Feed on
Posts
Comments

Title Page of Vera's personal copy of Andrew Field's biography

Among the Nabokov family volumes recently added to Houghton Library’s catalog are several owned and annotated by Véra Nabokov. Vladimir’s wife of 52 years, Véra was indissolubly his literary partner as well: she read, edited, and translated his work, besides managing his business and legal affairs; attending his college courses and even teaching them when he fell ill; and innumerable other tasks. Apart from her amplification of Vladimir’s voice, we typically hear little from Véra herself: “the more you leave me out,” she once told biographer Brian Boyd, “the closer to the truth you will be.” (For further reading on the Nabokovs’ relationship, see this New Yorker article.) In the volume pictured here, though, Véra candidly disputes the work of another biographer, Vladimir’s first, through substantial marginalia.

VN: The Life and Art of Vladimir Nabokov is Andrew Field’s third book-length study of Vladimir Nabokov. Field dedicated his career to the study of Nabokov – his first book brought the author’s early Russian-language work out of obscurity for a Western audience – and for a time won the author’s favor, and close access to him as a biographical source, as a result.

VN, published after Nabokov’s death, folds both of Field’s prior books, along with supplementary material, into a single critical biography, but one reflective of the soured relationship between author and subject. Gone are the quasi-Nabokovian structural flourishes that characterized the prior works; in their place are numerous speculations and leaps of logic. Reviews from the time of VN’s publication, such as this review from the London Review of Books and this one from the Washington Post, offer more detail on Field’s trajectory from protégé to outcast; on the questionable suppositions that characterize VN; and on the continued antipathy between Field and the surviving Nabokovs. For Brian Boyd’s own review, see the Times Literary Supplement, 21 April 1987, pages 431-2.

Vera's marginalia

Vera’s marginalia in Field’s biography.

Véra was a curator not only of Vladimir’s literary output and lifestyle but of his public figure, his image, his legacy. Inevitably, then, she and VN are at loggerheads throughout–Véra peppers the margins with question marks, exclamation points, and ‘no’ upon ‘no’, serially refuting Field’s conjectures and recreations.

Vera disputes Nabokov's presence at a funeral.

Vera disputes Nabokov’s presence at a funeral.

At times, she offers her contrasting memory of events: Field describes Nabokov’s aggressive behavior at a funeral; but Véra says he was not in attendance. Field characterizes Nabokov’s relations with Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn as “strained”; Véra writes: “there were no relations”. From brief marks of disbelief to lengthy explications, Véra’s comments amount to a considerable negation of Field’s text.

 

Field, Andrew, 1938- VN: The Life and Art of Vladimir Nabokov. RC9.N1125.W986f

Thanks to bibliographic assistant Ryan Wheeler for contributing this post.

Title Page of Nabokov's Russian Grammar Among recent gifts to Harvard Library, the papers and books of the Nabokov family—Vladimir Nabokov, his wife Véra, and his son Dmitri—take pride of place. Jointly stewarded by Houghton Library and the Museum of Comparative Zoology (where Nabokov was curator of lepidoptery), the collection was given to Harvard University by the Vladimir Nabokov Literary Foundation.  While most Nabokov papers reside at the Library of Congress and the New York Public Library, these materials were retained by Dmitri until his death in 2012. The papers are now being cataloged and will be available for research in 2019. In this post, we’ll focus on one of the richly annotated books that came with the collection.

While the collection includes numerous books by and about Vladimir Nabokov, annotated with corrections, questions, disputations, and other interferences, this book served a more workaday purpose: it is a Russian grammar, printed in 1942 and evidently used in teaching the subject. In the years during and following World War II, Nabokov taught Russian grammar and literature as a lecturer at Wellesley College. He was an established author in his homeland then, but a new arrival and relative unknown in the United States, and it would be another decade before Lolita would propel him both to fame and to infamy. In 1977, the New Yorker published an account of Nabokov’s Russian literature course from a student’s perspective, available
here.

Title Page of Nabokov's Russian Grammar

The grammar text is densely annotated throughout, as Nabokov organized lessons and emphasized exercises; he also made corrections to the text in both Russian and English. Nabokov introduced the study of Russian language and literature to Wellesley, as wartime alliance with the U.S.S.R. spurred academic interest in the subject; this textbook is evidence of his process as he worked to bring his first language across to a new culture and a new generation. For example, a flyleaf in the rear of the book illustrates the complexity of Russian verbs —a difficulty for his students which Nabokov likely anticipated. Here Nabokov has written out twelve different ways of saying, “I read” (Я читаю) and “I write” (Я пишу) in the past tense.

Nabokov essay

Turning toward the volume’s endpapers, we find evidence of Nabokov’s multifarious intellect: blank leaves at the front and back are covered with observations on butterflies from Nabokov the lepidopterist. (For more on his six-year tenure at MCZ, see this post from the Ernst Mayr Library’s blog.) To add another layer, the books and papers in this collection also reflect Nabokov’s interest in, and authorship of, chess problems. Collectively, they offer new lenses through which to see this eminent literary family.

Nabokov essay

The books annotated by Vladimir Nabokov are available for research at Houghton Library, and can be found in HOLLIS.

Thanks to bibliographic assistant Ryan Wheeler for contributing this post.

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. 

Zines, by their very nature, are unconventional in both form and content. So when zines address themes in classic literature, they often arrive at unusual and original views of those works.

Back cover of Animal Review #7For instance, Animal Review is described as a “fanzine of herbivorous youth” started in 1993 by Nell Zink. It contains musings on, sketches of, and stories about various animals, with a few music reviews mixed in for good measure. It also occasionally discusses literary animals. A short article on Moby Dick praises Herman Melville for having “researched everything ever written about whales (up to 1850)” in writing the book, despite some gaps in his knowledge that seem more egregious in the present day, such as his lack of understanding that whales are mammals. Not only for his painstaking research into whales, but also for his impressive breadth of sea monster mythology, Melville is crowned “the original and supreme animal reviewer!” (Zink, 7).

Two of Haruki Murakami’s novels, A Wild Sheep Chase and Hard Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World, are also reviewed positively on the back cover of this zine, due to the importance of animals in these stories. But in the very next issue of Animal Review, literary connections become a lot more abstract. On the cover of issue #8, the quote:

The future is a faded [newt], a Royal Rose or a lavender spray
Of wistful regret for those who are not yet here to regret
Pressed between yellow leaves of a book that has never been opened.Cover of Animal Review #8

…is attributed to “Eliot,” and accompanied by the image of a newt which is indeed “pressed between…leaves of a book.” This quote, absent any reference to newts in its original form, is in fact taken from T.S. Eliot’s poem, “The Dry Salvages,” whereas Daniel Deronda, the book in which the newt finds himself pressed, is a work of George Eliot’s.

An article appearing later in the zine sheds light on this delightfully bizarre image. In “George Eliot’s newt connection,” Zink describes the axolotl (a type of salamander) and its potential for transformation into maturity after consuming thyroid glands, a transformation which he compares to Eliot’s own, from “one of those painfully immature Victorians who speak the language of flowers,” who “planned to devote her life to Protest fundamentalist contemplation” and “declared publicly that having sex (‘marriage’) would lead to an eternity in hell” to a woman “living in Italy with a cute married guy, writing novels with pagan and Jewish heroes, and acknowledging Sir Walter Scott as her spiritual master”—all of this after encountering Das Leben Jesu which Eliot translated from 1845 to 1846. As an afterthought, Zink claims that George Eliot “looked kind of like a newt, too” (Zink, 8).

Occasionally one encounters zines that have adapted literary classics. A striking example of this is David Lasky’s mini-comic, Ulysses, first published in 1991. At only about 10 pages —compared to Joyce’s work which usually clocks in around 730 pages— it is, as Lasky acknowledges, “by no means a substitute for the original work.”

Nonetheless, it accurately captures the relationships between Leopold Bloom and the other two main characters, Molly Bloom and Stephen Dedalus and takes an interesting approach to Molly Bloom’s stream-of-consciousness passage that ends the novel by interspersing her musings with some of the words and images which also derail her thoughts in the story.

The cover of David Lasky’s comic adaptation of Ulysses

The last page of David Lasky’s comic adaptation of Ulysses, concluding, as the novel does, with Molly’s inner-monologue

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Several years later, in an issue of his zine series Boom Boom, Lasky recounts (also in comic format) how he first heard of, and became interested in adapting, Ulysses, and the reactions to his mini-comic, including a positive review from the Washington Post. This zine also contains new comics about figures important to James Joyce and the writing of his best-known novel. In one comic, Lasky illustrates the life of Nora Barnacle, Joyce’s wife. In another comic, he explains how Sylvia Beach, the owner of the bookstore Shakespeare and Company bookshop in Paris, became the publisher of Ulysses, and details the challenges she faced after the book was banned.

a comic about Sylvia Beach’s life & work in Boom Boom #3

Introduction to a comic about Sylvia Beach’s life & work in Boom Boom #3, focusing on her time as publisher of Ulysses

Zines gamely venture into the genre of memoir as well. In an issue of Button, described as “New England’s Tiniest Magazine of Poetry, Fiction, and Gracious Living,” the authors discuss what can be learned from various diaries, including those of Samuel Pepys, Barbara Pym, and Anne Frank. One contributing writer, Sven Birkerts, discusses his own relationship with diaries:

The cover of Button, issue #8, with a drawing of a cave painting, compared by the editor to a diary.

It sometimes seems that I passed my whole youth starting, maintaining, and abandoning diaries… I maintained the diaries — for up to six months at a stretch — because in the absence of much creative output they at least gave me a sense of gaining on my dream of becoming a writer. And when I abandoned them it was, I think, because I could no longer endure the sound of my own pretenses, the coy fashion-show of writerly manners taken over wholesale from my heroes (Birkerts, 11).

The editor of Button also espouses the view of Magdalenian cave paintings as early precursors to diaries, which is cleverly reflected in the cover illustration of this issue: a man shining a flashlight on a cave-painting of an animal, a hand print, and three buttons.

Other zines involve literature in more political ways. Race Traitor is an anti-racist zine with the goal of abolishing “whiteness” as a societal framework, as well as abolishing white privilege. In its second issue, editors John Garvey and Noel Ignatiev explain the influence of Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and its main character on the central message of their publication, “treason to whiteness is loyalty to humanity.” The editors expound on this statement by explaining that,

The cover of Race Traitor, featuring E. W. Kemble’s 1884 illustration the frontispiece of the 1885 American 1st edition of The Adventures of Huckleberry FinnIn a certain sense, the entire project of Race Traitor is to examine, from every possible angle, the moment when Huck Finn (and all the modern Huck Finns) decide to break with what Huck calls “sivilization” and takes the steps that will lead to Jim’s (and their own) freedom (Garvey and Ignatiev, 40).

The scene in which Huck makes this decision is identified as a key turning point which has its basis, as does much of the novel, in autobiographical narratives of enslavement and escape from slavery. Following the editors’ note are three essays by Harvard students, which, the editors argue, speak to the story’s impact.

Though deserving of a broader survey, this brief review of selected zines demonstrates that the zine format, with its heavy use of illustrations, fluid boundaries with other written materials, and penchant for the political, can forge both original and creative statements about literary classics.

Thanks to Anna Ryerson, a graduate student at Simmons College, who worked in the Modern Books & Manuscripts department this past summer, for contributing this post.

Zines referenced:

Birkerts, Sven. “Abandoning Diaries,” in Button, #8. Lunenberg, MA: n.p., 1996. Print.
Garvey, John and Ignatiev, Noel. Race Traitor, #2. Cambridge, MA: The New Abolitionists, Inc., 1993.
Print.
Lasky, David. Boom Boom, #3: Tales of Brave Ulysses (James Joyce). Seattle: David Lasky, 1993. Print.
Lasky, David. Joyce’s Ulysses. Seattle, VA: David Lasky, 1993. Print.
Zink, Nell. Animal Review, #7 and #8. Jersey City: Nell Zink, 1994. Print.

This post is part of an ongoing series featuring recently cataloged items from the Ludlow-Santo Domingo Library. Thanks to Rachel Parker, Archival Assistant, for contributing this post.

In my first blog post on the Ludlow-Santo Domingo Library poster collection, I demonstrated why maintaining context can help answer the questions that arise when titling posters for catalog records or finding aids. In this post I am going to present two examples from the LSD Library poster collection which demonstrate issues of complex text-image relationships, and the unique challenges of counterculture era ephemera. The examples below are all about copies, copies with different titles, copies with different visual styles, copies with different distributors, and “stolen” images.

 

The first example is a print by the artist and illustrator Rick Griffin. The first (of which there are two versions in the LSD collection) was printed by the San Francisco artist collective Berkeley Bonaparte in 1967 and is untitled (left). The second image is a silkscreen blacklight poster printed by Royal Screen Craft Inc. and distributed by Cocorico Graphics with the caption “San Mezcalito, the patron and protector of all those souls who dig herbs created by god to enlighten the minds of men” (right). To solve the problem of two different titles, I added a related materials note for all three versions of this print to the finding aid.

However, the relationship between these prints is left to the researcher to suss out. Berkeley Bonaparte was famous in its own right — what relationship did they have with Cocorico Graphics? Although some websites call the 1967 printing “Mezcalito man” there is no evidence that that was Griffin’s title. Blacklight posters also had a distinct purpose. Even though both posters are clearly drug related, the blacklight poster has an implicit relationship to LSD and a popular visual movement of the ‘70s which had become independent from the psychedelic rock scene it originated from. These copies, while the same image, exist in different decades, and different cultural significance. A persistent problem with cataloging posters is capturing this visual information, often implied and emblematic of a cultural movement. The best way to capture this information, barring including an image, is by providing as much publishing data as possible and recording the printing method. Luckily, images of each poster will be added to the finding aid in this case.

 

My second example of catalog/archival description in this collection is a Family Dog print. The Family Dog were psychedelic rock promoters in San Francisco who hired “The San Francisco Five,” a group of five poster artists who virtually defined the psychedelic art style in the late ‘60s and early ‘70s. The artists were Rick Griffin, Victor Moscoso, Stanley Mouse, Alton Kelley, and Wes Wilson. This print is for a Family Dog production at the Avalon Ballroom and was printed by Mouse Studios (Kelley and Mouse). One is an artist proof signed by Mouse (left) and the other is signed by both Mouse and Kelley, printed by Mouse and hand colored by Kelley (right). All relatively simple information to convey in the description (barring any particular graphic difference); however, we’re missing one key fact: Mouse and Kelley handily repurposed this image from an 1896 Alphonse Mucha advertisement for JOB cigarette rolling papers [1]:

Mucha

Mucha is also represented in the Ludlow-Santo Domingo Library poster collection elsewhere (so are JOB cigarette rolling papers) and was a pioneer Art Nouveau artist. So is the Jim Kweskin Jug band event poster actually telling a story about Kelley and Mouse as artists and about the psychedelic art movement as a whole? As it happens this disconnect between image and text was deliberate. Chet Helms, founder of the Family Dog, instructed his artists to pair images and event information that had little relation. Helms wanted the posters to convey a sense of atmosphere, often using images which tied the Psychedelic Rock posters to the peace movement. [2]

It is a luxury to catalog almost 780 posters in this collection at the item level, describing every single item in the collection rather than describing groups or series of items. But perhaps it is the only way to truly give access to them. Posters can tell so many different textual and visual stories all at once. They are designed to be seen from a distance and understood by the masses at a glance, making visual cues just as important as title information. As I’ve shown, a poster can tell the story of an entire movement while promoting a single band. Context is key, then, when formulating titles in catalog records.

Image 1: Untitled : Native American man, distributed by Berkeley Bonaparte, artwork by Rick Griffin : lithograph poster, 1967. MS Am 3135. http://id.lib.harvard.edu/ead/c/hou02925c01304/catalog

Image 2: San Mezcalito, the patron and protector of all those souls who dig herbs created by god to enlighten the minds of men. Silk screen by Royal Screen Craft Inc., Cocorico Graphics, artwork by Rick Griffin : blacklight poster, undated. MS Am 3135. http://id.lib.harvard.edu/ead/c/hou02925c01263/catalog

Image 3: Family dog presents Jim Kweskin Jug Band, Electric Train, Big Brother and the Holding Company, Avalon ballroom. Design by Mouse Studios : lithograph poster, undated. MS Am 3135. http://id.lib.harvard.edu/ead/c/hou02925c01440/catalog

Image 4: Family dog presents Jim Kweskin Jug Band, Electric Train, Big Brother and the Holding Company, Avalon ballroom. Design by Mouse Studios, hand colored by Kelley : lithograph poster, undated. MS Am 3135. http://id.lib.harvard.edu/ead/c/hou02925c01441/catalog

[1] Not part of the poster collection. Image taken from: https://www.wikiart.org/en/alphonse-mucha/job-1896

[2] Eric King’s Guide to Psychedelic Rock Posters volume 1

This post is part of an ongoing series featuring recently cataloged items from the Ludlow-Santo Domingo Library. Thanks to Rachel Parker, Archival Assistant, for contributing this post.

In May I began describing, photographing, and re-housing a discrete collection of posters within the Ludlow-Santo Domingo (LSD) Library collection. Tackling the Ludlow-Santo Domingo Library poster collection has been exciting, in part because of the descriptive challenges in title creation. Having recently finished describing about 780 unique posters, I’ve spent a great deal of time thinking about posters as information carriers and the equal importance of text and image. As Susan Tschabrun, archivist, wrote in her 2003 article “Off the Wall and into a Drawer”[1] for the American Archivist, posters, like most ephemeral objects, were never meant to be primary source material and can be difficult to interpret and describe in a standard way because of their ‘temporariness.’ A poster’s text-image relationship often places it directly in a specific moment, movement, or cultural ethos. The posters in this collection tell inside jokes, represent events absent from history books, and speak a visual language that may mean the most to a very few.

Head out to Oz

Head out to oz, design by James McMullen : lithograph poster, undated. MS Am 3135.

The LSD Library posters are a perfect example of the complexity of this medium because the bulk were created during a movement breaking away from the known and the normalized. The counterculture movement, like many art, music, and cultural movements, was an underground movement for a decade before it was launched into the mainstream. Many early psychedelic images that sought to challenge the norm—with impossible-to-read fonts and colors and patterns created to mimic the effects of hallucinogens—are now mass-produced and ubiquitous in college dorm rooms. The LSD Library poster collection captures the transformation from underground to popular art, as well as almost a century’s- worth of iconographic metamorphosis in poster art.

So how does this complicated relationship between ephemerality, text-image symbolism, and the gradual adoption of underground art into the mainstream make archival description for a finding aid challenging? First we have to answer a different question: what is the title of a poster? Should every word on the poster be in the title? The most bold words? Is the title read like a sentence? Can you put visually separated word groups together in a sentence to create a title?

Let’s take for example the two posters below:

“Free the prisoners of weed!” has a lot of textual information. In this case, the boldest words coincidentally (or perhaps deliberately) can be pieced together to form a coherent title. These keywords place the poster in a political moment, give it a time and place, and hint at a larger cultural movement.

Conversely, for “Invisible Circus” almost all the language on the poster is preserved. Although at first glance it may not seem like a complex text-image relationship, in fact, these two elements of the poster are telling different stories. The performance or circus act being promoted with an image of a tiger and font in the shape of a gypsy wagon tells one story and the words tell another. The secondary purpose of this performance is a “72 hr environmental community happening.” Transcribing a long title in the catalog record or finding aid, though unwieldy, gives access to the researcher looking for circus acts and the research concerned with environmentalism and the peace movement.

The answer to our earlier questions is therefore not a matter of format but context. The words on the poster, how bold they are, how much wordage there is, matters less than conveying the context through the title. That means including artists, sponsors, distributors, and venues as well as the boldest title text, and sometimes text with less visual importance.

In my next blog post I will address my original concern: how does the relationship of text and image and the particular countercultural context of the Ludlow-Santo Domingo Library poster collection make titling posters a challenge for catalogers?

[1] Page 305 http://americanarchivist.org/doi/pdf/10.17723/aarc.66.2.x482536031441177?code=same-site

Image 2: Free the prisoners of weed! 4th annual Washington D.C. smoke-in & impeach Nixon march, Youth International Party : poster, 1973. MS Am 3135. http://id.lib.harvard.edu/ead/c/hou02925c01611/catalog

Image 3: Invisible circus, a 72 hr environmental community happening, sponsored by the Diggers Artist Liberation Front, Glide Foundation, Glide Church, designed by Dave Hodges : poster, 1967. MS Am 3135. http://id.lib.harvard.edu/ead/c/hou02925c01503/catalog

The archive of Greek poet and lyricist Nikos Gatsos has found a permanent home at Harvard Library. The acquisition is a key addition to the Library’s collections in Greek literature and civilization and will be made available to students and scholars around the world.

Nikos Gatsos (1911-1992) had a profound influence on the post-war generation of Greek poets. Writing of both loss and hope, Gatsos’s unique blend of surrealism, symbolism and folk song created intense admiration and assured his place alongside his friends, Nobel laureates Odysseas Elytis and George Seferis, as one of the great twentieth-century Greek poets.

The poet at 28 years old (1939-40)

The poet at 28 years old (1939-40).

A celebration of the acquisition, “The Gatsos I Loved: A Concert,” will be held at Harvard’s Sanders Theatre on Sunday, October 14th. Featuring music by Manos Hatzidakis, Mikis Theodorakis, and Stavros Xarhakos, with lyrics by Gatsos, the program will focus on the poet’s enduring legacy to Greek and world culture. Tickets will be available closer to the date through the Harvard Box Office.

Panagiotis Roilos, George Seferis Professor of Modern Greek Studies and Professor of Comparative Literature at Harvard, strongly encouraged the Library to acquire the archive. “Nikos Gatsos was one of the most prominent figures of the European avant-garde. His long poem Amorgos, which was published in 1943, during the occupation of Greece by the Germans and their allies, was almost instantly hailed by both critics and poets as an emblematic work of Greek surrealism.” Roilos continued, “The Gatsos archive will be a major addition to Harvard’s archives on European modernism and of course to its unique collection on Greek literature and culture. I cannot stress enough the potential educational and research value of the archive for several scholarly areas, including Greek and broader European cultural history, comparative literature, Greek world literature and translation studies.”

“for Niko, Seferis, 31.5.66”

Inscribed copy of Nobel laureate George Seferis’s “Song of songs” “for Niko, Seferis, 31.5.66”

Gatsos was greatly admired for his command of the Greek language. His close friend, the poet Peter Levi recalled: “Seferis used to say that Gatsos was the only man whose Greek he truly envied.” Nikos Gatsos heard music in the words he carefully chose for his poems. In 1943, a young Manos Hadzidakis presented Gatsos with a musical setting for the poem “Amorgos,” beginning a lifelong friendship and fruitful collaboration between the poet and composer. Gatsos also spent much creative energy working with other Greek composers, such as Mikis Theodorakis and Stavros Xaharkos, transforming his poems into songs forever etched in the musical psyche of the Greek nation. His oeuvre includes a total of three hundred and sixty songs—a newly revised edition of his songs edited by his partner Agathi Dimitrouka has just been released.

“This collection will be a tremendous resource not only for philologists and historians, but for musicians and musicologists as well,” says Dr. Panayotis League, a recent graduate of Harvard’s PhD program in Ethnomusicology and a current fellow at the Milman Parry Collection of Oral Literature. “Gatsos was one of the most important Greek lyricists and songwriters of the twentieth century, and his collaborations with the greatest Greek composers of the twentieth century helped define the course of Greek popular music in its marriage of the folkloric to the avant-garde. The opportunity to examine not only Gatsos’s notes and papers but also audio recordings of song sketches and unfinished compositions will certainly prove invaluable to future musicological scholarship and help us better understand the work of this pioneering songwriter.”

A “Special Delivery” musical recording from composer Manos Hadzidakis.

A “Special Delivery” musical recording from composer Manos Hadzidakis.

Gatsos was also a gifted translator, mostly of theatrical works. He introduced the work of Federico García Lorca, Archibald MacLeish, Eugene O’Neill, and August Strindberg to Greek audiences. Gatsos’s poems and lyrics have been translated into English, French, Danish, Spanish, Italian, Catalan, Korean, Swedish, Turkish, and Finnish. In 1987, he was awarded the Athens City Prize for his life achievements and in 1991 he was recognized as Deputy Member of the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Barcelona for his contribution to the promotion of Spanish literature in Greece.

The first draft of “Amorgos” which was written on the verso of an incomplete short story “Lake Kaliamba.”

The Gatsos archive includes a rich collection of manuscripts, typescripts, notebooks, correspondence, books, photographs, and musical recordings. Users will find:
• eighteen letters from Odysseas Elytis (ranging from three to twenty-five pages)
• fifty years of postcards from his good friend and popular singer Nana Mouskouri
• record albums signed by composers
• cassette tapes labeled “songs in progress”
• the script of Elia Kazan’s America (with annotations by Kazan)
• annotated typescripts by George Seferis, Archibald MacLeish, Desmond O’Grady, and Charles Haldeman

The archive will be available for research at Houghton Library once preliminary processing is completed.

Rhea Lesage, Librarian for Hellenic Studies, Coordinator for the Classics and Center for Hellenic Studies Associate for Collaborative Initiatives at Widener Library and Leslie Morris, Gore Vidal Curator of Modern Books & Manuscripts at Houghton Library joined forces to make this acquisition possible. “Bringing the Nikos Gatsos archive to Houghton Library, Harvard’s primary repository for rare books and manuscripts, will ensure that his life’s work will be preserved for future generations to research,” said Lesage. “Plans are already underway to promote and celebrate this important archive that will be accessible to scholars everywhere once preliminary processing is complete.”

Gatsos on right with his "brother" in poetry, Nobel laureate Odysseas Elytis (ca.1963)

Gatsos on right with his “brother” in poetry, Nobel laureate Odysseas Elytis (ca.1963)

Gregory Nagy, Francis Jones Professor of Classical Greek Literature and Professor of Comparative Literature, who is the Director of the Center for Hellenic Studies in Washington D.C., highlighted the importance of the Gatsos acquisition in promoting the cause of Hellenism. “The work of Nikos Gatsos touches upon the humanities writ large, from literature to social commentary, from history to philosophy. I congratulate Harvard Library for taking this important initiative. The Center for Hellenic Studies stands ready to support the Library’s future initiatives in sustaining the legacy of Gatsos.”

Image 2: Inscribed copy of Nobel laureate George Seferis’s “Song of songs” “for Niko, Seferis, 31.5.66”
Image 3: “for Niko, Seferis, 31.5.66”
Image 5: The first draft of “Amorgos” which was written on the verso of an incomplete short story “Lake Kaliamba.

This post is part of an ongoing series featuring recently cataloged items from the Ludlow-Santo Domingo Library

img_5049

Size matters! was the motto that Wilhelm Moser and David Culby took quite seriously when creating The Manipulator in Dusseldorf in the 1980s.  This art magazine is an impressive 70 cm long by 50 cm wide and marks the heyday of the photographic press before digital images and Photoshop.  It became a trailblazer for other extra-large photographic publications.  The Manipulator would take images and blow them up to extremely large sizes, in either black and white or color, and combine them with text focusing on film, fashion, art and design, architecture and often ethical and historical subjects.  This type of independent publishing carried on the tradition of Andy Warhol’s Interview from the 1970s which focused on celebrity and popular culture.

This particular issue featuring our friend the dog is no.19 and displays the variety of content one would find within the magazine.  You can see the larger than life advertising with this Moschino ad which was part of a campaign that Moschino, a high-end fashion house, ran mocking the elite snobbery or “fashion system.”  fullsizerender-4Franco Moschino was a designer that liked to challenge the fashion world and believed that it was a creative outlet meant to be fun and playful.  This type of advertising as art was a very new concept at the time.

fullsizerender-3

Then you turn the page and are faced with these amazing reproductions from the French newspaper Le Petit Journal.  Both images have been blow up to the fill the full 70 x 50 cm pages.  And both people are being spectacularly attacked by tigers and an octopus respectively.  I’d say humans 0, animal kindgom 2.

fullsizerender-2

They published a total of 29 issues and the covers can be seen as a kind of graphic anthology of the 1980s and have become somewhat of a collector’s item.  This is the only issue we found in the Ludlow-Santo Domingo collection and Harvard has no other holdings or issues of the Manipulator.

The Manipulator. [Düsseldorf] ;[New York, N.Y.] / Wilhelm Moser and David Culby can be found in the Fine Arts Library collection.

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

This post is part of an ongoing series featuring recently cataloged items from the Ludlow-Santo Domingo Library

img0017

Pulps are so called because of the low quality of paper, coarse untreated paper produced from wood pulp, on which they were printed. Because the quality of paper was so poor it meant that it was cheap thus keeping production costs low and the subsequent cost for the reader low as well.  Also because it was already so cheap they didn’t need advertisers within the early magazines.  Pulp magazines typically published escapist fiction for the popular entertainment of a mass audience and it was an incredibly successful model.  By 1915 it is estimated that a combination of eight of these magazines had a readership of 15% of the U.S. population.  These pulp novels featured cover art that revels in exploitation fantasies and lurid depictions of women, teenagers, sex, and drugs.  Teen-rebel dope fiends is book of postcards featuring some of the most daring covers which were immediately familiar to me because we have the original pulps in the collection.

img0018 For instance we have this paperback edition of Claude Farrere’s Black Opium, originally Fumée d’opium, translated from the French by Samuel Putnam at Houghton.  You can see that the cover blurb appears to feign disgust about the use of opium calling it “…shocking ecstasy of the forbidden”, but the illustration of the woman coming out of the opium pipe is clearly celebrating a sensationalist attitude designed to titillate the readers.  img0020I also noticed the postcard cover of Junkie by William Lee, a pseudonym for William S. Burroughs.  This was the first published novel by Burroughs, it was semi-autobiographical and dealt with his experiences with heroin.  It was bound back-to-back with Narcotic Agent an abridgement of the memoirs of FBI agent Maurice Helbrant in an attempt to balance out unapologetic stories of drug use.  So two books for the low price of 35 cents.  The publisher A. A. Wyn also insisted that Burroughs add a preface explaining how someone like Burroughs, a Harvard graduate from a prominent family, was a drug addict.  

The illustration on the cover of Junkie is again typical of these pulps.  We see an attractive blond woman in a scarlet skirt being forced to release her desperate grip on a syringe with other drug implements strewn across a table.  Confessions of an Unredeemed Drug Addict practically screams at the reader about the depravity of drugs and the unsavory consequences that can be found within its pages.  Junkie is particularly interesting because of its cover art evolution as Burroughs became a respected writer.  It transforms from a “cheap shocker” to a respected cult novel by the 50th Anniversary publication.

junkie_william_s-_burroughs_novel_-_2003_coverPulps have often been deemed unworthy of study because they epitomize mainstream culture of the 20th-century and until recently not many have been interested in this area of research, particularly academia.  I would argue that the look at popular culture is exactly what makes pulps so fascinating to us today and more and more researchers are interested in studying them.  However pulps can be challenging to collect because they are so ephemeral and people just read them and never thought about saving them.  Also there are preservation challenges because of the cheap paper so they are brittle making handling of them difficult.  Luckily for us some collectors saw the value in keeping these types of novels and in the Ludlow-Santo Domingo collection there are an abundance of these pulp novels, many of whose covers are featured in this delightful volume of postcards.

To get a glimpse of more pulp covers you can find Teen-rebel dope fiends : pulp postcardsLondon : Prion, 2000 in Widener’s collection. 

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

This post is part of an ongoing series featuring recently cataloged items from the Ludlow-Santo Domingo Library 

img0011

Or you may be more familiar with the word muzzle.

Les muselières pour femmes et autres supplices (Muzzles for women and other punishments) authored by Jean Finot was most likely published in the early 20th-century in France.  The earliest known use of a scold’s bridle was in Scotland in the 16th-century to punish and humiliate women who were scolds or nags.  It was usually an iron muzzle within an iron framework that would go around the head along with a bridle-bit that would go in the mouth and press down on the tongue- thus effectively silencing the offender.

img0015The part inside the mouth would sometimes be spiked or have a sharp edge so that if the woman moved her mouth at all she could injure her tongue or mouth.  Then the offending “scold” could be led around town in this contraption to further humiliate them and have them repent their mouthy ways.  I was amazed at the range and variety of the muzzles that were represented in this volume.

img0013 img0012

 

img0010

Though the volume indicates that this was just a punishment for women the Burgh Records of Scotland’s major towns reveal that the branks were at times used on men as well:

“Patrick Pratt sall sit … bound to the croce of this burgh, in the brankis lockit” (1591 Aberd. B Rec. II. 71) / “He shall be put in the branks be the space of xxiiij houres thairafter” (1559 (c 1650) Dundee B. Laws 19. )

Les muselières pour femmes et autres supplices / Jean Finot. Paris : Eugène Figuière & Cie, [1920?] can be found in Widener’s collection.

 

Thanks to Anthony Terrizzi, Cataloger and Alison Harris, Santo Domingo Project Manager for contributing this post. 

This post is part of an ongoing series featuring recently cataloged items from the Ludlow-Santo Domingo Library

img0008

If you are looking for some practical advice on how to grow cannabis under fluorescent lighting I’ve got just the book for you!  A guide to growing Cannabis under fluorescents by C.E. Faber was published in 1974.  Tips on soil, lighting, containers, pruning, and the best types of seeds are only a few of the chapters in this book.  

img0007

The section that I found most fascinating dealt with the problem of insects when you are growing pot.  The author points out that you are at an advantage growing inside because you are not dealing with the typical problems in a field like grasshoppers, slugs, or snails which could “meance your plants.”

What you do need to worry about are things like aphids.  img0003Typically they attack the tender growth tips and buds and can injure plants by sucking the juices from both the stems and leaves of the plant as well as excreting honeydew which serves as a culture for black mold.  Unchecked they will spread over the entire plant then move onto others.  Aphids are only about one thirty-second of an inch long and are prodigious at producing offspring.  Faber counsels that there are really only two choices, one involves going organic and using their natural enemies either the ladybug or the praying mantis and the second involves spraying with insecticide.

Another pot foe is the two spotted spider-mite.   They feed off the plant in the same manner as the aphid causing the leaves to turn a stippled grey-yellow, then brown only to fall off the plant.  img0006They can vary in color and are so tiny it takes a magnifying glass to see them clearly.  Often you can only spot them by looking at the underside of the leaves where small dots of silver indicate the webs to which eggs are attached.  They multiply quickly and your only option is spraying with insecticide again and again.

Location is as you might imagine is extremely important.  The plants need fresh air for the carbon dioxide, so if you are going to put them in a closet be sure to open it for air circulation every day.  If you are committed to growing pot in your house you also need to think about your pets.  Cats in particular love to nibble on vegetation and if you aren’t careful you may come home to a plant that has served as a tasty snack.

I’ll leave you with some of Faber’s advice…“One more thing.  Plants do prefer classical music to rock; violins to electric guitars, Stravinski to the Stones, so if you have a predilection for rock it would be best for your plants to have them in a separate room from your stereo.”  A guide to growing Cannabis under fluorescents / by C.E. Faber ; ill. by A. Faber. Philadelphia : Flash Post Express, 1974 can be found in Widener’s collection.  

img0001

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

This post is part of an ongoing series featuring recently cataloged items from the Ludlow-Santo Domingo Library

img0029Will 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

img0030 img0031

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?

img0032

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!”

img0034 img0035

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.

Scandale!

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

Originally a French lawyer, Georges Anquetil was also a journalist and publisher who was well known for unorthodox methods and anarchist leanings.  Early in his legal career he wrote under the name “Georges Evil.”  His career in journalism began at the French Mail around 1914 after he was disbarred.  After that he tried to launch various newspapers over the years mostly focusing on political satire though he was not very successful except for Le Grand Guignol, which ran for about eight years.  We have an issue from 1925 in the collection where the cover appears to give their opinion of where various types of Evian water originate.  Any type of scandal, especially img0037political, was Anquetil’s bread and butter for Le Grand Guignol.

This appetite for scandal was also true for most of Anquetil’s self publishing endeavors.  One that we discovered in the collection is La maitresse légitime : essai sur le mariage polygamique de demain.  It loosely translates to Legitimate Mistress : Essay on polygamous marriage tomorrow which was essentially an attack on monogamy.  It was hugely controversial and consequently sold a lot of copies.

Georges-Anquetil "La Maitresse Self - Test on polygamous marriage tomorrow" (Editions Georges-Anquetil - 1922) img0036

Another scandalous book deeply rooted in satire was Satan conduit le bal : roman pamphlétaire et philosophique des moeurs du temps which reads as Satan leads the ball.  It is set in France during the early 20th-century during the government of Poincare where Anquetil’s criticism spares no from socialist to nationalist.  He associates the names of prominent French figures with extreme scenes of debauchery in order to indicate that France was being led to ruin by those that governed it.  Georges Clemenceau, an early French prime minister is described as a “whoremonger” who brought victory in WWI and prostitution.  Antonin Dubost, president of the Senate, is found dead in a notorious brothel in which he was a regular customer, supposedly poisoned by police.  All three of these publications can be found in Widener’s collection.

Le grand guignol. Paris : Hachette. 

La maitresse légitime : essai sur le mariage polygamique de demainGeorges-Anquetil ; préface de Victor Margueritte. Paris : Les Editions Georges-Anquetil, 1926. 

Satan conduit le bal : roman pamphlétaire et philosophique des moeurs du temps / Georges Anquetil. Paris : Les Editions Georges-Anquetil, 1925.

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

Artistry of Linocuts

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

img0025

This lovely artist book Geheimzinnige Personen : omtrent de flarden des levenswas was created by a Dutch artist, Margit Willems.  It loosely translates to Mysterious Persons: on the scraps of life and features 23 linocuts with text on separate pages.  You might be asking yourself what exactly is a linocut?  It is a printmaking technique that takes a linoleum sheet, often mounted on a wooden block, which is then used as a relief surface.  The artist uses tools to cut into the surface of the linoleum so that the uncarved areas will reveal a mirror image of the parts to show when printed.  Essentially the cut away areas will be white and the remaining area will be black on the linocut.

img0024img0026

One of the earlier strong innovators in printmaking (including linocuts), book design, typography and illustration was Czech émigré Vojtěch Preissig.  Preissig came to America around 1910 where he taught at Colombia University and then the School of Printing and Graphic Arts at the Wentworth Institute here in Boston.  While he was at Wentworth Preissig designed recruitment posters for the United States during WWI that were aimed at Czech immigrants.

800px-find_the_range_of_your_patriotism2 manifesto_to_czechoslovakian_people_in_america_-_chicago_february_11_1918

Most of Willem’s linocuts do not use a great deal of color in this book, but when it is used it has a strong impact.  Her linocut that depicts an elderly woman who was robbed in Tubbergen (thus giving up her pincode) is an example of that.  You can see that she created the linocut as well as the typeset letters in black ink. Then she reused the typeset numbers inverted them and printed them with red ink.  It creates a striking image and also displays the skill of the artist in creating the image through several different (often laborious) steps.

img0023img0022

Geheimzinnige Personen : omtrent de flarden des levens can be found in collection of the Fine Arts Library.

Thanks to Donna Viscuglia, Cataloger and Alison Harris, Santo Domingo Project Manager, for contributing this post.

Perils of drinking

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

img0001  

img0003  L’antialcoolisme en histoires vraies is a volume that deals with the history of alchoholism and the various effects on all of society.  Crafted as lectures and lessons that go with official programs it was written by Dr. Emile Galtier-Boissière.  Galtier-Boissière is probably most well known for his work on Larousse medical illustré de guerre, which is an illustrated guide to medical care during World War I.  The illustrations throughout this volume dealing with alcoholism are particularly sensational and most likely hope to shock the reader with the effects of alcohol on people’s health and subsequent lives.

There is an entire chapter about the effect alcoholics and alcoholism has on the family.  For example this depiction of a woman clutching her baby in her arms while her husband is stumbling

img0005 img0004

and drunk knocking furniture around their house is an indictment of the dangers of drinking.  There is also a visual of how alcoholism can change the health and appearance of a person.  In the later half of the 19th-century alcohol consumption in France was quite low compared to other countries like Russia and Sweden.  However by 1900 the average amount of what a person was drinking was sharply up so France launched an aggressive anti-alcohol campaign and managed to get it down from 4.88 liters per inhabitant to 3.76 liters by 1906.  You can see this reflected in the graphic in the volume which includes representations of the countries laboring under the weight of alcohol.

img0001

L’antialcoolisme en histoires vraies / par le Dr. Emile Galtier-Boissière,.. Paris : Larousse, [1901?] can be found in Widener’s collection. 

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

Cautionary tales

artaud-3This post is part of an ongoing series featuring recently cataloged items from the Julio Mario Santo Domingo Collection.

As Nazi occupation expanded into France, Antonin Artaud (1896-1948), the avant-garde dramatist, actor, poet, and theorist of the Theatre of Cruelty, was committed to a mental hospital in Rodez. There he came under the care of Gaston Ferdière, a medical doctor and poet, who subjected Artaud to hundreds of electric shocks across 51 sessions of electro-shock therapy, then a new and experimental treatment. It was during this period that Artaud annotated this copy of Les nouvelles révélations de l’être, his astrological pamphlet of 1937. Nouvelles révélations contains a number of prognostications, among them the rise to power of a world-conquering autocratic ruler – Artaud himself. Perhaps seeing in the war a parallel to his earlier prophecy, Artaud inscribed this copy with a dedication to Hitler:

artaud-4

To Adolf Hitler, in memory of the Romanische café in Berlin one afternoon in May of ’32, and because I pray God give you the grace to remember all the wonders by which HE has GRATIFIED (RESUSCITATED) YOUR HEART, this very day, Kudar dayro Zarish Ankkara Thabi. Antonin Artaud, 3 December 1943.*

(It bears mentioning that Artaud did claim to have met Hitler personally, as both frequented the Berlin café scene in the early 1930s, during Artaud’s time as a film actor; in some retellings of this story, Artaud asserts that the encounter ended in a fistfight.)

artaud-5

Artaud also annotated this copy extensively with additional passages and corrections to the text. This extraordinary copy comes to us from the Santo Domingo Collection in a similarly extraordinary case, designed by the French binder Renaud Vernier in 1990. The tan calfskin enclosure mimics the red and black type of the pamphlet’s cover with stamping, and the whole is housed in an additional slipcase.

artaud-1   artaud-2

As for Ferdière, he would write, in an article published in a special issue of the poetic journal La tour de feu dedicated to Artaud, that the dedication to Hitler was a “specific example of Artaud’s mental derangement … One recognizes here the faulty memory (so frequent with Artaud along with mistaken identity), mystical ideas, glossolalia, etc….”* But the doctor’s assessments were not uncontroversial, and neither were his practices. A subsequent patient of Ferdière’s, the Lettrist artist and poet Isidore Isou, lashed out against Ferdière’s diagnosis and treatment of Artaud in a book-length screed, Artaud torturé par les psychiatres.

*Translations from Antonin Artaud anthology (San Francisco: City Lights Books, 1965), by the editor of that volume, Jack Hirschman.

Les nouvelles révélations de l’être: FC9.Ar752.937n (B).

Thanks to bibliographic assistant Ryan Wheeler for contributing this post.

Mad Dog’s i

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

img0007 img0008

Today’s post features an artist named Richard Stine and his book Smile in a Mad Dog’s i.  Stine self-published this first edition in 1974 with 4000 copies.  Inspired by the receipt books that newsboys used to carry in the 1950s he used two metal rings to bind the loose pages.  Stine also liked the idea of being able to add pages in the future though he never actually did it.  According to Stine he spent $9000 to publish it, at the time his entire life savings.  There is another edition that was published in 1976 by Carolyn Bean Associates.  I really enjoyed his text and drawings so I choose a few of my favorites to share below.  To learn more about what Stine is up to these days you can check out his blog Zen Dogs Blog.

img0010 img0011 img0012 img0013

Smile in a mad dog’s i : drawings / Richard Stine. Ojai, Calif. : Richard Stine, [1974]. NC1429.S66 A4 1974 can be found in the Fine Arts Library’s Collection.

Thanks to Donna Viscuglia, Cataloger, and Alison Harris, Santo Domingo Project Manager, for contributing this post.

More Blanchot!

Since the archive of French philosopher and author Maurice Blanchot arrived at Houghton Library in 2015, exploration of the papers by Harvard students and by scholars from around the world has been intense. When a number of important Blanchot manuscripts appeared on the market in April this year, there definitely was interest in adding them to the Harvard collection. These new manuscripts came from a source other than Cedalia Blanchot, from whom the Library had purchased the archive, but could we afford them all? The answer was “no,”—but by combining funds from across Harvard Library, and a substantial gift from a donor who had supported earlier Blanchot acquisitions, one group was secured.

thomas-ms

MS Fr 662, box 22 © Maurice Blanchot

Thomas le Solitaire is a very early version of became Thomas l’Obscur, and differs significantly from that published in 1941.  Thomas was Blanchot’s first published work and his first fictional work. First books always have a particular interest, in showing how the novice works to structure and shape his work; as can be seen from the photographs, there is a lot to work with here. Along with the manuscript, the Library acquired this later, typescript, version.

thomas-ts-ending

MS Fr 662, box 22 © Maurice Blanchot

This purchase was funded by the Bayard Livingston and Kate Gray Kilgour Fund, the Amy Lowell Trust, the Keller fund in the Western Languages Division of Widener Library, and the Class of 1952 Manuscript Fund.

But that’s not all!

blanchot-1927   blanchot-identity-card-1970

MS Fr 622, box 21

Cidalia Blanchot has forwarded, for inclusion in the archive, a number of letters to Blanchot and other items that emerged after the archive had been shipped to Cambridge. This includes three new photographs of Blanchot, on various official documents. Blanchot was reclusive in his later years, and very few photographs of him are known. Two are reproduced here, showing the 20-year-old student (1927), and the now-famous philosopher (1970).

These new additions are open for research and may be accessed in the Houghton reading room.

Thanks to Leslie Morris, Curator of Modern Books & Manuscripts, for contributing this post.

Sinner man

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

Img0045 “Here, in this taut, fact-crammed volume, you’ll be taken into the fifteen most infamous vice centers of the entire hemisphere, you’ll see for yourself how crime flourishes within each city.”  America’s cities of sin is an anthology of articles from popular 1940s and 50s magazines targeted for men.  It is a fascinating look at public sentiments of the time regarding drugs and sex.  The text of the articles is taken without abridgment from the serial publications of Male, Stag, and Eye.  The editor, Noah Sarlat, states that these three magazines turned the spotlight onAmerican sins including crime, prostitution, gambling, and drugs by writing exposes that informed the public.

hooked

Hooked is another anthology that takes articles exclusively dealing with drugs from Challenge for Men Magazine and Man’s Magazine.  Editor Phil Hirsch compiled a number of articles with extremely sensational titles such as

“I Peddled Dope for Houston’s Cops!”

“Pep Pill Junkie” and

“$500 a day Habit.”  If you have been reading these posts regularly it may not surprise you to learn that we have already processed a few of the original issues of Man’s Magazine which can be found in Hollis+.  The covers of all of these publications are designed to snag the viewer with pulpy images which are accompanied by incendiary statements about sex, drugs, and death.

mans_mag_1 mans_mag_2

These delightfully lurid and sensational covers are not all that different from popular tabloid journalism of today.  The following titles can be found in Widener’s collection:

America’s cities of sinselected and with an introduction by Noah Sarlat. New York : Lion Books, 1951 

Hooked / compiled by Phil Hirsch. New York, Pyramid Books [1968]

Man’s magazineNew York : Almat Publishing Corp., 1962-

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

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

img0002Inspired by Election Tuesday and in light of Massachusetts Ballot Question 4 I thought it might be interesting to look at a few ephemeral examples of the legalization of marijuana I recently uncovered within the collection.  For those who do not know Question 4 is a measure that would allow the use, cultivation, possession and distribution of recreational marijuana for individuals at least 21 years old with certain regulations similar to alcohol.  If you currently live in Massachusetts and are wondering to yourself “Didn’t we already vote on pot?” you are correct.  In addition to the use of medical marijuana the current law on the books in Massachusetts, enacted in January 2009,MGL c.94C, s.32L says that you can possess one ounce or less of marijuana and if you get caught by the cops you will face a $100 fine and they will seize your pot, but no other criminal or civil penalties would apply, in essence decriminalizing marijuana of a certain amount.  As I looked to the collection I realized that we have the actual posters and other ephemera which display some of the history of marijuana legalization.

img0007

Both of the images above are from a Legalise Pot Rally in 1967 which took place in Hyde Park in London with about 5,000 people.  It was a peaceful demonstration with attendees being warned by the cops “not to trample the tulip beds.”  You can see film footage of the “flower children” attending.  The push to make marijuana legal never succeeded and it remains illegal to this day in England.

fullsizerender

In California only a few years later in 1972 Proposition 19 was the first ballot measure in the history of the United States which attempted to legalize marijuana.  It would have removed penalties in the State of California for persons 18 years of age or older for using, possessing, growing, processing, or transporting marijuana for personal use.  The measure was defeated with 66.5% voting against it.  The grassroots organizations that supported it were incredibly passionate citing scientific research that it wasn’t dangerous and government experts who agreed that enforcement of criminal penalties was costing a fortune in taxpayer dollars.

img0005 img0006

They also argued that it was ruining the lives of ordinary people who may have just smoked a joint and were now serving years in prison for such a minor offense.  You can see this fervor and activism reflected in the posters and petitions in the collection.  Of course opponents pointed to how dangerous and unpredictable marijuana was and worried that decriminalization would encourage drug abuse and damage society.

California tried again in 2010 with another Proposition 19 which legalized various marijuana-related activities, allowed local governments to regulate these activities, permitted local governments to impose and collect marijuana-related fees and taxes, and authorized various penalties.  Again it failed with 53.5% of Californians voting no.  Undaunted there is yet another measure this year, Proposition 64, also known as the Adult Use of Marijuana Act, legalizing the possession, cultivation, and sale of marijuana.  Individuals over age 21 would be allowed to possess, cultivate and sell marijuana; the state would regulate commercial activities related to commerce for recreational use; a 15% excise tax and an additional $9.25 per ounce of flower or $2.75 per ounce of leaf would be collected; and possession and cultivation of certain amounts for personal use would be legalized statewide.  Will California finally fulfill the hope of all of those people that first tried to decriminalize marijuana in 1972?  And will Massachusetts regulate and tax marijuana usage?

Your vote decides.

Check out another special post which explores anti-drug crusaders.

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

moloch-2This post is part of an ongoing series featuring items recently cataloged from the Julio Mario Santo Domingo Collection.

Measures to legalize recreational marijuana are on five state ballots this year, including Houghton Library’s home state of Massachusetts. The Santo Domingo Collection naturally includes significant historical matter supporting the movement to legalize, but it also offers the following thundering dissent. Pictured here are two works by Robert James Devine, a reverend who published several vehement tracts warning of the drug’s lethal dangers in the first half of the twentieth century. Devine draws parallels between marijuana and Moloch, the ancient Ammonite god: both are false idols, and both demand the sacrifice of children. Lending potency to this metaphor is J.N. Curry’s cover illustration of The Moloch of marihuana, in which devilish drug peddlers fling hapless figures onto the burning hands of Moloch’s brass statue, while a scholar, a policeman, and other complacent citizens avert their gazes.

moloch-1

The text is a series of news items, anecdotes, and relations of Devine’s own crusading efforts against marijuana; throughout, those who smoke it suffer murderous or suicidal urges, accidental deaths, and other such grim fates. Devine asks: “If it has the power to drive cattle ‘loco’ or crazy (who has not heard of a ‘locoed steer’?) or to make an elephant “run amok” – what will it not do to adolescent youths?” (25) (Here he may have conflated marijuana with the swainsonine-producing “locoweed” family of plants, which can cause neurological damage in cattle that graze on them.)

Perhaps unable to improve on artwork so striking, Devine repurposed his cover image of dread Moloch for a second publication, Assassin of youth!: marihuana. This volume is largely an expanded and rearranged edition of Moloch of marihuana, and includes a frontispiece picturing several “reefers” or “muggles” and a marijuana leaf for the vigilant reader’s edification.

moloch-3

Of the many degradations he describes in its pages, Devine at one juncture exclaims:

After listening to such a sordid story freely given by a mere boy of fifteen nonchalantly describing (from behind prison bars) his gamut of debasing escapades, I felt that I needed to wash out my ears and eyes; indeed my whole being cried aloud for an internal bath. (39)

Collected with these works is this unattributed poster, an enlargement of the Moloch image block-printed in several colors of ink, probably decades later. Whether it hung on the wall of a supporter or an opponent of the drug is left to conjecture.

moloch-4

Moloch of marihuana: HV5822.M3 D48 1938

Assassin of youth!: HV5822.M3D48 1943

Moloch of marihuana (poster): AB9.C9374.975m

Thanks to bibliographic assistant Ryan Wheeler for contributing this post.

Older Posts »