Saving Peanuts

Here’s something cool from a while back: Adam Kempa blogs about Nicholson Baker’s connection to the recent Fantagraphics reprints of the Peanuts comic strip. Baker made recent headlines with his new novel Checkpoint, in which two men discuss an assassination attempt against presidential fuckchimp George W. Bush.

But in 2001, Baker released Double Fold: Libraries and the Assault on Paper [excerpt and review at], which documents the destruction of newspaper and magazine archives. Baker discovered that the only existing copies of hundreds of periodicals were being discarded in favor of microfilm. Baker formed a foundation to rescue these print archives from destruction, and he donated the archives to Duke University.

This is where Fantagraphics comes in. Co-founder Kim Thompson, posting on the Fantagraphics message board, writes that the company was able to find most of the really rare strips from the first two years of Peanuts in the Duke archives. So if not for Baker’s work, many strips from the early years of Peanuts would now be lost.

Subway exhibit at NYPL

Another NYPL exhibit of note features William Barclay Parsons, the first chief engineer of the subway system. In collaboration with the New York Transit Museum, the Science, Industry and Business Library presents Parson’s correspondence with subway-financier August Belmont, photos of subway construction, early subway tickets, and other reports on the early system. Note also the related programs, especially the lecture on tunnelling.