Old Book Covers, Part Four

November 29, 2018

From 1952


Part Four of Four

I’ve been scanning book covers that I like.   This time, these are mostly books connected with art and artists.

Someday I’ll share more old book covers, but this is enough for now.  I hope that the rest of your year 2018 is a good one, or at least an acceptable or tolerable one.



From 1959 by Eugene A. Nida & William A. Smalley





Cover Art by Jackson Pollock, from 1964





From 1970





Translated by Richard Barber, in 1999 (original from the Bodleian Library).





Cover Art by Hans Hoffman, from 2002




First published in 1923





From 1950


Old Book Covers, Part Three

October 31, 2018

Naked Canvas, from 1955

Part Three of Four

I’ve been scanning book covers that I like.   These are mostly tied to love and romance: and its discontents.  Most of these are real potboilers and are probably not worth reading all the way through.

You can see how they’re trying to boost the sales of the books by making them a bit lurid.  Sex sells.  Yes that Velvet Underground book is the source of the name of the rock group The Velvet Underground.


Mosquitos, from 1927



The Smoldering Fire, from 1955



Bed of Hate, from 1955



Pastoral, from 1954



Shore Leave, from 1944



The Velvet Whip, from 1954



The Velvet Underground, from 1963


Old Book Covers, Part Two

September 29, 2018


From 1971


Part Two of Four

I’ve been scanning book covers that I like.   These are connected with feminism and women’s issues.  Every March, I install a “Women’s History Month” exhibition here at the University of Detroit Mercy Library.  These books are representative of what I include.

I usually have sections related to women in the arts, sciences and more as well.

These days, it’s important that men stand with women and that they listen to them.  Empathy, understanding and solidarity are essential (now more than ever).





From 1973



Every month should be Women’s History Month:



From my political-social-environmental blog, late last year:




If you click on the images, you can enlarge most of them,  and then hit the backspace key to get back to this page.

Old Book Covers, Part One

August 31, 2018


Circa 1929.  This novel was the basis for the old Warner Brothers gangster film starring Edward G. Robinson.


1884, probably by Henry Francis Keenan.


Circa 1888, by Frederick Ober


1903 edition.


Part One of Four

I’ve been scanning book covers that I like.  These are older examples from 1875 to 1946.  Only one of these is from my own collection.  I borrow them from friends and from libraries.  Parts two through four will have more from my own personal library.

Sometimes I feel like I’m drowning in a sea of paper.   This is especially true with the endless flood of junk mail/ little “good mail.”  Books are good paper though.  So are drawings on paper.  I hope you enjoy these book covers.  There’ll ne more to come in the next few months.


From 1946.


By J.V.C. Smith, 1875.


Circa 1899.


From 1903.

Cracks in the Sidewalk/ Cracks in the Earth

July 31, 2018
earlymarch_2015 005too

March 2015

I’m a serious pedestrian.  I walk around the city.  I don’t do so as much as I used to but I still do so more than most.  You get a different view of streets when walking.  You see things that you’d miss while riding in a car or on a bicycle.  Fishing for fissures has become a minor hobby.


July 2016

All photos were taken in Detroit, unless otherwise noted.  That’s my regular beat, but occasionally I get to the suburbs.  I used to bus out to Royal Oak, Ferndale, Dearborn and Warren, yet I rarely do so now.  I wish I could get to Ann Arbor more often, yet that’s rare too.  I get around though.

midjulya 047c

July 2018



May 2016


julyends 096b

July 2018.


midjulyb 105b

A serious pothole, July 2018.

This pothole was there from March to July or so.  It was near my block, so I’d see it nearly every day.  It was a deep one.  It probably damaged a few cars.  They finally filled it in just after I took this photograph.

The Detroit Hardware Company 1924-2018

June 30, 2018

My favorite hardware store just closed.  I think that they had to be out of there by the end of the month.  I just saw a photo they’d put out of the store all emptied out.  They donated their 100-year-old cash register to the Detroit Historical Society.

I’ve visited this store regularly.  It was in my neighborhood.  In 1985 I worked right across the street from it.  When I first started to work at Crowley’s Department Store, it was located in the former Demery’s on Woodward.

p_latmay 077b

pb_june 024bb

It was almost like a hardware museum.  They had such cool stuff there and the people who worked there were knowledgeable and nice.  I liked the fact that it primarily women-owned.  The people who ran it were nearly all female.  They knew their hardware.

midjunto 021b

They used a bank of old library card catalogue drawers for odd hooks, eye hooks etc.

It sounds like they got a good price for the building.  It’s all cleared out now.  We’ll see what they do with it. Best wishes to all the people who worked there.  To those who are retiring, happy retirement to you!





q_earlyjune 021b

Bins of loose nails.

Their facebook page, in memory:  https://www.facebook.com/detroit.hardware/

t_midjunto 030b




z_earlyjune 017b

The back door in the parking lot.

My Life as a Child

May 31, 2018



The two photos above were taken on Meldrum street in Detroit in May 1954.  I was still enjoying my short time as an “only child.”  My parents are so young here.   I’ve been going through the family photographs.  They help bring back or stir up a lot of memories.  I’m the oldest in a family of nine children.  Part of my childhood was connected with family activity.  We got to be pretty active.

When I was a baby, we lived by Wayne State University.  When the family started to grow we moved to the west side of Detroit.  We were in the University of Detroit area.  In the early 1960’s we moved.

The three oldest : Thomas, Dennis and Maurice.

At our house on the east side of Detroit we had a huge backyard.  In the colder Winters, we’d flood the backyard and create an ice rink.  The neighbors would come over and ice skate with us.  We had a goldfish pond.  Sometimes it’d freeze over but the fish would still be alive in the Spring.  There were fruit trees.  We’d help pick pears, apples and (for a little while) cherries.  They’d be canned, eaten fresh and made into pies.  My dad built a tree-house in the apple tree.  We used to sleep up there sometimes.

We’d play complicated war games with miniature figures, mostly out in the sand box.  Often cowboys, Indians, knights-in armor and green army men would all be fighting on the same side.  We were near the Detroit River and always heard the freighter ship’s horns as they went by.  We could go down to the park and watch the boats go by.  We’d even go swimming, though this could be dangerous.

The three oldest boys: Thomas, Maurice and Dennis.

It wasn’t all pleasant and magical.  I’d get beaten up by the older kids at school, things like that.  There was some bad stuff.  There’s always conflict.  Generally though, I had a most excellent childhood.  I hope to write it up in greater detail, either here or in the first chapter or two of my memoirs.

I was a reader, early on.  Besides books, I loved music, cartoons and old movies.  Television was a sort of part magic window and part home theatre.  Sometimes we’d go out and see a special movie.  Either my aunts would take us or we’d go out as a family.  Once my dad took some of us to see a documentary film showing in downtown Detroit.  Then there were the neighborhood theatres including the Cinderella and the Esquire.  We’d go to monster movie matinees.  It was always a treat to see a movie in a theatre.

Both my parents encouraged our imaginations and creativity.  My dad would make up bedtime stories for us.  I started drawing and making little booklets.  These were often colored with crayons and stapled-together.


We had a baby alligator, a bat, numerous chickens and roosters, various snakes, turtles, lizards and a few parakeets and canaries.  Some of the pets were due to the fact that my dad was a science teacher for the Detroit Public Schools.  Students would catch things and bring them into class.  Then they’d end up at our house.  We had one dog, named Sox.  We had one cat, Meatball.  We didn’t name him.  He arrived, already named.  He was a big black cat with a white spot on his neck.

I was sort of loner but got along OK with my classmates.  In the family, we’d have our fights and troubles, but generally we got along.  Once, one of my brothers heard the call for dinner but he could not come, as he was tied to a tree.  The three oldest kids were in one small bedroom, in a triple-decker bunk bed.  I was on the bottom bunk.  Eventually, I got my own room.  I could see the Detroit River out of the window.

Thomas, Matt and myself, right.

I was in the Boy Scouts of America, patrol leader of the Pine Tree Patrol.  We had plenty of boy scout camping trips.  I really loved nature, being out in the forest and under the stars.  I’d also got to go to Camp Ozanam, a Summer camp not connected with the Boy Scouts.  We had a few family trips and camp-outs as well.  The main trips were to Washington D.C. and to Charleston, South Carolina.

I generally didn’t care for sports, though I did enjoy swimming, hiking and playing softball.  With our Boy Scout troop, Troop 4 we once walked from Detroit to the Charles Howell scout camp, a hike of over 50 miles!

When I was freshman in high school, I dislocated my hip.  I don’t even know how this happened, but it did.  I had to have a major operation.  They put pins in my hip and I had to go around on crutches for a while.  That was sort of the end of my childhood.

grade school photoo

J.J. Grandville

April 27, 2018

For the past few years, I’ve been doing some serious research into the life an work of  J.J. Grandville.  This post will be the first of several.  His work is amazing.  Animals take on human postures, movements and attire.  Plants grow faces.  It’s a pre-surrealist fantasia where everything often seems to be upside-down, inside-out and backwards.

J.J. Grandville was a pseudonym.   It was an abbreviation of Jean-Jacques Grandville.  His full name was Jean Ignace Isadore Gerard Grandville.






Some of my 1980’s New York City Photos

March 31, 2018

A mosaic designed by artist Edward Meshekoff.  This building was an information center.  Playland is in the background.


The Metropolitan Museum of Art, from above.



The Apollo Theatre on 125th Street.


Broadway and 95th Street.


ATLAS Screws, Bolts and Nuts.


The Statue of Liberty, circa 1984.




Other Detroit Buildings Which Have Recently Been Torn Down

February 27, 2018

On Martin Luther King Boulevard, 2013


On Martin Luther King Boulevard, 2015


On Martin Luther King Boulevard, 2013. This was torn down in 2017.

This abandoned building (above) stood next door to a hotel.  It was always architecturally interesting to me.  It looked like it was built in the 1800’s and I’m sure that it was a grand building in its day.  It was probably so badly damaged that it couldn’t have been saved easily.


The Barat House, demolished in October 2017

The Barat House was in good shape and it went down with some clamor and controversy.  The problem was that the Detroit Institute of Arts underground parking garage is unusable.  Combined with that, they share their parking lot with visitors to other nearby venues.  Thus, it was often parked out.  Now and then, I’ve planned on attending an event but ended up not doing so because there was no parking anywhere.  That said, I’m sorry that this building went.



latefebruary 011too.jpg

Torn down in 2017, on Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.

This building was always covered with graffiti and, occasionally art.  Some one put a sign on the second floor saying “Phone Inside.”

latefebruary 014b

I believe this was a former children’s day care center.  I loved that it had a tree growing inside of a metal climbing toy.  It may not be good for the tree but it’s an unusual sight.  This was not a great loss and it was likely not easily renovated.  Still, it seemed like an interesting building.


Torn down in 2017, on Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.

Besides the Dexter Bar, this interesting building was also demolished last year.  It had good tile work and detailing up on top.   I wonder what stores and restaurants were here?

e_earlijune 050B

d_earlymidmars 016

Torn down on April; 12, 2017.  This was on Dexter Boulevard.

Last but not least, this abandoned church was torn down to make way for a new structure for Henry Ford Hospital.  A curious old diner and a bank also were taken away.  They saved the KFC.

midnovem 027c.jpg

On Grand Boulevard, November 2016.  This was torn down in June of 2017.  I liked the red vines and the mystery sign.