More from the Great Book Town of Ann Arbor

The fourth bookstore we visited on July 12, 2016 in Ann Arbor.  Here I am in front of Motte & Bailey Booksellers in Ann Arbor, Michigan…

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Motte & Bailey offers over 10,000 volumes of used and rare books in a spacious and well-organized store located at 212 N. Fourth Avenue.

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“Motte & Bailey” is a type of medieval Norman castle, a wooden palisade rising on a mound of earth, found in many places in England, Wales, and Scotland…this name was chosen to reflect the specialty of the store’s inventory, books concerning all the various aspects of history.  But there are books from nearly all genres here, and all in lovely condition.   We found Gene Alloway manning the desk at the front of the book store; he has been active in the business since 1996.

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With Gene Alloway, Proprietor of Motte & Bailey Booksellers, Ann Arbor, Michigan

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Here is an example of a title we purchased at Motte & Bailey:

Two volume set of "Ramona" in a decorated binding (Little Brown, 1900) SOLD

Two volume set of “Ramona” in a decorated binding (Little Brown, 1900) SOLD

I highly recommend a visit to this bookstore if you are in Ann Arbor — it was one of my favorites there.

The fifth book shop we visited in Ann Arbor was charming beyond belief.  I felt as if I had stumbled into a time machine and stepped into a bookshop on some old London street.

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A wiry, spry man with pale gray hair and glasses greeted us as we came into the shop, in his crisp white shirt and a neatly tailored charcoal gray vest.  This turned out to be Richard Leahy, who takes charge of the night shift at the store.  You must envision him from my description, because he does not like his picture taken.   A shame, because he added so much to our visit at this store…but I guess you will just have to go there yourself (in the evening) if you want to experience the pleasure of meeting him.

By now it was about 6:00pm, and we were starving.  We were assured that the store would be open until 8:00pm, and asked Richard for advice on where to eat dinner nearby.  He directed us to an Italian restaurant just a few blocks away.  It was a delightful place called Gratzi.

Grazi Restaurant, 326 S. Main St., Ann Arbor, MI

Gratzi Restaurant, 326 S. Main St., Ann Arbor, MI

Gratzi had an excellent wine list and their food was fabulous.  You know how we usually take photos of what we are served in restaurants?  Especially when it is beautifully presented??  Well, we were so hungry we didn’t even pause for those photos this time!  Take it from me, the food and wine was top notch.

With full tummies, we walked back to West Side Book Shop, where Richard was waiting to assist us as we combed through their beautiful inventory.

Inside West Side Book shop, 113 West Liberty, Ann Arbor, Michigan

Inside West Side Book shop, 113 West Liberty, Ann Arbor, Michigan

Here are a few of the items we spirited away from this book shop:

The Small Yacht by Edwin A. Boardman (Little Brown, 1923)

The Small Yacht by Edwin A. Boardman (Little Brown, 1923)

 

Star-Dust by Fannie Hurst (A. L. Burt, 1921)

Star-Dust by Fannie Hurst (A. L. Burt, 1921)

Star-Dust by Fannie Hurst (A. L. Burt, 1921)

 

The Spirit of the North (Cupples & Leon, 1935) - inscribed by author LeRoy W. Snell

The Spirit of the North (Cupples & Leon, 1935) – inscribed by author LeRoy W. Snell

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Join us in the next post, we will be leaving Ann Arbor (sob!) and driving to East Lansing, Michigan.

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Twin Cities – Biblio-fantastic!

20150626_105952_resizedThe 25th Annual Twin Cities Antiquarian Book Fair took place on June 26-27th, 2015, and YES, we were there!  I grew up in the great State of Minnesota, and it was time for a family visit…which happily coincided with this MWABA sponsored event.

Twin Cities Antiquarian & Rare Book Fair - June 26-27, 2015.  Progress Center, State Fairgrounds, Saint Paul, Minnesota

Twin Cities Antiquarian & Rare Book Fair – June 26-27, 2015. Progress Center, State Fairgrounds, Saint Paul, Minnesota

Over 50 exhibitors from across the country came together at the Minnesota State Fair Grounds in St. Paul.

We arrived at 10:00am on Friday, thinking that’s when it opened (silly me) — only to find out that selling did not commence until 3:00pm.

This turned out to be a fortuitous error, because it caused us to drive over to Midway Used and Rare Bookstore to while away the hours, and there we discovered they were having a splendid 50th Anniversary Book Sale!

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Midway Book Store   was  voted Best Used Book Store of the Twin Cities by City Pages.

 

 

Midway Used & Rare Books, owned by Tom and Kathy Stransky, was established in 1965. They are housed in a Streamline Moderne building located at the corner of University & Snelling Avenues in St. Paul, Minnesota.

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Free parking spots!!  And inside there are two expansive floors of books, with excellent books in clean solid condition, in just about every genre,  from American History to Science Fiction, literature, decorated bindings, and much more.  Midway was also exhibiting at the Twin Cities Book Fair.

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We had a ball here, and came away with two boxes of carefully selected books.

Another lucky break — just a few steps away we found just the kind of cool old tavern where we like to have our traditional brain lubricating pre-book fair Bloody Mary!

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We didn’t even have to move the car — our space was reserved for Christensen Saloon and Midway Books exclusively!!  Perfect.

Christensen Saloon - St. Paul, Minnesota.  Have you ever seen such a long bar???

Christensen Saloon – St. Paul, Minnesota. Have you ever seen such a long bar???

We arrived back at the book fair promptly at 3:00pm, and it wasn’t long before we ran into John Phillips and his daughter Jennie from Evening Star Books.

John Phillips with daughter Jennie (Evening Star Books), and me.

John Phillips with daughter Jennie (Evening Star Books), and me.

John and Jennie recognized me from my blog!  They are friendly and fun booksellers, and had a cool selection of Literature, Mystery, Science Fiction and much more.

Evening Star books is based in Middleton, Wisconsin, and sells via their website and book fairs like this one.

Over at Sonny Ideker’s booth (Sonny Ideker, Bookseller) we found this treasure:

The History of Modern painting from Picasso to Surrealism (signed by Picasso)

The History of Modern painting from Picasso to Surrealism (signed by Picasso)

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Sonny hails from Roswell, Georgia, and exhibits at over 30 book fairs a year — so if you go to antiquarian book fairs, look for Sonny.  He had an extensive array of fine books.  This was was one of his selections we liked…

Spain, by George Wharton Edwards. (Penn Publishing Company, 1926)

Spain, by George Wharton Edwards. (Penn Publishing Company, 1926)

Sonny Ideker's booth at the Twin Cities Book Fair

Sonny Ideker’s booth at the Twin Cities Book Fair

Here are some more photos from the fair…

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Exhibitors came from as far east as Boston (Peter Stern) and as far west as Utah (Ken Sanders Rare Books and Back of Beyond Books).

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Ron looking over a case of goodies

In our next post we’ll tell you about the book scouting we did before and after the fair on our trek to Minnesota.

 

 

 

The History Behind the Fourth of July

Happy 4th of July! I apologize for not posting for awhile, but aside from being engaged in spring clean-up activities here at Old Scrolls Book Shop, I’ve been busy fighting a war.   I’ve just finished reading Kenneth Robert’s 836-page epic of America’s War of Independence, Oliver Wiswell.   It had me hooked from page one.

Oliver Wiswell, by Kenneth Roberts (1st Trade Edition, Doubleday Doran, NY, 1940)

Oliver Wiswell, by Kenneth Roberts (1st Trade Edition, Doubleday Doran, NY, 1940)

Independence Day seems a great time to write about author Kenneth Roberts, who is most famous for his splendid historical novels covering early American history, particularly the Revolutionary war era.

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Kenneth Roberts, photo from the back panel of dust jacket on his book “Boone Island.”

History is most often written by the winners; therefore we usually don’t get “the rest of the story.”

Oliver Wiswell is a thoroughly researched and well-written historical novel, telling the story of America’s war for independence from a different side– the Colonial Loyalist’s point of view.

Covering the eight years of grueling societal division and conflict, Roberts brings to light events and issues that were never exposed in your average American History class. All your standard heroes, like George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, John Hancock, and others are here seen as the imperfect, three-dimensional characters they actually were. Important battles are set forth as they actually happened – often won by the Loyalist side, and yet lost by retreating British generals who had no interest in victory.

Map on front endpapers of "Oliver Wiswell"

Map on front endpapers of “Oliver Wiswell”

This was truly America’s first civil war, dividing families, friends and neighbors in a great clash between those who believed they should avoid the bloodshed and suffering of a war with Great Britain and those who wanted to engage in war at any cost to gain complete independence. Both sides were patriots who loved their country, with different ideas on the best course to follow for the future of the colonies. It was not a matter that was put up to a vote. Well respected citizens and educated people were driven out of their homes if they were believed to be Loyalists; tarred and feathered, tortured or sent into hiding by mob rule. Families, homes, farms and businesses were destroyed –neighbor against neighbor.

Rear endpapers, "Oliver Wiswell"

Rear endpapers, “Oliver Wiswell”

Not without humor, Roberts succeeds in exposing the absurdities of war, and the follies of the military leadership and troops on both the British and Colonial side. He also conveys the resilience and strength of civilian men and women who, caught in the circumstances of war through no fault of their own, suffered great loss and hardship. His well-drawn characters are appealing and his scenes descriptive as he takes us from Boston to New York to England, France, and back to the colonies as his main character, Olive Wiswell, struggles to preserve his American homeland in the best way he knows how.

To experience this time in our history from the Revolutionist side, read Kenneth Roberts’ Arundel (1929) – the American Revolution through the Battle of Quebec and Rabble in Arms (1933), where he presents the conflict from the viewpoint of the Colonial rebels who are fighting against all odds to halt the advancing British invasion. The struggles of soldiers and civilians alike are vividly brought to life, amidst the miseries of war when food and supplies are scarce because of human greed and faulty links in the chain of command.

Arundel, by Kenneth Roberts (Doubleday Doran, 1933)

Arundel, by Kenneth Roberts (Doubleday Doran, 1933)

Rabble in Arms, by Kenneth Roberts (Later printing - Doubleday Doran, NY, 1943).

Rabble in Arms, by Kenneth Roberts (Later printing – Doubleday Doran, NY, 1943).

All of these books are compelling reads and make for a thorough education on America’s beginnings.

The great thing about an intensely researched and well-written historical novel is this; as you become involved with the characters, you absorb the facts of history in a way that never happens when reading a textbook, and hear the story as it can never be told in a book without characters. You experience life as it happened for people of the time, in detail.   As history unfolds in this compelling way, it stimulates a hunger for further reading and research.

I came late to appreciating the writing of Kenneth Roberts. Now I know why his books have quickly left our shelves, year after year.  He was a great novelist of America’s historic past, and wrote his novels with the same dispassionate truthfulness that made him a great journalist for The Boston Post and The Saturday Evening Post in the early twentieth century.

*Key historical novels by Roberts and their topics include:

Arundel (1929) – The American Revolution through the Battle of Quebec
The Lively Lady (1931) – War of 1812
Rabble in Arms (1933) – Sequel to Arundel; the American Revolution through the Battles of Saratoga
Captain Caution (1934) – War of 1812
Northwest Passage (1937) – French and Indian War and the Carver expedition
Oliver Wiswell (1940) – The American Revolution from a Loyalist’s perspective, from the Siege of Boston to the United Empire Loyalists
Lydia Bailey (1947) – The Haitian Revolution and the First Barbary War
Boon Island (1955) – 1710 shipwreck on Boon Island, Maine

In 1957, two months before his death, Roberts received a Pulitzer Prize Special Citation “for his historical novels which have long contributed to the creation of greater interest in our early American history.”  He died, aged 71, in Kennebunkport.

*taken from Wikipedia

Collectible first editions of Kenneth Roberts works are almost always available here at Old Scrolls Book Shop.

 

Fantastic Book Fair at St. Pete

20140315_153427_resizedWe had a fabulous day at the Florida Antiquarian Book Fair in St. Petersburg.  It was wonderful to see so many people standing in line to get in to the fair, and booths that were so crowded at times it was hard to squeeze in!  We went to the first full day of the Fair at opening (9am) on Saturday, March 15 and stayed until it was almost closing time.

Lining up at the entrance to the Florida Antiquarian Book Fair

Lining up at the entrance to the Florida Antiquarian Book Fair

The theme of the Fair was children’s books…”Pages of Wonder”…

Poster for the 2014 Florida Antiquarian Book Fair

Poster for the 2014 Florida Antiquarian Book Fair

There were around 100 exhibitors, all bringing a great variety of books to the fair in addition to children’s books.  Booksellers came from as far away as California and New York.

Bob & Becky Scott from Yesterday's Books, Richmond, Indiana (and me!)

Bob & Becky Scott from Yesterday’s Books, Richmond, Indiana (and me!)

Interior - The Coliseum, Florida Antiquarian Book Fair in St. Pete

Interior – The Coliseum, Florida Antiquarian Book Fair in St. Pete

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Stan and John Shelley with me sandwiched in the middle. (Shelley and Son Books, Hendersonville, NC)

Stan Shelley, left,owner of Shelley and Son Books, Hendersonville, NC (My apologies for not writing down the name of the handsome gentleman on the right!)

We found Gary Nippes at his booth — we had met Gary earlier in the week where he was in charge of selling the inventory at O. Brisky Books in Micanopy, FL.

Gary Nippes with Ron

Gary Nippes with Ron

Ron with Lorne Bair and Amir Naghib of Lorne Bair Rare Books, Winchester, Virginia

Ron with Lorne Bair and Amir Naghib of Lorne Bair Rare Books, Winchester, Virginia

Ron’s arms grew two inches longer from making five trips to the car carrying purchases from this sale.  We found decorated bindings, a few lovely children’s books, early jackets and more.

Here are a few of the books we bought at the fair:

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Max Beerbohm’s first book, and a signed Margaret Armstrong binding

I didn’t know that Paul Brown did an illustrated version of “Black Beauty”but here it is:

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Black Beauty, Illustrated by Paul Brown. First Edition (thus) in original jacket.

"Tobacco Leaves" by John Bain Jr.

“Tobacco Leaves” by John Bain Jr.

 

Title page spread from "Tobacco Leaves"

Title page spread from “Tobacco Leaves”

Goodbye, beautiful St. Petersburg, and thanks for hosting such a successful antiquarian book fair!

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We’ll be back soon with more news from our swing through the southern U.S. in search of fine books…

 

Book Scouting Trip – Day 4: Across Wisconsin

We left the Door County peninsula on Tuesday morning and rolled into Appleton, Wisconsin where we landed at Shenandoah Books Etc. (133 East Wisconsin Avenue) at about 9:30am.   This is a small but interesting book store tightly crammed with material.  It is owned by Paul Skenandore, a proud Native American of the Oneida tribe, who has been in the book business for over 30 years.

Ron talking with Paul Skenandore of Shenandoah Books, Etc.

Ron talking with Paul Skenandore of Shenandoah Books, Etc.

Besides running the book shop, Paul publishes  a nice pamphlet with poems, stories, and information on the Oneida Nation.   His store carries a lot of material on Native Americans, along with general stock.

Of course, we were hungry when we arrived — so Paul sent us right next door to “The Pasty Koop,”  owned by William & Kay Glass.   Bill Glass was a friendly fellow, regaling us with lots of stories relating to the history of the “Cornish Pasty,”  which was a pocket size pastry sandwich that miners in Cornwall, England used to carry with them into the mines.   The tradition was brought to America, into the iron mining country of upper Michigan, northern Wisconsin, and Minneosta.

Our breakfast was a Cornish Pasty - pastry filled with beef, potatoes, onions and turnips!  Delish.

Our breakfast was a Cornish Pasty – pastry filled with beef, potatoes, onions and turnips! Delish.

Bill Glass, Proprietor of The Pasty Koop, Appleton, WI

Bill Glass, Proprietor of The Pasty Koop, Appleton, WI

The shop had lots of interesting relics from the old mining days on display.   Hanging on the wall is an old pair of snowshoes, made by Bill’s Grandfather:

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After breakfast, we went back to Shenandoah Books, where we found a few Modern Library Editions and several other books that met our needs.  While book hunting in this shop we met a nice gentleman named Dave Rich.  Turns out he had lived in our home territory for about 20 years during the period he worked as an engineer for Kodak.   We shared a few stories about Rochester and the Finger Lakes area of New York.   Ironically, we ran into Dave and his wife about an hour later in a completely different town.  We went into a bakery looking for directions, and there was Dave, sitting at a table reading a book!  We continued the conversation from where we had left off at Shenandoah Books,  learning that Dave and his wife now live in the Minneapolis, Minnesota area where I grew up, and our destination on this trip!  Dave’s wife was popping into yarn stores in various towns while he was popping into book shops;  I fully expect to run into Dave again!!

We set out across the middle of Wisconsin following Route 10 into Stevens Point, and located Blue Moon Books at 2182 Strongs Avenue.

Blue Moon Books, Stevens Point, WI

Blue Moon Books, Stevens Point, WI

This place is a hidden treasure trove of vintage books and refurbished antique lighting.  multiple rooms packed with interesting books — we had a wonderful time here!  The friendly proprietor is Steve Kirschling, who has been in the book business for about sixteen years.

Steve Kirschling of Blue Moon Books, Stevens Point, WI

Steve Kirschling of Blue Moon Books, Stevens Point, WI

Here are a few of the lovely books we purchased from Steve:

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Thanks, Steve, for giving us a little extra time to shop, and for assisting us with directions to our next destination!

It was raining as we headed north out of Stevens Point and then West on Rte. 29 across Wisconsin.  We arrived in Eau Claire, Wisconsin a little before 9:00pm   It took us awhile to find a room for the night, but we settled in a nice hotel called The Plaza, had a later supper and fell asleep as soon as our heads hit the pillows!

We intend to do a little book scouting here in Eau Claire today and then point the car toward the Minneapolis area, where we will be visiting my family.

Expect a blogging break for up to four or five days while I enjoy family time!  We’ll catch you up on our way back East with more stories from the book hunting trail!

The Music of Words in the Land of Promise

Land of Promise – The Story of The Northwest Territory, by Walter Havighurst (NY: Macmillan, 1946)

Here is yet another wonderful book which we discovered on our recent book scouting trip.  An author-signed first edition, I bought it to read prior to offering it for sale, because it had me at hello with it’s lovely dust jacket illustration and it’s excellent prose.   What a pleasurable reading experience!  The book is rich in detail on the early history and settlement of the upper Midwestern United States, which in our country’s youth was known as “The “Northwest Territory.”  It is a page-turner, and kept me awake into the wee hours many a night;  had me reaching for the atlas to look up locations being discussed, even planning road trips to explore the places brought to life through the author’s words.

Endpaper maps from “Land of Promise – The Story of the Northwest Territory”

Here is a paragraph regarding the “Mound Builders” of Ohio:

“Above the wooded gorge of the Little Miami River on its way to the Ohio is Fort Ancient, the greatest military stronghold in prehistoric America.  Its grass and tree-grown walls extend four miles and enclose a hundred acres in two rudely triangular areas connected by a serpentine passageway.  Thousands of travelers have wondered at its irregular shape and some have seen clearly marked the outlines of North and South America, joined by the sinuous Isthmus of Panama.  So they credit the Mound Builders of a thousand years ago with a knowledge of geography that no European possessed until centuries later.”

Here are incredible stories from an incredible time in the history of mankind, as early explorers, missionaries, fur traders, followed by settlers moved into unknown territory from the original east coast colonies across the Alleghenies and Appalachians into the wilds of the Midwest.   There is the story of the race to claim the land by the French, the British, and the Americans, all of it long occupied by Native American Tribes.  Then the intrepid surveyors who followed with chain and compass – laying out the sections of land for settlement in places where the wolves howled at night, mosquitoes feasted on them by day, in country that was rough, isolated and difficult.  “They waited, sometimes weeks on end, for an observation of the stars to clinch their meridian.” 

It is also a story of riches found and quickly depleted by man…rich soil, bountiful fur, game, timber, iron and copper.   Here were expansive waterways–broad rivers and Great Lakes, at first mistaken for oceans and a route to the riches of the Orient…which in time became great shipping lanes for American commerce.

And then there are tales like this one, which make you want to grab a shovel and map and set out on a quest:

As a political maneuver In 1749, Celeron de Blainville was sent to reaffirm the authority of France in the upper Ohio Valley…

“In his canoe was an article of baggage which had added to the toil of the portages.  A box, sturdily built and surprisingly heavy for its size, was packed with lead plates, on each of which was printed a declaration of possession “…of said river Ohio, and of all those that therein empty; and of all the land on both sides of said river.”  At the mouth of each important tributary to the Ohio the party moored their canoes, drew up in military ranks on the shore and buried a lead plate in the soft soil.  Then to a nearby sycamore or willow trunk Celeron nailed a tin plaque bearing the arms of France and giving the location of the buried plate and repeating its inscription.

Years after the French claim to that country was forgotten, two of the buried plates were found.  At the mouth of the Muskingum a group of Marietta boys dug a heavy lead slab from an eroded place on the river bank.  They cut off a corner to make rifle bullets, but the remainder of that plate is now in the museum of the American Antiquarian Society at Worcester, Massachusetts.  Another plate, removed from the mouth of the Great Kanawha, is now in possession of the Virginia Historical Society at Richmond.  The rest are still buried at the river mouths.” 

The route to the new lands was first by canoe, raft or sailing ship, or on foot; later by wagons or coaches over rough roads…and then by steam powered ships and boats.  Canals were built to link lakes and communities; then the trains came.   This history of the development of America’s heartland is filled with little known facts about astounding yet little known people, as well as details on the lives of those who became legends, like Jonathan Chapman, better known as Johnny Appleseed.

The growth of cities, with their destinies determined by waterways, railroads and sometimes pure chance, is brought forth in detail and peppered with many intriguing facts.   Chicago (not expected to grow large) was built upon sloppy marshland; in the 1850’s, a huge project ensued where most of the city’s buildings and roads had to be raised 4 to 8 feet.  In 1858, the Tremont House, a big brick four-story hotel, was one of the last buildings to remain at the old level.  No one had mustered the courage to lift it out of the mud.  George Pullman (later of Pullman railroad car fame), tackled the job and completed it in seven weeks with twelve hundred men.

Walter Havighurst wrote many fine books, including The Long Ships Passing – The Story of the Great Lakes.   His first book, Pier 17  (Macmillan, 1935), was a novel about a waterfront strike on the west coast, and was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize.

The Long Ships Passing – The Story of the Great Lakes, by Walter Havighurst

His biography and bibliography is available here.

Havighurst died in 1994.  In his Eulogy, Philip R. Shriver wrote:  “Through the years, Walter gained a mastery of the English language equaled by few. He possessed a rare talent for using words, finding through their combinations melody, harmony, and tone. L. Scott Bailey, a 1948 Miami graduate, once said of Walter that “he could set my soul humming with the music of words.”

This book set my soul humming and filled me with wonder.  It is a fine example of the author’s talent.  A signed first-edition of Land of Promise, and a signed revised enlarged edition of The Long Ships Passing,  are currently available at Old Scrolls Book Shop.

Lincoln Highway – Collectible Books, Memorable Journeys

The Lincoln Highway - Coast to Coast from Times Square to the Golden Gate (W.W. Norton, 2007)

We came across this book recently, and it brought back memories of the summer of (2006) when Ron and I decided to follow the “Big L” on a book scouting trip half-way across the country.  The Lincoln Highway, America’s first transcontinental highway, stretches nearly 3,400 miles from New York City to San Francisco.  We covered about 1200 miles of it.  On our trip we hopped on at the eastern border of Ohio, following the “L” signs all the way into Iowa, which is not as easy as you might think.    The route crosses desolate, unpopulated areas, intersecting both sleepy little towns and busy urban areas like Fort Wayne and the edge of Chicago.

The signs are infrequent and small, sometimes just a fading presence on a utility pole, and there are many twists and turns to the route which can get pretty hairy when you are in an urban area like Chicago Heights trying desperately to find an “L” sign.   It’s like following a trail of bread crumbs.  Pretty soon you are seeing the red white and blue L in your dreams at night!

Sometimes we would get lost and stray off the route, only to find ourselves back on it miles later when we’d unexpectedly come across another “L”.   See some history and examples of Lincoln Highway road signs here at the Lincoln Highway National Museum & Archives website.

Our trip commenced during the week of the Annual Lincoln Highway BUY-WAY Yard Sale, when yard sales occur all along the highway.  We thought this would be a boon to a book scouter, but we really didn’t find many books at the yard sales, at least not on our leg of it.  We did find antique shops, junk shops, flea markets and the like…and even some used & rare book shops.  The route goes through Mansfield, Ohio (home of author Louis Bromfield’s Malabar Farm) and Ft. Wayne, Indiana (home of Hyde Brothers Books), which are always enjoyable stops for us.

Collectible books pertaining to the Lincoln Highway

Some interesting travel narratives were written about early journeys on this route, and some of them have become highly collectible books.  Before Emily Post published her famous book on etiquette in 1922, she wrote By Motor to the Golden Gate (1916), a narrative of her cross-country journey on the Lincoln Highway (her son Edwin drove the car).  In 1914, Effie Gladding’s story of a similar trip with her husband was published under the title Across the Continent by the Lincoln Highway.   It Might Have Been Worse, (now there’s an enticing title!) by Beatrice Massey was published in 1919, and in 1927, The Family Flivvers to Frisco by humorist Frederic Van de Water was published.   All four of these books have become scarce and collectible.

If you like Road Trips, especially following a trail that will take you through towns, villages and countryside you otherwise might never visit, and if you enjoy the nostalgia of old diners, motels and forgotten byways, the Lincoln Highway is for you.  Older than Route 66, it was the first transcontinental highway (basically formed by connecting what then existed as east-west roadways across the country and labeling them).  “Seedling miles” were paved here and there “to demonstrate the desirability of this permanent type of road construction” to rally public support for government-backed construction.  Camping equipment, tools, and spare tires were de rigueur on those early trips.

From an August 1985 article by Drake Hokanson appearing in Smithsonian magazine:

“If it had been restlessness and desire for a better way across the continent that brought the Lincoln Highway into existence, it was curiosity that kept it alive—the notion that the point of traveling was not just to cover the distance but to savor the texture of life along the way. Maybe we’ve lost that, but the opportunity to rediscover it is still out there waiting for us anytime we feel like turning off an exit ramp.”

Read more about the history of The Lincoln Highway here.

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