I thought it was really cool to search our library through these old books to find marginalia. I looked through a lot of books and could only find one with underlining. I wanted to find some writing but I thought, it’s definitely better than nothing.
The book with underlining I found was Europe in the Middle Age by Oliver J. Thatcher and Ferdinand Schwill. The publisher was Charles Scribner’s Sons, the place was New York, and the year was 1907. The cover had been rebounded but the pages certainly showed their old age.
The underlining occurred only in the chapter on feudalism, near the center of the book, and there was a lot of it in that section. It was done in light pencil and wasn’t very neat. It appeared to me that the main points on the topic of feudalism were what were underlined, including definitions, economic and political relations. It gives me the impression that this person wanted to learn about feudalism, and used underlining to mark down the central ideas they found worth remembering. In an age before highlighters or post-it notes, underlining sentences or phrases would be the way to study something. Feudalism was a large part of Europe in the Middle Age and someone took the time to learn about it. This book was either in an educational setting or possibly just used personally by one or a group of people.
Since the topic of the book was so broad, feudalism was given an entire chapter. Whoever did these underlines took the time to find the book, find the chapter, and then find exactly what it was that they wanted to know.