Ever since I can remember, I have had a fascination with type, fonts, and books. I can't explain why really - I don't read as much as I should (blogs and magazines dont count), my parents are not readers and the only person I remember as a reader during my childhood was my Grandmother. She, however, always had harlequin type paperbacks by the side of her bed and we got in trouble if we even got near them (and their seductive covers)!!! But I digress.
So, today, I had a chance to go the the flea market and was instantly drawn, as usual to the boxes of old books. I am always still fascinated by the fancy binding (especially the gold lettering), the different font types, and most of all, the embossed covers. I love it when a french book has notes, when there is sentiment to/from on the cover, or the beautiful school taught penmanship of the past that we all sigh over deep inside. Plus, the fact that leather was used to present a book still seems somewhat magical to me. Any how, I have had to narrow my collection to anything as close to 1900, and if possible, to certain colors. I thought I would share with you some of my collection.
My oldest book is this little school Grammer booth from 1823....isnt it beautiful?
So - the best thing about garage sales is taking the time to learn about each piece. I thought my 1823 book was the crown of my collection - however, she has been temporarily replaced. Today I stopped at a sale here in Roseville. Nice family, lots of books - newer. But in the stacks and stacks, I found this little childrens book with tons of character - it was only $1.
As I checked its date and started to pay for it, I noticed a stamp inside: St. Marys Orphanage Galveston. The book was dated 1900. My heart began to sink. I told you I dont read much but the ONE book I have been reading lately, to my kids for history class is Isaacs Storm by Erik Larson. This book is a history of the worst storm in American history - the hurricane of 1900 that wiped out the town of Galveston, Texas. Some of you may know about it. If you dont, its a story of the perfect storm and the story of Isaac, the US Weatherman stationed in Galveston and how the storm was missed. After the storm, you could imagine the life lost. The worst story was that of the orphans and the nuns of St. Marys drowned in the rising water and how they were found. I am welling up writing this - you will need to go out and find out how they were found because I cant write it without crying. The book that I found today was published the year of the storm, prior to the storm and somehow, survived the storm. To think the nuns read to the children from this book really hits my heart. I talked it over with the my family after showing it to them and the book will stay with me only until I can get it back to Texas somehow. By the way, the gentleman I bought was from Galveston. His father was carried on the grandfathers back in the flood waters to safety as they survived the 1900 storm. He started to cry this morning telling me the story. And yes, I did ask to leave the book behind but he refused it knowing I knew the history of the orphans and St. Marys. I never knew my love of books would take me on such an emotional ride but you never know the history you carry in your home. Take the time and meet the people you buy from - everything has a story.