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Category Archives: Coming Soon in 2010

The Garden of Eden — Auggie and Eve

August Derleth’s  scrapbook contains many different interesting items, including some woodcuts by Frank Utpatel that I have not seen before. There are two of particular note which I have entitled “The Garden of Eden” and “Auggie and Eve.” I suspect the originals were produced in the 1940s when Frank was at his best. I have censored the latter not so much because it has a single pornographic overtone, but rather to stump the pirates on the internet from appropriateing it the whole and reusing it. These illustrations would make good content for the dustjacket of Annals of Walden West. This volume is long overdue, and August was working on it, at the time of his death. Peter Ruber started to assemble short pirces for the volume in the 1990’s. I received the manuscript directly from April, in 2002, and showed it at the Walden West Festival that year, misplaced it at the Freethinker’s Hall and retrieved it once again in 2004.

 

“Er … what’s up, Auggie?”

Here’s an item from Auggie’s scrapbook it is undated, but the caption reads “Er … what’s up, Auggie!?” and it signed JC Melendez. Melendez was an illustrator at the Disney Studio and also did work on Charlie Brown. There is no record of correspondence under ‘M’ or Melendez in the Archives, nor Disney nor Warner Brothers. The item is undated. Perhaps it was a Christmas Greeting? It certainly is the Bugs Bunny I remember in my youth in the cartoons that accompanied Saturday afternoon at the movie theatre.
 

4 Blue Books and 2 Ears of Pigs

I recently attended the Windy City Pulp and Paper Back Show at the Westin Hotel in Lombard, Illinois. Before the show I met with April Derleth at “Place of Hawks” in Sauk City. We sat outside, it was a beautiful Spring morning, and the lilocks would be in bloom in less than a week. This was August Derleth’s favorite month: he named his daughter April. After an animated discussion, which included the ritual smoking of a cigar (A Monte Cristo) we achieved the agreement which eluded all three of us the day before in a 3 way conference telephone call with Bob Weinberg in Chicago. As a prelude to the meeting “Sundrop” was served and Queenie and Reggie enjoyed two left entire Pig’s Ears, and subsequently Pig’s ears in parts. Their behaviour which is interesting will be a subject of a subsequent blog, but after a bark or two in greeting, silence reigned for the remainder of the meeting.

I loaded up some books to sell at the Windy City Show. Some file copies of Ballantine paperbacks — nine different in all (7 Lovecraft and 2 Clark Ashton Smith); I also got a box of unbound signatures for an Arkham House title under the reign of Jim Turner, and four other bound (in blue cloth) volumes.

These volumes are remarkable, and I shall have to study them in detail. In fact I showed them to John Haefele at the show, and he undertook to look at them one at a time as well. The titles on the spine will tell you, and their size (15″ x 23″) will give away their content — Tear sheets from newspapers: The Capital Times and The Milwaukee Journal.

1. Book Reviews (Oct 1941 — December 1943)

2. Book Reviews (1946-1953)

3. Book Reviews (1. 1954 – 4. 1956)

4. Book Reviews (4. 1956 – 8. 1964)

Aug reviews his own books for the paper as well. A practice which is unheard of — at least officially today! I note in passing that he wrote up a series of 100 best books for 1950 etc.

 

“Under the Darkling Sky”

Only the serious Holmes aficianodo will recognize this as a short quote from The Hound of the Baskervilles. In Florida, I made the final editorial changes to the manuscript, and finished the compilation of the index, and sent the print out to the author John Weber of Syracuse for his final perusal. This book is fully titled: Under the Darkling Sky: A Chrono-Geographic Odyssey through the Holmesian Canon. It should be ready for a conference in August in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
The two pictures attached are Sunset on Dartmoor and the author at the Reichenbach Falls in Switzerland. In passing, a trip to the Reichenbach Falls is the Sherlockian equivalent of a trip to Mecca — strange but true!

 

Throw a baseball into the Atlantic Ocean

Weekend here and facing the Atlantic Ocean while I write this. There is a fisherman fellow standing  at the edge of the beach high tide-line with his kit and not less than three rods positioned in the sand in front of him. I watched him off and on now for three hours, and I haven’t seen him catch anything yet. His truck is parked back on the beach and it appears otherwise empty.

I watched the tide come last night at dusk and then night on the veranda. There were occasional passerbys, usually in pairs, but some earnest joggers appeared from time to time. I scanned the beach from north to south, becasue there is a virtual 180 degree vista of the ocean here.

After nightfall I noticed an eerie intermittent glimmer on the rolling ocean waves as they approached the sandy shore. I wondered, looked up and saw a 3-quarter moon at 11:00 o’clock in the sky above. I am always stunned by the face of the moon whether it be over the rice patties of South Vietnam at midnight, flying in an American Medivac heliocopter with an Indonesian soldier with a bullet in his head, or the corn-fields of Wisconsin near the River of same name, or finally on the Serangetti in Kenya, observing the hyenas eat their dinner.

Enough of using the moon as a segway to muse of moonlit memories of the past. It is bright sunny morning towards noon now.  The fisherman is gone now and the beach is filling with scantily-clad sunworshippers, young men throwing footballs, and quality time family related activities.

I am reminded that August Derleth compiled a volume of fishing anecdotes which was not published in his lifetime. This manuscript resulted after his many years of editing Outdoor Magazine. I am still looking for the right cover ilustration for this volume; and Stephen Leacock wrote a number of articles on the pleasures of fishing, and Carl Spadoni (Leacock’s Bibliographer) collected them and published them in Gone Fishing, with a delightfully ghostly cover by James Lumbers.

Now what am I going to do today? Go fishing? nope! There is one activity I do do regularly — have a pedicure and manicure — that is, once a year. And then we are off to the Daytona Flea market, yet another regular, once-a-year activity.

 

Travelling to Florida

During a recent car excursion to Florida, we had some some experiences worthy of note. I won’t bore you with the repetitive details necessarily involved — like lousy or good meals, or lousy and hard beds, not enough towels etc. nobody wants to take their time to read that trivia.

The first night we stopped at Dunkirk, New York. We have stayed there before and I know there is a computer in the lobby with the usual gambling and tourist shortcuts, but there was also a short cut to “Google Earth.” I was struck with an idea and I punched in “Maiwand Afghanistan.” And indeed I did get an aerial view of Maiwand, not in great resolution but certainly recognizable. I printed it out, and have now rescanned it. I wasn’t able to save the original digital image, but I post it here, and hope that I haven’t committed some egregious act of piracy. When I get home I should be able to find the landmarks and the military (British and Jezail) graveyard. I don’t suppose I will see the rock cairns, nor the signed entrance, nor the obelisk in the treed grove that marks the Afghan cemetery. Maiwand of course was where Dr. John H. Watson received his wound(s) serving as a Medical Officer with The Fifth Northumberland Fusiliers.

The first destination the next day was my appointment at The Maple-Vail Book Manufacturing Group in York, PA to discuss the possibility of two large bulk book purchases. One batch of books was held in inventory at the warehouse in York, and the other batch of books was held at the warehouse, sixty miles up the road at their warehouse in Fredericksburg with a Lebanon, PA mailing address. I met with Joan, Shonna and Bradley in shipping and was very pleased when they accpeted Arkham House lapel pins.

That same afternoon we drove to “Fallingwater” a house built over running water of a stream somewhat southwest of Pittsburgh. We took a wrong turn, and got some excellent directions from Emily and her associates working in Campaign office of a Democrate running for office. Emily was in fact a guide at Fallingwater — serendipity in Pittsburgh. Fallingwater is a remarkable world class attraction where Frank Lloyd Wright built a home for Mr. Kaufman the department store magnate back in the 1930’s. The project went over budget, and rather than describe it here, I’ll let the reader google the word — Fallingwater. They have a remarkable webcam on site which is viewable on their website. The water was running very high under the house with the spring thaw. David Niles and his film crew were conducting a high definition film shoot of the house, and David noted that he had waited for 43 years for this two-day opportunity of a lifetime. The security guard noted that the site had 150,000 visitors per annum. I took a photograph of David doing the shoot, and we agreed that we would meet again at his studio in New York City — likely in January 2011. I invited him to do a shooot of the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) and he was interested. He knew of the recent Thomson renovation to the tune of 300 million, but he did not know of the 110 million dollar Reubens! I was going to post that picture of David but when I read the disclaimed that the gatekeeper had given me — no pictures of the site are to be posted on the internet, I decided not to. In closing well worth the visit — and now a cherished memory.

A point of interest: Frank Lloyd Wright (Spring Green, Wisconsin) lived just down the road from August Derleth (Sauk City, Wisconsin). They were neighbors and they kknew each other. Augie hired an architect from Chicago to build his house which Augie called “The Place of Hawks” the house that Redbook built. The money from the downpayment came from a series of Sac Prairie novels that Augie sold to Redbook. Some of these have never been collected in book foorm, and a couple are still in manuscript and have never been published at all. They were presumably turned down by Redbook, but on this point the written record is unclear. When FLW asked AD why he had not hired him to do Place of Hawks, Augie is alleged to have said “because if you had designed the house, it would be your house, and because the fellow from Chiago designed it — it is my house. Neat point! who remebers that fellow Kaufman now? The Fallingwater property designed by FLW belongs to the Pennsylvania Conservatory.

The second night we stopped at Breezewood, Pennsylvania. Then after a hectic drive around Washington, DC.
we stopped at Richmond, Virginia. We walked through the mall next door for a relaxed Italian Dinner. I consulted the tourist guides in the lobby, and thought a visit to The Confederacy White House and the The Holocaust Museum in Richmond were top of the list for a visit, but got on the road first thing instead.

On the road again in North Carolina  we stopped at J&R Outlet Mall and my major purchase was a $3.00 children’s baseball bat. Not that I’m a baseball player, but I am publishing a 3rd edition of The Annotated Casey at the Bat by Martin Gardner. I mailed the bat to Martin in a mailing tube, and suggested that his son Jim take a picture of Martin swinging the bat like Casey did in Thayer’s poem. This will form the back cover illustration for the book with a suitable caption.

The fourth night we overnighted in Florence, South Carolina. The Fatz Cafe was located within walking distance from the motel. The next day we did a whirlwind sight seeing tour of Myrtle Beach, and Charleston South Carolina. I placed a telephone call to Dan Boulden and we discussed the two editions of The Shunned House a 2008 facsimile edition issued in an edition of 100 copies. There are minor differences which will be elaborated in a blog in the near future. 

The fifth night we stopped at Ridgeland, South Carolina after a long day. Mexican meal nearby, and on the road early to visit the St. Augustine Outlet Mall. I sat patiently and quietly for a couple of hours while a shopping spree occurred.

We arrived at our destination in New Smyrna Beach, Florida. Upon registration I was presented with a package from Pasquale Accardo containing the final correction of the Chester-Belloc Project. I collection of G.K. Chesterton’s illustrations, published and unpublished for some 13 books.

We went out to dinner at a Sports Bar, and I was impressed that not a single one of the 100 TV’s in the place featured the Health Care Debate which was in progress, and that I had been following every morning and every evening of the trip. On the way home I purchased a Magic Jack, a rather magical device for placing and receiving telephone calls at no charge in The USA and Canada.

That’s enough! and here’s Maiwand! I uploaded it twice, and I can’t figure out how to delete the second image.

 

Only 258 e-mails in the Backlog now!

In April 2009 my computer got indigestion and crashed when Windows Express couldn’t cope, and then the new computer crashed again in September when the motherboard died. I lost my e-mails with the first crash, but retained them intact the second time around. I am playing catchup now, and I am only now sorting through the e-mail generated from my web site since  June 2009. Poor business man! and very slow on fulfilment to the frustation of many of my customers. There were other issues but no point in boring you with real life here.

Bob Weinberg and I are now working hard to put the finishing touches on The Arkham House Mission Statement and Forthcoming List (2010-2014). It’s not rocket science, one new book each year, one old book per year, and we can annouce we are scheduling Seventy-Five Years of Arkham House in 2014. This volume will highlight those Stanton and Lee titles missed the first time around, and other information not including in 60 Years. The editorial team is in place and reflects the length and depth of the collector-scholar community. The Arkham Brotherhood and Sisterhood will come together.