Vance, Louis J.: The Brass Bowl
(researched by Donna Jacumin)

Assignment 1: Bibliographical Description
1 First edition publication information (publisher, place, date, etc.)
Louis Joseph Vance. The Brass Bowl. Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill Company, 1907. Copyright is held by Bobbs-Merrill Company.
2 First edition published in cloth, paper, or both? If both, simultaneous or staggered?
This is the first American edition published in trade cloth binding.
3 JPEG image of cover art from first edition, if available
4 Pagination
203 leaves, pp.[1-2][2][3-12]1-6[2]7-162[2]163-198[2]199-230[2] 231-258[2]259-376[2]377-379[1]
5 Edited or Introduced? If so, by whom?
There is no edited or introductory material.
6 Illustrated? If so, by whom?
Black and white water color illustrated plates facing p.6,162,198,230,258,376 are illustrated by Orson Lowell. There is also a frontispiece facing the title page with a protective leaf.
7 JPEG image of sample illustration, if available
8 General physical appearance of book (Is the physical presentation of the text attractive? Is the typography readable? Is the book well printed?)
The physical presentation of the book is very pleasing to the eye. The size of this book's type is 11R. The size of the page measures 184mm x 118mm. The size of the text measures 122mm x 85mm. The illustrated plate page measures 120mm x 91mm. There are approximately 22 lines of text per page. The typography is serif and very legible. Overall, the book seems to be well printed.
9 JPEG image of sample chapter page, if available
10 Paper (Assess the original quality of the paper used for the book. Is the paper in the copy or copies you examined holding up physically over time?)
The woven paper is of a thick, even and granulated texture. The edges of the paper appear to have "yellowed" in color around the edges. The illustrated plates are printed on glossy stock paper. The perservation state is a good one. No tears, stains, or foxing is apparent. However, several corners of pages were creased from having been folded down in the past to mark a reader's stopping place.
11 Description of binding(s)
The book has a medium green cloth binding stamped in gilt and black. It has a dotted -line grain. There is no dust jacket. There is a colored paper illustration pasted on the front cover of a woman. It has a black border around the cover illustration. The edges are not in gilt, however the front and top edges are discolored. The transcription of the information found on the cover is as follows: THE|BRASS BOWL|LOUIS JOSEPH VANCE| illustration pasted on of a woman, 170mm x 108mm. The transcription of the spine is THE|BRASS|BOWL|LOUIS|JOSEPH| VANCE|BOBBS|MERRILL. The lettering is in gilt and outlined in black.
12 Transcription of title page
THE BRASS BOWL|By|LOUIS JOSEPH VANCE|Author of The Private War|Terence O'Rourke, Gentleman|Adventurer|With Illustration s by|ORSON LOWELL|INDIANAPOLIS|THE BOBBS-MERRILL COMPANY| PUBLISHERS.
COPYRIGHT 1907|THE BOBBS-MERRILL COMPANY|underline|MARCH
13 JPEG image of title page, if available
14 Manuscript Holdings
Research on RLIN database did not indicate any manuscript holdings of this work.
15 Other (typograpical information from title page, etc.)
There is no colophon with this book.
Assignment 2: Publication and Performance History
1 Did the original publisher issue the book in more than one edition? If so, briefly describe distinguishing features of each (illustrations, cover art, typography, etc.); if not, enter N/A
It appears that after extensive research into resources such as The National Union Catalog; Publishers'Weekly; The British Library General Catalogue of Printed Books to the British Library; The American Catalogue 1905-1907; and The United States Catalog the original publisher did not issue the book in more than one edition.
2 JPEG image of cover art from one subsequent edition, if available
3 JPEG image of sample illustration from one subsequent edition, if available
4 How many printings or impressions of the first edition?
After extensive research, into sources such as The National Union Catalog pre-1956 Imprints; Publishers' Weekly; The British Library General Catalogue of Printed Books to the British Library; The American Catalogue 1905-1907; and The United States Catalog, information regarding first edition printings or impressions was not located.
5 Editions from other publishers? If so, list their dates and publishers; if not, enter N/A
Editions found by different publishers include: The Brass Bowl published by A.L. Burt, New York (1907); The Brass Bowl published by McKinlay, Stone & Mackenzie, New York (1907); The Brass Bowl published by E. Grant Richards, London (1907) The Brass Bowl published by Hodder & Stoughton, London (1916)
6 Last date in print?
After consulting Whitaker's Books in Print; International Books in Print 1997; Paperbound Books in Print; and Books in Print, the last date in print was not found. It also appears that other books by Louis Joseph Vance are not in print either.
7 Total copies sold? (source and date of information?)
This book was listed as the fifth highest selling book in 1907 in Hackett's 60 Years of Best Sellers in the lists noting top fiction sellers for the year, however the book did not sell over 1 million copies to be included in the overall best sellers list.
8 Sales figures by year? (source and date of information?)
According to Alice Hackettís 60 Years of Bestsellers, The Brass Bowl reached Number 5 on the 1907 Annual Best-Seller List of Fiction with sales of 184,071 copies. Bookman's Price Index and Publisher's Weekly both noted that the book sold for $1.50 in 1907.
9 Advertising copy (transcribe significant excerpts, briefly identify where ads were placed)
Several advertisements were found in Publisher's Weekly after March 30, 1907 (the date of publication). Two advertisements were found on the front cover of Publisher's Weekly (April 27, 1907 and June 1, 1907). The April ad showed a picture of the front cover of the book and had the caption "The Brass Bowl is one of the best pieces of rattling romance put out in many a day." - New York Sun. The June advertisement was in a rectangle box and said, An Instant Triumph|The Brass Bowl|By Louis Joseph Vance Then four short reviews of the book were given and it advertised the fact that Orson Lowell had illustrated the book with seven pictures; the price of $1.50 for the book; and the publisher, The Bobbs-Merrill Company was listed. At least ten other advertisements were found in Publishers' Weekly regarding the publication of this novel. All advertisements were indicated that Bobbs-Merrill was the publisher.
10 JPEG image of sample advertisement, if available
A21019990419173409.jpg
11 Other promotion
On advertisement in Publishers' Weekly noted that The Brass Bowl was being dramatized for stage production and that a prominent New York manager had contracted to produce it within six months, however no further details were found.
12 Performances in other media? If so, list media, date, title, production information; if not, enter N/A
According to The National Union Catalog Pre-1956 Imprints, The Brass Bowl was made into a melodrama in three acts. It was published in New York by F.E. Willcox c1908. There is a typescript of this melodrama produced at the Castle Square Theatre, Boston, April 12, 1909. In addition, the Catalog of Copyright Entries: Cumulative Series: Motion Pictures 1912-1939 indicated that The Brass Bowl was made into a black and white film in 1914 (2 reels) by Thomas A. Edison, Inc. and in 1924 (6 reels) by William Fox of Fox Film Corporation. The director was Jerome Storm and the story was adapted by Thomas Dixon, Jr.
13 Translations? If translated, give standard bibliographic information for each translation. If none, enter N/A
Searches in WorldCat and Eureka did not indicate that this work was translated into other languages.
14 Serialization? If serialized, give standard bibliographic information for serial publication. If none, enter N/A
Searches in Publishers' Weekly did not indicate that this work was serialized.
15 Sequels/Prequels? Give standard bibliographic information for each. If none, enter N/A
Searches in Publishers' Weekly and the National Union Catalog pre-1956 Imprints did not indicate that this novel had any sequels or prequels.
Assignment 3: Biographical Sketch of the Author
1 Paste your biographical sketch here (maximum 500 words)
Louis Joseph Vance was born on September 19, 1879 in New York, New York (although some sources say Washington, DC). He was an American fiction writer of short stories, novels and screenplays. Vance was the son of Wilson and Lillie Beall Vance. Originally, Vance wanted to become an artist and illustrator and attended the Art Students League and Brooklyn Polytechnic Institute. Vance married Nance Elizabeth Hodges in 1898. They had one son, Wilson Beall Vance who was born the following year.
Vance was 26 years old when his first book,Terence O'Rourke, Gentleman Adventurer was published in 1905. Vance was a "hack" writer for many years producing hundreds of short stories and some adventure novels until he published a group of three mystery novels which promoted him to best-selling author status. The novels were: The Brass Bowl (1907) about a beautiful young girl, who in order to help her grieving father,becomes a burglar and meets a professional burglar who resembles the identical twin of a young millionaire. The second novel,The Black Bag (1908) was about a young heiress named Dorothy Calendar and an evil smuggler of diamonds. The Bronze Bell (1909)was a novel about an American who is mistaken for a raja during a duck-hunting trip in Long Island.
Vance was known for mixing romance and mystery in many of his thirty-five novels. He is most famous for his mystery writings on the Lone Wolf, a book about the adventures of a gentlemanly criminal, which first appeared in 1914. Some of his other works include: The Fortune Hunter (1910); The Destroying Angel (1912); The Dark Mirror (1919); Alias the Lone Wolf (1921); Linda Lee, Inc. (1922); Baroque (1923); The Lone Wolf Returns (1923); Mrs. Paramor (1924); The Road to En-Dor (1925); White Fire (1925); The Dead Ride Hard (1926); They Call It Love(1927); The Woman in the Sahdow (1930); Speaking of Women (1930); The Trembling Flame (1931); The Lone Wolf's Son (1931); and many others.
The University of Pennsylvania's Van Pelt Library has an original manuscript of Vance. It is a one leaf correspondence with H. L. Mencken from 1916. The notes indicate that it is a favorable response to a letter from Mencken soliciting support for Dreiser regarding The "Genius" controversy.
Vance died on December 16, 1933 in New York, New York. Even though Vance's death was officially ruled an accident, many questions surrounding the way that he died lingered for years. It was eventually rumored that he had died of spontaneous human combustion. According to Vance's relatives, he had a habit of falling asleep while smoking. What was so unusual about Vance's death was that his head and torso were so badly burned that it appeared as if his head and shoulders had been pushed into a furnace and Vance suffered few, if any, burns below his waist. Also, none of the furniture in the room where he had died had caught on fire except for his chair. His body was cremated at the Fresh Pond Crematory in Queens, New York. This theory of Vance's death being caused by spontaneous human combustion is discussed further in assignment five.
Note: Bibliography is located at the conclusion of Assignment Five.
Assignment 4: Reception History
1 Paste contemporary reception history in here (maximum 500 words)
Three contemporary reviews published in 1907 were located on this novel. Two were published in the New York Times and one in The Academy, a British journal. All three reviewers gave The Brass Bowl a very positive reception.
The Academy's review from November 30, 1907 stated that one would be hard pressed to find "a more amusing and ingenious 'shocker' than this book. The reviewer went on to say that the book was a combination of a sensational novel with a very pleasant vein of sentiment. I enjoyed reading the review because it discussed in just the right amount of detail the plot which revolved around the mistaken identity of an American Millionaire named Dan Maitland and a jewel thief named Dan Anisty. It also revealed a heroine in the book, Sylvia Graeme, a resourceful woman who became a jewel thief to retrieve some papers that incriminated her father which were in the possession of Dan Maitland. According to this reviewer, there are many dramatic complexities involved in this work and the reader's interest is held throughout the novel especially in the intense final scene. The Brass Bowl is recommended for railway journeys and those who wish to be entertained without thinking too much.
The New York Times Book Review from April 6, 1907 calls The Brass Bowl "a story of crime" and a "decidely melodramatic story." It draws the book review reader in by saying that the story involves burgalaries, breakneck rides in taxis and automobiles and assaults with intent to kill. This reviewer also revealed the book's plot and added that the entire story takes place only over 36 hours and that there are very few characters in the book. This reviewer praised Vance for writing such effective and vigorous scenes of New York at night, an easy feat for Vance as he lives in the middle of New York City.
The New York Times Book Review from June 15, 1907 says that The Brass Bowl is the Louis Joseph Vance's newest and most desperate mystery. The book is written at such a fast rate that it "would blow up the stoutest speedometer." In my opinion, this review was very weak although it gave a good review of the book. It mostly asks the reader several questions about which direction the plot of the book will take after giving a brief summary of the mysterious opening events - questions that were too detailed to be adequately absorbed and answered from the brief review. I realize this was the reviewer's intent - to draw the review reader in to read the book himself, but it made the book sound too complex to be entertaining.
Other abstracts of reviews found in Publishers' Weekly in 1907 include:
"The Brass Bowl is one of hte best pieces of rattling romance put out in many a day." - New York Sun
"Keeps the reader on the alert." - Chicago Inter-Ocean
"An absorbing romance." - New York World
"The plot of 'The Brass Bowl' is a marvel of ingenuity, a maze of incident so complicated that it challenges the reader's curiosity to the utmost. A world of amusing and thrilling adventure lies between the first statement of the problem and its final solution, every step of which is full of tense interest." - Chicago Daily News
"One of those irresistibly interesting tales that keep the reader in the furore of expectation." - Cleveland Plain Dealer
"There are no resting spots in this story of fast and furious action." - Detroit Times
"For sheer delight bred of mystery, romance and exciting ventures, 'The Brass Bowl' is to be commended." - Newark Call.
2 Paste subsequent reception history in here (maximum 500 words)
Three contemporary reviews published in 1907 were located on this novel. Two were published in the New York Times and one in The Academy, a British journal. All three reviewers gave The Brass Bowl a very positive reception.
The Academy's review from November 30, 1907 stated that one would be hard pressed to find "a more amusing and ingenious 'shocker' than this book. The reviewer went on to say that the book was a combination of a sensational novel with a very pleasant vein of sentiment. I enjoyed reading the review because it discussed in just the right amount of detail the plot which revolved around the mistaken identity of an American Millionaire named Dan Maitland and a jewel thief named Dan Anisty. It also revealed a heroine in the book, Sylvia Graeme, a resourceful woman who became a jewel thief to retrieve some papers that incriminated her father which were in the possession of Dan Maitland. According to this reviewer, there are many dramatic complexities involved in this work and the reader's interest is held throughout the novel especially in the intense final scene. The Brass Bowl is recommended for railway journeys and those who wish to be entertained without thinking too much.
The New York Times Book Review from April 6, 1907 calls The Brass Bowl "a story of crime" and a "decidely melodramatic story." It draws the book review reader in by saying that the story involves burgalaries, breakneck rides in taxis and automobiles and assaults with intent to kill. This reviewer also revealed the book's plot and added that the entire story takes place only over 36 hours and that there are very few characters in the book. This reviewer praised Vance for writing such effective and vigorous scenes of New York at night, an easy feat for Vance as he lives in the middle of New York City.
The New York Times Book Review from June 15, 1907 says that The Brass Bowl is the Louis Joseph Vance's newest and most desperate mystery. The book is written at such a fast rate that it "would blow up the stoutest speedometer." In my opinion, this review was very weak although it gave a good review of the book. It mostly asks the reader several questions about which direction the plot of the book will take after giving a brief summary of the mysterious opening events - questions that were too detailed to be adequately absorbed and answered from the brief review. I realize this was the reviewer's intent - to draw the review reader in to read the book himself, but it made the book sound too complex to be entertaining.
Other abstracts of reviews found in Publishers' Weekly in 1907 include:
"The Brass Bowl is one of hte best pieces of rattling romance put out in many a day." - New York Sun
"Keeps the reader on the alert." - Chicago Inter-Ocean
"An absorbing romance." - New York World
"The plot of 'The Brass Bowl' is a marvel of ingenuity, a maze of incident so complicated that it challenges the reader's curiosity to the utmost. A world of amusing and thrilling adventure lies between the first statement of the problem and its final solution, every step of which is full of tense interest." - Chicago Daily News
"One of those irresistibly interesting tales that keep the reader in the furore of expectation." - Cleveland Plain Dealer
"There are no resting spots in this story of fast and furious action." - Detroit Times
"For sheer delight bred of mystery, romance and exciting ventures, 'The Brass Bowl' is to be commended." - Newark Call.
Assignment 5: Critical Analysis
1 Paste your critical analysis in here (maximum 2500 words)
Louis Joseph Vance's mystery novel, The Brass Bowl, published by The Bobbs-Merrill Company in 1907 is a book that stands as a highly acclaimed work of the time, but one that it appears only briefly enjoyed best-selling popularity. The Brass Bowl was frequently advertised and marketed by The Bobbs-Merrill Company in Publishers' Weekly, beginning with the novel's publication in March 1907 and lasting throughout the calendar year. However, extensive research into contemporary and subsequent advertising publications and books documenting best-seller status, do not highlight the novel as one that claimed a place in novella notoriety. Although originally published by The Bobbs-Merrill Company, two other editions of The Brass Bowl issued by The A.L. Burt Company and McKinlay, Stone & Mackenzie were also located. Physical differences between the first edition and subsequent reprinted editions issued by the other publishers will be discussed further in the essay. In addition, the literary success of Vance's alliterative trio - The Brass Bowl, The Black Bag, and The Bronze Bell will be compared and discussed. Then, the bizarre circumstances regarding Vance's unforeseen death will be revealed exposing a mystery much more chilling and outrageous than any of Vance's celebrated works.
The Brass Bowl, one of Vance's earliest works, was produced after years of hackwork drudgery. Prior to its publication, Vance devoted six hours a night to write short stories after working a full day for his salaried job. He claimed that he produced some of the "most awful stuff that has ever been printed." He said, "Every time I wrote a short story I learned something about what is should not have been. I learned the principles of construction and something about style. I abandoned the short story forever. And then I wrote The Brass Bowl" (Kunitz and Haycraft 1441).
According to Alice Hackett's 60 Years of Bestsellers, The Brass Bowl reached Number 5 on the 1907 Annual Best-Seller List of Fiction with sales of 184,071 copies (107, 56). However, it did not make the overall mystery best seller list of the year which required sales of one million.
The qualities that reviewers most praised in The Brass Bowl included Vance's ability to keep the reader's attention through plot complexities and to write with a sensational flair. The book review found in the November 30, 1907 edition of the British journal, The Academy, stated that it would be hard to find "a more amusing and ingenious shocker than this [novel]" (193).
Interestingly, The Academy review recommended The Brass Bowl for "railway journeys" and claimed that the novel gave "interesting glimpses into American life" (193). During the beginning of the twentieth century, railway travel became increasingly popular, especially in Europe. A whole new genre of books termed "railway fiction" became faddish from approximately 1890 to 1930, a period often called "The Golden Age of Railroad Literature." People not only traveled by rail; they avidly read novels and short stories about railroads (Barefield). Although, The Brass Bowl has not been categorized as railway fiction, another one of Vance's books, The Trey O' Hearts written in 1914 was cited as belonging to this genre of stories, both fact and fiction, about the railroads during this period ("Railroad Stories").
Other Reprinted Editions of The Brass Bowl
Two reprinted editions of The Brass Bowl published by The A.L. Burt Company and McKinlay, Stone & Mackenzie were also located. After careful review, it appears that The A.L. Burt Company issued the novel with a different and more ornate title page (which can be viewed in the supplementary materials) and incorporated only half of the black and white water color illustrated plates that were found in the Bobbs-Merrill edition, which used seven of these plates. Both publishers included the same illustrated frontispiece which was located opposite of the title page and incorporated the same illustrations on pages 162, 230, and 377 (however the last illustration was reversed in the A.L. Burt publication). In addition, A.L. Burt issued The Brass Bowl with the same illustration on the book cover, however it was of far less quality than the Bobbs-Merrill edition. McKinlay, Stone & Mackenzie issued the novel with a third, unique title page and incorporated only one illustration (used as the frontispiece) in the whole novel. This frontispiece was not included in either of the Bobbs-Merrill or A.L. Burt editions and it is questionable if this illustration was even done by Orson Lowell, the artist who had illustrated Bobbs-Merrill's first edition.
In addition, the McKinlay, Stone & Mackenzie edition did not include the quote "Is this a shape for reputation and modesty to masque in?" attributed to More Dissemblers Besides Women; and the dedication page which plainly read "Dedicated to N.E.V." that was found in both the Bobbs-Merrill and A.L. Burt editions. It is also interesting to note that the McKinlay, Stone & Mackenzie edition did not include an illustrated book cover and that the pages have succumbed to foxing and appear to have deteoriated much more extensively than either the Bobbs-Merrill or A.L. Burt editions, indicating that subsequent publishers of this novel did not seem to place large importance on the visual aesthetics of the book.
The Alliterative Trio
Vance's most successful books prior to the appearance of his most celebrated thief in The Lone Wolf series first appearing in 1914, includes the alliterative trio of books - The Brass Bowl, The Black Bag, and The Bronze Bell (Kunitz and Haycraft 1441).
In 1908, Vance followed the success of The Brass Bowl by publishing The Black Bag, which according to Alice Hackett's 60 Years of Bestsellers, reached Number 8 on the Annual Best-Seller List of Fiction that year with sales of 35,247 (56,109). This novel was followed the next year with the publication of Vance's The Bronze Bell.
According to the abstracted reviews found in the Book Review Digest 1908, The Black Bag, published in 1908, is a novel written in a similiar vein to The Brass Bowl. It's plot revolves around an abosrbing romance and another diamond smuggler. This smuggler attempts to convince an English girl named Dorothy Calendar who has recently inherited a large fortune, that he is her long lost father. The smuggler then tries to rob Calendar of her most precious item - a black bag of jewels. Unfortunately, the novel did not enjoy the same level of positive reviews that its predecessor, The Brass Bowl, did, even though it incorporated similar themes of diamond smuggling and romance.
Some reviews abstracted in Book Review Digest 1908, include a March 12, 1908 review in The Nation, which remarked that "The Black Bag is probably not a masterpiece, but it has certain very pleasing qualitites (366); and a review done by Outlook magazine in February 1908 that stated,"As a sensational narrative of crime attempted and frustrated it is ingenious enough, but it does not come within sight of the remotest borders of real literature (366)."
The 1909 Book Review Digest noted the following abstracted reviews on The Bronze Bell: a June 1909 review in the American Library Association Booklist stated, "[The Bronze Bell] has no literary merit, but possesses the same qualities that made the author's ?Brass Bowl' and ?Black Bag' popular (447)." The Independent followed with another review in April 1909 that stated, "It is not great art, it does not pretend to be, but it is a rattling good story (447)." And, The Spectator critcized the book two months later by saying, "The book is at least picturesque and exciting, though the adventures are sometimes a little confused (447)." The Bronze Bell's plot did not revolve around diamond smuggling, but a duck hunting excursion that ends up taking the protagonist halfway around the world to India (1909 Book Review Digest 447). One can only surmise that since all three novels revolved around a romantic theme and had catchy three-word titles that they were marketed as a trio.
All three novels were illustrated by different artists. The Brass Bowl included illustrations by Orson Lowell, who became a celebrated artist for magazines such as Life, The American Girl and Judge, once the market for illustrated novels diminished in the early 1920s ("An Illustrated Biography of Orson Lowell"). The Black Bag also published by Bobbs-Merrill, was illustrated by Thomas Fogarty (""An Exciting Yarn"). The Bronze Bell, published by Dodd, Mead & Co., was illustrated by Harrison Fisher, another artist known for his talent for drawing beautiful women. Fisher did cover illustrations for the majority of The American Girl magazine and for many years and was under exclusive contract to do covers for Cosmopolitan magazine ("The Works of Harrison Fisher").
Vance's Mysterious Death
The unusual circumstances surrounding Vance's death on December 16, 1933, have spurred rumors, some of them as chilling and unbelieveable as the plots in many of his novels. The morning after Vance's death, The New York Times ran his obituray on it's front page and became one of the main perpetrators of a the theory that Vance perished as the result of a purported phenomenon called spontaneous human combustion - when a human body catches on fire and the source of the fire cannot be stated with certainty.
According to a November 4, 1998 article in the New Zealand newspaper, The Dominion, the concept of spontaneous human combustion was first made popular by Charles Dickens with his horrendous description of the death of a rag dealer named Krook in his novel, Bleak House (13). Currently, there have been at least 400 worldwide anecodatal accounts of spontaneous combustion taking place, according to an April 10, 1999 article appearing in The South China Morning Post (10).
Vance's obituary in the New York Times, stated that he was discovered in his town house apartment on Thirty-eighth Street in New York City by William McCoy, assistant manager of the apartment. The author's body was found encircled in flames that surrounded an upholstered armchair. Detectives summized that the author had fallen asleep with a lighted cigarette in his hand. Several of Vance's friends commented to detectives that this was a common occurrence with Vance who even once said in an interview three months prior to his death that it was his ultimate ambition "to be so rich that I may lie in bed and smoke forever (A1)."
Vance lived alone in his three bedroom apartment. The fire that ultimately caused Vance's death strangely burned all the upholstery off the chair he was sitting in, leaving only the wooden frame. It was also reported that Vance's torso which was found bare, was severly burned, with his head and right shoulder found resting on the seat of the torched chair. Dr. Robert C. Fisher, the asssitant medical examiner present at the scene of death and who had Vance's torched body sent to the hospital morgue to be examined, noted that it appeared as if Vance's torso had been shoved into a blazing furnace or had been bathed in combustible liquid. In addition, it appeared that Vance had suffered very minor, if any, burns below his torso and none of the other furniture in the room (besides the upholstered chair he was sitting in) had caught on fire (The New York Times A1).
A chemical analysis on Vance's blood and organs was performed by Dr. Harry Schwartz, an assistant city toxicologist. According to Schwartz, Vance tested negative for any type of posions, however Vance did have "three plus ethyl alcohol" in his brain at the time of his death. It seems that Vance was most likely in such a drunken stupor that he was unable to call for help. However, since he was purportedly alone at the time of his death, we may never know the real circumstances for sure. If the theory of Vance's death by spontaneous human combustion is indeed true, then his bizarre death would undoubtedly be his most shocking and sensational story ever.
BIBLIOGRAPHY
Assignment One Works Consulted:
Gaskell, Philip. A New Introduction to Bibliography. New York: Oxford, 1972. http://www.bibliofind.com (Internet) RLIN database (Library of Congress) WorldCat database (Library of Congress)
Assignment Two Works Consulted:
The American Catalogue 1905-1907 New York: Peter Smith, 1941. Catalog of Copyright Entries Cumulative Series: Motion Pictures 1912-1939. Washington: Library of Congress, 1951. Chicorel, Marietta, ed. Chicorel Theater Index to Plays in Anthologies, Periodicals, Discs and Tapes Vol. 3. New York: Chicorel Library Publishing Corporation, 1972. Hackett, Alice P. and James Henry Burke. 80 Years of Bestsellers 1895-1975. New York: R.R. Bowker, 1977. Hackett, Alice P. 70 Years of Bestsellers 1895-1965. New York: R.R. Bowker, 1967. Hackett, Alice P. 60 Years of Bestsellers 1895-1955. New York: R.R. Bowker, 1956. Library of Congress Card Catalog The National Union Catalog 1942-1962: A Master Cumulation. Vol. 142. Detroit: Gale,1969. Potter, Marion E., ed. The U.S. Catalog. 3rd ed. Minneapolis: H.W. Wilson, 1912. Publishers' Weekly. 1907. Microfilm. (2 reels). Readers' Guide to Periodical Literature 1905-1909. Vol. 2. Minneapolis: H.W. Wilson, 1910.
Assignment Three Works Consulted
"Louis Joseph Vance." Gale Literary Databases. Online. http://www.galenet.com/servlet/GLD. Internet. 25 Mar 1999. Soto, Mari. "Did Mystery Book Author Joseph Louis Vance Die of SHC (Spontaneous Human Combustion)?" Online. http://mysterybooks.miningco.com/library/weekly/aa120197.htm Internet. 25 Mar. 1999. Steinbrenner, Chris and Otto Pengler, eds. Encyclopedia of Mystery and Detection, New York: McGraw, 1976. Ward, A.C., ed. Longman Companion to Twentieth Century Literature. London: Longman,1981. Who Was Who in America, Volume I: 1897-1942, Chicago: Marquis, 1943.
Assignment Four Works Consulted:
"A Story of Crime" Rev. of The Brass Bowl, by Louis Joseph Vance. The New York Times 6 Apr. 1907: 229. Book Review Digest 1907. Minneapolis: H.W. Wilson, 1908. Rev. of The Brass Bowl, by Louis Joseph Vance. The Academy. 30 Nov. 1907: 193. Rev. of The Brass Bowl, by Louis Joseph Vance. The New York Times 15 June 1907: 386 Publishers' Weekly. 25 May 1907: 1573. Publishers' Weekly. 1 Jun. 1907: 1677. Publishers' Weekly. 28 Sept. 1907: 747.
Assignment Five Works Consulted:
"An illustrated biography of Orson Lowell". Online. http://www.bpib.com/lowell.htm. Internet. 25 Apr. 1999. Barefield, Jack, Whipering Smith Rides Again. The Railroadiana Express. Spring 1997. Online. http://www.papertig.com/fsrvtre.htm Internet. 26 Apr. 1999. Book Review Digest 1907. Minneapolis: H.W. Wilson, 1908. Book Review Digest 1908. Minneapolis: H.W. Wilson, 1909. Book Review Digest 1909. Minneapolis: H.W. Wilson, 1910. Harrison, Michael. Fire From Heaven: A Study of Spontaneous Combustion in Human Beings. New York: Methuen, 1978. Martin, Yvonne. "Spontaneous Combustion Has Fired Many Imaginations, including Charles Dickens's." The Dominion 4 Nov. 1998, natl. ed.: 13. Maynard, Roger. "Mysterious Blaze Linked to Paranormal." The South China Morning Post 10 Apr. 1999, natl. ed.: 10. Railroad Stories. Online. http://ourworld.compuserve.com/homepages/dabr/rrstorys/rrstorys.htm Internet. 26 Apr. 1999. Rev. of The Brass Bowl, by Louis Joseph Vance. The Academy. 30 Nov. 1907: 193. Kunitz, Stanley J. and Howard Haycraft,ed. Twentieth Century Authors. New York: H.W. Wilson, 1942: 141. "Vance, Author, Dies of Burns in Home: Writer of Adventure Stories Found in Blazing Arm Chair in 38th St. Apartment." The New York Times 15 June 1907: 386. "The Works of Harrison Fisher." Online. http://members.tripod.com/~hf98/harrisonfisher.html. Internet. 27 Apr. 1999.


Supplemental Material
Title Page of 'The Brass Bowl' published by The Bobbs-Merrill Company
Title Page of 'The Brass Bowl' published by A.L. Burt Co.
Title Page of 'The Brass Bowl' published by McKinlay, Stone & Mackenzie
Photo of Louis Joseph Vance
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