Tag Archives: Quotation

Book submission: On the Economy of Machinary and Manufactures

Title: On the Economy of Machinary and Manufactures
Author: Babbage, Charles
Publication date: London, 1835
Library: Oklahoma State University Edmon Low Library
Call number: 338.4 B112o4
Submitted by: Kent Linthicum
Description:
On page 224 there is a epigram which reads “In the evening of life / Cherish the memory of those / Who loved you in its morning” attributed to M. N. Nolan.

Book submission: Carthage and the Carthaginians

Title: Carthage and the Carthaginians
Author: Smith, R. Bosworth
Publication date: London, 1916
Library: Alden Library at Ohio University
Call number: DT168 .S65 1916x
Submitted by: Casey Machenheimer
Description:
The marginalia is found on one of the front endpapers (the recto side of the frontispiece). It is signed by a previous owner, C. N. Crawford (sp?) in Rio 1919. Crawford proceeds to list four separate quotes that potentially could be from the book itself, but could also be from an outside source. However, this is unclear, since Crawford does not cite the quotes.

Book submission: The Works of William Shakespeare

Title: The Works of William Shakespeare
Author: Shakespeare, William edited by William George Clark and William Aldis Wright
Publication date: N.D., New York
Library: N.C. State University’s D.H. Hill Library
Call number: PR2753 C58 V1
Submitted by: kmfritz@ncsu.edu
Description:
Notes about species of plants, agriculture, and animals. There are notes about birds, “head of turk” turkey disease, and plants.

Book submission: Marcus Aurelius Antoninus to Himself

Title: Marcus Aurelius Antoninus to Himself
Author: Marcus Aurelius Antoninus
Publication date: London, 1907
Library: Millsaps College Library
Call number: B580.R4
Submitted by: Students of Millsaps course – What is the Future of the Book?
Description:
There is gift inscription at the beginning of the book, dated 1927. Aside from some notation within the text, the only other noteworthy handwriting in the book is an odd line written on the very back page of the book.

Book submission: Lucian – Selected Writings

Title: Lucian – Selected Writings
Author: Allinson, Francis Greenleaf
Publication date: Boston, 1905
Library: Millsaps College Library
Call number: PA4230.A3
Submitted by: Students of Millsaps course – What is the Future of the Book?
Description:
This book, we believe, was used as a text for a class on our campus in the early 1900s. It features many latin translations, as well as a great deal of annotation, ostensibly made by the student who used this copy. Other traces of note include a bizarre, white-supremacist quote on the back page, as well as some sketches and doodles drawn on large spaces on some pages.

Book submission: The Dramatic Works of William Shakespeare (10 volumes)

Title: The Dramatic Works of William Shakespeare (10 volumes)
Author: Shakespeare, William
Publication date: London, 1879
Library: University of Virginia, Alderman Library
Call number: PR2753 .S6 1879 v.1-10
Submitted by: Maggie Whalen
Description:
In the weeks following our post on the UVA Library Collection’s many literary treasures tied to Albemarle County’s historic Rives family, UVA community members brought to our attention a few other Rives-owned and -annotated volumes worth investigating.

Our next subject: The Dramatic Works of William Shakespeare, a ten-volume set published in London in 1879.

UVA-administered bookplates reveal that the set came to the UVA Library Collection through the books of one Roberta Welford (1873-1956), a women’s rights advocate and suffragist whose papers are preserved in UVA’s Special Collections Library. Personal bookplates indicate that the set was previously owned by Amélie Rives Troubetzkoy (1863-1945), the niece of aforementioned Amélie Louise and Ella, the daughter of Alfred.

In our first post, we discussed at length another tome of Shakespeare owned and annotated by the second, and most famous, Amélie. That text, a hefty volume entitled The Plays of William Shakespeare, was published in London in 1823. It contains two inscriptions by Amélie, one from 1885 and another from 1890, as well as a number of marginal annotations. Two Gentlemen of Verona, Much Ado About Nothing, Taming of the Shrew, and All’s Well That Ends Well are among the plays most thoroughly marked in this previously discussed text.

Considering the substantial overlap in content between these two collections, it’s somewhat surprising that Amélie owned, let alone read and marked, both.

And yet, Amélie’s The Dramatic Works of William Shakespeare is similarly rich with annotations. Of the ten volumes to the set, I was able to examine nine (volume 6 was missing) and found some degree of user modification in each.

Oddly enough, volumes 7 through 10 are the only texts that feature user inscriptions. All read: “Amélie Rives / 1881 / Castle Hill,” indicating that Amélie acquired this set four years prior to her bulkier edition of Plays.

A number of other dates crop up throughout Dramatic Works, particularly on plays’ title pages, revealing that Amélie returned to this text many times throughout her life. She records, for example, that she read Taming of the Shrew “for the first time in this edition the evening of” December 29, 1896; Love’s Labour’s Lost for the “2nd time” on the same night; and “reread” The Tempest on January 23, 1932.

These annotations recall a note Amélie makes in her copy of Plays, in which she records that she read The Tempest, perhaps for the first time, in 1900 at her family’s estate, Castle Hill.

The pages of Amélie’s Dramatic Works are thoroughly underscored and bracketed. Her marginal annotations frequently mention her daily life in Virginia and occasionally reference her own writings.

Annotations in The Tempest. In the first image, she marginally defines “kybe” as a “chilblain.” In the second, she underscores “homely” and writes: “NB Homely used here as we Virginians use it now!!”

Annotations in Love’s Labour’s Lost. In the first image, Amélie emphatically brackets and underscores a footnote about a famous bay horse named Morocco and writes: “NB Splendid subject for a poem or story!!” Second: she underscores “canary” (a popular dance in Shakespeare’s time) and writes in the margins: “NB Can this be the origin of the Negro ‘pull Cary’?” Third: a marginal note: “NB 25th Aug 1895.” Fourth: some dense underscoring.

Annotations in Troilus and Cressida. Amélie underscores “placket” and writes: “Modern American i.e. ‘Skirt.’”

Annotations in King Lear. She responds to Shakespeare’s use of “nuncle” (defined in the footnotes as “a familiar contraction of mine uncle”), and writes in the margins: “And in Virginia we always address old Negros as ‘Uncle’ + ‘Aunt’ — 1892.”

Annotations in the Preliminary Remarks to Macbeth. Amélie underlines and brackets this passage heavily. She writes extensive, barely legible, notes in the margins. At the bottom of the page, she underscores the name of the author and writes of his book of lectures: “Get at once if possible! ’92.”

On the final endpapers of several volumes, Amélie collects her favorite lines, passages, phrases, and ideas.

On the rear endleaf of volume 1, Amélie records the following line from The Tempest: “The red plague rid you for learning me your language. Page 214.”

In the final pages of volume 5, Amélie records a series of “Notes” and corresponding “Page” numbers from The First Part of King Henry IV and King Henry V. One note reads: “The lady Ermengare. (Ermengare is a beautiful name.)” On the next page, Amélie transcribes an exchange between Prince Harry and Pions from The Second Part of King Henry IV. The page, however, is torn.

And for that reason, perhaps, she transcribes the passage again on the book’s front endpaper.

On a rear endpaper in volume 7, she copies the following line from Troilus and Cressida: “‘This I presume will wake him’–Page 198.”

In volume 9, she notes perceived “Repetitions of Shakespeare:” “In Hamlet, ‘Himself the primrose way of dalliance treads.’ In Macbeth, ‘that go the primrose way to the everlasting fire.’”

Finally, in volume 10, she writes: “Othello ‘Goats + Monkeys!’ see page 119.” On the corresponding page, Amélie has written “NB” beside the line: “You are welcome, sir, to Cyprus.–Goats, and monkeys!” At the bottom of the page, she brackets a footnote that explains the “great art” of the line.

Perhaps most intriguing among Amélie’s many annotations are those that speficially reference her writing process. In Plays, Amélie marks a line from All’s Well That Ends Well (“So there’s my riddle, One, that’s dead, is quick”), which corresponds to the title of her most famous novel (The Quick or the Dead?). In Dramatic Works, she reads the story of a legendary horse and notes that it would be a “splendid subject for a poem or story!!” Bearing these instances in mind, the endleaf lists explored above read almost like condensed catalogs of potential literary inspiration.

From Judith Page Rives’s The Living Female Writers of the South, to her daughter’s Oeuvres de Boileau, to her granddaughter’s various collections of Shakespeare’s plays, evidence of the Rives women reading with pencils in hand spans three generations and at least 80 years. Though the Rives women are remembered first and foremost as prolific writers, their active engagement with these texts reveals that they were also ambitious readers. As is demonstrated by this post and the last, the UVA Library Collection is dense with examples of the Rives family’s involvement with literature, both public and personal in nature.

Sources
Boileau Despréaux, Nicolas, and Charles Augustin Sainte-Beuve. Oeuvres : Avec Notes Et Imitations Des Auteurs Anciens. Paris: Furne, 1853.
Brown, Alexander, et al. Papers of the Rives, Sears and Rhinelander Families.
Encyclopædia Britannica Inc., 2016. Web. 18 Mar. 2016.
Hall, Fitzedward, et al. Letters of the Rives Family. .
“Nicolas Boileau”. Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica Online.
Papers of Roberta Wellford, Accession #6090, Special Collections Dept., University of Virginia Library, Charlottesville, Va.
Rives Family Papers Compiled by Elizabeth Langhorne, 1839-1990, #10596-d, Albert H. and Shirley Small Special Collections Library, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Va.
Rives, James Childs. Reliques of the Rives (Ryves). Lynchburg, Va.: J. P. Bell Co., 1929.
Shakespeare, William, and Samuel Weller Singer. The Dramatic Works. 3rd ed. rev. London: G. Bell, 1879.
Shakespeare, William, et al. The Plays of William Shakespeare. New ed. London: Printed for F. C. and J. Rivington; [etc., etc.], 1823.

For more on Book Traces @ U.Va., visit our blog at https://booktraces.library.virginia.edu .

Book submission: The Living Female Writers of the South

Title: The Living Female Writers of the South
Author: Tardy, Mary
Publication date: Philadelphia, 1872
Library: University of Virginia, Alderman Library
Call number: PS551 .T3 1872
Submitted by: Maggie Whalen
Description:
Book Traces @ UVA recently happened upon this 1872 edition of Mary T. Tardy’s The Living Female Writers of the South in the UVA Library Collection.

A bookplate reveals that the text came to UVA through the books of William Cabell Rives (1793-1868).

As the title suggests, the book contains the biographies of southern female authors alive in the 19th century. Its pages are entirely unmarked, save for a few noteworthy annotations on the three-page biography entitled “Mrs. William C. Rives.”

Above the section’s title, a hand has left the following note: “Lord Byron says, ‘Tis pleasant, sure, to find one’s name in print.’ My surprise was quite equal to my pleasure in finding my name among those of the illustrious ladies who appear here. It is but just to say that this notice was not contributed to the volume by any member of my own family, and that the authorship is a mystery both to them and to me. JPR….” (436).

Judith Page Rives (1802-1882), wife of William C. Rives, describes the surprise and honor she feels at finding her biography in Tardy’s text. The content and tone of the note suggest that it is not entirely self-reflective, but also directed at any reader who might happen upon the book in the future.

In the biography that follows, Rives has made a few corrections to the text. She adjusts the date of France’s July Revolution from 1820 to 1830. She corrects the spelling of her daughter’s name, Amélie (chosen for her by her godmother, the Queen of France), directly in the text and then transcribes it in the margins for clarity. Finally, she changes the title incorrectly attributed to her second book from “Home and Abroad” to “Home and the World.”

Aside from these minor adjustments, Rives does not interfere with the anonymous biographer’s account of her life, suggesting, perhaps, its accuracy. The notice describes Rives as “a faithful mother” of six and a “most useful helpmeet to her husband,” who served twice as United States Minister to France and once as a Senator from Virginia (438). She is further characterized as “a prominent and yet ever beneficent leader in society,” most notably in her native Albemarle County (438). There, she and her family resided in a vast, historic estate called Castle Hill (on the market now for $11.5 million) and mingled with the likes of Madison and Jefferson. Finally, Rives’s biographer describes her as “an author of more than ordinary ability and popularity” (438).

Among Judith Rives’s literary achievements are two books: Souvenirs of a Residence in Europe (1842) and Home and the World (1857). The biography quotes from a review contemporary to the publication of Souvenirs, saying: “This book is distinguished throughout for its moral and elevated tone. Its style, which perhaps in some instances may be rather luxuriant, is generally chaste, fluent, and graceful” (437). According to Jane Censer, author of The Reconstruction of White Southern Womanhood, much of Rives’s work was nonfiction, based on her travels abroad and her life at Castle Hill. Censer also notes that many of the women included in Tardy’s Female Writers of the South came from “well-to-do” Southern families and published a single article, poem, or novel, often with a local printer (214). A number of these women “published so little or in such obscure journals that the modern researcher can find almost none of their printed efforts” (214). Judith Rives is certainly a slight break from the “authors” Censer describes, having published Souvenirs with a Philadelphia publishing house and Home and the World with a publisher based in London. A single copy of Rives’s Tales and Souvenirs of a Residence in Europe (below) is available in the UVA Library circulating collection. Several copies of Souvenirs and Home and the World are held in UVA’s Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library.

For further examples of volumes owned/annotated by members of the Rives family, see the related post on Amelie Rives Troubetzkoy’s copy of The Plays of William Shakespeare.

For more on Book Traces @ UVA, visit our blog at https://booktraces.library.virginia.edu .

Sources
“The Cabell Family.” Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library. University of Virginia Library, n.d. Web. 27 Jan. 2016.
Censer, Jane Turner. The Reconstruction of White Southern Womanhood, 1865-1895. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State UP, 2003. Google Books. Google. Web. 27 Jan. 2016.
Hatch, Peter J. “The Garden and Its People.” “A Rich Spot of Earth”: Thomas Jefferson’s Revolutionary Garden at Monticello. N.p.: Yale UP, 2012. 33. Google Books. Google. Web. 27 Jan. 2016.
Lay, K. Edward. “The Georgian Period.” The Architecture of Jefferson Country: Charlottesville and Albemarle County, Virginia. Charlottesville: U of Virginia, 2000. 60-61. Google Books. Google. Web. 27 Jan. 2016.
Lucey, Donna M. “Patron’s Choice: Sex, Celebrity and Scandal in the Amélie Rives Chanler Troubetzkoy Papers.” Notes from Under Grounds. University of Virginia Library: Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections, 23 Aug. 2013. Web. 27 Jan. 2016.
Prose, Francine. “Lifestyles of the Rich and Infamous”. The Washington Post. Web. 30 Jul, 2006.
Rives, Amélie. Barbara Dering. Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott company, 1893.
Shakespeare, William, et al. The Plays of William Shakespeare. New ed. London: Printed for F. C. and J. Rivington; [etc., etc.], 1823.
Tardy, Mary T. The Living Female Writers of the South. Philadelphia: Claxton, Remsen & Haffelfinger, 1872.
Varon, Elizabeth R. “We Mean to Be Counted”: White Women and Politics in Antebellum Virginia. N.p.: U of North Carolina, 2000. Google Books. Google. Web. 27 Jan. 2016.
Weeks, Lyman Horace. “George Lockhart Rives.” Prominent Families of New York. New York: Historical, 1897. 478. Google Books. Google. Web. 27 Jan. 2016.

Book submission: Poems

Title: Poems
Author: Alexander Smith
Publication date: Boston, 1853
Library: University of Virginia, Alderman Library
Call number: PR5453 .S5 1853
Submitted by: Maggie Whalen
Description:
Book Traces @ UVA recently found this 1853 copy of Alexander Smith’s Poems in the UVA Library Collection.

Flipping through the book’s pages, one immediately notices the abundance of notes scrawled in its margins. Indeed, more pages than not include some evidence of a previous reader’s interaction with the text.

Smith’s Poems contains four titled lyrics: “A Life-Drama,” “An Evening at Home,” “Lady Barbara,” and “To —,” as well as several untitled sonnets. First, longest, and most heavily annotated is the 150-page play “A Life-Drama.”

An initial example of marginalia pops up on the first page of this first poem. Above its title, the reader has written in pencil: “Beautiful, Absurd, and Trashy Stuff.” Below, the same hand has extended the play’s title: “A Life-Drama, or The Moon & Stars” (5).

In the pages that follow, the same reader develops in the margins his own system of notes. He scrutinizes and satirizes Smith’s poetry, making verbal and nonverbal annotations of the text, additions and amendments to the text, and citations of literary allusions made within the text.

All of this causes a present-day reader to wonder: Who wrote these ridiculing comments? And, what was his beef with Alexander Smith?

Conveniently, the book’s title page features the inscriptions of two former owners. First is “W. Meredith,” who seems to have inscribed his name on September 2, 1853 in Philadelphia. The precise year of signing is unclear, as the final digit has been blotted out and corrected. Beneath is “Fred. W. M. Holliday,” accompanied by the date “July ’76.”

A handwriting expert I am not, but the highly legible, looping quality of the penmanship in the book’s marginalia resembles much more closely the signature of W. Meredith than that of Fred. W. M. Holliday.

Unfortunately, the first inscription does not provide sufficient information to definitively identify W. Meredith. A number of men bearing some variation of the name “William Meredith” were alive during the 1850s. As far as I could tell, none could be linked directly to the book’s other owner, Governor Frederick William Mackey Holliday. However, there is considerable evidence suggesting that the book belonged at one point to either William Morris Meredith (1799-1873) or his son William Keppele Meredith (1838-1903), both of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

William Morris Meredith, the elder, was a prominent Philadelphia lawyer. He also served as United States Secretary of the Treasury between 1824 and 1828. The Meredith Family Papers are preserved at the Historical Society of Pennsylvania. Among them are some of his personal writings, including an assortment of original poetry and three of his diaries. The second of these diaries opens with an entry written on the eve of his twentieth birthday, at which point he had been practicing law for some time. He reflects: “Eighteen months have elapsed since I commenced the practice of my Profession. My profits have been small and the sincere disgust which I have always entertained for the Law has rather increased than diminished during that period. But after mature consideration, I can discover no other pursuit in which I could engage with any prospect of success. My inclinations urge me to a literary life, but that yields no expectations of an immediate support, and I feel it my duty to relieve my father as quickly as possible from so heavy and useless an encumbrance as myself.”

William Morris’s love of literature is made evident also by the presence of his original verse, most of which was probably written before his legal career began. Notes on the Meredith Family Papers indicate that most of William Morris’s poems consist of “light and witty commentary on women and courting.”

William Keppele Meredith, son of the former, attended Princeton between 1851 and 1853. Plagued from childhood with cataracts and a speech impediment, William Keppele took a leave of absence from Princeton in 1852 and left school permanently in 1853. He returned to Philadelphia and spent most of his life as a “man of leisure,” save for a brief stint as a Union General’s secretary during the war. Meredith went on to become a published writer of both essays and poems. The Meredith Family Papers contains several of William’s original poems, in which he discusses “patriotism, love, adultery, religion, and philosophy.”

It seems entirely possible that either of the Merediths might have at one point owned, and annotated, this volume of Alexander Smith’s Poems. The two shared a love of literature and an affinity for writing verse. If the book was indeed signed in September 1853, 54-year-old William Morris would have been practicing law in Philadelphia and 17-year-old William Keppele would have just returned to Philadelphia from Princeton. Without access to the family’s records kept in Philadelphia or the ability to conduct a handwriting analysis, conclusions are quite difficult to draw.

Information on the book’s second owner is decidedly more distinct. Governor Frederick W. M. Holliday (1828-1899), a Virginia native, graduated Yale University in 1847. Less than a year later, he acquired degrees in philosophy, political economy, and law from the University of Virginia in 1848. Holliday proceeded to open his own law practice in Frederick County, where he was elected the Commonwealth’s Attorney for three consecutive terms beginning in 1851. An avid secessionist, he served as a captain in the Confederate Army, and was later promoted to major and lieutenant colonel. He was forced to resign his commission after he was wounded in battle and his arm was amputated. Following the war, Holliday returned to law and was elected governor of Virginia in 1878. At the end of his governorship, he retired and devoted the remainder of his life to traveling. It was Governor Holliday who ultimately donated this edition of Poems to the UVA Library Collection.

The question of connection between the Merediths and Governor Holliday might be answered by their common involvement in the practice of law or participation in the Civil War. It is also possible that the men were unknown to each other and happened upon the book independently.

Regardless of the note-taker’s identity, this volume stands out for its profusion of readerly commentary, much of which is pointed, funny, and smart. History reveals that this reader was not alone in ridiculing Alexander Smith’s Poems.

When Poems debuted in 1853, Smith was initially praised as the next great British lyricist. Following the book’s publication, Putnam’s Monthly Magazine, an American literary journal, proclaimed that “A Life-Drama” had just “received a more universal and flattering welcome than was ever before awarded to an English poet” (LaPorte 421). Shortly thereafter, though, praise turned to criticism, which consisted of vicious attacks and accusations of plagiarism. Most damning was literary critic W.E. Aytoun’s 1854 review of Poems, in which labeled Smith a Spasmodic. The Spasmodics, a group of mid-19th century poets, closely imitated the Romantics and were criticized for their excessive use of natural imagery and obscure allusions. Smith resisted the title and spent the remainder of his life trying to shake his association with the group. Later in 1854, an anonymous author published a parody of Smith’s “A Life-Drama” entitled The Firmilian: A Tragedy, causing further damage to his reputation. Smith ultimately turned to writing essays, for which he received less attention but better critical reception.

Looking more closely at the notes made in this copy of Poems, and more specifically those made on “A Life-Drama,” it becomes clear that this volume is engaged in a larger historical conversation about Alexander Smith.

In “A Life-Drama,” a poet named Walter falls deeply in love with an unnamed lady. After meeting in an Italian forest, the two engage in extensive flirtation. To Walter’s dismay, though, his beloved is doomed to marry an old, wealthy man. Time passes and Walter overcomes his heartbreak, ultimately falling in love with another woman, Violet.

Some of the reader’s comments on the play come as brief quips: “Nonsense” (23), “Absurdity” (24), “What stuff and nonsense!” (35), “You sentimental old hypocrite!” (77), “Every idea in this Poem is repeated five times at least” (82), “Ain’t they a pair of wiseacres!” (86), “Unnatural” (131), and “Disgusting Affectation” (131).

The few positive comments that do appear resonate as sarcastic given the generally disgruntled tenor of the reader’s commentary. Beside several lines of bracketed verse in Scene II, for example, he writes: “Beautiful, by God!” (19) Another bracketed passage in the same scene is accompanied by the note: “Love is sometimes said to be incomprehensible” (13).

Other notes are more long-winded. In Scene I, for example, Walter declares: “Bare, bald and tawdry, as a fingered moth / Is my poor life; but with one smile thou canst / Clothe me with kingdoms” (6). In the margins above, the reader reacts:

‘As a finger’d moth!’ A man who would finger a moth, is fit for nothing but camphor [moth repellant]. Mr. Smith says that a moth is both ‘bare and tawdry:’…. Does fingering a moth make it more bald, or more tawdry? In short, I will be very much obliged to anybody who will explain to me the meaning of that line. If Mr. Smith is so very much like a moth, he had better keep clear of camphor, and his friends had better take the necessary precautions about their clothes. (6-7)

Unfortunately, the edges of many pages were trimmed during the volume’s re-binding, so some notes, including the one transcribed above, are abbreviated.

In Scene III, Walter speaks of “gentle pagans…whose red blood ran / Healthy and cool as milk,” to which the reader responds: “Milk, in its natural state, is warm fortunately for the physical comfort of these ‘gentle pagans’” (39).

In Scene V, Walter declares: “My heart is weak as a great globe, all sea,” provoking the reader to write in large, angry letters: “I should like to pitch this fool into the Atlantic to convince him that his heart is a little weaker than the great globe, all sea” (74).

In Scene VI, Walter recites following lines: “I gaz’d till my heart grew wild, / To fold her in my warm caresses, / Clasp her showers of golden tresses” (77). In the margins, the reader reacts to this sensuous description: “Old Bishop Onderdonk would have taken her by storm, in a coach full of people” (77). The reader here makes reference to the contemporary controversy surrounding Bishop Benjamin Treadwell Onderdonk (1791-1861). In 1844, multiple female parishioners, including the wife of one of his fellow clergymen, accused the Episcopal Bishop of New York of sexual misconduct. The scandal remained in contention for over a decade.

In Scene VII, Walter gazes out over the sea and remarks: “The bridegroom sea / Is toying with the shore, his wedded bride, / And in the fulness of his marriage joy, / He decorates her tawny brow with shells” (90). The reader underscores “bridegroom sea,” “the shore,” and “bride,” and then responds in a marginal note: “John and Polly have been married 40 years. To call John a bridegroom, or Polly a bride, would be apt to provoke a smile from the most rigid practicer of decorum. I therefore feel myself the less criminal in having actually laughed at the idea of bridegrooming and briding the Sea and the Shore, that have been married (man and wife) for thousands of years” (90).

In other moments, the reader identifies Smith’s literary allusions, calling to mind contempoary accusations that he had plagiarized portions of Poems. William Shakespeare, Thomas Moore, and Fanny Kemble are each cited several times.

The majority of the reader’s notes, however, take the form of original verse, extending and satirizing Smith’s poetry. For example, upon waking from a nap in Scene II, Walter says: “Fair lady, in my dream / Methought I was a weak and lonely bird,” at which point the reader interjects: “Caught napping by a much superior bird, / That was a bird indeed!” (15)

Later in the same scene, as Walter speaks to his unnamed love interest he says: “His words set me on fire; I cried aloud” (25). The reader repeats this line in his note and then continues:
‘I’ll be that Poet—that immortal mind!’
He grasp’d my hand,—I look’d upon his face,—
A thought struck all the blood into his cheeks,
Like a strong buffet. His great flashing eyes
Burn’d on my own. He said, ‘Your name is Smith.’
Why am I cursed with that damning name?
Why am I not Jones, —Milligan, —McShinn,
Pips, —anything but Smith! (25)

Throughout the entire play, the reader continues to interject, adopting the Smith’s style even as he mocks the poet and his characters. In these moments, the reader’s actions echo, or perhaps foreshadow, the anonymous author’s 1854 parody of “A Life-Drama,” The Firmilian: A Tragedy. Included below are a few further examples, which I have abstained from transcribing for the sake of space.

A final instance worth mentioning explicitly appears on the poem’s final page. Smith’s Walter delivers the final words of the play to Violet, his second lover. The reader extends Walter’s speech, and also allows Violet a response:
Yes, Walter! I will sleep upon thy breast,
As yonder moon sleeps on the quiet river.
The stars, and he in the moon, are looking at us,
So come away, for I’m afraid of blushing. (160)

In a final jab, the reader grants Walter the last line. Ever the romantic, he replies to his love: “You look more pale than ever” (160).

Comments like these appear also in the margins of the volume’s subsequent, shorter poems.

So rich in user intervention, so shrouded in mystery, and so embedded in the literary critical context of its time is this copy of Alexander Smith’s Poems that extensive additional research could be conducted on its history.

For more on Book Traces @ UVA, visit our blog at https://booktraces.library.virginia.edu .

Sources
“Benjamin Treadwell Onderdonk.” House Divided: The Civil War Research Engine at Dickinson College. Dickinson College, n.d. Web. 10 Dec. 2015.
“Camphor, n.” OED Online. Oxford University Press, December 2015. Web. 9 December 2015.
Executive letter books of Governor Frederick M. W. Holliday, 1878-1881. Accession 33431, State government records collection, The Library of Virginia, Richmond, Virginia.
“Introduction” Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism Ed. Denise Evans and Mary L. Onorato. Vol. 59. Gale Cengage, 1997. 5 Dec, 2015.
LaPorte, Charles, and Jason R. Rudy. “Editorial Introduction: Spasmodic Poetry and Poetics”. Victorian Poetry 42.4 (2004): 421–428. Web.
“Poems by Alexander Smith.” Bizarre: For Fireside and Wayside. Vol. 3. N.p.: Church, 1853. 121-23. Google Books. Web. 9 Dec. 2015.
Series 7, William Morris Meredith: William Meredith, Meredith Family Papers (Collection 1509), The Historical Society of Pennsylvania.
Smith, Alexander. Poems. Boston: Ticknor, Reed, and Fields, 1853. Print.

Book submission: History of Education

Title: History of Education
Author: Davidson, Thomas
Publication date: New York City, 1900
Library: Sojourner Truth Library, SUNY New Paltz
Call number: LA13.D3
Submitted by: Danielle Koppie
Description:
Louise Patricia O’Malley
Simmons College
1917
“For wherever a man’s place is there he must remain at the hour of danger with no thought of death.” -Socrates
“Nothing is ever worth learning that you can get through with.. Education is a life job.” -Sir. Moore.
“Education is not a process of putting things into the soul. It is a process of showing how to use the power of the soul but” -Sir Moore

Book submission: Representative Men: Seven Lectures

Title: Representative Men: Seven Lectures
Author: Emerson, Ralph Waldo
Publication date: Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1903
Library: The University of Iowa Libraries
Call number: PS 1600.F03 v.4
Submitted by: A. Caviston
Description:
Ralph Waldo Emerson, most commonly known as the leader of the Transcendentalist movement, was

an American writer of essays and poetry. He was born in Boston, Massachusetts, 1803 and attended Harvard College. Some of his well-known essays include Nature, Circles, The Poet, and The Over-Soul. Over the course of his lifetime he gave more than 1,000 lectures. This volume contains several of these lectures. He died in 1882. (Source: PBS.org) Annotations read: “lovers of music” pg. 21 / “could Napoleon?” pg. 23 / “constellation” pg. 27 / “Miad’s “I”” pg. 28. Quotation reads “There is a law by which life is perpetuated” on pg. 110.

Book submission: The Good Time Coming

Title: The Good Time Coming
Author: T.S. Arthur (Timothy Shay)
Publication date: 1855
Library: University of Iowa Main Library
Call number: PS1039.A77 G63 1855
Submitted by: Beth B.
Description:
Twenty-
Mrs. Mary A Pinnell, Portland. Me. September 6, 1877 (written with a pointed pen in copperplate letters)
Desire not to live long, but to live well: How long we live, not years, but actions tell
Mrs. D.A. Clements
Twenty-two years after publication of “The Good Time Coming” by famous author T.S. Arthur this edition fell into the possession of Mrs. Mary A. Pinnell. A basic Internet search found no significant information about Mrs. Pinnell. I also, could not find any additional information about the second name Mrs. D.A. Clements. A great deal of information can be found on the author and his work with literary magazines and books. Timothy Shay Arthur worked at times with Edgar Allen Poe and was even considered more famous than him during that time in history. T.S. Arthur’s fame came from his publication of Arthur’s Home Gazette that catered to the families and middle-class Americans.

Book submission: Standard English Poems: Spenser to Tennyson

Title: Standard English Poems: Spenser to Tennyson
Author: Pancoast, Henry S.
Publication date: New York, 1899
Library: Sojourner Truth Library at SUNY New Paltz
Call number: PR1175 .P35
Submitted by: Christina Daube
Description:
– Pasted into the inside cover are an introduction to a poem by Miss Anna Bartlett Warner and the poem itself, which begins, “It seems so strange to think of days when I shall not be here…” Both excerpts appear to be typewritten.

– On the opposite page, the name Amy L. Abel is written in ink, along with a small “’10.”

– Two quotes from James R. Lowell’s “The Present Crisis” are written on the next page:

“Once to every man and nation comes the moment to decide
In the strife of truth with falsehood, for the good or evil

side
Some great cause, God’s new Messiah, offering each the bloom or blight,
Parts the goats upon the left hand, and the sheep upon the right
And the choice goes on forever, ‘twixt that darkness and that light.”

“Truth forever on the scaffold, wrong forever on the throne
Yet that scaffold sways the future, and behind the dim unknown,
Standeth God within that shadow, keeping watch above his own.”

– A quote from Rudyard Kipling’s “When Earth’s Last Picture is Painted” is written on the third to last page:

“When Earth’s last picture is painted and the tubes are twisted and dried
When the oldest colors have faded and the youngest critic has died
We shall rest, and faith, we shall need it – lie down for an aeon or two
Till the Master of all good workmen shall put us to work anew
And only the Master shall praise us, and only the Master shall blame:
And no one shall work for money, and no one shall work for fame
But each for the joy of the working and each, in his separate star,
Shall draw the thing as he sees it for the God of things as they are!”

– A quote by Samuel Johnson is written on the back of the previous page:

“A book should either help us to enjoy life or endure it.”

– The Johnson quote is followed by one by Agnes Repplier:

“Character, not intellect, ensures victory in the long, hard battle of life and is the open sesame to our tired hearts.”

– The war poem “In Flanders Fields” by John McCrae is inscribed on the opposite page, and continues onto the next:

“In Flanders fields, the poppies blow,
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scare heard amidst the guns below.

We are the dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe!
To you, from failing hands, we throw
The torch. Be yours to lift it high!
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, tho poppies blow
In Flanders fields.”

– Beneath the poem is a description of the author:

“Lieut. Col. John McCrea, a physician in Canada before the war. While serving in the second battle of Ypres an inspiration to write came.”