Mossey Library is an unassuming environment for hidden gems, especially in the literary sense. With some tips from Mossey Library Director Dan Knoch, we’ve compiled a list of truly fascinating books. A grand selection awaits both the historical and literary enthusiasts.
“Graziella” by A. De Lamartine, 1929.
This charming novel tells the story of an eighteen-year-old boy who travels abroad in France and Italy with his relatives and encounters a myriad of quintessential European experiences. Not only does the story stroke the heartstrings of the reader, but this 1929 edition illustrations and book cover art are exquisite. This book is for in-library use/reading only.
“The Jungle Book” by Rudyard Kipling.
“The Jungle Book” is already a classic, but the edition in the Heritage Room is a beautiful antique with an engraved cover of an Athenian warrior of sorts, and a title that reads “Girls Public Day School, Trust Limited, East Putney High School.” The interior endpapers have a magnificent indigo, marble design, with complementary pages throughout the book. If these details of the book’s aesthetic do not capture your attention, perhaps take a look on one of the first pages, and you will find a handwritten note from a past owner, written in 1911.
Poetry by Will Carleton
If you have ever been in the Dow Room and stumbled upon the glass cases filled with books, you may have missed the fact that all of the authors of these books are previous Hillsdale College students. One in particular, Will Carleton, is known as the “poet of the people,” according to Knoch. Carleton wrote folkish poems, and his most significant is “Over the Hill to the Poorhouse,” which describes events of a young woman’s life in the town of Hillsdale. These works of his are over a hundred years old.
“Ulysses” by James Joyce, 1935.
Joyce’s Limited Editions Club edition of “Ulysses” is a beautiful book with a brown leather cover and golden engraved celestial images. Hillsdale’s copy is particularly unique because the author James Joyce and illustrator Henri Matisse hand-signed only 1,500 of these editions, including this one. The book is currently insured for $20,000.
“Three Stories and Ten Poems” by Ernest Hemingway, 1926.
This book may appear insignificant at first, but Hemingway’s first edition print of “Three Stories and Ten Poems” is one of Mossey Library’s greatest assets. Within this book is an imprint from a Paris bookstore that Hemingway used to frequent when he lived there, and it is currently insured for $53,000.