This post is part of an ongoing series featuring recently cataloged items from the Ludlow-Santo Domingo Library.
Will you live in a mansion, drive a Ferrari, get your dream job, have two kids and marry your hot 12-year old crush? Or will your fate be to have a rusty pickup truck, work a minimum wage job, have 13 kids to feed, and live in a shack? Cootie catchers helped us answer these difficult questions in our struggle to discover our futures! Originally called the salt cellar it was first seen in an origami book called Fun with Paper Folding in 1928. Apparently the cootie catcher name caught on because of the pincer like movement the folded paper makes, which can mimic catching insects, like lice. I discovered this cootie catcher, or fortune suggester if you prefer, in an issue of X-ray magazine. It is meant to be removed from the plastic to reveal your future! Published by Pneumatic Press in California this
limited edition publication only produced 226 copies per issue and is actually a kind of collaborative artist book full of highly ephemeral objects, art pieces, textiles, poems, photographs, prints, and other types of materials. Materials are tucked between pages, affixed with stickers and glue, or found inside envelopes. The user is meant to interact with the items and every page is supposed to surprise. I was certainly surprised when I found the page by Mike Dyar that supposedly contains his hair. If indeed it IS his real hair did he donate it to every copy?
Another particularly delightful page was the fortune cookie. It is designed with a cut in the page so that you can literally pull the fortune from the drawing of the cookie. This fortune said “When you’re through changing- you’re through!”
These fascinating issues of X-ray magazine can be found in the collection of the Fine Arts Library.
Thanks to Donna Viscuglia, Cataloger and Alison Harris, Santo Domingo Project Manager, for contributing this post.