The oldest book I own.

This afternoon I went to an antiques shop where I ended up buying what is now, officially, the oldest book I own. It's John Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress, and it was published in 1874 (the first edition was published 200 years earlier in 1678). It's a lovely edition, and I've seen it many times on Pinterest and Tumblr, so I'm very happy to have my own copy! And, remarkably, it was only £2, so I think it was a bargain. Here it is:




And as you can see, I also bought The Old Curiosity Shop and A Child's History of England by Charles Dickens: I got it simply because I don't have A Child's History of England, but I have to admit I do like these gilded editions, they're very pretty.

As for that inscription, it says:
John Edward Grant
from John Bruce
All Saints Sunday School
29th Decm. 1878.
So, there it is! My copy of Le Rêve by Zola (1888) is now the second oldest book in my collection. I don't tend to have much luck with books in antique shops, so I'm pleased with this (99% of my books are purely functional, so it's also lovely to have a few pretty books in my collection, and I do love books with a bit of history to them).

I'd love to hear about your old books and stories, so if you're inclined, leave me a comment and tell me about your oldest book? :)

Comments

  1. Oh my, I am drooling as I type! I just LOVE your editions. It's so hard to find books as beautiful as these where I live. And £2! Unbelievable! Congratulations!

    My oldest book ….???? Wow, surprisingly, I'd never thought about it. I have a first edition Pickwick Papers so that is my pride, but thinking about it, I'm not sure that it's my oldest. I need to start scouring my shelves to answer your question!

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    1. You have a first edition Pickwick Papers?! Oh wowzas! That is SO cool! :)

      You'll have to scour your shelves, but I think it would be hard to top that!

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    2. You might possibly be interested in discovering the extraordinary story behind the creation of the first edition of The Pickwick Papers. My forthcoming novel Death and Mr Pickwick covers exactly that subject, and then moves on to the subsequent history of Pickwick, right up to the twenty-first century. Further information about my novel can be found at www.deathandmrpickwick.com
      Best wishes
      Stephen Jarvis

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  2. Oooh, lovely! I would so love to have a pretty and old edition of PP like that. I have the Kipling, but in a boring mid-century edition. Always makes me think of danegeld. Anyway, I have some neat old books that belonged to my great a grandmother, but I'm on a trip at the moment so I can't tell you too much. I have one called "What can a woman do?" that describes all sorts of career option for a woman in about 1910, maybe before that. I think beekeeping was one of them!

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    1. I love old books like that, the instructional books for women I mean. They're insane! I've got an old etiquette book, not sure what it is so can't give exact title, but it's something like "Etiquette for Girls". Been meaning to read it. I think that's probably from the turn of the century.

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  3. I have several books that are more than 100 years old. The first old book I ever got was a copy of Daddy Long-Legs by Jean Webster, from 1912. It has a really pretty blue cover but I think what I love most about it is the inscription. In a very spidery script it says "Xmas 1913, from The Palmers." Someone donated it to the library sale and I happened to find it in a box when I was volunteering, so they said I could buy it for $1. I think I donated $5 because I was so pleased with it. I also have a 1904 pocket-sized leather bound copy of David Copperfield.

    Can I borrow this meme? I think I could write a whole post about this, it's very cool!

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    1. You know, I think I've read that... I just googled it there and it definitely rings a bell.... I'm *sure* have...

      I love inscriptions, too. I've got so many second hand books I think one day soon I'll write a post about all the odd inscriptions I've found :)

      And yes, borrow away! I'll look out for your post :)

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    2. Thanks!! I'm in the middle of Moby Dick right now so I'm racking my brains for good ideas until I finish it.

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    3. I really need to catch up with Moby-Dick.... :S

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  4. Those are beautiful! I have an 1883 copy of Little Dorrit that I rescued out of the free bin at a used book store, so it's not a readable copy. It would probably fall apart if I tried to do that, but I love how old it looks. :)

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    1. Oh lovely! I love the look of old books, especially from the 19th Century - I do need to look out for them more in antique shops.

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  5. So beautiful. The oldest book I have is something published in the 30s, so not that old. Someday I dream about going to Europe to peruse old bookstores for copies like yours.

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  6. Lovely, lovely books. I love old books myself, and if I could, I'd collect lots of them! Once a professor of mine, at university, brought a XVI century volume and let us students look at it and skip through the pages... it was awesome.

    The oldest books I have, anyway, is a 1942 volume with all the novels written by Luigi Pirandello. It's a little bit worned out, but I hold it dearly, since it belonged to my grandmother.

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    1. 16th Century - that is very impressive! Might be a long while before I find a book that old! :)

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