Winterberry Farm Primitives

This blog is now devoted to gardening with native plants with a focus on those species native to the east coast of the United States. With an MS in Agricultural Science from the University of Delaware and my love of native plants, I hope to help folks see the beauty and necessity of using native plants in your garden instead of exotic plants. Did you know that our native song birds and native insects are disappearing as our local environments continue to change?
For those who come to this page to see my 'Winterberry Farm Primitives' blog can now be found at where I will post new additions to my online antiques shop at and discuss various subjects about primitive antiques.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Indulging a love of old books....

As promised in my last blog, I would like to talk about where and what to collect when it comes to starting your own early book collection, but first I must share my newest find! Click on this first picture to see the entire collection of pictures in this posting!
I was in Lancaster County, PA a couple of weeks ago on a buying trip for my February Update that was on Valentine's Day (this last Friday) and I came across what I first thought was a German Bible or Psalms book from 1813. Leather bound with both of its clasps intact, it is a beautiful little book from 200 years ago that is in fabulous condition. I was interested enough that I asked to see it and a very nice Amish lady came to my rescue by taking it out of its glass case and handing it to me. I couldn't read the text so I asked her to translate some of the text for me. Turns out it is a Schwenkfelder's song book and the Schewnkfelders were a German Protestant sect that settled in the Philadelphia area back in 1731. She seemed quite pleased to see the book in such good shape and told me that German songbooks from that time never had music added to them so they are very often mistaken for Bibles or other religious books. Looking at the exterior of this early songbook, you would never know that it is a songbook!There is even the name of one of its owner's from 1856 on the frontispiece.One little secret when searching out your newest book or starting your collection is to always look for and ask questions about any book that 'speaks' to you whether it is in a glass case or sitting on a bookshelf in a used book store. I will search the little out-of-the-way shops for that one little treasure of a book and when I pick it up, the feel of that early leather is wonderful but I will always dig deeper into the book itself. What is the subject of the book? When was it published? Are there illustrations? engravings? These are just a few of the questions that I ask when looking for new treasures to add to my collection and to my shop . The reason that you collect these wonderful pieces of history will determine what and how you collect. Some will collect for the decorating value alone and those books just need to have 'the look' be it a primitive make-do cover or a Bible, songbook, or other religious book with clasps. They can be stacked
or added to a shelf along with other early antiques that would have been found in an early home along side these treasured books. Some will collect for the look and for what is inside the book. I started as one who collected for the look and then as I continued to find and collect leather bound books, I began to look for those that were from the 17th or 18th century. As the obsession grows, so does the focus tighten. Look for those books that touch you in someway, be it through touch or look and then begin to look for those books that are different in some way. I recently came across a small paperboard book that just wouldn't leave my hands...
It is called 'The Cabinet of Momus' and is so rare that there may only be a few copies outside of museums and I was lucky enough to come across one when I was visiting one of my friends who is also someone who 'picks' for me. It was written in 1809 and published in Philadelphia by the author on handmade rag-end paper. to find one at all is amazing but I have one (and it may be the only one) that has a frontispiece hand-colored engraving.
Amazing? Yes. Impossible to find another rare book. No! Look for what you love but always research what you don't know. Look for your treasures in small, out-of-the-way bookshops and antique shops, at flea markets and of course in online shops like mine! I carry a variety of early books, leather bound and others. My inventory is always changing and I can also look for specific treasures for you. Looking for tiny, early Bibles? I have them! These two little Bibles (and I mean little!) are now both sold but I am always on the hunt for these little treasures. Do not hesitate to contact me through my website if you have any questions or requests. Until next time and a blog or two on Civil War treasures...keep warm and keep smiling!

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