Accidentally Book Collecting- Cambridge Book of Poetry and Song

I am kind of an accidental collector of old books.

Even the beat-up ones.

I’ve always loved books, but within the last year I’ve also become a near-daily buyer and seller of them out of necessity. It’s certainly not the worst job I’ve had.

As I paw through bins and shelves I snap up pictures of random books that I think are worth laughing at later because I am easily entertained. (Cheesy and old sci-fi/fantasy covers are a never-ending source of joy for me.)

And I’ve also started a collection of various items people used as bookmarks in the books I get. Maybe I will put together a collage of them one day.

But I also find books with unique properties I can get behind, and I am just as likely to snatch those up and take them home physically as well–not to sell or trade–just for me. I don’t plan on it, but it happens anyway.


Recently, I picked up an 1882 copy of the Cambridge Book of Poetry and Song.

I like it and plus it smells nice. It also has a very curious message written from the gifter to the giftee on the first blank page:


I love finding these messages, and this might be my favorite so far.

A little Google-fu shows that Carrie Stevens Walter was a poet as well as a teacher, although I have never read any of her books.

But that message just is just too damn charming. Also, I love that “Strong, young manhood” meant something completely different back in 1896.


The editor also dedicates the book to the memory of their recently deceased friend, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. RIP man. RIP.


The portrait is nice, too.
I’m also digging the bleed on the page opposite.

Now, I have no issue with internets or Kindles or whatever when it comes to simply reading.

But there is something immense and irreplaceable about holding a nice, old book.

1 Comment

  1. Right on. Good find! Inscriptions can really be the treasure found. They can add personality to the book in a way. I’ve bought books for the inscriptions. I found a copy of Hemingway’s Death in the Afternoon (about bullfighting) w/ notes in it and old newspaper cut outs of old matadors. It’s a bit beat but amazing none the less. Happy hunting bro! Hope you find more like the one above. Cheers ~

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