Some months ago a coin club colleague (SK) gave me several issues of The Numismatist (flagship publication of the American Numismatic Association) from 1952, the year of my birth. The half-century old advertisements are attractive, the articles are amusing, and the announcements are absorbing — but most arresting of all are the monthly "From Your Librarian" columns by the alliteratively appellated Mrs. D. Dee De Nise, who writes enthusiastically about books and sundry related matters. For example, in the August copy:

As we grow older, time goes almost as swiftly as money! We have hardly finished reading our Numismatist, and answering advertisements of interest to us, when the next issue arrives! Since I talked to you last month, we have outgrown the four walls of this room. We now have to make a momentous decision — whether to finish a large room in our nice dry basement, or whether to move our bedroom to an extra room we have upstairs, and use the downstairs bedroom as a "library annex" — it being right across the hall from this room. Now don't suggest that we use the upstairs room for the library — the elevator is out of order! And the walls will not take high bookshelves!

Clearly the ANA Library at that time was a welcome guest in her own Seattle home. Mrs. De Nise continues in cheerful detail:

We have added more than two dozen books for you this last month, some of them splendid references. You might be interested to know that it takes just about an hour to add one book to the library. First you record it under donations or purchases in the record book, and give it an Index number. Then you make a card for the Index Files — author, title, where published, year published, itemize the contents of the text, number of pages, number of plates, name of donor or from whom purchased, date, and value. Then type the same thing on the Association label to stick in the book, put the Index number inside and on the back of the book, make out a loan card and paste a pocket in the book, and then shelve the book if you can bring yourself away from the desire to sit down and read it. Now don't let this ritual keep you from sending us a book now and then — we love ritual!

Most of the "From Your Librarian" essays are similarly upbeat, though not all are as full of exclamation marks. In September 1952, for instance, the article begins:

Well, Cheerio, my fine public! You thought you weren't going to have a column this month, but I am stopping in Vancouver, B.C. on my way to New York and I am going to fool you. We won't have time to list the new books we have acquired this month, but I would like to tell you about a letter I received ...

Mrs. De Nise concludes her September notes with an apology:

If your orders have suffered during August, it is because my husband is an electrical engineer and not a librarian. He has sent you the books which you ordered by number, but he was unable to do any research work or to send you books on topics about which he knows nothing.

And in October 1952 she commences:

Cheerio, my good friends — we are back at the old grind after having seen America by Greyhound — 5000 miles of it. I now have a much better idea of the cities and towns where hundreds of you live and as I send books out now, I can better visualize where they are going. ...

The November issue features a special report by Mrs. De Nise titled "Sidelights of the 1952 A.N.A. Convention", chock full of anecdotes and personal profiles. It ends:

Now in closing these notes I think I should tell you the "success story of the year." I brought along a certain number of A.N.A. Reprints and placed them on a table in the Exhibit Room, marking each with its price, and on a paper beneath an ordinary drinking glass, I wrote: Please pay as marked and put your money in the glass. An hour late a Committee member came hurrying to the registration desk with a handful of dollar bills and considerable change, and said, "Don't you know this is New York — you can't leave money around like this!" I answered, "Bur these are Collectors!" Whereupon he hastened to assure me that there was also a constant stream of visitors going through. Well, I didn't have time to go and take care of the table, and in another hour another friend brought me a handful of money and said, "You don't realize this is New York. Can't you bring those Reprints out here in the hall by you?" This happened twice again, and at the end of the day I went in to the Reprint table, and saw that it was empty of Reprints and that the glass was again full of money. I counted all the money which had been brought to me, added the amount from the glass, totalled the prices of all the Reprints which had disappeared from the table, and found that the A.N.A. was seventy-five cents to the good. That was New York!

Obviously she enjoys her job!

(cf. NumismaticRamblings (7 Aug 2000), NumismaticLuck (19 Sep 2000), TheCoin (5 Mar 2002), MontgomeryCountyCoinClub (20 May 2003), ArtisticInfusion (15 May 2004), ...)

TopicRecreation - TopicLiterature - TopicHumor - 2006-05-08

(correlates: ReadyWillingAble, AsimovOnLibraries, PulpIt, ...)