Tuesday, October 09, 2007


"Anything that's a book"

One of the more famous mottoes in the book business, surely - Goodspeed's, in Boston. I never went - I wish I had! - but my parents remember it very well. Catalogue 590 has a great cover illustration of The History of Little Goody Twoshoes, 1787 (the origins of which I mentioned months ago when I was deep inside The Reader's Encyclopedia):

This is a general antiquarian catalogue, slim and listing just 145 items, while their next one, 591, lists nearly 4500 items, wow! The cover of 591 is a copy of a charming print showing the "Stages of Man's Life, from the Cradle to the Grave." It reminds us: "Resist the devil and he will fly far from you." I'm working on it, I swear:

The only item I covet terribly (for myself, not for resale) from the former is a fine first edition of Stevenson's Travels with a Donkey in the Cevennes, 1879. The latter is good reading and informative, and the bookseller in me appreciates its depth, but I don't crave any specific books for my very own. Of course I'd take it all, for the shop, no questions asked. No date appears in either catalogue, as is usual with most booksellers' catalogues, but I guess these must be of a rather late date, because some of the prices seem contemporary, and the sales tax for Massachusetts is listed as 5%. Early 1980s? I don't know when Goodspeed's closed up, perhaps someone can enlighten me. I know I've mentioned the memoir Yankee Bookseller (Houghton Mifflin 1937) before - the founder Charles Goodspeed's autobiography - but it bears bringing up once again.

Feeling better after a great day off yesterday at home. The hallway is now empty of boxes - I unpacked a few more, then stowed away the rest in the spare bedroom. I put a big bedspread over them, and I've decided to ignore them for a few months. Then I spent a few hours in the book room communing with my collection, and I realized yet again how dear these books are to me. My old friends. And today at the shop, nothing but good news - customers chatting and actually buying good books - back to business as usual.

OOh I love genealogy. And I love the movie The Rock starring Nicolas Cage. His character's name was Goodspeed in that movie. LOL

I love catalogues as well.
Haven't seen it, but that made me chuckle...

Goodspeed catalogue 591 has 2300 books/items just by family name. Then another 2000+ items of town history, colonial records, heraldry, etc. It's really something, if you like that kind of thing. Which we do.

The Stages of a Man's Life, is the most depressing picture I have seen all year.

Possibly less so if you are still on the upward curve, but even so...
Lovely, isn't it? So much to look forward to. A few years ago I had a little bit of temperance ephemera - it was almost identical to this, but instead of just general old age (and the devil...) getting you in the end, the cause of early decrepitude and total ruin was John Barleycorn. Gotta watch out for that sinning.

So glad, Jonathan, to make your day just a little bit brighter...
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