Feed on

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

Francois Villon was all of those things, and most prominently a subversive outsider.  At a time when most poetic works were strongly religious or allegorical Villon wrote with honesty about love and sex, drinking, money problems, and living on the road in 15th-century France.  Many of his works were meant to be read aloud, preferably in a tavern.  He is known to have influenced modern English poetry, particularly Ezra Pound.  This limited edition of Villon’s works and accompanying illustrations by Albert Dubout was published in France around 1933.

The text above is taken from Villon’s poem Bequests, whose premise is that Villon is leaving the city after being spurned by a woman, so he must leave all of his possessions behind.  He details a long list of beneficiaries gifting them with worthless junk and items that he never owned, essentially mocking everyone and everything.  Most of Villon’s poems have a strong dose of social satire and a tone of merry pranksterism.

KIC Image 0013

This shorter poem translates to:

I am Francois, which I find a burden,

born in Paris (near Pontoise),

and from the six-foot rope 

my neck will learn what my ass weighs.

This poem could be read as a direct commentary of Villon’s life since he was indeed condemned to death in November of 1462.  The story goes that he was involved in a brawl where the Pope’s Paris notary was stabbed by a companion so he was sentenced to hang since he had already been jailed three times.  However, Villon appealed the case and his sentence was changed to a 10 year banishment from Paris.  Villon celebrated by writing both a poem taunting the prison clerk and then another lavishly praising the court.  Shortly thereafter he disappeared from public view.

Though it is tempting to look at Villon’s work as completely biographical many scholars contend that he created a mix of factual and fictional information to create this character of Villon featured in his works.  To see more illustrations by Dubout or recite some of Villon’s verse in French you can find this volume at Houghton Library.  Villon (oeuvres) /illustrations de Dubout.Oeuvres. Paris : Gibert Jeune, Librairie d’Amateurs, [1933]. FC.V7195.B933v 

Thanks to Alison Harris, Santo Domingo Project Manager and Ryan Wheeler, Rare Book Cataloger, for contributing this post.

Art and the Occult

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

Art and Symbols of the OccultJames Wasserman, author, editor, publisher and occultist, gives us Art and Symbols of the Occult.  A disciple of Aleister Crawley’s Ordo Templi Orientis, he has written numerous books on the subject as well as republishing and updating several of Crawley’s works including photographing the Tarot cards from the Thoth Tarot deck.  Wasserman got his literary start at Weiser Books, one of the largest bookstores and publishers in occult literature.  He subsequently founded Studio 31 which offers book production and graphic design and has continued to focus in occult literature.  Wasserman also founded one of Ordo Templi Orientis’s oldest lodges in New York City in 1979.

Art and Symbols of the Occult

Art and Symbols of the Occult explores both typical symbols of the occult such as the Golden Dawn Cross and masonic art, as well as more classic and religious art such as St. George and the Dragon by Raphael and The temptation of St. Anthony by Hieronymus Bosch.  Wasserman covers a wide variety of pieces, ranging from ancient Egyptian art, to the monument at Stonehenge to kabbalah texts.

Art and Symbols of the OccultSplit into several sections on different facets of the occult, Wasserman prefaces each chapter with a discussion of the practice and then offers pages and pages of art he assigns to the categories.  Each image is accompanied by a short blurb about historical context and meaning, an easy enough read for those not versed in art history or the occult.Art and Symbols of the Occult





Art and Symbols of the Occult , Wasserman’s first book, was expanded and rereleased in 2005 as The Mystery Traditions: Secret Symbols and Sacred Art.  The original version Art and Symbols of the Occult / London : Tiger Books International, c1993.  can be found in Widener Library’s collection.



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

Three times as nice

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

We are lucky to have found three first editions of Traité du chanvre in different bindings as we continue to unpack and catalog items from Santo Domingo boxes.  From left to right the images reflect the covers of these copies at Houghton, Countway, and Botany.

houghton_cover countway_cover botany_cover

Traité du chanvre was published in 1758 in Paris and is a treatise about hemp.  Written by M. Marcandier, who was a magistrate from Bourges, a city in central France, he wrote about hemp’s history, preparation, uses, and about new methods of cultivation and manufacture.  There is a translated version in English which was published a few years later in 1764 and can be found online.

houghton_chanvre 2














The range of bindings on these volumes is just as interesting as the content within it.  Houghton’s copy was in the best shape bound in contemporary mottled calf with the edges stained red in addition to having having beautiful marbled end papers.


Botany’s volume is similar to Houghton’s though its leather was in much poorer shape.  Though it lacked the marbled end papers, this copy has a decorated spine.


Countway’s volume was the most different as it wasn’t bound in leather at all, but in contemporary decorated paper wrappers featuring some sort of purple stamp design.  Presumably at some point a custom box was made for it mimicking the original design with purple dots decorating the box housing.

countway_cover_2  countway_box

To look at any of these volumes of Traité du chanvre /par M. Marcandier. A Paris :Chez [J.L.] Nyon, Quai des Augustins, à l’Occasion,MDCCLVIII [1758] from the libraries mentioned above look in the Hollis catalog.

Thanks to Alison Harris- Santo Domingo Project Manager, Ryan Wheeler- Rare Book Cataloger at Houghton, Joan Thomas- Rare Book Cataloger at Countway, and Chris Robson of the Botany Libraries for contributing to this post.

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


The Cross and the SwitchbladeSeveral books by the Reverend David Wilkerson and his followers are in the Santo Domingo Collection.   Wilkerson, an evangelic pastor who moved to New York because he felt called to help young gang members and drug addicts, recounts his success stories in books like The Cross and the Switchblade and Hey, Preach…You’re coming through.   Also included in the collection are books by Nicky Cruz, one of Wilkerson’s greatest success stories, like Run Baby Run an autobiographical account of his gang life and recovery.

Hey Preach...You're Coming Through

Wilkerson, born into a religious family, devoted his life to the church and began preaching at a very young age.  After hearing about young men on trial for gang related offenses, he went to New York, ran into the courtroom and tried, unsuccessfully, to disrupt the trial.  Not to be discouraged, he later founded the recovery group Teen Challenge to work with teen addicts and gang members.  Wilkerson also founded the Time Square Church; a nondenominational ministry where he preached personal connection with Jesus and God.  The Cross and the Switchblade, Wilkerson’s first book was a national best seller and was eventually turned into a movie starring Pat Boone and Erik Estrada.Run Baby Run

These books, with graphic and eye catching covers, seem to be marketed as thrilling stories for general consumption and not marketed for church and religious groups specifically.    Showing both the dark side of addiction and violence, as well as the ultimate salvation of the church, the books weave impressive and gripping tales. The Cross and the Switchblade, Hey, Preach…You’re coming through, and Get your hands off my throat by Wilkerson can be found in the Widener Library collection.  Run Baby Run and The Lonely Now by Cruz are also available.

 Get Your Hands off my Throat




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

Before there was Botox

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


Before botox, plastic surgery, and aestheticians,  L’horreur!, women were forced to combat aging and maintain beauty the old fashioned way- with tips and remedies from publications such as Comment se guérir?  This French publication by the mysterious Dr. Druah loosely translates into How to Cure? and in addition to advice about common medical maladies it gives women all the latest advice and products for common beauty dilemmas.  Including as we can see from the above images how to give a good facial massage.

Worried about a flushed or reddish face?  The advice is that this condition stems from poor blood circulation and offers up various products to help. Infusing a cloth with elderflower and wearing it over ones’s face is one suggestion.  Don’t worry ladies it looks totally normal!

KIC_Image_0008 This volume was an edition of popular science works called “Edition de vulgarisation scientifique” and it was most likely published by a pharmaceutical company that sold some of these remedies.

Comment se guérir? / par le docteur Druah. Paris : Institut “Paris-Londres”, [between 1890 and 1910?] RC81 .D79. can 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.

Adventures of Fido

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


Le Aventures de Fido Caniche Le Aventures de Fido Caniche by surrealist artist Valentine Hugo, is an intricately detailed picture book that follows a dream sequence of Fido, an innocent, inquisitive poodle.  In the dream Fido visits other exotic animals including a peacock and a lion, and at one point successfully imitates a lion to scare people and steal their food.  However, when a rainstorm washes away his scary disguise the other forest animals mock him and he realizes he must return to his owner, Marguerite.

Le Aventures de Fido Caniche

Valentine Hugo, a talented illustrator belonged to a famous circle of surrealists, at one point marrying Jean Hugo, but also was romantically involved with the surrealist Andre Breton.   She was drawn to ballet and set design, though her work was not always successful.  Her most long lasting artistic endeavor and partnership was with Paul Éluard.  Her art was successful in her lifetime and she was in several surrealist exhibitions.  There was also a posthumous retrospective of her work exhibited at Centre Culturel Thibaud de Champagne in 1977.

Le Aventures de Fido Caniche

Houghton Library has several other works with Hugo’s illustrations including: Le phénix. Avec 18 dessins de Valentine Hugo by Paul Eluard, Médieuses : poèmes / de Paul Eluard ; illustrés par Valentine Hugo and Mouvements de danse de l’antiquité à nos jours / Valentine Gross.  Also available at Houghton Library from the Julio Mario Santo Domingo Collection, is a book of family photos compiled by Valentine Hugo from her younger years: Photos de familles : photograph album, ca. 1907.

 Le aventures de fido Caniche / Valentine Hugo : Paris : Guy Le Prat, c1947 is available at the Fine Arts Library.

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

British pop art

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


Gerald Laing was an artist that was part of the British Pop movement in the 1960s and remains one of the most well-known today.  His work in this period was typically a painting of a reproduced image often a drag racer, skydiver, astronaut, or starlet.  One of his most famous pieces is a painting from a newspaper photograph of Brigitte Bardo, which sold at Christie’s in February 2014 for just under $1.5 million.


Laing was deeply influenced by the experiences of William Burroughs in the Amazonian rainforest in search of ‘Ayahuasca’ the hallucinogenic vine with the active ingredient Dimethyltriptamine (D.M.T.)  This beautiful volume published in 1969 is a result of that influence, it is illustrated with 23 screenprints by Laing and the text was written by Galina Valentina Golikova.  This deluxe edition of DMT 42 is no. 50 out of the 210 copies produced and each print is signed by Laing.  It comes in a soft-cover book with silver wrappers that is housed in a claret corduroy case.  The color screenprints throughout the volume are very indicative of Laing’s British Pop inclinations.


Golikova who wrote the text for DMT 42 was actually Laing’s second wife.  He ended up doing a sculptural series on her entitled Galina I to X from 1973 to 1980.  Laing states that he experienced an epiphany at Charles Sargeant Jagger’s great First World War Artillery Memorial at Hyde Park Corner in England, which led to the Galina Series.  It marked a new method for Laing who had previously only worked with sheet metal but began sculpting in clay and then casting in bronze during this period.


To see more examples of Laing’s work in DMT 42 /[text] by G. V. Golikova ; illuminated by Gerald Laing. [Deluxe edition] Stuttgart : Edition Domberger, [1969]. N7433.4.L35A4 1969bPF please visit the Fine Arts Library.  We are lucky to also have another edition of DMT 42 in a different binding which can be located at the Fine Arts Library as well- N7433.4.L35 A4 1969 PF 

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

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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