The Granddaddies On My Bookshelf

In the past, I have shared some of the books found on my bookshelves. Today, I want to talk about some of the oldest books in my collection. Most of these have a printing date around the 1900s. Some are a little more recent. Many of them belonged to my parents and grandparents. Some may even have been brought to Canada by my great-grandfather, they are so old. I will save the oldest book for last, since good things come to those who wait. 🙂

I have two sets of old books – the adult set and the kids set. The first photo (above) represents the books that were mostly written for adults, although a lot of them have been shared with young adults over the years, like the poetry books and Shakespeare. The photo on the right shows the kids books. Some of them (okay, most of them) I read as a kid. And then, there is the most recent acquisition, but I’ll tell you more about that later.

When I started taking pictures, I didn’t realize just how many there were, so I think I will start with the kids/teen books and save the rest for a different day. Most of these books are a little newer, too, so then I can work backwards towards the books that really have some age. I’ll start with a writer I’m sure you’ve all heard of, Louisa May Alcott. I don’t seem to have “Little Women“, although I’m sure I have it somewhere. I did, however find this one:

Eight Cousins” is Louisa May Alcott’s classic children’s tale. It is the story of Rose Campbell who, when her father dies, is left orphaned and must go to live with her six Aunts and seven cousins. “Eight Cousins” is a young girl’s story to overcome the sadness of the loss of her father and the hardship of adapting to a new environment following that loss. It is one of Alcott’s most loved tales and can be enjoyed by readers both young and old alike. ( My copy is a 7th Imprint, copyright 1927 by Little Brown & Company, published by Grosser & Dunlap. In 1874 it was first copyrighted by Louisa May Alcott.

No children’s collection would be complete without an Enid Blyton story. Here, we have a 6th Impression copy (1951) of “Six Cousins at Mistletoe Farm” illustrated by Peter Beigel, published by Evans Brothers Limited, London. Her original was copyrighted in 1948. In this story, the 3 children on Mistletoe Farm dread the arrival of their 3 spoiled city cousins, after their home burns down in a fire.

You’d think there was a theme happening here, but these are actually the only two I have about cousins. I do have a 1940 copy of “The Yearling” by Marjory Kinnan Rawlings, illustrated by Edward Shenton, published by Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York. The original was printed in 1938. I remember reading this as a pre-teen and really wished I could have a young deer as a pet. Hated the ending, though. If you’re interested in learning the history of this book, you can check it out on Wikipedia.

This edition of “Ann of Green Gables” by Lucy Maude Montgomery belonged to my mother. It is in pretty rough shape, I’m afraid, but it was like that before it came into my possession. It’s original copyright date was 1908. This copy is from 1920, a 52nd Impression published by C. H. Simonds Company, Boston.






My father owned this old copy of “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” by Frank L. Baum. It was published by Bobbs Merrill, Indianapolis.

The colour illustrations were created by W. W. Denslow. This book also includes a Preface by the author written in 1900. The original copyright was 1899, but this book does not include a publishing date. I assume this copy must have come out around 1939 after the movie, because it includes pictures of the actors on both inside covers.




Unfortunately, at some point in its history, one edge of this book got wet and it has a bit of mould on some of its pages. Does anyone know what to do about that?




Another book belonging to my Dad was Tom Sawyer. What boy hasn’t read about his great adventures? The book contains a Preface written by Mark Twain himself in 1876, although the book does not appear to be that old. It was published by the Musson Book Company in Toronto, but has no publishing date.

Also in my collection is a copy of “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” by Lewis Carroll (pseudonym for Charles Lutwidge Dodgson). It was originally published in 1865.  This copy was published by Henry Altemus Company but there is no date listed, that I could find, even after checking out their website. There is, however, an inscription dated 1911. It could have been from the company’s ‘Boys and Girls series 59, but doesn’t really fit their description of the books. Most likely, it was published as a separate entity, although the picture on the cover is similar to the one on “Tom Brown’s School Days” so may have been published around the same time. The writing on the cover is very faint, but I love the embossing (must be the scrapbooker in me!). Although it is illustrated, it gives no indication who drew the pictures.

Finally, the oldest book in my Children’s Collection is “Home Painting for little folks” by K. T. Boland. It was given to my grandfather with the inscription, “To my dear Arthur from his loving mother. Many happy returns of the day” and dated November 14, 1898, which would have been Grandpa’s 6th birthday. It was “adapted from Foster’s Complete Course of Drawing, approved by the Department of Science and Art, published by the Juvenile Publishing Company, copyrighted in 1899. How my great-grandmother got a copy of it a year before it was published, I’ll never know unless she had something to do with the company who published it, or maybe she was so ill she did not know what year it was! (I know she wasn’t a well woman and died when Grandpa was in his early teens) Although it does not detail where it was published, the introduction mentioned Frederick Froebel (the inventor of the Kindergarten System of Education) It also had some interesting illustrations.

For example, under the heading ‘Embroidery, Modeling and Stick Building’ were these two. One shows the completed work, the other could presumably be painted by the child or copied and embroidered, as the chapter suggests.

This book is by no means the oldest of my collection. I will try to post about my older classic books next Monday, so please stay tuned.

If you’d like to see some more old books, pop over to Cheri Champagne‘s blog (featured in my Sunday Interview #5 – Happy Canada Day post) to see what old books she has in her collection. Look for the post entitled “Passionate About Antiques”.

18 comments on “The Granddaddies On My Bookshelf

  1. I love your collection, I also had many of those growing up. My blog heading picture has some of my books and the ones lying on their sides are simply too old to stand up. They are family bibles. They are literally falling apart and we have made the decision to let them go as it would be too expensive to have them fixed. This might be a help but I know there are lots of sites on the web with hints about getting rid of mould.

    You might like this blog post about Alice in Wonderland – I found it fascinating.

    Cheers – Diane

    • Very interesting article, Diane. I think David’s right. We should all head out, on July 4th, to the local river and spend a ‘lazy afternoon’ in celebration of Charles Ludwige Dodson’s initial telling of “Alice’s Adventure Under Ground”. 🙂

  2. What a wonderful post! 🙂 The top shelf of my bookshelf is dedicated to old books. I have a mid-19th century edition of Shakespeare’s works, a geography textbook from 1896, along with several history books from bygone eras. My favorite perhaps is my grandmother’s 5th grade American History text. 🙂

  3. That’s a great collection, my Dad has some really old books too the pages are sooooo old that they are very yellow and quite brittle. I still have a few books from my childhood, hopefully to pass on to my children. Love books!

    • Me, too! I’m sure your kids will love to have them to pass onto their kids eventually. Daughter took a good majority of the childhood books I bought for them when they were little so she can read them to Grandson! 🙂

    • Thanks for your comment, Margaret. I’ve been very lucky that books have always been treasured in my family. My Grandmother belonged to a book club. Her husband, my Grandfather, worked for the Wpg 1 School Division for over 35 years as Secretary/Treasurer and accumulated a lot of promotional material which has been instrumental in my research. My other Grandmother had aspirations of being a journalist but finances were such that she never got the chance to study the field. My Dad started looking into our family tree, which got me interested in our family histories. So, I guess I come by my passion for writing honestly! 🙂

  4. Pingback: Friday Feature: A Bibliomaniac’s First Love « A reader's footprints

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