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December 04, 2013
Some of the things you might find in a borrowed book:
Letters written never meant to be read by strangers, such as "Dear Jennie" dated 1882, "Oh to married. Just think of that first night..."
A recipe for beer bread.
W.B. Yeats poem "A Prayer for My Daughter" found in a book titled Cutting: Understanding and Overcoming Self-Mutilation.
I can only hope Yeats was effective.
We're reading a book, something interrupts us, and we grab something to remember the page.
It could be a train ticket, a letter, an advertisement, a photo, a four-leaf clover or anything that fits.
Since we don't have a bookmark handy.
(Where do they all go?)
Eventually the book finds its way into a library, a flea market, other people's bookshelves, or to Popek's Used and Rare Books in Oneida, New York - a family business that Michael Popek manages.
Out of Popek's finds has come "Forgotten bookmarks" that documents some of the items he's freed from the pages.
Bookmarks, at least the ones designed for that purpose, go back to the invention of paper.
In ancient times, they were made of velum and part of the book.
The first detached, and collectible bookmarks began to appear in the 1850s.
One of the first references is found in Mary Russell Mitford's "Recollections of a Literary Life" in 1852:
"I had no marker and the richly bound volume closed as if instinctively."
Bookmarks in WWI were used to promote the war effort, to encourage people to save money, and to urge road users to observe the Highway Codes.
Some bookmarks were more interesting than the book.
Although not nearly, it appears, as interesting as what we make do when we don't have one handy.
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