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I'm off to the beautiful Syracuse University shortly to attend a book signing, so instead of the usual bookmark, I've decided to offer you a review of some of my favorite finds.

I Don't Care If You Can't Write Fancy
Why I like it:


The loneliness is so heartbreaking... I just imagine that they all found someone. I have to.

Best Intentions

Why I like it:

We've all started something, something important to us, and for one reason or another, are unable to finish.

Dear Aeneas

Why I like it:

The hate in this letter is obvious, but the fact that the person took the time to write it out shows that there was a lot of love, once.

By All Means Go

Why I like it:

I'm not sure. Maybe it's the handmade hearts on the envelope.

Picture Day

Why I like it:

This photo is candid perfection. The kid on the far right in the ill-fitting jacket. The smile of the girl in front. The young man fixing his buttons next to her. Perfect.

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Trade card advertising John K. Drake of Troy, NY, seller of extract, face powder, soap sachet powder, toilet water, etc..

Reverse side has a 1909 calendar and indicates it is perfumed with Azurea. You can still smell it, I can best describe it as a mix of rose water and moth balls.

Found in "The Science of Common Things" by David A. Wells. Published by Ivison, Blakeman and Taylor, 1857.

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Some notes about today's post: I found this account of a automobile trip in Canada written in last few pages of Charles Dickens' "Pickwick Papers," the same book that contained the material for this post and this post. It took me quite a while to figure out how to present this, hopefully this will do. If you spot any transcription errors, please let me know in the comments. Here's the writing as it appears in the book:

Here's my best go at the text:

On hearing the car, whose RS was opened for the season owing to the extraordinary fine weather that has been running for several ???, I decided on the last day of school preceding the Easter holidays that we would start that very day ?? in our car and drive to W.L. A journey of over 400 miles. So when the children came in I told him to gather up whatever they needed and no more, as we were leaving at once, and we must travel as light as possible. And for him to put in some blankets and robes for purposes of extra warmth, as we would need to travel at night to save time. In less than an hour we got our car oiled and filled with gas ??? were sent engine on its way to A.?? telling of our departure for the north and a hasty lunch tucked away in case we became hungry by the ???

We then left Vancouver, in a drizzle of rain that had been threatening all day to break our spell of sunshiny days, and before we got as far as N.W. the rain was coming down real hard, and as it was then 4:30 p.m., a rather late hour for starting on such a long trip, it tended to dampen our ardour considerably, when passing over the Fraser R. Bridge at N.W. our car skidded badly turning almost around but finally righting itself without even touching anything. I may say right here the margin between our ??? and the frail looking railings of that old bridge was very narrow, and it took quite a while to shake off the fright we got. It looked to the three of us like a poor beginning to such a long journey.

After leaving N.W. the rain became our steady (as a maid ??? to have called her gentleman friend) ??? could we ??? in the driving clouds above our heads. All through the valley right ? Chilliwack, the rain and winds beat with thundering gusts about our car till we became enamoured with the idea of giving up and returning to the city. When we were about ready to turn about face, one of us would make the suggestion to go on a few more miles just to see how we got along. And so we would continue in this manner.

We passed through Chilliwack in drenching pourdowns, even the puddles became lakes. We made rather an unpressive?? pause before turning onto the Caribou Highway. Behind us, we knew the road was safe. Ahead we knew it was anything but safe and yet the urge was strongest to continue north. We finally decided to go as far as Hope and if we made it to there safely we might be better able to find out something more definite as to the conditions of the roads farther on. So on we went, with cloud bursts to the right of us and cloud bursts to the left of us, and the mountains closing in and down their sides (where in summer, only the slenderest white ??? (erased) marked the place of the falls tumbling and hurrying down from their snowy heights to the lower levels. The unhurried running streams of summer, by the side of ?? trail, were now like the ??? torrential streams, dashing with maddening haste to get somewhere else. Their noisy doings at times almost bursting our ?? drums.

Thus the miles flew by and we were glad when we spied a bright light peeping out from among some trees, when we drew up, we found that the comforting looking light redirected from a small garage, run by a ??? who knew very little about the Caribou Trail, but he was sure of one thing and that was that it had rained exactly like it was down there for four solid days. Encouraging words none. However, we had permitted ourselves to go as far as Hope - and we did. Part of this ?? was devoted ?? the road ?? to the game of taking out sharp turns from the original route. We took many a honorary nose dive and tail spin before we safely navigated these new ???? so slippery they were.

At last after many a weary mile, we drew up pulled in to the town of Hope, nestling at the foot of towering mountains ??? mighty Fraser for its waterfront. At a garage there, we learned, the rains had been very heavy, bringing down mudslides, and mudslides between there and Lytton but gangs of men were keeping roads cleared as quickly as with all possible dispatch, and also that the roads were being done over where the snows of winter had taken their toll. We were particularly urged not to go farther that night but to wait over till morning. Before we finished our conversation got through hearing?? the gas tank replenished and the vital requirements attended to, the rain as though tired of its pounding and battering, came to a stand still, and with high hopes we took courage, and ventured out again into the night.

Peace was with us until we passed ??? Lodge where the moon came out and spread trails of glory about the snowy mountain tops. We were so delighted over this that we all got out and encouraged it all we could by expressing in no uncertain manner our delight over the beautiful sight the rift in the clouds had given us. We encountered other drivers. Fog bands rolled up from the river, meeting us just around a curve and after which while they ??? ???? careful Friday.

As we drove along in ??? hours of the night through particularly empty and ?? directions my mind’s eye in visions of the unholy looking places we would have to pass before the end of the trail was reached. There was ???? the ugly old house of windows, where a great many murders could have been committed, but hadn’t been as far as you could find out. Then there was the spot on the road where a rope with a bell attached to one end of it was placed to give warning like sleepy ??? who was on his lookout for two men who were ?? for hunting after waylaying and killing a prospector. They say the scheme worked, the guard through weariness fell asleep, and was suddenly roused by the jangling of the bell close to his sleeping quarters. He jumped up, grabbed his loaded gun and though he called “Halt” several times the men paid no attention but ran faster than ever ???? the guard fired in the darkness, in the general direction of the escaping pair, and when daylight came at last, a trail of blood was found on the road which told that one of the men at least was wounded. Later the wounded man was drowned ???? as the Thompson River the other was caught in the ??? of the police.

Then there was the haunted house. I don’t know what haunted it but I heard it was one of those places where even the angels feared to tread. So I made up my mind to give it a wide berth. Next in turn came the pile of rock that marked the place where the prospector was ??? Tis said that for years, every prospector, coming out or going to turn ??? laid there on a stone and to this day the crude cairn remains. Then there was the Dead Waltz place where we were sure to get a thrill up the spine if we let our minds dwell long enough on the doings of other days. There was no other route to take to escape it, it stands right close to the Caribou Trail.

Giveaway winner

Giveaway winner was Cloe Pavel Smith, who entered on Facebook.

Friday Giveaway: 18 Vintage Books - contest closed

Believe it or not, another Friday is here. Today I'm giving 18 vintage books, O. Henry to Dumas to Mr. Dooley.

Contest is closed, winner announced in a moment.

Good luck!

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Thank you all for all you've given me.

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Giveaway winner...

...was Margaret, aka @TorontoViewer. Thanks to all who entered, will have many more in the days to come.

Giveaway: Signed Copy With Bookmark: Contest closed

I'm cutting out of work a bit early today, so instead of the usual post, I'll throw up a giveaway instead:

You'll get a signed copy of the book, along with the military identification card featured on page 132.

Contest is open to anyone, anywhere.

--sorting through entries, back with a winner in a moment.

Good luck!

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Upon Further Review

I was cleaning up the book from yesterday's post, "The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club (Part One)" by Dickens and I noticed a folded brown paper sticking out of the side. I must have missed it yesterday:

Illustration; the paper measures 8.5 inches by 12 inches. I'm unsure of the materials used, it looks like the outline was sketched in pencil and colored in.

The artist's name appears on the back:

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Just Plain Joe To His Friends

Found this old Salvation Army music pamphlet today:

Front Cover
Rear Cover

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Game, Set and Cat

Film negative. Here's what it looked like after I put it through my film scanner:

Found in "The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club (Part One)" by Charles Dickens. Published by Collier, 1900.

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Giveaway winner

Winner of the 24 children's books was Audry, who entered right here on the site. Thanks to everyone for entering and for all the birthday wishes.

Audry, I'm off to leave a comment on your blog. Feel free to get in touch:

Friday Giveaway: 24 Children's Books: contest closed

As it turns out, I like to give things away on my birthday. Here was last year's:

Who am I to argue with tradition?

On to this year - the turnout for the last children's book giveaway was great, so I thought I would do it again.

Contest closed, announcing winner shortly.

Good luck!

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Mean Mr. Mustache

Letter, no date or envelope:

Dear Barbara -

Thanks so much for a lovely weekend. We love your place - it's truly charming. That brook is really extraordinary. If I lived there I think I'd spend most of the day sitting on the deck, reading and listening to the brook. Pretty soon my house would probably fall around me. Sometimes I think our Adam-and-Even type ancestors had the right idea in not encumbering themselves with houses and just living in tents or reasonable facsimiles  Buddy says I'd live in a tent (or reasonable facsimile) for 24 hours or until the first big rain - whichever came first, and he's probably right. Please tell Rolf that we're sorry we didn't say goodbye to him. We thought he'd enjoy the sleep more than the goodbye, so we figured we'd say it by mail. He's very nice isn't he.
The trip home from Woodstock bordered on the fantastic. We left for S.I. right after we said goodbye to you and pulled up to our house sometime after 12:30. I didn't look at my watch after 12:30. I won't bore you with the details since I'm sure Judy will tell you all about it when she gets to Cooperstown. She and Lefty followed us all the way.

I'm reading "The Hobbit" to the kids. They're delighted with it. I read a chapter or two after breakfast. Then I'm usually hoarse for the rest of the morning. Steven must really dig Gandalf. He did him in oils on Wednesday. I had no idea that it was written over 25 years ago. Do you remember the dwarf's (dwaves?) folksong on page 24. (maybe it's a different page in paperback). It's pretty good. I'm amazed that some folk group hasn't put it to music and cut a record of it; especially in view of the hobbit craze - or maybe they have and I just haven't heard it.

Must stop now. The guys are due home soon and I want to get my hair washed before they arrive. It's Saturday and the left for Forsgate before 6 this morning to play golf. (they guys being Buddy, Lefty and Eddie). There are some things I'd get up before 6:00 for, but golf isn't one of the them. Anyway - we'd really like it if you'd come and visit in the Fall. Think it over and then please come. Regards to Rolf and Joan and Mike.

Much love to you and Mr. Mustache -


Found in "The Hobbit" by J.R.R. Tolkien. Published by Ballantine Books, 1974.

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I Love You, NASA

Great collection of vintage color photos and memorabilia from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The six photos all have a time stamp of February, 1971. No writing on the visitor's pass or postcard.

Found in "North American Head Hunting" by Grancel Fitz. Published by Oxford University Press, 1957.

It's true. I love NASA.

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Notes and Scribbles

As I'm sure most of you know, the book has finally come out, and I've been making a few appearances here and there. I've posted these links on Facebook, but I realize that not all of you read the feed over there, so I thought you'd might like take a look:

An essay on the e-books and the experience of books and reading from The Wall Street Journal's 'Speakeasy' blog:

'The Weirdest Things Found Inside Books' from The Huffington Post:

A short profile of me and the business:

For reading this far, here's a treat:


From her daughter, who knows her fondness for "child rhymes."
Christmas, '98

From "Riley Child-Rhymes: With Hoosier Pictures" by James Whitcomb Riley. Published by Bowen-Merrill, 1898.

Yule Be Sorry

Ugh, again with the puns...

Recipe for Butterscotch Yule Log:

1 6 oz package butterscotch morsels (1 cup)
1/3 cup sweetened condensed milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/3 cup pecans, chopped
Slightly beaten egg white
Pecan halves

Melt over hot (not boiling) water. Remove from water, stir in milk and vanilla, add chopped pecans, mix well.

Form in 12 inch roll on waxed paper and roll tightly in waxed paper to shape evenly.

Unroll and mark surface length with tines of fork, brush with egg white.

Press pecan halves into roll to cover surface.

Wrap in waxed paper, chill.

Cut in 1/2 inch slices with sharp knife.

Found in "The Penguin Cookery Book" by Bee Nilson. Published by Penguin, 1952.

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Known The Wold Over

Advertisement for the "Type 'N'" airbrush, made by the Wold Air Brush Manufacturing Company.

Found in "Pollyanna Grows Up" by Eleanor H. Porter. Published by The Page Company, Boston, 1915.

I apologize for the headline pun, I should know  better.

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Giveaway winner

This week's books go to ECS, who entered here on the site. Thanks to everyone for entering - look for giveaways of my book all next week.

Friday Giveaway: 15 Vintage Books - contest closed

Giving away these 15 books today.

If you're interested, please leave a comment here or enter on Facebook or Twitter.

I'll be picking a winner at random tomorrow morning at 10:00 AM EST.

Contest closed; winner announced shortly.

Good luck!

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This bookmark just came in from Amy in Southern California.

Found in "The Oxford Book of Short Stories" chosen by V.S. Pritchett. Published by the Oxford Press, 1981.

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Long Receipt Is Long

Grocery store receipt, dated December 21st, 1986. It was too long to post here, but if you want to see the full version, click here or the image above. That's a lot of cat food!

Found in "Sea of Death" by Gary Gygax. Published by Ace, 1987.
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One Year Later


Given to me after my Grandmother Cooper died in July 1958 (13) and was buried (16).

Many other books were given to the family.

Maryjane E. Cooper
one year later
(July 1959)

The book is "The Ready Rangers" by Kirk Munroe. Published by Lothrop, 1957.

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Giveaway winner -

Winner was Amber (this one, in case there were more than one)

 Please email me at so I know where to send it!

Forgotten Bookmarks Giveaway - contest closed

I'm giving away a signed copy of "Forgotten Bookmarks," and will include one of the original photographs that appears inside.

Contest closed, winner announced in a moment.

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This collection of cancelled stamps were all in this envelope, addressed to "Box Apartment, Uptown Freeman, Kingston NY."

Found in the November 30, 1970 issue of Time Magazine.

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