I’ve been working dawn to nearly midnight most every day for a couple weeks now. As you can tell from the time stamp on my entries. (I’m barely squeaking my NaBloPoMo entries in.) Needless to say, I was in desperate need of a break yesterday.
So I treated myself to taking an hour at a local estate sale, because I love interesting old books and old crochet hooks. And I hoped maybe to score some kitchen accessories (which I didn’t thanks to an unpleasant experience with an unruly woman – another story, another time).
While the crochet hooks they had were in despairingly poor condition, there were some NEAT old books in wonderful condition. These are my cool finds of the day. There’s even a couple early 20th century first editions in there. Not bad for an hour of my time.
One of the books is titled on the cover “Materia Medica With Repertory, 9th Edition.” And on the inside the title page reads “Pocket Manual of Homeopathic Materia Medica Comprising The Characteristic And Guiding Symptoms Of All Remedies.” This 9th edition is specifically dated as published in 1927.
It’s an interesting medical reference book. From the preface: “Our Materia Medica must include all substances which have been proved and which have been used with apparent efficacy. It rests with the individual student to judge for himself the accuracy and reliability of such observation.”
Further into the book, I flipped to the page on St. John’s Wort, where the book says it’s good for injuries to the nerves, especially for fingers, toes and nails. Supposedly also prevents lock-jaw. And then there’s this unusual statement, “Has an important action on the rectum; hemorrhoids.” I have to wonder just what that means exactly.
On a nearby page there’s a detailed entry for something called henbane. “Disturbs the nervous system profoundly. It is as if some diabolical force took possession of the brain…” I can’t help but read that with Ichabod Crane’s English accent in my head.
“Life, Youth and Success” is a psychology book from 1920. And there’s another book entitled, “Practical Time Travel.” An early 20th century text on reincarnation.
I think I’m going to display “Practical Time Travel” next to “They Knew Too Much About Flying Saucers,” another interesting old book that I found at the last estate sale I caught a couple months ago. Super sweet!
You’d think with the powers that be, and with resources like Amazon.com, that you could find everything online. However, I find that sales like this introduce me to all sorts of forgotten books. Or even foreign texts we don’t usually see in the States. So while our resources are indeed vast, they are certainly not comprehensive.
Admittedly, my reasons for going to sales are mostly geeky in nature. Antique books and crochet hooks. Sometimes antique patterns and sheet music. I don’t get to hunt as often as I’d like, but when I do, it’s usually fun.
How about you? What’s the most interesting old book that you’ve found? Any titles I should look out for?