Once there was a book…

Checked-out at School

Story Pictures of Transportation 23h52854

Textbook check-out page from Story Pictures of Transportation and Communication by John Y. Beaty. 1939, Beckley- Cardy Company: Chicago. 23h52854


What is it about grade school textbooks that just make us want to scribble all over them? Sure, there’s boredom, but maybe we’re also seeing what people have written in the past and want to add their own mark to the pages. The image above is of a textbook from 1939 and illustrates the checkout form. If you went to public school in the US you should recognize one of these – the teacher hands you a book, you write your name on the list, then it’s yours temporarily. This image shows what typically happens when a textbook gets passed around. There are many names, in various levels of legibility and completion, a few dates, and some scribbles. The first thing that probably jumped out at you was the name “Marlene Trimble” in bright orange marker. Can’t you just see an impatient little girl scribbling over the entire page with the nearest maker, claiming it as hers? Her name blots out some of the others on the page, though I could still make out “Larry Martin” under the second Trimble. The other names are generally more sedate, written nicely in their own box, but there is only one complete date- Oct 21 1947

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This entry was posted on November 21, 2014 by in Paratexts and tagged , .
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