Now Where Was I, Redux!

Last Friday we posted an entry about bookmarks describing the variety of scraps and ephemeral objects used by eighteenth and nineteenth century readers to mark their places in their books.

As that blog post was being edited, yet another bookmark was discovered, and a most curious one at that. A small letter was found tucked between the pages of the New York periodical The New Mirror of Literature and the Fine Arts for 1844. The note was written by Mrs. Gen. Macomb (Harriet Balch Macomb, 1783-1869, widow of General Alexander Macomb) to a “Mr. Abbott” and we transcribe it below in full:

July 20, 1844

bookmark_reduxDear Sir,
I have been requested by a very poor and respectable young Lady to ask you to take one or two of the accompanying Book Marks. She is endeavoring to support herself by her industry. I have taken several as presents for my friends. Would not Mrs. Abbott like one? I do not urge the business as Miss Mountz does, ha ha. Your Friend, H. B. Macomb.

The letter was not accompanied by any other bookmarks, but instead was used as one itself.

The fact that the note was found the same morning the blog post was written and was being edited just illustrates again the wonderful sense of kismet found under the generous dome of the Antiquarian Society.

Published by

Lauren Hewes

Andrew W. Mellon Curator of Graphic Arts, American Antiquarian Society

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