January 11, 2012

Book Inscriptions

Shelves of books tall ones, wide ones, short ones, cardboard, paperback, musical, brand new, and vintage books sit askew on the shelves at my local GW. The book shelves have become my first stop when I arrive, and my heart breaks to see how people treat these wonderful books.

It's so strange how lessons learned in childhood stay with you throughout your life. Reading was a large part of my life when I was growing up. My mother read and recited classic children's fairy tales, fables, and nursery rhymes to me when I was young,  I still have my 11 x 14 Mother Goose Nursery Rhyme book. This book was well loved, and the spine had to be repaired by my father. My favorite part inside of this book was the two pages with the words to, Frog Went a Courtin, my mother would sing this song to me until one day I knew all of the words. I would sit for hours looking at this book. I have passed this book on to my oldest daughter to read to her children. 

That's why I'm so surprised when I come across books that have inscriptions written inside. Like this book, I came across...

Inscription inside of....

this book.

Was Frederrick disappointed on Christmas day in 1915 when he received this book? While cleaning out the contents of his life did his relatives not care enough to keep a treasure like this, to see grandma's handwriting, to know that it was held by loved ones on that happy Christmas morning, or perhaps Fredrrick had no relatives.

I see many, many inspirational books that have inscription written inside stating the love or friendship to a person sitting on the GW book shelves. I now treasure a book my parents gave me in the early part of my marriage for Christmas one year titled How to Clean Just About Everything. I remember I was a little put out that the book was given to me, but today I love the idea that my father took the time to purchase this book and wrote an inscription inside the cover.


  1. I love old books and I find it especially endearing when there's an inscription inside. I love old bookplates too. I can imagine Frederick was delighted with his book in 1915. I have a copy of Streams In The Desert dated 1925 and it's something I read every day. I love it and it's something I'll never part with. It's spine is broken and I keep hoping to find another old one to replace it. I have confidence I will one day and that makes the search so much fun. Have a good day!

  2. Oh I always wonder the same thing. I love to look at my family books and see my ancestors handwriting. I still have all my little golden books and still inscribe in the books I give as gifts.

  3. Hi, I love books, old, new, paperback and hardback and I buy mostly secondhand books.I have often commented to Tony if I have found an inscription in a book. I wouldnt let one of my ancestors personally inscribed books go.
    I have a diary written in 1870s by someone who isnt a relative but have found the author in the census and he was a teacher.My dad gave me it but we dont know where it came from. I have blogged about it and I find it fascinating.

  4. I often wonder the same thing about photos, letters, and greeting cards. Was there no one in the family who would appreciate an ancestor's thoughts, penmanship, or history? So sad... good thing there are people like us who save these items!

  5. I tried to use my phone to add a comment but found I couldn't correct a word so it all disintegrated. My daughter thinks I keep things too long but I can't bear to part with items from my mom and grandmother especially since they are gone.

  6. Really enjoyed your post. Many of the books I've collected have inscriptions that make me fantasize about their stories. I'm hosting my first-ever giveaway (come on over and enter)--one of my handmade ephemera journals. The covers and all contents had previous lives with other owners. So fun to imagine who may have owned them.

  7. I really enjoyed your post. I received a book for Christmas in 1971 , my Dad had written inside it. I still have that book and it became all the more precious after his death in 1995. I also still have some travel directions, handwritten by him a couple of years before his death on an A4 sheet of paper. It means so much to me to be able to see his handwriting.