Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Recent Acquisition: 19th Century Children's School Books

The Book Division recently received a gift from James E. Laramy of twelve late 19th century children's books. The collection previously belonged to his grandmother's family of Grand Rapids, Michigan. These books, which include readers, arithmetic books, geographies, and other children's books, are an excellent addition to our collection of 18th and 19th century American juvenile literature.

Stories for Mary, Tom, Dick and Harry. Philadelphia, 1892. This book of children's stories has a chromolithographed cover illustration.  
Several of the books include insertions such as handwritten notes, schoolwork, and small advertising ephemera. These items give a glimpse into the lives of the children who owned the books. The Harper's School Geography for 1882, which belonged to Henry DeBlond, contains twenty-three manuscript maps he made, possibly for a school assignment.

Map of Michigan, signed by Henry DeBlond (1872-1886). Inserted in Harper's School Geography (New York, 1882). 
Many of the books contain the inscriptions of previous owners, including Jane (Luten) DeBlonde and her children, Henry DeBlonde, Ada M. DeBlonde, Henrietta (DeBlonde) Laramy, and Genevieve DeBlonde. In some cases, the owners have recorded the date and location where they purchased the book. Several books also have a rhyme to ward off book thieves:

"Steal not this book, for fear of life, For the owner carries a two cent knife." 
Variations on this rhyme include: "Steal not this book, for fear of life, for the owner carries a two cent knife," "Steal not this book, for fear of shame, for here you see the owner's name," and "Steal not this book, for fear of shame, for fear the Lord will know your name."

All of the books from the Laramy gift are now cataloged in Mirlyn and available for research. Maps found in books, including the manuscript maps by Henry DeBlond, will be catalogued separately for the Map Division.

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