Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Old Books

PJ Librarian of The Magic of Books has written a fascinating post titled, "What's your oldest book?" To begin the post PJ poses these questions, " Have any treasures to share? So, what books do you have that you hold onto that you do not re-read or maybe have never read, but rather have them more for sentimental or monetary value? Did you inherit them or were they given to you years ago as a child and just can't seem to part with them? "

Although I commented on The Magic of Books , I wish to answer the questions more fully here and borrow(steal) her great idea of posting about old books. Before (or after) reading this post, you should hop over to PJ's place and look at her sentimental favorites.


The oldest book in our home is a small New Testament with a brass clasp. This book has a 1860 date on the title page and reputedly belonged to my grandfather, John Milton Gray, who was born in 1855 and saw Abraham Lincoln's funeral train in Illinois. There is indistinguishable writing on two of the cover pages, which might be my grandfather's signature. The little book was among my Grandma Gray's belongings.


In the Daddy D/MJD household, we are fortunate to have a Gray family Bible and a family Bible from Daddy D's family. Both Bibles have a partial genealogical listing. However, there is a mystery. His family's Bible has the name Farleman on the cover. As far as I know, there are no Farlemans in his family, and that name is not mentioned inside the Bible.























Another religious book in my collection is a Methodist Hymnal that was a gift to my Grandmother Gray from my parents for Christmas of 1944. Grandma Gray was married to John Milton Gray, who was a Methodist minister and a newspaper publisher. You may know that Methodist hymnals contain liturgy as well as religious songs .


This unusual book in my small collection of old books is 1001 One Minute Stories by H.S. Chapman. The small book published in 1927 has two interesting features. There is this decorative vine design inside both book covers, and the book was published by the Perry Mason Company. Unfortunately, I am not sure if this book belonged to my Dad or to one of my grandfathers.




I have read two of the books featured in this post. I read The Little World of Don Camillo so many years ago. The story is humorous tale about a parish priest and his adversary, Peppone, a Communist mayor of an Italian village. The story is enhanced with clever line drawings sprinkled throughout the book of an angel and a devil. This particular book belonged to my parents. My father used to put this label in each of their books. Notice that he has neatly printed our last name and pasted this label inside the book. My father also created his own book label, which I had hoped to display here but could sadly find no examples. However, I can see the label vividly in my mind. Dad had made a Wedgewood blue wood-cut print of an ice-skater with a stocking cap and his initials BWT.




















The other book that I actually have read is Melting of Molly by Maria Thompson Daviess. I bought this book 30 some years ago at an antique store here in northwest Indiana. This is my first book in a small collection of Molly books. The story is a delightful romantic tale about an slightly overweight widow.

This classic Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman was a gift from my father, Byron, to my mother, Laura, for Christmas in 1942. The corner bookmark on the poem, "Children of Adam", must be significant. My mother was quite a literary person and loved poems.





















This trio of books was Christmas gift to Daddy D from his mother, Cleo, and father, Mike, in 1955. These three titles must have been popular for children of the 50's especially boys.


Do not forget to take a look at The Magic of Books not only for the post about, "What's your oldest book?" but to check out PJ's frequent children's book reviews. She is very knowledgeable and writes passionately about children's books. You will be glad that you did.

16 comments:

Jen said...

We are book lovers in my house, much to the chagrin of the moving companies who have trucked us all over the southeast. Our daughter, alone, probably has a hundred books. My oldest book is Longfellow's Early Poems. I got it in a box of books from my grandmother. I'm not sure of the publications date, but someone wrote on the inside cover "Merry Christmas, 1899". It is my treasure.

riseoutofme said...

You brought back such memories to me!

The Little World of Don Camillo ... must see if I can find it ...

Thanks!

The Artist formerly Known as Purpleworms (!) said...

I came to look at your relaxing spot but this is such an interesting post. I remember Don Camillo - I didn't see it featured in your post though (sad). Books are a great topic for a post!

PJ Librarian said...

As Pooh's friend Eeyore would say "Thanks for noticing me". I'm not sure if this would apply to the bible of Daddy D's, but at one time bibles in that fashion were sold door to door as well as at funeral homes and bookstores or drugstores of the time. These books would be "ordered" then inscribed, but at times wouldn't be picked up. Many would then be sold at a discount to whomever didn't mind the name. Whatever the case behind the name, it makes for a fun mystery to solve.

daddy d said...

As Ringo Starr said (in Hard Days Night), "You can learn from boooks, you know."

Margaret said...

I don't know which books in my house are the oldest. The Bible I got for my confirmation is probably one of the oldest. Very interesting post, as usual!

ChrisB said...

We are a family of book lovers so I enjoyed reading this interesting post. I have all the books from my childhood and some much older ones belonging to my grand parents and some picked up in sales. Embee has a huge library, we stupidly got rid of some old books because of lack of space and I do regret it now.

Molly said...

What a great idea for a post, for all booklovers. will have to go digging.....after I visit at PJ's.

Pamela said...

our oldest book is a huge bible date 12/25/1884

It was a gift from one of hubby great grandfathers to wife.

we have an old photo album that IS older... but I'm not sure of the date on that.

Pamela said...

ps. I had that book "legends of Davy Crockett" when I was a kid.

goldennib said...

This was very interesting. I have some very old German prayer books. I'll give this a try when I begin sorting (again) my library.

Isabelle said...

Really interesting post. My father died in April, and my mother wants to clear out a bit, and a lot of his books are ones we'll never read (eg "An Introduction to Quark Theory") - but quite a lot of them are school and university prizes so we can't throw them away. On the other hand, our bookcases are already overflowing...

What a wonderful garden, by the way. I'm so jealous. My little town plot is crammed with flowers but I would love all that space.

And so would our kittens....

maiylah said...

what an interesting topic and post!
am not sure what is the oldest book in my parent's house ... but I think it was a bible, too. most of my books are over at their place since my place right now is so tiny! lol.

Gardenia said...

What wonderful books! Not only do you have some valuable books, but you have memories and loved ones attached to them!

AuthorMomWith Dogs said...

That's a nice little collection. Now, I'm gonna have to go see which one's my oldest. :)

Frema said...

I love that you have family bibles from both sides of the family. Luke and I still need to get one!