Buried Treasure Down Under

In 793 boxes stashed in the lower levels of the National Archives of Australia building in Sydney. Books. Lots of them. Many quite naughty. Some deemed politically subversive. A very small number regarded as “blasphemous”–presumably by a person or persons officially authorized by the Almighty . . . .

Along with the article at ABC (that’s for Australian Broadcasting Corporation) News are some nifty images of book covers, like this:

Curiously, I recognized the title and author of one of the banned books illustrated in the gallery of images. The Housekeeper’s Daughter, by Donald Henderson Clarke, was actually made into a Hollywood movie, starring Adolphe Menjou and Joan Bennett, in 1939. The somewhat lurid cover artwork for the edition that got pulled from the shelves–or confiscated from some traveler’s suitcase–with its buxom, curvy, eye-candy female, seems to date from a later time, and may have been the primary reason it got boxed and consigned to basement darkness. I’ve never read the book itself, however, so I can’t vouch for the libidinous temperature of its content.

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