1. Ben Patterson performing “Solo for Double Bass,” Wuppertal, Germany, 1962. Photo by Rolf Jährling.

     
  2. Lenore Tawney (1907–2007), Boxed Collage, 1962, antique book pages and watercolor. The collage is a couple of inches thick, and her skill with “woven forms” gives her collage work from this period (made from found objects) a particular kind of depth and layering.

     
  3. Thoreau, Walden. Many readers bristle at long sentences—understandably, because they’re usually the result of lazy or overwrought writing—but in the hands of a great writer, they can sometimes work wonders. Here Thoreau sketches a pastoral scene and then, with maybe just a shade of the ominous, evokes the rattle of encroaching industrial life evident in the sounds of the new railroad near Walden Pond, which he goes on to discuss in this chapter, “Sounds.” A “tantivy” is a rushing movement.

    Walden has been a favorite book since I read it when I was young, and my appreciation for it has grown over the years.

     
  4. Test of how my scanner would handle this uniformly black front board embossed with the image of a ship in subtle detail (the book is História do Brasil, vol. 1, by Rocha Pombo, a 1950s printing). The white lines are just the scanner’s beam; on the book itself the pattern is only seen when holding it to the light or running one’s fingers over the cover.

     
  5. B. Kliban, from Cat.

     
  6. File under: Simplistic and silly answers to complex problems. Found paper with typewritten notes about “neurotic individuals.” In the list of ways to resolve conflict, see especially:

    #1, “Develop skills” [Just a little vague!];

    #6, “the dignity of labor” [Be a happy worker! Oh, please—what about the ways most jobs are structured in ways that add to our feelings of frustration, disempowerment, and stress?]; and best of all,

    #7, “when you find out that giving your husband hell doesn’t solve the problem, try something else. Poison him, or laugh at him, or bash him over the head with a hammer. (Purely hypothetical suggestions and recommended only for the discriminate.)”

     
  7. From an obscure Soviet children’s book, story by Arkadi Gaidar (1904–41), the bourgeois bad guys try to force the hero (a boy named Nipper-Pipper) to tell his war secret.

     
  8. Lovely Penguin paperback spines, ca. 1963–64.

     
  9. A good historical example of mainstream political publishing, much of which influences people at a certain moment and then disappears without further comment. Here, a British aristocrat meets Hitler, Göring, Hess, etc. and writes this tract right before the war (1938)—the Nazis aren’t so bad, they’re just misunderstood! Before the war, there were quite a few people in elite social positions in the UK and the U.S. who thought that Hitler, Mussolini et al. were swell. Kudos to Penguin for including this cover in Penguin by Design: A Cover Story 1935–2005.

     
  10. Charley Harper illustration for Betty Crocker’s Dinner for Two Cookbook (1958). I needed help to see the perspective of this one—looked too quickly and had to ask someone, “What in the world is that thing on the left?” and she explained that it’s a bird’s eye view of a table. Oh, right, thanks!

     
  11. Fish scalers, Colombia, ca. 1000 CE. Flint in clay. From the book Jack Lenor Larsen: Creator and Collector.

     
  12. Round House in East Hampton, NY, designed by Jack Lenor Larsen and Robert Rosenberg, 1960–64. There were many superb designs on Long Island, such as this one, up to the 1960s, but quality of the architecture since then has taken a nose dive, as in the rest of the country generally.

     
  13. From the WWII-era “DuBarry Success Course,” one of those mail-order feminine self-improvement courses that taught women to practice walking with books on their heads to improve their poise and eliminate bad posture, and promised to improve the figure, skin, etc. Some of their wartime ads claimed that these self-improvement programs were a matter of patriotic duty: “The Success School has taught me how to live for my Country!”

     
  14. Frank and Fran were making their way through the early evening shadows when I spotted them in this “life-size” paste-up on N. Mississippi Ave. Jim Woodring’s book Fran was one of the bright spots of 2013. I met Jim earlier this year and heard straight from the horse’s mouth that he’s working on a sequel to Fran. *whinny!*

     
  15. "In the 1920s, indoor fireworks served as parlor entertainment to celebrate the 4th. Such examples included large crackers shaped like people, buildings, cannons, clowns, top hats and boots. Each caused an explosion of gifts when lit. … Laughing Uncle, shaped like a man`s head wearing a top hat, exploded a quantity of entertaining parlor jokes. Others threw out coins, cones, riddles, fortunes, colored balls, dice, flags, cotton balls and everything else from love letters to butterflies." (Anita Gold)