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5.5×8.5″ 118 pages $14.95 ISBN: 978-0-9830314-7-5 This book contains facsimile reprints of the rare booklets “Sketches of Naughty Ladies”, “Confessions of a Taxi Dancer” and “Chorus Queens, or, The Private Lives of the Hotcha Chorus Girls”. Enter the world of Johnson Smith & Company, or at least some of the more risque parts of it. In the beginning of the 20th century a family could have two catalogs to survive. One was the Sears-Roebucks catalog, and from it you could buy everything from horse bridles to clothing and kitchen utensils. In fact, just about everything you absolutely needed to live you could buy right from the pages. And then there was everything you didn’t need, but really wanted-and that’s where Johnson Smith & Co. came in. From whoopie cushions to pistols, this thick catalog was truly the “Necronomicon” to Sear’s “Holy Bible”. Established in 1914, they produced all sorts of novelties, many of them quite cruel. If it didn’t cause physical harm, it would send you home shamed. When WWII broke out, they quickly cranked out 1.5″ novelty buttons that said “To Hell with Japan”, “To Hell With Hitler”, and even the phonetic “Moider Dem Japs”. Johnson Smith was for the people. A wave of conservatism washed over the country, reacting to those care-free previous decades. Gritty pulp novels and Tijuana Bibles fed the street level need for sex and violence, but it wouldn’t be another decade before the word “pinup” was coined. In the JS & Co. product lines they had a number of publications of varying interests and quality. Offering full books to nickel or ten-cent booklets. From money making idea guides to Minstrel Show routines, exposés of the Masons and the Klan, Black Magic and dreaded White Slavery. Because JS & Co. was aiming for the mass audience, they knew what most people LOVED: the lowest common denominator. That meant skirting as close to the issue of sex as possible in the open market.
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