Monday, December 2, 2019

The Book-Plates of Samuel Pepys: Number Eight of the Twelve Blog Posts for Christmas

   M E R R Y   H I SS !

Eight years ago, I began a custom that bookmen in the past have enjoyed doing, among them Luther A. Brewer and A. Edward Newton.  Each Christmas, they published a keepsake and sent it to their friends.  I decided to post my Christmas keepsakes on My Sentimental Library blog, and share them with other bibliophiles online.  I already had the resource to supply the material for the keepsakes: twelve essays from Contributions to Biblionotes, the unofficial newsletter of the Bibliomites.  Walter Harris was its editor, which means he was the author of most if not all of the contributions to Biblionotes.

I posted Walter Harris's first seven essays to Biblionotes as my first seven Christmas blog posts:  Ex-Libris, Chapbooks, Grangerisers, Miniature Books, Peter Motteux, The Bewicks and Their Bookplates, and The Rochester Press.  This year I am posting Walter Harris's essay, "The Book-Plates of Samuel Pepys." And I am posting jpegs of Pepys's bookplates, which will appear immediately after Walter Harris's essay.

If you want to know more about Bibliomites, Biblionotes, and Walter Harris before reading this year's Christmas blog post, I recommend that you click on the hyperlink, and read my Dec 2013 Biblio Researching blog post:
About Bibliomites, Biblionotes, and Walter "Wally" Harris.

First Plate

Second Plate

Large Portrait Plate

Smaller Portrait Plate

Firth Plate, Shield Blank

Fifth Plate, Arms Filled In

My Previous Posts to theTwelve Blogs for Christmas:
Christmas 2012:  Ex-Libris
Christmas 2013: Chapbooks
Christmas 2014: Grangerisers
Christmas 2015: Miniature Books
Christmas 2016:  Peter Motteux
Christmas 2017:  The Bewicks and Their Bookplates
Christmas 2018:  The Rochester Press

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

A Lonely Kind of War by Marshall Harrison

     I usually bring a book with me to read while I'm getting my weekly augmentation therapy treatment at a nearby clinic.  I was deeply involved in reading A Lonely Kind of War when the patient sitting to my left noticed the aircraft depicted on the front cover of my book and said, "That's an OV-10 isn't it?"  When I nodded, said, "Yes, it is," and showed him the book, he added, "That aircraft saved our asses a bunch of times!"

     He was recalling his early days as an army grunt in Vietnam, when, on numerous occasions, forward air controllers flying OV-10 Broncos directed airstrikes against Viet Cong and NVA troops in close proximity of U. S. Army ground forces.

     I found this book while toodling in a local thrift store on Friday Sept 14, 2019.  I worked on the OV-10 Bronco when I was stationed in Korea in 1974-1975, and was glad to add this book to my Second Sentimental Airman Collection.  The book itself was the personal narrative of Marshall Harrison (1933-1995), a former high school teacher who served three combat tours in Vietnam, the first as an F-4 Phantom fighter pilot.  A Lonely Kind of War details his combat role as a forward air controller flying the OV-10 Bronco in Vietnam.  There is a glossary of military aviator terms in the front pages of the book specifically placed there so the reader can comprehend the lingo the author uses to recreate battle scenes he directed as a forward air controller in Vietnam.

     Marshall Harrison was one hell of a writer. I felt like I was reliving my own time in Vietnam.  Only I wasn't fixing planes; I was flying one of them! And when I finished reading Harrison's book, I looked for more aerial combat books that he wrote.  I found two of them:   Cadillac Flight and The Delta.

     Both Cadillac Flight and The Delta are novels.  But Harrison's fiction is just as good as his fact;  In fact, I would even say better!  His book, A Lonely Kind of War, was highly acclaimed. and so were his novels.

     Cadillac Flight is the story of a flight of F-105 pilots whose primary mission was to bomb designated targets in Hanoi during the Vietnam War.  It begins with a General flying to Hanoi to recover the remains of U. S. aviators.  He was one of the F-105 pilots of Cadillac Flight, and remembers the last time he flew over Hanoi almost twenty years earlier –– and the MIG-21 he encountered in a dog fight.  With the turn of each page, we learn more and more about what he and the other members of Cadillac Flight endured during their combat tour.  Throw in a love story, humor, personal conflicts, and the usual military bullshit, and you have a book that will keep you awake and reading late into the night.   This book would have made one helluva movie!

     I have just begun to read the third book, The Delta.  It is another doozy!  The lead character arrives in Vietnam to begin his tour of duty, but there's something wrong with his orders;  he doesn't yet know what kind of aircraft he'll be flying.  The Director of Operations (DO), knows, and he has special plans for him.  In his younger days as a fighter pilot, the lead character was caught red-handed at a squadron party with his hands cupping the bare breasts of the Squadron Operations Officer's wife....  You guessed it!  The DO was his former Operations Officer, and assigns him to fly as a forward air controller in the O-1 Birddog, the slowest aircraft ever to fly over the Viet-Cong-invested jungle!

A Lonely Kind of War. Forward Air Controller Vietnam by Marshall Harrison, Novato: Presidio Press, 1989.   ISBN: 0891413529 (hardcover).

Cadillac Flight by Marshall Harrison, Novato: Presidio Press, 1991.
ISBN:  0891414010 (hardcover)
ISBN:  0515112321 (softcover) (1993)

The Delta by Marshall Harrison, Novato: Presidio Press, 1992.
ISBN:  0891414363 (hardcover)

Friday, October 4, 2019

Utopiana: A Seminar Report on Utopian Literature

Before there were my seven book-related blogs (2007-2019) in which I write about the books I collect, and about the authors who wrote them, there were my six webtv websites on which I displayed the books I collected. (1999-2007). And before that, in 1989, while still stationed at RAF Mildenhall, England, I used the books in my library to write "Utopiana: A Seminar Report on Utopian Literature."

Thursday, September 19, 2019

A Bookfellow Anthology Originally Found Wanting

Found while toodling in the Indoor Flea Market in Crystal River, Florida on Friday, September 7, 2019: a copy of the 1932 edition of A Bookfellow Anthology.

A Bookfellow Anthology, later renamed The Bookfellow Poetry Annual, was a publication of the Order of the Bookfellows, a literary and publication club based in Chicago, but with members worldwide.  Membership in the Order of the Bookfellows cost $1 a year, and gave members the opportunity of becoming a contributor to the Annual Bookfellow Anthologies.  

Each bookfellow was assigned a Bookfellow Number.  Its editors, George Steele Seymour and his wife Flora Warren Seymour, were Bookfellows No. 1 and No. 2.  Luther Albertus Brewer, the Torch Press printer of the Bookfellow Anthologies, was Bookfellow No. 14.  Walter M. Hill, the Chicago bookseller, was Bookfellow No. 37.  Vincent Starrett, the Chicago bibliophile and poet, was Bookfellow No. 8.   He should have been Bookfellow No. 221b, but Bookfellow Numbers denoted the order of joining the Bookfellows.

Bookfellow No. 7433, Mary Hovey, a teacher from Joliet, Illinois, was the former owner of my copy of A Bookfellow Anthology 1932.  She pasted her bookplate to the front pastedown of the book.

Mary Hovey was one of the contributors to the 1932 edition of A Bookfellow Anthology, submitting a poem titled, "The Crescent and the Crown," which was printed on page 93 of the book.

Later on that day, I decided to read Mary Hovey's poem.  And I discovered that someone had torn the page containing her poem out of the book!

At first I thought Mary Hovey was the one who tore the page out of the book.  But my wife Linda countered that it could have been someone else.  And thinking about it, she's right.  Since Mary Hovey placed her bookplate, a mark of ownership, in the book, it is unlikely that she would remove the poem that shows that she herself was part of the book.  Most likely a daughter or granddaughter took the poem out of the book as a keepsake from Mary Hovey's estate.

I did, however, find two poems in the book to my liking.  They were about two authors whose books I collect.  The first poem was titled "A. Edward Newton in His Library."  If you're not familiar with A. Edward Newton, he was a book collector in the early 1900s who wrote about the books he collected.  And Seymour pokes fun at him in the poem!

I queried the A. Edward Newton collector David Klappholz and he had never seen the poem.  Moreover, David said it was not listed in Bob Fleck's bibliography, A. Edward Newton:  A Collection of His Works.

I didn't think the second poem was as eloquent as the first poem.  But Johnsonians should remember the occasion:  "Dr. Samuel Johnson Takes Tea with Mr. Davies the Bookseller 16 May, 1763."

I queried  Johnson/Boswell collector Terry Seymour and he had never seen the poem.  Moreover, Terry, who also collects A. Edward Newton,  had never seen the Newton poem before either.

I was disappointed in not being able to read Mary Hovey's poem.  But after reading Seymour's two poems, I decided that the 1932 issue of A Bookfellow Anthology was worth buying after all!

Monday, September 2, 2019

Two More Derek Mason Aviation Books for My Sentimental Library

Mike Slicker, Proprietor of Lighthouse Books in St. Petersburg, is still having his 50% off Moving Sale, so I met Florida Bibliophile Society member Carl Nudi at the bookstore last Friday.  And Carl and I lessened the number of books Mike will have to move to his new location in Dade City sometime in the next six months.

Mike had several bookshelves full of aviation books from the Derek Mason Aviation Collection he had bought several years ago.  And I found two more of Derek Mason's aviation books to my liking for My Sentimental Library Collection. That makes seven books formerly owned by Derek Mason that I now own.  And that number was enough for me to create a Derek Mason Collection in my Library Thing Catalogue.

I wrote about the first five Derek Mason aviation books in my May 2019 post, A Sentimental Airman's Second Aviation Collection.   And now,  I just have to write about these two books as well!

I  "introduced" Derek Mason in my May 2019 post, with most of the information coming from his obituary, which was published online.  He was an RAF bomber pilot, flew for British Airlines and Singapore Airways after the war, and then worked for the United Nations.  Just today, however,  I found more information about Derek Mason.  A military enthusiast from Dublin, with the user id of Noor, posted the information on the Gentleman's Military Interest Club website.  Derek Mason was the test pilot for an in-flight program to determine the minimum amount of de-icing fluid required to keep an aircraft free of ice without reducing the safety factor.  He was also a pilot trainer for the Comet and then trained pilots in their conversion from flying Comets to flying 707s.

Derek Mason (1922-2012)

One of the two Derek Mason books I bought last Friday was Bomber Pilot 1916-1918 by C. P. O. Bartlett, which was first published by Ian Allan in London in 1974.  Charles Philip Oldfield Bartlett (1889-1987) was a World War One flying ace who kept a daily diary.  The diary included notes about his air battles as they occurred.   Bomber Pilot is, in essence, a publication of his diary.

Derek Mason read Bomber Pilot and wrote Bartlett that he enjoyed reading it.  He asked Bartlett if he would autograph his copy of the book for him.  Bartlett did one better!  He sent Mason two gummed signed labels, along with a two-page letter dated 13/9/76.

The second Derek Mason book I bought last Friday was The Shape of the Aeroplane by James Hay Stevens, first published in London by Hutchinson and Co. in 1953.

James Hay Stevens (1913-1973), was a pilot, an aviation journalist, and an illustrator.  He was the  editor of Aircraft Engineering Magazine from 1945 to 1957.  In his book,  The Shape of the Aeroplane, Stevens provided illustrations of 280 aircraft.   The basis of his book was that the purpose of an airplane's mission determined the shape or design of an airplane.

Laid in under the front cover of the book were three Christmas cards Stevens sent to Mason in the 1960s.  Judging by the notes Stevens wrote on the cards, I would say that Stevens and Mason were friends.

And so I add two more Derek Mason Aviation Books to My Sentimental Library Collection.