Old houses are full of surprises.
(I’m a master of the understatement.)
Our colonial farmhouse has already given us plenty of surprises – most of them electrical related.
I also found some old books and magazines in our new home. That’s a WAY better surprise than realizing you only have one inconveniently located outlet in your master bedroom!
Since I previously told you the seller left tons of unwanted items in the house when he moved out, you might think that I found these old books in one of the four
gazillion dozen boxes of junk on the premises.
I found the old books and magazines in two places. The first place was in the piano bench. Yes, a piano was left here. You don’t want to know how hard it is to give away a piano.
The second place was under the window seat cushions in our living room. I do actually mean ‘under the cushions’ because there is no hidden storage in the bench of these window seats.
Imagine my surprise when I pulled up the window seat cushions to recover them and found a grammar school geography book…from 1893!
The book might be older than that, but it was signed on April 7, 1893, by Daisy from New Germantown, New Jersey.
Doesn’t she have the most beautiful handwriting? I’m still trying to decide what the letter is after the “t” in her last name.
New Germantown, New Jersey, no longer exists. That area is now an unincorporated area called Oldwick and is located in the same county in which we reside. I suppose it is possible that Daisy lived in our house.
This geography book was signed in 1893, which was 126 years ago. To put in context how long ago that was, Irish independence from Great Britain did not occur until 1916.
Another book hiding under the window seat cushion was a Norman Rockwell picture book.
The copyright date on this book is 1977, so comparatively speaking, this book isn’t old at all!
The Norman Rockwell book was printed so that you could cut out the artwork and frame it.
As far as I can tell, all of the images are intact.
I also found two magazines from October and December of 1900.
The Cosmopolitan cost 10 cents and each issue was packed with fiction and non-fiction articles, advertisements and political cartoons.
So far I’ve read an article about the Russian army and one about how our children are not being taught values at home. Apparently, not much has changed since 1900!
The next article I’m going to read is the “prize essay” titled The Care of the Teeth. They don’t hand out prizes for essays like that anymore and that’s a darn shame.
If you think this magazine title sounds familiar, you’d be correct. This is how the women’s magazine, Cosmopolitan (Cosmo) got its start in 1886. William Randolph Hearst purchased the magazine for $400,000 in 1905.
In addition to articles, the magazines contained several pages of political cartoons. Some of the cartoons I understood pretty quickly. Others I had to dig deep into the recesses of my mind (and Google) to understand the nuance.
The last item I found was in the piano bench and it is a gardening catalog from Peter Henderson and Co. that is dated 1895.
It looks like you could use this catalog to order a wide variety of seeds and learn about the various seeds the company offered. The order form is still inside the magazine.
The art on the cover is gorgeous. The lettering is embossed and provides a wonderful elegance to the design.
The art on the inside is even better, don’t you think?
This is just one of the pages inside that was printed in color.
I want to keep the magazine intact, otherwise I might try framing some of these pictures!
I did do a quick Google search on each of the old books and magazines that I found to assess their value.
The most any one of these items might fetch is $50.
That’s not too shabby, but I have no plans to sell these old books and magazines. They make me happy and I still haven’t read the articles titled Our Navy 50 Years From Now and The Hygiene of Sleep. I have a feeling I know some spoilers on that Navy article!
Plus, I have too many questions.
Why in the world would you keep these books and magazines? How did they survive more than 100 years and end up in this house? Why would you keep them under a seat cushion in your living room?
Was this their version of a time capsule? Because I am all for it!
In fact, I might need to leave a time capsule for the next owners of this house to find.
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