Sunday, April 28, 2013

Pennsylvania College's old library copy of "Flatland"

One of the volumes in our family book collection is Gettysburg College's old copy of "Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions," which is one of Joan's favorite books.

How old is it? It's so old that it was in Gettysburg College's library when the school still went by its original name — Pennsylvania College. (It didn't become Gettysburg College until 1921.)

While Joan enjoys the book for its examination of mathematical dimensions, I just like it for its oldness and the cool stuff inside. (It's true. Some of us ephemeraologists are a pretty shallow lot. We don't care about all those words and ideas. We just like pretty things.)

First, here's a closeup of the cover illustration.

"A Square" was the punny pseudonym used by author Edwin Abbott Abbott when the book was originally published in 1884.

Moving along, here's the bookplate1 from the inside front cover.

As I mentioned, this book was originally added to the library when the school was known as Pennsylvania College. The bookplate includes the shelving information for this volume.

Elsewhere inside, there are stamps that state "GETTYSBURG COLLEGE LIBRARY," so this edition of the book remained on the shelves for awhile after it was published by Little, Brown and Company in 1915.

On the (formerly) blank last page of the book, someone wrote out a geometry problem in neat pencil handwriting. But the coolest part of this copy of "Flatland," to me, is that the library card pocket and circulation card both remain intact on the inside back cover.

This circulation card is skinny, measuring just two inches wide. It has been stamped seven times. There's an identical blue card in the pocket, too. But it was never stamped.

Shown below is a closeup of the handwriting on the circulation card. I wonder what employee of the college library meticulously filled out the circulation card and how many hundreds (thousands?) of them he or she neatly created over the years.

To see more terrific old circulation cards, from the time before everything became computerized, check out this June 2012 post.

1. Here are some previous posts in which bookplates are featured:

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