Musings From MommyLand

Because sometimes there is more to Mommy…

I LOVE Old Books!!

on February 17, 2012

Old books have become sort of a passion/obsession for me (one I don’t think my husband is too excited about).  I am not racking up credit card debt or anything like that, but I do find that I spend probably a bit too much time on ebay perusing the listings while sighing and dreaming about winning the lottery so I could fill my house with old books (and new for that matter).  About a month ago, I came across a biography of 4 prominent (perhaps some would say infamous) Irishmen published in 1871 and for $10, well how could I pass that up. I decided I could add it to my small collection ( I think that I now have four 100+ year old books).  Well it finally arrived yesterday (there were some missteps on the sellers end so it took awhile) and I am thrilled!!

quite unassuming

I know I sound like a bit of a freak but there is some strange fascination old books like this hold for me.  Just think, this book is 141 years old!

It isn’t the content that attracts me so much (though I will pick up anything Irish, but that is a whole other post) as the history of the book.  I haven’t read it yet, but just thinking about its historical context and the time in which it was written is what really gets me excited.  This particular book was published in London, which in and of it itself is intriguing considering Irish/English relations at this time.  Why would an English publisher publish a book with biographies of men at least two of whom would have been at best considered Irish agitators.  Probably even all four could fall under that category (Sorry, have I mentioned that I have a Master’s degree in History and this is probably why I love this sort of thing so much).

Once I get done mulling over the time period in which the book was first published, then I start thinking over the past 140 years, who has owned this book?  Books were still a precious commodity in 1870 owned mostly by the wealthy.  How did it make its way over to the United States?  Did it spend some time in Ireland where it probably would have been more appreciated?  I got it from a man in Illinois, but how did he come to own it?  I know that I will never know the answers to these questions, but it is still fun to ponder them.

Anyways, now I own this amazing book and in a world turning increasingly to electronic books, this little piece of history will be well loved and well taken care of in our home.  And one day, I will be able to hand it down to my children and grandchildren who will hopefully be able to appreciate the fact that it will be 200 years old by then.

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