Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Favorite Things: Old Books

I couldn't resist taking some photos of Doran's collection of antique books, with their gilded covers and heavy, clearly-printed text. My brother-in-law, who has librarian training, once explained to me that books printed after 1910 (or thereabouts) tend to be printed on wood pulp paper, which deteriorates. But books printed before 1910 are usually printed on paper with a rag or cotton content, which preserves beautifully. Usually you can tell the difference just by picking up an old book: cotton-page books are weightier.

He started me on a passion for beautifully printed books, and I've collected a small handfull of old poetry and novels. But I was blown away by Doran's family collection. This is one case where the photos definitely don't do it justice, since the joy of old books is in the smell and smooth paper as well as in the delightful covers.


stephanie said...

I think these are just beautiful. How much would one expect to pay for books like these?

Tracy said...

And in the smell too. I love the smell of old books!

Suzanne Temple said...

They are beautiful. I've often felt as though old books contain more truth than new ones, as if they grew in wisdom like people. Of course they don't, but there is something to be said about the guilding and the fine bindings. The words inside had to be worth all the effort and decoration.

regina doman said...

Doran responds:

We find these books on Abe Books and Bookfinder – those are two sources we use…

Ebay has some, if you like going through that process of bidding.

The old books range in price according to how rare they are and what publisher is used.

Some of the Charles Whistler books pictured can go up to 100 or more per book. Daniel (my husband) is one of the only people to have a complete collection of that author’s books and they can only be found overseas.

We enjoy looking for nice copies – the quality of the books are just amazing and beautiful. The bindings, the thickness of paper, the intricate designs for illustrations – wow – now each one is a piece of art!

Thanks for asking about them – here are some great authors that we have enjoyed:

Evelyn Everette Green

Charles Whistler

Deborah Alcock

Augusta Jane Evans-Wilson (St. Elmo is my ultimate favorite book – Regina, you would love this!)

Florence Barclay

Hope that helps – enjoy!