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not your everyday dumpster-diving find

The reason I feel anxious when I dump off my papers in the paper recycling dumpster is because people like me will see interesting items and pull them out--as I did, yesterday. I was attracted by the fancy handwriting. The book in which it had been inscribed was falling apart, but I grabbed the first few pages to situate the dedication.

Erle Stanley Garnder to Frances G. Lee

It might have been hard to decipher the name of the person who was making the inscription if it didn't happen to be ... the author of the novel!

copyright page

Although he was writing under one of his many pseudonyms:

title page

I thought the name "Erle Stanley Gardner" sounded somehow familiar--and a Google search told me that yes, indeed: he was the creator of Perry Mason and many other mysteries. Regarding his writing, the Thrilling Detective website says, "Although critics sneered and many felt that Erle Stanley Gardner was not a very good writer ... Gardner was one of the best selling writers of all times, and certainly one of the best-selling mystery authors ever."

Erle Stanley Gardner


Armed with this knowledge, and with some effort (and invaluable aid from Wakanomori), I take the dedication to read,

To my friend and
Capt. Frances G. Lee -- Trooper Gardner reporting.
With all my love
Stanley Gardner
June 1958

So who was Captain Frances--female spelling--G. Lee?

Well! She turns out to be Frances Glessner Lee, whom Wikipedia tells us is the "mother of forensic science"!

She had to wait until she was 52 to embark on the career for which she became famous, but at that point she inherited a fabulous fortune that enabled her to pursue her studies and endow departments of legal medicine, police science, and a library.

Further, Wikipedia tells us that "for her work, Lee was made an honorary captain in the New Hampshire State Police in 1943, making her to first woman to join International Association of Chief of Police."

a picture of her


And, Erle Stanley Gardner dedicated several novels to her.

... and somehow one that he'd sent to her himself, with an inscription, ends its life in a recycling dumpster in my town. I wonder who owned the book?

Interestingly, in the foreword to the book, Gardner shows that as far back as 1958, people were thinking about the problem of retributive justice:

retributive justice

I'd share more, but alas, I only grabbed a few pages, and they don't include the next page in the foreword.

In any case: not your everyday find!

This entry was originally posted at http://asakiyume.dreamwidth.org/852734.html. Comments are welcome at either location.


( 27 comments — Leave a comment )
Jun. 3rd, 2017 05:18 pm (UTC)
Oh, wow! You find the most interesting things.

How sad that whoever threw out the book didn't check to see whether anyone might have been interested in it. Going by the dates, I suspect it was a house clearance of an elderly family member who had passed away or was moving into a care home.
Jun. 3rd, 2017 05:35 pm (UTC)
I wonder if whoever owned it around here bought it as an item of interest--must have been the case? But yes: I agree on both accounts--probably someone clearing out an estate and not having the time or inclination to look through things carefully.
Jun. 3rd, 2017 05:31 pm (UTC)
Still boggling over this -- just too amazing! It's too bad about the book, but I'm so glad you found and told the story. Reminds me of Nicola White's mudlarking work, with even tinier fragments...

I may have to get a copy of the book now though!
Jun. 3rd, 2017 05:34 pm (UTC)
Thinking along the same lines!
Jun. 3rd, 2017 05:38 pm (UTC)
Oh, wow! What a story to emerge from a page glimpsed in a dumpster...

Well-deciphered on that inscription - the curliness defeats me entirely.

I remember getting Erle Stanley Gardner books from the library as a teenager.

Edited at 2017-06-03 05:39 pm (UTC)
Jun. 3rd, 2017 05:42 pm (UTC)
I was foiled by "Instructor," but Waka got it.
Jun. 3rd, 2017 06:27 pm (UTC)
Great catch! A brand plucked from the burning, indeed - or the landfill.
Jun. 3rd, 2017 06:31 pm (UTC)
I had been expecting, y'know, merely some heartfelt Christmas wish from one anonymous person to another--but nooooo!

ETA: Though this was the recycling dumpster, so probably it was destined to be made into ecological toilet paper or filler in some industrial process or something...

Edited at 2017-06-03 06:32 pm (UTC)
Jun. 3rd, 2017 07:29 pm (UTC)
What a fortunate find. I'm so glad you found it before it was sent off to be pulped.

Recently I've been pulling out some old projects I haven't touched for almost a decade, and I went on the library's online catalog to get the books I'd used to research them. I was sad to discover just how many of those books seem to have been discarded. Probably they were at least offered at the library book sale, but I wasn't looking for them at the time.
Jun. 3rd, 2017 11:55 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I was very surprised to learn about library turnover. *Somewhere* those books will be held, but not as easily accessible as at one's own library.

There are a number of children's books I really liked as a child that I wanted to read to my own kids, and in some cases, they were really hard to get ahold of. EVERYTHING ALWAYS CHANGES Sometimes this is a good thing but...
Jun. 5th, 2017 08:19 am (UTC)
Everything always changes.

Sorry - not meaning to butt in, but ... oh, true.
Jun. 4th, 2017 12:02 am (UTC)
What a wonderful find! I can't believe someone would throw it out. Even if they didn't want it they could doubtless eBay it for a few dollars.
Jun. 4th, 2017 12:05 am (UTC)
I know! Sure brightened up *my* day.
Jun. 4th, 2017 02:32 am (UTC)
Oh, wow, what a bunch of interesting people! My guess is some inheritor who knows zilch about literature, science, or local people of interest dumped the book. At least they could have offered it to a local bookstore!
Jun. 4th, 2017 03:02 am (UTC)
Yeah, that's the only possible explanation--it makes for my lucky find, but it would have been so much better if the book could have been preserved!
Jun. 4th, 2017 05:02 am (UTC)
what a GREAT find! thanks for sharing it here!
Jun. 4th, 2017 01:54 pm (UTC)
My pleasure--I wanted to run around showing everyone!
Jun. 4th, 2017 01:25 pm (UTC)
NOT your everyday find!

That's fantastic. ❤️
Jun. 4th, 2017 01:54 pm (UTC)
I felt like such a sleuth finding out all the details ^_^
Jun. 4th, 2017 02:11 pm (UTC)
Haha. This was fun. Fascinating!

What would one do w/o Wiki?
Jun. 4th, 2017 03:44 pm (UTC)
Without it, I am sure I would **never** have known about Frances Lee. It's a big blessing in my life!
Jun. 5th, 2017 12:54 am (UTC)
Looks like they don't know what they threw away. That happens a lot, sadly.
Jun. 5th, 2017 02:31 am (UTC)
Yeah, especially if it was something like people dealing with an estate (i.e., not the person who had actually owned the book).
Jun. 5th, 2017 01:35 am (UTC)
How cool! Take it to a book dealer to be appraised. It might be quite valuable.

ETA: Missed the last lines of the post. Darn!

Edited at 2017-06-05 01:36 am (UTC)
Jun. 5th, 2017 02:30 am (UTC)
Yeah--it's too bad!
Jun. 7th, 2017 07:13 pm (UTC)
My goodness! I would have kept it!
Jun. 10th, 2017 12:06 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I can't believe the owner themself would have thrown it away--I'm betting it was as suggested above: someone clearing out someone else's estate.
( 27 comments — Leave a comment )



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