Category Archives: Vanity Publications

The Passing of an Oak

In 1905, workers in Monterey, California cut down a dead oak tree and tossed it into Monterey Bay. Perhaps they did not know that it was the most famous tree in the city’s history. … Three centuries before, on 3 … Continue reading

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The Boers and the Uitlanders

Why did Elder & Shepard publish a book about a guerilla war in southern Africa? In 1901 the southern tip of Africa was immersed in a conflict known as the Boer War. The belligerents were the Boers, pastoral farmers who … Continue reading

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Errors of Thought

This book is surely the strangest that Paul Elder ever published. It is the antithesis of the attractive, well-printed, easily-read giftable volume that was the Elder specialty. Without a doubt a vanity publication, Errors of Thought in Science, Religion and Social Life … Continue reading

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The Life of a Successful Banker

The Life of a Successful Banker (1905) is humorous short story, purporting to describe a young man’s journey from humble beginnings in North Carolina to become a “great financier” at the First Rational Bank in San Francisco. The author fancifully claims to have … Continue reading

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Stray Leaves

In addition to books published under the Paul Elder imprint, the Tomoye Press also printed a number of vanity publications. Stray Leaves is a particularly handsome example. Author Mary Murphy has gathered poetry from various sources into this elegantly bound … Continue reading

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