My Collection of Antique Books

I just thought I’d share with you some of the neat little antique books I have in my collection, how I came by them, any particular comments I might have concerning them, with names and inscriptions or writing found inside.

The New Select Speaker  by Josephine W. Stratton, Jeannette  M. Stratton (1902) –  “Containing directions for expresing written thought in a correct and pleasing manner together with rules and exercises for physical culture and elocution.”  This book is filled with illustrations and photographs featuring poses for the orator.  It is a treasure trove of materials that were useful for recitation, including decorum for such occasion, and included instruction on proper writing.   It would behove individuals of days gone by to become and  eloquent speaker and steward of the writtnen word.  As a writer and speaker I found this fascinating compilation  enlightening and quite enjoyable.
Original owner, Lilla A. Marr, N. Bridgeton, ME
I purchased this from a used book store in Waterville, ME.

Bright Ideas for Entertaining by Mrs. Herbert B. Linscott (1905) ~ “Two hundred forms of amusement or entertainment for social gatherings of all kinds:  larger or small parties, clubs, sociables, church entertainments, etc. with special suggestions for birthdays, wedding anniversaries, Hallowe’en, All Fools’ Day, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve, and other holidays.”
Back in the days before television, movies, the internet, and our compulsive busyness set in folks gathered together for social occasions.  Perhaps the original owner purchased this little book for such times as these.  It would be important for a good hostess to provide entertainment in the form of planned activities for her guests.  The compact book is a compilation of about 175 activites including games, themes, recitations, and party ideas.   I found this book entertaining in itself just reading it.  It will also become a good resource for my novels when characters are in need of leisure occupation.

Original owner:  Laura B. Elliott
I purchased this from a used book store in Waterville, ME.

The One Hoss Shay by Oliver Wendell Holmes with its Companion Poems How the Old Horse Won the Bet and The Broomstick Train (1898) ~ Oliver Wendell Holmes wrote The Wonderful One-Hoss Shay about a buggy which belonged to a deacon. It is said that the buggy
was crafted so well that in needed no repairs for over 100 years. The problem with the buggy was that it wore out completely, all at once and fell apart while the deacon was on a journey. Holmes satirizes the deacon’s position, pointing out that taking “logic” to the extreme can make a situation worse instead of better.

Read Online

I purchased this from a thrift store in Waterville, ME.  The old book, is like new.

Don’t: A Manual of Mistakes and Improprieties more or less prevalent in Conduct and Speech by Oliver Bell Bunce (1884) ~ A victorian handbook of etiquette, very entertaining.

I ordered this on ebay from an antique dealer in Belfast, ME.

See my blog post on this book with excerpts

Dreams by Olive Shreiner ~ A little book of the author’s dreams.

Inscription of original owner:  “A book I have loved.”

Read online

This is from a little used bookstore in Waterville, ME.

A Thousand and One Gems of English Poetry: Forming a complete Dictionary of the Most Admired Passages of the Brittish Poets (1869) ~ This could be a later publication, though prior to 1882. I found this at the same little used bookstore in Waterville, ME.

Book’s original owner and inscription: Addie C. Ames, Jefferson, December 25, 1882

Read online

Sweden and the Swedes by W. W. Thomas, Jr. (1892) ~ Written by William Widgery Thomas, Jr. – Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary of the United States to Sweden and Norway. This book belonged to my grandparents who emmigrated from Sweden. It is one of my most treasured books, an exceptional volume providing all information on the history and culture of Sweden including the country’s affiliation with Norway.

Gipsy Smith, An Autobiography (1909) ~ His Life and Work. Rodney (Gypsy) Smith, 1860-1947, was born in a tent, raised on a Gypsy camp, never attended a school – not even for a day! – yet he influenced the lives of millions of people for God through his powerful preaching. He was converted in 1876 and, the next year, was invited by General William Booth to join him in evangelistic work. He served as an officer with the Salvation Army until 1882. He then began ministering as an itinerent evangelist working with a variety of organisations all over the world, but particularly in Britain and America.

I picked this book up while doing novel research on Gypsy’s.  This man has a fascinating life.

Ellen’s Idol by Elizabeth Stuart Phelps Ward (1864) ~ a Sunday School story, children’s morality book. The first in a series, we meet Ellen, Tiny, and their brother Fred, following six-year old Ellen’s struggle to overcome selfishness.

Book’s original owner and inscriptions: Grace Townsend, Barnard, Vermont, Windsor County. “This book is what Mrs. Walker gave me when I was nine years old.”

I found this at a yardsale on Dedham St., Wrentham, MA.

Sequel Online – Tiny

Mrs. Marshall’s Key, and What it Unlocked by “the author of the New Commandment” (1870) ~ A religious morality book about Johnny Whadley who is adopted by Captain and Mrs. Marshall. I found at same yardsale in Wrentham, MA.

Book’s original owner and inscriptions: May Martin. “Though many miles apart we be please see these lines and think of me.”, “My pen is poor, My ink is pale, But my love for you, Will never fail. My pen is poor, My ink is pale, But my love for you, Will never fail.”

Live and Learn of The Woodbine Series by Mrs. Madeline Leslie (1871) ~  Inside quote: “Perseverance is the surest road to success.”

Prefatory Note inside cover: “The facts narrated in this volue, were communicated to the author by the subject of the story,a nd contain many valuable lessons to the young of our age and country.

Certainly the struggle with the spirit of reenge: the sweet peace that rewards forgiveness; the joy of victory over temptation, the unsatisfactory nature of sinful indulgence, and the blessedness of virtue and piety should warn youth against the broad road to death, and allure them into the path of life and peace.” – the author.

This is from a little used bookstore in Waterville, ME.

Pigs is Pigs by Ellis Parker Butler (1906) ~ An adorable little children’s book I found at that yardsale in Wrentham, MA. My children got a real kick out of this one!

Frontispiece “Pets thim animals may be, but pigs, I’m blame sure they do be.”

The Bunny Twins by Harrison Cady

The Gingerbread Boy told by Eunice Tietjens

The D. L. Moody Year Book, A Living Daily Message from the Words of D. L. Moody, Selected by Emma Moody Fitt (1900) ~ Written by his grandaughter.

Inside cover Mr. Moody’s Favorite Texts:

Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid; for the Lord Jehovah is my strength and my song; he also is become my salvation. Isaiah 12:2

The Lord God will help me, therefore shall I not be confounded, therefore have I set my face like a flint, and I know I shall not be ashamed. Isaiah 50:7

Love – The Supreme Gift; The Greatest Thing in the World by Henry Drummond (1887)

Read online

The Three-Fold Secret of the Holy Spirit by James H. McConkey (1897) & (1899)

Read online

The Mansion by Henry van Dyke (1911) ~ The book had belonged to my great aunt.

Read online

St. George and the Dragon, Bedtime Wonder Tales by Clifton Johnson (1919) ~

Book’s original owner: Judy M. Packard

The Curious Lore of Precious Stones by George Frederick Kunz (1941)


American Catalog of Books – published in the United States 1861 – 1866.

American Catalog of Books – published in the United States 1866 – 1871.

19th century girls series Sunday School stories

Google Book Search



  1. You are as close as I’ve come. I have an old(1909) book of my granddad’s titled Good Times at Home. It’s too fragile to handle much, but I can’t find anyone who’s ever heard of it. He got it as a boy in Ollie Montana, a town that no longer exists.

  2. “The New Select Speaker” 1904. Just purchased it from a thrift store. It is a fasinating look of our history of learning from that period. Love the pictures, poetry and stories. It is in good pretty good shape too. Have been enjoying the reading. P Campbell, Westerville Ohio.

  3. We have a copy of the New Select Speaker. It’s a fascinating book to read. It is missing the first page, (cover page?). The first page in our copy is the illustration, “Recitation at an evening entertainment”. Are we missing more than just the first page? We don’t intend to sell it, but does anyone know of its worth?

  4. Thank you all for your comments.
    Regarding the “first page”…you are in luck! The page you are referring to is blank, so you are not missing anything. My “blank” page has the name and locale of the original owner which is interesting. I paid $7.50 at an antique book store in Maine. I see it for sale on eBay for $30 and $35.

  5. You have made some really good points there.
    I checked on the web for more information about the issue and found most individuals will go along
    with your views on this website.

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