Rare Example of an Amateur Book
Gay, Ed. C. (Edward C.), b. 1859 or 60. The Boy Smuggler. Farmer City, Ill.: Ed. C. Gay, 1876.
The Boy Smuggler is a rare example of an amateur book produced by
amateur newspaper editor and publisher: Edward C. Gay was about 16 years
old in 1876. This short "blood and thunder" adventure story takes us
into the fantasy life of a late nineteenth-century adolescent boy. The
text features romance, smuggling, and shipwrecks. The book's printer
Thomas Geo. Harrison (then known as Geo. Harrison) enjoyed a colorful
career as an amateur printer, and later as one of the few contemporary
historians of amateur journalism. This chapbook also features an
advertisement for Daring Dick, an adventure story written by the
author Edgar P. Slade, who died only a few years later while living on
the Western frontier. The full names and birth/death dates for Gay,
Harrison, and Slade were unearthed during the cataloging of this book.
Purchased from Howard S. Mott. Harry G. Stoddard Memorial Fund.
- Laura Wasowicz, Curator of Children's Literature
"One day I am visited by a collector of ordination sermons; the next, by
a collector of 4th of July orations; then comes a collector of geography;
another wants religious newspapers; another wants every book printed in
New York before 1700. I accommodate myself to all; for I want every thing
and collect every thing, and I have more zeal than the whole of them: and
in this way I am kept very busy."
~Christopher Columbus Baldwin
3rd Librarian of AAS