Zephyr Used & Rare Books' latest catalogue is Fall Mixture: Seattle & LAX Catalogue – 2022. We all know where Seattle is but LAX would seem to apply to Los Angeles, though it specifically refers to L. A.'s airport. Certainly most items concern the Pacific coast states of America though a few bleed farther inland. There are many items pertaining to world's fairs with the greatest number coming from the Seattle World's Fair of 1962. There are 21 items directly related to that fair now 60 years ago. There also are many private collections of photographs and writings, advertising and promotional materials, and some books, primarily editions from around the 1930s, of well-known books and some obscure mysteries and romances. That isn't all. Here are a few samples.
Having said this is primarily a Pacific catalogue, we start with something from the East. If you think today's roads are in less than ideal condition, imagine what this adventurous young woman faced when she decided to go touring. The year was 1907 and good luck with that. She travelled around the northeastern U.S. hitting the Jersey shore, the Berkshires, the White Mountains in Vermont, and planned to visit the Catskills but didn't because “Being a woman is not a good condition in life when it comes to managing an auto car.” Perhaps, but the chauffeurs she hired had enormous difficulty keeping her car running too. She bought the best – a 1906 Pope-Toledo. That brand is not well-remembered today because by 1909 they were out of business. However, during their seven-year run they were one of the finest cars, many models selling for today's equivalent of over $100,000. For all its benefits of speed and comfort (it was known as the “Quiet Mile-a-Minute Car”), it was temperamental and given to problems keeping it running. Mary D. Post recounted her adventures in A Woman's Summer in a Motor Car... published in 1907. Item 10. Priced at $495.
This is a photo album by another person who went touring but for a very different purpose than mere adventure. The author, “Me,” and others were part of a touring vaudeville act but they didn't sell tickets to make money. They were using free entertainment to hawk their patent medicine. They were selling Terra-Vim and Terra Vim Superbatone. Me's album contains 171 photos on 64 pages with many captions. From 1929-1931 they toured Eastern Washington, Idaho, and Eastern Oregon. What its ingredients were is not known but another patent medicine using similar verbiage in its advertising featured significant amounts of alcohol and a powerful laxative. That will clean you out while making you feel good. These days, people have to take those ingredients separately. It was so much easier in the days of Terra-Vim. Many of these patent medicines succumbed during the 1930s as the FTC began cracking down on false advertising and quack medicine. Item 57. $1,450.
Here is another photo album. It celebrates the dedication of Outer Drive Bridge in Chicago on October 5, 1937, a ceremony that featured President Franklin D. Roosevelt. The bridge was completed as one of Roosevelt's New Deal public works projects although it began all the way back in 1929. It was a difficult project. This souvenir album contains 24 tipped in photographs. There is an aerial view of the bridge, the President's motorcade in downtown Chicago, and one of the President at the podium. The album was created by the Chicago Times Photographers. This copy was presented to Chicago Mayor Edward Kelly. Kelly had succeeded Mayor Anton Cermak who died as a result of an assassination attempt on Roosevelt. Item 25. $1,450.
This souvenir album came from the Alaska-Yukon Pacific Exposition in 1909. It probably would have been hard to bring a crowd large enough to justify an exposition of this size to Alaska or the Yukon in 1909 so it was held in Seattle. Photos display the Manufactures Building, Forestry Building, many state buildings, and in keeping with the Pacific orientation, the Japan Exhibit and the Formosa Tea House (sponsored by the Japanese government as they controlled Taiwan at the time). There is the Pay Streak with rides and such attractions, the Oriental Village, the Temple of Palmistry, and “Dixieland,” an exhibit Zephyr describes as “decidedly racist” which featured “festivities and pastimes of the negro in the Sunny South.” Item 2. $350.
It took another 53 years but Seattle finally got to host its own world's fair. It is mostly known as the Seattle World's Fair but that might not have appealed as much to Europeans so they used the other name for this poster, Century 21 Exposition. It is described as “America's Space Age World's Fair.” Dates and location are listed at the bottom of the poster in French and German. Two of the fair's most notable attractions are displayed on the poster, the Space Needle and the Monorail, the latter of which connected downtown to the fair. Both are still in operation today. If you look closely you can also see the U.S. Science Pavilion. This fair was all about the future, and some of its predictions have come true while others, like jetting around in our own private helicopters, is still far off. Having attended the fair as a youngster so many years ago I was struck with one piece of amazing new technology available right there. I was able to call home on a speaker phone. Without this start we would have no Zoom today. Item 87. $3,250.