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Spring Cleaning at Yale Press: Do You Know What is Hiding Behind Your Desk?

Some of you might remember last year’s blog post about the weird things we found in our desks on our annual clean-up day. It was with no small amount of trepidation that I approached this year’s clean-up day: what if we didn’t find anything odd? What if we found all of the truly wacky stuff last year? What if the universe has truly run dry of ridiculous tchotchkes and absurd cultural artifacts?

Never fear, dear reader.  The universe came through for us again.


A colleague who wishes to be known as Already Hitched found this DIY wedding ceremony guide from 1973, which I’ll certainly be consulting should I ever participate in an Anarchist-Feminist wedding ceremony:


Some wisdom from this learned tome:

“There is no limit to the inductive growth of the We. This union of apparently two creatures is itself a growing.  It is a growing into growing. Today we are celebrating the enormity of the beauty of the enormity of our growth: today, tomorrow, and beyond all tense.”

“We affirm our limitlessness. We are flamboyant fools. Together we shall mature but never age. To grow old is a contradiction. To grow is the dictum. To mature is to become younger and young more and more gracefully. We hereby commit ourselves to a serenity more flamboyant and more foolish than the petalfall of Magnolia.”

(Note: if anyone knows what the “petalfall of Magnolia” is, please be in touch.)


If you left your coat at the Press, we’ve got it. (Seriously. Come and get it.)



Another colleague found these two slightly worrisome promotional items in his office:

Everything You Wanted to Know About North Korea But Were Afraid to Ask by Kim Jong Il was a promo for the used-book website abebooks.com (“If you can’t find it at Abebooks.com, it doesn’t exist.”) Alas, inside it’s just a blank notebook… Other promo books they had at the show that year were Whoops. I Was Wrong. By G. W. Bush and Making Marriage Work by Henry VIII.


The torture device trading cards include The Branks (kept the victim of a dunking stool from talking back to prosecutors), Head Crusher, Pear of Anguish, Interrogation Chair, and The Wheel. They were made to promote a book called Infernal Device: The Machinery of Torture and Execution by Erik C. Ruhling and published by The Disinformation Company in 2007.


One of our intrepid production editors found two pair of snazzy shoes… so far.



Publicist Alden Ferro found these items in a stack of major media reviews, and neither he nor I have any explanation for their presence in our office, or indeed, their existence at all.



Editorial Assistant Eva Skewes has the distinction of finding perhaps the only useful item of the day: this slightly used bag of potting soil, which our Green Team will use to plant herbs and flowers on our back patio.



This sign, provenance unknown, is presented here without comment.



Last, but by no means least, managing editor Jenya Weinreb found a copy of our very own Yale University Press style guide. Many people know about the Chicago Manual of Style, but has anyone heard of the Handbook of Style for Yale University Press? Issued in 1934, it is a 160-page casebound hardcover. This is the “Preliminary Edition,” but we suspect there never was a follow-up.

Your move, Chicago.

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