Friday, February 18, 2011

beloved books

My husband's family is really good at saving everything. His great-grandparents, who lived through the Great Depression, were very thrifty and took good care of the things they had. Years ago when they cleaned out the family home, they found its original bill of sale from the 1920s, as well as the Sears Roebuck Catalog out of which his great-grandparents had ordered their ready-to-assemble "catalog house." His great-grandfather built the house himself in Fort Wayne, Indiana, with the help of some Amish people who lived in the area. My mother-in-law still has all the paperwork for the house, which is astonishing to me since I sometimes can't even find my receipts from last week!

We've inherited a number of great things from his family, including a 1970s air popper that came in its original box and works perfectly, as well as those vintage valentines. She's also been sending along some amazing cameras for my husband (with original instruction manuals, still in their boxes, etc, etc), and yesterday I also received some well-worn, well-loved copies of Alice in Wonderland and Little Women. Both are inscribed to June O'Brien, my mother-in-law's mother, in beautiful script dated 1934.

The Lewis Carroll book is illustrated, of course, and the endpapers feature the Tenniel drawings printed in red ink. I especially like that Little Women appears to be the movie tie-in edition, since it comes with black and white photographs from the 1933 film. So funny! I enjoy leafing through them, and it will be a pleasure to read the books again with the knowledge that my husband's grandmother (and likely great-grandmother) clearly once loved and valued the same books.


  1. I like this kind of posts! Old books are so great!

  2. Oh, these are lovely! I just love Little Women. How lucky to have such treasures passed down.

  3. I LOVE this. I hope the books I've given as gifts to family over the years will be kept in such loving condition. Also, this is exactly why I inscribe the books I give as gifts. They have so much more soul this way. :)


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