If you wait long enough, your next subject to study will come to you, slinking up beside you like a beast in the forest, ready to domesticate itself.
Yesterday, I spent a delightful afternoon, the first after a long dry spell, immersed in my local history books. By local, I mean Camden County, and since I'm hiking Big Timber Creek and live not 4 miles from the park there, I'm counting Gloucester County as local. The tie in, other than the dog park and my daily meditation walk beside the Big Timber Creek, is my family history, which I have mentioned many times before, the Cheesman, Garwood lines converge on the Big Timber Creek.
What's on my bookshelf:
1.Camden County, New Jersey 1616-1976 A Narrative History, Dorwart and Mackey
2.Waterways of Camden County, Farr
3.The History of the Township of Gloucester 1695-2003, Fox, Thompson, Kaitz
4.Rambles through Old Highways and Byways of West Jersey, Boyer
5.The Early Dutch and Swedish Settlers of New Jersey, Leiby
6.South Jersey Towns, McMahon
7.Old Mills of Camden County, Boyer (my most recent purchase $5 at Cam.Co.Hist.Society, Camden, NJ)
8.Old Inns and Taverns in West Jersey, Boyer
9.Camden County, NJ, Dorwart
10.A Teacher's Guide to the Watersheds of Camden County (an invaluable resource that I bought at one of the annual C.C.H.S.L. book sales in the spring of the year - I use it regularly and tried to buy another but no luck.)
11.History on the Brink: An Inventory of Historic Sites and Towns in SJ, Seiter (for SJ Tourism Corp.)
12.Gloucester County in the Eighteen Fifties: Being the Diary of John Cawman Eastlack
This is only my local history collection. I have another set of half a dozen rare books on the iron towns of the pines including the hard to find Martha Diary. And, I have a half dozen books on the Whitall House and Battle of Red Bank.
My interest blinks like a firefly on a summer evening. Something, a visit, or a conversation, or some newly discovered item of family history, will send me feverishly scurrying from attic to den in search of books on the Wharton family, or lighthouses, or Port Norris, and I'll soon be buried on the sofa between stacks of books with several in the mail from amazon.com.
I LOVE books. I'll never be an e-book reader. I want to highlight and post-it-note pertinent pages. I want to rest the book on my quilt at night and read until I fall asleep with the book quietly lying like a fallen tombstone over my chest. I want to ramble from book to book and make notes in the margins. My books become like my friends, some I've had since grade school. My oldest book, I've had since before I started school. I think I blogged about that one before, it is my Hall and Brumbaugh Reader, which I bought at Leary's Book Store in Philadelphia - my first book purchase - what a thrill!
And it is still a thrill to buy a book and to browse the musty shelves of my favorite old book stores such as Murphy's Book Barn in Mullica Hill, which I am happy to say was saved from closing and is still nestled between the church and the carriage house off the main street of town.
One thing I must do before I perish is make a list and an inventory so my daughter and sister will know where to donate sections of my collections. I also have a collection of Revolutionary War history and Civil War history.
I donated most of my Women's History collection to the Paulsdale Library some years back.
Now, I'm going to close so I can read the Eastlack diary. I have a special fondness for diaries of all kinds.
Perhaps you recall that I'm indexing the diary of Ruth Page Rogers in my volunteer work at the Gloucester County Historical Society. It is my third diary project for them. Whenever I look things up on the computer, I think of the many people, like myself and my fellow volunteers working away in historical societies and other venues, putting all this data on the computer for those who will follow us.
Happy Trails! Jo Ann
ps.I'd like to hear from some of you who are reading this. Stats tell me 23,000 have visited, 13 are regulars and I have more than a dozen visits a day! Tell me what's on your book shelves! Or if that's too many - what do you have on SJ History that is interesting and perhaps rare? You can contact me by e-mail if comments is too difficult firstname.lastname@example.org