Celebrating a Poet, A Self-Taught Artist, An Educator and A Lover of Nature

Three Titles Written by Lydia Louise Ann Very

Left to Right: An Old Fashioned Garden, And Walks and Musings Therin (1900); Sayings and Doings Among Insects and Flowers (1898); and A Strange Disclosure, A Tale of New England Life (1898)

March is National Women’s History Month, which celebrates the many different roles played by women throughout history, many of whom pushed beyond the stereotypes of their time.  April is National Poetry Month, during which the role of poetry in our lives is celebrated.  This blog post about Lydia Louise Ann Very (1823-1901), a talented, self-taught artist, educator, and poet, spans both of these celebrations.

Lydia L. A. Very

Image of Lydia Louise A. Very, printed on Frontispiece in An Old-Fashioned Garden, And Walks and Musings Therin (1900)

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Marbled Papers and their Use in Rare Books

Copyright Peabody Essex Museum. Photo Catherine Robertson.

One of the great pleasures of being a librarian in a rare-book setting is seeing the treasures the library owns.  The texts are important, and they are helpful to scholars throughout the world (thanks to our online catalog), and many of the things in the collection are simply beautiful.  One element of their beauty is the papers used in their production.  And one material that has been around for more than 300 years is marbled paper.

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How to Find Books You Can’t Read

Japanese book and Japanese dictionary

In my last post, I briefly explained the differences between two types of bookbinding. Interestingly, both object books that I chose needed a little catalog record TLC. The first, an anonymous journal from the first voyage of Captain Cook, simply needed to be linked to its twin elsewhere in the collection. The second, however, required investigation. You see, no one on the current library staff reads Japanese. Newer books come complete with ISBNs and standard modern publication data, making them nearly effortless to match to existing records despite the language barrier. So how do you track down a book whose information is not only in an old-fashioned format but printed in a language (and writing system) you don’t understand?

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