abominable Snowman
  • Author: Barbara Antonopulos. I can't find anything about her or anything else she wrote. That's a mystery we should solve.
  • Cover illustrator: Lynn Sweat
  • Interior illustrations: Nilda Scherer (that includes the one above and the one below). A 1981 article in The New York Times mentions in passing that Scherer also worked as a courtroom sketch artist.
  • Publisher: A Contemporary Perspectives Inc. (CPI) book distributed by Raintree Children's Books, Milwaukee
  • Year: 1977
  • Pages: 48
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Photo research: "All photo research for this book was provided by Roberta Guerette." 
  • Chapter titles: Monster of the Moutain; Just How Abominable Is the Snowman?; Footprints in the Snow; Hillary's Search; The Village of Beding; The Snowman's Scalp; Man or Myth?; American Relatives?
  • First sentences: A small group of men made their way slowly up the steep mountain slope. The air was still. No one spoke as they climbed. Each man thought only of the blinding white snow and the steep mountain still ahead of him. Suddenly, the men froze in terror.
  • Last sentences: If these beasts are actually living in the mountains and forests around us, hopefully one day we will be able to prove that they do exist. By studying the Abominable Snowman, we may shed new light on the way people and animals have changed since prehistoric times. At this time, however, the strange case of the Abominable Snowman remains a great, unsolved mystery.
  • Pause for comment: I think it's important to point out here that these Contemporary Perspectives/Raintree books were rarely hyperbolic or sensationalized. Yes, they were attempting to attract young readers with topics like ghosts, spooky mysteries, cryptozoology, etc. — stuff most kids are fascinated by. And it was the 1970s, when Leonard Nimoy's In Search of... was a popular TV show. But, generally, these are reasonable, thoughtful children's books that try to get young readers to think about what is and isn't credible and decide for themselves. As I included in the Visions of the Future: Magic Boards post, one librarian stated, "We found that the books represented, throughout, both sides of the issue."
  • Excerpt from the middle #1: The scalp was examined by scientists in Chicago and Paris. But they didn't believe it had once belonged to a Snowman. In Chicago they believed that the "scalp" was really the hide of a serow — a wild goat antelope.
  • Excerpt from the middle #2: Others say the Abominable Snowman is really a human being. Lamas, the religious men of Nepal, sometimes wander in the mountains by themselves. From a distance, dressed in their large hooded robes, they could be mistaken for a Snowman.
  • About the above illustration: The illustration of Mih-Teh, Thelma and Dzu-Teh shows what the Sherpas describe as three types of Yeti. The largest is Dzu-Teh, which can be up to 8 feet tall. The middle-sized one is Mih-Teh, which is the fiercest and the most dangerous to man. And the smallest is Thelma, which is about the size of a human teenager. And it turns out that "Thelma" is as incorrect as it seems. Cryptozoologist Loren Coleman pointed out on Twitter earlier this year: "The editor of this book ... inserted a typo in the mix. The Teh-Ima, the Little Yeti, is a definite part of the history, not 'Thelma.'" You can read more about this on the Encyclopaedia of Cryptozoology.
  • Rating on Goodreads: 3.80 stars (out of 5)
  • Rating on Amazon: 4.00 stars (out of 5)
  • Amazon review: Matthew wrote: "This book I read when I was 9. It introduced me to the world of cryptids, ufos, and the paranormal. I've been looking everywhere for this book as I want to relive the nostalgia. Very good introduction to the abominable snowman."
  • Twitter mention #1: Folk Horror Revival (@folk_horror) calls it "a cool little book" and highlights more of the illustrations by Nilda Scherer.
  • Twitter mention #2: Richard Fay, responding to a post about favorite childhood books, wrote: "THE ABOMINABLE SNOWMAN by Barbara Antonopulos. Actually, the library in my grade school had a whole series of books about monsters and the unexplained. I read and re-read all of them! A while back, I ordered three of them to add to my personal library."
  • Movie moment: There are many, many movies about Yeti and Sasquatch. Most of them are low-budget films made during the 1970s that will likely never receive a Criterion release. I have not seen many movies from this genre, unless you're counting animated Christmas specials. My one recommendation, as a fan of most things Hammer, would be 1957's The Abominable Snowman, featuring Peter Cushing. And my recommendation of one to avoid would be 1977's Snowbeast. Joan and I watched it in August 2008 and, in our movie-watching journal, I wrote: "This made-for-TV flick is basically 'Jaws' with a Yeti, which we barely ever get to see. It's also 'Jaws' without a good script, good directing, good editing and good acting. But, hey, it's got Bo freaking Svenson." Why is that this 1977 children's book treated its audience with more respect than a movie made for adults in the same year? 

Tuesday, September 12, 2023

"A Treasury of Witches and Wizards" — briefly annotated

That's Phantom. Isn't she pretty?
This book was one of my recent finds at the Goodwill store in Queen Creek, Arizona. Published in 1996 by Kingfisher1, it's A Treasury of Witches and Wizards, as chosen by David Bennett. This particular book is interesting because: (1) it collects the Ruth Manning-Sanders retelling of the Tyrolean tale "Gold," from 1966's A Book of Wizards; (2) one of its previous owners — a parent? a teacher? storyteller?  — has annotated the table of contents to provide some subjective thoughts on the 15 stories.

Here's the table of contents and its annotations:

  • "The Hare and the Black and White Witch" by Lynne Reid Banks — No!
  • "Petronella" by Jay Williams — fair, long
  • "Gold" by Ruth Manning-Sanders — fair to good, long
  • "The Mean Pear Seller" by Floella Benjamin — OK to good lesson, short
  • "The Boy with Two Shadows" by Margaret Mahy — kinda cute
  • "The Not-Very-Nice Prince" by Pamela Oldfield — fair 
  • "Yashka and the Witch" by Stephen Corrin — fair
  • "The Improving Mirror" by Terry Jones — fair to good
  • "Jack My Lad" by Alan Garner — fair to good
  • "The Fat Wizard" by Diana Wynne Jones — too long
  • "Glooskap and the Sorcerer" by Gillian Osband — fair - 
  • "Lizzie Dripping and the Witch" by Helen Cresswell
  • "The Tale of the Three Tails" by Charles J. Finger — good but long
  • "Hamish and the Wee Witch" by Moira Miller — good for Halloween, adapt & shorten
  • "Anancy, Old Witch and King-Daughter" by James Berry — fair

Final note: The cover illustration is by Virginia Chalcraft and the interior illustrations, including those on the table of contents, are by Jacqui Thomas.
1. The publisher's full name is Larousse Kingfisher Chambers Inc., and I'm unsure whether it's still in business.

Saturday, September 9, 2023

Your future partner, as "determined" by a 1940s vending machine

This is one type of misogynistic card you might have gotten out of a "Vacuumatic Card Vender" made by Exhibit Supply Co. in the middle of the 20th century. You could drop a nickel in the "FOR MEN ONLY" side or the "FOR WOMEN ONLY" side and "Get a photograph of your future partner and family with a fortune of your married life." (Heterosexual relationships only, sorry.)

You can get a nice look at some of these vending machines on this webpage. The machines were in service primarily from the late 1920s through late 1950s and, in addition to "Future Partner" cards, they could dispense cards with famous athletes, hot rods, "bathing beauties," and cartoons. There were also many other relationship-themed cards, including "marriage prescriptions," romantic "advice" for women, and love letters.

The cards are the same size as postcards. It's easy to find them floating around on eBay and Etsy, including sets and uncut sheets. At a nickel apiece they must have been quite the novelty moneymaker back in the day. If my math is right, a nickel back then is about 80 cents today. I guess you could keep plugging in nickels until you got a partner you liked, and toss the other cards in the trash.

Sunday, September 3, 2023

Snapshots from a day of tidying the ephemera cabinet*

*Not to be confused with the ephemera closet or the ephemera desk. 

Sunday afternoon of Labor Day weekend turned out to be a good time to get some of the paperstuffs slightly more organized. Plus it was nice that I had some help from Joan, and some "help" from the cats in dealing with all of the boxes and piles of postcards, photographs and other ephemera. There was even a small amount of healthy pruning, although that mostly involved giving things to Joan, including a stack of maxicards.

Here are some pictures I snapped of the process, from beginning to end.
Above: Mama Orange oversees the sorting of real photo postcards, regular postcards, QSL cards and old photographs.
Joan provided a label for a handmade volume of ephemera scrapbooking that predates Papergreat and will take its place next to the many printed volumes that preserve this blog's 3,000-plus posts.
Toffee (top) provides some oversight.
And here's the mostly finished product. Maybe it doesn't look a whole lot different, but a lot of stuff is grouped together better, and Joan later provided a bin for my most recent Postcrossing arrivals.

Up next: the closet.

1970s folklore rarity: "ghost, ghouls and golems."

Author Nina Antonia was the first to put this staplebound booklet on my radar, when she tweeted about it on July 27.It's titled ghost, ghouls and golems. — I'm keeping the lowercase and the period intact — with the subtitle "THIRTEEN DEVONIAN GHOST STORIES."

It was published circa 1975/1976 by the Beaford Centre Community Arts Project. 

The 60-page booklet is, as of this writing, listed on eBay for £50. It seems to be quite the rarity from nearly a half-century ago and I think it's worth documenting what we can about it here, for posterity. There will be no second printing. What we know comes mostly from the pictures attached to the eBay listing.

Beaford is a small village in Devon, England. The Beaford Centre, now known as Beaford Arts, was established in 1966 to promote and support artists in that rural region of Devon. A short paragraph in this booklet of ghost stories explains how it came about: "These thirteen stories were chosen from among the entries to a Ghost Story Writing Contest organised by the Beaford Centre Community Arts Project in the autumn of 1975. We would like to thank the authors of the stories for allowing us to print them. We would also like to thank Barbara Woodland for typing them out, and Graeme Rigby for designing and printing the booklet."

Thanks to the photos with the eBay listing, here's the table of contents, along with the 13 authors.

  • Rose of Marsland, by E.W.F. Tomlin
  • The Powers That Be, by Jane Reed
  • The Warning, by Veronica Warner
  • The Grey Lady, by S. Gorrell
  • The Captain's Cabin, by John F. McKno
  • The Devil: A Bit Of Hot Stuff, by G.H. Hackett
  • Black Dog, by Geoffrey Skinner
  • The Old Evil, by M.A. Russell
  • The Power Of The Megalith, by E. Clay
  • "My Grandfather was Walking," by M. Incledon-Webber
  • Mahala, by M.J. Wreford
  • First You Dee It, Then You Don't, by W.J. Nott
  • Owing To The Depression, by Ruby Ewings

I'll leave it to someone else to try researching all of those Devonians. 

Antonia's tweet this summer led to a little discussion about the booklet and local folklore in general. I think parts of that are worth saving, too, before they become a lost corner of the internet.
  • @HooklandGuide: Persactly this. I still have my childhood booklet on Essex’s Black Dog Paths.
  • @NinaAntonia13: Have you dared to venture down any of them?
  • @HooklandGuide: I think you can guess that I spent a lot of my very early teens cycling down then and exploring them thoroughly.
  • @NinaAntonia13: I would have expected nothing less! :)
  • @MelanieWoods65: That looks like a little gem. I love these kinds of publications & it being about ghosts is a double bonus.
1. Antonia has long been one of my favorite people to follow on Twitter, with past tweets inspiring the pre-pandemic posts Regarding Estella Canziani and Who wants to join me in buying a crumbling, haunted British estate?

Saturday, September 2, 2023

Assorted book advertisements at the back of old paperbacks

One of the many enjoyable things about vintage paperbacks is perusing the advertisements on the  back pages for the publisher's other books. Depending on the year, you could get a bundle of books delivered to you through the mail for very reasonable prices. 

First up is this page from 1981's How to Master the Video Games (covered in this post). It's fascinating roundup of many of the greatest hits from late 1970s/early 1980s nonfiction. True crime; alarmism; fundamentalism; books of lists, records and predictions; medical guides and, of course, Rubik's Cube. Notice that Alvin Toffler's The Third Wave is listed on there twice! Toffler's books sold millions and millions of copies. 
This page is from 1976's The Best of Judith Merril (covered in this post). Warner Books figured its readers might be interested in modern riffs on Frankenstein and Dracula. Those readers may have been disappointed. The Frankenstein Factory (1975) has an underwhelming 3.39 (out of 5) rating on Goodreads, and one Amazon reviewer describes it as "Agatha Christie on a controlled substance." The Dracula Tape, described in this advertisement as being "fang-in-cheek," fares somewhat better, with a 3.78 on Goodreads, but one reviewer quips, "Not as good as the Nixon tapes, however."
This page is from the 1989 printing of W.P. Kinsella's Shoeless Joe, which was first published in 1982 and was, of course, adapted into the wonderful 1989 film Field of Dreams. (Joan, Kaitlyn and I were talking about that film this week, and I was trying to figure out how it was nominated for Best Picture but received no acting nominations. Kevin Costner, Amy Madigan and, especially, James Earl Jones were robbed, I say!) Anyway, any advertisement that touts the writing of Kinsella and Roger Angell is a good one.
This alarmist book advertisement is from the back pages of the July 1971 printing of Ray Bradbury's The October Country, which was first published in 1955 and contains Bradbury stories dating back to the early 1940s. I may need to track down a copy of 1971's How to Be a Survivor, to see how much of it was ridiculous and how much of it was on-point about known threats to the environment that were shrugged off for a half-century and are now our human-made climate-crisis reality. Stay tuned.
Finally, these two pages of advertisements are from the back of Hans Holzer's obscure Charismatics, which I just wrote about in July. Unsurprisingly, the first page has a lot of books about the occult, devils, witches, psychics and more. Tucked in there is Charles Fort's The Book of the Damned, which I wrote about in 2019. The second page does contain some more notable books, including Ursula K. Le Guin's classic, The Left Hand of Darkness.

Monday, August 28, 2023

Hans Holzer's "Window to the Past: Exploring History Through ESP"

Here's another in an occasional series about the more obscure paperbacks penned by parapsychologist and ghost hunter Hans Holzer. The most recent post before this looked at Charismatics.

  • Title: Window to the Past: Exploring History Through ESP
  • Additional cover text: Psychic "conversations" with some of the great figures of the past (at least they put "conversations" in quotation marks)
  • Author: Hans Holzer (1920-2009)
  • Cover designer: Unknown
  • Cover model: Unknown
  • Interior illustrations: Catherine Buxhoeveden (born 1939). Holzer and Buxhoeveden were married in 1962 and later divorced. She provided illustrations for several of his books, including this one. (One of her illustrations is below.) The Internet Speculative Fiction Database states: "A sixth generation descendant of Catherine the Great, Countess Catherine Geneviève Buxhoeveden's family were Russian royalty in exile, living in France until the beginning of World War II, when they settled in Italy (1935). Catherine was born shortly thereafter in Castle Rovina. ... Catherine, sometimes referred to as 'The Haunted Countess,' believed that the castle in which she was born had been haunted." Alexandra Holzer, the daughter of Hans and Catherine, penned the 2008 book Growing Up Haunted: A Ghostly Memoir.
  • Questions posed on the back cover: Who really planned Lincoln's murder, carried out by John Wilkes Booth? ... Where did the Vikings land in America 500 years before Columbus? ... Did Camelot really exist? ... What is the truth behind the Mayerling tragedy? ... Was Aaron Burr really the villain history has made him out to be? ... Why was Nell Gwyn dropped by her royal lover Charles II?
  • Publication date: May 1970
  • Publisher: Pocket Books
  • Format: Paperback
  • Original publication: January 1969, by Doubleday & Company
  • Alternate title: This book has also been released as Window to the Past: How Psychic Time Travel Reveals the Secrets of History.
  • Pages: 232
  • Cover price: 95 cents
  • Provenance: "Michael Faulkner from Bill McNeese"
  • First sentences:  "Goodness," Ethel Johnson Meyers said, and looked at me with a big frown that turned matriarchal face into a question mark, "What on earth is that fat fellow doing with all those dancing girls in harem costumes?" Ethel wasn't watching the Late Late Show. She was holding a cigarette case I had handed her for the purpose of psychometrizing it."
  • Last sentence: It is as if we are privileged to be present at the events themselves, catapulted back in time, eavesdropping and observing without being seen, but recording for our time that which is of another time.
  • Random excerpt #1: If Edwin Booth came through Sybil Leek to tell us what he knew of his brother's involvement in Lincoln's death, perhaps he did so because John Wilkes never got around to clear his name himself.
  • Random excerpt #2: All this correspondence came to a sudden climax when Johnstone informed me that new digs were going on at what might or might not be the true site of Camelot.
  • Random excerpt #3: I thanked Alice and decided to hold another investigation at the site of Café Bizarre1, since the restless spirit of the late Vice-President of the United States had evidently decided to be heard once more.
  • Rating on Goodreads: 3.65 stars (out of 5)
  • Goodreads review excerpt: In 2012, Mike S wrote, "author writes very clearly and I found him to be quite likeable from the book. I recommend this book to anyone who is interested in esp or remote viewing."
  • Rating on Goodreads: 4.8 stars (out of 5) 
  • Amazon review excerpt: In 2019, J.H. Clemson wrote, "My grandfather was with Hans Holzer and Sybil Leek on the Constellation in Baltimore. My grandfather was involved in the restoration of the ship as part of the Maryland Naval Militia and was invited along. He attested to all that went on! So I can say that at least that part of the book is accurate!"
1. According to Rock & Roll Roadmaps, Café Bizarre in Greenwich Village was the club were Andy Warhol discovered The Velvet Underground; Warhol soon became their manager. And, according to a 2013 comment on Rock & Roll Roadmaps, the site of Café Bizarre was said to be "the former stable of Aaron Burr, who shot Alexander Hamilton in a duel. Still the wodden [sic] loft which looked very much like the hayloft of a barn." Café Bizarre as razed around 1984 and the site is now part of the NYU's law school dormitories.

Sunday, August 27, 2023

Horst Schönwalter illustrations of Ruth Manning-Sanders' dwarfs

Das Buch von den Zwergen
is the 1972 German-language edition of Ruth Manning-Sanders' A Book of Dwarfs, which was published in 1963. While English-language readers fell in love with the illustrations that Robin Jacques provided for that edition, German readers were treated to the delightful illustrations by Horst Schönwalter (1917-1996).

The illustration at the top of the post goes with "The Girl Who Picked Strawberries" ("Das Mädchen, das Erdbeeren pflücken wollte"). It's about a girl who uses her ingenuity and takes advantage of these particular dwarfs' dimwittedness to escape a difficult situation. 

There's another tale in the book about a trio of dwarfs who live in the forest — I guess that was trendy in those days. In "The Three Little Men in the Wood," the dwarfs reward kindness and punish greed, leading to a nicely satisfying ending. Oddly, that one also involves strawberries.

Here are some of Schönwalter's other illustrations from Das Buch von den Zwergen...

Monday, August 21, 2023

Book cover: "The Grandmother Stone" (aka "Stone of Terror")

  • Title: The Grandmother Stone
  • Author: Margaret Greaves (1914-1995). She was an English teacher who wrote many books, nearly all well-received, including The Dagger and The Bird, The Gryphon Quest, The Abbotsbury Ring and Cat's Magic. In a 2018 tweet (post on X), Christine Chambers raved, "Margaret Greaves is a wonderful story teller somehow keeps you guessing and gives you wonderfully magical descriptions." It definitely seems like it would be worthwhile to track down some more of Greaves' folklore-fueled novels.
  • Cover illustrator: Gareth Floyd (1940-2023). He died just last month, and his daughter Emma penned his obituary for The Guardian. She notes that her father provided many illustrations for the popular BBC children's show Jackanory: "Jackanory usually involved an actor, seated in an armchair, reading from children’s novels, with specially commissioned drawings shown on screen at various intervals. Gareth provided illustrations for more than 150 of its episodes." She also adds this delightful detail: "In addition to his drawing, Gareth was an excellent model maker, building miniature railway engines from scratch and running them on a track in his basement." Floyd's full dust jacket illustration can be seen below.
  • Publication date: 1972. 
  • Publisher: Methuen Children's Books, Ltd.
  • This edition: This copy is the 1980 reprint by Methuen.
  • U.S. version: The book was also published as Stone of Terror: A Story of Suspense by Harper & Row in 1974. I reckon the UK title wasn't considered spooky enough for the U.S. market.
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Pages: 173
  • Dust jacket price: £5.95
  • Dust jacket excerpt: "It was a small thin girl they hunted ... her face twisted with terror like a white mask pitted with darkness." When young Philip Hoskyn rescues the girl from her tormentors he is warned to stay away from her in the future — for Marie is the niece of Annette Perchon, outcast, witch and priestess of the Grandmother Stone. ... Set in the island of Sark in the seventeenth century, The Grandmother Stone is a fine perceived drawing of adolescent love against a turbulent background of witchcraft and passion.
  • Provenance: This copy is stamped as WITHDRAWN from Rhondda Borough Libraries in Wales. 
  • Dedication: "For my sisters"
  • First sentence: Philip Hoskyn walked quite unsuspectingly out of that bright spring evening into the event that shaped his life.
  • Last two sentences: They walked up the grassy track together, crinkling their eyes against the sun-dazzled air, drenched with the smell of warm wet earth. An oyster-catcher skimmed with its thin keening call just above the surface of the tide, and the island echoed with the morning clamour of the gulls.
  • Excerpt #1: He was only too willing to accept Jacob's view that the Stone was the object of ignorant superstition rather than a malignancy in her own right. But at night time she had a hold on his imagination that he could not escape.
  • Excerpt #2: He had heard it said by an old man in Dorset that the late King James, father of Charles Stuart, had been much injured by witches.
  • Excerpt #3: Everywhere there was grim evidence of last night's fury. Roads were filled with earth and loose stones washed from the banks, and rutted with water. Fields were waterlogged, apple orchards more than half stripped. Near the graveyard charred and broken stumps of wood left blackened trails among the trampled grass and churned earth. The Grandmother Stone smiled there alone under the blank sky, leaning at a drunken angle against the graveyard wall.
  • Rating on Goodreads: 3.88 stars (out of 5)
  • Online reviews: There's not much. Kirkus did a review in 1974 that contains a bit of spoiler. Capn wrote a long, detailed and generally positive review on Goodreads last year that also contains spoilers but concludes with "TL:DR - complex religious psychology, abusive situations, adolescents, and detailed descriptions of the Channel Island of Sark." Capn's piece is thoughtful and well worth checking out. I'm glad to see lesser-known "old" books getting reviews such as this. 

Saturday, August 19, 2023

Saturday's postcard: Coney Island's long-gone Dreamland

I've written before about postcards featuring some of the attractions from a century or more ago at Coney Island (Part 1, Part 2).

This is card was published by I. Stern of Brooklyn, New York, prior to the start of the split-back postcards in 1907. (The back of this card is for the address, only.)

It offers a spectacular view of Dreamland, which was only in operation for a relatively short time in the grand scale of amusement parks — 1904 to 1911. It opened as a direct competitor to Luna Park. But a devastating fire in May 1911 ripped through the wooden structures and brought an end to the Dream. By 1921, the site was a parking lot. 

The large central tower shown on this postcard was called Beacon Tower and was illuminated with many electric lights at night. (I've read estimates of the number of bulbs that range wildly from 44,000 to 1 million.) At around 375 feet, it may have been the tallest structure on Coney Island at the time. Here's a short excerpt from Jeffrey Stanton's excellent history of Dreamland:
"Beacon Tower ... was a replica of the famous Giralda tower of Seville, Spain. The 50 foot square tower that cost $100,000 to construct was painted pure white and studded with 44,700 electric bulbs that made it a tower of light after dusk. Electricity costs were $1 per minute. A rotating searchlight at its top was a beacon for all of New York City. Unfortunately its alternating red and white beam too closely resembled that of Norton Point's lighthouse. The city feared that it would lure ships onto Coney Island's beaches and ordered it removed. Visitors could ascend via two elevators to its observation deck for a magnificent 50 mile view including all of Coney Island and in the distance the island of Manhattan."

Tuesday, August 15, 2023

Vintage postcard of Circleville (Ohio) Pumpkin Show

I'm writing about this postcard before adding a message to the back and mailing it off to my pen pal Marte in the Netherlands. It's a Dexter Press postcard highlighting the Circleville Pumpkin Show in Circleville, Ohio. The caption on the back states "Looking west on Main Street, the giant display of pumpkins attracts thousands of people to the annual October event." 

Some of the signs include "Blood Bank Today," "Frostola" (an ice cream vendor that I can't find much about on the internet) and Gallaher Drugs.

It's labeled as card 69781-B, and, according to this "Dating Dexter Press Postcards" article by Diane Allmen on, that means it was published in 1963.

In 1963, the Circleville Pumpkin Show had already been in existence for six decades! This year's event is slated for October 18-21.

According to the show's fact sheet, "The first Pumpkin Show was held in 1903. George Haswell, Mayor of Circleville at that time, decided it would be a great idea to try to get the country folks and the city folks together. So he invited the country folks to bring the best of their produce to town on designated dates and display them on the streets of Circleville so that the city folks would be able to appreciate their efforts."

There is, of course, a contest for the largest pumpkin each year. Last year's winning pumpkin was 1,837½ pounds and was grown by Bob and Jo Liggett. The Liggett pumpkin-raising family has done very well in the competition over the years, and the show record is a 1,964-pound pumpkin grown by Bob Liggett in 2014. That's a lot of pumpkin pie.

The autumn event also features competitions for baked goods, other vegetables and fruits, arts and crafts, and window decorating. There are Miss Pumpkin Show and Little Miss Pumpkin Show competitions.

According to the website's "fun facts," about 23,000 pumpkin pies and 100,000 pumpkin doughnuts are sold during each festival.

Monday, August 14, 2023

Fun reading for 1970s kids? "Visions of the Future: Magic Boards"

Previous Contemporary Perspectives/Raintree children's books covered on Papergreat:

Today's book...
  • Title: Visions of the Future: Magic Boards
  • Why are they called magic boards? Because the word Ouija is trademarked, currently by Hasbro.
  • Author: Saul A. Stadtmauer (1929-2018). He also wrote 24th Forward: The Pictorial History of the Victory Division in Korea and co-authored Jewish Contributions to the American Way of Life. He was married to poet Colette Inez (1931-2018). There's a photo of Saul and Colette on the sixth page of this PDF.
  • Cover illustrator: Lynn Sweat
  • Publisher: A Contemporary Perspectives Inc. (CPI) book distributed by Raintree Children's Books, Milwaukee
  • Year: 1977
  • Pages: 48
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Interior illustrators: Wayne Atkinson and Alida Beck
  • Photo research: "All photo research for this book was provided by Sherry Olan." (More on her in a moment.)
  • Chapter titles: The Unexpected Visitor; Where It All Began; Searching for the Spirit Seth; Dr. Hegy's Magic Table; and How to Build Your Own Magic Board. (The Spirit Seth involves the famous case of psychic/medium Jane Roberts (1929-1984) allegedly channeling a personality called Seth.)
  • First sentence: Pearl Curran and her friend sat facing each other in the darkened living room.
  • Last paragraph: Even if you never receive a message from the past or from the future, the magic board is sure to be fun. Some say that your success depends on how much you believe.
  • Random photo caption from the middle: Ed and Lorraine Warren, famous "ghost hunters," advise against amateurs trying to contact the spirits.
  • Random sentence from the middle #1: Dr. Hegy's game was similar to the magic board, and he planned to play it with passengers during long, fog-filled ocean nights. (Context: Dr. Reginald Hegy penned a 1935 book titled A Witness Through the Centuries. According to Weiser Antiquarian Books, "in this volume he outlines the experiences which led him to become a believer in spiritualistism. He then offers practical advice on how to start your own spiritualist 'home-circle' and test for yourself the actuality of the spirit world.")
  • Random sentence from the middle #2: It is very important that the board has a slippery, smooth surface so that the triangle-shaped pointer you make can glide from letter to letter.
  • Online reviews: Alas, none.
  • Attempts to ban the Contemporary Perspectives books: I found a pair of examples of attempts to ban these books from school libraries. I'm sure there were other examples during the satanic panic of the 1980s and 1990s.

1. In 1991, a school board in Dallas, Texas, had to deal with a parental challenge on Visions of the Future: Magic Boards, for "poor writing." I don't know how the challenge was resolved.
2. A May 4, 1992, article in the Daily Press of Newport News, Virginia, details a request by the Rev. David A. Wade to permanently ban eight Contemporary Perspectives book, including Spells, Chants, and Potions, from the school system. The books deal "with such subjects as witches, palm reading, ghosts and astrology," the article states.

The article explains that the books were purchased by the school system in 1981. As just two examples, officials noted that Spells, Chants, and Potions had been checked out 32 times in 11 years, while Visions of the Future: Magic Boards had been checked out eight times in 11 years.

But Wade worried that many young students may have simply read the books in the library without checking them out.

”I’m not going to stop,” Wade told the Daily Press. ”We’ve got to get these books out of the city school system. They’re horrible.”

From the Daily Press article: "Perhaps the most intriguing of the eight books is 'Spells.' It has a whole chapter on the use and significance of different colored candles in making spells but gives somewhat sketchy information on three 'enemy' spells. The book concludes with a detailed 'recipe book' for a love spell, a spell to make money, and a good-luck spell."

Librarian Pamela Neilson defended the books: "We found that the books represented, throughout, both sides of the issue. They were not advocating to the reader that this was something to do.”

Neilson cited a seven-page account of an Apache medicine man in Spells, Chants, and Potions as having value and said the Contemporary Perspectives books all contained disclaimers regarding any inherent truth regarding topics like witchcraft, astrology and numerology. 

The Daily Press' thorough reporting involved contacting Contemporary Perspectives: "Sherry Olan, president of the company, said she doesn’t remember the books and declined to comment further. 'We stand by the books we publish,' said senior editor Kenneth E. Baranski."

A short item in The Virginian Pilot in June 1997 explains how Wade's dispute was resolved:
"FIVE YEARS AGO. Books on voodoo, witchcraft and astrology were placed back on the library shelves at Hampton’s Forrest Elementary School in June 1992 after a parent’s complaint prompted some restrictions on who could read them. A series of eight books had been pulled for review after the parent requested they be banned as too explicit for young children. The books, the parent said, contained too much detail, such as a list of recipes for spells and a detailed explanation of tarot card reading.

"It was subsequently decided that only children who received permission from a parent would be permitted to check out the books.

"Today, the books still have a place in the school library, with the staff continuing to follow the procedure handed down five years ago, according to Forrest Elementary librarian Pamela Neilson."

For what it's worth, there doesn't seem to be a single copy of Spells, Chants, and Potions available for sale anywhere on the internet. I guess the lucky private owners are hoarding that spell to make money.


Finally, here are a pair of interior illustrations from Visions of the Future: Magic Boards, both by Wayne Atkinson.
Contemporary Perspectives/Raintree children's books to be covered some day on Papergreat (hopefully):
  • The Bermuda Triangle
  • Ghosts and Ghouls
  • Witches
  • Bigfoot: Man, Monster, or Myth?
  • The Mystery of Stonehenge
  • The Mysterious Ghosts of Flight 401