Friday Giveaway: Alice and Looking Glass - contest closed

As promised, I'm giving away these two antiquarian Lewis Carroll books:

"Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" was published by the Homewood Publishing company, circa 1900. "Through The Looking Glass" was published by Donohue, circa 1904. Both feature the Tenniel illustrations inside.

"Looking Glass" is in better condition overall, but both books are heavily worn. I'm hoping they find a new home with an owner that doesn't mind these flaws.

Contest now closed, winner announced shortly.

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You Would Think You Was In A Palace

An absolutely terrific letter from 1883, lots of great historical references. Read it for yourself:

Saturday Jan. 6th 1883

Dear Sheri ???

I guess you have given up all thoughts of ever hearing from me, you must forgive me for not writing before. I have thought of writing forty or more time when we were coming down here but I though I would wait till we got down here so I would have more to write about and when we got down here I soon commenced going to school and then I didn't find any time to do any thing.

I received a letter from Hattie as soon as we got down here and a postal yesterday asking if I was dead or alive the reason I didn't write.

We left Newark that same night that I was to your house for Syracuse. I told you there that Ma was going to carry a live rooster on the cars didn't I? Well, she was bound she would and so she did. I told her I wouldn't take of it a minute not even when she got her ticket. I was in a perfect fret all the time till we got on the boar. I was so afraid the shang-hai would squawk or get away from her, but I guess no one suspected what it was. We got to Syracuse about 8 or 9 o'clock and we ????? to the depot till about twelve o'clock before our folks came after us. They had just come from Oswego. I tell you wasn't I sleepy.

Nothing happened of much account as I can remember down to New York unless I mention that one of our horses fell in the canal and came fully near being drowned, we thought it was dead once but it came out all right after a while.

The first Sunday in New York was Thanksgiving. I went to Talmage's church in the evening it was decorated lovely, I just wish you could see it you would think you was in a palace. The organ in it is perfectly grand it is played by a middle aged man and a man plays on a silver horn at the same time. The sermon was good, the subject was "Hagar in the wilderness."

A few days after Thanksgiving we went to the "Erie Basin" Brooklyn to tie up for the winter and about two days after than I went to school, a girl on a boat in "Atlantic Basin" came and stayed two days with me she has been to school here before. I got acquainted with her about give years ago when I went to school in New Jersey her name is Ella Bawless(?).

I  have a nice little walk only a mile and over. The school is number 27 Nelson Street, there is only about thirty two teachers and only about 200 (?) scholars in it, how is that for a school and the rooms are all partitioned off by sliding glass doors. The principal's name is "Mr. Weed" he is just as nice and pleasant and sociable as he can be, my teacher's name is Mrs. Lyons, she is nice too.

I was first put in the first class, first division that is the highest class next to the graduation class. He told me I might go in that but I told him I would rather not go quite so high than to go in that class and possibly be put back. Emma Allen goes to this same school she was in the same one that I spoke to you about that I got acquainted with at Lockport. I would like to have you get acquainted with her she is a sweet girl. I have got acquainted with a girl on a boar where we lay (?) they have a piano on the boat, she is a splendid player and singer, she has taken singing lessons of ???? masters and received a salary for singing in the choir well, she and ??? and Jared ???? crossed the ferry and got to the elevated railroad to go to 14th to see if we could get a piano small enough to get in our cabin but we couldn't find any any where. Once place we went into where Nora (Nora Vandover (?)) got hers. They made them there but the did't have any on hand of the small ones, so we all went to Bunnell's museum where they have curiosities, we saw the ???asian girl and two albinos, and the giants Mr. and Mrs. Bates. It was perfectly comical to see them. They were about 8 feet tall, but the most interesting to me of all the curiosities was a little boy about a foot high, he was ten years old and weighed 5 pounds, he talked and acted like a little child 2 years old. He was just as cute as he could be.

At the stage performances Dr. Lynn (?) cut a live man's head arm and leg off and put them on again and I saw it done. He invited any man out of the audience to come up on the stage and he would to do the same thing to them. Two men went up but when the man came up to them to cut off his arm they backed out frightened, one of the men that came up was a doctor. The arm and leg that Dr. Lynn cut off from the man (that he had a purpose for it) he placed the arm in one man's lap and the leg in the other man's lap (the ones that came upon the stage) they were about frightened to death. There lay the leg with the leg of the pants on it and his arm with the sleeve on it. Besides this I saw a living head, you could see all around it and under it that it was not on a body it was suspended in air. When the manager asked it to tell who I was I said "I am Rourah (?) , the Roman Mystery."

Well, I guess I have written enough on this subject, the last two were some sort of tricks I guess. Though well got up for I don't see how under the ??? they were down as the were both life size and alive. I don't believe have written about these in a way so you can understand it. (enough on this subject)

What did you get for Christmas? I got

Found in an extremely worn copy of "Money in the Garden: A Vegetable Manual" by P.T. Quinn. Published by The Tribune Association, 1872.

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I've Been Workin' On The Railroad

Repair and inspection report for the Delaware and Hudson Railroad, looks to be dated 1931, although I can't really make out any of the notes in pencil.

Looks like our repairman had other things on his mind, as there is a detailed trout stream map drawn on the other other side:

Found in "Inspection of Locomotive Brake and Signal Equipment" published by Westinghouse, October 1928.

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A Capitol Idea

Photograph of the US Capitol Building, no writing or date stamp.

Found in "SeinLanguage" by Jerry Seinfeld. Published by Bantam, 1993.

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Love Many, Trust Few

Four illustrated namecards. If you fold back the flowers, it reveals the name:
Found in "The Complete Works of William Shakespeare" published by Belford and Clarke, 1884.

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Giveaway winner

This week's winner was Robert Wilks, who entered via email.

Friday Giveaway: 8 Vintage Books - contest closed

No rhyme or reason to this collection, just some pretty old books.

Contest now closed, winner will be announced shortly.

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Oh My

Here's an inscription I came across in an 1846 copy of "Parental Instructions; or, Guide to Wisdom and Virtue" selected from the writings of "An Eminent Physician." It was published by Harper and Brothers.

I know, it's tough to make out anything - now you know how I feel trying to transcribe some of this stuff. Here is a version of the image I used to read the writing a bit easier:

Presented to J**** BS (?) by Tha. S. Fitch (?), at Clinton (?) on Fountain (?). Where he was at Collidge (college) and where she was at boarding school. "Oh my."
Mr. Chancey (?) S, Kellogg
Ham College (Hamiltion College, just a short drive from Oneonta)
James Milne (?)
De Los Balsh (?)
NY city (?)

Hope you all can do better.

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With Love

Colorized photograph, wallet size.

On the back is written "With Love - Floyd." There's also a word that's crossed out that I can't quite read (Switfwell? Maybe Floyd's last name?")

Found in "A Latin Dictionary for High-School Students" by S. Dwight Arms. Published by the Iroquois Publishing Company, 1919.

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Guest Post: Translations

Reader Peta sends along this find - "I bought it at a secondhand bookshop called Book Lore in Canberra, Australia ( and this letter turned up inside it."

Dear Ron,

Thank you for introducing me to "Animal Farm," which is indeed a timeless lesson on the fate of revolutions, and the psychology of revolutions.

I think your idea of an Esperanto translation is well-taken. I have placed it on the list of musts for my superannuation. Meanwhile I have essayed the first verse of "Beasts of England," which renders rather neatly:

Bestoj anglaj, bestok irah
Bestoj nun de ciu spec
Auskutadu bonan vorton
De la ora estontec

See you at lunch some time...


Found in 'Animal Farm' by George Orwell.

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For Old and Young

Invitation (I love the embossed bark decorations):


For Old and Young

Jacobson's Hall, Monticello House

Thursday Eve., Feb. 13, '96

Good Music in Attendance
Milo O. Town, Room Manager

Full Bill $1.50
Orville Jacobson, Prop'r

Found in "Essays on Beauty and Taste" by Archibald Alison. Published by Ward, Lock and Co., no date listed, circa 1880.

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Giveaway winner

"Little Women" winner was Kate Polacci, who entered over on Facebook.

Friday Giveaway: "Little Women" - contest closed

Lovely collector's edition of Louisa May Alcott's classic "Little Women."

Bound in full brown leather with gilt lettering and decoration. All page edges gilt; ribbon bookmark and silk endpapers. Part of the Easton Press' "100 Greatest Books Ever Written" series. Includes an introduction by Edward Weeks and illustrations by Henry C. Pitz. 429 pages; approx. 7"x9". Perfect shape.

Contest now closed, winner announced shortly.

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Double Play

Film negative.

Found in "Too Much Happiness" by Alice Munro. Published by Vintage, 2009.

I had to see what the photos were, but the negative was pretty damaged. There were two photos on this portion of the film, one came out OK, the other not so much:

It's obviously a baseball game, the end of one by the looks of the players congregating on the infield. I spotted the Yankee logo behind home plate, but there weren't many more clues to go by. I can't really make out the scoreboard in the center of the photo nor can I see any players from the other team.

I looked a little closer, and noticed there are a bunch of police officers on the field, as well as the festive red white and blue bunting along the upper decks - I'm guessing this was a postseason game. I am 99% sure this is from the old Yankee Stadium.

The second photo wasn't much help at all, as it was very distorted.

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Maw and Paw

Anniversary card.

Found in "Learn to Crochet in 8 Easy Steps" published by Susan Bates, Inc, 1979.

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Old cabinet photograph.

Written on the inside flap: "Mildred White - Hornell, NY"

Found in "Standard Methods for the Examination of Dairy Products" published by the American Public Health Association, 1953.

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Most Certainly Baklava, But Isn't

A recipe for what I'm fairly sure is Baklava, Bourma (thanks Silva).

1 lb. butter
1 lb. walnuts
1 lb. philo

2 cups sugar
2 cups water
lemon juice - boil together for 1/2 hour then cool

Fold one sheet of philo in half, sprinkle with nuts

Roll and twist, bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes

Arrange in pan, not too close together

Melt butter, spread on each while hot

Remove and pour sugar on each

Grind walnuts and mix with 2 tbs. sugar and cinnamon.

Found in "The Best in American Cooking" edited by Clementine Paddleford. Published by Scribners, 1970.

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Cool Covers winner

This week's winner was Jewels, who entered right here. I see you have your email in your profile, I'll send you a note in a moment.

Friday Giveaway: Cool Covers - contest closed

Loved these old covers, so I thought I'd offer them up.

Contest now closed, back with a winner in a moment.

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Eat, Pray, Love, Bandage

Four band aids (oops, 'adhesive bandages'). Found in "Eat, Pray, Love" by Elizabeth Gilbert. Published by Penguin, 2006.

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Scrap of fabric (I think it's taffeta) with embossed gilt letters.

Found in "New Testament Stories" by Lillie A. Garis. Published by Platt and Munk, 1940.

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Waiting For The Piano Player

I found this large photograph in a Carleton and Porter Bible from the 1860s. I don't believe the photo is quite that old, however. There was no writing or markings on the other side.

Here's the scanned version of the photo:

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This week's winner was Jeff Lowrey, who entered on Twitter.

Friday Giveaway: Matched - contest closed

A little collection of matched bindings for you this Friday.

Contest closed, winner announced shortly.

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You're Invited

Wedding invitation from 1922:

Mr. and Mrs. Nelson E. Wilcox
announce the marriage of their daughter
Gladys Emogene
Mr. Percy Burton Niles
on Wednesday, March the first
nineteen hundred and twenty-two
East Masonville, New York

Found in "Painting and Sculpture from the Kress Collection" published by the National Gallery of Art, 1945.

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Not Forgotten Part III

Here are parts one and two of this ongoing series.

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