Wednesday, June 20, 2007

My Library: A View From the Crib

Welcome to my library!

I usually give a tour of my library while swiveling around in my chair in front of my library table; however, my library table is now in the living room of my house in Florida. I am still in Hawaii! In my library is a changing table, in front of which is a crib. Sleeping in the crib, surrounded by the written words of authors from six centuries, is my seven-month old granddaughter, Hannah.

Wake up sweet child, stand up, look around, and I will tell my readers what your eyes see.

Out, out in the hallway, perpendicular to the bedroom doorway, Shakespeare stands guard, his words contained in a tall, locked bookcase of leather books from the eighteenth century. The bookcase itself is from the nineteenth century, bought at a village auction in England in 1989.

Turn your eyes to the right, my child, and see the bookshelves on the short wall between the door and the long wall: five rows of bookshelves four feet long and fifteen inches high. On these shelves sit my oversized books, my books about libraries, my bookplate literature, my postal books, and some of the association books belonging to My Sentimental Library Collection. On the top shelf are thirty to forty volumes of the "Annual Report of the Librarian of Congress," boring reading for a baby, and for the average reader, but manna from heaven for someone hungry for bibliographical information. On another shelf is Anthony Hobson's "Great Libraries of the World," formerly owned by Nancy H. Marshall, a great lady in her own right, and author of a bibliography of "The Night Before Christmas," a book I shall buy and read to you when you are a wee bit bigger.

Look further to the right, Hannah. Oops! Don't fall! Feast your eyes on Grandpa's delight: seven rows of bookshelves, ten feet long, and filled mostly with Books About Books. Six of these bookshelves are ten inches high, except for the top shelf, which is seven and one-half inches high. On the top shelf sit my smaller-sized books, including the eleven-volume set of Lowndes' "Bibliographer's Manual of English LIterature."There is another eleven-volume set of Lowndes on the second shelf, along with a multitude of other bibliographical works, an entire shelf full. Beginning on the third shelf, and continuing endlessly on and on in alphabetical order are my anecdotal Books About Books, many of which are listed in Winslow Webber's bibliography, "Books About Books." Also on my Books About Books bookshelves - I can't remember exactly where- are my books about book publishers and booksellers. On the very bottom shelf are my auction catalogues. A small collection of early periodicals, My Vol I No. 1 Collection, also rests on the bottom shelf.

Turn around, Hannah, and see the bookcase to your left, an ordinary bookcase, probably bought in Wallmart or Kmart. On these shelves rest my books about bibliographical societies, and bookbinding. Yes, Hannah. I can repair a book if you rip it apart. To the right of this bookcase is my iron bookpress, which weighs a ton, and which is used for getting the air out of books. My sewing presses and my finishing press are underneath my Books About Books bookshelves. A very good friend who passed away this year, Russell St. Arnold, made two of these wooden book presses for me.

See the bookcase to your right, Hannah? On these bookshelves rest my books on essays, literary criticism, and the remnants of my Philosophy Collection. Your Grandpa  loves reading essays! I hope you do too.

Do you see those sliding doors further to your right, Hannah? Behind those doors are the remnants of my History and Poetry Collections. I sold a goodly portion of these collections while I was waiting for my disability to be approved. The remainders of these collections were in the bookshelves in the living room; however, I'm storing them in the closet for safekeeping until I return in November. There are still Religious books, anthologies, and reference books in the bookcase by the front door, but so far, you and your brother haven't touched them. That bookcase, too, is from the nineteenth century.

Look up Hannah. Look up and see the shelf your Daddy built, extending ten feet from wall to wall above the closet. Your Daddy built this particular shelf so Grandpa could display his book chotskys; only, Grandpa decided to use it to display several small collections of books instead. On this shelf, I have my multiple editions of Strunk's "Elements of Style," a poetry book that Paul Ruxin gave me, an almost complete set of the Book-Lovers Library series, and my "Shelf in My Bookcase" Collection, which I talked about in a previous post.

Okay, Hannah. Turn around again. Good girl! Your Daddy built these bookshelves too. In fact, he helped build my entire library. On this wall, your Daddy constructed seven rows of bookshelves, each seven feet long. On these shelves sit more pride and joy: My Samuel Johnson, Mary and Donald Hyde, Shakespeare Society,and Philological Collections. I will talk about each of these collections in future posts.

Uh-oh. Someone is yawning... thank you and goodnight, sweet girl. Pleasant dreams!

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