Sunday, May 18, 2008

The Bandar Log Press

As Stuart explained in his lecture at last month's openhouse
Frank Holme (1868-1904)
was a prime mover in the creative life of the Palette and Chisel
during the brief time he was a member, c. 1897-1902.

Growing up in Keyer, West Virginia,
a tiny railroad town in the mountains,
half-way between Pittsburgh and Washington,
Holme worked as a newspaper sketch artist
in Wheeling and eventually Chicago.

(we've written about his drawings for the
infamous Sausage-vat murder trial here )

An ambitious fellow,
he also started an art school
and a small publishing company

called the Bandar Log Press

named after the bandar logs (monkey people)
found in Kipling's "Jungle Book"

"Here we sit in a branchy row,
Thinking of beautiful things we know;
Dreaming of deeds that we mean to do,
All complete, in a minute or two--
Something noble and wise and good,
Done by merely wishing we could.
We've forgotten, but--never mind,
Brother, thy tail hangs down behind!"

(which mad-cap attitude seems to have
pervaded everything he did)

Driven from Chicago by his failing health,
one of the last projects of the press
was "The Strenulous Lads Library",
some very short, and very small

written by George Ade ,
that gently satirize American ideals.

They're kind of like
the super-hero comic books
of later decades -- but not quite.

They don't seem to be aimed at the children's market,
and with a total run of 350 copies each,
they're not aimed at much of a market at all.

But they did become a public company,
and here's a list of shareholders,
including some famous writers (Tarkington - and later Mark Twain)
as well as members of the P&C
(the Leyendeckers and Mazzanovich)

What brave boys
these strenuous lads were!

often equipped with special powers - like hypnotism

to defeat the evil-doers
of which the world
seems to be chock full

or perhaps they have a special talent
for invention

and again, use those inventions
to defeat
some very dangerous,
and very bad adults

while living their young lives
on the edge.

Frank Holme was living his
young life on the edge, too,
and he died in Denver,
from tuberculosis,
the following year,
at the age of 36.


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