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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, 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 10/4/2022, when Bradlaugh ephemera 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 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.




●  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.