Wednesday, November 7, 2012

1962 pocket calendar tucked away inside a book published in 1893

This pocket calendar (the size of a credit card) was tucked away inside a hardcover edition of "Work and Win; or, Noddy Newman on a Cruise."

The book was published in 1893. It was at least seven decades (and two world wars) later that the little card was placed inside the book. And I pulled it out in 2012 — a half-century after the calendar card was intended to be used.

The card, with its illustration of an explorer and a lion, advertises traveler's checks backed by First National City Bank (a predecessor of Citibank). The card is further branded for "The Friendly, Old Reliable Bank of Warren" in Front Royal, Virginia.

The book, meanwhile, was written by Oliver Optic. That's the pen name of William Taylor Adams (1822-1897), a Massachusetts teacher and legislator who authored more than 100 books during his lifetime. Most of his adventure novels were geared toward boys and came in short series of four to six volumes.

"Work and Win; or, Noddy Newman on a Cruise" was originally published in 1865 (the year of Abraham Lincoln's assassination). In addition to the main character, Noddy Newman, the book includes a character with the wonderful name of Squire Wriggs.

In the preface, the author writes:
"In the preparation of this volume, the author has had in his mind the intention to delineate the progress of a boy whose education had been neglected, and whose moral attributes were of the lowest order, from vice and indifference to the development of a high moral and religious principle in the heart, which is the rule and guide of a pure and true life."
So I don't think I'm spoiling anything by saying that Noddy begins the book as a bit of a wayward soul and ends it as the Rev. Ogden Newman, a faithful and devoted "shepherd of the sheep."


  1. I believe "Squire" is a title, not a name. Maybe having something to do with being a landowner?

  2. Your "tucked away inside" posts are among my favorite. I like to imagine who the reader was and why s/he used that particular item for a bookmark. Perhaps in this case, the reader wanted to keep track of how long it took to finish the book. Or maybe--and more likely--it was the nearest small, flat item on-hand when a bookmark was needed. Also, it always amazes me how some old pieces of paper can be so well-preserved. I like how you put things in perspective for your readers: "...(and two world wars) later...". Thank you for this post, Chris, and keep up the (paper)great work!