New York: Frank A. Munsey Company, 1939. First edition. 8vo, original color pictorial wrappers, 144 pages on pulp, illus. Oversized wrapper edges worn and the edges, as usually seen; some wear to the spine, with a little splitting along the joint of the front wrapper at the foot of the spine; pulp stock toned but supple; in good to very good condition. Item #18543
Incunabular American graffiti tagging, a three-page article on early railroad car graffiti artists and a survey of the artwork and stylized signatures of the hobos and railroad workers who marked up freight cars, with pictures and messages in text (such as the once ubiquitous J.B. King Esquire); this article is notable for including the identity of Bozo Texino, whose “familiar caricature shows him smoking a long pipe and wearing a ten-gallon cowboy hat adorned with the lone star of Texas. The original of this crude portrait is a tall, handsome Texan. . . . Skeptics have questioned whether or not Bozo Texino is a real person. I can assure you that he is, just as real as President Roosevelt. His name is J. H. McKinley.” (The caption to the photo of McKinley that accompanies the text notes him putting his trademark on “One of the Quarter-Million or So Boxcars Which He Has Adorned in the Past Twenty Years—Not Mo. P. Cars [his employer Missouri Pacific] However; There’s a Rule Against It.” (The photo is credited to the San Antonio Light, suggesting McKinley’s identity had been earlier revealed, at least on a local level.) Hecox glances at political and religious messages, obscene doggerel, and even the “queerest type of free advertising [which] is the urging of the public to correspond with the person who has written his or her name and address on the car. It is more than likely that lonely scribblers of both sexes have obtained sweethearts by this method; but is so, no authentic instance has ever been brought to my attention.”.