I look for the irremediable books, the injured ones, with missing pages and spines heavy with wear and I handle them as a word lover, a nurse, a mother.
I research authors and their lives, read what's left of the book's message, the penciled notes on the margin, the underlined paragraphs, the names and dates and sometimes places of previous owners, and I think about the book in the context of that geography. What it meant then, what it means now.
Only then, do I dissect and re-use them, saving all I can. Re-interpreting. Building on. Learning the artistry of previous bookbinders, the leather or fabric choices, the engravings, the marble papers and even the selected typeface. And in the act, I hope to do more honoring than destruction.
So here I am, working with what's left of "Locke Amsden, or the Schoolmaster: a Tale" by Daniel Pierce Thompson, and thinking about Mr(s). Hopkins, the original owner and about the author's message:
"his clear intention is to use his book to engage its readers in a dialogue about common schooling in the United States and encourage them to support and strengthen the institutions of popular education. Thompson is a firm believer in the idea that a well educated nation is a strong nation, and his concept of education goes beyond literacy, numeracy, and the accumulation of random facts. Again and again, we see the personal and practical importance of having a nation of problem solvers who have been taught how to take basic principles and use them to arrive at logical, valuable conclusions."
What is left of Locke Amsden, will become my Journal of Hope...