Moving outsider book created by one Edward R. Roderick of New York State, likely while a patient at the Gowanda State Hospital.
Born in French Canada in 1865, Roderick emigrated to the US in 1875; he is listed in the 1900 and 1910 censuses as living in Buffalo NY and working as a shipping clerk (which may explain the Loew Blitz-Blank Beer Filter ledger utilized here). Roderick sadly disappears from the census records until his death in 1935, but the dealer from whom we purchased this item reports that it turned up in Gowanda NY, home of the Gowanda State Hospital for the insane, and we suspect given this book's nature that Mr. Roderick was likely in residence there for at least part of those 25 years. The ledger itself dates from approximately 1911, but the work contained therein is almost entirely undated. Three final images are dated 1913, but a loosely laid-in contemporary map of WWI — which many of the abstract images in the ledger clearly seem to echo — suggest the book may not have been assembled chronologically. Nevertheless, it is a haunting and harrowing work, weaving graphomanaical tendencies and make-believe alphabets with childlike crayoned aphorisms and naive folk-art portraits. Elsewhere, the aforementioned map-like drawings embody a freneticism that suggests a Dada-esque kind of automatic writing. Certain recurring named characters ("Red Cloud," "Zodac," "Princess Louisa") lend the work a unity that belies its apparently ad-hoc assembly, overall exerting a powerful spell. Likely produced by an inmate at a psychiatric hospital, a fascinating and ellusive livre brut.
[Buffalo, NY]: n.p, [ca. 1910s]. 16.75'' x 14.75''. Large folio ledger. Printed publisher's cloth. 200+ individual drawings and writings (most on 5" x 7" notepaper) mounted recto and verso to 17 leaves. Final leaf mounted recto only; 18 leaves content in all. 23 additional drawings and like loosely laid in. Remainder of ledger (12 leaves) unused. Worn overall with some starting to the binding. Still, sound.
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