Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Worn Collars - Part Twenty-Seven - "Nothing In It"


Worn Collars

Part Twenty-Seven

"Nothing In It"



            Winding toward the old (rare) book room’s bookman as a self developed predator of old books... with reminding... that he is of insatiable craze for old (rare) books (bibliomaniac).  And with that (bibliomania).... I remind... adjusted to a perspective where he; the old (rare) bookman, feels that “I” am doing the right thing the right way with all books; sorting ‘rare’, ‘old’ and ‘what ever’ one book at a time while ‘sitted’ at the old (rare) book room’s old (rare) bookman’s desk... AND... possessing the vantage that “the PEOPLE of the whole world are destroying the world of books if it were not for I”...
            With the reader not included as an “I”
            For you are not there; in the ‘your old book room’ “fighting the good fight”.
            And, in the last two chapters (Parts 25 & 26) I have shown “what I am looking for” that is a “What is a rare book?” by single examples... and “How” that is discovered.






            The self centered biblio-I-am-not person asks “AM I... in the MOOD for this?”.  ARE the thy-thee ...willing to accept the terms of “Are my books... old (“rare”) books?” and, too, the “Are they”...“VALUABLE?” ...as being... frustrated ‘rooms’ and ‘desks’ with ‘sitted’ men who... will not even look up from their self titled ‘work’ to... express that they ‘hate me’ and ‘think I am an idiot’.  Then again say:  “AM I... in the MOOD for this”.  Well I am not in the mood for your cardboard box full of ‘old’ “THESE ARE VALUABLE” on the back seat of the “my car”...books.
            The thy-thee is ‘out’ before ‘the start’.  Saying that, I now offer a third example of a rare book as I said I was going to do at the end of the last chapter (Part Twenty-Six).













            The book is titled “THE BUDGET”.  It is a specimen of American Literature / American Fiction.  That subject, I stated, is a ‘vast plain’ upon a ‘vast plain’ (old rare books).  It is a “MAINE” book too... a smaller vast plain.  I view this old book on these plains from an elevated seat of ‘knowledge’.  ‘Sitted’.  As best I can.  This does me little good.  The ‘little’ good is corralled by I... ‘having a copy’ of this old (rare) book.  And only that.  No one else ‘ever does’ have a copy.  How many decades is ‘ever does’ you ask?  How many decades do you have?  I ask.  This is odd for the old book is not without being ‘in collections’.  These collections are ‘institutional holdings’ (‘in libraries’).  “Oh.”
            And ‘no one’ seems to ever ‘have a copy’.  Or to have ‘read’ a copy.  Or to have... seen a copy.  “Heard of the book”.  “Know of it”.  Or know ‘about it’.  ‘Sitted’ on that  block of knowledge, is it.
            Well... not quite for in 1862 a history magazine*** did post notice that the then ‘old book’ did exist and... could anyone come forward and name it’s author.  No one ever did (has).  And the book then (1862) ‘disappeared’.  Except for recording of physical fact in a few bibliographies (Williamson 10174 and Wright 2643  ).  A handful of library collections have a ‘copy’ (but these are, by I, not confirmed for I have never ‘gone to see one’; a library’s copy). 
That’s enough:
No one knows about this book.  Especially in Maine.  And... the book is Maine “tales and sketches” too.



*** :  THE HISTORICAL MAGAZINE... NOTES AND QUERIES... OF AMERICA..., Vol. VI, Sept. 1862, Charles B. Richardson Co., New York, 1862, page 292. With the query initialed “J. D.”.  The significance of this query is that, and only that... it is the only notice of the book outside of ‘rare Maine book’ maniacs, 1830 publication notices and library collection notices (“copies located”).  Ever.







            That’s enough I said. 
If one goes out in the back of the garage (Part Twenty-Three) and starts to try to look for and find this book... one will be ‘late’ for whatever crud one may be late for.  But... if one wants to look for an old (rare) Maine book... this one is a fine one to ‘hunt for’.  I do... everyday... for a half century.  NOT THAT this old book is “ANYTHING”.  From the perspective of bibliomania, I remind, this makes the ‘old rare book’ “better”.  It is, as a book... biblio... crazy.









            The full title:  THE BUDGET; OR HUMBLE ATTEMPTS AT IMMORTALITY.
            Author:  “Messrs VON DUNDERHEAD.”
            Title page note:  “A book’s a book, although there is nothing in it.”
            Imprint:  “Hallowell (Maine), Glazier, Masters & Co.”
            Date:  1830
            Binding:  Orange coated stock paper covered stiff paper boards front and rear with the “THE BUDGET” title printed on... both... front and rear... and having the publisher’s leather spine with title “THE BUDGET” in gilt gold
            199 paginated printed pages.






            That’s it... excepting of course, the notice of the title page note that “a book is a book, although there is nothing in it”.  One must notice that.  The book creates itself (‘is written’  And ‘is published’) and then... implodes itself (“nothing in it”) and nearly has succeeded in “then disappears”.  Even though way back when... and ever after... it could be ‘there’ in the cardboard box... of old books.
            I’ve read the book.  I have the book (“a copy”).  I’ve found the book.  I always ‘look for’ the book.  And:  I... have never ‘been around’ ‘anyone’...including Arlington St. John... whom I discussed the book with, showed him the book and... he did not wish to read the book... and I noted that... ...who...:  No... nothing at all ever about this book.  It is the
            Perfect
            Rare book.
            “I look for”.






            Once you have a few hundred of those kind of old (rare) books; the ‘to look for’... one may be able to ‘touch’ ‘bibliomania’... and it’s assemblage of advantages.  One hundred old (rare) books one consciously is ‘look for’... is a treasure trove to carry around with you.  One just ‘never knows’.  And the dull people are just that; dull.  When you look at an old book... they look at you.  Then their mouth opens; the jaw drops downward in preparation of utterance.  Just put the book back.  It’s not ‘rare’ anyway and it is ‘old’ too so that is the ‘only’ it is going to go to soooo... when the utterance turns query of “is it?” I just say ‘it IS an OLD book but “there is nothing in it”.






            Now... I feel ready to pick up where I started; “Part One”.  And ended.  Then began...  this biblio sojourn.  Yes... a tawdry sojourn... of twenty-six additional ‘parts’... I see.  But one needs that to understand how it really ‘is’ with an ‘old (rare) book’.
            Now I have told you:  “There is nothing in it”.














Friday, August 28, 2015

Worn Collars - Part Twenty-Six - "Maybe 'Yes'... Maybe 'No' "



Worn Collars

Part Twenty-Six

"Maybe 'Yes'... Maybe 'No' "



            I:
            “Pick up one (the next) wisp of folded printed paper and...” (Part Twenty-Five) just... slow down a minute.  NOT that I actually slow down.  No.  As I have noted previously, this ‘all’ is ‘all done’... ‘very fast’.  VERY FAST.  But that is not my issue of this moment.  So I slow down.
            The next wisp is the next ‘rare book’ and I keep them handy.  And there is always enough of them ‘incoming’ to always handy... keep them.  I have never run out of ‘old’ (rare) books... “I found”.  So... “the next” ...is always.




            Let’s see what we have THIS TIME.  “Oh dear... and it is dear... a ‘dear’ little booklet (pamphlet).  And TWO copies of it TOO!  “Oh no.”  Or... “Oh no?”.  Okay... and ‘two for two’ meaning I must go to two directions or places for this one pamphlet that I have... two copies of.
            Is that alright?  May I have two copies of an old (rare) book?  I can have... but may I have?  And “Why?”.  May I.





            AND... back to Mr. Zinman***... too (direction or place number two).  Mr. Zinman says... as  frustrated notice... “I learned later in life that the knowledge you need to collect books as a beginner is far more complex than, say, stamps, or coins or matchbooks, for that matter” (page 5).
            “For that matter” may be expanded to ALL old books, decorative arts, fine arts, historic objects... and  “Ahhhh...” ‘et al’... in the unknown design galaxies beyond (for example “collectibles”).  The key chosen word is his ‘knowledge’.  Yes... one does find helpful... with ALL of this... ‘knowledge’ (best left further NOT defined).  I agree... but differ for I feel this ‘knowledge’ is a block one may sit on while one... “actually”.
            What is “actually” for “collect books as a beginner”... and veteran expert... dealer.. of old (rare) books?  The... ‘actually’ is of a ‘there is a vast plain... I overlook’ from a ‘sitted’ on blocks of (rambling waste deep waste heap accumulated disorganized iota funky factoid) knowledge.  That ‘actually’ is the ‘big picture’ that one (beginner or veteran) uses to ‘actually’ figure out ‘what is a rare book’.  The big plains; Americana, American literature... for example.  “Pacific Rim”, “Africa”, “SPACE”, “Mysteries”... to notice others.  Vast plains on a vast plain (old rare books) (or, “ok”, paintings...as a vast ‘painting’ plain... for example)... overview with I ‘sitted’ on blocks of Zinman’s “knowledge”.  That big and... that vast... is in a ‘sitted’ view... ALL THE TIME... with each wisp of folded paper.  This makes it a lot easier; I have to carry very little knowledge around with me...



***:  Michael Zinman, WHAT DOES RICHARD CHENEY READ?  Annals of Collecting : 6, No place (Ardsley, NY?), 2014, page 5.


            In the back, dark, under the eves... flashlighted... ‘old papers’ “I SEE” ‘in there’.  NO:  I said this is done very... very fast.  The furtive glance of the knowledge blocks of sitted-view of the... vast plains ... of the vast plain...:  It is a logical and deductive process done very fast on one’s hands and knees in a dark attic crawl spaces behind a flashlight.
            It’s a gas... doing it****.  And to do this... one needs more than ‘knowledge’.  “Knowledge” is ‘spot application’ applied AFTER... the “I” know where “IT” (the old rare book) “IS” on the vast plain... of vast plains... I, ‘sitted’ overview.
            You get it?  Right?  Zinman’s a nice guy but... I’ve been behind the flashlight a long time... so... “ahhhh...” that’s what I “use” first.  The big picture.  He uses it too but, due to the ‘on hands and knees’ factors that separate dealers from collectors... you get it.  Right?  So... like... I’m ‘in there’ in the dark... with “It’s a GAS” attic creeping... or, like, desk drawer plundering or like ... “on the shelf in the back of the garage” (Part Twenty-Three) “YEAH!”... and it is barely a furtive glance that... going back to the pamphlet duo... I SEE “South Windham, Me.” as the imprint... AFTER... “what?” the front wrapper block letters printed in GOLD reading “LOST AND AFOUND” with “E. M. N.” under and ‘in gold’ too....
            Two (directions and places) are merging into one?  Look at it from my vantage.  I find one copy... one day... and... a decade later... find a ‘second copy’.  Both are found by ‘on hands and knees’ ‘flashlight’.  The second one... found... on the vast plain... is “I ALREADY KNOW”.
            Bummer?  No.  Comes with the territory.  I have even found two copies of something dated 1714 two different times in two different ‘where ever’ in their respective ‘two different’ garrets.  “Oh... Hell... it is?”.



**** :  To further this ‘It’s a gas’ I suggest the ‘this blog’ post titled “Mice!  I Hate Mice” that opens with a charming farmyard ephemera (rare book) picker purloin and continues with a ‘what is all this?’ treasure trove buttress of remarkable depth.  The label for this post is: Mice! I Hate Mice.  Originally the post was given as a lecture.  And... originally the picker purloin vignette was drawn for my first book “IN A GIVEN AREA”.  That book is now a rare book so “good luck with that” and... the picker’s purloin, in that book, is longer with more detail about the purloined paper and its sale... all done and recorded as a ‘very fast’.




            Please realize that it has taken me...to this day... like... TWENTY YEARS to actually get these two copies of “LOST AND FOUND” ‘together” (side by side).  Why?  Because, simply, the ‘vast plain’ factor did not ‘make it worth it’ (they are ‘not good enough’ as ‘rare’ (books) ‘Americana’... to... ‘for me’ to CARE.  NONE THE LESS they are ‘fair and square’ ‘good quality’ ‘rare books’.  I never hesitated on that.  Just a little busy on the day to day so only now today do I ... “FINALLY” ... have them ‘side by side’.  Cool.  Let us look.





            The ‘anytime’ of this (an old book – is it rare?) became, for I, a constant.  Here it is a ‘constant’; I work from ‘constantly... doing this’.  So... the wrappers, the printing, the pamphlet size, the pamphlet format all ... suggest a ‘require further investigation’.  I do.  Usually, upon flashlight finding, such an iota as this is ‘marked’ meaning... that from ‘there on’ (under the eves flashlight discovery)... I ‘track it’; I know exactly where it is.... EVEN if it’s ‘in a box’ ‘in the back’ of the truck... I ‘know’.  Sometime it gets “cab” and that means on the seat or dashboard IN ...THE... truck... CAB.  OR disaster...; a such as you “KEEPS IT”.  That is, a principal of an estate SOME HOW FOR SOME REASON... ‘keeps it’.  THAT... I do not ....ahhhh... ‘like’.  But I:
            DEAL WITH IT.
            A good offense is a good defense for this;  NO attention is even slightly suggested in any form or way that a ‘this’ “IS”.  NO... you, as Estate Principal will have to... determine by yourself that this... pamphlet duo... “I FOUND” are ...even there to ‘find’.




            But that is all behind us and I am ‘sitted’ at my book room desk.  Moving past the title page, I denote the frontis portrait of Mr. Gillman whom... this pamphlet is about.  I discover another ‘picture’ way toward the end of the pamphlet of... a man holding on to a sinking sailboat.  I review the author’s (?) initials, the ‘copyright’, the preface, the “HEY”....:  That the beat up copy has the full author’s name written in ink above the initials on the title page “THANK YOU” and I notice at the head (top) of that title page too a faint pencil “B. W. Gilman” (note single ‘L’ in that name) whose name is very close to being the same as the ‘who this book is about’.  Finally, I discern while examining the ‘CONTENTS’ page that chapter VII is “Seventeen hours on Sebago Lake”. 
“OK”.






            Sebago Lake is a big Maine lake ‘above’ Portland and that...I consider... very fast... to be a social-economic well positioned Maine lake meaning it is a, well, ‘money’ lake.  A literate lake.  A ‘care about’ lake.  An old (historic) Maine lake.  A... ‘not much written / printed about it’ rare book lake.  A... “this pamphlet has a whole chapter (in this ...narrative... of  William G. Gillman...) (Bill Gilman?) about Sebago lake?”.  “Gonna have to read that.  This.  It.
            I do.
            Oh... ponderous.  The short version is that Mr. Gillman is a wife beating drunkard who... out on Sebago Lake during the day in his sailboat... tips over the boat and clings to it all night...  in a tempest.  While at that... he prays to God and ...offers to... among other willing to jettison baggage, stop beating his wife and being a drunkard with too... the promise to forever do God’s work IF he is spared.
            He is.  He is rescued in the morning.
            Somehow... this Sebago Lake drama and ‘see God’ conversion... after the author compiled the narrative... is... in South Windam, Maine... ‘brought to press’ and printed as a... rare book.




            Got it?
            On the big vast plain I overview ‘sitted’ on blocks of Zinman’s knowledge.  It (this rare book pamphlet) is of the smaller plain “Americana”.  It is that.  It is a “MAINE” that (Americana) too.  It is a Sebago Lake ‘narrative account’.  NOT MUCH AROUND for Sebago Lake narratives.  Who cares.  No one?  Mostly... excepting a few Maine rare book collectors AND a few Maine book collecting bibliomaniacs.  THAT’S GOOD ENOUGH:  The pamphlets can be sold... especially as there is ‘no copy located’ (actual copy known or bibliographic reference citing ‘it’; this pamphlet).  Soooo....:



            “NEXT!”  I am done except for ‘picking a price (for sale) off of my rare book room ceiling and... the ‘do I keep the two together?’.  I do... I guess.  One has the crispy perfect collector grade condition and the other one ‘fills out’ the author’s name and narrative subject’s name while it also allows for full inspection of the narrative without having to ‘touch’ the perfect one.  This (keep the two copies together) is a ‘good way to go’ and most collectors and dealers are receptive to this.





            “I am done”?  NO.  I want you to ‘another (old rare) book’ “kick the can down the road” before I... Arlington’s old books, et al:  “Oh... that poor housekeeper; a nice Maine girl, does not stand a chance does she”.  But YOU?  Your getting better at this?  Huh?  Maybe ‘Yes’... Maybe ‘No’.




Sidebar:

            The opening photographs of this post... are a ‘well touched’ of themselves.  Their ‘vast plain’ subject is Maine Décor;  Maine decorating.  They show the subtle nuance one ‘must’ to the eye to not appear phony when at it (doing Maine décor).
            Lobster traps... are actually a delicate-to-‘balance’ when used.  They quickly cross the line to tacky... ‘dirty-gross’ and ‘ignore’.  The first photograph shows a spectacular ‘good’ lobster trap decoration.  Old traps in a pyramid with a red picnic table ‘attached’.  Iconic.  The traps are iconic.  The old traps are iconic.  The weathered gray wood is iconic.  The form (a pyramid) is... classical... iconic.  The companion picnic table (a design form) is iconic.  The fire engine red glossy paint on the table is iconic.  The interplay of the two colors and two forms are iconic.  Nothing needs to be added... or taken away.  “CLEAN” as a decoration one is hard pressed to equal... using old lobster traps.  One must understand that this decorative arrangement is not an accident.  Someone ‘planned’ (designed) this and then executed it; ‘thought of’, ‘assembled’, ‘built’... and “DONE”.
            A few feet away they ‘touched’.  Very Maine.  The coin operated soft drink ‘machine’ standing alone... is “ugly” so... they... stacked two traps beside it.  This ‘pulls’ the ‘the worst piece of crud’ “IN” to the décor.  It brings it “IN” “TOO”.  Subtle.  VERY SUBTLE... but again:  Someone did this.  It is not an accident.  They ‘thought of’, ‘assembled’, ‘built’ TOO.  And it works.  It ‘brings it (the soft drink machine) up’ to ‘ok”.
            The whole décor composition is beautifully simple and... coastal Maine ‘on target’ with no hint of pushing, no in-face, no ‘including I’, no... ‘no, no’ and is truly “DONE” too.  One cannot fake that and...with lobster trap décor... most of what one sees ...is that; fake.  These two photographs show a remarkably ‘well done right’ that is too... not fake.