humourless news from1893

Once again we're back with news from Publishers Weekly of long ago.

This time we're "reporting" the news from April 1, 1893 (PW no. 1105)


MISS HELEN AINSLEE SMITH, of Newark N.J., a well-known writer of children's books, has been married for three years, and is the wife of James Elliott, a New York lawyer.


THE Russian publishers do not intend to allow author to interfere with their business. They have petitioned the Minister of the Interior to impose a special tax on the works of all authors who acts as their own publishers.

IN Japan it has just been decided by a committee of the peers that the discharge of the work of editors or publishers is neither becoming nor desirable for women and that these offices shall be reserved to men of, or over, twenty-one years of age.

A "LOVER OF BOOKS," writing to an English journal makes a vigorous and much-needed protest against what he calls the ridiculous practice of allowing some modern litterateur to advertise his name as "editor" upon every reprint of a standard work offered to the public. He asks why these modern editors should be allowed to annoy in this impertinent fashion a classic read and beloved before they were born, and he scorns the "ridiculous, fussy and artificial ceremony of editing things which only require to be left alone to the care of any sensible publisher." Here is a slap for Andrew Lang: "Of Mr. Lang- Editor-in-Chief to the British Nation- it is too late to speak. The 'admirable and exhaustive index' now to be appended to Sir Walter's novels give one only more stimulus to the prevalent vices of the age- aimless quotation and a pretence of familiarity with our great classics."


HORACE C. DONOGHUE, a well-known Chicago publisher, committed suicide on the 27th of March. While he was standing before his dressing-case his wife took up a newspaper and began reading about Elliott F. Shepard's death in New York. Suddenly she heard her husband fall with a peculiar gurgling sound, and rushing to his side she found that he had cut his throat from ear to ear with a razor. The cause for the suicide is a mystery. Mr. Donoghue leaves a large estate.

*sigh* I wonder how many sites will be rick-rolled tomorrow.


Housekeeping, March 24th, 1900

Yes sir, it's Monday, time to see what Publishers Weekly was reporting on 108 years ago today.

For those playing along at home, the articles below are from issue no. 1469.


R.D. BLACKMORE left instructions in his will that no biography or memoir of him was to be published.

MRS. FRANCES HODGSON BURNETT was married to Stephen Townsend, in London, on the 14th inst. The bridegroom is a son of the late Rev. George Tyler Townsend, once chaplain to the Duke of Northumberland, and also to the Bishop of Tasmania. He is a physician, and has won the degree of Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons, but never cared for this profession, and several years ago abandoned it for the stage.


HORACE S. RIDINGS, of J.B. Lippincott Co., will sail for England on the 28th inst. by the Teutonic.

EX-QUEEN LILIUOKALANI, the former ruler of the Hawaiian Islands, has published for private circulation a book entitled "The Hawaiian Traditions of the Creation."

HARPER & BROTHERS will publish on the 28th inst. under the title of "Woman and Artist," an amusing tale , by Max O'Rell, (Paul Blouet,) of a London artist who invents a rifle which he attempts to sell to both the French and Russian governments. Some amusing complications ensue.

COLONEL G.B.M. HARVEY, the director of the affairs of Harper & Brothers, sailed for Europe on the 21st inst. He will be gone five weeks, and all the time of his stay in Europe will be spent in London and Paris. In these cities Harper & Brothers have branch houses-- that is Paris have recently opened, the London branch of long standing and large business. Te publishing company maintains a complete organization in both these cities, and it is to get a thorough knowledge, both of the business and the organization, that Col. Harvey will make this visit. While abroad Col. Harvey will cast out lines for writers for the several Harpers publications.


Day late, dollar short

Let's travel back in time once again. The date- March 19,1898.

Selected articles from Publishers Weekly, no. 1360:


CLIFFORD HOWARD, P.O. Box 633, Washington DC., has published a new and considerably enlarged edition of his work on "Sex Worship: an exposition of the Phallic origin of religion." This edition is virtually a new publication, and the increased size has necessitated an increase of price to $1.50.

BRETANO'S announce as nearly ready "The Handbook of Solo Whist" by A.S. Wilkes, a recognized authority on card games. The book contains the rules for a new variety of "dummy solo," the advantage of which is that it is the only variety of solo whist for three players that embodies the proposal and acceptance call.

HOUGHTON MIFFLIN & CO. publish to-day "Cheerful Yesterdays," in which the author, Col. Thomas Wentworth Higginston, gives an account of interesting experiences in the most attractive manner; "Satchel Guide" for 1898 ...


for full article hunt down your own copy!






RUDYARD KIPLING and his family, last month reached Capetown, Africa. They were very warmly received, and the author was presented with a set of verses addressed to himself by a private in the ranks called "An Experiment in Imitation." these appeared in Commercial Advertiser for February 28.

KARL HUYSMANS, the hysterial, pessimistic writers of "La-Bas," "En Route," and 'La Cathedrale," has abandoned his faith in his message of despair to a world out of joint, and has gone into a monastery.


BENZINGER BROTHERS announce a new story by Ella Loraine Dorsey, entitled "Pickle and Pepper." The scene of the story is laid at the national capital.

MISS BELLE BERRY, known as the "Belle of Claysburg," book agent, will oppose Mayonr Isaac F. Whitesides for the nomination for the office now held by him.

THE FOWLER & WELLS Co. will publish next month "L.N. & J. Fowler's Chart," with original tables, specially designed for this work for marking. The scope of the chart will entitle it to the consideration of teachers and the general reader, whether already interested in phrenology or not.

FRANK L. ARMSTRONG, of Tarrytown, N.Y., was held for trial in a New York police court on the charge of swindling publishers and booksellers by means of worthless checks. He was held on complaint made by Peter Eckler and Bowers & Loy, but it is likely that when his case comes to trial he will be confronted by other members of the trade.


Dear used booksellers of America,

Saran Wrap is not an effective method of packing your books. Saran Wrap does not magically protect the book the same way that bubble-wrap protects books. It does not count as anything other than annoying and wasteful when I receive a book that has 5 layers of the stuff wrapped around a book. I don't understand why you continue to be such cheap bastards who refuse to purchase some more effective protection when mailing books to people. Please stop.

Really just stop.

I mean how much time does it take to wrap that book that way? And I can only imagine Saran Wrap in the kitchen. Is that where you wrap your books? A Pall Mall dangling from your lips (I can smell the tobacco on the book) and a roll of Saran Wrap in your hand staring down at the next book to be shipped out? Please I don't want to think about the books I have to process as being in any way related to the leftover casserole in your fridge. but both are wrapped in the same stuff on the same counter.

You need to go to the UPS store or Staples and buy some bubble-wrap. At least for those packages you send to the library.


Extra Extra

As to not interfere with news of amputation, I'm adding this personal note from the March 9, 1889 issue of Publishers Weekly as it's own post:


CHARLES W. BURROWS, President and Harris B. Burrows, General Manager of the Burrows Brothers Co., Cleveland, are in the city for a few days, making the Murray Hill Hotel their headquarters.


All Amputation Post

From Publishers Weekly, March 9, 1889:

GEORGE S. BLANCHARD, a well-known book dealer in Cincinnati, died at that city February 21 from the effect of amputation of one of his arms.

We regret to learn that "Bob" Wright, a well-known clerk at Robert Clarke's book-store, met with a frightful accident while stepping from a train at his home, in Maplewood, a week ago. In some manner Wright slipped, and his left foot got under the wheels. The member was fearfully mangled, and it was found necessary to amputate the limb at the knee in order to save his life. The accident will incapacitate him for duty for several months.



Lost skills

I should be doing something else, but I want to master all the obsolete skills listed here.

Some skills I already possess*:

  • Adjusting rabbit ears on top of a TV

  • Adjusting tracking on a VCR

  • Balance tonearm on a turntable

  • Changing the ball or ribbon on your Selectric Typewriter

  • Darning a sock

  • Formatting a floppy

  • Rewinding a cassette tape using a Bic pen

*Instructions for all tasks listed on site. Go look now.

found on Boing Boing