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No need to despair: The weirdest and most useful book in our collection


ANAMED Head Librarian K. Mehmet Kentel writes about ‘this one very peculiar item, arguably the most misshelved book in the library’…

Are you confused about the Byzantine legacy in the Ottoman system? Do you have doubts about the argument that presents the foundation of the Turkish Republic as a clear break from the Ottoman Empire? Do you think the Beylik Period was a dark age in Anatolia? Are you curious about the Roman infrastructural network founded in the Middle East? Do you think archaeological studies should increase their reliance on digital technology? Is there wine on the carpet? Has coffee been split on your best dress? Have the children covered the walls with ink? Has the dog covered the upholstery with hair? Don’t despair! The ANAMED Library has some answers to all of these questions and more. Yes, even the questions in italics, it seems.

The ANAMED Library, with several special collections and more than twenty-two thousand volumes, also has this one very peculiar item, arguably the most misshelved book in the library: Wonder Worker’s Complete Book of Cleaning by Barthy Phillips. Donated as part of the Josephine Powell Collection, this book proves that even a world-famous photographer (for the digital collection of her photographs, go to  and traveler, as well as a specialized research library, needs to keep a clean house. There is one small issue though: the book is a little too clean… so clean that it has probably never been used.

I know for a fact we haven’t used it, but at least we know where to look if we ever get a dog-librarian who covers the upholstery with hair! Yes, we will continue to shelve the book, but we ask our users not to implement everything the book offers in the library itself, especially concerning personal hygiene… Because, ewww, do not follow these instructions here: “gently rub away the scaly or damp peelings and dry the foot; wash gently then dry the foot again and apply a proprietary fungicidal dusting powder”… This is a research library (but perhaps public libraries are fine?!).


Everybody knows that you can tell whether a person is lazy or not by looking at his/her hands.

Phillips, Barty. Wonder Worker’s Complete Book of Cleaning. London: Sidgwick & Jackson, 1986.

Catalogue: ANAMED  TX324 .P45 1986