Friday, 1 July 2022

155 and Counting

 The British North American Act, enacted March 29, 1867 by the British Parliament, provided for Confederation of the three British North American colonies, Canada (Upper and Lower), Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. Now much amended as the Constitution Act, 1867, it was proclaimed into law on July 1, 1867 and Canada was born. The first official birthday celebration was in 1868, July 1 being named Dominion Day in 1879 and Canada Day in 1982.

Just eleven years on from 1867 The Cromaboo Mail Carrier was published in Guelph, OntarioThe author is Mary Leslie (1842-1920). Cromaboo is Erin, described by Leslie as "the most blackguard village, and is settled by the lowest Irish, Highland Scotch, and Dutch. ... Fights are frequent, drunkeness flourishes, vice abounds; more tobacco is smoked there than in any village of the same size in the Dominion; swearing is so common that it passes unnoticed, and there is an illegitimate child in nearly every house." The good citizens of Erin were not happy and looked to have copies destroyed. The book is rare.

Monday, 23 May 2022

Martha Ostenso's Lost Novel

Martha Ostenso (1900-1963) found early success with Wild Geese (1925). She lived for a time in Canada but lived most of her life in the US. Her bibliography appears complete but is missing one novel. No doubt because of its odd publishing history. 

First published in the February 1938 issue of McCall's, and the Town Talked eventually found a book publisher. Toronto based Export Publishing brought the novel to the Canadian newsstand and drug store in September 1949. Living in the US it is possible Ostenso did not know about the book. The Export edition is nearly complete with a few sentences removed at the end of some of the chapters to make the chapter end at the bottom of a page. It was also published in a July 1939 issue of Australian Women's Weekly. 

Export, as always, was enthusiastic about their publication:

"and the Town Talked is a gripping story of a vivacious and daring dancer who rocks the smug aristrocacy of North Hill with corroding scandal. ... Martha Ostenso in her vigorous and inimitable style, has created a masterpiece, intriguing the reader with its wealth of human emotions."

News Stand Library 69 - September 1949   

McCall's - February 1938

Wednesday, 23 March 2022

Bell Features and Publishing Artists Part III - René again

The mystery discussed in the last post on early Canadian paperback artist René has been solved (thanks Morgan). He is Rene Kulbach.

He worked on Bell Features original early 1940s comics and did the covers on two of Bell's 17 paperbacks.

Here I'll show his front cover signature which matches up with his comic one.

Monday, 21 March 2022

Bell Features and Publishing Artists Part II - René

The seventeen paperbacks published by Toronto's Bell Features and Publishing circa 1946 have seven signed covers. Five are by Adrian Dingle and two by an artist signing as René. Both covers have a difficult to decipher signature. Fortunately he/she signed the back cover of The Canyon of Death more clearly as "RENÉ".

Assuming this is not René Magritte the artist remains unknown.

Sunday, 6 February 2022

Studio Publications Part VII

Ten years ago I introduced the Junior Adventure Library from Toronto's Studio Publications. It is an obscure four issue paperback series targeted to kids published in 1952. Three of the titles are well known texts and/or authors. The fourth is different. I just found this uncommon book and learned that it is a collection of four stories.

The book is digest sized with 90 pages of text, including five illustrations. All artwork is unsigned.

Dawn Patrol by Thomson Burtis (1896-1971). First published in the June 1924 issue of American Boy. As far as I can tell this is the only book appearance.

The Man Who Went Down by Laurie York Erksine. The source for the story is unknown.

"I Am a Dog" Confessions of a Dachshund by Clark W. Grayson. I can find nothing about the author or story.

"Bawler Out" and "Nimble-Feet"  by William Heyliger (1884-1950). The source for the story is unknown.

A 1955 Canadian Lung Association Christmas Seal stamp has been added to the front cover.

Studio Junior Adventure Library J2 - 1952

Studio Junior Adventure Library J2 back