It's a long time since I posted anything in my occasional series Found in Books. Today AbeBooks has some booksellers' stories on the subject. No bacon!

AbeBooks: Things Found in Books

This cute little Dutch Christmas greeting was inside one of the Georgette Heyers I bought from a charity stall earlier in the year. It’s postmarked on the back 1965. Very appropriate for St Nicholas, whose feast is celebrated in the Netherlands and other places today.
Haven’t done one of these posts for quite a while. The postcard shows the terminal at Gatwick Airport and is postmarked on the back August 1963. In those days, we had legible postmarks on our mail! The senders were just setting off on holiday and sent a last minute card to a friend. Can you imagine sending such a card today?


Usually I have to confess that I can’t remember which book the found item was in but this one I’m sure of because I only got it yesterday. Our local Co-op has introduced a bookcase where people can donate books, videos, DVDs etc. There’s an honesty bucket for Mencap. The books are almost always rubbish paperbacks but yesterday there were lots of hardback Georgette Heyers! They were all in different editions and none had a dustwrapper. Rather sad, really, as probably someone had died and her whole collection been donated. As so often, I couldn’t remember which particular edition I had of any book so I just rummaged for firsts. Best buy: a first of Cotillion which I had in a book club edition. I’m purist enough that I’ll probably keep the first, even though the book club copy has a pretty dustwrapper. No chance of going to the market this morning, due to heavy rain, so these books will be my only find of the week.

Admittedly this was found inside a stamp catalogue.
this one )
When we were children, there was a rhyme which went:
‘See a sailor, pick him up
All the day you’ll have good luck’.
This was a reference to the then ubiquitous brand of cigarettes Player’s Navy Cut. What our parents would have thought of us picking up dirty old cigarette packets from the gutter, I dread to think. Had cigarette companies stopped issuing cards by then? I think they may have switched to coupons which could be exchanged for various consumer durables. Cigarette cards were very popular in the first half of the twentieth century.

Here’s some cards and silks I’ve found in books.

Early twentieth century is the best I can do for these portraits of European royalty. First World War period?
HM the King of Serbia (I think King Peter I, 1844 - 1921).
HRH Princess Mary (I think Princess Mary of York, 1897 – 1965).

Wills’s Cigarettes: Association Footballers A Series of 50
47 Danny Walsh, Charlton Athletic. I think this set was issued in 1935

“Turf” Cigarettes 50 Famous Dog Breeds
No.19 Dandie Dinmont Terrier. Issued by Carreras in 1952

I should have posted this yesterday, the sixtieth anniversary of the opening of the Festival by King George VI. The charming little tinted card (click on it to see full width) shows The News Chronicle Children’s Zoo, Festival Gardens, London. The South Bank was transformed for the occasion, with temporary pavilions celebrating various arts and sciences (they were keen to emphasise Britain’s role in the technology of the future) and the Royal Festival Hall, which is still with us.
more )

At the market this morning I bought a copy of Eric Linklater’s The Dark of Summer because the cover looked promising. This edition was published by The Popular Book Club and inside was the newsletter detailing forthcoming books for 1958.

The interesting thing about it is how few of the books and/or authors I’ve heard of. For instance, Patrick Quentin, author of The Man in the Net is described as ‘America’s “number one” in crime fiction’ but he’s completely new to me. I like the sound of The Walls Came Tumbling Down by Henriette Roosenburg, a true story of three Dutch girls, now displaced persons, travelling across Europe after Liberation in 1945. Another future attraction is Ice Cold in Alex by Christopher Landon, with the exciting news that the book is being filmed and ‘one of the very first stills from the studio’. I’ve seen the film several times without realizing it was based on a well known (then) novel. Fascinating stuff, with lurid pictures and lots of offers, all packed into six sides of paper.

I bought this early edition of South Riding at the market a while ago. As I’d run out of library books and this is the book of the moment, I decided to read it again. I can only say that I must have been a much more patient reader when I was younger because my constant thought on re-reading is this book is too long and needs editing. I doubt if I’ll finish.
more pics and adaptations )

A few years ago I was browsing in a bric-a-brac shop which has since closed and bought a copy of Storm Music by Dornford Yates. Inside the book I found part of the original dustwrapper, neatly cut out, and this signed letter from the author to an admirer. Which was nice.

Two sepia photographs, printed on card. The one of the woman has '1878' written on the back.

Who were these people and why were their photographs of so little value to anyone that they were left in a book? This always seems sad to me. It's common now to see boxes of photographs for sale and there is a market for them. I've got quite enough old photographs, some of people I can't identify, to want any more. Yet I feel guilty at the thought of throwing them out. So here's a poll.

[Poll #1645889]
From a gentler age.

There, in the Broad, within whose booky house
Half England’s scholars nibble books or browse,
Where’er they wander blessed fortune theirs;
Books to the ceiling, other books upstairs;
Books, doubtless, in the cellar, and behind
Romantic bays, where iron ladders wind.

John Masefield

Whatever book you may want, wherever you may be – ask BLACKWELL’S

If you are interested in Books, fill in
And despatch this postcard

A Periodical of Books and Personalities is pub-
lished from Thirty Bedford Square, London, by
Jonathan Cape Ltd. A copy of the current
issue will be sent FREE OF CHARGE if you will fill
up the form on the reverse and post this card

Not the sort you can spend, unfortunately. This is Allied Military Currency, for the use of troops in Italy after 1943.

The back has scanned badly. It’s printed with the Four Freedoms: Freedom of Speech, Freedom of Religion, Freedom from Want, Freedom from Fear. I wonder what the chaps bought with the notes?

Note that girls were not expected to swim as far as boys. The Bayswater Jewish School still exists under a new name.

The letter inside congratulates Jeanette on winning the prize given by the writer. The writing’s hard to decipher and I can’t find any school in modern Weybridge which corresponds.

I bought a collection of old Lucy Fitch Perkins’ ‘Twins’ books and found this good conduct certificate inside one of them. Didn’t she do well? I’ve tried researching The Convent of the Handmaids of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. It may have been in Foxgrove Road, Beckenham and later moved elsewhere. I don’t think the school still exists but I found an interesting link here (search for ‘Beckenham’ on the page).
On Cornflower Books recently there was a link to this site: Forgotten Bookmarks. The writer of Forgotten Bookmarks has the advantage of being a dealer who acquires hundreds of books. I don’t buy so many but even so have amassed a small collection of items people have left behind in books. Now I'm going to start sharing them.

I was particularly pleased with this postcard, which was inside one of the John & Mary books by Grace James. It’s dated 1947 and is postmarked Newbury, near to where the fictional John & Mary lived. As if that weren’t enough, it’s addressed to ‘Master John’.

Turn it over and you have a Mabel Lucy Attwell picture. This was obviously carefully chosen, as the writer of the card hopes ‘the onion seed’ will grow for John. What a fascinating glimpse into someone’s life. I do hope John enjoyed the book.



January 2017



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