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.