Friday, September 4, 2009

book imps

I think it says a lot about America that even in the 19th century, everything was made new. These are English books, and like many other overseas volumes in the archives, the paper inside the spine is recycled from some sort of newspaper. When shelving at the library, I always enjoy trying to read these papers, but this is the first one I've seen with pictures. Aren't they delightful? It is a shame that the spines are so damaged, but at the same time it gives a really interesting view of something seldom seen or thought about.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

the old and the odd

The writing in books, though occasionally irritating, I find to be mostly fascinating. Lately I've acquired a 1913 hardback copy of The Amateur Gentleman by Jeffery Farnol. In nice neat script on a front page is written "From Robert L. Underwood. Class 1914," but the book seems to have been more recently appropriated by a young girl named Myrna, as evidenced by the block letters firmly written onto the Table of Contents. Myrna must have been an odd child, as she has torn out the a few interior pages as well as the one with the publishing information. Oddly enough, this page was also missing from the 1913 copy I borrowed from the library so I could find out what was written on the ripped out pages and had been replaced by a typewritten one, which let me know the book was illustrated by Herman Pfeifer. Pfeifer, it seems, was quite a popular illustrator at the time, and had work in many books and well as Scribner's Magazine and The Ladies' Home Journal. But back to Myrna. In addition to murdering a few pages, she has also left her own illustration on the back of one of Pfeifer's images. Let me show it to you.
Lovely, is it not? I am reminded very strongly of this:
It is a dogu, a small statue from the Final Jomon period (1000-400 BCE) of ancient Japan. Some people believe these "earthenware figures" to be evidence of an alien encounter...perhaps Myrna had a similar experience? More commonly dogu are thought to be fertility figures (tut tut, a young girl shouldn't know about such things), but what I like best about them is the theory that their huge "eyes" are actually goggles. Northern Japan is very snowy and eye coverings with just a slit to see through would have helped with the glare of the sun on the blindingly white landscape. Probably not quite the image Pfeifer had in mind.

Monday, July 20, 2009

let's crochet

Quite some time ago I found and posted about this little booklet over on lj because it had some interesting projects and the cover was so amusing. I found it at a yard sale last summer and I still haven't made the afghan I love. Today I stumbled across the site Rusty turns out they carry this silly little thing -and that it is worth ten dollars! Well, I'm not parting with my copy, but I've included a link in case anyone would like to acquire their own. I wish that craft magazines today had the easy humor of the 1960's ones.

Not to mention that the colour schemes back then were so much more adventurous. I like the individuality of 60's-80's styles. (People-watching must have actually been a viable hobby!)
It is great that people actually kept these small things because I love looking at them.

peering out from the stacks

When it comes to collecting the past, few objects are more interesting to me than books. Of course, I adore that wonderful old musty smell, but there is a lot more to love. Everyone knows that old saying about judging by appearances, but the covers of so many old books are just gorgeous. Or intriguing. Or odd. I have a fair number of vintage and antique books myself, but I have a much larger collection of photos I took of books at my college. I feel very lucky to be around so many windows into the past practically all the time, but I doubt that very many other people there really look at them all that often. For example, I was the first person to read a three-volume history of the French Revolution (I had to cut the pages!) even though it was from the 1840's. Even if I don't have much to say about the book itself, an image is definitely worth sharing.

a little chivalry

There is a quite a bit of material in this piece I found folded up in a bin at an estate sale last week. While the Middle Ages were never all that interesting to me, I thought this little print was just adorable, so I had to add it to my collection of things from the past. Unfortunately there is no identification along the edges, so I don't know very much about it.
A few months ago, I had the chance to look through that book 'Wearing Propaganda,' which makes me wonder if this print was created with a message in mind. Originally I was thinking 1950's, since I don't often find things older than that, but the small size of the pattern makes me thing 30's now. Any thoughts?
I wonder...what did the original purchaser plan to do with it all those years ago? There are two sort-of curved cuts in one end that look to me rather like an arm hole had been cut out. Perhaps a dress was made?

Saturday, July 18, 2009

welcome to chrono_illogical

I've created this blog to write about my passion for things past. I'm not creating this blog to "compete" with those of others, because for me, the past comes in many forms, usually found objects, like books or sewing patterns. Everyone finds different pieces of the past, depending on where they look. I'm not going to write about simply one time period, because I can't choose what I find, nor between all the periods in time that interest me. Whatever I find, I will share, and it is my hope that people who stumble upon my blog will enjoy looking through my collection of the past as I do with blogs I chance upon and that perhaps they will share their finds with me.