Fine New Material from Type Punch Matrix

- by Michael Stillman

Fine New Material from Type Punch Matrix

Type Punch Matrix has issued a new catalogue. There are some amazing things in here from a variety of subjects. History, literature, poetry, fiction, art, science, sports are among the topics with items of significance to be found. The only thing missing is a title for the catalogue, which Type Punch Matrix avoids. Years from now, this will create a real challenge for those who collect their catalogues, but they will make great reference tools for those up to the challenge. For now, if you would like a complete set of the Tarzan novels, the book that created those ubiquitous Venn Diagrams, a book with drawings of American Indians from 1580, or any number of other amazing or surprising finds, you can use this catalogue to add to your collection.


We begin with a previously unknown first printing of the most controversial speech Martin Luther King ever gave. Perhaps his earlier speeches were considered controversial in the South, but this one divided even his closest supporters. It was delivered in 1967, given before 3,000 attendees at the Riverside Church, exactly one year before he was assassinated. This stapled, duplicated printing has no title, but it later became known as Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break the Silence. It was an anti-war speech. It is likely that eventually the vast majority of people who supported King came to share his views about the Vietnam War, but at the time many either favored the war or did not want to see the civil rights movement divided by this issue. It also broke the relationship between King and President Lyndon Johnson, who had done so much to pass civil rights legislation, but also promoted that war. Among King's statements, was “We were taking the black young men who had been crippled by our society and sending them eight thousand miles away to guarantee liberties in Southeast Asia which they had not found in southwest Georgia and East Harlem.” This first version differs somewhat from that which was published later. Item 3. Priced at $5,000.


This item seems disturbingly timely today. It is a reminder of the sorts of incomprehensible atrocities humans are capable of inflicting on others. It is a photo album compiled by an American soldier shortly after the liberation of the Buchenwald concentration camp. Markings on some of soldiers uniforms indicate that the photographer was a member of the 8th Armored Division and the photos were likely taken a few weeks after liberation as the people are gone and there has been some clean-up. The soldier has captioned the pictures. There are three of the entrance gate. One shows a gallows with the caption “six prisoners were hung at one time.” Another is captioned “SEWER used to dispose of dead bodies. This was used only when too many were dying, and they couldn't take care of them with the Furnaces.” He notes blood stains on the step of the “DEATH HOUSE.” Many other places were photographed and the final one shows the smiling face of a former inmate. Item 43. $6,000.


Sylvia Plath was a remarkable poet, though a very troubled person who took her own life at the age of 30. She suffered severe depression for much of her life. Item 1 is a neatly written manuscript of a poem she wrote in early 1945 at the age of 13. The title is The Snowflake Star. She had received an assignment to write a story or poem about a star. That she did, but it would not be published until the following year, in the The Phillipian, her junior high school literary magazine. That version has a different ending than this one, a happier ending. Type Punch Matrix notes that this poem features images that would fille her later works, snow, winter, stars and trees. It begins:


“On a dark and cloudy day

I wandered in the woods away

To Think my Thoughts alone.”




This next item seems far removed from poetry – boxing. Then again, the champion boxer was also a poet, though perhaps not quite as accomplished poetically as Plath. But, “float like a butterfly, sting like a bee” has its poetic appeal. Item 4 is a souvenir program for Muhammad Ali's rematch against former champion Sonny Liston. Ali had pulled off a huge upset in the first fight that left some suspicious it was fixed, but the second fight was a total annihilation, Liston being knocked out in the first round. This program uses both his recently adopted name of Muhammad Ali along with his birth name, “Cassius Clay.” Five days before the fight, he hosted some former champions at his training camp, and along with Ali, these three champions have signed the program – Joe Louis, Jersey Joe Walcott, and Jim Braddock. $12,000.


If you are looking for a classic abecedary, or ABC book, here is one – The Cubies ABC, by Mary Mills Lyall, illustrated by Earl Harvey Lyall. The husband and wife team published this book in 1913. That was the year of the 1913 Armory Show, one of the most important modern art shows ever. It featured modern styles such as surrealism and cubism. It helped establish the careers of Picasso and Matisse. Some were enamored of the new art form with its cube shapes and different perspectives placed together. Others thought it was junk or children's drawings. The Lyalls were among the latter. The “cubies” are angular shaped beings who present the letters of the alphabet. The drawings and words drip with sarcasm. The Lyalls were obviously traditionalists who had no use for this nonsense. As they write for the letter “Q”:


Q’s for the Queerness we Stand-patters feel

When Progressive young Cubies start Art reformation.

They’re strong on Initiative, praise the Square Deal:

“Though the Cubic is best!” they aggressively squeal;

“Painting things as you see them is rank deformation!”




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