Thursday, October 20, 2011

For the love of books

I haven't blogged in a while, and I thought I'd get back in gear by sharing a few of my favorite books from my antique book collection.
When I was a teenager I collected old books from yard sales and thrift shops. I'd always loved old things, vintage jewelry, antique furniture, vintage styles. But my love of old books started with the finding of this first book.
I can't recall my exact age, but I found this book in my grandfather's garage while the family and I were cleaning it out. My grandfather was what you might call a 'collector' or some might have referred to him as a 'hoarder'. It's all how you look at it.
This book, called 'The Lady's Book of Flowers and Poetry' first caught my attention with it's gorgeous gold inlay in black leather. Upon further inspection, the book became more and more marvelous.
The book was published in 1841 in New York.

Throughout the book there are hand painted flowers, with tissue paper insirted into the book's binding, I'm assuming, for the paint's preservation.

This book is somewhat of a family treasure. I'm actually a little surprised my mother trusted me with it's keeping, as young as I was. But I always had a respect for antiques, and I'm sure she knew I'd treasure it.

This next book was a very interesting find for me at the local salvation army thrift store. It's in german, so I can't even tell you the title. Within the first page, the name Dr. Martin Luther is mentioned, so it can be assumed that it's a bible adeptation, or Luther's teachings.

But I can tell you that it was published in St. Louis, MO in 1905. The embossed leather on this particular book is stunning.

The real treasure of this book was tucked safely within it's pages. The first, a frail and yellowed envelope addressed to Mrs. Anna Notting, Grandville, Michigan. The post mark for this letter was April 3, 1931. Inside is a lovely little Easter greeting card, signed simply, Jimmy.
Farther down the pages of the book, is another yellowed envelope. From the Zeeland Record Company in Zeeland, Michigan. Inside is a remittance form addressed to J. Bohl Sr. who lived in Grand Rapids, Michigan. It also has the date it was sent, Jan 1, 1932.
I have had this book for years, well over a decade, and I never even knew this next treasure was there. A n envelope in pretty rough shape, sent to Mr. John Bohl Sr in Grandville, Michigan on Jan 19th, 1925. Inside is a delicate little letter written on lined paper in faint pencil. I was able to read most of it.

"Dear father I will write

you a few lines we are

well and hope the same of

you Harold is going to

school every day he has not

missed a day yet

Enclosed you will find tax

receipt and check for 10.66

From y our son

John Bohl Jr"

He didn't use any punctuation in his writing, but instead used spaces where periods should be. I corrected a few spelling errors from the original.
The next book is a little on the newer side of the vintage books I tended to collect. Old Mr. Boston De Luxe Official Bartender's Guide is a fascinating little book none the less. The first printing was in 1935 and the final printing for this book was 1941. In this guide is an alphabetical list of drinks, with the recipe.There were two sections of the book with full color pictures. At the end of the book was a fascinating guide to the various glasses used to mix the cocktails.
Another of my favorites is Agnes of Braunsberg. It's a daintly little book with a ragged fabric cover. It was published in New York, but unfortunately there's no date anywhere in the book.
But there is a faint little dedication in the front that reads

"Mathilda Ludwig
Perfect Attendance

4th Grade"

The handwriting is faint, but it's gorgeous! I envy the curvy scrollwork of penmanship of times long gone, when things like handwriting were appreciated.
This book has a lovely cross embossed in the cover, but again I can only assume it's a bible, because it's in German. It was published in Berlin in 1875. It has an unfortunate binding, what little of it is left.

The final book is also also in German, printed in Chicago in 1878. The gold embossed leather on this book is stunning, there appears to be a dragon at the end of the cross on the cover.

There were two little surprises hidden among the pages of this book. The first is a print out of a scripture, and the second is a painting. I'm not sure where the image might have come from, it seems to be printed on something that feels like magazine paper. It's really thin and glossy.

These have been just a few of my favorite books from a book case in my childhood home that I recently looted. I'd estimate it's not quite a quarter of the collection. I have an amazing old fully illustrated copy of Uncle Tom's Cabin that was given to me by my grandmother, and a couple old pocket bibles. I didn't grab those, I hope to have the entire book case back in my posession some day. It will have to wait until we have a larger living space.


Nirriana said...

fantastic treasures you have! Think it's so amazing to hold something that old and feel it's history.

Peacock Tres Chic said...

I know it! I love putting myself in the shoes of someone who lived long before me, to touch something they touched, maybe even cherished. I have so many old things back home, vintage hats, books, jewelry, tea sets.....