Monday, July 20, 2015

Book jacket designer Arthur Hawkins, Jr.

Arthur Hawkins, Jr. was a prolific book cover designer in the 1930s, 40s, and 50s. He designed the iconic jacket of The Postman Always Rings Twice (Knopf, 1934), which appears on the Armed Services Edition paperback below.

Hawkins was a member of the Book Jacket Designers Guild, which was formed in 1947 in reaction to the crass and sexual pulp covers that had proliferated in that time. The guild put on exhibitions of the best dustjackets and paperback covers as a way to promote quality design that supported fine literature.
1945 Armed Services Edition of The Postman Always Rings Twice. From my collection.

Hawkins specialized in jackets, but he also worked on paperback covers: Lend-Lease: Weapon for Victory (Pocket Books, 1944), Malice in Wonderland (Penguin, 1946), The Purple Onion Mystery (Penguin, 1947).

Steven Heller wrote a piece about Hawkins’ book cover work on the Print website.

There is more info about Hawkins and the Book Jacket Guild in The Book of Paperbacks by Piet Schreuders.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

The Service Club Library in Camp Wheeler, Georgia during WWII

Librarian Miss Hatcher and Richard Bowers Oliver in the Service Club Library, Camp Wheeler, GA, 1941.

I recently bought this photo on eBay. Here's some info from the seller:

From a series of photos taken by Army Private First Class Richard Bowers Oliver while stationed at Camp Wheeler, near Macon, Georgia. From the breadth of the subject matter, it appears that Oliver was an official camp photographer in the Public Relations Office, and the photos he took provide rare glimpses into the everyday life of an American Soldier during World War II. Camp Wheeler was used as an infantry replacement center from 19401945. At the height of the training effort, the camp contained 17,000 trainees and 3,000 officer personnel. Among units staged there was the 7th Infantry Division.

Richard Bowers Oliver was a news photographer, born in Dorchester, Massachusetts, May 19, 1913. He moved to Auburn Maine and resided at 25 Hampshire Street. He worked for the Lewiston Journal Newspaper but appears to have done a lot of freelance work as a news photographer.

You can read more about the WWII Army Special Services Librarians in my earlier post.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

1940s book ends and bookshelves

My great-grandfather was a handy guy. In the 1940s he built a bunch of furniture, lamps, door knockers, and various home do-dads that can still be seen at our family cabin. He owned a couple Popular Science craft books which got passed down to me: Cyclopedia of Things to Make (1937) and Complete Home Workshop Cyclopedia (1945). I was paging through these books and found several book related projects (click images to see larger):

Storing your books under a homemade fish tank doesn't seem too wise. View larger.

My great-grandpa used this tree stump guide to make a pair of lamps. View larger.
Novel garden-gate book end decorated with jig-saw cat and dog engaged in argument. View larger.

Log cabin book ends for rustic settings. View larger.

This guy doesn't seem too pleased with his end table. View larger.

This newspaper rack isn't necessarily for books, but I'll allow it. View larger.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Santa Clara County Library raises books for GIs, 1942.

San Jose Mercury News, January 4th 1942.
I found this clipping on the Santa Clara County Library website. Private Sagaser is holding a copy of B. M. Bower's Big Book of Western Stories (Grosset & Dunlap, 1910). Westerns were very popular with GIs, but the Victory Book Campaign wanted new books.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Dawson's Book Shop, Los Angeles, 1940s

On the Los Angeles Public Library images site I found photos of Dawson's Book Shop, which was at 627 South Grand Avenue in downtown Los Angeles.

A portrait of staff and members of the Dawson family, including Glen, Muir and Ernest, in front of Dawson's Book Shop on the occasion of the store's 35th anniversary. 1940.

Book collector A. Edward Newton, center, speaks with Ernest Dawson in Dawson's Book Shop. 1940.

View of a parking lot located at Wilshire Blvd. and Grand Avenue. A few businesses, including Dawson's Book Shop and Mannings Coffee Cafe, are visible on Grand Avenue. A billboard asking for the re-election of Republican governor Earl Warren is seen above Dawson's. 1946.

Looking east towards the intersection of Wilshire Boulevard and Grand Avenue (center); seen are various businesses, including Dawson's Book Shop (left), office buildings, and billboards. 1948.
The all night bookstore table at Dawson's Book Shop, 1950.

Friday, November 14, 2014

When Books Went to War review

When Books Went to War is a WWII social history perfect for book lovers. During the war years book publishers, libraries, and the American public responded to this great conflict by donating millions of free books to US troops across the world. Early in the war the Victory Book Campaign collected millions  of books in nation-wide book drives. The Council on Books in Wartime, an association of publishers and booksellers, worked with the US government to produce millions of pocket-size paperback editions.

Molly Guptill Manning explains how good books saved GIs from homesickness and fought Nazi ideology at the same time. Hitler's regime sought to conquer minds through book burnings, the destruction of European libraries, and the disbursement of propaganda. American publishers and librarians promoted nonfiction books as a way to inform this country's citizen soldiers. Thought-provoking novels displayed the freedom found in democratic society. Indeed, the CBW was instrumental in combating censorship at home when Congress enacted a law limiting the kind of books sent to the troops.

Reading books lifted the spirits of war-weary soldiers and sailors. This was a relief to the individual men, and the increase in morale improved the fighting capabilities of American forces overall. Manning shares numerous letters written by GIs who were beyond thankful to receive their Armed Services Editions. In this excellent read Manning reveals books' importance to the war effort, while conveying the personal feelings of those involved: the passion of publishers and librarians and the psychology of men at war.

See Kirkus' book review.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

WWII Army Special Services Librarians

"Want a good book?" Army Librarian section books for soldiers. Left to Right: Sgt. Seymore Grobzob, Virginia Hallowell, Elizabeth City (from Elizabeth City, NC), and Sgt. Caffey. US Army Forces, Western Pacific (AFWESPAC). Manilla, Philippines. August 19, 1946.
I asked the US National Archives if they had any photo of WWII GIs with books, and they sent me some shots of WWII Army Special Services Librarians in the Pacific. Sadly, there is little information to be found about the Special Services Librarians. They were part of the Women's Army Corps.

WWII Special Services Librarian patch. The 9 books represent the 9 branches of the Army. (found on eBay)
6000 New Books arrive from the States for Army Librarians. Left to right: Annie Laurie Etchison, Chief Librarian, AFWESPAC (from Cleveland, OH); Lt. Col. Justin Doyle, Director "A & R", AFWESPAC; Virginia Hallowel. August 19, 1946.
Left to right: Mr. Albaz (Manila) and Annie Laurie Etchison. August 19, 1946.

Further Reading:

Librarian.net has a great post "We remember: Army special services librarians".

I discovered Books and Libraries in American Society during World War II by Patti Clayton Becker (Routledge). Unfortunately it is a rather expensive monograph, and it's a print-on-demand book (printed books are not kept in stock). I actually did order a copy, but over a month went by without receiving the book, so I canceled my order.