Sunday, January 30, 2011

Arthur Schlesinger's Bookplate: The Whole Picture

I like a bookplate that tells a story. One that tells me what its owner is all about. The bookplate below does the trick. It belongs to the historian, Arthur M. Schlesinger Sr.(1888-1965). His bookplate is a panorama of life in America:

See the family of four standing on the hillside? They are about to embark on an American journey. The little boy points at the scene below. The mother looks back at us, as if to say, "Want to join us?"

The family of four looks down from the hillside. They see children playing jump rope and baseball in the yard of a schoolhouse. They see a Model T Ford parked against the trees. They see two cowboys conversing in a field. They see a wagon train on the trail that winds past an Indian village. They see a train traveling along in the distance on the outskirts of a town full of buildings, the tall steeple of a church its most prominent feature. Beyond and above the town, they see smoke billowing from the factory smokestacks of another generation of Americans. The smoke blows away from the densely populated residential community. And on the very top of the most distant hill, they see a metropolis. Flying over the skyscrapers, they see an airplane and a blimp. A beautiful picture of life in America, yes? But that is only half of the picture.

Last Friday, on a bookshelf in Dan Sheppard's CrackerHouse Books in Arcadia, Florida, I found a book whose spine read:




I pulled the book down from the shelf. The front cover read:


I opened up the book and in my left hand, on the illustrated endpapers, I saw a familiar scene, only it was twice as long as I remembered it, and twice as beautiful:

Yes. The complete panorama of American Life. From the ships in the harbor, to the Pilgrims and the Indians, to the colonials embarking on a stagecoach, to the farmer plowing the field. And to Ben Franklin flying his kite high up in the American sky. My sky. Arthur Schlesinger's sky. Arthur Schlesinger's History of American Life from beginning to end.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Always Be On Time

In this New Year, I will strive to post at least one blog entry each month. This first title, "Always Be On Time," will be an appropriate reminder for me.

For My Sentimental Library Collection, I collect books formerly owned by authors, bibliophiles, and other famous people. I also want books written by or about them, bookplates if they have them, catalogues of their libraries if such were published, and autograph letters either to or from them. Usually, I look for books formerly owned by authors I collect, and then try to complete the cycle of acquiring bookplates, catalogues, and autograph letters. In one case, however, it was the bookplate that got me started first. And I didn't know the owner of the bookplate from Adam.

In 2004, I wrote an article for the now defunct online periodical, AB Bookman's Magazine. My article was titled "The Story of a Bookplate." If you haven't read this article before, you should read it now. It provides background information for this blog entry.

The bookplate was pasted on the inside cover of a pamphlet commemorating the Battle and Massacre of Wyoming, Pennsylvania, July 3, 1778. I don't remember exactly where I acquired the pamphlet; there were two commemorative pamphlets, but I gave one to "fellow" collector, Jan Clark. I may even have bought the pamphlets specifically because of the bookplate. I have done that in the past.

I kept track of the copies of Edward Martin's autobiography, Always Be On Time, available online, but was unwilling to pay $75 for a copy. But in June 2009, one of the booksellers had a 50% off sale, and you can guess what I bought.

Edward Martin inscribed this book "For David D. Fleming – A fine and loyal American – with appreciation – Edward Martin, 31 Dec 62."

Colonel Fleming underlined his own name in the text:

This book title is part of a motto Edward Martin's father practiced and preached: "Be on time, be loyal and speak the truth." Edward Martin lived by that motto himself, as a general, as a governor, as a senator, and as a man. I wish there were more politicians like him today. We need them.

Here is a picture of Private Martin:

Here is a picture of General Martin:

Here is a picture of Senator Martin.

I started reading Edward Martin's book soon after I acquired it in 2009, but somehow got sidetracked. I started reading it again this week.

Here are some more images from the book:

In all my twenty-three years in the military, I never witnessed a General marching with his troops. That is General Martin leading his troops in formation.

During his long military career, General Martin used several modes of transportation for moving his troops. From using carabaos (water buffalo) in the Philippines in 1899:

To using trucks along the Mexican border in 1916:

To using Wagon Trains – No, this is not the Wild West. It is a picture of the 110th Wagon Train at Camp Hancock, Georgia in 1917:

Why the sudden interest in Edward Martin? The last thing I bought in 2010, on December 31st no less, was a Typed Letter Signed (TLS) by Edward Martin. I acquired the letter from Linda Harris, an ebay seller from Spartanburg, S.C.

I don't believe there is a catalogue of Edward Martin 's library–a photo of his library will have to do.

I have, therefore, completed the cycle for My Sentimental Library!

Drumroll please!

A book from Edward Martin's library

His bookplate,

A book by and about him,

An autograph letter.

And a Happy New Year already!