A 91 Year Old Message

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When we started looking for possible books with marginalia I originally started looking at old books about music.  After looking through several books unsuccessfully I decided to move toward the British Literature section of the library.  The marginalia I found was located in a Theatre Royal Book on the very first page. The book was clearly a gift from one person to another dated 1923.  The message reads:

“To Barry Lufino

[illegible] of a great line

a souvenir

Theare Royal Huddersfield

July 16th 1923

From [illegible]”

I found this interesting because I could’t help but wonder what they story was between these two people.  Did the giver of this book go to the theatre alone and bring back a gift for a loved one or did the two people go together? Did they live in Huddersfield or did they travel there? How were these two people related? Family? Friends? Lovers?

The marginalia s also interesting simply because of the fact that the giver wrote a message in the book for the receiver to remember when, where, and who it was from.  My grandmother used to write in the books she gave people, but other than her I don’t know anyone else who still writes in books when giving them as a gift.  If you are giving someone a book you usually just cross out the price tag and give it to them.  The message shows that this person wanted to make this a more intimate gift with a personal message.

The message that was left in this book is important because it is written proof that this book was passed on from person to person.  The Huddersfield theatre is in West Yorkshire in England.  This book somehow made it from there all the way to SUNY New Paltz and this bit of writing shows a small part of that journey.


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