Rare Book Monthly
Book Catalogue Reviews - February - 2010 Issue
Unusual American Books and Pamphlets from Garrett Scott, Bookseller
Item 265 is an inscribed, pitch card from Stanley Berent, better known as Sealo the Seal Boy. The circa 1940-1960 card is inscribed, "Compliments of Sealo, to Pretty but Bashful Mary Lou Hunt." Being bashful with Sealo was probably common. This was the day when people would go to sideshows to gawk at individuals with physical deformities. Today, we are much more sophisticated, so we stay at home and watch reality TV shows and gawk at people with mental deformities. Sealo suffered from phocomelia (a word I admit I never heard of before this catalogue). He had no arms, just hands protruding from his shoulders, giving the appearance of flippers. Berent evidently performed average tasks such as shaving to display his handicap. $45.
Next time someone tells you to stop drinking, hand them a copy of Joel Rinaldo's Psychoanalysis of the "Reformer": A Further Contribution to the Sexual Theory, published in 1921. This was the beginning of the era of Prohibition, and Rinaldo understood the real reason some people enforced their temperance views on others. "I have known many a reformer," writes Rinaldo, "but I have never seen one that was not subnormal." He goes on to explain why they so act - "We have seen how prohibition...arises from sexual inhibition and in practice is nothing but pervert sexuality, social sadism, and how its purpose is to interfere in sexual life..." I'll drink to that. Item 172. $50.
Item 150 is Stripped to the Hide by Herman Edward Mootz, published in 1925. It is the story of poor Frederick, who succumbs to the charms of Maude, dumps his girlfriend and marries Maude, who proceeds to steal his money, frames him in a capital case from which he is jailed, and even tries to murder him. Maude "was the most monstrous exemplification of treachery, dishonor and ingratitude which one can conceive," perhaps even as monstrous as this book. Mootz has tastefully dedicated the book to his wife "in loving gratitude for the inspiration which made this book possible." She must have been a lovely lady. $50.
Garrett Scott, Bookseller may be reached at 734-741-8605 or email@example.com. His website is www.GSBbooks.com.