"these little songs, and many like them, were made for the comfort of my friends, in their sorrow, doubt and suffering"
An internet search, even in these days of abundant information, yields only that the pamphlets can be found in various library collections, and that they continued to be produced into the '70s. And that Edmund Wilson once sent one, "Mr. P. Squiggle's Reward," to Nabokov, calling it "one of the oddest of many odd things that are sent me by unknown people." He also got the title wrong, dubbing it "Mr. P. Squiggle's Revenge," which is probably significant. But that’s it: nothing about Volk or McCalib.Epitomes was a series of pamphlets published by Elwin Volk and Dennis McCalib. Few traces of Volk's life are to be found, but he seems to have been a lawyer, and wrote at least a couple of pamphlets about law, which he self-published in Pasadena. McCalib is equally elusive. A man by that name contributed to an issue of One: The Homosexual Viewpoint in 1964. A Dennis McCalib also used the pseudonym Lord Fuzzy. The aforementioned "Mr. P. Squiggle's Reward" got a curt, two half-sentence dismissal in Poetry Magazine, otherwise these pamphlets seem not to have troubled the literary world. Someone donated their manuscripts to UCLA where they rest undigitized in fourteen boxes. But Library of Congress has scanned a total of twenty-six pages in high resolution.
Cardon Copy takes the vernacular of self-distributed flyers and tear-offs... redesigning them, overpowering their message with a new visual language. [via]
Remember Paper is a blog with photos of interesting magazines, books, and other paper-based ephemera. NSFW.
Peace and War in the 20th Century is an ambitious, in progress, massive assemblage of posters, photographs, propaganda, ephemera, letters, diaries, paintings, sketches, stories, letters, music and related items, from McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario. The collection is international in scope. Some of the nodes lack content, and the navigation is a little confusing, so the jump I list some of my favourite case studies from their site. [more inside]
The University of Washington has put a collection of Vietnam War era printed ephemera (posters, flyers, pamphlets, magazines, mostly cheap mimeographs or photocopies) online. The browsable collection ranges from Defend the Black Panthers to How to Make a Revolution in the U.S. to the Planetary Citizen Human Manifesto to plain old Do Something. The collection offers a fascinating insight into the passion, energy and graphic sensibilities of grassroots, home-front politics in late 1960s and early 1970s Seattle. [more inside]
From the Bookstalls of a Nigerian Market. Onitsha Market Literature consists of stories, plays, advice and moral discourses published primarily in the 1960s by local presses in the lively market town of Onitsha [in then-newly-independent Nigeria]... In the fresh and vigorous genre of Onitsha Market Literature, the commoner wrote pulp fiction and didactic handbooks for those who perused the bookstalls of Onitsha Market, one of Africa’s largest trading centers. Examples: How To Write And Reply Letters For Marriage, Engagement Letters, Love Letters And How To Know A Girl To Marry, Learn To Speak 360 Interesting Proverbs And Know Your True Brother, Struggle For Money [All full-text links are in pdf format, and some are quite large]. With links to additional resources.
The very cool Prickly Paradigm Press is starting to release its back catalog under the Creative Commons license. [via]
The Saint Turned Sinner, or the Dissenting Parson's Text Under the Quaker's Petticoats - the bawdy tale of "A Gospel Cushion thumper, who dearly loved a Bumper," from Blackletter Ballads, a small but fine collection of ballads with themes ranging from cutpurses to kings, all gleaned from 17th century broadsheets.