Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Stamps, Chicken Scratch & Other Oddities

Marginalia can be distracting when flipping through an item. Not to mention downright annoying when the previous owner or owners have written over or crossed out original text. In some cases those notes can indicate corrections. Still, when I flip to a page covered in chicken scratch, I can't help but cringe at first. After the initial gut reaction wears away, it's interesting to examine messy traces people have left behind. These secondary additions - notes, stamps, extra pages adhered, creased pages or folded booklets, etc.. - offer an elliptical insight into an item's life.

Some of the Duke crew noticed a collection of minutes that featured stamps. These stamps spotlight the typical batch of founding fathers (plus former President Harding) looking quite stately. I'm not exactly an avid stamp collector so I can't comment on the nitty-gritty details myself, but whether you're a stamp aficionado or just plain curious like me then check out these links so you can see the items too:

Stamps might not qualify as marginalia per se; I'm using the term loosely here. However like notes, their presence can provide another possible avenue for a deeper level of research. Out of the bunch, my favorite is the 1 1/2 cent stamp. I had no idea there used to be a half-cent in US currency!

Aside from marginalia and other decorative additions, I've come across a number of quirky books like this one here:

This book, Sketches of pioneer Baptist preachers in North Carolina, has some very inventive handiwork. From the looks of it, the creator cut the text from one source and adhered it on top of another preexisting book. And someone even added penciled-in page numbers that correspond to the new text! Based on some of the visible words, the original text appears to focus on science.

We'd love to hear about any neat and unusual details you discover in the NC Religion materials!

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