Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Urban Folklore from the Paperwork Empire

After reading this post on BoingBoing, I had to dig this book out of the Mt. Holly Public Library. Written and collected by Alan Dundes and Carl R. Pager, Urban Folklore from the Paperwork Empire is the definitive archive of chain letters, fuck-the-system mimeograph masterpieces, and off-color social commentary from the 20's through the mid 60's.

Faux "my-husband-is-a-sex-maniac" letters to Ann Landers, The Italian Bomb Shelter, Charlie Brown's Allergy - they're all here. If YouTube videos are today's social collateral, this is a veritable Fort Knox of the pass-a-long gold from the days of yore, some of it, amazingly pertinent today. For example, the Rush Job Calendar, Perspectives on the Design of a Tree Swing, and the fold up Government Computer Cost Diagram. Click here for a high-res PDF.

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