brian cassidy bookseller: sept. 2019
Albums, Scrapbooks, and Manuscripts

It's been a busy summer here at BCB. We began it at RBMS in Baltimore. Then as usual, spent a fantastic week in Colorado teaching new and prospective booksellers about the rare book trade. But also visited the UK (both the York Antiquarian Book Seminar and the amazing York Book Fair), and just got back from Princeton leading a workshop on 20th century duplication. And all this to say nothing of developments over at Type Punch Matrix, where we are working hard to narrow in on a location for the gallery, took a long summer buying trip, and have been steadily cataloguing in anticipation of our debut e-catalogue this fall.

Given all the goings-on, we sadly had to sit out this past weekend's NY Art Book Fair for the first time in many years. And as you may have noticed, things have been a little quiet on the e-list front as well. So today on what feels like the first real day of fall in DC, a short list of some relatively inexpensive, but nevertheless interesting or unusual primary and archival items for your consideration.

And finally in other news, please keep an eye out for us at the Boston Book Fair in November, as well as for our upcoming print catalogue (#17!) due around the same time. Also coming soon: official dates for our Rare Book School class this summer (2020) on understanding and identifying 20th century duplicating technologies. So stay tuned.

Portrait album of a young woman and an anonymous white rabbit.



Diary-notebook of a young girl living in Puerto Rico in the 1920s, collaboratively written and illustrated with her father: "The hills were high around Manati. And the houses were in a straight line. We stopped to get me some camphor. And then walked to Ciales."   Later: "Father smoked all his cigars today. Today is Wednesday. Tomorrow is Thursday. I hate school. My teacher sneezes all the time. She has only one tooth left. Raul is eating up my apples. Father is still reading detective stories. Mother is making another pig."



GENEOLOGY OF GOG. Unpublished manuscript of a sweeping religico-political epic poem, prefaced by epigraphs from the Book of Revelations and the Book of Jonah. Biblical diction and motifs segue into a litany of '60s radicals and 20th century monsters: "And there was Courtney (And the Terrible Westward Pegley and Robert Welsh / And William Buckley and Dr. Becher and His 'Drang Nach Osten' Propganda. / And Gehlin and the Right Reverent & Notorious Winrod / And Sokolsky and Professor Oliver and the Defenders of the Christian Faith and Peter Maurin and Lyle Munsen / And George Deathrage & Schmidtz and Robert Edmundson / And McCarthy the Terrible..." Rare.

Scrapbook of Cleveland Troubadours Light Opera Company memorabilia compiled by the company director. Highlights include Company correspondence, signed programs, and original typescript stage directions for ROBIN HOOD, with the repeated admonition to "WATCH YOUR CONDUCTOR AND MEMORIZE YOUR STAGE BUSINESS." 


Eight original self-published fairy tales, with a prefatory "Apology" promising that "in times of stress, they will quiet and put to sleep restless children, without the use of any other, and perhaps worse, soporific." The stories are polished, charming, and fresh, with a spark of originality despite evident debts to the Arabian Nights, Andrew Lang, and various traditional sources. 

Handwritten technical guide to photographic processes of the early 1900s, with recipes, calculating rules, and formulae. The author, a resident of Pittsburgh and onetime member of its Ben Avon Country Club, appears to have had connections in Leitchfield, Kentucky, and took photographs as far afield as Chicago, Toledo, OH, and Atlantic City; lengthy indices of his photographic subject matter give a rough outline of his life.

Meeting minutes, records, bylaws, and club lore from a women's Chicago-area "friendship club" of the nineteen-teens. Their motto: "We Live to Make the World Less Difficult For Each Other."  Their initiation stunts:  hanging out a window by the feet, dancing in a hobble, pushing a bean along the floor with the nose, asking strange men for matches, and falling down the stairs headfirst, blindfolded. Their most sacred club activity: lunching. A remarkable record of this women's friendship society, which survived from beginning to end of its tumultuous decade,  dedicated to and for the happiness and independence of its members.



Set of two photo albums from the early 1900s, documenting the work and family life of an ice harvester. Men are shown cutting blocks with ice saw, chisel, plow, and pike pole; the album follows the full process of sled loading and transport, with many portraits of workers and supervisors at their tasks. Other photos show summertime scenes of boating and the open water, parades and urban life in Washington, D.C., and several rural and domestic shots of penned cattle, small boys, and enormous dogs.=



Two-part souvenir photo album of a trip to the 1939 New York World's Fair, with views of the 80-foot "monkey mountain" (a tower built for, not of, rhesus monkeys); a two-photo panorama of the Lagoon of Nations; and the enormous National Cash Register. The second part of the album records a 1940 trip to Washington, DC, with photos of Mt. Vernon's stables and boxwood hedges, Annapolis approached by water, and the "Latest in [Naval] Destroyers." A charming record of two East Coast tourist trips, with several visual reminders of the country's incipient entry into the second world war.



NOT AS THE CROW FLIES. Captivating typescript travelogue memorializing a couple's 1939 road trip from Florida through the American Southwest to California, the Pacific Northwest, and home again. At the San Francisco Exhibition: "The Gay Way is nothing but a glorified country fair with girl shows in the raw, and high prices." On Vashon Island, strawberries "as big as billiard balls." In Texas, "a burning hell of desolate country...The water tasted like a mixture of Zonite and baking soda." A shrewd and opinionated narrative, full of irascible judgments, period detail, and real wit.

Elaborate handmade artist's book of cryptograms in a simple substitution cipher. Some are quotations from historical or literary figures (Aeschylus, Sidney Smith, Artemus Ward); others appear to be original, intentionally obscure aphorisms. A small number have solutions written above in pen or pencil; the rest are left for the reader to work out. Skillfully constructed; pages, endpapers, and covers elaborately hand-colored. 



Early 1900s photograph album: the first half documents a pre-World War Grand Tour of the lakes and fjords of Norway; the opera house and civic buildings of pre-war Dresden; street scenes of Prague, including a view of the Old-New Synagogue and the Jewish Town Hall; and images of Munich, Vienna, Neufchatel, Bâle, Paris, Chantilly, and Salisbury. The album's second half shows a former plantation of the May River region of South Carolina.
Copyright © 2019 Brian Cassidy, Bookseller ABAA, All rights reserved.

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