It’s vintage book acquisition o’clock! I recently picked up a couple of annuals from a local charity shop and was pleased to find them rather interesting things. Annuals aren’t my normal space as a collector because the authors that I’m interested in very rarely published in them. There’s quite a clear distinction as the names that I do find within an annual do tend to stay as ‘annual’ writers. The exception to the rule is Ethel Talbot who basically wrote everything for everybody in every moment of the day and was the very definition of prolific.
The Girls’ Crystal Annual 1952 is a collection of multi-chapter stories drawn from the Girls’ Crystal periodical and I wanted to share some pictures with you because it’s an interesting beast*. If you know this period at all, you’ll know what to expect: a couple of ‘blimey, I’m now in the lead role of this film‘ stories, a few ‘my pony and I must save my family’s business‘ stories and even a few ‘restoring wrongs that have been done with the aid of my trusty chums from the fourth form‘. (There’s even one here with a ventriloquist, I kid you not…)
(Shall I make a list of common stories from this period some time?? I suspect I shall, prepare yourselves…!)
What’s particularly interesting about this annual is that it gives you all of that and then, for some deliciously strange reason, gives you a story called: “The Secret Of The Forbidden Houseboat.” Now, I’m going to spoil this for you because it’s brilliant. The Secret of the Forbidden Houseboat is that Aunt Helga who doesn’t like green painted over some mysterious glass jewels on her houseboat and now, somebody’s trying to pilfer the houseboat from her. Cue: Lorrie and her chums who work out that the old owner of the houseboat was a gemmologist and he embedded his collection into the carvings on the boat and painted them all over to keep them safe. The mysterious glass jewels are, in fact, emeralds that this dude just stuck on his boat and thought ‘well, that’ll confound anybody trying to nick them” (?!?!)
I hope you enjoy the pictures! Alas, there is no credit for the artist but whoever it was, was pretty ace. I will amend this post in the future if I come across more information.
*I wanted to recognise here that working with material from this period can often be a challenging thing and there are certain elements about this annual that will read with some difficulty and discomfort today. As ever, I recommend you consider the context you’ll be working and trust your own professional judgement and instincts.