Collections Check List
1. E. H. Smith, U.S.A. – 40,000 papers, 1150 books, 2500 photos, 10,000 relics. In Franklin Memorial Library, Penna.
2. H. R. Marlowe, Ohio, U.S.A. – 35,000 papers, books, photos, relics.
3. W. J. Brodie, Florida, U.S.A. – 20,000. In Western Reserve Historical Society, Ohio.
4. E. H. Cole, Mass., U.S.A. – 20,000 papers. For Harvard College Library.
5. E. Herdman, Durham, England. – 15,000 (?) papers.
6. American Antiquarian Society, Mass., U.S.A, – 15,000. (T. J. Spencer and W. B. Grant collections.) 7. Leon Stone, N.S.W., Australia. – 12,000 papers, 225 books, 150 photos, 500 relics. Australian Library of A. J.
8. A. F. Moitoret, Wash., U.S.A. – 10,000 (?) papers.
9. V. J. Haggerty, New Jersey, U.S.A. – 10,000 (?).
10. C. W. Smith, Mass., U.S.A. – 10,000. In New York Public Library.
11. R. G. Barr, New Zealand. – 8,000.
12. B. J. Smith, Ohio, U.S.A. – 8,000.
13. W. Groveman, N.Y., U.S.A. – 7,000.
14. H. Bradofsky, Calif., U.S.A. – 7,000.
15. A. Harris, Wales, U.K. – 6,000
16. R. Babcock, N.Y., U.S.A. – 5,000.
A.J. Collections Global Barometer
ALFRED Babcock started something with his quiz, “Who have the six largest collections of ajay papers in the world? Edwin Hadley Smith and Leon Stone are two.”
Where do we go from here? Who has the world’s largest ajay libraries? An intriguing question demanding a tabulated answer. Not even expert Edwin Hadley Smith ever attempted a global check on A. J. collections, leaders and owners, for posterity’s record. That’s how tough it is!
Here are the facts. Or such of them as can be exhumed and assembled from one side of the world. Assessment of A. J. archives is tremendously difficult – mainly owing to the shroud of secrecy most owners throw over their collections. Figures are rarely quoted, thru lack of leisure to keep papers currently sorted and filed. Collectors usually don’t know how many papers they themselves own!
Why don’t collectors publicise their collections more? They should at least print approximate figures every few years. This is valuable reference data for fellow collectors and researchers. What they do with their private collections is their business. They do owe a slight return to the hobby from which they have acquired the material.
Collections blanketed under a shroud of secrecy are not much use. They provide doubtful satisfaction to the owner only. Apart from merely preserving material a collection to be of any tangible use should at least be ‘open house’ for the dissemination of the historical data it contains.
For this intrepid check up on world’s leading collections, published for the first time, some of the figures could be arrived at only by calling on the perspicacity of a Sherlock Holmes and the divination of an Indian Swami.
What happened to the colossal Marlowe collection – world’s second largest? His proclaimed intention was to present it to a Public Library. Did he? What has happened to it? Nothing has been heard of it since his death. Has the world’s second biggest collection gone up in incinerator smoke? Marlowe, NAPA ex-President and Official Editor, passed on in 1940. NAPA executives and collectors will have been recreant in their duty if this magnificent accumulation went to a salvage dump.
Percy Leng Day, ace English ajay, British APA and BALA executive of the 1890s and 1900s, possessed one of the world’s largest collections. His researches established the fact that A.J. flourished in France and secured for the Edwin Hadley Smith collection complete files of the rarest and earliest known amateur publications.
These were, The Student, published by English Oxford University students in 1750 and 40 issues of The Microcosm, edited by George Canning (under nom-de-plume Gregory Giffen), in 1786-87. Canning became Prime Minister of Great Britain in 1827.
In 1907 Day purchased 10,000 papers from Marlowe. His British section was the most complete in existence. Since 1914 Day and his priceless collection have vanished from A.J. kith and kin with the effectiveness of Wells’s Invisible Man. He has become one of the major all time mysteries of A.J. Presentation to the famous British Museum Library was mooted, but it is doubtful if this ever was accomplished. A check of the Museum’s records would confirm or deny. Paging Sherlock Holmes and the Baker Street Irregulars!
The Leon Stone collection is the only one equalling, even excelling, the Edwin Hadley Smith in comprehensiveness of its British, Australasian, and Foreign sections. Tribute to completeness of ALAJ’s Australasian section is the fact that it lacks only five issues of all known ajays since 1892. These are – Austral Amateur (Herbert Round), No. 31, July 1898 (ALAJ has two of eight pages of this issue; so tantalising!;) two issues Australian Youth (J. E. Jordan – C. McAulay); two issues The Inkpot (Leon Brodzky): these between 1892 – 99.
Highest amount ever paid by Hadley Smith was £6 (30 dollars) for a British collection from Edward F. Herdman. Top price for single copies 1/9 (40 cents) to Percy Leng Day for British rarities. ALAJ disgorged 2/- (50 cents) each for six issues Paul Cook’s Vagrant to late Wm. T. Harrington, whose collection was purchased in 1941 for £6 (30 dollars) by Burton J. Smith as nucleus of his Mid West Library.
ALAJ made its only complete collection buy in 1922 from Wm. B. Tracy, U.S.A. (800 ajays) for the very moderate price of £2/5/6 (11 dollars 55 cents). These, added to 750 ‘bequeathed’ by Hal E. Stone, formed ALAJ’s foundations.
In 1935-38 Hadley Smith sold to it 2300 ajays and books (1873-1935) for £10 (50 dollars), containing many rare items from Howard Lovecraft, Wm. R. Murphy, James F. Morton collections. Included were first five volumes of The Fossil at 12/- (3 dollars) each; volume 6 was bought from late Louis Kempner for 8/- (2 dollars) in 1935.
ALAJ’s British section received its greatest boost in 1927 by English oldtimer George W. Stokes’s 500 papers, photos, relics donation. Next biggest British gift (number unknown) came from Wheeler Dryden (ace English ajay, co-founder revived British APA 1910 as official editor) in 1930 when he split remainder of his collection between Leon Stone and Robert Barr, New Zealand.
In 1929 ALAJ enterprisingly bid for Joseph Parks’s British collection, via Australia-England radiogram (first ajay collection dickered for across the world by radio beam), was beaten by late Edward F. Herdman, Sr., who snapped it up on the spot: ‘Collection contained many bound items, filled a huge tea chest, weighed between 3 and 4 cwt.’
In 1931 ALAJ paid £2 (10 dollars) a copy to T. G. Mauritzen, U.S.A., for rare ajay books: Harrison’s Career and Reminiscences, Nixon’s NAPA History. Bresnahan’s even rarer UAPA History came thru the kindness of Hadley Smith sacrificing his own personal copy with bookplate, for 12/- (3 dollars).
ALAJ paid £5 (25 dollars) in 1930 to L. Schneider, U.S.A., for over 2000 Lone Scout papers.
T. G. Mauritzen wouldn’t part with his 10,000 aiay collection in 1930, for which he had ‘skimped, saved and travelled the country collecting for 25 years,’ for less than £100 (500 dollars). That makes ALAJ worth at the very least £200 (1000 dollars) – except that it’s priceless.
The collections of Herbert Round (publisher Austral Amateur, 108 nos., 1896-1906, co-founder Australian APA), E. McC. S. Hill (President AAPA, 1902-05), with important additions from Wm. H. Coxhead (co-founder Australian A. J., 1892, with Hal E. Stone), Len D. Gilmour, J. G. McNicholl, and other Aussie oldtimers, gravitated to ALAJ archives.
Coxhead had 1200 ajays bound in 13 volumes. Four came to ALAJ in 1929 bearing inscription, ‘Presented to the Leon Stone Collection by W. H. C.’ Two are two-inches thick containing 240 Aussie, British, U.S.A. papers from 1890. Others are two of the world’s most priceless pieces of ajay material.
They are 5 x 3½ in. red leatherette bound volumes, 11 nos., 1893-94, The Kangaroo, Coxhead’s own and Australia’s first printed ajay, co-edited with J. E. Jordan. ‘Official magazine of the Australian Golden Hours Corresponding Club’ (introduced to Australia by Geo. O. Billheimer, U.S.A.), was partly printed by Coxhead by the unique method of pressing a felt-covered wood block on dampened paper over inked type entirely by hand pressure. Front page heading, first issue, May, 1893, was cut from wood with a penknife.
Says Coxhead in his ‘Short History of A. J. in Australia’, 3½ pages, October 1910 Quarterly Review published by Walter Goff.
‘Our method was to set up direct onto a small wooden galley… run a home-made roller over it with ink, then lay our dampened sheet on the type carefully, after which it was pressed by muscular effort, with a small block of wood covered by felt. (Owners of automatic self-feed presses, please note!; also home-made axe-handle press efforts of Hal Stone and Martin Brennan)… We could get a fair print at the rate of 100 copies an hour, but as each page had to be done separately, it meant in a 20 page issue over 2000 prints for 100 full copies.
‘J. E. Jordan lived some 250 miles from Sydney, but he would send me half his copies and I half mine to him, which when stitched together, we would mail away. Six issues a year were all we could manage, and often we had to burn the gas to get it on time.’
Only two complete files of The Kangaroo are known to exist; ALAJ’s and Mrs. Coxhead’s. That’s how rare it is!
Came to ALAJ from the late Herbert Round his own personal blue leatherette bound copy of the first 12 issues of Stone’s Victorian Kangaroo, March, 1894-February, 1895. ALAJ previously had this file, but not containing the special ‘Hal Stone v. the A. A. J. A.’ supplement, October, 1894. This hit the highspots and/or lowlights of the Coxhead-Stone notorious conflagration. ALAJ had been chasing a copy for 25 years! Story behind that is this. The mellowing influence of the years, making Stone, Sr., ashamed of his diatribes, he promptly ripped this section out of his personal files (not being as thick skinned as certain of his American contemporary ajay smear experts!), much to the annoyance of ALAJ.
Other Coxhead rarities to ALAJ were a bunch of his handwritten ’pass-rounds,’ including Kangaroos Nos. 2, 8, 10, 11, July, 1892 – April, 1893.
Next biggest collection to ALAJ in the Southern Hemisphere is held by Robert Barr, New Zealand, with 8000 papers. It contains all important ajay books, including a few even ALAJ lacks, together with a number of bound volumes of specially selected ajays.
At a rough guess, ALAJ has, since 1920, spent about £100 (500 dollars) on papers, book purchases, postages, etc. These facts and figures are quoted to refute the calumny that collectors are on-the-make grab-alls out only for what they can secure gratis. ALAJ has received many munificent donations; mostly it has had to pay cold hard cash.
Oh! For a Wailing Wall!
‘IN the case of amateurs holding private (ajay) collections, there is always the danger of loss through fire, moving, death, or some other cause. Many valuable collections have been lost by being cleaned out by the family after the death of the collector, for to them they were simply a lot of worthless old papers.’ – Tim Thrift, Spring, 1945, Aonian.
Tragically, here’s a case in point.
Mary Whitaker, granddaughter late E. H. Whitaker, publisher Semi-Occasional Cedar Pointer, U. S. A., in 90s and 1900s, writes:
‘I should indeed like to say that we still have my late grandfather’s large collection of amateur papers, running into several thousands. A year or so after his death in 1939, aged 88, these boxes of papers were destroyed. I always felt they should be preserved, but his two sons didn’t think they would be of value to anyone.
‘It is a shame they were destroyed. I am sorry they are not in your library. I well remember many of the papers you want were in the collection. He had boxes and boxes of papers. I helped burn them. It’s an awful thought and one that will now be difficult to erase from my mind.’
Whitaker wrote Leon Stone in 1920:
‘I well remember your father. At one time I mailed him my paper. I thought I had a picture of your father on a card with other Australian ajays that W. H. Coxhead sent me. I have found the photo amongst my great collection, but your father is not on it. I find your father’s name on an old mailing list; on it are also the names of W. H. Coxhead, Herbert Round, Martin C. Brennan. I have some thousands of amateur papers.’
Wonder how Hadley Smith allowed these to escape? It points a moral. Oldtimers should make appropriate advance arrangements with their ajay material (which is more valuable to collectors and posterity than an incinerator or ash-can finale) for its safe disposal to leading collections for permanent preservation. Too many rare ajay items have suffered the above lamentable fate.
Tim Thrift raps us sharply for filling considerable space with expressions of appreciation by American ajays, at the same time not so subtly suggesting that we are suffering from an egotheistic complex, similar to that enjoyed by famous oldtimer Thomas G. Harrison. Personally, we have never hankered after the blimp-like egocentricities of a Harrison. Letters at which Thrift cavils were spontaneous acknowledgment of Koolinda.
They were published with a purpose. Far from a desire to dislocate a collarbone in an attempt to pat ourselves on the back we wished to show the sincere appreciation of Americans upon receiving an ajay from the other side of the globe; not a common event. It was the first we had published since 1929.
It was never intended there should be monotonous and meaningless repetition. Crane thought NAPA associate members an ‘excrescence’; Thrift is ‘disappointed.’ So what? So this! It’s an old A.J. custom. Don’t publish a paper and they knock you. Publish a paper and they still knock you.
Helen C. Heins’s Eternal Feminine, No. 2, devotes two out of its four 6 x 9 pages to readers’ appreciatory letters, concluding, ‘space being at its limit so few of the letters could be mentioned.’ Dr. Charles King runs 110 lines of readers’ letters (including Thrift himself!) in his Feather Duster, No. 10. They make most interesting ’copy’.
We haven’t been in A.J. since 1915 without learning to take it, as well as dish it out. Thrift is way off the beam in objecting.
MISS Ellie Russell, leading Australian APA literary light of the 1900s passed on in Sydney, Nov. 29, 1944, aged 76. Wayside Press had her book of poems, Fragments, in press; death came before she saw its completion.
Nominated for ho-hum oblivion. Moitoret’s 16 dry-as-dust pages of American political history in his Tick Tock. Strictly strychnine as ajay fare it’s better relegated to the Congressional Record or McGuffy’s Readers. Similar profligate space wastage was perversely perpetrated by Cole and Crane, with 50 (!) pages of interminably boring NAPA Constitutional boloney. Mike White said a mouthful: ‘Thou shalt pay two bucks a year for the support of the National Amateur and a few other vital expenses.’ That’s sufficient.
‘Marquis’ Guinane’s ‘Decline and Fall of Bureau of Critics’ (NAPA) sez all we feel. Them’s our sentiments! March Bureau most piffling and futile yet recorded.
Parker’s consistent non-mailing of his Bavardage South of Mason and Dixon Line and overseas in exchange for ajays is most discourteous, causing a helluva lot of trouble chasing copies deviously ’underground.’
U.S.A. – E. H. Cole, 5 Interludes, autographed NAPA 1944 Convention program, Olympian (1906); R. Holman, 8 Cubicles, Interbastation bound file; B. Crane, 9 Bavardages, 4 American Amateur Journalists, 9 Cubicles, photos; H. Anlian, 8 Nos. (2 Vols.) United Amateur, his editorship, Peoplesun file; J. J. Gudonis, 2 Friendly Quills, 4 Tryouts, 2 Interludes, UAP Alumni 1944 Banquet souvenir menu; A. Moitoret, 5 Californians, Olympian (1908), 1 Swift’s Weekly, 1 Marionette; Mrs. Nita H. Smith, Spencer’s Shakespeare Investigator, Fossil No. 103; W. J. Haywood, 50 ajays; AAPA Directors, 1938-39 Year Book; R. Telschow, his book Keep Smiling; C. W. (Tryout) Smith, photo; J. Miller (U.S. Army), 22 UAPA 1938-41 ajays; M. Gerber, (U.S. Army), Service publications, photos; R. Kleiner, his book Pegasus in Pasture; R. F. Cummings, Dime Novel Round Up; T. Thrift, book by E. A. Edkins, Leave Taking.
ENGLAND – Mrs. O. Teugels, 6 International Amateurs, 4 Midnight Oils, booklet poems; A. Harris, 23 Interesting Items, 2 Vanity Fairs, Nos. 2 and 5; J. Medcraft, 2 Collector’s Miscellanies.
OLD Man KOOLINDA (Kangaroo – no connection with cadaverous ones !) hops out of Ye Wayside Press when released by its keeper, Leon Stone, from its native habitat in Elgin Street, Gordon, New South Wales, Australia.
Typesetting by Stone, Jr., machining by Stone, Sr.
Garbed in new raiment (appropriately) 10-pt. Scholastic (‘Ragged Roman’ bowing out after faithful service), printed on a 50 years old (!) 8 x 12 C & P power platen. Edition, 200 copies.
Stock – Mignonette deckle-edge book antique. Cover – Biskra, green embossed.
Australian Library of A.J. (Leon Stone Collection) – 12,000 papers from 1845 – Australasian 655; British 1250; Foreign 45; American 10,050; 225 books; 150 photos; 500 relics. Established 1920.
Member – National Amateur Press Association, United APA, United Alumni, American APA, British APA, Australian Legion Ex-Servicemen.
DOING IT DOWN UNDER!
Hal E. Stone and Martin C. Brennan
‘Going to Press’
(Home-made one axe-handle power)
With Ye Wayside Goose, circa 1903.
Sydney, N.S. W., Australia.