It’s quite a donation, so far as I’ve gotten through it. I like to see the libraries of earnest collectors, especially if the collectors shopped at the Newberry for parts of the collection. I have looked through only a small percentage of the collection so far, but it is promising to be wonderful.
Usually, people who send me their John F. Kennedy assassination collections have the same half dozen books: William Manchester, the Warren Commission Report, Rush to Judgment, something by Jim Garrison, and one or two other bestsellers. But you can always tell when a serious collector has been at work.
Here we have a small book made out of an interview with Lee Harvey Oswald’s mother. I don’t believe we’ve seen that one before. And I don’t recall receiving this book by Gerald R. Ford. (Before he became President he was a member of the Warren Commission.) Here, let’s pile these up in separate stacks. This can be the single gunman stack, this can be the two gunman stack, here’s the three gunman stack….
And oh, the conspiracies! Here’s the vegetable oil king, here’s the CIA, here’s the Mob, here are Castro’s boys, here…. Here’s a CD-Rom with all the important documents, including photos of the gun. I don’t see the book that makes the whole thing an elaborate suicide, but I bet it’s here. Pity some of these are so rare they’ll wind up in Collectibles. Otherwise we could have a separate Kennedy section under Law and Crime, with a shelf for each Real Culprit.
But if you want conspiracies, the Kennedy collection is nothing to the UFO collection. This is truly stellar (pause for laugh; none forthcoming). There are no fewer than four boxfuls of these books, stretching back to the days when they were still Flying Saucers. There are angles here I had never once considered, starting with a book called UFO Are Real. (This was written by a grammarian thinker who realized that UFO can be singular or plural, the word Object and the word Objects both starting with an…okay, be that way. But I LIKE an original thinker.)
The classics are here: Kehoe, Hynek, Gray Barker. But we also have the proceedings of the first conference of the Abduction Society, and numerous annuals from the MUFON conferences. This book proves UFOs are conjured up by earthly sorcerers casting spells while this one reveals that much of the Old Testament was written for us by aliens. This book which seeks to point out the previously unsuspected connection between UFOs and owls is not terribly rare, but this one, with the dust jacket depicting a fashionably clad princess from Mars (I guess) will have to go onto the Collectibles table.
And virtually every author, in the Kennedy and the UFO collection, wants to let you know The Authorities have Lied To You, and only by reading this book can you learn the True Facts. I have never seen so many True Facts in one place for eons. I wonder if the theme will continue in the rest of this donation, so that we have to include a Conspiracy Theory category come July. I myself was thinking of writing a book proving Lee Harvey Oswald had something to do with the death of Jon Benet Ramsay (perhaps with the help of O.J. Sinpson and Judge Crater) but I got bogged down in my translation of the prophecies of Nostradamus which mention Jessica Simpson, and never got back to the project.
But I am always game for another Conspiracy Theory. Speaking of which, we had these Kennedy books and these UFO books all come in the same week we were given these three bags full of DVDs about knitting. Can that POSSIBLY be a coincidence? (If you just said yes, you are disqualified from looking at the UFO books. You have to have the right kind of attitude for this assignment.)