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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: two postcards, a bus ticket, a business card, a bookmark and a playing card. They all have some interest - to me, at least - and make me wonder about who had owned these books before I bought them.

●  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 a head teacher in Kettering. She died in 1990 aged 57y and is buried in Wolvercote Cemetery in Oxford with her son Peter, who also died in 1990, aged 27y. The card is designed by her daughter, Anna, who now decorates the windows on shops in the French Pyrenees, according to her other daughter, Kate Steane who is a textile artist. This means that the card was written between 1988 and 1990. The book had not been read. The owner missed both Nina Carroll and a lovely story.

●  Cunard playing card, early 1960s

This card was found in a copy of A Burnt out Case by Graham Green (Heinemann, 1961). I think it belonged to my Grandparents as they used to travel on a Cunard liner every year from their home in Florida via New York to see us, wherever we were living in England. My grandfather had been Chief Engineer for Cunard in New York until he retired, so got a staff discount on the cost of their passage across the Atlantic every year. My grandmother loved to play bridge and had several packs of Cunard playing cards. She had won tournaments on board ship. The crossing took five days and they travelled first class, so they had plenty of time to read and play cards. The packs came with blanks, but you wouldn't miss a joker when playing bridge . . .

Image of front of playing card    Image of back playing card

Playing card, front and back (click to enlarge)