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.

Img0015The 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.

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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 crime

Img0007This 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.

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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.

 

New on OASIS in October

Seven finding aids for newly cataloged collections were added to the OASIS database this month, including papers from E.E. Cummings and William James, and a collection of Soviet propaganda regarding the downing of the U2 spy plane in 1962.

Processed by Irina Klyagin:
Letters to Serge Diaghilev from Various Correspondents, 1916-1929 (MS Thr 1140)

Processed by Bonnie B. Salt:
Andrew Henderson Papers, 1726-1768 (MS Eng 1781)

V. R. Lang Additional Papers, 1950-2008 (MS Am 3048)

E. E. (Edward Estlin) Cummings Additional Papers and Oil Paintings, 1899-1968 (MS Am 3049)

William James Jr. Additional Papers, 1906-1958 (MS Am 3050)

Richard G. Hannum Papers on Strawhead Script Written with Norman Mailer, 1980-1995 (MS Am 3051)

Truth About Violation of Soviet Air Space by American Plane, 1960 (MS Am 3052)

Pressurized suit, helmet, parachute with oxygen apparatus recovered from U2 wreckage. MS Am 3052 (12)

Pressurized suit, helmet, parachute with oxygen apparatus recovered from U2 wreckage. MS Am 3052 (12)

Maurice Blanchot papers acquired by Harvard

Notebooks

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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The afterlife of a comic strip

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

Citations:
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.