Megan (jehoshabeath) wrote,

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A little book

There are so many little things that people cherish, so many sacred grounds on which people dream to set their feet, and so many wonders that people long to see with their own two eyes. What stirs us so? Where are these bonds forged? What is it about some things that they bring such a glow to our faces and fill our hearts with joy?

I don't have an answer. But even without an answer, I found myself rejoicing in a lonely little treasure this evening.

This is one of the copies of Notes on Spain and the Spaniards from 1861. It was published in South Carolina after Fort Sumter surrendered and the Civil War began (cite 1 below). The author would perish during the war two years later. It's is a medium-sized volume of 430 pages. The paper of the pages is thick, brittle, and yellowed. Many of the sheets are ajar from the spine due to the wearing of the binding. The binding stitches are loose and torn in a few places. The cover is a dull brown color and slightly textured to the touch. A call number, barcode, and "Hispanic Foundation" sticker still cling to the outside. The book smells like it has been deep on a library shelf a long time.

On the first blank page of the volume, the above message is scribbled. My best attempt at deciphering it is: "From the Authour, J.J.P." Is this Pettigrew's signature? Might he have taken a day to sit and sign each one of the copies? He had 300 copies of his book printed in 1861, one hundred of which were bound (cite 1 below). When I compared these initials to other items that Pettigrew had written, it seems that he may have had a tendency to flourish the first J a bit more than the second. And looking at the title page photograph provided in the 2010 republication (site 2 below), I see that another copy was addressed to an individual: "Ellison Capers -from the author."

Unlike most books published today, all the bibliographic information is listed on the front sheet of the title page: title, author, publisher, and date and place of publication. In addition to this, there is a quote: Quid dignum memorare tuis, Hispania, terris / Vox humana valet? Also, a librarian has stamped in: Library of Congress 1881 City of Washington. A librarian has also written in the author's name: James Johnston Pettigrew and the number 2/21 04. On the next page, a librarian recorded M. M. 17-2-04

Throughout the volume, there are underlines, notes, and librarian markings. For example, on the back of the title page, someone has written in - as if in code - DP41 .P49 (call number), 04-28844 (LC control number), 160487* (unknown). On the other page included here, a reader has left a margin note about German and Spanish history and intolerance. While I haven't made any marks in the book, my hands are just one set that has handled this book and taken something from it.

Thank you for sharing the evening with me, little book :)

Citations are from the 2010 republication of Notes on Spain and the Spaniards.
cite 1 is from page xvii of the "Introduction" by C. Wilson.
cite 2 is from page x.
Tags: books, history, pettigrew, pictures

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