Reader seeks original copy of Negro Motorist Book – Me, too!
  • First look at copy of Negro Motorist Green Book
  • Collections that baffle me – swizzle sticks
  • " />
    Auction Finds

    Readers ask about Negro Motorist Book & swizzle sticks

    A reader recently sent me a question about the Negro Motorist Green Book, compiled more than 50 years ago as a guide for black travelers. Meanwhile, I suggested the guide to a woman who was incorporating African American history into an ad-hoc summer program for kids.

    I figured the Green Book could be used to teach the children about travel, geography, map-reading, African American history, discrimination and teamwork.

    I’m using the book this week for my Friday blog post of questions from readers. Many of them want to know the value of their items – which I can’t answer – but I try to guide them to where they can learn the item’s history and determine its value on their own.

    Here are this week’s questions:


    I am a teacher and I am looking for a copy of the Negro Motorist Green Book Guide. I would like to incorporate it in some lesson plans when I teach about the Civil Rights Movement and the Jim Crow laws. I have not been able to find a copy to buy. Do you have any ideas, or can you point me in the right direction?


    I’m looking for a copy, too, and the books are apparently pretty hard to find. I suspect that anyone who has one isn’t going to give it up.

    There are downloadable copies on the web in pdf format. You can make a copy for yourself or copies for your class, if that’s what you have in mind. I think using it in your teaching is a wonderful idea. The students can learn a lot about the culture of the country by the very existence of the book and necessity of its being.


    A few days before I got the teacher’s email, I had come up with an idea for a project for my swimming teacher’s summer program.

    Here’s my suggestion to her on using the book as a teaching tool:

    About a year ago, I wrote a blog post about the Negro Motorist Green Book that was produced from 1936 to around 1964 for black folks traveling the roads either for business or pleasure/vacation. I ended the post with a route that I plotted along the New England Coast from Nova Scotia, Canada, to Newport, RI. Some friends and I were planning a trip in September along that route and I wondered what it would’ve been like if we had been driving it in 1949 and used the Green Book as our guide.

    That’s the idea I had for the kids. Team them up in pairs (or threes), download and make copies of the book (from 1949 or 1956), get some maps of the Eastern United States from AAA and let them plot their own travel course.

    With this exercise, they will be learning geography: states, cities and towns along the East Coast, the country’s road system, how to read a map, how to gauge distances, and more. The history part is even more fascinating. The Green book will give them the opportunity to see what it was like for black people in the early part of the 20th century – how the country limited their lives, how it treated them a second-class citizens and how they created ways to work around the roadblocks.

    One team of students can plot a route from Philadelphia (where they live) to Boston, another from Philly to Chicago and another from Philly to Charlotte, NC (or any other combination). It needs to be a trip that takes them through at least two states so they’ll have enough opportunities to find African American establishmens to eat and sleep.

    The next question is based on a blog post I wrote two years ago about a collection of swizzle sticks sold at auction. I was surprised to learn that people actually collected something we tossed away after finishing our drinks. After I wrote the post, I got an email from two writers who had done an article about swizzle sticks.


    I am about to begin the final cleaning out of my parents’ home. One of my dilemmas is what to do with my Dad’s swizzle-stick and matchbook collections. That’s how I found this site. Most likely there are thousands of each.


    When I came across those swizzle sticks two years ago, they were the first I’d seen in all the years I had been going to auctions. And I don’t believe I’ve seen many since them. Matchbook collections, though, come up much more often.

    For my blog post, I went straight to Google to see if swizzle-stick-collecting was an actual hobby – it is, and it has a lot of adherents – and to eBay to see if they sold at all. They were selling in that giant international flea market, but they were not bringing in top dollar.

    You have a couple of recourses. If you’d like to spend time going through thousands of swizzle sticks and matchbook covers, you could do some research to determine which ones are more valuable and sell those separately. If your father categorized or organized them in any way, that would be easy. If not, it obviously will not.

    If you just want to get rid of them and be done with it, try selling them in various lots of 50, 100 or more on eBay. Or find a reputable auction house in your town and sell off the entire lot at once. At auction, folks will buy up everything – but not necessarily for a lot of money.

    Contact the International Swizzle Stick Collectors Association and its founder/president. There may be members who would be interested in buying your father’s collection or the president may be able to offer you other alternatives. I also found one site on the web that appeared to match up buyers and sellers of swizzle sticks.

    Matchbook collectors also have their own association, and I came across a site that offered general information on the value of matchbooks. Its warning: You won’t become a millionaire.

    Also, do a Google search to see if there are any food and beverage museums in the country that would be interested in adding swizzle sticks to their collection.

    By the way, it sounds like you didn’t know your father had these collections. Too bad. I’m sure he had some good stories to tell about them.

    If you can offer more advice to either of these readers, please drop me a line or leave a comment below.







    Tagged as: , , ,

    Leave a Response

    Please note: comment moderation is enabled and may delay your comment. There is no need to resubmit your comment.

    bbc galapagos las islas que cambiaron el mundogalapagos cruise reviewsbest cruise ships galapagos islandsbest family galapagos cruisebest time to go to galapagos and machu picchubest time to go to peru and galapagosbiotech bedrijf galapagosbiotechnologiebedrijf galapagosbudget galapagos boat toursbudget galapagos cruise pricescaracteristicas de las islas galapagos antiguascaracteristicas de las islas galapagos flora y faunacaracteristicas de las islas galapagos mas antiguascaracteristicas islas antiguas galapagoscaracteristicas islas mas antiguas galapagoscelebrity cruise galapagos machu picchucelebrity cruise lines galapagos islandscelebrity cruises galapagos machu picchucelebrity cruises galapagos reviewscelebrity cruises galapagos xpeditioncelebrity xpedition galapagos 2014celebrity xpedition galapagos cancelledcelebrity xpedition galapagos cruisecelebrity xpedition galapagos cruise 2014celebrity xpedition galapagos excursionscelebrity xpedition galapagos machu picchucelebrity xpedition galapagos price