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A page devoted to Things Found in Books

In J.L. Carr's fine novel A Month in the Country the main character, Tom Birkin, is given a rose by Alice Keach and says:

I still have it. Pressed in a book. . . Someday, after a sale, a stranger will find it there and wonder why.

Now and again when I buy a secondhand book, I find something left inside. When something dropped out of a book that I had bought several years ago I realised that now I had more than three such things, so I had A Collection. I suspect that this small collection represents the sort of things commonly found in books: postcards, photographs, bus tickets, business card, a bookmark. They all have some interest - to me, at least - and make me wonder about who had owned these books before I bought them. And sometimes I find things of historical interest, such as the ephemera related to Charles Bradlaugh (see below).

(Last updated on 13/4/2023, when the six photographs were added)

●  Post card sent from Deauville, France in August 1926

Image of front of post card    Image of back of post card

Post card, front and back (click to enlarge)

Deauville 11th of August 1926 (or 1924)

My dear Baye.

Excuse me of not having been able to go to London on the 7th but I was very ill. I got a congestion & the doctor told me to go and have a few days rest somewhere. So I came here yesterday but I shall have to go back to Paris Wednesday. I am leading a wretched life with my works & it will finish badly for me if I don't get rid of it by selling it.

I'll let you know when I shall be free & fit to cross the Channel, but I can't tell you when just now.

Ever yours, Wilfred

The Royal Hotel in Deauville still exists. It is in one of many seaside towns in France that British people visited on holiday or to recuperate. 'Baye' is French name, but it is also found in Sussex. Sadly Wilfred didn't add his surname.

I found this card in Everybody's Dog Book (Collins, 3rd impression, October, 1922) by Major A.J. Dawson. It was sold by The Times Book Club, according to a small sticker inside the rear cover.

●  Business card, late 1920s

Image of front of business card    Image of back of business card

Business card, front and back

Hon Henry Hasenflug

Introducing Mr Ebeling

Thank you sincerely, Julius Ruger

Municipal Bldg, Joralemon St

Julius Ruger was a Democrat State Assembly member for the 17th Kings County District (Brooklyn) in the 146th and 147th New York State Legislatures in 1923 and 1924. Henry Hasenflug was another New York politician in the mid 1920s. Mr Ebeling could have been Waller Ebeling, who was 50 years old in the 1940 census and living in Brooklyn. The Municipal Building, which was built in 1924, is still at 210 Joralemon Street in Brooklyn.

I found this card in a copy of Me as a Model by W.R. Titterton, published in the USA by Mitchell Kennerley in 1914. It has illustrations by Edmund Blampied.

●  Bus ticket, London circa 1920

I found this 1 penny bus ticket in a copy of Salty by Charles Westron, published in about 1923. It is for the old bus route 11 from Shepherds Bush in West London to Liverpool Steet near the City. By coincidence the route passes the end of my road in Fulham. The route 11 today starts at Walham Green, better known as Fulham Broadway, but still goes to Liverpool Street. The tickets of different prices were stored in a rack and the bus conductor punched a hole next to the stop the passenger was going to - in this example, Mansion House. The owner probably read this book while travelling on this route. I wonder where the owner got on?

Image of front of bus ticket    Image of back of bus ticket

London bus ticket, front and back

●  Bookmark, about 1915

This woven silk bookmark was produced using a method developed by Thomas Stevens (1828-1888) in the 19th century. This example was woven by Welch & Lenton of Coventry in one of three designs shown here, probably around turn of the 20th century. This is a part of an excellent site devote to Stevengraph silks.

I found this bookmark, which is a bit faded at the top, probably where it stuck out beyond the pages, in a bound volume of Pearson's Magazine for 1915.

Image of bookmark

Silk bookmark, c 1915

●  Post card sent by the poet, Nina Carroll, about 1988

Image of back of post card     Image of front of post card

Post card, front and back (click to enlarge)

Hope to see you but -

if we don't see you for lunch today

Please keep this -

Good wishes from Nina Carroll

Sorry not to have seen you. I did not get around to dropping this in sooner.

This card was found in a signed copy of What Hetty Did (1988) by J.L. Carr. He published this book himself from his house in Kettering. He also published many small, 16-page books of poetry, one of which was by Gerard Manley Hopkins. This small book was edited by Nina Steane, who wrote poetry under her maiden name, Nina Carroll. She was also an artist and designed the cover of the small book. Her husband, John Steane, was the Head of Kettering Grammar School before becoming an archaeologist with Oxford Museum Services. She died of cancer in January 1990 aged 57 and is buried in Wolvercote Cemetery in Oxford with her son Peter, who died in September 1990, aged 27. The card is designed by her daughter, Anna, who now decorates the windows of shops in the French Pyrenees, according to her other daughter, Kate Steane, who is a textile artist.

As the book had not been read, the owner missed both Nina Carroll and a lovely story.

●  Items relating to Charles Bradlaugh, M.P.

Image of lyric sheetImage of Yuletide cardPhotograph of Charles Bradlaugh Bonner

Left: lyrics of a song about Charles Bradlaugh by Herbert Gilham (click to enlarge).

Centre: Yuletide card from Bradlaugh's daughter (click to enlarge).

Right: photograph of Charles Bradlaugh Bonner, presumed (click to enlarge).

I found these items in the two-volume biography of Charles Bradlaugh (1833-1891), an atheist Member of Parliament (when he was allowed to take his seat) and a founder of the National Secular Society. The books were published in 1894 by T.Fisher Unwin. Volume one was written by his daughter Hypatia Bradlaugh Bonner (1858-1935), although it's more of a hagiography than a biography; volume two is an account of Bradlaugh's parliamentary struggle, his politics and teachings by John M. Robertson.

I think that the book was owned by Hypatia's son, Charles Bradlaugh Bonner (1890-1966), as there was a cutting from a newspaper of the results of the Cambridge University Natural Science Tripos examination which lists 'C.B. Bonner, Trin'. There was also the photograph shown above, which was one of two printed by a process of photolithography on a single sheet. Charles Bonner was an eminent botanist.

There were two copies of the song lyrics in the book, which I gave with some other items to the Northamptonshire Museum and Art Gallery and they passed a copy onto the local history society. If you want to sing the lyrics you can hear the tune 'Bonnie Dundee' sung by The Corries here.

●  Reminder to pay for a Broadcast Receiving Licence, 1948

Image of front of card     Image of back of card

Post card, front and back (click to enlarge)

This card was found in a copy of The Plays of John Galsworthy (Duckworth, 1939) that I bought for £2.99 in an Oxfam shop on Kensington High Street in London. The book contains a stamp from Samford University, Ashburn Gardens, Kensington, a house in London owned by an American university.

The card is an official reminder from the Post Office to pay either £1 for a licence to receive radio broadcasts or £2 to receive both radio and television. In 1948 there was only one TV channel, which was operated by the B.B.C. In terms of simple purchasing power £2 is equivalent to £77 today. The card was sent to Joyce Lustgarten neé Goldstone (1910-1972) the wife of the lawyer, writer and broadcaster Edgar Lustgarten (1907-1978), who was a B.B.C. Producer from 1945-48. Joyce also wrote and produced programmes for the radio in the 1930s and early 1940s. In 1948 Joyce and Edgar had just moved flats from Putney to The Albany on Piccadilly. Samford University, which is in Birmingham, Alabama, bought Daniel House in Kensington in 1983 and probably bought this book for visiting students, but the card was not found.

●  A collection of family photographs taken between 1941 and 1964

Image of photographImage of photoghraphImage of photoghraph

Image of photographImage of photoghraphImage of photoghraph

(Click on photograph to enlarge)

This collection of family photographs was found in a copy of Talking it over by Julian Barnes which I bought about 15 years ago for £3 from a secondhand bookshop on the Fulham Road in London. I had forgotten that I had them until recently when I had to move a bookcase to paint the wall behind.

The middle photograph in the top row is labelled 'Addis Abeba 1941'. The shoulder badges indicate the rank of Lieutenant. The photograph has a rubber stamp on the back 'FOTO CINE H. BOYAGIAN VIALE V. BOTTEGO 21- ABA'. Addis Ababa was liberated from the rule of Italy in April 1941 by British and South African troops. The three photographs in colour, all taken in the same place, probably in the south of France, were printed by Wallace Heaton Ltd and dated Sept 1964. The photograph of the two young boys on the sofa doesn't seem to fit with the ages and hair colour of the two to the right, so they may not be related.

I think that the photographs show a man, probably born between 1915 and 1920, who served in the British armed forces in East Africa during World War II, and later with his sons in France in 1964. The collection suggests that they were selected, rather than randomly chosen. I tried Google image search with no luck. I wonder who they are?