Flaps and Clips

Yesterday at the White Plains Library, after I had the excitement of meeting the Mayor, there were about 25 books that the local Barnes & Noble wanted me and the other author, Karen Engelmann, to sign. Then they put a sticker on the cover and apparently that drives business.

Gil was nice enough to flap the books for me. A term that means taking each book in turn and turning to the title page and inserting the left-hand cover flap there, making it easy and faster for the author to grab the book and turn to the right spot and just sign. No fumbling, no muss no fuss. It’s common when you come in to a book store for an event to be introduced to a staff like this: Here’s Bob, he’s going to flap the books for you.

Speaking of which, I learned yesterday about a subset of the Flappers of the ’20s called the Shifters, a group that identified themselves by the paper clips on their lapels and were renowned for a short time petting parties and other indicators of loose morals. They took up terms such as “ankling along” for taking a walk and “tomato” for a girl who likes to dance but has no brains, and some less known today, like the “destroyer,” one who dances on your feet.

Sidebar: When I trolled through the Stokes archives at the New York Public Library to research Love, Fiercely, I found that most of the pages, dating to the beginning of the 20th century, were bound together by straight pins, now somewhat rusty. I assumed that paper clips had yet to be invented, or popularized. Now I discover that paper clips had been invented in the 19th century and were in use by the 1890s — and certainly by the ’20s, the Flapper Era. Perhaps in the ’20s they represented, for the Shifters, the newest, coolest thing going.

Old-fangled Clip

Old-fangled Clip

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Filed under History, Jean Zimmerman, Love, Fiercely, The Orphanmaster

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