Collecting Journals: Volume III, 1827-1834
This volume opens with a wonderful quote from O’Conor’s Facts about Bookworms: “A library of novels is quite safe; no true bookworm would deign to feed on a popular novel.” Lillian comments, “That, if true, is a relief, for my collection of American Fiction is safe. Bookworms love books, but abhor readers. Clean books, freedom from dust, which is the Bookworm’s heaven.”
Lillian’s books were treasured not only for their role in the collection, but also for the memories they brought her. Of The Tennessean, for instance, she writes, “The circular seal of the American Antiquarian So. of Worcester, stamped on the title page. […] It is a book seldom offered for sale, and I like the stamp in it, reminding me of happy times in this library, chatting with Mr. Brigham and Mr. Vail.” Her pleasure in researching her books also reveals this love. Her investigation of Washington Irving’s The Alhambra is a wonderful example of this; Lillian’s research introduces her to the friendship between Irving and John Wetherell. Apparently Irving gave an early copy of The Alhambra to Wetherell, an English friend of his. Lillian concludes that as Wetherell read the volume, he edited the errors he found “for [his] own amusement.” Among her notes on this volume are the following: “Now 100 years later I am grateful to both Author and friend for one of my prized books. A fine association copy of a fine book. […] I am grateful that in hunting for a reference to Mr. Wetherell, I read the ‘Life and letters.’ And enjoyed all 4 volumes. […] Now I feel that I know the first owner of my beautifully bound copy of ‘The Alhambra.’”
This volume also provides a clue as to when Lillian was assembling her collecting journals. From the character of the entries, it seems as though she would add to them as time went by and she learned more about each volume. While she always included publication dates, and often noted purchase dates, she here offers the first dated journal entry. At the end of her entry for James Fenimore Cooper’s The Bravo, she writes, “I have learned that the Coopers just sold were not in the McCutcheon sale, but were bought in private sale by E.W. Harden from Mr. McCutcheon. My hand shakes tonight. I don’t feel well, so the Bookplate drawing is bad. April 18, 1843.” This may be an illness she also mentions while writing Memories.