Don’t judge a book by its cover


When I began buying books for the North Carolina Collection, I was amazed and delighted to see the role that trust plays in the buying and selling of rare and out-of-print books. Sellers trust me to be the person I represent myself to be, and I trust them to describe honestly the books they are selling. Confident in the accurate the description of a book, I then decide if the book is worth the asking price. In the decade plus that I have been doing this job, I have rarely been disappointed in a purchase. Last week, I thought I was about to experience one of those disappointments.

I purchased, from a bookseller I have long done business with, a small 1928 pamphlet, The Archers Handbook. It is a manufacturer’s catalog and guidebook from the Archers Company, a small Pinehurst firm. When I opened the carton from the bookseller, my spirits sank to see a small, slightly battered 4 x 6 inch pamphlet. While the pamphlet clearly deserves a place in the North Carolina Collection because it documents this firm and provides insights into the history of recreation in the state, I thought I had overpaid for it. That gloomy thought troubled me until the end of the day when I sat down and went page-by-page through the volume and became enchanted by the clear drawings and color illustrations in the volume. The clean, crisp images of bows and arrows are a delight, even for someone who left archery behind when she quit the Girl Scouts. My trust was restored. But don’t take my word for the beauty of these illustrations, see some of them for yourself.

Friendly to flyers

As some state officials and many private citizens try to prevent the Navy from establishing an outlying landing field in Beaufort and Washington counties, readers might be interested to know that in an earlier time North Carolina civic leaders courted a different aviation facility. The North Carolina Collection has a copy of An Invitation to the Air Force Academy to Establish in Moore County, North Carolina. This pamphlet, put together by the Southern Pines Chamber of Commerce, touts the location, infrastructure, recreational possibilities, and natural advantages (such as a “healthful and invigorating” climate) of the Sandhills Region. The invitation was sent to the Air Force Academy Site Selection Committee in 1950. Southern Pines was one of 580 sites proposed for the new academy; it was not one of the three sites recommended to the Secretary of the Air Force.