Tuesday, May 27, 2008

A jocular book inscription

Inscriptions in old books can be extremely interesting. Last Friday we posted one from our copy of David Brown's biography. At first glance it looked just like another gift inscription - until we realised that it had been given to the subject's granddaughter by his daughter and son-in-law. So we intend, God willing, to present a few of the more interesting inscriptions we have run acrosss.

This inscription is found in the front of a copy of the 1907 volume of the Morning Watch, the Reformed Presbyterian children's magazine that ran from 1888 to 1915. It is from the author, the Rev. John Patterson Struthers of Greenock, to the Rev. Charles Jerdan, a United Free Church (formerly United Presbyterian) minister in the same town. It reads: "From his discarded locum tenens'. This was Struthers' usual way of describing himself to Jerdan, for Struthers had taught a Bible class at Jerdan's church at one time.

Struthers sent Jerdan a copy of the yearly volume each Christmas (a Christmas publishing date being sound business sense for a work for children). Whilst Jerdan certainly possessed a full set of the volumes, we do not know if Struthers sent them to him every Christmas from 1888, or if he acquired some of the earlier volumes later on. Since contributors to the Morning Watch included James Denney, it is very likely that Jerdan was at least a subscriber to the early volumes.

[Note: These inscriptions are a good way of posting something without doing too much work on the posts!!!]

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