Sunday 22 November 2020

Duchess Publishing Part I

Duchess Publishing & Printing Company was a Toronto based publisher of comics, magazines and paperbacks from the early 1940s until the mid 1950s. Here is one of its more famous books - Brigands of the Moon (c. 1946). No author is listed on the cover but the title page has John Campbell 1910-1971). This is wrong. The author is Ray Cummings (1887-1957) and the story was first published in the March to June 1931 issues of "Astounding Stories". Campbell was the editor of Astounding from 1937 to 1971 and this is no doubt how his name was attached to Cumming's book by an inattentive editor at Duchess.

The address on the back, 104 Sherbourne St, is in downtown Toronto. Sherbourne runs perpendicular to Richmond Street East, part of which was named Duchess Street until 1967.

Monday 3 August 2020

Star Weekly Novel Part II

I introduced the Star Weekly Novel in the last post. There are many intriguing aspects to the series, including the art - classic mid-century art that was also seen in dozens of magazines every month. We're fortunate that the Star Weekly editors noted the artists. Here are three.

Long Lightning - William (Bill) Book (?-?) was a Canadian artist about whom I can find next to nothing. His work is also seen on two Harlequins.

The Case of the Grinning Gorilla - Marshall Dawson (Mark) Miller (1919-2008) was an American illustrator with careers in costume design and wine making.

Blood Will Tell - Jay Herbert (?-?) is a mystery.

There is an obvious theme to the drawings for the two crime, one Western and one romance title. 

Star Weekly Novel  July 25, 1953

Star Weekly Novel June 13, 1953

Star Weekly Novel December 25, 1954

Friday 31 July 2020

Anna Ruadh

After 112 years and 50,000,000+ copies sold in nearly 40 languages there is a Gaelic translation of L. M. Montgomery's Anne of Green Gables. Just out from small Halifax publisher Bradan Press, Anna Ruadh is Morag Anna NicNeill's translation into Scottish Gaelic of the iconic Canadian classic.

There are, unsurprisingly, no early paperback versions of Anne published in Canada. The first Canadian hardcover edition is from Ryerson Press in 1942. I am surprised that there are no early American paperbacks. The only one is a 1940 Pocket Books edition of the fifth title in the series - Anne of Windy Poplars from 1936.

Also below is a recent edition from Penguin (2014).

Friday 24 July 2020

Star Weekly Novel Part I

The Star Weekly Complete Novel was published, as best I can determine, every week for 36 years from 1938 to 1973. That is about 1880 issues. The novel was part of the Star Weekly insert that Canadians saw every Saturday if they bought the Toronto Star. Until 1956 it was usually 16 pages (15 1/2"x11") with 40,000 - 45,000 words. There were a number of two part novels so I estimate around 1700 titles were published.

I recently bought a few of these including Maysie Greig's That Girl in Nice, published on August 1, 1953. This was months ahead of the book, published by Wm. Collins (London, 1954). The Canadian White Circle paperback imprint was no longer around in 1953 but from 1946 to 1949 there were 12 Grieg novels published.

The artist is American Marland Stone (1895-1975).

Star Weekly Novel - August 1, 1953

White Circle 260 - 1946

White Circle 280 - 1946

White Circle 312 - 1947

White Circle 321 - 1947

Wednesday 1 July 2020

153 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.

Charles G.D. Roberts (1860-1943) was a Canadian poet. Here is a selection from two of his books - The Iceberg and other poems (Toronto: Ryerson Press, 1934) and Songs of the Common Day and Ave! (Toronto: William Briggs, 1893).

Wednesday 17 June 2020

Kate Aitken and Tamblyn Drugs

In an earlier post I discussed the relationship between Canadian author Kate Aitken and Tamblyn Drugs. Here is a bit of that relationship - a four page collection of recipes from Tamblyn dated May 1950. The last page advertises her "Pocket Size Cook Book".

Note the "Tamblyn Broadcast" at the bottom of the first page. The radio station is CFRB. After 93 years Toronto's CFRB is still broadcasting.

Saturday 14 March 2020

Extinct Monsters! Part V

Two more Marx/Papo comparisons. Triceratops and Pterandon. Marx is right about the length of Triceratops. The Pterandon's wing length is a bit long - should be 18-20 ft.

Friday 13 March 2020

Extinct Monsters! Part IV

Another Marx/Papo comparison. This one is complicated. The Papo is an Apatosaurus. The Marx is a Brontosaurus. Same or different genus? Depends on whom you ask. A recent (2015) study argues strongly for different. You be the judge!

Marx got the length right but not the weight. Today's estimate is 17 tons - half of the 35 or more tons Marx has in its booklet. The largest suaropod genus known today is Argentinosaurus which is estimated to be between 100 and 130 feet and 55 to 100 tons.

Wednesday 11 March 2020

Extinct Monsters! Part III

This Marx Tyrannosaurus rex is the earliest version, referred to as the pot-bellied T Rex. A later version from Marx had him/her slimmed down.

Marx was faithfully (within the manufacuring limitations) capturing the 1950s versions of these dinosaurs. By the 1970s a dinosaur study renaissance had begun and we have today's much changed version.

The booklet is correct about weight. Length now placed at 40ft and age now 68 to 66 MYA.

Tuesday 10 March 2020

Extinct Monsters! Part II

In my last post I introduced the Marx dinosaurs from the 1950s and 60s. The set I own is the earliest - Series 500 from 1957. It has the following Extinct Monsters: 

Allosaurus dinosaur gray - toe out
Ankylosaurus dinosaur gray - fat legs + circle
Brontosaurus dinosaur brown - large circle
Hadrosaurus dinosaur gray
Plateosaurus dinosaur green - description  closer
Stegosaurus dinosaur gray - large circle
T. Rex dinosaur brown - fat
Trachodon dinosaur gray - hand down
Triceratops dinosaur green - thick horns
Kronosaurus reptile silver gray
Pterandon reptile gray
Dimetrodon synapsid green - mold circle
Sphenacoden synapsid green
Cynognathus therapsid green

So nine dinosaurs, two reptiles, two synapsids and one therapsid for a total of fourteen. The descriptions identify these as from the earliest molds. Later molds have subtle differences.

Here are two more comparisons with the Papo versions. 



Extinct Monsters! Part I

Change of pace. 

For a few posts I'll be talking about one of my other interests - toy Extinct Monsters (aka dinosaurs). Specifically the 1950s and 60s Marx sets. I've recently been photographing the Marx dinosaurs (although not just dinosaurs - more later) with my favourite recent models from French company Papo.

Here's a couple of examples along with the matching pages from the booklet that came with the earliest Marx sets. The landscape they're on is also from the Marx set.



Thursday 23 January 2020

French Canadian Paperbacks Part VII

There are 411 fiction titles in the Collection Petit Format imprint from publisher Les Editions Moderne of Montreal. Only two are paperback originals and only one is by a Canadian author. It happens that one book is in both categories - Le mouchoir d'Alencon (The Alencon Handkerchief) by Georges Monarque (1893-1946). Monarque was a lawyer and history buff. As far as I can see this his only novel - published three years after his death.

The other PBO is discussed here.

Collection Petit Format 140 - September 1949

Collection Petit Format 140 back

Tuesday 21 January 2020

French Canadian Paperbacks Part VI

More on the Collections Petit Format imprint from Montreal publisher Les Editions Moderne.

There is a fascinating overlap between Harlequin and Les Editions Moderne as both published a French language cookbook. The CPF version is Cuisinons (Cook), 1955 by Jehane Benoit. Benoit (1904-1987) was a well-known culinary author
who appeared on French and English television
and wrote a column for La Revue Moderne. The Harlequin cookbook is The Pocket Purity Cookbook (1950). Uniquely it was also published the same month by Harlequin in French as Livre de cuisine Purity petit format.

Harlequin 52 - June 1950

Harlequin 52 back

Collection Petit Format nn - October 1955

Collection Petit Format nn back

Monday 6 January 2020

Collection Fill

A book I've been wanting for 12 years has arrived. It is one of two of the 459 White Circle Pocket Library first printings that I was missing.

Mr. Babbacombe Dies by Miles Burton is one of 50 published in 1942 by Toronto's Wm. Collins Sons & Co. Canada.

Here is complete list - 1942 White Circle.

White Circle N - 1942

White Circle N back