No. 4: Dr. Culp’s Library (2000)
This issue of Goodie is different from the rest, in that it is not simply one interview with one person, although I did interview the very sweet owner of the bookshop where I found the collection of books once owned by Dr. Culp. Even in 2000, secondhand bookshops were disappearing fast. In a way, Dr. Culp’s issue was a tribute to those wonderful places, which once upon a time Seattle was full of, and I interviewed the bookshop owner while I was there visiting my dad, Seaweed. It is also one of the few Goodies not dedicated to a person living in New York. My letter to the readers in that issue reads:
“While browsing through Chameleon Books in Seattle a couple of autumns ago, I discovered a whole section called Medical History. It was a very exciting moment, because without expecting to, I had stumbled upon Dr. Culp’s library. Here was an entire, magnificent library of medical books, many of them from the nineteenth century, leatherbound, and bearing the ex libris of a Frank E. Culp, MD. Blank prescription slips fluttered out of the pages, where they had been placed as markers by Dr. Culp himself sometime long ago. The disappearing of Real McCoy second-hand book stores is one of the saddest on the list of near extinct creatures. We can only entreat you, if you have a few dollars to spend on a book, go to the used dealers. We like books about the sideshow, the occult, the circus, crime, poison, electricity, trains, voodoo, medicine and botany, among other things, and the used book shops never disappoint. Old scientific books, whatever their field, are often written in arcane language, accidentally beautiful and poetic even when describing things quite horrific. They inevitably leave impressions beyond their original intention. We’d like to own the whole collection, but the point of this, after all, is to share the knowledge that Dr. Culp’s library is for sale, piece by piece. We hope you will enjoy our introduction of the library, and encourage you to seek out and buy some of it for yourself.”
I still have in my bookshelves several big, wonderful books from Dr. Culp’s magnificent collection. If you would like to order a copy, please contact me. The Goodies are not expensive. You can also make a donation on the Shop page of this site, and let me know which issue/issues you would like.