Sep 24 2012

Old and mysterious contents


I’ve always been drawn to this type of binding on library books:

Old enough to fall apart and need rebinding

From the nearby shelf

As a kid scrounging our little local library, I noticed that books that looked like these were often very peculiar inside. I did not think to check the publication dates, back then. I just knew that they were not childrens’ books, which, however clever and brightly illustrated, were quickly assimilated, and used up. The odd-binding books had more meat on them, and I learned to look for them.

In fact, I’m fairly certain that this is an example of a library rebinding. I don’t know if the books are (or were) rebound in-house or sent out; and I don’t know if this still goes on. But when a book got so old and well-read that it fell apart, someone put it back together, and they all tend to look similar.

The youngest book of the pictured bunch here is about 65 years old. The oldest is from 1902, and speaks of events even further back.

“There is one element of the character of Captain Jeremiah O’Brien which should not go unmentioned, as an explanation, if for no other purpose, of the persecution of which he was for several years, during the War of the American Revolution, the object — reference here is made to his outspokenness, which, coupled with an intense patriotism, called down upon his head the fierce wrath of the tories of Machias, of whom there were not a few, and whose activity, owing to their proximity to Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, was bold and aggressive.”

Life of Captain Jeremiah O’Brien, Machias, Maine (Commander of the first American Naval flying squadron of the war of the Revolution), by Rev. Andrew M. Sherman, George W. Sherman Publisher, 1902


and his ship

(Okay, you’ve paid homage to the library — now get to work!)

I wonder what process they used to get this.

Fold-out facsimile in his own hand