Ten Years Gone

It's hard for me to believe it, but ten years have gone by since I first started blogging about the random things left behind in books. Two books and more than 2,500 posts later, the blog is still going strong. I thought I would take today to remember some of my favorite finds from the last ten years.

Original illustration by Albert B. Borland, dated 1907. Looks to be a mixture of ink and pencil.

Written on the reverse side:

Albert B. Borland
Norwich, N.Y.

With the annotations:

Adv. for design

Reduce to 5 in wide

copper half tone

This may indicate it was an illustration for some advertisement.

Found in "Physical Culture Magazine" from February, 1937.

Found this money bag at the bottom of a box of books.







Found in "I'll Never Go There Any More" by Jerome Weidman. Published by Simon and Schuster, 1941.

Found this one today (9/15/11) couldn't wait to post it.

Looks like the front panel of the original "The Legend of Zelda" box. The empty space is where you could see the gold NES cartridge inside.

Found in "History of the DC Universe: Book One" published by DC Comics, 1986.

Sensation brand hair net, made from natural medium brown human hair.

Found in "Elements of Mechanics and Machine Design" by Erik Oberg. Published by The Industrial Press, 1923.

I've posted a lot of photos here on Forgotten Bookmarks, but this one is my favorite.

Found in "Gumpy - Son of Spunk" by Arthur C. Bartlett. Puvlished by Cupples & Leon, 1930.

Today's (7/3/12) post is a special one. This is the most interesting (and most valuable) thing I've found in a book. I had been saving it in hopes of including it in one of my books, but I doubt I'll ever get permission to publish it. I originally posted it on Forbes' Booked blog a few years back, here's the description I wrote:

As a general rule, I don’t buy books unseen. I made an exception this weekend and purchased 3,000 books from the estate of a college professor who had passed away. He was a English professor, so I was fairly certain there would be some good titles in the lot. The third book I picked up was a common paperback copy of The Stranger by Albert Camus. There was a folded paper stuck inside, and I wouldn’t be doing my job if I didn’t have a look:

Here is the picture:

Albert Camus
Paris, France
December 18, 1959

Dear Prof. Ullmann: A number of American and European friends have formed a committee to help Spanish refugees. I write simply to ask you to help us.

For us, the Spanish Civil War is long since ended; not so for the thousands who now live in France with their families. For them the war continues, in suffering and privation. They endure poverty and illness with pride. 

But we should ease their condition if we can. Our help can give them medical care, the tools for making a living, the hope for a life with some dignity. Whatever you do for them will make an immediate difference in their daily lives. Help them, I beg you. And, in advance, I thank you with all my heart.

- Albert Camus

Most remarkable is the date of the letter, December 18th, 1959. Camus died in a car accident just 17 days later on January 4th.

Letter, dated January 8, 1952:


I'm sorry we managed to elude each other so successfully during the recent brief holiday, but life was excessively traumatic.

Permit me to announce, at this time, the termination of the Romance of the Century... (not to be confused with the Greatest Fights of the Century, which is a television show on boxing)... which after an eventful three years and half, etc., etc.,

I am working. This time for the University. I am the receptionist at the Reading Institute for Children Who don't Know the Alphabet (in sanscrit) and retarded Adults. It is very dull here except when the children do some perverted thing like stop up the toilet, or walk through windows. Then it gets very interesting. The woman I work for is a bitch, and she hates me, but then so does everybody else. Every day, all over the world, mankind observes, religiously, fifteen minutes of hate Alice.

I saw George Broadfield for the first time in about two years the other night, and he bored the hell out of me for half an hour. What is left in life for me now, if even Broadfield is boring. He has, by the way, the East via, I suspect, a Tibetan fairy or something related. Anyway, he has decided that he is a Negro, and that he's going to South Africa like Augustine or somebody.

I have been having fierce pains in the stomach for about two weeks. It's probably psychosomatic, but I prefer to think that my brother has been feeding me large doses of ground glass in my rice crispies.

I once wrote you a  letter when you first wrote to Dave Green but I think I lost it. Or maybe I handed it to Wm. Riley Parker instead of a Milton paper. I haven't been to that class since that day, anyhow.

I still do not have a thesis, or even an idea, and I don't expect to have one.

What is Chicago. Do you the like U. Are you going to the U. I met somebody who knows you whose name is Pearl Weis-something. I don't think she likes you. She is divorcing her husband.

I had a nice christmas. I got presents and I got drunk. Write to me unless you're too busy or something.


Found in "Collected Poems: 1909-1935" by T.S. Eliot. Published by Harcourt, Brace and Co., 1936.

Dear Aeneas,
I cannot believe what a slime you are. What I ever saw in you in beyond me. Sarah's mind must be warped - I love her but how she managed to spend 2 years with a manipulative sadist like you is incredible (yes she told me.) You must have seen that she was sad or something and zoomed in on her like a vulture. I almost feel like that's what you did to me although it was probably my stupidity then anything else.
How could you be so CRUEL to Sarah and I as to tell her that (Michelle told me). Did you want to hurt us? What did we ever do to you, slime? Did you just forget that we made a pact not to mention this LUDICROUS flirtation? My God, WHAT did I ever see in you? You're nothing but a self-satisfying walking mass of ego, a phony!!! And the most ridiculous part of it all is that you're not even worth the trouble. You're downright ugly and you talk funny. You don't know how to dress. You have all the morality & sentiment of a JUNGLE BEAST. LESS!!! And you're a colossal snob; a boor and a boring old fart. We won't even go into your sexual perversities - you nasty voyeur!
All I can say to you now is I hate you, I hate you, I hate you and id I ever lay eyes on you again you had better hope to God that your eyes are not within scratching distance of my nails. And I want 'Avalon' back.
----> over, creep.
Not and never will be either -
Yours -

Found in "While Waiting" by George Verrilli M.D.

Bookmark advertisement for an optometrist.
"Lydia D. Dibble" written across top.

Found in "Blood and Steel" The Rise of the House of Krupp" by Bernhard Menne. Published by Lee Furman, Inc., 1938.

One key, tied to a string. Found in a sealed envelope from the Gladstone Hotel in New York City.

The Gladstone was well-known apartment hotel off Park Avenue, home to Marilyn Monroe, Gloria Swanson, Marlene Dietrich, Carson McCullers and others.

Found in "Dr. Priestley Investigates" by John Rhode. Published by Dodd and Mead, 1930.

I will keep digging through the archives and will be reposting some other favorites this week.


  1. One of the things I can see from your reposting some faves is that your items form a type of history of the 20th Century - ephemera pertinent to different time periods, black and white photos, keys, hairnets, old video games... all of the past, an unintended record of the ordinary, things so forgettable that they are just that and yet with their own poignancy that touches me beyond the nature of the item.

  2. This crazy collection is very enjoyable; each item is wilder than the one before. The three letters are great. The letter from Camus is touching and full of pathos. The letter from Alice is hilarious and cynical, surprising in a college girl in 1952. But the letter to Aeneas from Mary takes the cake. What a riot. I would like to have seen his downright ugly face when he read this. The boring old fart.

    Thanks a million for re-posting these.

  3. I have been following you for quite some time. What a fantastic post! Thank you for sharing those past finds of yours. I look forward to what is to come ~