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2446Re: Welcome to aloha-donblanding

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  • Ken Klein
    Jul 13, 2001

      I am new to this group. In browsing through some of the past messages, I
      noticed occasional mentions of Edith Hope Genee, Robert Sherwood, the
      Swordsman Publishing Company. I think I could contribute a number of
      answers in this general area, if there is still interest. Swordsman
      Publishing Company was my father's printshop and he printed a long series
      of poetry book, mostly financed by the authors. (Putting it that way
      sounds better than "vanity press").

      Edith Hope Genee was the editor the American Bard, which in the early 1960s
      was supposed to have been the country's largest poetry magazine. She and
      my father were old friends, having been co-editors of an adult school
      newspaper at Hollywood High in the late 1930s. So she brought the printing
      contract to his printshop. This then led to several poetry book jobs.

      Edith had also been a close friend of Don Blanding's and I gather she
      inherited the rights to many of his illustrations, as they were a constant
      source for inclusion in the American Bard and many of the poetry books
      published by Swordsman. When she passed away, many of the Don Blanding
      prints she had were given to another poet-friend, Mary Cox, who was active
      in the Chaparrel Poets. In turn, when Mary died, the prints passed to my
      father. I am just now in the middle of cleaning up my parents' house and I
      uncovered a pile of Blanding prints, as well as several pieces of Vernon
      ceramics and some sheet music for which Blanding wrote the lyrics.

      Robert Sherwood's Laugh A Day was always quite a joke in our house. Not so
      much because of the quality of the book itself; more for the author's
      unreal expectations for its success. When he came to talk over the
      printing with my father, he wanted to know if he would be able to keep up
      with the demand (Swordsman Publishing was always a one-man shop). The
      plastic bindings for the book and the unbound copies sat in our attic for
      years and years after Sherwood himself had passed away. My wife is a
      school teacher and several of her third grade classes have had their
      projects held together by bindings that read "Laugh A Day Sherwood" on
      them. It is quite a hoot to see the book now listed as "rare."

      I have salvaged whatever Swordsman Publishing Company books I could from my
      parents' attic. I gave as full a set as I could muster to the UCLA Library
      several years ago, and another to the library at USC (where I now work)
      just this year. I have a listing of Swordsman publications, but I would
      have to search through more carefully to see which ones feature Don
      Blanding illustrations.

      Thanks for indulging me. I would welcome any questions you might have
      about the circle of poets which involved Don Blanding, at least
      tangentially, and I hope to learn more about them myself from this group.

      --Ken Klein

      Ken Klein
      East Asian Library
      University Information Services
      University of Southern California
      (213) 740-1772
      (213) 740-7437 (fax)
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