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Home grown

This post is part of an ongoing series featuring items recently cataloged from the Julio Mario Santo Domingo Collection.


Touted as Europe’s first dope magazine, Home Grown’s first publication was in 1977 and presented an “enlightened and informative, as well as entertaining, attitude to dope and related subjects – views and approaches not expressed by the popular press and other media.”  The content of the magazine ranges from articles about drug legalization and arrests, poetry, comics, stories, photographs, book reviews, articles about growing pot, and much more, but what fascinates me the most are the advertisements found in the pages.

Img0054 Img0056  Portobello Road in London was apparently the place to purchase “Clothes to get high in!”  Curious to know whether the shop still exists today I found a blog that revealed that the area around Portobello was quite famous for record shops.  The Hindukush shop which sold Indian textiles was apparently open until 1988 when it became Vinyl Solution, a secondhand record store.  The variety of headshops that are represented is also quite interesting.  You have more esoteric ads, space-age ads, and of course who can resist a smoking leprechaun? Tokin’ & Tootin’ indeed!

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You can find images of the covers of the first ten issues in Hollis.  Home grown : Europe’s first dope magazine. London, England : Alchemy Publications, 1977-, is part of Widener’s collection.

Thanks to Alison Harris, Santo Domingo Project Manager, for contributing this post.

This post is part of an ongoing series featuring items recently cataloged from the Julio Mario Santo Domingo Collection.


During the blossoming of the counterculture movement of the late 1960s, San Francisco saw the formation of an anarchist collective: the Diggers.  Taking inspiration (and their name) from the 17th century English Protestant radical group which believed in agrarian socialism and called for the cultivation of common land, 20th century Diggers sought an end to capitalism, calling first for “free streets” and soon after, a “free city.”  Working out of the Haight-Ashbury neighborhood of San Francisco, the Diggers used theater and performance art to protest capitalism and promote their initiatives.  These included daily free food services in Golden Gate Park, multiple free stores, and a free medical clinic for the influx of young people moving to San Francisco during the decade.


This Digger newspaper, believed to be from the summer of 1967, contains writing and artwork for the cause.  The first page includes a goal for a Marx-inspired free society, instructions for making a fire bomb, a remembrance of Malcolm X, and reminders about the winter solstice.  The paper also contains several poems, including a eulogy for Bob Dylan, and a list of free services and communes in cities from New York to Moscow.

Although San Francisco never became a free city, Digger influences remain within the larger culture of American and international activism.  Their establishment of free stores and free clinics became the model for such institutions across the country.  They are also credited with popularizing whole wheat bread, which they baked in coffee cans for their free bakery.  Like many leftist movements of the 1960s, the Digger movement has also been criticized for a sexist division of labor, where women were expected to take on practical tasks such as meal preparation and men controlled event planning and decision making.



A digital archive of the Digger movement can be found here.

To learn more, Free City can be found in Widener’s collection: [San Francisco], [Free City], [196?].

Thanks to Irina Rogova, Santo Domingo Library Assistant, for contributing this post.

Magnificent vellucent!

This post is part of an ongoing series featuring items recently cataloged from the Julio Mario Santo Domingo Collection.


This collection has been especially rich with volumes by Charles Baudelaire who though most famous as a French poet was also an art critic, essay writer, and translator of Edgar Allen Poe.  La Fleurs du Mal, The Flowers of Evil, is one of his most recognized works of prose-poetry and is about the changing nature of beauty in the newly modern and industrialized city of Paris in the 19th-century.  This volume of La Fleurs du Mal was published in 1900 and has an extraordinary binding. My colleague at Houghton, Ryan Wheeler, did some investigation about the binding while he was cataloging it and turned up some fascinating information.  Apparently the binding process is known as vellucent, developed by the binder Cedric Chivers of Bath, England.  An artist would paint the original illustration onto the boards, and then a thin, translucent layer of vellum was laid over that, so that everything but the gilt is under the vellum’s surface, including the mother-of-pearl.  Img0006  Img0012On the cover you can see gilt around the creature’s head and on the spine, and on the back cover both the woman’s hair-bow and the sliver of a moon are mother-of-pearl.  The illustration on the cover continues around to the spine so that we can see the arm reaching toward the flowers and the depiction of his wing is carried over onto the back cover.  We are fairly certain that H.G. Fell is the illustrator and apparently he collaborated with Chivers on many other volumes.  And if the binding isn’t impressive enough the volume also has a surprise fore-edge painting.  A fore-edge painting is completely invisible when the text block is closed, but if you fan the pages in a certain direction, an image appears, in this case a skeleton.


You can watch a video of the skeleton appearing on this volume below:

To discover the secret skeleton for yourself you can find this volume in Houghton Library’s collection.  Les fleurs du mal par Charles Baudelaire ; précédées d’une notice par Théophile Gautier. Paris : Calmann-Levy, 1900. FC8.B3247.900f. 

Thanks to Alison Harris, Santo Domingo Project Manager, and Ryan Wheeler, Rare Book Cataloger, for contributing this post. 

This post is part of an ongoing series featuring items recently cataloged from the Julio Mario Santo Domingo Collection.


“Everywhere the hands, heads, eyes, arms and legs of millions are manipulated through abominable choreographics of obligations, restrictions, responsibilities, laws; life itself becomes inside out, upside down, flattened to the pastel walls of bureaucratic insensitivity—what is there left, in all this, of human freedom?”

So begins the preface of Surrealism & Revolution, a brief anthology of meticulously typed-out texts from surrealist and Dada writers, artists, and revolutionaries such as Max Ernst and Leon Trotsky, interspersed with line drawings inspired by surrealist art (and one image replicating a painting of Hieronymus Bosch, often credited as the original surrealist).


The goal of this collection was to introduce surrealism and its revolutionary capabilities (claimed by Franklin Rosemont in the preface) to the United States, where Rosemont states that surrealism has been “systemically lied about by academicians and journalists,” but the youth of America have discovered it nonetheless and will “soon leave the schools, churches & government buildings of this country smouldering in ashes.”  Franklin and his wife, surrealist artist Penelope Rosemont, founded the Chicago Surrealist Group in 1965 after a meeting with the movement’s founder, André Breton, in Paris.  The Rosemonts have gone on to create art and publish extensively about surrealism and other radical political movements, becoming directors of the subversive literature Charles H. Kerr Publishing Company in the 1980s.  Read an interview with Penelope Rosemont here.


This ZTANGI & Solidarity Bookshop copy from Chicago of Surrealism & Revolution joins its counterpart from the Wooden Shoe in London at Harvard.

To learn more, both issues of Surrealism & Revolution can be found in Widener’s collection: the Santo Domingo Collection copy, [Chicago], Ztangi, [1966], along with the previously held copy, London, Wooden Shoe; Coptic P., [1967].

Thanks to Irina Rogova, Santo Domingo Library Assistant, for contributing this post.

A Yogi’s thoughts


This post is part of an ongoing series featuring items recently cataloged from the Julio Mario Santo Domingo Collection.

This colorful volume is the work of Peter Max, a German artist, who dedicated this book to the brothers and sisters of the Integral Yoga Institute.  The founder of the Integral Yoga Institute was Satchidananda Saraswati, an Indian man who was a religious teacher, spiritual master, and master yogi.  Peter Max apparently asked him to come visit New York City in 1966 and soon thereafter Swami Satchidananda moved to America and started the Integral Yoga Institute, which still exists today.

Swami Satchidananda first gained public attention as the opening speaker in Woodstock in 1969.  He was a spiritual guru to numerous celebrities and musicians as he sought to bring understanding among all religions of the world.  Woodstock-710x380

The text that accompanies Max’s artwork is credited as coming from Swami Sivananda, another Hindu spiritual teacher and proponent of yoga.


Img0047Max’s illustrations are very visually striking with extremely saturated colors that are paired with Swami Sivananda’s words…

“You may wrongly think that you have kept your thoughts in secret.  The thoughts of anger, lust, greed, jealousy, revenge and hatred produce impressions on your face.”

Thought. [With the words of Swami Sivananda, Himalayas].  Editorial assistance by Arjuna (Victor Zurbel). New York, Morrow, 1970 can be found in Widener’s collection. 

Thanks to Alison Harris, Santo Domingo Project Manager, for contributing this post.


The volume pictured here, C.K.C. – his book, chronicles the efforts of a little-known activist to establish international limitations on the opium trade. Charles Kittredge Crane (1881-1932) dedicated himself singly to this cause, which culminated in three League of Nations conventions held in Geneva: the first and second back-to-back in 1924 and 1925, and the third in 1931.

These conventions came at a time when opium and its derivatives were only recently under regulation in the United States. In the first years of the twentieth century, American access to opium was common, albeit restricted to pharmaceutical channels. The Harrison Narcotics Tax Act of 1914 technically enacted new taxes on opiates rather than criminalizing them, but in practice diminished supply and stigmatized use in a manner tantamount to prohibition; where addicts were once prescribed limited doses of drugs, they were now facing mass incarceration.

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This post is part of an ongoing series featuring items recently cataloged from the Julio Mario Santo Domingo Collection.


Blackie, Fullerton & Co. was originally a bookselling firm founded in Glasgow in 1809 by John Blackie Sr., Archibald Fullerton, and William Somerville.  They specialized in the sale of books in monthly or quarterly installments, mainly by subscription.  Two years after its founding, the firm began publishing its own materials.   In 1831, it became a family business after Fullerton and Somerville’s retirements, taking on John Blackie Jr. as a partner and renaming itself to Blackie & Son.  The company amalgamated with a printing company run by a younger son of John Blackie Sr., and in 1890 was renamed Blackie & Son Limited.  The company opened operations in India, Canada, and Australia in the first half of the 20th century, and continued to publish until 1991.


Spurred on by compulsory education for children aged 5 to 13 in England and Wales made possible by the Elementary Education Act of 1870, Blackie & Son Ltd focused much of its attention on educational texts and other books for children.   Along with reimaginings of classic literature for schools like Little Women and Wuthering Heights, Blackie & Son Ltd produced a Boy’s Annual and Girl’s Annual, filled with short stories and illustrations of adventure.

This installment, believed to be from 1929, most likely made it into the Santo Domingo collection because of stories like “Hashish” by Walter Rhoades, about an English sailor on a Malaysian rubber plantation.  The protagonist gets in with the wrong crowd and finds himself being smoked out of his hiding place with charcoal and hemp, which “would act very much like opium, and send you off.”


The University of Glasgow holds the business records of Blackie & Son Ltd in their archive.  See the finding aid here.

To learn more, Blackie’s Boys Annual can be found in Widener’s collection.  London: Blackie & Son Limited, [1929].

Thanks to Irina Rogova, Santo Domingo Library Assistant, for contributing this post.

Beatnik 1

This post is part of an ongoing series featuring items recently cataloged from the Julio Mario Santo Domingo Collection.

The arrival of the Beat Generation generated controversy, conversation, and in some cases literature; for some onlookers, though, it was mostly a source of opportunity. Hence Beatnik, which promises “an uncensored, unexpurgated exposé of the ‘Beat Generation’”, “profusely illustrated with candid action photos”.  Inside is a series of accounts, all by the publisher, Heater Wall, of the Beats’ debauchery and disillusionment. “BEATNIK BABE BURNED! COOL PARTY PINCHED!  BEAT BATTERS BATTY BROAD! SEX SILLY SIRENS SAPPED! DELOUSE DOPE DIZZY DAMES!” blares the headline of one article, giving the reader a sense of the writing’s lurid flavor.

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Father of criminology

This post is part of an ongoing series featuring items recently cataloged from the Julio Mario Santo Domingo Collection.

Img0026Cesare Lombroso was an Italian physician and criminologist who founded the Italian School of Positivist Criminology.  Lombroso’s theory of anthropological criminology was a mix of the concepts of Social Darwinism, physiognomy, psychiatry, and degeneration theory.  Essentially he believed that people inherited criminal behavior and that these “born criminals” could be identified by specific physical anomalies.  For example he thought that a sloping forehead, ears of unusual size, asymmetry of the face, excessive length of arms, and asymmetry of the cranium signaled a return to a more primitive man reminiscent of the apes who couldn’t grasp the expectations and rules of modern society, which led them to criminal behavior.


He reached these conclusions from years of doing postmortem exams and anthropometric studies on a combination of criminals, the insane, and “normal” individuals.  Lombroso thought that specific types of criminals such as murderers, rapists, and thieves could each be identified by a specific characteristic.  His research methods were very clinically descriptive, but not a great deal of statistical comparisons of criminals versus non-criminals or any social effects on criminal behavior.

Lombroso published L’uomo di genio in 1899 in his native Italian and our French translated version of L’homme de genie is from 1909.  Translated into English both titles are known as The Man of Genius.  In the volume Lombroso states that artistic genius was essentially a form of hereditary insanity.  These fold-out plates that are at the end of the text explore the size and shape of skulls and brains, as well as signatures of these “men of genius. “

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This volume can be found in Widener’s collection.

L’homme de genie / par Cesare Lombroso ; traduite sur la VIme ed. italienne par Fr. Colonna D’Istria agrege de philosophie et M. Calderini et precedee d’une preface de Mr. Ch. Richet Professeur a la faculte de Medecine de Paris. Paris : Felix Alcan, 1909.

Thanks to Alison Harris, Santo Domingo Project Manager, for contributing this post.

Jesus Junk

This post is part of an ongoing series featuring items recently cataloged from the Julio Mario Santo Domingo Collection.


The Daily Planet publication appears to be somewhat of a mystery.  It is clearly a reference to the famed Daily Planet newspaper from the Superman franchise, but I couldn’t find any further information about the title.  Published in California, presumably in the 1970s, we have two issues from 1971.  The content of both issues is vastly different, though the connecting thread seems to be satire of any popular news or topic of the moment.  For instance the October 1971 issue heavily mocks religion, in particular Christianity.

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There is an extensive article regarding Billy Graham, which mocks his fame and fortune, presumably made on the back of saving souls according to the author.

Img0025 And if you are in the market for Jesus merchandise there is a two-page spread regarding various Jesus products from statues to games to a collapsing cup (for holy water only!)


To learn more the Daily Planet can be found in Widener’s collection. Daily PlanetSan Mateo, California : Daily Planet.

Thanks to Alison Harris, Santo Domingo Project Manager, for contributing this post.

Dreams 1

This post is part of an ongoing series featuring items recently cataloged from the Julio Mario Santo Domingo Collection.

The influence of drugs on literary output is in evidence throughout the Santo Domingo Collection, but the volume pictured here wears that influence with unusual prominence: pictured on the publisher’s book-cloth binding is a cluster of opium poppies. In case the reader isn’t horticulturally inclined, the title of the work is Dreams, or, Lessons from the poppy fields. (The title on the cover is Dreams, by a dreamer; bibliographic research identifies the dreamer as author Nettie Elizabeth Bryson.) Perhaps surprisingly, the text itself makes no explicit mention of opium or its effects, but the dreamlike narrative, treading a path somewhere between philosophy and melodrama, bears the poppy’s mark as well.

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Witches Sabbath


This post is part of an ongoing series featuring items recently cataloged from the Julio Mario Santo Domingo Collection.

Tableau de l’insonstances des mauuais anges et demons was published in 1612 and shines a light on the European witch trials of the 16th and 17th-centuries.  It was written by Pierre De Lancre, a magistrate, who was part of a royal commission sent out by Henry IV to “cleanse” the area of witches.  The volume is divided into six books or “discourses” in which De Lancre describes his own experiences in the Basque region of France, as well as details from original trial records which were destroyed in the 18th-century.  The volume also contains one of the more detailed accounts of the Witches Sabbath that survives.  What exactly is a Witches Sabbath?  Essentially a meeting of witches where they honor their relationship with Satan, which is displayed in this lovely engraving located within the second discourse of the volume.

Img0024I decided to take a closer look at some of the images in the engraving.  We can see a depiction of Satan who is seated in a gilded chair and has taken on the shape of a goat with five horns (one of which is lit presumably for the Witches Sabbath).  Img0025

Beneath the image of Satan we can see this depiction of a sorcerer who is arriving to the Sabbath on a goat with children he has abducted, which will then be offered up to Satan.  It also states that once the Sabbath is over these same sorcerer’s who came on brooms and beasts will take to the air to excite storms and tempests elsewhere in the world.


There is also an image that might more traditionally fit our perception of witches gathered around a cauldron.  They are making a strong potion (or poison) that will kill men.  You can see one witch holds snakes and toads in her hand to throw into the pot while the third dutifully works a bellows on the fire, which is obviously fueled by human skulls.

Look out for witches, especially on flying goats!

Tableav de l’inconstance des mavvais anges et demons, ov il est amplement traicté des sorciers, & de la sorcelerie / Pierre de Lancre. Paris, N. Bvon, 1612.  FC6.L2293.612ta (B)

Thanks to Alison Harris, Santo Domingo Project Manager, and Ryan Wheeler, Rare Book Cataloger at Houghton for contributing this post.


This post is part of an ongoing series featuring items recently cataloged from the Julio Mario Santo Domingo Collection.

People often inquire about the wide variety of materials, both format and subject matter, from the Santo Domingo Collection so I thought it might be interesting to those who regularly read the blog to give you a peek from behind the scenes.  So where did all of these materials come from?  The majority of our boxes were shipped from Geneva and arrived in Cambridge after a long journey over the Atlantic via boat, presumably in a shipping container.  They then cleared customs and were whisked to our off-site storage facility.  Recently I came across some evidence that customs definitely did examine our cargo.  Apparently they didn’t know that we affectionately call it the “Sex, Drugs, and Rock & Roll” collection or I’d be seeing a lot more of this neon green U.S. Customs tape.

We then call back boxes of materials for cataloging from our off-site storage facility.  You can see what a typical delivery looks like after the dedicated couriers bring them to our workspace.  IMG_3620

Often we have no idea what will be inside a box, sometimes it could be a beautifully bound 19th-century volume, an art book, or you know a fly-swatter!

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Here is just a small fraction of the materials that have come out of those boxes and will be processed in the coming months.  So stay tuned!


Thanks to Alison Harris, Santo Domingo Project Manager, for contributing this post.

Patent 1This post is part of an ongoing series featuring items recently cataloged from the Julio Mario Santo Domingo Collection.

Patent medicines have been treated before in this space; these are specious remedies, containing any number of drugs and adulterants, that flourished in the 1800s, before the Pure Food and Drug Act of 1906 mandated ingredient lists and curbed fraudulent claims of panacea. Here are two pamphlets that demonstrate some of the many promotional tactics of the 19th-century snake-oil salesman.

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Story of Eleonore

This post is part of an ongoing series featuring items recently cataloged from the Julio Mario Santo Domingo Collection.

Img0003L’homme considéré dans l’état d’aliénation mentale : ouvrage divisée en trois livres … is a 19th-century French volume about the state of insanity, which starts off with a frontispiece of the beautiful Eleonore.  As the text accompanying her visage reveals Eleonore is a “folie tranquille” or a woman who is not overtly insane (by our modern standards), but coldly and cleverly plotted to discredit her husband.

It doesn’t appear that the author, Charles Dunne, had a very high opinion of women.  He goes on to state that English women are exceedingly more badly behaved than their counterparts on the Continent, partly because they’re so prudish and repressed.  However Dunne claims that once those prudish barriers are down the English women can be wild so caution is advised.


Apparently Dunne was a Surgeon of the Royal College of Surgeons in London, as well as part of the Faculty of Medicine in Paris.  He authored several texts on insanity and participated in a few courtroom dramas where it appears they were either drawing on his expertise with insanity or he was being attacked by opposing counsel.

You can find a digitized version of the Brand’s lunacy case; a full report of this most interesting and extraordinary investigation, including copious animadversions on the principal actors in this drama … the late Lord chancellor, Mr. Sugden, and Mr. Dunne’s reply to councellor Austen, extracts from the author’s “Observations on insanity.” of which he was a principle player in Harvard’s catalog as well as at the Law School.

L’homme considéré dans l’état d’aliénation mentale : ouvrage divisée en trois livres … par le docteur Charles Dunne … Paris : Chez Dentu … ; Bruxelles : Chez Lecharlier …, MDCCCXIX [1819] RC340 .D92 1819 can be found at the Countway Library at the Harvard Medical School in Longwood.

Thanks to Alison Harris, Santo Domingo Project Manager, and Joan Thomas, Rare Book Cataloger at Countway for contributing this post.

Cannabis cooking!

This post is part of an ongoing series featuring items from the newly acquired Julio Mario Santo Domingo Collection.

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Stuffed mushrooms a la cannabis, shrimp wiggles, wacky cake, majun, pot loaf, cannabis chocolate icing and boston bean pot are all recipes that can be found in the numerous volumes that have recently been added to Schlesinger from the Julio Mario Santo Domingo Collection.



Wondering what exactly is this majun?  Majun is concocted from hemp, leaves, nuts, honey, and spices forming a type of sweetmeat. The author Glen Martin advises that you probably won’t feel the effects right away but the amount is quite substantial and one should only use mediocre weed for the recipe, saving the better types such as Oaxacan or Colombian for a pipe.

IMG_0022_aOr perhaps you would like to sample the “Wacky Cake” from Supermother’s Cooking with Grass.  Simply sautee the grass in oil for about half an hour and let it cool, then proceed with cooking the cake via Supermother’s instructions.

Maybe something savory is more to your liking?  Then the volume Cooking with Pot could be just the ticket with a Boston Bean Pot recipe.


Cooking with marijuana / by Evelyn Schmevelyn. Seattle : Sun Magic Publ., 1974.

The art and science of cooking with cannabis: the most effective methods of preparing food & drink with marijuana, hashish & hash oil by Adam Gottlieb. [New York] : High Times ; [San Francisco] : Level Press,c1974.

Majun : sweetmeat of hemp / by Glen Martin. Berkeley, CA : Turkey Press, ©1976.

Supermother’s cooking with grass. San Rafael, Calif. : Sunshine Manufacturing & Import Co., ©1971.

Cooking with pot. [Place of publication not identified] : [publisher not identified], [1970?]

All of these titles and many other cookbooks that incorporate marijuana can be found in Schlesinger Library’s collection.

Thanks Alison Harris, Julio Mario Santo Domingo Project Manager, and Erin Ellingham from Schlesinger Library for contributing this post.

Police Bulletin

This post is part of an ongoing series featuring items from the newly acquired Julio Mario Santo Domingo Collection.

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The publication Bulletin de Police Criminelle was a weekly publication distributed to specific police stations throughout France beginning in 1907.  These bound copies come from the Chalon-sur-Saône police station which is located in the Burgundy region of France.  The weekly bulletins, which are of course in French, appear to serve as both a research tool and a tracking system of crimes and criminals throughout the country.  We don’t currently have the entire run of the publication, but we do have issues that span a good 29 years with the most recent being no. 1523 from 1936.  The individual issues are annotated (most likely by various police personnel) with short notes regarding arrests and other relevant details.  At the back of each bulletin is a section that gives updates about the status of the criminals featured in earlier issues.  The first few suspects in each bulletin have photographs to aid in identification, but there are also just text descriptions without any visuals.

Img0015 The description of relevant facts varies probably depending on what information was available at the time.  Some of the general facts that most entries have include a description of the crime, the name of the Judge that issued the arrest warrant, Img0017any accomplices or places they may be hiding out in, and often a physical description or distinguishing marks that could aid the police in capturing a suspect.  The bulletins would also occasionally feature descriptions or alerts about stolen jewelry and objects.


Bulletin hebdomadaire de police criminelle. Paris : Ministère de l’intérieur, 1907-; No. 1 (1907)- can be found in Widener’s collection.  

Thanks to Alison Harris, Santo Domingo Project Manager, for contributing this post.

True French crimes

Img0007 This post is part of an ongoing series featuring items from the newly acquired Julio Mario Santo Domingo Collection.


I recently discovered two issues of a weekly French Police newspaper aptly titled Police Hebdo published in October of 1947.  The publication appears to cover extremely sensationalized information and news about various crimes and criminals both in France and around the world.  The articles from this issue seem to focus mostly on drug crime and organized crime.


For example it reports that Operation “Stop” won the first round among the drug gangs.  There is an entire two page spread Img0008

Img0006about J. Edgar Hoover’s (referred to as E.J. Hoover) work against organized crime in America primarily detailing information about Al Capone.  And the Americans are credited with helping French police stop a counterfeit scheme dealing with U.S. dollars.  To read all about it you can find Police Hebdo. Paris : Societe parisienne d’edition, 1947-1948.  in Widener Library’s collection.

Thanks to Alison Harris, Santo Domingo Project Manager, for contributing this post.



Houghton Library has acquired the archive of French writer, literary theorist, and philosopher Maurice Blanchot (1907-2003) from his daughter, Cidalia Blanchot. Christie McDonald, Smith Professor of French Language and Literature at Harvard University, said, “I am thrilled by Houghton’s acquisition of this important archive.  Scholars will have unprecedented access to material that will give us a deeper understanding of his work.”

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Cataloging work continues on Harvard College Library’s recently acquired collection of over 20,000 zines. Zines are non-commercial, non-professional and small-circulation publications that their creators produce, publish and either trade or sell themselves. For access to the collection, contact the Modern Books & Manuscripts department.

Charles Schulz’s Peanuts is just one example of a typically mainstream, family-friendly comic that can be reinterpreted in zines according to the authors’ views. Although Schulz’s comics portray interactions between children and animals, they are not all apolitical. Kathee Terrell, the author of “A Million Birthdays”, includes several Peanuts comics in her zine, including a shortened version of one from 1970 where an uncharacteristically timid Lucy Van Pelt is interrupted while attempting to explain the contemporary feminist movement to Snoopy.

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An original Charles Schulz comic included in issue #5 0f the zine “A Million Birthdays.”

Other feminist authors have incorporated the series and its female characters into their own zines. In Rebecca’s zine, entitled “Lusy’s Angry”, she describes Lucy van Pelt’s strengths as a character, and her admiration of the friendship between fellow Peanuts characters Marcie and Peppermint Patty.

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The back and front wrappers of the zine “Lusy’s Angry” (Issue #1)

This friendship also inspires a comic strip in the second issue of a zine called “L’il Princess.” In this comic, Marcie and Patty are seated at their desks in their classroom. In the Schulz’s original work, this is often a setting for Patty to complain about school and to fail at answering her teacher’s questions. But here, a much more jaded Peppermint Patty recites “Resumé”, a Dorothy Parker poem about logistical problems with suicide.

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Comic in the zine “L’il Princess”, with text written by Dorothy Parker

Of course any characters as popular as Charlie Brown, his friends, and more particularly his dog Snoopy, become commercial as well as artistic symbols. MetLife gained legal rights to use Snoopy and others in advertisements in 1985. Nearly a decade later, at least two small press publications also made use of the Peanuts characters, parodying both the company and its advertisements. The first issue of the zine “RTFM”, includes John S. Sizemore’s story about the disappointing lives of older Peanuts characters, as told to the narrator by Charlie Brown, now an insurance agent who spends his days smoking and reminding his clients that “if someone cuts down a tree and it falls on your RV, it’s not an act of God.” (Sizemore, 27) The plaque on his desk, of course, features a MetLife slogan.

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Charlie Brown working for MetLife in the story “Welcome to Middle Age, Charlie Brown!”, written and illustrated by John S. Sizemore

The Realist was a satirical magazine which often included rewritten versions of popular comics. In its 127th issue, three Peanuts comics were reformatted to criticize MetLife. The first relates a conversation between Charlie Brown and Lucy van Pelt and is a criticism of the concept of life insurance in general. But the next is a very obvious reference to a real instance of deceptive marketing earlier that year, when MetLife was successfully sued for deceptive sales practices by policyholders in Pennsylvania. The third comic again references the fall-out of that scandal, including the loss of jobs for key executives.

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Comics included in the 127th issue of “The Realist”, published and edited by Paul Krassner

Rebecca. Lusy’s Angry. San Francisco: n.p, n.d. Print.
Princess, Liz. L’il Princess. Columbia, MD: n.p, 1995. Print.
Terrell, Kathee. A Million Birthdays. Willoughby, OH: n.p, 2004. Print.
Sizemore, John S. “Welome to Middle Age, Charlie Brown!” In RTFM (Read the Fucking Manual) (ed. Robert L. Thornton). Rockville, MD: n.p, 1994. Print.
Krassner, Paul. The Realist. Venice, CA: n.p, 1994. Print.

Thanks to Anna Ryerson, an undergraduate student at Mt. Holyoke, who worked in the Modern Books & Manuscripts department this past summer, for contributing this post.

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