Treasures Yet To Come

You’ve been sending nice donations for the second annual 25th Book Fair in 2010. Among these, a couple of collections have yielded up goodies you didn’t know you needed.

From a local business’s library we received 89 boxes of art books, including immense coffee table books of the works of Erte and Leroy Neiman, some of them signed. There are books by other modern artists which include original prints by the artist, and a signed copy of each of Roddy McDowall’s first two books of photography. If you happen to be a Newberry Library Associate at the proper level, you can get a sneak preview of these in December, at the Associates’ annual concert featuring the Great Lakes Dredge.

From a publisher’s archive we have books up to and over a century old that have just sat on shelves for reference since they were published. This includes a number of school readers and educational book series which would not be too exciting were it not for the fact that they are in absolutely unused condition. We have a 1940 timed-recipe cookbook by Ida Bailey Allen, an author our Cookbook Lady refers to as one of the great forces against flavor in American cooking. She pointed to the cover picture, an illustration showing perfectly geometrical arrangements of asparagus stalks of equal length, between which sit perfectly molded lumps of tuna salad covered with melted cheese. “Nobody cares what that TASTES like,” she pointed out. What mattered was how it looked, and exactly how many minutes it took to prepare. I know what the result was for American cuisine, but let’s not be too harsh. Perhaps Ida was merely one of those people who got spanked as a child for making mountains and lakes and highways with her mashed potatoes.

Oh, and from the estate of a graphic designer I received a poster and several tickets for a fund-raiser on behalf of a parochial school in California in 1954.  If you failed to buy a ticket at the time and it’s been on your conscience ever since, drop me a line.

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