CEDAR FALLS, Iowa -- The University of Northern Iowa's Rod Library has added another piece of history to its shelves. The library recently received more than 1,200 pieces of the well-known "Pocket Book" series, one of the first popular paperback series in the United States. The collection was donated by 1978 UNI alumnus Maurice "Moe" Wadle, who put the collection together as a hobby. It includes almost all of the titles that are available and contains books from 1939 to 1960.
Gerald Peterson, special collections librarian at Rod Library, says the books include several different subjects ranging from mysteries, popular pulp fiction, reference books and classic fine literature. "The series is a great representation of what Americans were buying, reading and thinking about during those years," said Peterson. "The books are in very nice condition, especially considering their age and cheap paper composition."
The "Pocket Book" series was a cheap alternative to hardback books and often sold at newspaper stands for only a quarter. In addition to its low price, the series received much of its appeal from the flashy, colored bindings and cover art the books possessed. The designs were often drawn by well-known commercial artists. According to Peterson, the books will be useful for faculty and students who are interested in 20th century U.S. popular culture, commercial art and graphic design.
The collection is now cataloged and available for use in the Special Collections section of Rod Library from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.
For more information, contact Peterson at 319-273-6307.