JF Ptak Science Books Quick Post
Hard Times: Cause and Cure, a Bankrupt Farmer and an Honest Judge Talk it Over was written by Tolley Hartwick and published by him in 1934, in the near-height/depth of the Depression. Hartwick's work was extraordinary, though perhaps mostly within itself. From what I have read and understand, this may be a semi-private insight into the development of economic systems and the decline of the U.S. economy in 1929. "Scientific Government/Scientific Taxation/Scientific Money" is the rallying point on the first page of this very long document that claims no title page and but scant explanation of its origins. The work is--in an odd and difficult way--an artwork in itself, mostly due to its dense and unrelenting design. It is 15 inches high and 8.5 inches wide, typed single space so that on the page's very narrow-margined self there are more than 90 cramped lines of text; and with approximately 15 words per line, that means each page is very heavily worded with something like 1100-1350 words, which is pretty impressive. And at 210 pages, the document is about 250,000 words long, making it highly combative.
I'll never come to know what Mr. Hartwick was writing about because of the work's secret complexities, which is too bad, at least for me.
But in its very dense, very full way, printed on now-crumbling paper, and with a high degree of difficulty to decipher its message, the work presents itself as something larger than what it is--it has a certain look and feel of something very difficult to create, a certain "obviousness" of painstaking longevity that gives it more a feel of an artwork than a book.
In any event, I like it.
[This may be a unique--with its provenance being the Library of Congress and one of the copyright deposit copies--as I can find no trace of it except for its entry in the Copyright Office publication for materials received in 1934.]