Notes & Queries
Three postscripts to “The Little Island Books of Leipzig…”
Since the publication of my article “From the Little Island Books of Leipzig to the King Penguins of London” in the 346th Issue of Biblionews for June 2005, pp. 43–72, there have been three developments that merit comment.
The lost is found: On p. 53 I expressed regret that I did not possess a copy of No 226 Das kleine Buch der Nachtfalter, the Little Book of Nighttime Moths, and on p. 60 that my copy of No 255 Der kleine Goldfischteich, The Little Goldfish Pond, had gone missing. Well, just recently I took out of years-long commercial storage many boxes of my books, and in one labelled “Book Collecting” I found, yes, both of those little volumes (the former with the bookplate of Lena Cohn and the latter, unprovenanced, with the pencilled inscription on the front e.p. “Herr Herbst hatte einen Fischteich”, Mr Herbst [= Autumn?] had a Fish Pond, whatever that refers to).
However, I found not only them, but also a copy of No 690: Wilhelm Busch, Drei Märchen. Farbige Zeichnungen, Three Fairy Tales. Coloured Drawings, published by the Leipzig, i.e. East German, branch of the Insel publishing house in 1959. This little collection of fairy tales by the humorist Wilhelm Busch (1832–1908) has the text written in Busch’s own hand (in Roman, not German script) accompanied by his coloured drawings and adds to my small collection of Busch publications as well as to my Insel collection.
An advantage of publishing in Biblionews: Soon after publication of the article I received a number of requests from Britain for a copy of the issue; evidently its existence had been picked up by Penguin collectors from one of the copies that go to British libraries. Because I had so few spares I could oblige only two of the requesters. One of these was Mr Patrick Fox, and the acquaintance thus made has been very much to the benefit of my collection of both illustrated Insel books and King Penguins, since he has generously favoured me with spares from his own collection that I did not previously have. That he is an expert in the field (and has an excellent knowledge of German) was brought home to me by his sending me a copy of his article “Patterned Papers in the Insel-Bücherei” (Matrix, a Review for Printers and Bibliophiles 14, 1994, pp. 178–187), which, apart from having beautiful reproductions of the designs on the covers of many of the little Insel volumes, reveals a profound knowledge of the history of this publishing house.
Furthermore, to my copy he tipped in additional examples of the patterned papers used on covers that had not been in his original article. And if all this theoretical expertise was not enough, he subsequently sent me a magnificently bound copy, with patterned paper covers and a slip case, of a reproduction of my little article “German as a Source of American Prestige Forms Entering Australian English”, which had been published in the now defunct Australian linguistics journal Talanya back in 1978 and which I had sent him a copy of as some attempt to compensate for the veritable flood of items coming to me from his direction. I trust readers of Biblionews will appreciate now the benefits that can accrue from publishing in our journal.