Posted by: whipplelib | October 31, 2011

More than just a good read

Books can be very insightful things providing us with a view into the life of their owners. We can discover their view on a book contents and see how their own theories developed through annotations. I, however, like to find things that are a little more unusual in books such as postcards, photos and even the occasional shopping list. (Most of these things have probably been used as bookmarks). There are a few books in our collection which have these added bonuses.  The two volumes of Essays on natural history, chiefly ornithology by Charles Waterton (Store 33:24-25) have a few newspaper clippings pasted into them. The first volume has a piece announcing the death of Waterton’s son dated July 23rd 1887. The second volume is a bit more exciting as it contains 4 clippings, 1 mentions a conversation held between the book’s previous owner (Frederic R. Surtees) and Waterton himself, 2 pieces are about hares, and the final one is titled “Fight between a fox and a donkey”. Who do we think wins that fight? All of these snippets are a bit macabre. “The singular death of a hare” is a bit sad and “Hare taking to the water” could have ended with a death as the writer mentions sending a dog after the hare, presumably to kill, it when he firstly mistakes it for an otter. Luckily the hare manages to escape after its swim and get away.  The swimming hare piece is fittingly pasted into a section in the book entitled “Anecdote of a combat betwixt two hares” where Waterton describes seeing an epic battle between two boxing hares resulting in the death of the loser. However, not everyone is a loser in this battle as his friend’s groom is allowed to take the dead hare home and it’s made into a pie. Most of these clippings seem to have been taken from The Field, a magazine established in 1853 and according to their website “was founded for those who loved shooting, fishing, hunting and could sniff out a decent claret at 1,000 paces”.

Dawn

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