New Arrivals at Between The Covers Rare Books
New Arrivals at Between The Covers.
By Michael Stillman
The latest collection of New Arrivals from Between The Covers Rare Books has just arrived. As always, it is an entertaining collection of serious, odd, and amusing books and ephemera. The largest group is modern first editions, but there are sections on westerns, children's books, mysteries, and science fiction. Of course, modern firsts can cover any topic, so be prepared to find just about anything. As always, Between The Covers has provided illustrations of everything that is offered, making their catalogues among the most helpful offered. Here are samples of what they have recently acquired.
Item 3 is an unusual, but highly desirable William Faulkner piece. It is probably his shortest. Known simply as the "Beer Broadside," but headed To The Voters of Oxford, it is the famed author's attempt to have his hometown's prohibition of beer overturned. Beer had been prohibited in Oxford, Mississippi, in 1944. In 1950, a vote was held to extend the ban. The clergy supported an extension, as did the local newspaper. When Faulkner was unable to get the newspaper to publish his rebuttal to the clergy's arguments, he printed up this broadside and had family members hand it out. Faulkner counters the claim that beer was voted out in 1944 because of its "obnoxiousness," stating instead that at the time, beer drinkers, or those who didn't object to others drinking it, were off at war defending those who preferred staying at home. As for the argument that money spent on beer would be better spent on food, clothing, and other essentials, Faulkner says that by this logic, Oxford would have to close "the florists, the picture shows, the radio shops and the pleasure car dealers." Faulkner's logic was impeccable, but the voters ignored him and kept the ban in place. Priced at $5,000.
Knute Rockne was a writer? Apparently. The famed Notre Dame football coach released a book in 1925 called The Four Winners. It is described as a romance in which the football team captain must succeed on the field to win some young lady's heart. I have no way of knowing whether this is a piece of great literature, or of something else, but I do note that Rockne's reputation rests on his role as a great football coach, period. Item 61. $700.
Now here is a novel by a man known as a great writer, but not a great writer of novels. The author is John Philip Sousa, and he is one of America's most noted musical composers, famous for his marches. His novels are less well known. Item 107 is The Fifth String, written and inscribed by Sousa in 1902. $500.
Would you like to run your own gas station? This is a lost art. Gas today is sold at convenience stores. However, in 1934, gas was pumped at real garages, by real people who washed your windshield and checked your oil. Here is a helpful guide from P.A. Reynolds: Garage Organisation and Management. This book was published in London, but you probably knew that since "organisation" is spelled with an "s" rather than a "z." Item 11. $350.
New Arrivals at Between The Covers Rare Books
Unusual book written by Knute Rockne.
Item 13 is Amelia Earhart's high school year book, The Aitchpe 1915. Earhart graduated from Chicago's Hyde Park High School, but she never made much of an impression there. She attended six different high schools, her family constantly moving around. The class prophecy predicts the famed aviator would be a waitress. Unlikely, since it also noted she was off to Bryn Mawr College. Of course, Ms. Earhart probably would have lived a lot longer had she chosen waiting tables to flying airplanes for a career. $3,500.
For fans of boxing, the art of self-defense, also known as punching someone else in the face, item 22 is a treasure: Nat Fleischer's All-Time Ring Record Book 1941 Edition -- Souvenir Boxing Writers' Ass'n of N.Y. This is one of 150 copies given out at the writers' meeting. However, what makes it really special is not the rarity, nor even Fleischer's inscription, but the autographs of some of the famous boxers who evidently attended: Jack Dempsey, Joe Louis, Jim Braddock, Gene Tunney, and Tony Canzoneri. It also contains other notable signatures such as that of J. Edgar Hoover, the powerful and, with hindsight, weird director of the FBI, New York Mayor James J. Walker, George Ruppert of the brewing and New York Yankee owner family, and others. $6,500.
Vance Randolph was an amateur folklorist who moved to the Ozark Mountains of Arkansas as a young man and began writing about the local culture. He published a series of books, and in the 1940s, at the request of Alan Lomax, began recording folk music of the backwoods people. He collected some 870 songs on behalf of the Library of Congress. Item 101 is Down In The Holler: a Gallery of Ozark Folk Speech which he co-wrote with George P. Wilson and which was published in 1953. $150.
Between The Covers Rare Books may be found online at www.betweenthecovers.com, phone number 856-665-2284.