We just got a new Amish built display table for our living room. This allows us to exhibit even more items from our vast tchotchke collection. Here is a picture of our first exhibit: some illustrated books from our library that were formerly closed and piled on shelves. How wonderful to be able to view the amazing illustrations inside.
Bottom row, right, Moby Dick, illustrated by Rockwell Kent, 1930, First Edition, published by Lakeside Press in Chicago. Rockwell Kent (1882-1971) was a progressive, a target of Joseph McCarthy, the president of the IWO from 1944-1953, and an activist against nuclear proliferation aside from being an amazing black and white illustrator in ink and woodcuts.
Rockwell Kent also wrote and illustrated many books about his own personal adventures. The next book to Moby Dick’s left is Kent’s N by E, which is a memoir of the summer of his 1929 voyage to (and shipwreck on the rocks of) Greenland, 1930, First Edition.
Top Row, right, Joseph, illustrated by Nora Spicer Unwin (1907-1982), First Edition, 1947, written by Elizabeth Yates, a frequent collaborator. Born in London, Unwin came to the US in 1946 and illustrated lots of children’s books for many authors.
And left of Joseph, Richard A. Loederer (1894-1981) both wrote and illustrated Voodoo Fire in Haiti, 1935, First Edition. He was born in Vienna, Austria, came to the US, and worked for the WPA, painting murals in restaurants. Apparently he spent a very long time in Haiti where he gathered the material for this book.
In between the rows is a pen case given to me by the mother of a former student. It is filled with ink sticks and various other old writing implements and accoutrements.
Though first editions, these books are not in the greatest of shape. We randomly discovered them at garage and used book sales. Their covers are frayed and scraped. There are some scribblings and one of the bindings is split. But the richness of the illustrations inside is still intact. It is a remarkable pleasure to sip my morning coffee or an early evening adult beverage and peruse the opening of the books.