Wednesday, May 19, 2010

A really cool find

I love local history, and I love books, so when I went to the library today and found this antique arithmetic book just sitting there I had to pick it up and bring it home, if just so I can display it on a shelf.

The book was sitting in the little area between the inner door and outer door of the library where people often dump books or magazines they don't want anymore. There were three boxes of old textbooks sitting there, but this one caught my eye because it looked SO old.

It is. In fact, it was published in 1877! See?

Here's the title page

The book apparently came from the U.D. Bristol Druggist and Bookseller of Lapeer, Mich. according to the sticker inside the front cover.

This book was apparently the property of a Charles Ryan of Elba (Elba is a township here in Lapeer County, Michigan). He enjoyed writing his name in the book. I LOVE the old-style handwriting done with pen and ink, although some of the writing is in pencil. I can't believe how legible the pencil writing still is!

He used it in 1881, I see.

Someone with the initial "M." wrote Charles (who also apparently went by Charley and Chas.) a little verse on April 9, 1889.

It reads:
"May your life be sweet
And your home be neat
And your floor be patted
With many little feet."

So, did Charles use the SAME math book from 1881 to 1889? Hmmm...

I guess Kate Ryan used the book, too, in 1889 (as you can see, where she wrote below the verse pictured above). She wrote her name in there a few other times as well.

And someone else, who left a cryptic message, also used the book:
"If my name you wish to find
Look on page 109."

On page 109, all I could find were these initials

The date Jan. 30th '90 and 1890 is scrawled inside the front as well. Possibly from the person who left their initials on P. 109?

And there are three rubbings of old coins inside the book, too. An 1880 (I think) penny and a nickel.

For its age, the book is in decent condition, at least I think it is. I find all the scribbles in it fascinating and even the math problems in it are worded in really neat ways.

Anyway, this find was the highlight of my afternoon. I hope I can find out a little more about the Ryan children who used this book.