Off on a mini-adventure with A., to [large local used bookstore]. It has four floors, and you can spend hours there just looking at books in so many different categories. A.'s birthday is coming up, and I found a copy of The Fragrant Garden, which is a facsimile version of The Fragrant Path, for her. This is the book I've both acquired and given away copies of the most. I have three different editions of the book at home. The book is by Louise Beebe Wilder, who was quite a well-known garden writer in her time, the twenties and thirties. The most recent version that I know of was changed considerably to update it and make it more politically correct. I think the changes are horrid, except for the updates on Latin names for plants.
I also found a little book called Taxidermy: The Complete Book for the Amateur Taxidermist on How to Prepare and Mount Deer Heads, Birds, Fish, Small Mammals, etc., etc..., so I got that to send to Jordan. It was originally published in 1943, but this was the 1967 twenty-first printing. Clearly, this was a very popular book in its time. I found some great quotes about the advantages of using borax solution for mothproofing rather than arsenic, and a few other educational quotes. The introduction has recollections by the author of boyhood times spent doing taxidermy. He says, "If I could have then known borax mothproofing, as I have developed it and perfected it during the past thirty years, my early experience would have been completely happy. As it was, arsenical methods came near to being my finish." Here's some wisdom about materials used for taxidermy: "Commercial glass eyes. (Buy as needed. Large stocks of eyes will lie around indefinitely and are generally no investment. They are expensive and tie up funds.)" Putting in the eyes: "Work on the eyes until an expression of alive interest is secured." More about arsenic: "Arsenically "cured" skins should be shunned by any young taxidermist who values his health, for such skins, carelessly handled, have produced many casualties and numerous cripples." The first paragraph of Chapter Five, Preparing and Mounting a Wildcat, gives a good idea of the author's style: "Most mammal skins are readily handled for mounting. By using the correct processes and remembering that a mammal skin will not stand quite the stresses that a bird skin will, the taxidermist can expect marked success in preparing furry trophies for both rugs and full mounts. Our native mammalian fauna still provides ample material. The method described here may be applied with equal success on a raccoon or a caribou."
This is the second time I've seen something about taxidermy and thought of Jordan, but I'm sure it won't be the last. Here was the first one, just so I have them together: "This was a link on the EREC (Erotic Romance E-Publisher Comparison) site: http://www.acaseofcuriosities.com/index.html. I'm not quite sure why they had a link to a taxidermist who does Victorian-style taxidermy and restorations, but she might be a great source for you to talk to. I had a few of the books in her "further reading" suggestions, some of the ones about sideshow freaks and medical curiousities. So, yeah, I saw a mention of spooky-sounding taxidermy and thought of you. :) "
Back to LJ entry: I'm still puzzled about why an erotic romance site had a link to a taxidermy site. It's really a cool site, though. I read the taxidermy book, so I can send it along now. I've read a book or two which had quite a lot about skinning animals (yes, I do read all kinds of things), so that part isn't new to me. I believe that came from the books I've read about hunting with hounds and falcons and cheetahs. They had quite a bit of information on what to do with the prey once you've downed it. I've also read a number of books about wilderness survival and about colonial history, which I'm fairly sure also had information about trapping and skinning animals.
I'll look for some other taxidermy books on Amazon and send suggestions of what sounds good along. I'm sure they could be acquired through interlibrary loan. I'm sure things have advanced considerably since 1943, but it will be fun to see what the basics of the craft were mid-century. I love books which describe the state of technology in different eras, though anything about the mechanical inventions of the Industrial Revolution and onwards is lost on me.
Coming back from that ramble, here are some on Amazon which sounded promising: Home Book of Taxidermy and Tanning by Gerald Grantz; Big Game Taxidermy: A Complete Guide to Deer, Antelope, and Elk and The Complete Guide to Small Game Taxidermy: How to Work with Squirrels, Varmints, and Predators, both by Todd Triplett; Home Taxidermy for Pleasure and Profit by Albert B. Farnham; Making the Most of Your Deer by Dennis Walrod; Mounting Your Deer Head at Home by Monte Burch; and Professional Taxidermy Tips by Joseph Bruchac.