Cazenovia Public Library Historian Elisha Davies examines a letter dated Feb. 28, 1919, from John J. Pershing, commander in chief of the American forces in WWI. The letter is just one of the interesting items the library staff finds within the pages of books donates for the annual sale.
Carolyn S. Holmes
continued The first man that Davies found in Central New York would have been too old to serve being born in 1866, but the second hailing from the Binghamton area is a real possibility. His father died when he was young and he quickly took over the responsibilities and ownership of that brewery. She also found his draft card but no actual proof that he served in WWI and she is waiting to hear back from the Binghamton town historian. The third possibility is that the letter crossed state lines and the soldier was born in another state, possibly Illinois or Pennsylvania; although the ages of these two men are not an ideal fit either.
What struck the two of us is how far objects stuck inside a book to mark a page may move from the book’s original owner’s location. What is wonderful is that through the passing of time a feeling of mystery emerges for the finder as he or she has been given a small fragment of another person’s life story.
Of course many bookmarks fell out of our collection of books from religious to pithy sayings and the proverbial Harry Potter. Of course, the bookstore compatriots also have bookmarks or business cards or even a bill from a bookstore in Cooperstown from 2011 appeared on the bulletin board.
The sweetest items to emerge are photos of children, such as one taking his first uncertain steps at the beach or another one of a baby sitting in a bathtub crowned with a halo of bubbles. On this more personal front, a diploma from Middlebury College from 1976 was found in a box of books. Newsprint articles on artists, editors and writers are also often stuck between the pages of a book.
Next, there is the category of items that are fast becoming historical documents. Out of our most recent collection on the bulletin board, dates ranged from July 4, 1776 with a copy of the Declaration of Independence to a 2004 estimate for a brake inspection and oil change from Midas Muffler in Dublin, Calif.