I’m currently reading Island of Lost Maps (WorldCat) and I came to the point in the book where the author mentions that a version of Ptolemy’s Geographia sells for over a million dollars. I searched and found a reproduction of Ptolemaeus Munster Geographia, 1540 (WorldCat), that was printed in 1966. I’m having so much fun trying to place current cities on the old maps.

I believe Treva is modern day Hamburg

Monsters at the edges of the map

Monsters at the edges of the map

India and the rest of the Orient

Detail of the edge of the world


Part II on Phrenology brings us to A Phrenological Dictionary of 19th Century Americans, 1982 (WorldCat), and The Phrenological Journal, Vols. 43-44, 1866-67 (WorldCat). Phrenological Journal was a crazy magazine that had all kinds of random stuff in it. The only things phrenological were the individual case studies and the “teachings” on morality. The Dictionary collected some of the better case studies into one book.

Details like these make me happy when I find them in books.


FIREBRANDS - I like that word.

Helen Keller as a child.

Listed under CRIMINALS

More pictures at Flickr.

Part one of a two part series on Phrenology. The idea came to me while skimming the Darwin text a few weeks back. I’ve got four books today and two more for the next post: A System of Phrenology, George Combe, 1843 (WorldCat); Phrenology, J.G. Spurzheim, 1834 (WorldCat); Heads and Faces and How to Read Them, Nelson Sizer, 1891 (WorldCat); and Mental Functions of the Brain, Bernard Holland, 1901 (WorldCat).

Pseudoscience at its best!

Pseudoscience at its best!

This is actually the original cover to the book. I find it odd that the o is falling the opposite direction of the f.

This is actually the original cover to the book. I find it odd that the o is falling the opposite direction of the rest of the letters.

Larger size here.

Three out of the four books had spots (from water?) throughout the book.

All of them did have an illstration of Pope Alexander VI. Man, they HATED that guy.

All of them had an illstration of Pope Alexander VI. Man, they HATED that guy.

As before, more pictures on Flickr.

O Hai!

I had a break from training today and thought I’d open up the WordPress Dashboard to see how the blog was coming along, stats wise. Imagine my surprise at seeing a spike in visits. My previous busiest day peaked at 73 views. Today, 743. That’s like a million* times more! So thanks to Jessamyn over at Librarian.Net for crying havoc and letting slip the dogs of war.

I've been averaging about 35 hits a day.

I have been averaging about 35 posts per day. Surprise!

*by million, I mean ten

Time off

School is starting up again and I’ve been busy with training staff and students. Library Finds will be on break until the 1st of October. See you then!

Charles R. Darwin. Three books: The Origins of Species, 1936 (WorldCat); Animals and Plants Under Domestication, Vol. 1, 1900 (WorldCat); Animals and Plants Under Domestication, Vol. 2, 1868 (WorldCat).

"It has been shown from many facts that the largest amount of life can be supported on each area, by great diversification or divergence in the structure and constitution of its inhabitants."

"In scientific investigations it is permitted to invent any hypothesis, and if it explains various large and independent classes of facts it rises to the rank of a well-grounded theory."

"How inexplicable is the similar pattern of the hand of a man, the foot of a dog, the wing of a bat, the flipper of a seal on the doctrine of independent acts of creation!"

"...I believe in the truth of the theory {of Natural Selection} because it collects, under one point of view, and gives a rational explanation of, many apparently independent classes of facts."

"From the strong principle of inheritance, any selected variety will tend to propagate its new and modified form."

"Furthermore, I am convinced that Natural Selection has been the most important, but not exclusive, means of modification."

"Even when we are quite alone, how often do we think with pleasure or pain of what others think of us?"

"At the moment of action, man will no doubt be apt to follow the stronger impulse; and though this may occasionally prompt him to the noblest deeds, it will more commonly lead him to gratify his own desires at the expense of other men."

More images at Flickr.

Today we stumble upon your favorite French queen, and mine: Marie Antoinette. I don’t know what keeps me going back to French History, but there I was again, scanning the shelves. Two books caught my eye: Memoirs of the Private Life of Marie Antoinette (WorldCat) and Secret Memoirs of Princess Lambelle (WorldCat), printed in 1917 and 1901 respectively.

I found that in both books, the embellisments, illustrations, the typography and even the width of the margins on the page, all combined to to form a feeling of opulance that reflected the subject matter.

Nothing says royalty like gold filligree

Nothing says royalty like gold filligree

Nice brackets [this is good]

Nice brackets

I also came across a reprint of Private Life, The Memoirs of Marie Antoinette (WorldCat), but it was a lifeless book in comparison to the 1917 version.

Newer book, boring cover

Newer book, boring cover

1917 version

1917 version

This is a little embarrassing, missing the final e

This is a little embarrassing, missing the final "e"

Ah, much better

Ah, much better

Midnight ramblings

As I get more into this project, I’ve started talking to Librarians at work, showing them the blog, and asking for help with finding cool books. The other day, I was talking with L. who took me up to the fifth floor of his library. We were walking around the P’s and he was pulling mad books from all over the world – Greek, Indian, Russian, Vietnamese; I was overwhelmed, taking notes of the stack we were passing through. One thing he said, really struck me as it lays at the core of why I started this blog:

“Digitizing projects are good but they don’t give you the feel or the smell of the paper; digital copies do not have a soul.”

This blog is about recognizing the value, the art, the soul of good books. Walking with L., meandering through space and time on the fifth floor, I realized just how big of a task I’ve started and how lucky I am that there are Librarians like L. to help me take it on.

Requiescat in pace

Two books that at first glance may not have much in common:

Graven Images, by Allan Ludwig (WorldCat)

The MS-DOS Encyclopedia, Microsoft Press, Edited by Ray Duncan (WorldCat)

Both deal with the dead, and speak of the symbols and glyphs chosen to represent them. And while the subjects of Graven Images date back some 300-400 years, The MS-DOS Encyclopedia only goes back twenty. However, that equates to about 350 Internet Years.

Death and Time

"Death and Time"

Detail of map of graves

Detail of map of graves

At 1500+ pages, the MS-DOS Encyclopedia is about 75 cents wide

At 1500+ pages, the MS-DOS Encyclopedia is about 75 cents wide

64K of memory - what to do with it all?

64K of memory - what to do with it all?

I think this snippet of code was used to stop Master Control in Tron

I think this snippet of code was used to stop Master Control in Tron

More pics at Flickr.

Two full weeks have gone by since I’ve started this blog and I think it’s coming along nicely. On Friday, I went back through my older posts and added WorldCat entries for as many of the books I’ve covered so far. I’ve also added a link to the Library Finds Flickr page. And lastly, I’ve added a list of blogs I’m reading that revolve around Libraries.

This project is quite fun and I’m having a great time. Posts should be pretty regular on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays.