The National Library of Scotland’s “The Private Lives of Books” website notes that “Books can tell all kinds of surprising stories through inscriptions people wrote in them, through the signatures of their owners, special bookplates and bindings.” Did you know that many of Gleeson Library’s books had “private lives” before they reached our stacks? Peruse the “P” section (or Library of Congress code for Language and Literature books) of the library, for example, and you may find inscriptions hinting of the adventures our books took prior to arriving at their current home!
The inscription in this 1924 printing of Carl Van Vechten’s The Tiger in the House (Gleeson Library Call Number PS3543.A653 T5) reads “for the Lady Nora (Gros) with a smile on the face of the Tiger Albert — Christmas 1924 with an affection that takes no note of the Atlantic Ocean.” The author of this poetic note is unknown, but look where this book was probably purchased…..Paris!
Let us know if you happen to uncover a library book in our stacks that appears as though it has had an interesting past; we’ll post a picture of it on this blog and reward the best “find.” Please remember, though, inscriptions are a charm of our books’ pasts. Writing in library books is prohibited.