Today I took out the suitcase where I keep my very special treasures in order to put away the 1950's glass set that my mother bought me yesterday. Whilst doing so, I decided that I'd have a look through two antique books that I bought a couple of years ago.
Both are from the annual series "Our Darlings: The Children's Treasury of Pictures and Stories". From what little knowledge I can compile, the series existed approximately from 1881 until the 1930's or 1940's, and was published by John F. Shaw & Co.
I showed these books to my Grandma and she said that she had an annual just like them when she was a little girl in the 1920s, and still has it kept stowed away in a cupboard.
This was the first book I found. It was in a charity shop sitting upon a shelf for $10.00 and I simply had to have it. I felt that if I did not buy it would get neglected and even more damaged by uncaring hands. I couldn't let that happen to such a special book that a child once adored many, many years ago.
It is bound with faded red cloth, is 288 pages long, and contains both uncoloured illustrations as well as 12 coloured prints separately glued onto individual thin cardboard-like pages dispersed throughout the book, with approximately one per five stories. The front cover features a young boy and girl eating from a basket of apples. There is no date anywhere inside the book to indicate when it was published, but I have derived some clues. Upon the back cover is a black and white advertisement for Nestle's Milk. Within the advertisement it reads "For full particulars see "Nestle's Baby Book, 1920," the most wonderful Baby Book ever compiled..."
From this I gathered that the company would not recommend a book of theirs published years ago. It would have to be fairly recent and contain the most up-to-date information for consumers. Thus I am estimating that this particular edition of the annual series was published between 1921, and 1925 at the very latest.
The second book I found in a secret book store hidden within a back street in the main of my town. It was certainly the most wonderful book store I have ever come across in my life. It had a huge collection of antique books, magazines, song books, post-cards and paper ephemera. The prices were too dear for me to afford but it was so beautiful just being in there. The atmosphere was so magical. Then, one day I went to visit the store and I was greeted with some good news, but unfortunately some bad news as well. The store was having a 75% off sale as it was not receiving enough business. This meant not only that now I could afford to buy, but it also meant that it was closing down.
I bought two things that day. There were plenty of beautiful books galore for such low, low prices! But I didn't buy them. I honestly don't know why I didn't. I very much regret not buying more, and I think I always will.
Along with a 1960's pop song booklet including The Beatles, I bought this.
It is bound with faded dark green cloth, is 192 pages long, and like the first book contains both uncoloured illustrations as well as 12 coloured prints separately glued onto individual thin cardboard-like pages dispersed throughout the book, with approximately one per five stories. The front cover features a young boy and girl playing on the grass with a black and white dog. The back cover features an advertisement for Hovis Bakery. Thankfully there is quite an accurate indication of when the book was published. Written upon the inner front cover is the message "Wishing You Many Happy Returns, From Ray, 22/10/27". This means that this edition was most likely published in either 1926 or 1927, depending on the month of the annual's publishing each year.