Sunday, April 12, 2015

"A room without books is

 like a body without a soul.”  
~Cicero

Having spent my entire working career as either an English teacher or librarian you know that I love books and words and paper and pencil.  So, when I see a stash of old books, my immediate reaction is can I get them in my tote or how many trips to the car will this take?  So, when I saw this collection, I  was secretly doing the Snoopy happy dance in my head.
As much as I am environmentally conscious, I still do not picture the 22nd century with Kindles loaded with books at flea markets.  I love the title of the series - The World's Greatest Books.  When I initially googled the title, I saw the set on ebay for $299!  Because?  That is another discussion...just because something is old does not make it priceless!

The editor, Arthur Mee, had this series published in 1910.  A British writer, journalist, and educator, he was best known for children's encyclopedias and newspapers.  It appears he was very patriotic and published works on history and on the English countryside.
In 1908, he created The Children's Encyclopedia which was a fortnightly magazine, and it was later bound into 8-10 volumes.
 He also started a newspaper for children, and the Children's Newspaper stayed in print until 1965 (he died in 1943).   The Encyclopedia was even translated into Chinese, and it sold well in the United States under the title The Book of Knowledge.
Mee only had one child of his own, and he was not devoted to children, but, as a devout Baptist, he was attempting to create and influence a generation of patriotic and moral citizens.

His history books included London-Heart of the Empire and Wonder of the World and The King's England,  guides to English counties, which are in print and, yes, in Kindle versions.
What fascinated me about the set I found was how some of the volumes were worn. Volume XX has the index, so that makes some sense, but "Poetry and Drama" was faded more than any others, and that is actually appropriate since April is National Poetry Month.

I always love the stories behind my finds...this turned out to be a fun discovery.

“Think before you speak. Read before you think.” 
~Fran Leibowitz

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