Monday, July 13, 2020

Still on the Shelf

One of the very few benefits stemming from all the Covid-19 downtime I'm experiencing these days is the opportunity to study my home library at my leisure. One of the volumes that hollered for attention this afternoon is this 1867 edition of The Old Curiosity Shop by Charles Dickens. 



I remember buying this one sometime in the mid-eighties along with similar volumes of David Copperfield and Our Mutual Friend. Because all three volumes were published in 1867, I am assuming they were part of a larger set, but these are the only three titles I've ever seen. As indicated inside each of the three little books, I paid a whopping $10 for each of them. 


All three of the books are signed and dated by their original owner, a lady with wonderful handwriting by the name of Hattie M. Barnes.


As shown on the title page, the set was produced by Boston publisher  Ticknor and Fields.


The books all contain numerous "original illustrations" that are still covered by the little tissue paper inserts that have nicely preserved them for the last 153 years.


Despite how proud Hattie M. Barnes must have been to own the books, I hope that she had the excellent eyesight required to read the double-columned pages of small type contained in them - of which there are 480 in this volume. 

(Click on the photos for larger images.)

10 comments:

  1. What great illustrations in the Dicken's volume. I've been library-free for 4 months so like you it's great browsing at home. This will charge as our library is open by appointment and inter-library loans are starting once again.

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    1. I really do enjoy the illustrations in these little books, especially when you consider the time and effort it must have taken to produce the originals.

      Our library here has had curbside pickup for a while, but we seem to be going in the wrong direction, virus-wise, so it probably won't last.

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  2. A beautiful book! My goodness--I think that small type might be too hard on my eyes now, but I would be proud to own any of these books.

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    1. I don't think I could read one either, way to spoiled by my Kindle now for that. Getting the type size just right is probably my favorite aspect of reading e-books.

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  3. What a great edition of this book! And aren't you so glad you have your own home library to read from? I don't know what I would have done when my library closed this spring if I didn't have shelves and shelves of books in my house to read. :)

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    1. It's actually been a lot of fun to browse the titles and editions on my own shelves for a while. I'm still discovering stuff I hid behind the outer layer of books years ago...and a good bit of dust. :-)

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  4. How wonderful is this! I have a 1907 copy of The Old Curiosity Shop but sadly it has no illustrations. My paperback copy on the other hand does...

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    1. Old books are really treasures, aren't they? I have quite a few of them that are over 100 years old now, and another whole group that averages around 90 years of age. I can't imagine being the person that lets them get destroyed, meaning that at some point I'm going to have to find all of them good homes.

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  5. Gorgeous! I love old books, although I have very few of them in my collection. My grandma did leave me an old book of Robert Frost poems when she died - it's a treasure for many reasons :)

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    1. I love them, too, but I sometimes worry that I'm watching them deteriorate into nothing. I have a set of Dickens (15 volumes) from the 1880s that is noticeably going downhill now.

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