Sunday, November 8, 2015

John T. Winterich:
The Man, His Books,
His Other Literary Endeavors

                                                                                      New York City
                                                                                      December 28, 1942

Dear Mark,

     Did Colonel Winty [J. T. Winterich] send you his pamphlet, "Clio and My Aunt Bertha?" He comes God-damned near being my favorite author.
                                                                                      A. Woollcott
                                                 The Letters of Alexander Woollcott (386).
                                     Letter to Mark Watson, Editor, Baltimore Evening Sun

John T. Winterich may not be my favorite author of all time.  But he is my favorite author of late.  In the last month alone, while researching and preparing this blog post, I have reread several books  he wrote, and bought three more books by him that I had to have for my library.  And that does not include the mother lode of Winterich's writings I found on the web; 197 pages in all:  The First R and Related Enjoyments, an unpublished book I bought from Michael Manz of Yesterday's Gallery & Babylon Revisited Rare Books.

I have always thought of John T. Winterich (1891-1970) as a man who wrote books about book collecting.  But I now know that he was more than a bookman.  He was a freelance writer, and an editor of a number of newspapers and magazines.  And in his early editorial endeavors, he had a veritable army of readers.

 In the 1921 book, How America Went To War, "Corporal Winterich" was identified as one of the founders of The Stars and Stripes.   But on Page 1 of his 1931 book,  Squads Write!,  Winterich stated that he was never a corporal, and had nothing whatsoever to do with the founding of The Stars and Stripes.

But work on the paper he did.  With General Pershing's blessing, newspapermen were  pulled from the ranks and reassigned to Paris to publish a newspaper, the purpose of which was to keep the soldiers of the American Expeditionary Forces informed.  The Stars and Stripes was two weeks old when Private John T. Winterich, 496th Aero Squadron, and former editor of the Springfield Republican, joined the editorial staff,   Two days earlier, Private Harold Wallace Ross, already a seasoned newspaperman, had joined the staff.  Joining them shortly afterward were Sergeant Alexander Woollcott, drama critic for the New York Times,  Captain F. P. Adams from The New York Tribune, and Private Abian A. "Wally" Walgren, cartoonist, from the Washington Post and the Philadelphia Public Ledger.  Seventy-one issues of The Stars and Stripes were published between Feb. 8, 1918 and June 13, 1919.  And the paper's circulation climbed from 30,000 copies to over 500,000 copies.  Some of the staff of The Stars and Stripes put themselves in harm's way in order to gather the news of the war.  Four members of The Stars and Stripes staff died while serving their country.

After WW1, Winterich, Ross, Woollcott, and several other members of The Stars and Stripes editorial staff went to New York and started The Home Sector:  A Weekly for the New Civilian.

The Home Sector failed seven months later after a crippling printers' strike.  And Winterich followed Ross on to the editorial staff of The American Legion Weekly.   Ross left The American Legion Weekly in 1925, and co-founded  The New Yorker.   But Winterich didn't quit his day job, remaining with The American Legion until 1938, at which time he joined Ross at The New Yorker.

Surprisingly no one has written a book about John T. Winterich—at least I haven't found one.  The closest thing to a biography of him is his own 1947 book, Another Day, Another Dollar,  a series of articles mostly about the many jobs he had before, during and after he graduated from Brown University in 1912:  from a water filter salesman to a delivery boy to a trolley car conductor.  Many of these articles first appeared in The New Yorker.  "Clio and My Aunt Bertha," however, was first published in the Saturday Review of Literature.  And yes, I have a copy of Clio and My Aunt Bertha heading my way.

During the 1920s and 1930s, John T. Winterich was making a name for himself in the book world as well.  He wrote  two series of articles for Publishers' Weekly, "The Romantic Stories of Books."   And, along with Elmer Adler and F. B. Adams Jr., he founded and edited The Colophon.   Winterich did quite a bit of free lancing as well; here's his review of A. Edward Newton's book, End Papers:

 John T. Winterich's first book,  A Primer of Book Collecting was published in 1927.  I have the London edition, which was first published in 1928.  And I recently acquired the 1966 third edition of the American edition, with David A. Randall listed as co-author.

The English London edition, written for the English book collector, was edited by Raymond Dean.  The format of the book remained the same as the American edition.  But Dean substituted the titles of English books and the names of English authors for many of the American books and authors  that Winterich cited in the American edition.  One chapter in the American edition, "Dollars and Cents," was renamed "Books as an Investment" in the English edition.  And I have it on good authority (COPAC) that "Raymond Dean" was a pseudonym for Wilfred Partington (1888-1955), author and editor of Bookman's Journal.

The format of the third edition is the same as the first edition.  But Winterich and Randall updated some of the authors and books cited as examples.

Winterich's second book, Collector's Choice, was published in 1928.  Winterich inscribed my copy to a Major A. Edward Fisher:

Major A. Edward Fisher was not on the staff of The Stars and Stripes.  That I can tell you. And I don't think Winterich and Fisher were ever in jail together.  I believe the phrase, "from his old cell-mate," implies that Winterich and Fisher worked closely together; but not in WWI.  I believe they worked together in the 1940s.  But more on that later.

Winterich's book, Collector's Choice, still is enlightening reading  eighty-seven years after it was first published.  I detected one faux pas in the book, however, and that was in Winterich's chapter on points.  Winterich cited a printing mishap in Samuel Johnson's 1755 edition of Dictionary of the English Language:
Picture the portentous consternation of Samuel Johnson on turning the crisp leaves of his "Dictionary of the English Language" (London, 1755), and finding toward the end of Volume II, that the letter V followed T, and that the words under U began to filter in a few pages later without the dignity of being announced (86).
That was no error.  And the reason was explained in the 1755 issue of the dictionary itself, and in many other editions of Johnson's Dictionary.

As far as I can tell, that may have been the only bookish error Winterich ever committed.

John T. Winterich's third book, Books And The Man, was published in 1929.  My copy belonged to a Mr. Wallace, who tipped in an index card he received from Winterich.  And no, I have no clue who  Mr. Wallace was.

Books and the Man contained greatly expanded versions of the first series of articles that were published in Pubishers' Weekly from Nov 27, 1927 to Jun 15, 1929.  The articles were published under the title, "The Romantic Stories of Books." An enterprising librarian at Michigan State Normal College,  Frederick B. Cleveringa, made his own copy of "The Romantic Stories of Books" by binding together the articles as they appeared in the periodical.

I recently discovered a Russian edition of Books and the Man on eBay.  And I just had to have it!

Now to get the Chinese edition!

 Publishers' Weekly published a second series of "Romantic Stories of Books" in the 1930s, which was later published in book form as 23 Books and the Stories Behind Them.  Eventually, I will add that book and An American Friend of  Dickens to my John T. Winterich Collection—but now now, booksellers! :-)

I think Winterich's book, Early American Books & Printing, was the best book he ever wrote.  Published in 1935,  the book covers not only early American books, but magazines as well, and on a more scholarly level than his earlier books  All but one of the articles previously appeared in either the Publishers' Weekly or the Saturday Review of Literature.

I own several books by Winterich.  And one book about him—that he wrote himself.  But until last month, I did not have a book he formerly owned.  I have the Santa Clara bookseller Robert Perata to thank for selling me a copy of 1940 - Sonnets of a Bibliographer by William Hobart Royce:  a book of poems that was inscribed to Major John T. Winterich by the author.

Major John T. Winterich?  More on that shortly.

Winterich and many other bibliophiles knew William Hobart Royce quite well.  Royce worked in Gabriel Wells's bookstore in New York for over thirty years.  Royce was the expert on Honore de Balzac and wrote a bibliography of Balzac's works.   But his sonnets are not what you would expect from a bibliographer.  They were more a sign of the times.  I include one of them below:

Royce is one day too soon in his sonnet,  The next day, August 18th, is known as "The Hardest Day" in the Battle of Britain.  But capture the mood of that day, he did.

By 1940, President Roosevelt had convinced Congress to activate several reserve units.  And the U.S. Army Signal Corps Reserves, which Winterich belonged to, was one of the units activated.  Winterich had rejoined the army, not as Private John T. Winterich, but rather as Major John T. Winterich.   And in October 1940,  shortly after he was activated, Major John T. Winterich was reassigned to the War Department in Washington D. C.

Now one can surmise that Major Winterich's writing skills and knowledge of the publishing industry made him better suited to working in the War Department than commanding troops on the front line.  But there was a more compelling reason for the reassignment:  tragedy on the home front.  In July 1940, while at summer camp in Westchester County, Winterich's eleven year old son George got an infection in his fingers and died of blood poisoning.  Winterich may have thought a change of scenery from Ossining, New York to Washington D. C. would be best for himself and for his grieving wife.

It may have been our "Major A. Edward Fisher" who arranged for Winterich's reassignment.  There was a friend of Winterich's who was a major in the regular army, and who ran a small unit in the War Department.  His primary mission was to provide details about the Army's Procurement Programs.  But one of the major's secondary responsibilities was to write speeches for high ranking military officers. And the major "hired" Winterich to be a ghost writer and write speeches for the military brass.

Winterich revealed all this in an entertaining article which first appeared  in The New Yorker on October 2, 1948 under the title, "Not in Stevenson."  The article, renamed "How to Confect an Apophthegm," and with minor changes, is part of Winterich's unpublished book, The First R and Related Enjoyments (more on this book later).  But nowhere in the article does Winterich identify the major by name, simply identifying him as "The Major." Was it Major A. Edward Fisher who arranged Winterich's reassignment?   We may never know.

Not long after, Major Winterich became Lt. Col. Winterich, and then Col J. T. Winterich, and was in charge of the Public Relations Bureau of the United States War Department during the war.

After the war, Winterich became the editor of the Saturday Review of Literature, and remained there as managing editor until shortly before his death in 1970.  That was his day job. He continued moonlighting, still writing articles and editing periodicals, from The New Colophon to The Dolphin:  A Periodical for All People Who Find Pleasure in Fine Books.

I have a reprint of an article about the history of The Colophon, which appeared in the Nov 22, 1947 issue of Publishers' Weekly.  John Winterich, Elmer Adler, and F. B. Adams Jr. were the founders and editors of both The Colophon and The New Colophon.


As for The Dolphin, take a look at who the editors and advisors of this periodical were:

The book world remembered Elmer Adler after he died, writing reminiscences of him in a 1964 book titled, Elmer Adler in the World of Books.  Winterich contributed the chapter, "Elmer Adler of The Colophon."

As for Winterich,  two more of his books were published after the war.  And he dedicated the first book, Three Lantern Slides, to Elmer Adler.   The subtitle, Books, the Book Trade,  and Some Related Phenomena in American: 1876, 1901 and 1926, explains what the subject matter of the book was about.  Published by the University of Illinois Press, Urbana in 1949, the material was presented by Winterich in March 1949 as, in Winterich's own words, "the first fruit," of the "Phineas L. Windsor Lectures in Librarianship."

Winterich's book, The Grolier Club 1884-1950 An Informal History, was published by the Grolier Club in 1950.  And William Targ was the former owner of my copy of the book.

Winterich's article on John Bunyan and The Pilgrim's Progress, which was first published in Publishers'Weekly, and then in Winterich's book, Books and the Man, was included in William Targ's book, Bibliophile in the Nursery.  Somewhere, and just in this last month, I read somewhere that Winterich said he found The Pilgrim's Progress to be a book that was too hard to read.  But darned if I can find where I read that!  I find it more amazing that Winterich may have written pages and pages about a book that he never read.

One book I thought for sure that I already had in my library—and I've had at least one copy in my hands in a bookstore or at a book fair—is New Paths in Book Collecting by John Carter.  This book contains Winterich's article, "The Expansion of an Author Collection."  Now since I've already expanded my John T. Winterich Collection, I think I should read Winterich's article just to see if I followed his advice.  And yes, a copy is already heading my way.

I'm surprised that Winterich's book,  The First R and Related Enjoyments, was never published.  It contains 22 articles,  some bookish, some not, and most of them were previously published in periodicals from the 1920s to the 1950s.  The articles are still stored in the manuscript box pictured below.

The eight articles marked "copy to come" were never added to the manuscript.

Some of the articles were typed and then revised.  And a few of the articles were typed on The American Legion Weekly stationery.

All but one of the 22  articles present in the box were revised.

Some of the articles were cut out of copies of the periodicals in which they appeared, and then pasted on backing sheets.

And yes, I have a conservation issue to resolve.  Winterich used acidic glue to paste down the articles that were taken from the periodicals.  And the glue has bled through the paper, browning the articles.  I have a choice of whether to store the 197 pages in the manuscript box where they've been for over fifty years, or to place each page in an acid free sheet protector, and store them in a binder.  I am leaning toward the acid free sheet protectors..  But I am open to suggestions.

At any rate, I am thankful that John T. Winterich's unpublished book,  The First R and Related Enjoyments is part of my John T. Winterich Collection.   And I will be writing more about the book and its articles in the near future.

Monday, October 5, 2015

A Trip To New York:
By Way Of My Books

New York is the concentrate of art and commerce and sport and religion and entertainment and finance, bringing to a single compact arena the gladiator, the evangelist, the promoter, the actor, the trader and the merchant. It carries on its lapel the unexpungeable odor of the long past, so no matter where you sit in New York you feel the vibrations of great times and tall deeds, of queer people and event and undertakings.
                                                                                      E. B. White
                                                                                      Here Is New York.

           Here is the British writer W. J. Turner's book about his trip to New York:

Turner's book, published in London in 1929, surprised me.  I did not expect the negative viewpoint he expressed in some portions of the book, particularly when he went downtown to Number 1 Broadway,  crossed the grass, and across the water he saw "... the stumpy ungraceful Statue of Liberty.... I felt like any immigrant who might  have just arrived in the Land  of the Free, and, like any immigrant, I felt sick at heart and wondered what madness had brought me into the midst of this sordid and squalid wilderness of iron.  For here the city was in its undress; the skyscrapers rose in their naked emptiness, Wall Street was not far off, but the fever of human voices which gives it its week-day glamour was gone.  Here there was no hope for the hungry immigrant, nothing but the stark reality, the bleak bare facts of steel and stone...(46,47)".

And here are words from Chiang Yee, a Chinese writer and a painter of flowers and birds, as he enters New York Harbor for a visit in the early 1960s:

  "The Queen Mary moved more slowly. I stepped down to find out what was going on below, but could see no band.  The commotion was bigger than ever.  Speech was impossible.  We were now in the bay.  Someone shouted: 'There's Liberty!  The Statue of Liberty!'  Everybody turned as if at a word of command.  I could see only a faint thin column suspended in the air, for the morning mist over the water was still very thick.  Beyond that column could be seen thicker ones joined together like dark clouds.  The brides ran from side to side of the ship.  I felt quite overcome.  How many human creatures have longed for liberty since the beginning of time.  Many shout at the sight of the Statue of Liberty, but liberty itself is elusive (17, 18)"

Here's a few books about the history of New York and New Yorkers:

The book below,  published in 1924, is part of a series of guide books on States; but the book is more about New York City than New York State.  And most of the books in my New York Collection are about New York City as well:


And here are more books about New York:

New York. . . .

I have over a hundred books about New York.  And only a few of them are collectible books.  The remainder are books my friends and I purchased at local thrift stores and at library sales.  But all of the books tell a story about New York.

Most of my books about New York are crammed into the top two bookshelves of the bookcase that stands between my table desk and my library closet.

And hanging above this bookcase is a map of Long Island, which is where I called "home" for the first nineteen years of my life:

Tacked to one of the sliding closet doors, and facing the far side of the bookcase, is a map of Manhattan:

And on the other side of the bookcase, and facing my table desk,  is a photo that brings back pleasant boyhood memories of growing up in New York:

Memories of New York. . . .  That is why I have these books in my library.  I haven't been back to Long Island in almost forty years.  And to New York City only once in the last twenty-five years.  And while I am taking you on a trip to New York by way of my books, I am reflecting just a little bit about the place I once called "home."

Cadwallader Colden's
History of the Five Indian Nations

In his  1924 "Guyed Book" on New York, Irvin S. Cobb mentioned that New York was  once the home of six nations.  Before the Tuscaroras joined it, the league of Iroquois Nations was known as the "Five Indian Nations."   Cadwallader Colden wrote a history of the Five Indian Nations, the first volume of which was published in 1727, and the second volume in 1747.   I have a 1904 reprint of the first volume covering the Indian affairs in  western New York and Canada.  I find it interesting to note that Colden spelled the names of these five indian nations as such: Mohawks, Oneydoes, Onondagas, Cayugas, and Sennekas.

My August 2015 blog post was about the ownership of this book. The book itself is about the French and Indian War. And on the front cover and the frontispiece of this book is a map engraved on a powder horn, circa 1759-1760, that was in the possession of the author of the book, Fred W. Lucas.

I include James Fennimore Cooper's book, The Last of the Mohicans:  A Narrative of 1757,  in my books about New York because its setting is western New York during the French and Indian War.  A side note here:  In his Preface, Cooper identifies the Five Indian Nations as the Mohawks, the Oneidas, the Senecas, the Cayugas, and the Onondagas, with different spelling  for two of the tribes than Colden's spelling.

This particular edition, published by the World Book Club in 1913, was edited for school use by William Strunk Jr., the author of The Elements of Style, first published in Ithaca, New York in 1918; a book of which I have multiple copies of many of its later editions.

In his Introduction to Cooper's book, Strunk discusses James Fenimore Cooper's "style" of writing:
As to Cooper's faults of style, it is not hard to find examples of superlatives used when there are only two objects, of ambiguous statements, and of relative pronouns too far separated from their nouns, while now and then—just as the scout at time loses his trail—a participle fails to find its subject.  But for all the traces of imperfect revision that remain, The Last of the Mohicans may still be called a finely written work.  Numerous faultless passages attest Cooper's skill alike to construction and in detail. No one who reads the story will ever forget the noble, dignified and majestic eloquence of the last chapter (x).
Fellow Strunkians may be interested to know that 1913 was not the first year that William Strunk wrote about style.  The World Book Company bought the Globe School Book Company, lock, stock, and barrel in 1912.  And one of the books the World Book company reprinted—with a new title page—was the 1900 edition of The Last of the Mohicans, edited for school use by William Strunk Jr.  But 1900 is not the first year Strunk wrote about style either.  In 1895, Strunk wrote about the writing styles of Thomas Macauley and Thomas Carlyle in Macauley's and Carlyle's Essays on Samuel Johnson.  But I digress....

Getting back on the New York trail again, I present a picture of the cover of The New York Walk Book.  This book, first published in 1923 by the American Geographical Society, contains suggestions for excursions within a fifty to one hundred mile radius of the city:

When I first found this book in a local thrift store,  I opened it and read about an excursion from the White Plains Station:
Walk east from the station along the motor road to Underhill Ave, then turn on that road north to the lower end of St. Mary's Lake (Silver Lake); or take the trolley to the lake....

I have a sister-in-law who lives on Underhill Ave.  And on a somber note, I remember a man, now deceased, who on 9/11, walked most of the way from the vicinity of the World Trade Center to my sister-in-law's house on Underhill Ave..

Still on my bookbinding pile ever since I acquired it in June is the monumental work about New York City,  Leslie's History of the Greater New York by Daniel Van Pelt and published by Arkell Publishing Company in 1898.

One book I will not repair is a book from Daniel Van Pelt's own library:

Van Pelt's book was one of the books in my blog post, Two Hurt Books And their Former Owners.

I thought this book might have been a source book for his book on the history of New York City, but I found no references to it.

Rome wasn't built in a day.  And neither was New York City.

                                Here's a book on how Manhattan was built:

                         Here's a book about how the subways were built:

The third volume of Francis Jehl's Menlo Park Reminiscences of working with Thomas Edison contains Jehl's recollections about "The Lighting of New York City:"

And here's a book about how a skyscraper was built, followed by two more books about skyscrapers:

Here's a pamphlet, La Guardia Field, published by Airport Publishing Company in 1940.  I haven't seen this pamphlet  about LaGuardia Airport listed on WorldCat, the Library of Congress, or anywhere else.  And I know of only one listing of Fabulous Idlewild:  Aviation's Airport City by Eric Bramley, published by American Aviation Publications in 1959 (Samuel Read Hall Library, Lyndon State College, Vt).  I want to add a copy of that pamphlet to my collection, mainly because I grew up near Idlewild Airport.

                          Here are more pictures of books about New York:

               This cookbook contains a recipe for elephant stew:  feeds 500 people:

You can view all of my books about New York on Library Thing:

And you can read my blog, Idlewild Blue Yonder, about growing up near Idlewild Airport, the old neighborhood, my old house, and still more memories of New York: