Spring Cleaning at YUP: Unidentified Bookish Objects

Laura Davulis—

Part spring cleaning, part cathartic cleansing ritual, part pizza party: every spring Yale University Press sets aside one Friday to clear out the clutter of the previous year. We still do a lot of our work here on paper, and so it’s not unusual to find myself knee-deep in manuscripts and page proof by 10:30am on clean-up day. (“It has to get worse before it gets better,” I mutter repeatedly to myself, pacing around my office, not unlike a crazy person.)

I have this theory that the black hole in the dryer (where the socks go) must back up into YUP, because we all find all sorts of weird stuff on clean-up day. Previous years have given us: a sword (plastic), an orangutan (stuffed), an entire closet full of shoes, a box of matchbooks with the YUP logo, and a golf club. This year, I asked my colleagues to tell me about the weirdest things they found:

One editor, who is uninjured and fully ambulatory, found a cane in her office. Are you missing a cane? Did you leave it at the Press? Do you need it back?


Managing editor Jenya Weinreb found this monster behind her bookshelf. “No idea where I got it,” she notes. “If anyone knows, remind me.” Until then, it’ll live in the Press’ model of the Globe Theatre.

monkey monkey_globe_theater

Head IT wizard Milt Kahl found these original blueprints for our warehouse, TriLiteral. If you are planning some sort of top-secret midnight book abduction mission, well, here you go. (Might I suggest a bookstore instead?)


A colleague who asked to be referred to as “Big Spender” found this baggie of foreign coins in her desk. She writes, “I found a Ziploc bag of East Caribbean States coins ($1.36 total) on clean-up day.  However, it wasn’t in my office prior to about 9:45am – it appeared on my desk, just in front of my keyboard, sometime this morning.  While I’m grateful to my anonymous benefactor for the financial support, I’m not entirely sure where I’m able to spend the money.”

foreign_coins foreign_coins_detail

Another gem from our manuscript editorial department: an actual typewriter! This one is destined for the trash, but don’t worry, we have others. Sometimes you just need to do things the old fashioned way, you know?


But by far the best find of the day was this fake YUP catalog, produced in 1983 for the 75th anniversary of the Press. I’d heard rumors that this existed, but hadn’t actually seen it in person until today. Feast your eyes on Not The Yale Fall 1983:

1983 Fall Catalog-page-002

Things start off simple enough. Here’s a funny book about teeth.

1983 Fall Catalog-page-003

These books seem readable, though I’m not sure how we got a blurb from Robert Frost.

1983 Fall Catalog-page-004

Ok, we’re getting into dangerous pun territory now.

1983 Fall Catalog-page-005

You have to admit, “buy it already” is pretty genius catalog copy.

1983 Fall Catalog-page-006

“A dictionary of clichés for describing scholarly books” would actually be a pretty useful thing to have.  Can someone get on this?

1983 Fall Catalog-page-007

By this page, you start to think that maybe, just maybe, my esteemed predecessors are getting a little silly.

1983 Fall Catalog-page-008

What is… happening… here?

1983 Fall Catalog-page-009

Ah, here we go. This order form seems simple enough! No need to read the fine print, I’m sure it’s completely aboveboard.

1983 Fall Catalog-page-010

LauraDavulisLaura Davulis is Associate Editor, History and Literature, for Yale University Press.

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