Currently reading : Our favourite books and pieces of history from Brian Cassidy’s book shop

Our favourite books and pieces of history from Brian Cassidy’s book shop

21 January 2015

Author : reba

Brian Cassidy is the American book seller who collects the kind of material culture that dreams are made of. Just when you think the internet has served us every kind of reference and visual juxtaposition imaginable, a hard earned academic showers us with these counter cultural oddities. From the most personal of home made collections of photography found in the depths of the provinces, the most desirable zines to the rarest editions of iconic literature, Cassidy has it all and more.

We’ve trawled through his impressive website and chosen some of our favourite pieces on sale for you all to marvel at, from tattooing, pornography and subculture, Cassidy excels in the joy of academic research by discovering the unknown and forgotten.

You can read a little interview with him from the Washington Post here, and you can visit his website to see his excellent books and oddities on sale here.




An early and little-known work from Doisneau. In 1947 writer Robert Giraud (who was fascinated by tattooing), former police inspector Jacques Delarue, and Doisneau (uncredited) prowled Paris’ les Halles and the rues Mouffetard and Maubert looking for criminals, prostitutes, and other tattooed outsiders to photograph for this book. The result ”” which combined Giraud’s scholarly preface, Delarue’s tattoo designs and explanations (80 in total), and Doisneau’s images ”” remains one of the most important documents of postwar tattooing and underground culture, a record not only of the tattoos themselves, but of their often veiled significances. The project would have a lasting influence on Doisneau, tempering his more aesthetic and sentimental tendencies: “With [Giraud], I met people on the edge. A group of individuals who lived outside the law. Bob loved to listen to prostitutes and pimps; I found the whole milieu a bit stupid. The whores talked about sex, that wasn’t my thing. But Vogue magazine’s ‘pseudo distinction’ wasn’t my thing either; I had started to find the whole thing frustrating. In the end, I managed to treat my fashion photographer’s depression with my friend Giraud!” (quoted in the musee Nicephore Niepce’s exhibition materials for their 2010 show, “Robert Doisneau: Mob Tattoos”).


DELARUE, Jacques and Robert Giraud [Robert Doisneau – Photographer]. LES TATOUAGES DU MILIEU. Paris: La Roulotte, (1950). First Edition. 8vo. Original beige boards. Good in like jacket. A worn but sound and complete example of this fragile, poorly-made post-war production. 54pp. introductory text, plus more than 80 B&W photographs.


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A PILLOW BOOK by Charles Gatewood

[Woodstock, NY?]: nd [ca. 2000]. 8vo. Hardcover blank journal covered in plain craft bag wrapper with photo onlay. 254pp. (6 blank) with hundreds of B&W and color pornographic images mounted to pages: newspaper and magazine clippings together with original photographs and other ephemera. Minor wear, a handful of minor creases on tipped in plates, else tight, bright, and unmarred. Handwritten inscription and title page by Perkins. (Item ID: 13861)

A sumptuous handmade by book by Michael Perkins. Perkins, an English writer, poet, and novelist, was the author of the million-copy bestselling novelization of the landmark pornographic film DEEP THROAT, among the first pornographic films to feature a plot, character development, and relatively high production standards, and certainly the first porno to reach the popular imagination and polite conversation. Perkins also wrote the weekly book reviews in SCREW magazine. This volume was made for and inscribed to Charles Gatewood, with “to C from M” on the front cover (letter of provenance from Gatewood provided). Gatewood is the premier photographer of the sexual underground, from extreme fetishists to modern primitives. Michael Perkins has been at the forefront of serious American erotic writing for four decades and is is recognized as one of the world’s leading expert on modern erotic literature. A superb association linking two of the great chroniclers of the sex industry, as well as a unique and spectacular erotic artists’ book.

Buy the book here


Be Part of What’s /Happening!!/ Andy/ Warhol… Underground Film Maker/ Comes to the Boston Tea Party/ This Weekened to Capture the people on Film as They Explode/ To the Sights and Sounds of / The Velvet Underground/ You/ Are The Star – Andy Warhol


Boston: np, [1967]. First Edition. 11 3/8î x 8.5î offset poster, black ink on brown paper. Hand-lettered in a psychedelic style designed by “T. [F?] Murphy.î PROVENANCE: From the estate of Velvet Underground guitarist Sterling Morrison, with Morrison’s widow Martha’s signed letter of provenance included. Originally glued to another piece of paper, the poster has been professionally restored and is now backed with archival rice paper. Fine. (Item ID: 12983)

Rare poster to what has become an historic event. The Velvet Underground played The Boston Tea Party (the Beantown equivalent of Max’s Kansas City) numerous times throughout their career. And their performances over the weekend of August 11th-12th might have been just another appearance had Andy Warhol not been present to film the band. The footage he shot is one of only two performance films of The Underground with synched sound, and more importantly, is the only footage of the band in color extant. Capturing The Velvets just before the WHITE LIGHT/WHITE HEAT sessions, Warhol’s footage features the Exploding Plastic Inevitable, and utilizes numerous experimental techniques ñ in- camera edits, sudden zooms, single-frame stills, sweeping panoramas ñ meant to mimic the experience of seeing live The Velvets and their troupe. Warhol’s film was long believed lost. As Steve Nelson remembered: “There’s this mythical film that was shot at the Tea Party in August 1967 […] That weekend [was] the first time they incorporated the Andy Warhol side of The Velvet Underground into the Tea Party presentation. Andy actually came there […] and Paul Morrissey was there, and supposedly they filmed […] I know they were there; I know they were pointing cameras. Was there any film in the cameras, or did it just disappear? I really don’t know. The film just never seems to have shown up” (quoted in WHITE LIGHT/WHITE HEAT 158). The film was unearthed, remastered, and restored in 2009-2010, and toured museums and art houses around the country from late 2010 through early 2011 as THE VELVET UNDERGROUND IN BOSTON (1967, 16mm, 33 mins. Dir: Andy Warhol). C/O THE VELVET UNDERGROUND (53) and NEW YORK ART (202) reproduce the original art for this poster (but not the poster itself), the latter noting (it now seems erroneously) that the shows ìnever took place.î Not in DeRogatis. A rare artifact to an important Warhol film and document of The Velvet Underground in their prime. Warhol’s film work continues to be recognized as being as groundbreaking as anything he did on canvas, and The Velvets remain probably the most influential band of the last fifty years. As Lester Bangs has written: “Modern music begins with the Velvets and the implications […] of what they did seem to go on forever.” With extraordinary provenance from the estate of VU member Sterling Morrison, knee-weakeningly cool.

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[Archive of Traced and Collaged Pornographic Pencil Sketches and Drawings Detailing One Man’s Sexual History and Fantasies] ANONYMOUS


[Washington D.C.]: [ca. 1960-1990]. Four matching numbered three ring binders, with several additional binders and manila envelopes of supporting materials, drafts, xeroxed duplicates etc. Various media, most pencil on typing or tracing paper, some collage. Hundreds of pages in all. Very good with occasional dried (presumed) ejaculatory material to some pages (perhaps a dozen or so, posing small conservational issues relative to the size of the archive). (Item ID: 13742)

A personally-tailored series of pornographic fantasies that portrays all of the women with whom the artist had been sexually involved (whether in reality or ñ it seems – in his imagination) throughout his life. Arranged chronologically and with a table of contents detailing the biographical and sexual particulars of each subject, the creator of these binders traced and collaged images from magazines and other sources (including in at least several cases original photos) to re-create these women in simulacra (finding look-alikes from magazines, pasting the heads of these women on the bodies of others). To these rather obsessive assemblages, the artist has added graphic and often exhaustive texts: describing scenes, providing dialogue, elaborating on biographical details. In short, an uncensored and almost narrative history of one man’s sexual fantasies. And while these books were undoubtedly utilized primarily for masturbatory purposes, they were also made with obvious care over the course of what appears to be several decades. The artist composed them with an eye finely attuned to the visual effects he was creating. Almost two dozen individual women in all, arranged in tabbed sections over four binders. Many hundreds of pages of sketches and text total. In addition, source materials for the tracings and collages are included, as are numerous xeroxes of the final results. Admittedly, this collection is one of the most unsettling items we’ve handled. But it is also one of the most compelling. Henry Darger meets Raymond Pettibon: dark, weird, and twisted. But the work of an authentically original outsider, one who has given a powerful and unique rendering of his erotic world.

Buy the book here!13988


Search and Destroy no. 7 editor: Vale Hamanaka

San Francisco: Search & Destroy, 1978. First Edition. Folio. Folded newsprint self-wrappers. Very good minus. Mildly toned with some edge-wear. Else clean and sound. (Item ID: 13988)

Seventh issue of this seminal Bay Area punk zine founded by Vale Hamanaka while working at Lawrence Ferlinghetti’s City Lights Bookstore and originally funded by him and Allen Ginsberg. This issue features John Waters (on Pink Flamingos), Patti Smith, Clash, Roky Erickson, Screamers, Cabaret Voltaire, a report from the Cleveland scene, etc.

Buy it here!

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ANONYMOUS – A selection of 24 tattooed nudes

np: [ca. 1962-1979]. 24 photographs: 23 black and white, 1 color. 18 measuring 7.25″ x 5″ approx. 5 in assorted sizes between 6″ x 4″ and 5″ x 3.5″; the lone color image 5″ x 3.5″ approx. Varying condition. Majority with moderate creasing, general handling wear; remaining clean, near fine. Very good or better overall. (Item ID: 14344)

Assembly of 24 images featuring 13 different, heavily tattooed and pierced female subjects, nude in pose for the camera. Several with hand written three and four digit numbers to their lower corners, a few notated with dates and locations to the rear. Most appear to be from same era, ca. 1962-1963. The lone color snapshot printed with a date of 1979. One subject, pictured in 5 prints, identified as Betty Staberow of Seattle, WA. Her series with a fireplace, family photographs and curios in the background affirms the amateur quality present throughout.

Buy the photographs here!


MORRISEY – The New York Dolls

(Manchester): Babylon Books, (1981). First Edition. 4to. Pictorial wraps. Offset printed. Some mild rubbing, edgewear. Very good plus or better overall. [44]pp. (Item ID: 14120)

Published before the formation of The Smiths, Morrissey’s first book consists of 8 pages of text by the singer followed by reproductions of Dolls photographs and press clippings. A direct outgrowth of articles Morrissey penned for various zines (among them KID’S STUFF and THE NEXT BIG THING), the future singer’s “book- zine” appeared in 1981 from hometown publisher Babylon Books, a one-man operation headed by John Muir. Muir has claimed the book sold upwards of 3000 copies, but if that’s so most of those were undoubtedly from a second printing done to take advantage of The Smith’s growing popularity and likely coinciding with the similarly-motivated reprint of Morrissey’s second book for Baby- lon, JAMES DEAN IS NOT DEAD (1983). Even accounting for this title’s ephemeral production, however, with OCLC recording just three copies worldwide (and *all* of those a 1995 reprint), we strongly suspect Muir’s claims are inflated. It would be difficult to overstate the Doll’s influence on Morrisseyís development as an artist. He was the president of their UK fan club; and their albums, performances, and perhaps most of all personae were foundational experiences for the young singer-songwriter. A book we’ve been looking for for almost ten years and the first we’ve seen offered in that time.

Buy the book here!


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ANONYMOUS – Collection of London Vice cards

(London): [ca. 2000s]. 225+ printed and illustrated London prostitute calling cards. Most either 5.5″ x 4.5″ or 4″ x 3″ approx. Variously printed, from B&W on colored stock, to four-color photographic. About evenly divided between photocopies, computer printed, and professionally executed examples. A few hand-written examples also present. Some minor duplication. Generally fine. (Item ID: 14446)

A large, fairly comprehensive collection of recent London “tart cards” (aka as “vice cards”), ranging from the fairly tame to the rather more specific. Includes a nice selection of B&D specialists, as well as strong runs of Asian, S&M, and transexual examples. “To anyone interested in printing and graphic design the cards form a microcosm of evolving typographic tastes and techniques […] For some people the cards are interesting because they are trackers of technology: they show when specialized production equipment becomes available, quite literally, at street level. To others the cards are artistic or typographic curios with a unique linguistic and visual vocabulary. The cards are also sociological and cultural records […] mirroring […] changing sexual attitudes and practices” (Archer, TART CARDS, 3-6).

Buy them here!

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GIRLVERT: A Porno Memoir by Oriana Small (aka Ashley Blue)

Los Angeles: A Barnacle Book, 2011. First Edition. Limited edition. One of fifty hand-numbered “Art Edition” issues, this # 25. SIGNED by Small to title page. In French-flapped wraps designed just for this edition featuring original art by the author. In handmade Japanese paper dust jacket that includes one bulbous Oriana Small pubic hair plucked by Small herself and inserted into each sheet of paper as it dried. In custom lucite slipcase by master LA acrylic craftsman Mike Jennings. With original signed and dated Polaroid of Small by erotic photographer Dave Naz. Very fine. (Item ID: 13137)

Noted porn actress Blue’s memoir of her decade in the business. Of the many ways we might tout this book, we will limit ourselves to only one: we are confident this is the first book ever issued with a pubic hair incorporated into the dust jacket. A landmark in the book arts?

Buy it here!



Just Another Asshole number 5 by Glenn and Barbara Branca

NYC: JAA, [1981]. First Edition. 33 1/3 RPM LP in original stamped sleeve with contents sticker affixed to verso, all as issue. A couple of splits at seams. Some rubbing, edge-wear. Very good overall. (Item ID: 14028)

Fifth installment of this quintessential and seminal No Wave publication. Issued as an LP, it features Lee Ranaldo, Jenny Holzer, Dan Graham, Thurston Moore, Barbara Kruger, Eric Bogosian, Martha Wilson, Judy Rifka, Kiki Smith, Kim Gordon, as well as more than 60 other artists. [Aarons IN NUMBERS pp. 214-218]. [Allen, ARTISTS’ MAGAZINES, p. 269].

Buy it here!

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