Initially, I was struck by the artwork and wording on the covers. There were a mere handful of duplicates and each ten-page pamphlet was a peek into a world much different than what we know now. The publication dates are almost all mid 1950s with a few stepping into the early 60s. The vast majority of them were published by the company Good Reading Rack Service which I have researched as far as I can, coming up with little information. What I did find in an old 1961 financial report is that GRRS was explained as follows:
The company is engaged primarily in the business of publishing and marketing informational booklets. to financial, commercial and industrial organizations which in turn make the publications available to their employees or customers. The publications can be classified in two categories: (1) educational booklets on basic economics, health and safety, recreation and the home, and self-improvement and guidance (published and distributed by the company's Good Reading Rack Service Division), and (2) booklets and monthly letters on income and estate taxes and planning of estate and personal affairs (published and distributed by the company's Financial Publishing Division).
After consulting some of my friends in the fields of reference, folklore and all-around 50s know-it-alls, we came to the conclusion that a large find like this was rare. The pamphlets exist here and there but it seems there aren't many left in large quantities in such good condition as these.
I decided to scan each cover, more than 400 of them, because their imagery was something I wished to hold onto forever. I then started to explore my next step. I quickly decided that deconstructing them was not an option and that I wanted to keep the collection together. I conducted a quick and informal poll on my other blog and Facebook to see if people would be interested in seeing more of these and the reaction was an overwhelming 'YES'.
I've spent the last month organizing and cataloguing these pamphlets in an effort to document the collection and to ease the process of sharing with you. Starting April 1st, 2012, a new pamphlet will be highlighted each day. Its cover, publishing information and a short excerpt will be shared in each post. I may also interject a bit of my thoughts here and there. If a particular pamphlet garners loads of attention, I will do my best to scan more of the publication to share with you in the future.
It is my hope that after the 365 is completed, the collection will be appraised and will eventually be housed where they can be well preserved for many, many years to come and culturally studied by many. If you know of anyone who may have more information regarding these, I welcome e-mails at email@example.com. Please note GRRS in the subject line.
Please make sure to source these images and posts correctly if you should choose to share or save. I would greatly appreciate it.
In reflection, I find myself wondering why this little old lady had so many of these publications. Did her husband or she represent the GRRS company? Why did they choose to keep them? How did they stay in such amazing condition being stored where and how they were? What would she think of my research? What would the individuals who read these pamphlets daily think of our crazy world today? How lucky am I to have crossed paths with those random boxes?
I hope you enjoy this 365 day journey as much as I have enjoyed immersing myself in it.