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The Zine Scene

An editor’s nightmare, the homespun zine is stereotypically messy, gritty and raw, each creation as unique as its creator. Zines embody the true pure spirit of self-expression, of free press, of freedom of speech. They grant anyone the ability to broadcast their message. The roots of the zine movement track back to the 1930s, and you may be surprised to learn that zines are alive and—dare we say—thriving here in the 21st century.

A zine (derived from “fanzine”) is a magazine, usually produced by amateurs, self-published, and hand-made. They are self-distributed typically free of charge or for very minimal fees just to cover postage; some zine distributors (“distros”) do exist. Fanzines which experience success and evolve into more professional publications are sometimes then called prozines.

Why use the forum of a zine to express something? When that something is outspoken political commentary, or literary experimentation, or revolutionary ideas, or talk about illicit drugs, this rudimentary self-publication may have very well been the only early option for dissemination.


Thanks to the mimeograph duplicating machine available from 1930s to 1960s, self-publication got a whole lot easier. Then came xerography in 1944 and typewriters in 1961. The 1970s brought punk rock counterculture, a deepening of the DIY movement, and the indie music scene, all of which propelled the zine movement. You can find a zine for science fiction, comics, feminism, art & poetry, mod revival, local music scenes, video games, and even sports. No matter the subject, they usually have a cult following, especially amongst the alternative teenaged crowd.

Duke University Library has a respectable growing collection of zines in its Sally Bingham Center, primarily thanks to a pro-female zine collector, Sarah Dyer. Her personal collection chronicles the rise of the girl zine movement through 1,000+ zines, which she donated in 2000. It can be searched through an online database. Since Dyer’s donation, the collection has further grown to over 4,000 zines, most from 1990-2005. For the University of Chicago, collecting zines was a natural extension of their Special Collections interests, as they had already begun collecting poetry chapbooks, which are quite similar to zines.

Any science fiction fan can appreciate the University of Iowa’s efforts to preserve the last century of sci-fi fandom, especially since the first zine is believed to be a sci-fi fanzine, “The Comet.” James “Rusty” Hevelin donated his personal collection of an astonishing 10,000 zines, dating back to the 1930s and 50s, as zines were gaining traction and science fiction experienced its Golden Age.


Today, the traditional paper zine has largely folded to the online zine (e-zine). As zines become collected and digitized, this presents an unpredicted issue. Let’s say Neighbor Joe wrote a very personal zine in his youth, distributed to his underground pen pal scene in the 80s, and it eventually ended up in one of these zine libraries. If Joe wrote about his early experiences with drugs or some other taboo topic, not expecting an unintended crowd to discover his most personal reflections 35 years later, and then it becomes broadcast for the world to see while he is still alive, one can imagine the undesirable implications.

Zine libraries & librarians have a niche fit within society, but their presence is substantial. In 2002, Greg Meins published the first zine about zines, “Zine Librarian Zine.” This marked the first act of zine library documentation and paved the way for the annual Zine Librarian (un)Conference, this year’s held in July in Boston, Massachusetts at the Beatley Library. More zine festivals are held internationally and domestically as well.

In a day and age where self-publishing is as easy as renting a movie, zine culture remains a fascinating literary sub-genre whose history is both vast and culturally relevant, and unexpectedly poignant at times. For some, zines are like birthing a child, a piece of yourself that will carry on your personal legacy and your opinions, at least until it falls apart or gets recycled—but hey, that’s part of their charm.


Have you ever written or read a zine? If so, we’d love to hear about it! Send your stories our way.

Silly Old Bear!

“Love is taking a few steps backward maybe even more…to give way to the happiness of the person you love.”


Who knew that one of the greatest givers of advice would be a little bear who has a hankering for “hunny.” Created in 1925, our beloved Pooh has taught us the value of friendship and kindness through a remarkable catalog of both stories and film. Today, January 18th, is national Winnie-the-Pooh day! In celebration let’s delve a little deeper into the history of our beloved bear and his friends.

Though English author A.A. Milne was the man behind the magic, it was his son, the original Christopher Robin, who supplied the inspiration. As a boy, he named his teddy bear after a black bear named “Winnie” and a swan named “Pooh” who both lived at the London Zoo. Milne ultimately moved the family from the city to the country, near Ashdown Forest—a tree-laden paradise with a river and a little footbridge (the site of the much-loved game “Poohsticks”), a landscape featured prominently throughout the adventures of Pooh and his friends.


Over the years, Milne continued to travel to London for work while the nanny accompanied Christopher and his bear into the forest as he made-up stories and played games. Milne incorporated these anecdotes into stories of his own, publishing the first chapter of what would eventually become the first book on Christmas Eve of 1925 in London’s The Evening News.

A second book arrived two years later, followed by numerous film, television, and theater adaptations, making Pooh one of the most popular characters in history—he even has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. As for the famous Poohsticks (the dropping of sticks into a stream from a bridge and then waiting to see whose stick will come out the other side first), there is now a World Championship that takes place in Oxfordshire each year on the very bridge where the real Christopher Robin invented the game.

And though Pooh is known for having “just a head full of fluff,” his personal perspective on life has been used to illuminate a variety of philosophies such as Taoism, in the popular Tao of Pooh series, and the ideologies of great thinkers like Nietzsche, Descartes, and Plato in Pooh and the Philosophers.  So, let’s put our feet up and take a minute to listen to one silly old bear, as he reminds us to stop and smell the roses:

“Don’t underestimate the value of Doing Nothing, of just going along, listening to all the things you can’t hear, and not bothering.”

“Rivers know this: there is no hurry. We shall get there some day.”

“If you live to be a hundred, I want to live to be a hundred minus one day so I never have to live without you.”

“How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.”

“A day without a friend is like a pot without a single drop of honey left inside.”

“Weeds are flowers, too, once you get to know them.”


The Man, the Mystery

Did you know that over a thousand streets in America are named after Martin Luther King Jr.? He is also the only non-president to have a national holiday established in his honor. As one of the most significant Americans in U.S. history, King’s life has been studied and recorded times over. Surprisingly, there are still details that seem to remain under the radar, such as King’s devotion to Star Trek. In celebration of Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday, let’s look at some of the lesser known facts of his life:

  1. MLK was born Michael Lewis King, and those close to him called him Mike. Some reports say that after King’s father changed his own name to Martin Luther he renamed his son the same. Other accounts credit King Jr. himself for the name change, as a sort of spiritual rebirth in devotion to the famous Protestant reformist.
  1. King skipped both the ninth and the twelfth grade, entering college when he was only fifteen. It was at his father and grandfather’s alma mater, Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia, that King was ordained as a Baptist minister and received a degree in sociology. He earned a PhD in theology seven years later, and eventually garnered another fifty or so honorary degrees from various colleges and universities around the country before his death at age thirty-nine.
  1. King jumped out of a second-story window in a failed suicide attempt as a young boy. At twelve years-old he attended a parade against his parent’s wishes, failing to keep an eye on his younger brother. His brother accidentally knocked his grandmother unconscious while sliding down a bannister, and she suffered a fatal heart attack. Doctors blamed the unconsciousness on the heart attack, but King still blamed himself. King described this experience as his first engagement with the ideas of immortality, spirituality, and death, admitting that bouts of depression followed him into adulthood.
  1. Though family, friends, and photographers tried to keep it under wraps, King was a life-long smoker.
  1. King barely survived an assassination attempt in 1958 at a book signing in a department store in Harlem. A mentally-ill African-American woman named Izola Ware Curry approached him, saying “I’ve been looking for you for five years.” She then plunged a letter opener into his chest, flush to the handle. The tip of the blade came to rest alongside his aorta, and doctors warned King that one sneeze could have killed him. After hours of delicate surgery King issued a statement from his hospital bed affirming his commitment to nonviolence, saying he felt no ill will toward Curry and hoped she received the help she needed “to become a free and constructive member of society.”
  1. King was jailed 29 times, charged with everything from civil disobedience to driving five miles over the speed limit.
  1. On October 14, 1964, King became the youngest recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, which was awarded to him for leading nonviolent resistance to racial prejudice in the U.S. He donated all $54,123 of the prize money to the civil rights movement.
  1. King’s mother was also shot and killed. While playing organ at a Sunday church service, 69-year-old Alberta Williams King was struck by a bullet intended for her husband—the gunman claimed he had received divine instructions to wage a war on Christians. His death penalty sentence was eventually changed to life imprisonment, in part due to the King family’s opposition to the death penalty.
  1. King’s autopsy revealed that stress had taken a major toll on his body. Despite being just 39 at the time of his death, one of the doctors noted that he had “the heart of a 60-year-old”.


Though many are granted a day of reprieve from work on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, the holiday is considered “a day on, not a day off,” in honor of King’s dedication to service. In the words of MLK himself:

“Everybody can be great … because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.”

Don’t forget to take some time for yourself and for others on this great day.

MLK and family

Literary Centenarians

1917 was the era of Charlie Chaplin, world war, jazz music, and cinema. Lifestyles varied from class to class, but boy how life has generally changed in the last 100 years! Relive the early 20th century through these popular writers’ works, which are celebrating their 100th anniversary of being published. Explore the budding and engrossing world of psychoanalysis through Freud’s mind, laugh along to Jimmy Crocker’s escapades, and experience the sensation of Edith Wharton’s tale of a controversial love affair.

Introduction to Psychoanalysis, by Sigmund Freud. The deeply hidden meaning of dreams, repressed unconscious, Freudian slips and neuroses galore… Today these are all common notions, but at the time they were cutting edge. They seem outlandish, and eventually modern science discredited most of his works—even Freud himself was critical of his own work—yet Introduction to Psychoanalysis is today one of the most used textbooks for Psych 101 classes.


Piccadilly Jim, by P.G. Wodehouse. Jimmy Crocker has a scandalous reputation on both sides of the Atlantic and must do an about-face to win back the woman of his dreams. How riveting! Also made into a movie in 1919, 1936, and 2004.

On Growth and Form, by D’Arcy Wentworth Thompson. Perhaps a bit thick (793 pages), this work is regarded as the pioneer for using mathematics in biology and is widely admired by biologists, anthropologists, and architects. If you think it would be interesting to learn the similarities between hollow bones and engineering truss designs, and between jellyfish forms and drops of liquid falling into viscous fluid, then you would surely enjoy this highly descriptive award-winning non-fiction.

Anne’s House of Dreams, by Lucy Maud (L.M.) Montgomery. The Anne Shirley series is arguably even more popular now than it was when it was released. Modern day teens (and adults!) still enjoy the adventures of the loveable and quirky Anne Shirley—that’s Anne with an “e,” mind you. This book is the 5th in the series, and it follows Anne as she begins married life with her childhood sweetheart. Always charming and unpredictable, this book (and series) is sure to amuse any reader.


The Ivory Tower, by Henry James. Posthumously published, this extremely dense political criticism of excessive wealth and laissez-faire capitalism has received what some might call excessive praise; and the novel is actually unfinished. The book itself is “a brooding story of Gilded Age America,” with the storyline revolving around a pair of dying millionaire ex-partners and how they possibly corrupt the people around them. James received a large advance for the novel, and was suspicious of the hefty sum, which turned out to have been secretly supplied by our next author, Edith Wharton.

Summer, by Edith Wharton. The setting: early 1900s. The premise: repressed female heroine engages in controversial cross-class romance amidst oppressive social conventions. The result: a realistic, candid examination of society with even contemporary relevance.

Estimation Factors

Many of our clients utilize our free Estimate service before placing an order. While we do our best to provide accurate turnaround times and costs, an estimate is just that, an estimate. Generally the estimates are about 99% accurate, but sometimes the end cost or turnaround time is not quite what we guessed, for multiple reasons.

Page span unknown. Some copyright fees are determined by how long the item is. If we are not provided a page range, it can make the copyright fee difficult to calculate. We will often use a default assumption of 10 pages. Additionally, if an item is over 30 pages long, we charge 25 cents per page after the first 30 pages. We might not know these facts until you approve the estimate and we are at the library, ready to copy the item. If these fees will be excessive we will update you before proceeding.

Copyright restrictions. Let’s say you’ve received your estimate and it includes a third-party vendor fee. This happens when an item isn’t located within our immediate library network but we can obtain it through an unaffiliated vendor. So you approve the additional charge, and we send the order details to our vendor. A few hours later we receive word from our vendor that they are unable to copy the item due to copyright restrictions. Or, perhaps the citation requested turns out to be an entire publication, and we do not provide entire publication copies, again, due to copyright restrictions.

Unknown variables. These are the aspects of document retrieval that we simply cannot control. As we prepare your estimate, we check library catalogs to ensure the item is in our network and we have access to it. But catalogs can be incorrect, or items can be lost within the library, or they can turn up “not-on-shelf.” In these cases, we will reroute the item to another library, but this unfortunately delays retrieval. Though infrequent, weather also has been known to hinder timely delivery.

So you can see that there are all kinds of variables we have to juggle when preparing your free estimate. We do the best we can but there are always aspects that we cannot anticipate or control. If you have any further questions about estimates or would like to request an estimate, please send us an email directly to estimates@documentsdelivered.com.

Pop Quiz: What is Considered the First Novel?

People have been writing for centuries, millennia. In fact, there are probably countless works that are either buried, or have been destroyed, or for other reasons not in existence or not known to the common world. So this pop quiz question is tough to accurately answer.

Depending on the criteria with which you define “novel,” any of the following are commonly considered some of the first novels written:

The Tale of Genji (Murasaki Shikibu, 1021)

Don Quixote of La Mancha (Miguel de Cervantes, 1605)

Robinson Crusoe (Daniel Defoe, 1719)

Moll Flanders (Daniel Defoe, 1722)

Thinkers on the subject also propose:

Epic of Gilgamesh, an epic poem from ancient Mesopotamia (translated, edited and embellished upon by Shin-Leqi-Unninni, 1300-1000 BCE).

Was the answer what you thought? Do you have a different take on the matter? Let us know!


Push That Button–But Just Once

How many times have you arrived at a cross walk, pushed the button to allow you to cross the street, and then pushed it again, and again, and one more time for good measure? Maybe your thing is elevators. It’s tempting to think the machine isn’t doing its job, that it’s too slow or maybe it didn’t register you pushing the button the first time, when, more than likely, it did. Perhaps a bit of overkill is just human nature.

We see this happen to some of our clients when they use our online order form. That big green button that reads “PLACE ORDER” loves to be pushed, but once is enough. Please do allow a few moments for your submission to be processed. If, say, five minutes later you haven’t received a submission confirmation email, then by all means, push that button once more to try again. As with any technical situation, glitches can occur. If you experience an issue, we do want to hear about it so that we can resolve it for the next client.


Questions? Concerns? Want to push our buttons? Get in touch.

It’s That Time Again…

Nothing says clean slate like the first day of the year. Quit smoking! Lose weight! Start saving money! Though we all have lofty goals, our human fallibilities often betray our best efforts. Yet we remain supremely optimistic, each year detailing our to-do lists for the new year, assured that this time we will succeed—and heck, we often do. No matter those who pass judgement, such as 20th century painter F.M. Knowles who points out, “He who breaks a resolution is a weakling; He who makes one is a fool.” 2017 is going to be your year! Make those resolutions, rest assured that much progress will be made on your brand-new journey around the sun.

For a bit of inspiration, and humor, let us look to the words of some of our great thinkers. Cheers to new beginnings!

“I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes. Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You’re doing things you’ve never done before, and more importantly, you’re doing something.”
—Neil Gaiman

“Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year.”
—Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Now is the accepted time to make your regular annual good resolutions. Next week you can begin paving hell with them as usual.”
—Mark Twain

“We will open the book. Its pages are blank. We are going to put words on them ourselves. The book is called Opportunity and its first chapter is New Year’s Day.”
—Edith Lovejoy Pierce

“Be always at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let every new year find you a better man.”
–Benjamin Franklin

“I do think New Year’s resolutions can’t technically be expected to begin on New Year’s Day, don’t you? Since, because it’s an extension of New Year’s Eve, smokers are already on a smoking roll and cannot be expected to stop abruptly on the stroke of midnight with so much nicotine in the system. Also dieting on New Year’s Day isn’t a good idea as you can’t eat rationally but really need to be free to consume whatever is necessary, moment by moment, in order to ease your hangover. I think it would be much more sensible if resolutions began generally on January the second.”
—Helen Fielding

“Year’s end is neither an end nor a beginning but a going on, with all the wisdom that experience can instill in us. Cheers to a new year and another chance for us to get it right.”
—Oprah Winfrey

“Good resolutions are simply checks that men draw on a bank where they have no account.”
—Oscar Wilde

“My New Year’s resolution list usually starts with the desire to lose between ten and three thousand pounds.”
—Nia Vardalos

 “Youth is when you’re allowed to stay up late on New Year’s Eve. Middle age is when you’re forced to.”
—Bill Vaughan

“We spend January 1 walking through our lives, room by room, drawing up a list of work to be done, cracks to be patched. Maybe this year, to balance the list, we ought to walk through the rooms of our lives…not looking for flaws, but for potential.”
—Ellen Goodman

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