I'm the first to admit that I'm shameless when it comes to asking for old paper for my collages. Signs dot the studio urging visitors to let me take old stuff - "the grungier, the better" - off their hands. I'll even pay for it if I really, really want something.
But people seem happy to find a new home for their paper and often donate it. That's what happened last week when a woman walked into my studio holding a postcard from an open studio back in the spring. She told me she had seen the signs and had a bag of stuff for me. Did I want it? Sure. Turns out that it included a box of about 40 sewing patterns for children's and teen clothing from the early 1960s, which couldn't have come at a better time; I was just about to start shopping for some.
Also in the bag, the 1915 Volland Popular Edition of Mother Goose. I've made it clear before that I am a huge fan of all things Volland. The Chicago publisher's publications were stylish and often avant-garde. This compilation of Mother Goose nursery rhymes was put together by Eulalie Osgood Grover and illustrated by Frederick Richardson (1862-1937) with full-page paintings so lush and colorful that a reader gets lost in them. As Grover says in her foreword "children, as well as interested parents, will eagerly welcome this beautiful edition of the great nursery classic, just as a worthy edition of Shakespeare is welcomed by discriminating adult readers."
My copy is grungy. The outer spine is missing, along with a few of the illustrations. Aged, yellowed cellophane tape holds many pages together. Pencil and crayon drawings can be found throughout the book. I like that; it shows that the book was used - not just sitting on a shelf. Overall, the central images are in terrific condition. Plenty of the images are available online, as is the entire book, but I'm scanning a high-res version into my digital library anyway. Then, we'll see what kind of new collages come out of the originals from this wonderful gift!