Once there was a book…

School Scribbles

Inner cover.

Inner cover.

Modern Algebra: Third Semester Course by Webster Wells. 1929, Heath and Company: Boston. 23h53030


Ah grade school, how I miss thee. Back when I was in middle school and high school I never realized how easy the classes and workload I had to take really were. I mean sure, math was and remains awful, but subjects like English, History, Social Studies… I look back at their single textbooks and 2-3 page paper assignments and laugh. One interesting thing about those textbooks is that each one that came my way was always decorated with a variety of names, scribbles, drawings, and more. These marks add up to years and years of bored students, each leaving their mark in their own way on the textbook. Now I’m not saying that class is always boring, I think it would come as no surprise that I was one of the students that actually enjoyed school (mostly), but there’s only so long you can learn about polynomials, the rise of Child Labor Laws, or Romeo and Juliet. This is where the doodles come in and when you can start to find cool stuff at the Baldwin.

End page (front) Scribbles and sticker.

End page (front) Scribbles and sticker.

We have a number of textbooks in the collection, earlier this year I wrote a post about school textbook bookplates and another about marks of hand but this book in particular struck me as cool and unusual. As soon as you open the book the inner covers and end pages are absolutely bursting with drawings, scribbles, writing, and more. Plus it doesn’t hurt that there’s a shout out to the University of Florida!

More writing, scribbles, and doodles, end page (back)

More writing, scribbles, and doodles, end page (back)

These pages detail conversations between students, experiments in handwriting, doodles, and even a pick up line that reads “Hey Honey, where have you been?” Kind of makes you think back to what you may have written in your own textbooks!

Even more scribles, doodles, writing

Even more scribbles, doodles, writing

This page has more variations in handwriting and style, as well as a heart with the initials “K.L + D.C.” towards the top of the page, right under a very faint address of the owner. These are the kind of books that I like best, books that allow you to imagine what happened in the past of the text, who owned it, what their lives were like.

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This entry was posted on January 26, 2015 by in Children's Literature, Paratexts and tagged , , , .
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