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Cinderella Stamp for an Elusive Bookstore

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Here is a Cinderella stamp with a colorful illustration announcing that Knud Rasmussen's bookstore is moving to another location on the Vesterbrogade, the main shopping street of the Vesterbro district of Copenhagen, Denmark. Information on this bookstore is elusive, but it was likely named for Greenlandic-Danish polar explorer and anthropologist, Knud Rasmussen (1879-1933), who has been called "the father of Eskimology." If I can find more information about the bookstore, I will update this post. With a name like Knud Rasmussen, it would be fitting if the inventory consisted of books on polar exploration, the Inuit, Greenland, Anthropology, and the like. Books of science, adventure, and the humanities. Did they relocate for more room (a positive) or cheaper rent (possibly a negative) and did World War II, which was around the corner, have anything to do with the bookstore's demise? Or does it thrive yet under a succession of name changes? There's more to the stor

Paris Book Shops: Looking In, Looking Out

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Two apparently different book shops in Paris. Two different women at their windows. One looks in at the books, the other looks out from within the display window where she is arranging books. They are separated in time by twenty years or more, but are united here in this space by their photographs, a display of books, and a little imagination. The top image is a wire photo by Elaine Beery taken from inside the Village Voice Bookstore in Saint-Germain-des-Prés, 1986. I acquired it because of the way the young woman looked at the books on display. There was something deep and thoughtful in her expression frozen in the blink of a camera's shutter. And was that a hint of sadness in her eyes that had nothing to do with the books or just the wistful gaze of a book lover on a restrictive budget? By contrast, the young woman working in the display window, peers out cheerfully. She smiles and seems to enjoy her task. She is surrounded by books. The back of this vernacular photograph indicat

A Bookmobile for all Ages

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So National Bookmobile Day was several days ago--April 22nd to be exact--and I had no idea there was a day for that. Better late than never, I have a couple of wire service photos to share about a bookmobile in 1949 making the rounds for its patrons young and old in Muskegon County, Michigan. The message inherent in the pair, intended or not, conveys the joy of books for all ages, but I also see something in there about reading habits developed early in childhood staying with children throughout their lives. The young children in the bookmobile appear totally engrossed in the books they have found. A line forms outside the bookmobile and anticipation builds for finding a treasure inside. There is equal engagement with books by the older couple in the second photo. The woman, with her warm smile, appears to enjoy her selection while the man intently ponders two books in his hand, perhaps trying to make a decision with the help of the woman in the bookmobile. T

A Photographic Bookplate

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I've been wanting to write about this bookplate since acquiring the book I found it in about eight years ago-- Handel,  by C.F. Abdy Williams, published in 1901 by both J.M. Dent & Co. (London) and E.P. Dutton & Co. (New York). The bookplate's setting features a meadow or pasture, where a young man, John Woodroffe Garthwaite, sits in a chair with a book in his hands and a dog by his side. The current pandemic reminded me of this image and the parallels to social distancing activities we are practicing today to mitigate the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19). Of course, the scene was composed for reasons other than fighting a pandemic, but the finished product carries a visual message about social distancing into the future some 120 years. Mr. Garthwaite certainly appears socially distanced from any person and is enjoying a fine social distancing activity--reading! The book's publication date and some genealogy research on Garthwaite help date the bookpla

1966 Tokyo Bookstore Idea for the 2020 Pandemic

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As businesses close and struggle to stay afloat during these social distancing times, necessitated by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, many in the retail sector have been able to adapt by adding delivery or curbside pickup services. I don't know of any bookstores offering this service, but a Tokyo bookstore in 1966 offered a novel concept for the time that parallels 2020 efforts to get control of the deadly virus.  The Japanese bookstore in the wire photo below was called a "drive-in bookstore" by the press. It may well have been drive-in, as the image doesn't appear to show a drive- through for the car. Further research, in an attempt to identify the bookstore by name, was unsuccessful. But some interesting information about the business revealed the bookstore comprised a nine-story building with more than a million books in stock. All one had to do was drive up to the window, tell the "pretty clerk" which book or books you wanted, and the

Abbey Road (the book): A Bookstore Poster

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The photo of the Beatles, led by John Lennon, crossing the street above is from a photo shoot that produced one of the most recognizable and iconic record album covers of the 1960s, and all time for that matter: The Beatles' 1969 Abbey Road album. But this isn't the photo used for that album's cover, although it may appear to be at a glance. Fifty years ago on August 8th, 1969 (I'm a day late getting this out), this photo of the Beatles was taken outside of London's Abbey Road Studios. The Beatles titled their 1969 album after the historic studios in which they recorded it and crossed Abbey Road in a photo shoot that resulted in the album cover below. Another image from that photo shoot was used for the promotional bookstore poster below that advertised Brian Southall's book, Abbey Road, published in 1982, with a Foreword by Paul McCartney and Preface by George Martin. The book's dust jacket illustration matches what you see on this 12 X 17

R.I.P. William D. "Bill" Wittliff (1940-2019)

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I'm sad to hear of Bill Wittliff's passing yesterday, June 9, at age 79. He was a creative force in Texas as an author, screenwriter, photographer, publisher, bookseller, book collector, and designer of books and ephemera. Al Lowman, in Printing Arts in Texas (1975) ,  wrote, "Quite likely there is no more diversely creative talent in Texas today than this gifted designer, artist, sculptor, historian, writer, photographer, and poker player." I never really got to meet him other than exchanging greetings and thank yous at a book signing in Houston in 2007. I bought five copies of A Book of Photographs from Lonesome Dove , a collection of his photographs on the set of the Lonesome Dove miniseries in 1989. He was the screenwriter for that much beloved and now classic Western. He personalized a few copies for gifts, signed just his name on a few copies, which went up for sale later in my online shop, and, of course, I kept one copy he signed for my wife and me. It is