catalog would have been impossible without the aid of many people.
Many of them are listed on the Acknowledgements page below. Sadly,
one of those people is no longer with us. Lance Casebeer, the Godfather
of Paperback Collecting, died in May 2003. Lance was a larger-than-life
kind of guy, and we were only half joking when we called him the
legendary Lance Casebeer. Lance once told me when he made
his first trip to the New York Paperback Show, someone saw his nametag
and asked if he was the son of the legendary collector
of the same name. For 25 years Lance hosted a party in his yard
every August, known simply as Lancecon. Lance was a world-class
teller of tall tales, more on the level of Pecos Bill or Baron Munchausen.
To just call him a liar would be an understatement.
One night at one of the Lancecons a group of us were sitting around
while Lance regaled us with stories of his high school triumphs.
In Lances version he was Captain of the championship football
team, academic leader of the class and boyfriend to future 1965
Playmate of the Year Jo Collins. One guy was there for the first
time, nobody had warned him what to expect, and finally he had heard
enough. He stood up and cried out, You are one of the masters
of bull crap! I suppose next youre going to tell us how you
were elected Homecoming Queen! Lance never batted an eye.
Oddly enough, Lance continued, I WAS elected Homecoming
Queen through a series of mix ups, and it makes for an interesting
. And off he went.
This catalog is dedicated to Lance.
My catalog tells the story of Paul Rader, the American illustrator
and paperback cover artist who is still remembered for his series
of covers for Midwood Books. In fact, Rader did over 300 covers
for Midwood, so many that his style and the entire Midwood output
are forever linked in many collectors minds. Actually there
are hundreds of Midwoods that are not Rader, although his style
was so indelible that some of the covers of other artists look like
Rader. His was the Midwood style. Nobody has ever assembled
a checklist of Raders covers. I thought if I could find Rader
or his family, I could get such a list of his covers. I was wrong.
What we have instead is my own checklist from scratch, the first
draft of a work in progress. There will have to be corrections and
additions as time goes by. Ive looked at as many Midwoods
as I could find over the past 2 years, and this list represents
the Rader checklist to the best of my knowledge.
Rader did so many covers for Midwood, the story of Paul Rader
is also the story of Midwood Books. Midwoods founder and
chief editor are now dead, but I located as many of the remaining
cover artists and authors as I could to learn the story of the
early years at Midwood.
of my book customers, a collector named Robert Rutherford, first
suggested to me that somebody needed to do a Rader checklist.
Certain that there must already be plenty of info on Rader, I
looked around for something to send to Robert. There was nothing.
Even the Artists Handbook on the Internet, under the listing
for Rader, was blank. No birth date, no death date. If Rader was
dead, that is. Nobody I talked to could tell me. Rachel and I
have two friends who are research librarians at Cal State who
can find ANYTHING. When they came up with a blank about Rader
I started to worry. Was that even his real name? No one in the
paperback hobby knew what happened to Paul Rader after he stopped
painting paperback covers around 1970.
course Rader was not the only artist working for Midwood. One
of the best of them was Robert Maguire. Id met Maguire at
Gary Lovisis New York Paperback Show, so I called him. Maguire
did not remember ever meeting Rader, but he told me the agent
who represented the artists at Midwood and Beacon was Ed Balcourt.
I located Balcourt, now retired to Florida, and he was the first
person I found who had actually met Paul Rader. Balcourt told
me he had represented Rader in the late 50s and early 60s,
and had lined up the work at Midwood for Rader. The editors at
Midwood were so happy with Raders style that Balcourt made a deal for Rader to work full time for them. Balcourt told me at this point he
lost track of Raders whereabouts, and was not sure if Rader
was still living.
though Id reached a dead end trying to find Rader, I did
get some valuable corroboration from Mr. Balcourt, who was kind
enough to answer many questions about Rader for me. I now knew
Rader had worked in New York City in the 60s and that Paul
Rader was his real name. Balcourt described Rader as a good-looking
bald man in his 50s. I asked Balcourt about other
artists, including one we were researching for a separate project,
Elaine. What follows is from an e-mail from Edward
represented over a hundred artists in the paperback field.
And Paul Rader was one of them. Paul was with me for 5 to
7 years doing magazine illustrations and paperback book covers.
As Balcourt Art Service I handled the cover design at Midwood
for Harry Shorten for 13 years. In that time he went from
Midwood to Tower Publications to Belmont-Tower. I did a lot
of books with Robert Maguire and Rudy Nappi. One of my other
artists there was Victor Olson, one of the nicest guys who
ever worked for me, who is still living and painting and is
now selling a lot of his old paintings through Illustration
House. You asked about Elaine Duillo. Elaine is a very high
priced romance cover artist. I represented her husband John
Duillo and got him started in the field.
got me in touch with Victor Olson and John & Elaine Duillo.
None of them remember ever meeting Paul Rader.
Now armed with the verification that Rader had worked in NYC in
the 1960s, I asked the research staff at the New York Public
Library to find info on Rader for me. All they came up with was
a Manhattan phone book listing for I. Paul Rader.
Rader being a common name, I couldnt be sure that was even
After a year of futility I was almost ready to give up. Then Grandma
Munroe died and my wife Rachel and I attended her funeral in Lansing
Michigan, where my Grandfathers had both worked for the state
government. On the drive from the airport to the funeral home
located within sight of the state Capitol building, I explained
to Rachel how I was getting nowhere finding Paul Rader.
The break in my investigation came a short time later, when a
woman from Michigan named Lauren Turner auctioned a painting by
Michigan artist Isaac Rader on eBay. The painting,
a nude study from the 1920s or 30s, looked nothing
at all like Raders paperbacks, but by then I was calling
garage mechanics in Poughkeepsie named Paul Rader. I was growing
desperate. By then I was pouncing on anything remotely Rader,
so I contacted Lauren Turner. She had learned that her artist
had been a portrait painter in Michigan some years ago, and that
some of his portraits of Michigan judges were still on display
in the Lansing area, possibly in the Capitol.
There was one fascinating item for me in the information Lauren
had learned about the artist Isaac Paul Rader. He worked
for a while as a commercial artist in New York City. I remembered
the phone book listing I. Paul Rader. Could her Isaac
and my Paul be the same Rader? Unless by huge coincidence there
were two commercial artists both named Paul Rader working in the
same city, they had to be the same guy.
They have these people searches now on the Internet that can find
anybody, so I tried one. I put in everything I knew about Rader
and found an Isaac Paul Rader of the right age listed in Ocala
Florida. There are several Rader families in Ocala, and I believe
it was the second lady I called, Edith Rader, who told me she
was Pauls widow. And yes he had painted portraits in Michigan
in the 20s, and yes he had also painted hundreds of paperback
covers for Midwood Books. And she told me this story...