I love all things vintage or historical because they scream--there's a story here!
This past weekend our Sunday School Class went to Shipshewana, Indiana for our class retreat. There are tons of little curiosity shops there. You'd think I'd have come home with knick-knacks, art, quilts, or something of the sort.
But not this book nerd girl!
Ted and I always look forward to browsing the antique store there. Last year I got a pretty red transferware teacup and saucer. This year, I got lost in the old book stacks. The store attendants told me their expert is an old retired librarian. All the books had a sticky note on the inner cover telling the copyright dates, condition, and rarity.
Here I will review two of my purchases:
Figs and Thistles--a Romance of the Western Reserve by Albion W. Tourgee is on the top of the stack. It was published in 1879 and the inside cover says the sale price was $1.50 and has several reviews.
One review inside the cover says "A capital American story. Its characters are not from foreign courts or the pestilential dens of foreign cities. They are fresh from the real life of the forest and prairie of the West."--Chicago Inter-Ocean. It is considered an American Historical fiction, and even advertises Harriet Beecher Stowe in the back of the book!
Another review in the back of the book states: "The entanglements of romantic love enter immediately upon the scene, in the affection of this youthful scion of a haughty race for the niece of his father's overseer."
The second book on my stack is Women Wage-Earners by Helen Campbell. It was published in 1893. In it Mrs. Campbell compiled a 290 page report of women workers. This book reviews the history of women wage-earners, 19th century conditions, and wages. She recounts information on such trades as cotton, woolens, dress-makers, shoemakers, and straw-braiders (for hats).
She combed public records such as census records and reports from the Labor Bureau. For instance, she found that "in some cases (an expert shirt maker made) $15 a week, but in slop work, and under the sweating-system, wages fall to $2.50 or $3 per week, and at times less." In dry-goods "--the lowest sum per week is $1.50 paid to cash-girls." She also reminds us, most women only worked an average of forty weeks a year due to irregular work.
Did you know that The Labor Law of 1886 in New York, no woman or child under age eighteen was to work more than sixty hours a week?
Check back next week for a review of the other old books I purchased.
What kind of things catch your eye at antique stores?
Do old books fascinate you?
Have you ever cruised around Google books for old book sources?