Inspired by the well-known rare and second hand bookseller Michael Polek, whose fascinating website Forgotten Bookmarks records a selection of the things he has found stuffed and forgotten between the pages of second hand and antiquarian books, I’ve decided to record and share my own finds.
I wish I’d done this when I first started to deal in second hand books way back in 1997 or ’98. I didn’t although there were some fascinating, and sometimes distressing, finds providing small, sideways glimpses into lives lived at a different time and in a different place. As my dentist would say, we are where we are and this as good a time as any to start. Having opted out of the book dealing world in favour of more secure employment some six years ago (although that didn’t cure this confirmed bibliophile of the tendency to buy 10 times more books than will ever be read), have already begun to buy & catalogue the beginnings of a new stock of books and am planning to open a wee second hand bookshop next year. These ‘lost between the leaves’ posts will over time build up a record of small, interesting and touching ephemera that previous readers have used to mark their place or have placed for safekeeping or association inside their books.
The first find in my second incarnation as a book dealer is this little ‘ticket’ found carelessly folded and tucked in an old, pictorially bound edition of The Children of the Village by Emily M Bryant (Charles H Kelly, London, 1901) which I recently acquired as part of a large lot (around 250 titles) from a collector of Victorian and Edwardian pictorial bindings in Twickenham, London. She told me that the collection had been put together over the previous 10 or so years and for the most part had been bought individually from second hand book shops from all over the UK. The book also has a bookseller’s stamp on the front paste-down endpaper, indicating that it was originally sold by one George Eustice, Stationer and Bookseller, of Falmouth.
The ticket itself bears the date Wednesday 26 October, 1960. The quality of the paper and its aging is consistent with that date. It also carries a partial, bastardised quotation from a poem, The Journalist, by the American author and journalist, Mary Clemmer (1831-1884). At one time Mary Clemmer, aka Mary Clemmer Ames and Mrs Edmund Hudson, was the highest paid woman in the newspaper industry earning £5,000 for her work in 1871.
“Only a newspaper! Quick read, quick lost. Torn, trampled under feet who counts thy cost.”
Have you found something interesting wedged into the pages of an old book? Get in touch and share your find!
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