Sometimes it takes a dose of reality to make you get off your duff and do something you've been planning on doing for a long time.
Today, we review a fascinating book by Alan Celoria entitled Creek Chub on Paper: The Collector's Guide to the Printed Materials of the Creek Chub Bait Company, Vol.1: Insert Catalog (2006). I've been planning to review this book on the blog since I started it, but never got around to it. Then news came a couple weeks back that Alan Celoria, the author, had a tragic fire where 90% of the remaining copies of the book were destroyed, and it reminded me of the fact I should have done this a long time ago.
I know a little bit about what it takes to make a book, and I can promise you that hundreds of hours went into the crafting of this work. It covers the breadth of CCBC history, and is divided into sections. The body of the book is divided into parts. Section I covers the introductory years (1916-1925), Section II the early years (1926-1932), Section III the Classic Years (1933-1949), Section IV the Modern Years (1950-1958), Section V the Late Years (1959-1978), and Section VI Spinning Inserts (1951-1957). The book also includes a Company Time Line, a history of the Creek Chub Bait Company (including a reproduction of a number of rare original documents), and an evaluation guide.
There is much to like about this book. The color is well done and shows off the gorgeous Creek Chub catalogs extremely well. Few companies took as much time and expense to show off their lures as well as CCBC, and it shows on almost every page. Many of the pocket catalogs are miniature works of art, and some of the full page flyers and ads have to be seen to be believed. Really excellent stuff.
Perhaps my favorite part of the book is that throughout there are little vignettes of CCBC history the author has culled from his years of collecting and research. We get numerous comments on many of the inserts, for example, that help to date, document, and put them into proper perspective.
Of course a book like this is a welcome boon to collectors. While not everything put in print by a tackle firm is gospel, it does help tremendously to have one book that covers the subject in such comprehensive detail. Anyone seeking information on the Darter, for example, can find much useful data in these inserts and pocket catalogs. As such the book is well worth having.
There are only two small points I would make, not in the way of criticism but as commentary. First, the book's title is slightly misleading as there are a fair number of magazine advertisements in it. This is in no way a drawback, as it is very cool to see the connection between inserts and ads, and in truth the book is a lot more than its current title might suggest. It is much more of a book about CCBC promotional material than it is just a book on inserts...
The second point is an unavoidable one--the book is not bound. The price of binding being what it is, and the book being self-published, the manufacturing cost of a bound book of this nature would have likely been over $50 per copy, making it unaffordable to most. The book is sent out as unbound pages which you can either bind yourself (any Kinko's has a glue binding machine that can bind it for a few dollars) or three-hole punch and place it in a binder. Again, not in the least is this a criticism, as this is likely the only way the book would have seen the light of day.
A recent email exchange with the author reveals that a Volume II (Regular Catalogs and Circulars) and a Volume III (Shur Strike and Other Printed Materials) is in the works, as well as an update to Volume I. I for one cannot wait.
The book itself is 320 pages of full color and contains just about everything you would ever want to know about Creek Chub catalog inserts. It is privately published and available directly from the author for $35. Alan Celoria can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
-- Dr. Todd