Sunday, August 5, 2018

The Secret Lives of Books: Hopelessly Devoted to Hawthorne

I've never been the type to crush on a celebrity, but I do have to admit to an author crush. I'm fascinated with the works of Nathaniel Hawthorne---and it helps that he's babelicious, to boot! Nevermind the minor age difference...and the issue of, well, everything. (Hawthorne died 154 years ago at age 60) Nathaniel Hawthorne is my male Jane Austen. In fact, if I ever have another son, I'm thinking of naming him Nathaniel Hawthorne Coller. I'm not even kidding. I have a couple awesome Hawthorne finds to show you all! My daughter, Lynzie, volunteers at our public library---that same one that has the awesome antique book sale section. A couple weeks ago she found this fabulous 1910 beauty, Hawthorne's Country and, sweet thing that she is, ended up giving it to me. This author, Helen A. Clarke wrote several biographies of 19th century authors, published in these pretty volumes with lots of photographs included.

Maine's Bowdoin College where Hawthorne was a student in the early 1820s.

As is fitting, this book contains a secret! Hidden away towards the back of the book (for maximum weight benefits) are these pressed plants and a note dated from the early 1950s:

"Pulled the leaf from an elm tree that grew in front of a courts cabin we stayed in at Belleville, Kan while on our vacation. June 18, 1953.
Nov. 27, 1952 --sprig of Platte River Spruce
June 16, 1953 -- 2 leaves of supposed Iron Wood collected on shore of Sylvan Lake Custer State Park in the Black Hills of South Dakota"

The other side of the paper is a 1950s era ad for Mt. Rushmore Souvenir and Gift Shop. 

Further on in the book, she'd pressed this pretty pink flower. (I haven't shown all this to Lynzie. I'm afraid she'll take it back!!)

Earlier this year, I was shopping for school books for the kids and came across this gorgeous cloth-covered edition of Hawthorne's Wonder Book. The print sorta looks like ladybugs...or it could be lollipops...or maybe hot air balloons. Whatever it is, it's sorta steampunky and super neat! 

Ruth Mettler earned this pretty book for good attendance in 1907, but I wonder where the book was in the few years since it was published in 1902? Perhaps it was the teacher's special copy that she decided to pass along to a loved pupil?

We have several newer copies of this volume as it's a great reference to help kids learn some of the ancient Greek myths. However, this one is all mine! Can you believe I won the auction for $5!!

Have you found anything neat in a book lately? Tell me about it!


  1. What an wonderful find, and the hidden items were a double blessing! My husband and I love to search for and find old volumes of our favorite books.
    Blessings to you and yours,
    P.S. I haven't forgotten about sending you the book - just super busy. It will happen. I promise!

  2. Now I want to try out something from Hawthorne! I haven't read anything of his since high school. (Blush)

  3. Those are some treasures, indeed! I just found some old Arthur Conan Doyle books at a garage sale that will be Christmas gifts for my daughter. Don't know yet if there are any extra treasures in them.

  4. I found a book by Nathaniel Hawthorne from 1896 A WONDER BOOK for boys and girls published in New York Thomas crowell & Co. I can't find a match trying to research. It has Perseus holding Medusa's head out to the crowd and on the title page is has a picture of a little girl sitting reading a book in between Nathaniel Hawthorne and the publisher. It also had a stamp from U.R.Laves. can you tell me anything about what it might be worth?
    Curious, Sabra Lukenbaugh