Saturday, February 14, 2015

Arthur Hailey's Vanishing Girl

I went to check out the local library this week. Since I don't have proof of residence yet, I couldn't get a card. However, I browsed the selection and identified some authors that intrigued me. One such person was Arthur Hailey.

 Best known for his novels Airport, The Moneychangers, and Hotel, Hailey wrote stories
based on minute research into the world's various industries. 

I have a soft spot for vintage hardcover books, and when I spied the library's selection of Hailey novels, I knew they were such (they have a lot).

This photo appears on the back cover of Hotel, which was first published in 1965.

Of course, you can see why I snapped this image. The typewriter! I wanted to know what model is shown here. I hopped on Google and tried my best. Richard Polt didn't have anything in the "Writers and Their Typewriters" section of his website. Hailey's wife wrote a memoir I Married a Best-Seller. A keyword search revealed that at one time, Hailey used an IMB of some kind (presumably a Selectric). However, that's not what you see in the photo above.

So, wanting to find more information, I Googled more images of Hailey. I came upon this curious piece for sale on a website. (I would have uploaded the image, but the company never replied to inquires about their copyright policy).

Strange, isn't it? The photo from the back of the book cover is credited to a Robert C Ragsdale. I couldn't find any information about him, and I'm making an educated guess that he's since passed. Nor could I find any other place on the internet with either photograph.

We now have a triple mystery:

1. Which photograph is the original?

2. Why was the photograph altered, and who is the little girl? (I think it could be his daughter)

3. What kind of typewriter is being used? (That's why we're here, isn't it?)

I'm terrible at solving mysteries, and this is no exception.

Anybody out there with a clue?

1 comment:

  1. I wonder if you'd be able to see the writing on the tag on the carriage with a maginifier. From that you may be able to patch together the brand. To me it looks like an electric. If the photo was from '87 chances are it is not a manual.