The book that I have chosen to do my post on is “Heroes of American History: Amerigo Vespucci.” It was published in 1907 and discusses the life and background of Amerigo Vespucci, the Italian Explorer who the Americas were named after. This book has written notes and Marginalia included throughout the text, and gives some insight to the thoughts of past readers of this book.
This first image shows the word “friends” written into the margins. This is written on the first page of chapter 2, which discusses Vespucci’s friends and family. The word “friends” was written to specify that two of the individuals being talked about on this page were friends and not family by one of the past readers of this book.
In this page shown here, the author discusses Columbus and a man named Toscanelli, a florentine scientish who the author credits with giving Columbus the idea of searching for a western sea route to India. In the margins, someone wrote “Toscanelli + Columbus discover America.” This is was one way for an unknown reader to basically sum up what they read on the previous several pages.
In this chapter, the author discusses competing claims by various historians about which voyages involved participation by either Vespucci, Toscanelli, or Columbus. In the margins, the readers writes “How many voyages did Columbus make?” This was apparently an expression of frustration by the reader than there may not be a definitive count of all the voyages that columbus was himself involved, let alone the number that Toscanelli and Vespucci were involved in.
In this chapter, the author discusses the favorite writers of Vespucci and Toscanelli. He iterates that around this time period was when printing was invented and books were not yet prevalent. The readers writes a question in the margins, “question as to what he would probably read” This is a question as to what books Vespucci would have read if he had access to them, and may have been the readers attempt to summarize what the chapter was discussing.
This is one of many examples throughout the whole book where the past reader(s) highlight various portions of the text that they find relevant by drawing a single line along the left margin past all relevant text. This is done many times throughout the book and at least once in every single chapter.