While my main interest is in 19th-century American culture and books, some 20th-century works also find a place at this site. This tiny collection of texts difficult to find on the Internet or in bookstores is unfocused and likely to stay that way.
An advertisement for Say-Yo Mint Jujubes promises flavor and medicinal benefits—in a confection endorsed by bicyclists.
A Thousand Ways to Please a Husband, by Louise Bennett Weaver and Helen Cowles LeCron (1917) is a cookbook long on charm.
Most of the books here are by Samuel Scoville, jr, grandson of Henry Ward Beecher and author of works on natural history that appeared in St. Nicholas Magazine, among other places. However, I’m emphasizing the books featuring Will Bright and Joe Couteau, two young adventurers on quests for gem-collector Jim Donegan. Boy Scouts in the Wilderness, The Blue Pearl, The Inca Emerald, The Red Diamond, and The Snakeblood Ruby are half adventure novel, half natural history. One young reader found Boy Scouts such a rich reading experience that many of its details were fresh in his memory 50 years later.
These books are purchased for someone else, so they’re not, strictly speaking, part of my collection. However, as I find copies, I’m making transcriptions before handing them on.
Boy Scouts in the Wilderness (serialized in Boy’s Life, 1919; as book 1919)
The Blue Pearl (serialized in St. Nicholas Magazine as “The Boy Scouts in the North; or, The Blue Pearl,” Nov 1919-Oct 1920; as book, 1920)
The Inca Emerald (serialized in St. Nicholas Magazine,” Jan-Dec 1922; as book, 1922)
The Red Diamond (serialized in St. Nicholas Magazine, Nov 1924-Oct 1925; as book, 1925)
The Snakeblood Ruby (serialized in St. Nicholas Magazine as “The Snakeblood Ruby,” Jan-June 1928 and “Rescue of the Ruby,” Nov 1931-April 1932; as book, 1932) Not in public domain in the U. S., though ironically it is in other countries
“Choosing the Right Path: Didacticism in the Choose-Your-Own-Adventure Books” (1986) is a paper based on my collection of “choose-your-own-adventure” books. These books, in which the reader becomes the protagonist of the story, were extremely popular from their first publication in the 1970s; there was a series for adults (sleep with the boss? / don’t sleep with the boss?), and some popular movies (Staying Alive) were replayed through these books. Readers also could guide popular characters (Indiana Jones, Superman, Spock, the Muppets) through an adventure. As interesting to me was the system of social values on which the action of the books seem to depend.