Friday, April 13, 2007

Worth the subscription

Nothing from the May issue of Harper's is up yet, and I'm not sure how much is ever available on line without some sort of sign-in, but everybody I pass it on to loves the letter from San Francisco ("A World in Three Aisles," byline Gideon Lewis-Kraus), about the Prelinger Library and lots more. The illustrations repay scrutiny, too; they're images from the library in bands across the pages, some commercial art, some title pages, some diagrams. Some of these publications are deaccessioned library items and still carry the old-fashioned pinprick-style marks of library ownership, rather than a stamp imprint of the library name. One of the library books is What I Have Done with Birds, by Gene Stratton Porter, an author who was a best-seller and whose books stood in ranks on library and other bookshelves. I liked the image of a promotion for Space Food Sticks. They used to make delicious snacks when we went tent-camping. I don't know when (or if) they were discontinued (I see that they're supposedly available, or at least some version of them), but I liked the chocolate ones in their day. Also discussed in the article are the Internet Archive and how a trove of industrial and instructional film (so-called ephemeral films) came to be preserved.


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