Sometimes old books provide clues about the original owner. For example, I have a 1921 home economics textbook called Elementary Home Economics. It was written by Mary Lockwood Matthews. The book itself is fascinating. It’s fun to see what students learned a hundred years ago – as well as to see how recipes, and cooking techniques and equipment, have changed across the years.
But what I really enjoy about this book are the drawings and pencil marks made by a girl (and back then it would have been a girl) who once used the book. Whenever I open the book I spend many minutes lingering over the drawings. Where did the girl live? What was her family like? Was she a good student? Did she sometimes frustrate her teacher? Was she quiet?. . . or perhaps a very popular student?
10 thoughts on “What Do Drawings and Pencil Marks Tell Us About a Book’s Original Owner?”
I’d love to see a photo of Quanda’s husband, just for purposes of comparison! Not only that, it looks like a child’s drawing, but adult handwriting. Interesting.
Love these! Of course, I also wonder if she got into trouble for doodling in her book…
A great point, Sheryl, about clues to the original owner. I wonder what future generations will say about us. 🙂
How fun to find these drawings in the book, Sheryl, thanks for sharing them with us. Seems like the girl drew them and her mother added the words. And Quanda seemed to think her husband-to-be would have his mouth open a lot, perhaps eating. Very interesting.
I think the artist would be pleased that the work is being discussed many years in the future.
I never thought about doodles in a HE book, but how fascinating and cute! I buy used books often and am delighted by the little clues about the original owners that let our imaginations take off!
That’s just fascinating! I love seeing real accounts of how people used to live!
Quanda sounds very much like an African name – I wonder if this school book was from a separate school.
Those drawings made me giggle… wonder how close the drawing of hubby to be is. Delightful post ..thanks!
I just finished a book I think you might enjoy “The Secret History of Home Economics.” Really well researched and well written to boot.