Here’s a cool NINES project collecting photos and other documentary evidence of 19c readers from the notes– and objects– they kept in them. It will be interesting to see how this develops.

http://chronicle.com/blogs/wiredcampus/book-lovers-record-traces-of-19th-century-readers/52415

I remember when I taught the History of the Book in America course in 2004 (or so) and had my students working at the Book Thing and one of them found a copy of a book that had a brittle wax-paper envelope containing photographic negatives of what appeared to be a family vacation at the beach. These ghostly, reversed-out traces of a previous reader sent chills down my student’s– and my– spine. Who was this reader? Was he/she using these negatives as a bookmark, haphazardly grabbed off a shelf and no longer useful for any other purpose? Or was the reader intentionally keeping these negatives with the book as a kind of memorial?

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