Someone’s trash is another’s book treasure


This afternoon, I went to Snootyville to meet a friend for lunch. S’ville has recently created an ‘arts district’, complete with Disney-esque exteriors on the buildings, planned architecture designed to make the main drag looks charming, vintage, old, although it is not. Nestled in between two of the newer buildings is the real deal that housed an antiques market: an old building, with painted brick, creaky floorboards, and an all too obviously underpowered air conditioner. Either they own the building or have an extended lease, because this building doesn’t look like it belongs with the new galleries, bistros and townhouses.

I’m not an antique buyer and recently had to endure, while on a long trip across the country with my sister, entering many of the moldy, dust-filled places throughout Ohio, West Virginia and North Carolina. Most antique stores sell overpriced junk, or are so cluttered as to put me immediately on sensory overload. So, I’m not sure what inspired me to even think about stepping into the store. But, since my tourist visa was good for the entire afternoon, I thought I’d take a few minutes to browse.

Book treasure!

Being a peruser of both cookbooks and cocktail recipes, I couldn’t pass by Irvin S. Cobb’s Own Recipe Book. I had no idea who Cobb was until I looked him up in Wikipedia and was surprised to find out that at one time he was the highest paid newspaper reporter in the country and was the author of over 60 books and 300 short stories. This book, published in 1936, was written as a promotional piece for Frankfort Distilleries at the end of Prohibition. This, on the front piece, charmed me:

Containing authoritative directions for making 71 famous drinks, together with a rollicking dissertation of the joys of King Bourbon and its Brother Rye, by the famous Kentuckian.

The commentary on the drink recipes persuaded me to buy. How can you resist a book that indicates that after 4 drinks of something called a Silver Fizz, “…it is advisable to go to bed. P.S. Put handgrips on the bed.” Or that proclaims that a Whiskey Sour (my favorite drink) is “…one of the world’s grandest pick-me-ups“.

The next treasure trove I stumbled upon, in the hot attic of the store, yielded me three small pamphlets. The December 1910 edition of The School World: Birds and Poets, apparently once owned by a proud J. C. Murdock, who wrote his name in it a few times and also took a stab at translating a bit of Latin.

Veni, vedi, vici


The next find was Three Thousand Miles Between, by a Professor J. Raymond Schutz of Manchester College, Manchester, Indiana. Published in 1924, it is claimed, by its author, to be a

“chance product”…[N]ot a traveller’s guide, nor …a student’s text. It is rather a popular presentation of experiences, sights, and impressions of an amateur European traveller.

Included are 100 observations of the author that “…epitomize the essential differenes between Europeans and ourselves.” This should be fun to read!

Chester Brown was the apparent owner of The Snow Image, by Nathaniel Hawthorne, published in 1896. Chester took good care of his book, although he wrote his name at the top of several of the pages.

My name is Chester Brown and I approve this book!

My last stop before the cash register, though I should have kept walking because I already had enough, netted me two more books, a 1905 Composition and Rhetoric text and a pictorial history of World War I.

The dedication in the text book:

To Marcia Stuart Brooks whose teaching first demonstrated to the authors that composition could become a delight and a pleasure…

made it irresistible.

Liberty’s Victorious Conflict is 128 pages of photograph reprints from journalists covering all fronts in The Great War. Each is accompanied by captions. I’m sure I will spend hours pouring over this one. Who knew that we tried to disguise soldiers as rocks by wrapping them in sheets and putting a potato sack over their heads?

This both fascinates me and makes me think of a scene in GalaxyQuest.

The caption reads: This man is wearing the costume for rock-camouflage. Of course, it does not deceive when he’s in the open, but if he gets into position alongside a rock he looks its twin brother.

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