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The Odd and Unusual

The Odd and Unusual

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The Story of Records; compiled and published by The Boys and Girls of the Franklin Grove School, Warren County, N.J. [New Jersey], (Franklin Grove School)
1 (Franklin Grove School) The Story of Records; compiled and published by The Boys and Girls of the Franklin Grove School, Warren County, N.J. [New Jersey]
Warren County, NJ (Franklin Grove School) 1940 NO First Edition Hardcover Near Fine 
(no dust jacket, likely as issued) [faint diagonal scrape across front cover (more distinctive in scanned image than it appears to the naked eye), otherwise no significant wear]. (line drawings, glued-in original calligraphy pg.) A history of printing, with special focus on the process of producing newspapers, compiled as a school project by a group of New Jersey students -- junior high-schoolers, to judge by the general tone and quality of the prose. The history itself is basic term-paper stuff (illustrated with crude drawings and maps), but the most interesting reading is the 7-page preface, entitled "How We Came To Write This Book," in which it's discussed how the students' interest in newspapers led them to a broader range of inquiry into the development of printing, which involved visits to the local newspaper office, the county library, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC. They even went so far as to experiment with making their own paper. There is no printer or binder specified, although the preface does allude to how this got done: "Miss Weber [the teacher] typed the book. We spent two days binding it. This was the dummy that we sent to Mr. Earl, Miss Weber's friend, who offered to reproduce it for us." And a nice job Mr. Earl did, too, with black pebbled boards, a gold-embrossed title, and patterned endpapers. There can't have been many of these produced; OCLC locates copies in just two libraries worldwide. 
Price: 100.00 USD
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History of the Presentation of the Loving Cup by the Hartford City Medical Society to Gurdon W. Russell, M.D., and of the Complimentary Dinner Given to Him in Honor of His Fifty Years of Actual Service in the Profession, November 21, 1887 [*SIGNED*], (Hartford City Medical Society)
2 (Hartford City Medical Society) History of the Presentation of the Loving Cup by the Hartford City Medical Society to Gurdon W. Russell, M.D., and of the Complimentary Dinner Given to Him in Honor of His Fifty Years of Actual Service in the Profession, November 21, 1887 [*SIGNED*]
Hartford CT The Case, Lockwood & Brainard Co. (printers) 1887 NO Unstated edition Hardcover Good 
(half-bound, black cloth and black textured boards, with gilt spine and front cover lettering; no dust jacket) [some wear evident at all corners, including slight exposure of boards at several corners, some modest loss of binding material at spine ends; front hinge a little weak but still intact]. (one halftone plate with tissue guard) INSCRIBED and SIGNED on the ffep by the honoree of the commemorated event, Dr. Gurdon W. Russell, dated "Hartford, March 24, 1888." The rather lengthy inscription covers about half the page, and conveys the author's "kind regards & pleasant remembrances of the time when we were boys, & attended school at the old brick school house," etc. All I can say is that this must have been one heck of a shindig, not to mention a lengthy one, if this is an accurate transcription of all the speeches, poems, songs and sundry ceremonial hoo-hah of the occasion. The Loving Cup itself (depicted in the book's only illustration) was solid silver, and per the "Preliminary History" was in fact the first of its kind presented by the Society, and intended as the inauguration of a tradition: it's specified that the Cup "should be held by [Dr. Russell] during life; that at his death it should revert to the society, to be again placed in the hands of a worthy successor, and so on, in saecula saeculorum." Which raises (in my mind, anyway) the obvious question: who's got the damn thing today? 
Price: 125.00 USD
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The Night People's Guide to New York: A Darien House Project, (Shepherd, Jean, introduction)
3 (Shepherd, Jean, introduction) The Night People's Guide to New York: A Darien House Project
New York Bantam Books 1965 First Edition Softcover Very Good+ 
[nice tight copy with light to moderate wear at edges and corners]. Mass Market PB (maps) "It's four o'clock in the morning, and you'd like to play a fast game of billiards and cash a check. Before this unique book was published, you might have had a devil of a time. But now....the whole city after dark is at your command, ready to satisfy your every pleasure and your every need!" Neighborhood-by-neighborhood guide to the city, geared "for the convenience of the person out at night," with separate directories (for bakeries, food stores, bookstores, barbers, restaurants, etc.) for each. The individual business directories often include the names of the proprietors (or maybe just the friendliest employees) -- e.g., at Rapoport's (on 2nd Avenue near 6th), you're advised to "ask for Adolph." On page 10 is a rundown of all the individuals who contributed to the book. The introduction is by Jean Shepherd, who advises the reader: "Do not expect to be welcomed to New York. It will simply envelop you and will shed no tears when you leave." A paperback original, and very uncommon. 
Price: 75.00 USD
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4 Anti-Saloon League of America Proceedings of the Sixteenth Annual Convention of the Anti-Saloon League of America; Atlantic City, New Jersey, July 6-9, 1915
Richmond IN S. E. Nicholson (1915) Wraps Very Good- 
(no dust jacket) [ex-library with fairly minimal markings (incl pocket on rear pastedown, date due slip on last page), some curling at corners, a few creases in rear cover]. Includes reports from many individual states on the progress of prohibitionist activities. One highlight is the "Hall and Summers Dialogue-Debate," which is essentially a two-character play which takes place "when Tom O'Neill comes to the office of the License Commission to pay his annual liquor license," and gets in a long discussion with the Commissioner, in the course of which he spouts great dialogue like "Ain't that a beautiful bungaloo?" and "Oh, you poor boob." A fascinating social-historical document. 
Price: 25.00 USD
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5 Ariel, Jacob Valley The Queen of Beauty: A Comedy in Four Acts, based on the Book of Esther; with or without music [*SIGNED*]
New York Bloch Publishing Co. 1935 NO First Edition Hardcover Very Good+ Signed by Author
(no dust jacket, probably as issued) [mild shelfwear, some discoloration at edges of endpapers, a little white smudging on front cover]. "An Ancient Theme Brought Up to Date," it sez; near as I can make out, the play takes place in modern-day Persia, and has something to do with choosing a bride for the King. INSCRIBED and SIGNED by the author on the front pastedown, "To ------- / A confirmation gift / and God's blessing / upon you." Signed by Author 
Price: 15.00 USD
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Demon Greed, Carlyle, Richard
6 Carlyle, Richard Demon Greed
Los Angeles Phoenix Press 1934 First Edition Hardcover Very Good Illustrated by Leonard M. Davis 
(decorated black cloth; no dust jacket) [moderate overall wear, occasional underlining (mostly in red pencil) throughout text, cloth slightly frayed at lower rear corner]. Sort of an epic poem, in which the author attempts "to show how far Man has gone toward distorting the beautiful things of life through Greed and Avarice." 
Price: 10.00 USD
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The World's Largest Cheese, Cerf, Christopher
7 Cerf, Christopher The World's Largest Cheese
Garden City NY Doubleday & Company, Inc. 1968 NO First Edition Hardcover Near Fine in Very Good dj Illustrated by Christopher Cerf and Michael K. Frith 
(price-clipped) [nice clean book, very slight crimp to cloth at head of spine; jacket has several creases in front flap, slight fading to the spine]. (B&W photographs, drawings) The front of the jacket terms the book "an indulgence," and the blurb doesn't clarify things very much: "A new literary form (the anthological novel)? A lighthearted satire of the American scene? An adventure-filled history of the quest for the World's Largest Cheese? A twentieth century mythology? A report on the standpipe situation? Pure nonsense? [This book] might be any, all, or none of the above." A contemporary Kirkus reviewer, unable to resist the temptation to make a cheesy critique (nor can I, for that matter), sniffed that "most [of the book] only disturbs the olfactory sense." The author (the son of Random House founder Bennett Cerf), after an early stint as a book editor, went on to have quite a varied career, including notable (and concurrent) contributions to National Lampoon magazine (as a contributing editor) and "Sesame Street" (as a songwriter/lyricist); the New York Times once referred to him as "the impish polymath, lexicographer and Cookie Monster lyricist." When a book is this scarce in the marketplace -- less than a handful online as of February 2015 -- one suspects the workings of a cult. 
Price: 100.00 USD
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Camp: The Lie That Tells the Truth, Core, Philip
8 Core, Philip Camp: The Lie That Tells the Truth
London Plexus 1984 0-859650448 / 9780859650441 1st printing Softcover Very Good 
[moderate external wear, short soft diagonal crease at top right corner of front cover]. Trade PB (B&W photographs) A "Who's Who and What's What of Camp, a deceptively descriptive and factual lexicon, allowing the reader to build up a kaleidoscopic picture of camp without imposing a spurious socio-cultural gloss on its essentially ephemeral nature." Well, that's a relief. 
Price: 10.00 USD
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The Goat's Hoof, Crofton, Algernon
9 Crofton, Algernon The Goat's Hoof
New York Covici, Friede (c.1930, 1928) NO Later Printing Hardcover Near Fine in Very Good+ dj Illustrated by Donald Denton 
[solid, clean book, with just the faintest bit of wear to bottom edge; jacket a little age-darkened at spine, minor wrinkling along top edge]. (line drawings) "A guide for husbands, wives and lovers," couched as a dialogue between mythical beings, by an author whose only other book (that I can find) was a historical romance called "The Queen of Nineveh: A Tale of the Wickedest City." No doubt they sat around in Nineveh reading "The Goat's Hoof," and swapping the "amusing pointed episodes which Silenus, a mythical and sophisticated gentleman, relates to his friend Clio." That'll turn you wicked, pretty quickly; try it at home (but pull the shades). 
Price: 65.00 USD
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Stars in Their Own Write, Holmes, Derek
10 Holmes, Derek Stars in Their Own Write
London Robson Books 1989 0-86051-590-7 / 9780860515906 First Edition Hardcover Near Fine in Near Fine dj Illustrated by (dj design) David Butler 
[nice clean book, no discernible wear aside from one itsy-bitsy dent in bottom edge of front cover; jacket shows a tiny bit of edgewear, minor rubbing to rear panel]. (handwriting samples) The author collected handwriting samples (usually in the form of short personal notes to him) from several dozen British celebrities in various fields; each is reproduced in facsimile, followed by the author's analysis of the handwriting itself and of the personality of the individual (as derived from the handwriting). In each case, the concluding remarks come from the subjects themselves, who tend to say very British-sounding things like "I find the assessment most interesting" or "Jolly accurate -- well done." Most of the celebrities so analyzed will be unfamiliar to the average American; the more internationally-known subjects include Oliver Reed, Sir John Mills, Sir John Gielgud and Barbara Cartland 
Price: 15.00 USD
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Greenhorn, King, Paul (Kiralhegyi)
11 King, Paul (Kiralhegyi) Greenhorn
New York The Macaulay Company (c.1932) First Edition Hardcover Fair with no dj 
About Good (front panel & front flap of dj glued to book) [ex-lending library copy, heavily worn, separating at hinges, top edge soiled, etc.; not pretty, but quite a scarce book]. "...the story, largely autobiographical, of a young Hungarian immigrant who adventured across the American continent working at every sort of job, finding out more about our big, colorful, romantic country than most of its natives ever know. The adventures start in Trieste where he embarked for America ... his jobs include newspaper work on the Hungarian Press, clerking in a United Cigar store, movie work at Hollywood, bank clerk, elevator runner and bus boy, with intervals of starvation and mooching around and a term in an American jail ... As a panorama of America seen through the eyes of this gay and adventuring immigrant [the book] offers a colorful and vivid and new outlook on American life." The front panel of the jacket is a striking, quasi-expressionist image of a destitute man (the author, presumably) sitting on a park bench. 
Price: 60.00 USD
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The Magic Island, Seabrook, W[illiam]. B.
12 Seabrook, W[illiam]. B. The Magic Island
New York Harcourt, Brace and Company [ca. 1938](c.1929) NO Later Printing Hardcover Very Good+ in Very Good dj Illustrated by Alexander King; jacket design by Ancona 
(price-clipped) [solid copy with light shelfwear, some minor spotting to top of text block; jacket modestly edgeworn, but generally clean and attractive]. (B&W plates, photographs) Reissue, ca. 1938) of Seabrook's famous book about Haiti, which was a best-seller on its initial publication in 1929, introducing the reading public (at least in America) to the subject of voodoo and setting off a bit of a zombie craze (cf. WHITE ZOMBIE, the Bela Lugosi movie, released in 1932). Included in his narrative is the story of Faustin Wirkus, the young U.S. Marine Sergeant who "reigned" for several years as King of the small Haitian island of La Gonāve, which so caught the public's imagination that Wirkus was compelled to write his own account, "The White King of La Gonave." (By a remarkable non-coincidence, I happen to have a copy of this book for sale as well.) Seabrook may not be the most reliable reporter -- even as early as 1940 one reviewer called it "one of the most dubious treatises on Haiti ever produced, yet it has been translated into Czech, French, German, Italian, Spanish, and Swedish, and even in Port au Prince they have it around, although the average well-educated Haitian winces and turns a couple of shades paler at mere mention of the name" -- but it's hellishly entertaining, and for decades thereafter Hollywood's zombies looked and acted very much like Seabrook's. Although this reissue jacket is graphically less interesting than the original (and much scarcer) 1929 jacket, it's a good bit more attractive than the generic non-pictorial non-zombie Literary Guild jacket that's sometimes found on copies of their printing, and is still relatively uncommon. 
Price: 200.00 USD
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The Life of Me, Shackelford, Ethel
13 Shackelford, Ethel The Life of Me
New York Dodge Publishing Company (c.1910) NO First Edition Hardcover Very Good+ Illustrated by Harry L. Miller 
(blue embossed cloth w/gilt lettering and decoration, top edge gilt; no dust jacket) [nice-looking book despite some visible wear at the bottom corners; gilt lettering on spine and front cover still bright, as is the gilt topstain; a bit of foxing/staining to ffep and tissue covering frontispiece]. (frontispiece, 41 B&W drawings/plates) The autobiography of a young child, from infancy to approximately age two-and-a-half -- written in a consciously "adult" narrative voice. More than a little unnerving at times, given the apparent agony that the child's arrival has brought to this kid's mother -- such as expressed when he's still in his crib, and she stands over him declaring "I never wanted to be anybody's mother! ... This should never have come to me. It is a merciless trial to both the child and myself, and it is all wrong. I wish I were dead ... I wish -- God hear me! -- I wish I should wake in the morning to find that this child was gone!" I'd say this kid's future therapist has his work cut out for him! 
Price: 75.00 USD
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A Redhead in Red Square, Sherwood, Debbie
14 Sherwood, Debbie A Redhead in Red Square
New York Dodd, Mead & Company (c.1969) First Edition Hardcover Very Good+ in Very Good dj Illustrated by (dj design) Salem Tamer 
[light wear to book at extremities; jacket rubbed/scuffed, with tiny tears at several corners and related (very slight) paper loss; NOT an ex-library book]. "What is it like to be a young, light-hearted visitor to Russia?" The author found out on her holiday behind the Iron Curtain (remember that?), where she "sang Beatles songs with Russian boys in Red Square on May Day, toasted a bridal couple at their wedding reception, went swimming in a crowded public pool, and joined a group of girls shopping for clothes." She apparently got along pretty well except for those pesky "bureaucrats -- male and female -- with whom she had frequent lively clashes." 
Price: 25.00 USD
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Dreams, Stiles, Percy Goldthwait
15 Stiles, Percy Goldthwait Dreams
Cambridge Harvard University Press 1927 NO First Edition Hardcover Very Good Illustrated by the author 
(no dust jacket) [ex-library book (stamped as such at tops of both pastedowns and both endpapers, with some label-removal scarring on the front pastedown), small call number in white on spine, otherwise clean with just moderate wear to extremities]. (B&W drawings, some with color added) An odd little book, framed as a "collection" of narrative accounts of dreams experienced by a single individual -- presumably the author, although he doesn't ever come right out and say that, maintaining his third-person reference to "the dreamer" throughout. By his own account, he began recording his dreams in 1897, just after he'd graduated from "a scientific school"; elsewhere he states that the dreamer "is not a trained psychologist [and] has not made any extended study of dream literature but has chosen to remain an amateur [and] disclaims any right to pose as an oracle where the dreams of other people are involved." (He does, however, admit to having read Havelock Ellis's treatise on dreams "with singular stimulation and a sense of cordial agreement," and also reports that "his reaction to Freud has often been hostile.") Best of all, he also made crude and moderately surreal sketches to illustrate his dreams, approximately two dozen of which accompany the text; my favorite is probably "A Postmortem Examination," which depicts him enjoying "the unusual if gruesome privilege of examining his own dried and empty skull." 
Price: 15.00 USD
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Kennedy Ripples: A True Love Story: A Priest, A Woman, and the Assassination of J.F.K. [*SIGNED*], Sullivan, Marianne
16 Sullivan, Marianne Kennedy Ripples: A True Love Story: A Priest, A Woman, and the Assassination of J.F.K. [*SIGNED*]
Los Angeles/San Clemente Lillian James Publishing 1994 0-9639298-0-1 / 9780963929808 First Edition Hardcover Near Fine in Near Fine dj Illustrated by (dj design) Paul Rahmes Signed by Author
[nice tight unread copy, very minor smudging to top edge, otherwise in perfect condition; jacket shows only slight surface handling wear]. INSCRIBED ("For ______ / And all those / who cherish / Freedom! / Embrace and Enjoy!") and SIGNED by the author on the ffep. (From the formatting of the inscription, I'm guessing she did a whole lot of them this way.) "Based on the extraordinary events that dramatically changed the life of [the author] in the early 1960's, [this book] reveals the human side of this century's greatest murder mystery as well as the unmerciful restrictions of celibacy in the priesthood." Who can resist that combo, eh? Basically: she falls in love with her parish priest; he becomes director of the Dallas Cuban Relocation Committee; a "Cuban temptress" comes to town to seduce him; and six weeks before Kennedy is shot, the priest mysteriously disappears, "setting into motion Marianne's painful quest for the bitter truth." Signed by Author 
Price: 25.00 USD
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