This weekend I went to an estate sale to pick up some books to alter. I don't want to pay a lot for books that are the vessel of art but the topic and condition are critical to starting a project. I was on a search for something interesting and I found it.
The estate was of two professors who had a personal library of about 20,000 books. They were both members of Mensa and the scope of the library was amazing. Almost every room was wall to wall bookshelves. Here is a small section of the basement which had custom built library shelves.
More than half the books had clips and post it flags marking pages and passages. Many were dated with what seems like the date purchased or read and some were annotated. They left themselves, and each other, notes which have traveled on to those of us who followed behind them. Opening the books was a mesmerizing adventure.
It was fascinating to peer into the lives of what was clearly two very interesting people. The sale brought their love of reading to so many people. Customers were talking to each other about their interests and envisioning this couple. I've been thinking about these two people ever since I left the house. I went back with Andrew. We each ended up with a case a books for a song. I couldn't decide what to purchase. Since I'm trying to declutter my house, I was hesitant to bring in more books than I'll alter but I knew this was a unique opportunity.
Here are my treasures. Aristotle to Gone with the Wind, Plato to Boy Scouts. Some will be altered; some will be pulled apart for collage materials and a couple I can't bring myself to change. The open book is called Verses I Like and is filled with clipped passages. My favorite title is Words that Heal the Way. So many pages in an altered book are captioned with single words or quotes: how fitting.
Thank you Millicent Lenz Gilson and Robert Gilson. I'll think of you when I pick up one of these books.