Alas, there are no plans for another Elder exhibition. At some point I plan to post some photos of the exhibition I curated at the San Francisco’s Public Library in 2004. Watch this space.
I started with publishing the Checklist for two reasons: it established a baseline of Elder’s output, and it was a chunk of work that could be completed in a reasonable time frame. The Bibliography, at least the one that I would feel proud to call my own, involves a much larger scope of work. The logistical problems are daunting for yours truly, who must still hold down a day job:
- after many years of searching, there are still titles of which I have never seen a single copy
- many of Elder’s books were published in multiple bindings, marketing names, and cover artwork
- Elder published a large amount of ephemera: calendars, greeting cards, postcards, mottoes, etc
- a huge amount of material was surely destroyed in the 1906 earthquake and fire
In summary: while I have no intention of dying without finishing the Bibliography, I think it will be a while before it appears in print.
Alas, the checklist is out of print and there are no immediate plans to print more. I have seen one or two come up for sale on auction sites such as Ebay and PBA Galleries.
But there’s good news! The entire checklist is now available on this very website and is always current, whereas the most recent printed checklist is now sixteen years out of date. Enjoy!
While giving a lecture on Paul Elder in 2004, I was asked this question. It’s every bibliographer’s nightmare, of course: failing to record a title.
I am confident that the current online checklist records 99% of Elder’s output; the uncertainty concerns that last one percent. All the earliest records of the bookstore were destroyed in the 1906 earthquake and fire. Many of Elder’s books are quite rare: there are several titles in my collection where—despite all my years of looking—the copy I own is the only one I’ve ever seen. That doesn’t necessarily make them valuable, just rare. There are also plenty of titles I do not own, though not for lack of searching.
There have been only three new discoveries in the last decade, although each has resulted in multiple checklist entries. Those recent additions were:
- in 2009, I found a catalog with ten new titles in the Impression Classics series (checklist 404-413)
- in 2010, I found a catalog that listed five new titles in the Vest Pocket Helps series (checklist 414-418)
- in 2012, I discovered two titles in a hitherto unknown series called the Langham Library of Humour (checklist 419-20)
If you are working from one of the printed checklists, the addenda & corrigenda can be found here.
The count currently stands at 413 titles (420 numbered entries, with seven deleted upon further research). Not all of them are “books” in the usual sense; there are a number of small booklets and pamphlets. I have included everything with a formal title page; all but a handful have bylines and publication dates. The count does not include magazines, catalogs or other ephemera.