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Reginald Bacon

Variety Arts Press



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Publisher Member
Variety Arts Press
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History, Architecture/Preservation, Musicology, Performing Arts, Popular Culture

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Job title
Author, Editor, Designer, Publisher
Member Directory Listing - About Us:
Variety Arts Press has been the publisher of books by the journalist/editor, historian, museum professional, and performing artist Reginald W. Bacon since 1983. Variety Arts Press also offers editorial, graphic, and publications services for selected independent publishing projects.

R.W. Bacon is a museum and history professional with specialties in 17th- and 18th-century New England architecture and domestic life --- and early 20th-century vaudeville and circus. His first career as a journalist, editor, and publication designer informs his current museum work. His 35-year career as an acrobatic juggler and jazz/ragtime musician informs his performing arts research. He is the author of a dozen books on regional history, music, architecture, preservation, and performing arts topics.

In the world of print graphics, his humor-infused topical seminars are based on two companion books for do-it-yourself designers and editors, The Cranky Typographer's Book of Major Annoyances, and The Cranky Editor's Book of Intolerable Fox Paws (Oops! Faux Pas!).

Hot off the press in 2018 were Chauncey Richmond & "The Old Buckbee": The Story of a Banjo, Its Maker, and Its Player; and The Micro-Historian's Guide to Research, Evidence, & Conclusions: Step-by-Step Research Planning & Execution. The latter title will be republished for international distribution in late 2019 by Rowman & Littlefield, the preeminent publisher of books for the museum studies and public history field.

In 2019 Variety Arts Press revived "The Throwback Series" of books on acrobatic juggling technique, training, and history. The newest addition to titles published in the 1980s is The Juggler's Alphabet Book: The ABCs of Inspiration, Encouragement, and History for Literate Jugglers of All Ages (2019) by R.W. Bacon, and additional titles are forthcoming.
Primary Publishing Role
  • Author
  • Book Designer
  • Book Editor
Primary website


Book #1 Cover Image
Book #1 Title
The Micro Historian's Guide to Research, Evidence, & Conclusions
Book #1 Subtitle
Step-by-Step Research Planning & Execution
Book #1 Publication Year
Book #1 Author
Reginald W. Bacon
Book #1 Publisher
Variety Arts Press
Book #1 ISBN
Book #1 cover price
$14.00 (remaining VAP stock) (new Rowman & Littlefield edition: $25.00)
Book #1 Description
The Micro-Historian’s Guide to Research, Evidence, & Conclusions imparts useful guidance to motivated historians, genealogists, special-interest researchers, and local history enthusiasts. As long-buried sources become available via the internet, more regular folks without a Ph.D. in history are joining the fun of information-gathering and shining new light on under-explored history --- yet often with no foundation of method. The author answers the call with this volume, "paying forward" the guidance received from long-ago mentors as well as from present-day historians and archivists. Topics include research planning & execution, evaluation of evidence, formulation of conclusions, and the crafting of a summary narrative. Each topic is enriched by practical examples from the author’s experience. The aim is to help the new practitioner build a foundation of research skills that leads to evidence-based conclusions.
The author’s perspective of experience --- as a disciplined researcher, but also with roots as a no-nonsense old-school newspaper reporter --- occasionally prompts a mild tease of the buttoned-down genealogy proof standard, or conversely, a deflating poke at flabby interpretation ... and moribund academic writing ... wherever it may fester.
The Micro-Historian’s Guide to Research, Evidence, & Conclusions draws theory from dozens of history, genealogy, historiography, and research giants through the ages. The book also pays tribute to that long-ago cigar-chomping newspaper editor who admonished a young reporter: "Yer mother sez she loves ya’? You still gotta check it out!"
Book #1 Distributors
Variety Arts Press, Rowman & Littlefield, Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble ... and your favorite bookseller


Book #2 Cover Image
Book #2 Title
Chauncey Richmond & "The Old Buckbee"
Book #2 Subtitle
The story of a banjo, its maker, and its player
Book #2 Author
Reginald W. Bacon
Book #2 Publication Year
Book #2 Publisher
Variety Arts Press
Book #2 ISBN-13
Book 2 Cover Price
Book #2 Description
Chauncey Richmond & "The Old Buckbee" tells the story of three discoveries: a banjo, its maker, and its player. The first discovery was a filth-encrusted 100-year-old no-name banjo found in a tumbledown shed in 1982. The restoration of this banjo years later led to the discovery and research of its original maker, the resolutely anonymous John Henry Buckbee (1837-1890) and his high-volume Bronx, N.Y. banjo factory; and its original player, Chauncey E. Richmond (1872-1910), a Connecticut farmer, rural mail carrier, and unlikely vaudeville impresario. Along with revealing new details about J. H. Buckbee, the prolific "Henry Ford of banjos" in the 1880s, the three context-rich studies in musical micro-history yield useful insights into the essence of research, evidence, and conclusions. Banjo history enthusiasts will appreciate the research backed with 297 endnotes; 230 photos, illustrations, and maps; and appendices on the research methodology and banjo restoration.
Book #2 Distributors
Variety Arts Press, Amazon.com, ... and your favorite bookseller
Book #2 Awards
The genealogical component of the research and content was recognized at the 2019 literary awards of the Connecticut Society of Genealogists.


Book #3 Cover Image
Book #3 Publication Year
Book #3 Awards
2017 IPNE Book Award for Informational Nonfiction
(Independent Publishers of New England)


Book #4 Cover Image
Book #4 Title
The Cranky Typographer's Book of Major Annoyances
Book #4 Subtitle
Helpful Graphic Tips for Do-It-Yourself Designers
Book #4 Publication Year
Book #4 Author
Reginald W. Bacon
Book #4 Publisher
Variety Arts Press
Book #4 ISBN-13
Book #4 Cover Price
Book #4 Description
Today almost everyone with a computer on their desk gets pressed into service as a "designer-by-default" --- but without any training in the craft. This information-packed book offers an introduction to professional typography and page layout that will improve both the look and effectiveness of do-it-yourself "desktop" design projects. The author, adopting the persona of The Cranky Typographer, first identifies the common missteps in typography and design, then explains how to avoid them. Over 250 illustrative examples, encompassing the good, the bad, and the hopeless, are derived from the author's five decades of varied real-world experience. Is the author really that cranky? Read the book, find out, and along the way learn what you never knew about the venerable craft of typography and the still-current principles of functional, effective design.
Book #4 Distributors
Variety Arts Press, Amazon.com, ... and your favorite bookseller
Book #4 Awards
ARSC Award for Excellence in Historical Research (2018 nominee of the ARSC international organization, the Association for Recorded Sound Collections).
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