Thursday, January 27, 2011


I was on my way into work last Saturday to make up some hours and I noticed a sign near the curb. It said "1000's of books/Artwork" with an arrow pointing into the parking lot.
First of all I thought it was odd that there would be a garage sale in the dead of winter, and secondly there really isn't anything behind the parking lot at my job besides a couple small dilapidated houses and a dead end.
I followed anyway and parked to look around. I knocked on the back door of one of the houses and a lady told me to come inside. She said that her father who was an art professor at the college had passed away and that she and her siblings were trying to clear out his houses.
I found out that he had owned both of the two run-down houses that sit behind the building I work in. I always wondered if anyone even lived in them and my wife and I had commented on them quite a few times in the past when she would drop me off at work and use the dead end to turn the car around.
The woman was there with her brothers and sisters who looked like they were in their 40's and there were other people from town walking through the house looking around.
The woman explained that the house was a bit overwhelming but I was free to wander through the rooms and look at anything I wanted. Her father was a hoarder and they had no idea what to do with all his stuff. They hadn't even begun to go through the house next door which was also filled with his stuff.
I started looking around. There was several rooms all lined with bookshelves to the ceiling filled with thousands and thousands of books! There was artwork leaned against the walls two feet deep of all different kinds. I must have spent three hours skimming through the shelves room by room. The majority of the books dealt with art, an entire wall of Japanese art books, a wall of Mexican art books, another huge shelf of books on surrealist books. Everything was very well organized.
There were lots of cookbooks, religious books, craft books... old books spanning the the entire century.
After scouring half-a-dozen rooms I had to take a break because I was getting dizzy.
One of the man's sons told me they already filled three industrial-sized dumpsters with stuff to haul away and they were on their fourth.
Earlier on that day a guy had stopped by and bought the entire load of Jazz/Blues records the guy had amassed over the years. He must have made out like a BANDIT!
The children were selling the stuff by the box-full for practically nothing. I got a big box of books for $3. I finally had to stop to get in my hours at work but the children said they would open the place up again and had to get everything out by the 31st.

I thought I'd share a few of my favorite finds. I'm hoping to get in there again this weekend and maybe get a peek into the second house. If there are any books my blog readers want me to keep an eye out for post a comment please and I'll do my best. I'm really good at grabbing things I know my friends are looking for.


I found this 1st edition copy of The Yum Yum Book by cartoonist R. Crumb which he originally made for his girlfriend back in the late 60's.


I got this copy of Little Black Sambo which I've only ever found once before with the cover ripped off.


I got this demonic looking book on the occult.


I found this neat Charles Addams book called Nightcrawlers which is excellent. I never really read any of his old cartoons and his dark humor made me laugh so hard I almost crapped my self.
Here's a couple I scanned:



I got a whole stack of books with old stag party cartoons and a bunch of old children's books I've been looking for. I also got a bunch of Mad and humor related paperbacks and of course so drawing books. I found some great old comics and am hoping there will be more when they open up the attic/basement or the house next door. The day after I went through the first house I went back and no one was there so I peeked in the window of the other house and could see it was full of large bookshelves also.

The fourth dumpster was full and covered with snow but I did dig down enough to find a couple boxes full of old art supplies and a few cigar boxes full of old rubber stamps which are really cool. I used a bunch of them the next day at work for some neat designs. Here is a couple pics of that.



Since I work next door, I'm going to keep a lookout this weekend for when they open it up again and I will post any updates.


Brent Engstrom said...

Nice find on the Yum Yum book.
Charles Addams is one of my favorites too. I have quite a few of his old hard back books. They're the best!

This one is really weird.
It's filled with actual old photos of sideshow freaks and people that have been scalped and stuff.

Strange Kid said...

Nice find in 'Nightcrawlers.' I love Addams' comic strips!

Charles "Chuck" Hoffman said...

Yow, that scary demon book intrigues me.

Sean said...

first will you call me, please ?
words would be better than letters.
rhyme can be a pleasant pursuit.

plate of burrito, onion, and cheese

tree a place to hang, now gone

hero with hair, out to there

fun mixed with danger, long past

oh to gas the rodent out

strive to promote and achieve

done with a life of the brain


Too many clues Sean.

Sean said...

I am sorry, I was only hoping to find a way to communicate with you directly: without the interference or awareness of a third party.