Booklog Quaint & Curious III

So… the Bumpkins have 13 children, and every Sunday they (have to) go to the beach in a beat up, ill-used jalopy named Hesperus. The kids pile into the car in alphabetical order. This seems important. Soon Hesperus is falling apart, and no longer able to do the hills, so they put a FOR SALE sign on him. For a long time he sits there with people laughing at him. Then Doc Smith comes along…

Hesperus, by Morris Walsh 

This is why we love kids’ books. They restore our faith in happy endings. And the books we loved as children we seem to never forget. This week, we’re taking a look at some our delightful vintage children’s books.

Lassie and the Daring Rescue
A Little Golden Book, and a 1st printing. Of course, you already know the story. Somebody’s up a creek. Somebody’s down the well. And the last page: a large sign posted on a tree – NO DOGS ALLOWED ON THIS PROPERTY. EXCEPT LASSIE. Published 1956.

Walt Disney’s Uncle Remus

Based on the stories by Joel Chandler Harris, this one is a later printing, published 1947. Illustrated by Bob Grant, who did the artwork for a number of the Uncle Remus books. You’ll recognize familiar characters – Brer Rabbit, Brer Bear, Brer Fox. All the usual mischief. And the period jargon – “Wid dat, he prance away, lippity-clippity, laffin’ an laffin’ till he can’t laff any more.”

Here Comes the Jeep

Published 1951 by the Samuel Lowe Company, this charming die-cut board book has movable wheels. Yes, you can drive this book. Enough said.

The Little Fire Engine

Another one from Samuel Lowe, 1953, with a die-cut fire engine on the front board. This tale features a little lesson about bragging, and about teamwork, , and anyway, every little boy loves fire engines, ALWAYS.

And since it’s my blog, I get to save my own favorite for last:

The Story of Toby - by Jane Shearer Moore

Published 1950, this is the irresistible tale of a colt who, disappointed by his color, decides to paint himself red. In the end, of course, brown is the happiest color after all. (The eyelashes on this guy will melt your heart.)

These are just a few of the many vintage children’s books we have to offer. We have Raggedy Ann, we have Tasha Tudor, and the occasional early Oz book. And yes, boomers, we have Dick and Jane. Come see us!


Reflections of a Bookstore Cat - Sunshine Edition

Heaven is a sun beam.
Being an indoor cat, you would think that the weather outside doesn't mean that much to me. However, you would be mistaken and I would probably ask that you no longer lump me in with whatever other indoor cats you know. Sunner is the best, (I'm not really sure who came up with the name Summer seeing as it's bright and warm. Must have been a mathematician. Sunner makes much more sense to this cat.)  The windows become the ultimate cat spot for all my watching/napping/sunbathing needs.Also, the floor is lacking the moisture that always follows people's footsteps when they come in on a normal northwestern day. The days get longer, which means more quality window time and more daylight to lounge in. The only drawback is that my internal (eternal?) eating clock gets thrown off, so I have to rely more on my humans to keep track of that.

I also notice that my buddy Dickens is a lot more friendly, maybe we need to get him a sun lamp for the off season. 

 Whatever it may be, the sun always brings out the playful side in me.

Me at my most playful!
  So in honor of it warming up, here are some pictures of some of my buddies cooling down.

What's empty to a human is perfect for a cat

I think he's trying to tell us something
What do you mean I'm hogging all the air?
try to find what doesn't belong in this fridge.....you're right if you said Miller Light.
I think we solved the mice in the water cooler problem.
All right, who's getting in the pool with me? Anyone? Anyone?



Isn’t it true that when you visit someone’s home for the first time, you are always drawn to their bookcases?  Books on a shelf make any room feel like a threshold into worlds unknown, and many books on many shelves make most of us  feel like we have to stay.  There is simply nothing like a personal  library for warmth, mystery,  and charm.

Our last entry in this blog dealt with vintage travelogues, always fun.  But, on a slightly more serious note, I thought we might take a look at some of the professional texts of the day.  A large percentage of books published in America in the 1800’s were religious in nature—hymnbooks and Biblical texts, to be sure.   These can range from enormous, ornate family Bibles to the tiny palm-size inspirational tale.  The first two on our list are compact and built for daily use

The Psalms of David, in Metre: with Annotations explaining the sense and animating the devotion
Published 1859 by John Brown, a renowned Scottish minister (Philosopher David Hume said, “He preached as if he were conscious that Christ was at his elbow.”)
Full calf  leather  with marbled page edges.  Spine recased and binding firm.  A lovely and  passionate rendering of the Psalms in rhyming verses. Here’s a peak at the 23rd:

    The Lord’s my shepherd, I’ll not want.
    He makes me down to lie
    In pastures green: he leadeth me
    The quiet waters by.

Hymns for the Use of the Methodist Episcopal Church
Published 1869   --   in embossed black leather.               
 Almost pocket-size,  except for its thickness. 1148 hymns & doxologies, divided into categories, such as The Institutions of the Gospel, and the Means of  Grace.  The leather is edgeworn and lightly scuffed.  Only one page has some soiling to the text.  The spine has been archivally repaired, so the binding is tight. 

Classroom textbooks  are always interesting and highly collectible, especially for modern educators and professionals in the field.  Modern homeschooling families too have regenerated  the interest in the McGuffeys.

McGuffey’s New High School Reader: For Advanced Classes
Published 1857  --  in  embossed blue cloth with embossed black leather spine, and marbled page edges.  From the “Eclectic Educational Series”, this is a nice anthology of selections from the world’s great writers, including Shakepeare, Dickens, Dumas and Longfellow.  Scuffed at the edges, but the binding is tight.  This is a great addition to anyone’s collection of McGuffey Readers.

Universal History in Perspective: Divided into Three Parts, Ancient, Middle & Modern
Published 1856  –  by Emma Willard, American Women’s Rights activist, and founder of Troy Female Seminary (New York), the first institution of higher learning for women in the U. S. (1821).  Willard traveled widely, promoting women’s education,  and  wrote several books on history and geography which served as textbooks for the school.  This is one of them. The school,  renamed the Emma Willard School,  still  thrives as an all-female boarding school.   As she said, “Women too are primary existences… not the satellites of men.”

There is a 1947 newspaper article glued inside which quotes from the conclusion of this book her  talk  on anarchy and despotism, her fears for the future of  democracy.  The journalist found her words poignant to the day.

Embossed boards with leather spine, repaired to ensure that the binding is secure.  Marbled page edges. Light soiling & foxing to a few pages, but the text is entirely legible.  Only one  of 18 detailed maps is missing. 

Medical Histories are endlessly entertaining and make great gifts for anyone in the health professions.  These two especially are visually arresting and would look great on anyone’s shelf.

Vitalogy – Encyclopedia of Health and Home
 (Volume 2 only)      Published 1900
Half  leather with gilt trim and marbled endpapers.  Illustrated, with a vintage color anatomical fold-out. (Again, the spine has been repaired and is firm.)

 A fascinating look at turn of the century prevention and treatment of diseases, plus 200 pages on medicinal plants and natural remedies.   It details the “Swedish Movement Cure for Consumption”, which looks like it may be related to the recently founded science of  chiropractics.  And lots of fun remedies, such as pumpkin seeds – for tapeworm --  and 19 medicinal uses for kerosene oil (including an old Russian remedy for appendicitis). Of course, bodywork and natural healing were all the rage in that era, as is evidenced by the many interesting medical books of the time, including our next featured book.

Epidemic and Contagious Diseases:  Their History, Symptoms, & Treatment

Published 1873, by Dr. L. P. Brockett, a prominent and prolific writer of his day (he wrote not only on medicine, but extensively on a wide array of social & military histories).  “Illustrated with the best Colored Plates of the various Contagious & Epidemic Eruptive Diseases ever  executed in this Country, and other fine Engravings.”   This title is scarce, a real find for us.  Green cloth with black decoration and a gilt illustration of Pandora’s Box at the front, in good condition.  Light edgewear  and scuffing to the boards, with text and plates entirely clean.  Includes a chapter on pharmaceutical “recipes”, anodynes, ointments, etcetera.

These are just a smattering of the old and unusual books we carry, and our selection is broadening all the time.  Each book feels like a special “rescue” awaiting a loving home.  We do hope you’ll come in and browse.