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Burroughs 1This post is part of an ongoing series featuring items from the Julio Mario Santo Domingo collection.

William S. Burroughs (1914-1997) looms large among countercultural figures of 20th-century literature. The seminal Naked lunch is a famous source of controversy – it was banned in Boston in 1962, and ultimately redeemed in a 1966 obscenity trial before the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court – but is only part of a much larger oeuvre of fiction, essays, and visual art. While Houghton Library already held a considerable Burroughs collection, the acquisition of the Santo Domingo Collection has expanded our holdings to include literary journal contributions, collaborative texts, and other works.

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This week’s post on Harvard College Library’s zines collection looks at Part Two of a publication entitled It’s a wonderful lifestyle: A seventies flashback published in 1993. In the words of author Candi Strecker, the publication is an “encyclopedic examination” of American popular culture in the 1970s, and judging by the range of topics covered – ‘70s products, lifestyles, crafts, sports, furniture, eating habit, appliances etc. – encyclopedic feels like the right adjective.

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Paper Planes

This post is part of an ongoing series featuring items from the newly acquired Santo Domingo collection.
Paper Airplane Book

One very unique book by celebrated German-American artist Peter Max, Paper Airplane Book, showcases both his artistic talent as well as his playful attitude towards his work.  Entirely consisting of templates for paper planes, each sporting bright colors and happy phrases, Paper Airplane Book is an exceptional take on a typical child’s toy.

An avid environmentalist, many of the slogans on his paper airplanes remind people not to litter and to take care of the earth.   Paper airplane bookPaper airplane bookOther optimistic phrases include “I can’t talk, cause I’m laughing” and “today is your day”.  Max also promotes the creativity of the reader by giving them several uncolored templates to “Go wild with colors and way-out with slogans. Do your own thing!”

Paper airplane book

Peter Max, a graphic artist still active today, was inspired by the psychedelic colors of the 1960s and 1970s.  Max’s work has found great commercial appeal; he has designed campaigns from everything from the World Cup and Super bowl to graphics to adorn commercial airplanes.  Max’s art has the aesthetics of pop art and commercial illustration, and his subjects vary widely.   Several more Peter Max books can be found in the Fine Arts Library Collection as well as Widener Library.  Some titles are:  Peter Max superposter book, The Peter Max land of red and The universe of Peter Max.

Paper airplane book / Peter Max. New York : Pyramid Books, 1971,is in the Fine Arts Collection.


Thanks to Emma Clement, Santo Domingo Library Assistant, for contributing this post.

This post is part of an ongoing series featuring items from the newly acquired Julio Mario Santo Domingo Collection.KIC_Image_0002

Aconitum also known as wolfsbane is a particularly poisonous plant that grows mainly in the Northern hemisphere.  Apparently it was historically used to kill wolves thus the reference to the plant as wolfsbane.  The image above is from La Leyenda de las plantas : mitos, tradiciones, creencias y teorías relativos a los vegetales, which displays the myth about how this poisonous plant was formed according to the Greeks.  The accompanying text which is in Spanish appears to state that in Hecate’s garden the foam from the mouth of Cerberus fell on the plant and caused it to become a poisonous.

La LeyendaKIC_Image_0004 de las plantas is a book that primarily relates legends, myths, folklore, and traditions regarding plants.  There are images throughout the text that illustrate plants in alphabetical order usually according to region and their connection to a specific folklore.  The Rose of Bahakavali is presumably an Indian legend related to roses.

The volume also includes a chapter on animal folklore and in one section the text explains about the legendary animals native to the Americas including the eagle, buffalo, vampire bat, jaguar, caiman, and of course the hippo.



La Leyenda de las plantas : mitos, tradiciones, creencias y teorías relativos a los vegetales / Carlos Mendoza ; obra adornada con preciosos cromotipograbados… del reputado artista Luis Labarta… Barcelona : Establ. Tipolitográfico Editorial de Ramón Molinas, [ca. 1880] can be found in Widener’s collection using Hollis.

Thanks to Alison Harris, Santo Domingo Project Manager for contributing this post.

This post is part of an ongoing series featuring items from the newly acquired Santo Domingo collection.

Côtes de Normandie Guide PratiqueWith the advent of smartphones and wifi everywhere, travel guidebooks seem like a thing of the past. Back in the late 19th century though, they might have been the only way to find your way around. The guidebook Côtes de Normandie Guide Pratique, though miniature in size (about the dimensions of an iPhone), is packed full of information and surprisingly large fold out maps. With tiny illustrations to accompany its advice, this guidebook would have been a handy companion for a traveler on the coast of Normandie.

Côtes de Normandie Guide Pratique

Côtes de Normandie Guide Pratique

Côtes de Normandie Guide pratiqueThe first section of the book is organized into a step by step guide of what to do for a 20 day vacation in Normandie, with different suggestions for every day. Also included are sections on hotels, prices, places to eat and advice for how to interact with the people and customs of the area. After the more general information at the beginning of the book, it is split into sections for each town in the area, with general demographic information, climate, and more suggestions specific to each location. There are activities for all types of people, from casinos to outdoor excursions, so that any traveler would find something to do.

Côtes de Normandie Guide pratique


One other interesting addition to this guidebook is the advertising section in the back.  Included are typical guidebook ads such as hotels, transportation and restaurants.   However, there are also more unusual ads for that type of book like grey-poupon mustard and furniture stores.   This small guidebook encompasses everything and acts as a great window into late 19th century tourism.


Côtes de Normandie : Guide pratique correspondant aux voyages circulaires organisés par la compagnie de l’ouest / Paris : Office des Guides Conty, [1895?] is available in Widener Library’s collection.

Thanks to Emma Clement, Santo Domingo Library Assistant, for contributing this post.

Conjoined twins

This post is part of an ongoing series featuring items from the newly acquired Julio Mario Santo Domingo Collection.


KIC_Image_0006  Johann Conrad Brunner was a Swiss anatomist that is best known for his work with the pancreas and duodenum.  This fold out plate displays both anatomical and skeletal conjoined twin fetuses, which is part of Brunner’s medical dissertation Foetum monstrosum et bicipitem from the University of Strasbourg published in 1692.  The thesis is bound together with about fifteen other titles almost all of which deal with complications with childbirth.

KIC_Image_0003  One of the earliest depictions of conjoined twins appear on ceramics in the Moche culture in Peru.  The Nuremburg Chronicle, also known as the Liber Chronicarum is a well-known early printed book, published in 1493 which tells of the human history of the world as related in the Bible.  It was one of the first successful books that integrated text and illustrations together and also contains two color illustrations of conjoined twins.


A dried specimen of conjoined twins can be found on display in an exhibit from the Warren Anatomical Museum, located at the Countway Library on the 5th floor.   The text Foetum monstrosum et bicipitem dissertatione hac inaugurali … cum ejusdem sceleto sistit Joh. Conradus Brunnerus … Argentorati : Typis Johannis Welperi, Anno MDCLXXII [1672]. QM690 .B83 1672, can also be found at the Countway Library at the Harvard Medical School in Longwood.

Thanks to Alison Harris, Santo Domingo Project Manager and Joan Thomas, Rare Book Cataloger at Countway for contributing this post.

Komic Kats

This post is part of an ongoing series featuring items from the newly acquired Santo Domingo collection.

Krazy Kat


The comic strip Krazy Kat by George Herriman ran for 31 years in the New York Evening Journal and follows a cast of animal characters set in a highly stylized Arizona home.  Although not popular among the general public, due to its more highbrow and surreal content, it is considered one of the best comic strips of the 20th century and had a large intellectual following.  Although the drawing looks like simple pen sketching, the content and self-referential nature of the strip cements Krazy Kat’s place in the art world.  A critical, if not popular, success, Herriman’s comic strip inspired generations of cartoonists.Krazy Kat

Krazy Kat, a gender ambiguous cat, is a happy and mindless character, showing his innocent views of the world in his interactions with Ignazt Mouse.  Many of the storylines involve Ignazt Mouse hitting Krazy Kat with bricks, who in turn misinterprets this action as one of affection.   Offissa Pupp tries to save Krazy Kat from attack, but often makes mistakes in figuring out the effective way to address the problem.  Another major aspect of Krazy Kat is the unusual format of the strips that Herriman experimented with.  Since Herriman was well supported by William Randolph Hearst, the owner of the New York Evening Journal, he had plenty of space to experiment with different formats of his comic stories.   Instead of following the row of boxes that many strips do, he might place boxes inside of each other or at askew angles.  Herriman, born in New Orleans to creole speaking parents, also wrote in vernacular and used idiosyncratic spelling, infusing different cultures into his comic strips.Krazy Kat


This compilation of comic strips has an introduction by e.e. cummings, in which he describes the characters affectionately as “a cynical brick-throwing mouse and a sentimental policeman-dog.  The third protagonist – whose ambiguous gender doesn’t disguise the good news that here comes our heroine – may be described as a humbly poetic, gently clown like, supremely innocent, and illimitably affectionate creature (slightly resembling a child’s drawing of a cat, but gifted with the secret grace and obvious clumsiness of a penguin on terra firma) who is never so happy as when egoist-mouse, thwarting altruistic dog, hits her in the head with a brick.”  Written to accompany the first compilation printed of Krazy Kat strips in 1946, cummings explicates the political, societal and moral implications of the comics, and is all the better for is poetic prose.

This book, Krazy Kat/ by Herriman ; with an introd. by E. E. Cummings ; [edited by Joseph Greene and Rex Chessman] :  New York : Grosset & Dunlap, 1977, c1969 is available in Widener Library collection.   Houghton Library has a copy of the original 1946 compilation, Krazy Kat / by George Herriman, with an introduction by E.E. Cummings : New York : Holt, 1946.

Thanks to Emma Clement, Santo Domingo Library Assistant, for contributing this post.


This week’s post on Harvard College Library’s zines collection focuses on a topic most zines have something to say about: work. Whether it is to bemoan (or celebrate) the lack of employment, announce a new job, or, as is most often the case, complain about an existing job, work is an almost ubiquitous topic in zines across the board.

In his chapter on work in Notes from the underground: Zines and the politics of alternative culture, Stephen Duncombe notes that, unlike industrial exposes in the past – for example, Upton Sinclair’s disclosure of working conditions in Chicago’s stockyards and packing houses at the turn of the century – zines speak less about the actual conditions of the workplace and more about the hypocritical social and economic relationships that surround them.

He links this to the economic restructuring of the U.S. economy begun in the ’70s, the decimation of job opportunities for the traditional working class and the “proletarianization” of jobs open to the new middle classes, referring to the information and service sector jobs that demand the “cultural capital” of a middle-class upbringing.

It is the schism between what a middle class job is supposed to be (i.e. a meaningful vocation that requires moral commitment) and what a large number of middle class jobs actually are that zines pick up on and, in many cases, resist. This week’s post showcases four zines from the collection, and looks at how they talk about work.


Zine 1: Temp slave #8 (1995)

Temp slave, edited by Keffo, is a zine that best fits under the rubric of “topical zine.” These are zines that pick a particular topic – folding bicycles, raw food, collecting banana labels, trailer van memorabilia etc. – and focus exclusively on it. In this case, the topic is the odiousness of temporary employment. Within this seemingly narrow topic, the zine is surprisingly diverse; it includes a number of testimonials from people working in diverse temp-jobs, poems, cartoons and articles. The excerpt below is a satirical piece showing what Judgment Day would look like in the year 2000 for the staff of Happy Temps Inc.


Zine 2: Birth #8 (1994)

Birth, a zine written by a single author “in affiliation with no one,” includes interviews by the author, correspondence, articles by contributors, as well as film, video and show reviews. In the case of Birth #8, it is the editorial and the author’s description of his $5.50 an hour summer job before going to college that is of interest.

The job is in a huge gardening store where the choice is between heavy labor outside in the heat, or stocking “shit” like chemicals inside, which actually makes an older guy (in his late twenties) lose his hair. The author copes with the job by joining his same age-group colleagues in pilfering the place “for all kinds of cool shit” through cash-register scams. Not trusted to work as a cashier himself because of the number of sick days he takes and possibly because of his appearance (“the nose ring was key”), the author is made to work outside where he employs a “playing dumb” strategy.

“Playing dumb” involves completing tasks inefficiently while making it look as though one is toiling very hard. Once the bosses get used to him being “well, slow,” he’s able to take certain advantages, like extended breaks, without repercussion. He concludes thus: “The power that you wield, as a bottom rung wage slave, makes or breaks your bosses. Discourage sales! Fuck off at work! Let’s hear it for incompetence!”

Zine 3:  For a right attitude at work (1992)

For a right attitude at work is a zine that would most readily fit into the “comics” category. Although this characterization does not entirely fit because For a right attitude at work doesn’t tell a story as such, the zine does use drawings exclusively to illustrate its point, which in this case happens to be related to work.





Zine 4: Factsheet 5 #55 (1995)

Although Factsheet 5 is a review zine, the article of interest here could easily fall into the “scam zine” category, in other words, the counter-cultural zines all about scamming “the system.” In his article “Work Schmerk! Tips, Techniques, and Scams to on-the-job Zineing,” author Rod M. Scott takes the reader through the process of producing a zine “on someone else’s time” without being caught.

The article advises the following: when making zine-related phone calls, use a colleague’s phone while they’re away at lunch; when photocopying zines do not  leave the Xerox machine  (unless willing “to disown the printed matter and fish it out of the trash later” if caught); when writing zines on the work computer have several windows open on the desktop for easy switching if the boss decide to make an “unexpected visit;”  and finally, for printing large quantities of zines, gain security clearance to the office at night or weekends.

The author ends with an assurance that “as time goes on, you’ll discover more and more ways to improve upon this subtle form of occupational espionage.”


As seen above, zine authors find different and creative ways of talking about work, and the schism between the attitude one is often expected to have towards work and the job itself. Interestingly, producing zines is in itself work – and hard work at that considering the time and effort that goes into producing some of them. However, how zinesters feel about zine work, which is more akin to a labor of love than anything else, is an entirely different story.

Thanks to Alina Lazar for contributing this post. Alina is a second-year PhD candidate in the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures at Harvard.  She is one of the initial cohort of Harvard Library  Pforzheimer Fellows, working with curator Leslie Morris at Houghton Library to compile a title listing of Harvard College Library’s Printernet Collection of approximately 20,000 zines. The Printernet Collection was assembled by an anonymous collector, and was purchased by Widener Library in 2012.  The current project to create a title list is the first step in the process to decide where the collection, or portions of it, might best be housed at Harvard, and how it will be made available for research. 

Mysterious matchbox

This post is part of an ongoing series featuring items from the newly acquired Julio Mario Santo Domingo Collection.


This particular item which I believe is an artists’ book is quite interesting, published in Paris in 1990 by Ed. Rouleau Libre it was issued as a matchbox measuring 8 x 6 cm and contains a number of objects.  On a folded sheet is a poem by Pierre Mréjen along with a graphic of some sort.  KIC_Image_0002

Little is know about Mréjen he appears to be a poet that produced a number of artists’ books for Les Editions Rouleau Libre.  An additional folded sheet contains two quotations by Henri Michaux and Maurice Blanchot along with small illustrations.  What was most unexpected were the matches, marble, and cigarette that accompanied the folded sheets.  KIC_Image_0004

The work is identified as example no. 11, out of how many we cannot be sure,  and there was little definitive information about this cleverly constructed item.

I did discover that the cigarette is from a German brand called Roth Handle whose identifying hand logo has been recreated on the back of the matchbox with the title of the work.


Part of the Fine Arts Library collection La main espacée. Paris : Rouleau Libre, 1990 can be located in Hollis

Thanks to Alison Harris, Santo Domingo Project Manager for contributing this post.

This week’s post on Harvard College Library’s zines collection delves a little deeper into how zines are produced, circulated and reviewed. While a previous post on the collection talked about how science fiction fanzines circulated in the ‘80s through the “APAs” (amateur press alliances), this post focuses on how the zines of the ‘90s and ‘00s circulated, and still do, outside of the APA context.

To speak of a “typical” zine is an oxymoron; zines are eclectic in everything from subject matter and design, to production and circulation methods. Besmirched #3, the zine chosen for this week’s post, is not so much a “typical” zine, then, as a useful one for thinking about how zines vary.

Image 1: Front and back covers of Besmirched #3

Image 1: Front and back covers of Besmirched #3

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This post is part of an ongoing series featuring items from the newly acquired Santo Domingo collection.

As the French Revolution erupted in 1789, the bourgeoisie took up a variety of arms against the aristocracy; among them was literature. Pictured here from the Santo Domingo Collection is La Messaline françoise, a libelous account, published under an obviously false imprint, of the sexual exploits of the “duch… de Pol…”: a contemporary reader would understand this to be Yolande-Martine-Gabrielle de Polastron, the Duchess of Polignac. (The title refers to Valeria Messalina, wife of the Roman emperor Claudius, and another woman in power against whom accusations of promiscuity were levied.)

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Natural Highs!

This post is part of an ongoing series featuring items from the newly acquired Santo Domingo collection.


Highs!Although much of the Santo Domingo Collection focuses on illegal and medical drugs, there is some exceptions to these books that suggest other ways of getting that feeling.  Alex J. Packer, Ph.D., an educator and administrator in drug education programs presents the book Highs! Over 150 ways to feel really REALLY good…Without Alcohol or other Drugs….  With various sections including serenity highs, physical and sensuous highs, and social, spiritual and creative highs Packer lays out a variety of ways to alter the way your experience life.   Marketed towards teens, Packer takes every day activities young people might do and suggests changing the way you think of them.

Some suggestions are ones that everyone has heard of and are more run of the mill.  Packer explains the mental benefits of meditation and exercise and suggests adding a new physical routine to your life could really improve it.  Highs!There are also more unusual suggestions like having a silent meal.  “Eat a meal with another person or a group of friends without talking.” Packer also includes variations like: “close your eyes for part of the meal, eat the entire meal with your hands, have participants feed each other, or pick one item like mashed potatoes or ice cream, to eat without hands or utensils (check that no adults are in sight).”

Packer also has other recommendations to appeal to a teenage crowd like showing optical illusions and suggesting one uses those to think about the way they see the world.  Although the idea behind the book isn’t unfamiliar, Packer offers some unconventional tricks to promote a drug and alcohol free life.


Highs! : over 150 ways to feel really, really good… without alcohol or other drugs / Alex J. Packer ; edited by Pamela Espeland ; illustrated by Jeff Tolbert. Minneapolis, MN : Free Spirit Pub., c2000. can be found in Widener’s collection.



Thanks to Emma Clement, Santo Domingo Library Assistant, for contributing this post.

Part of the ongoing project to catalogue Harvard College Library’s zines collection involves sorting out non-zine material, such as flyers, books, catalogues and, as featured in this week’s post, photonovelas.

La Gran Limpieza/ The Big Sweep is a 1993 bilingual photonovela about the struggles of the Justice for Janitors movement in Los Angeles published by California Classics Books.

A photonovela is akin to a comic book with the difference that it uses sequential photographs accompanied by dialogue bubbles instead of illustrations. It typically depicts a simple story enveloped in a dramatic plot that contains a moral.

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Cataloguing work is continuing on Harvard College Library’s zines collection. The latest zines to be listed are the so-called “APA” (amateur press alliance) fanzines published during the 1980s.

APAs are networks set up by people who wish to discuss a common interest in a single forum. While the first APA in the United States – the National Amateur Press Association – was set up in 1876 to further amateur journalism as a hobby, many were founded from the 1930s onwards by fans of science fiction, comics, music and other topics. Their contributions to the “APAs” are known as “fanzines,” the precursors-in-part of the 1990s “zines” plain and simple.

KIC Image 0001

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This post is part of an ongoing series featuring items from the newly acquired Julio Mario Santo Domingo Collection.

My Dog Rex

Well eight foot walls at least!  Meet Rex III, a black and tan Alsatian who was trained to detect dope and help catch criminals.  Rex worked with the Flying Squad, a special crime unit with London’s Metropolitan Police and received several medals for bravery.  My Dog Rex is a biography of this extraordinary police dog written by his handler, Arthur Holman.  Holman not only trained him but fed and sheltered him at the family home.

Rex III was credited with one hundred and twenty-five arrests and even starred in the film Police Dog.  Holman relates that in an effort to help Rex look his best for the film he “…filed down Rex’s nails until they were all the same length, asked my daughter to clean the dog’s teeth more frequently, and gave his coat an extra shine by brushing into it a small quantity of special oils.”

My Dog Rex

Dogs are no strangers to law enforcement, during the Middle Ages money was specifically put aside in villages for bloodhounds who were used to hunt down outlaws.  Bloodhounds known as “slough dogs” in Scotland are believed to be the genesis of the word “sleuth.”  One of the first instances of the police using dogs to combat crime in the 19th-century was during the investigation of the Jack the Ripper murders.  In 1954 the Metropolitan Police Squad in London established its current program which still actively uses police dogs today.




My dog Rex ; the story of police dog Rex III, told by his handler. New York, W. Funk [1958, c1957]. HV8025 .H6 1958. can be found in Widener Library’s collection in the Hollis catalog.

My Dog Rex

Thanks to Alison Harris, Santo Domingo Project Manager for contributing this post.

Hendrix 1This post is part of an ongoing series featuring items from the Julio Mario Santo Domingo Collection.  

This week’s feature is the second of two sculptural volumes: in this case, the binding itself, rather than the enclosure, defies convention. The book, a paperback French biography of Jimi Hendrix published in 1976, is unremarkable in itself. However, it’s been rebound in carved wooden boards covered in marbled paper, and attached to the rear cover are several spiky projections painted to resemble flames. Pasted inside the boards are photographs of Hendrix; the paperback’s original covers are preserved within. An autograph in pencil on the title page , “Woderer 92”, may be the binder’s signature; otherwise, we have no indication of this unusual binding’s provenance.

Hendrix 2

Benoit Feller. Jimi Hendrix. Paris: Albin Michel, c1976. ML410.H476 F4 1976.

Thanks to rare book cataloger Ryan Wheeler for contributing this post.

Eastern Magic

This post is part of an ongoing series featuring items from the newly acquired Santo Domingo collection.

Indian ConjuringIndian Conjuring, a book written by L.H. Branson is a detailed instruction manual to a collection of tricks that Branson discovered while living in India.  A magician himself, Branson explains tricks he has witnessed, as well as ones he does not know as well, such as the rope trick.  Although well versed in magic tricks, he was not a believer in spiritualism and thought it was based on conjurer tricks.  Branson traveled to India in the British Indian Army where he was promoted to Major and where he eventually retired.

The book begins with a chapter on different types of magic where he discusses branches from India, China, the  United States and other countries and how they contrast.
Indian Conjuring
Branson discusses the circumstances that allow for different types of magic tricks.  European and American magicians can practice illusions, and have money and props that an Indian magician could never afford.  The different loose and billowing clothing of the Chinese magician allows for different tricks as well.   He reflects negatively on the Indian conjurer, both for their lack of skill in his opinion, as well as the for complaint they do not come up with any new tricks.  Branson clearly believes sleight-of-hand illusions to be the best of the magic tricks, and does not think that anyone else can measure up to the Europeans.  He explains peoples’ fascination with Indian magic with the assumption that since magic originally comes from the east, people have the predisposition to believe an Eastern magician.

Indian Conjuring
Indian Conjuring

Despite his negative description of the Indian conjurer, he devotes the book specifically to Indian magic tricks that he has seen and learned living there.  Branson includes line illustrations to highlight the tricks he explains with step-by-step instructions.  Organized by what he describes as a typical set list of an Indian magician, he goes through each trick in the order performed.   Throughout the book he also showcases other magicians from India that he personally knew and who practice the tricks he is explaining.Indian Conjuring

Indian conjuring, by Major L. H. Branson … With 8 illustrations London, Routledge, [1922] can be found in Widener’s collection.

Thanks to Emma Clement, Santo Domingo Library Assistant, for contributing this post.

In Bruce the Psychic Guy Magazine (Vol. V, No.1, 1994) editor Bruce Lewis includes a satire by Ed Hill on how the scientific wonders of the atomic age will transform the average homeowner’s future. The piece is called “War …is Home Improvement!” and it focuses on two war-time developments: computers and atomic energy.



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Grade ‘D’ but edible is a zine authored by Marko and Ms. Chiff. The two issues found so far in Harvard College Library’s zines collection tell of their extended travels in southeast Asia and India, and their life on an organic farm in Tennessee. Through them both the authors share their views of the world.



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Mansour 2This post is part of an ongoing series featuring items from the Julio Mario Santo Domingo Collection.  

In the course of these posts on the Santo Domingo Collection, numerous fine, extravagant, and perhaps even ostentatious bindings and enclosures have been showcased. This week, we bring you the first of two books that extend past the codex form altogether. Pictured here is Le bleu des fonds, a short play by the Surrealist poet and author Joyce Mansour, who was born in England to Egyptian parents, but spent much of her later career writing in French.

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