Man and his World

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Yesterday evening and this morning were pretty barren so I figured it’d be a good time to show you more of the books I found on Tuesday. I still have some to sort through but these are the oldest ones of the bunch. All the photos are highly detailed images, so feel free to zoom up and take a closer look.

The one that doesn’t match here is the guide to the “Man and his World” exhibit at Expo 67. The rest of the books here are quite old, with the most modern being the mid 40s book of missals at the top left and the oldest being the English textbook that lies in the middle (published 1876). There’s also a book featuring popular songs of Canada published in 1880. It’s missing the front cover but I’m sure someone would have an interest in seeing these old songs.

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These books all feature a similar ornate red cover. The bottom two are little books describing various famous French Canadian figures dated 1913 and 1926 respectively. The top is a memoir by Silvio Pellico, a Italian writer who lived in the early 19th century. The book is called “Mes Prisons” and tells the story of his being sent to prison for the crime of “carbonarism” – basically being a member of the Carbonari revolutionary movement. I’m not sure when it was published but I’d guess it would have been around the late 1800s.

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The book at the top left is another old English textbook. I thought the scribbled calligraphy was pretty cool. My favourites though are the two Geography textbooks. The little one is from 1912 and the bigger one is from 1914. I’ve always enjoyed looking at maps, as a kid I spent many hours looking at a giant National Geographic atlas of the world. I’ve posted a few pictures of the inside of these books below. I think the map of Africa is particularly interesting as it shows how the land was divided amongst the European powers. I also like the old map of Montreal which is found in the larger book.

It’s a guarantee that in these old textbooks, when discussing the world, the authors will say something overtly racist. In the text on Africa they describe the native populations as “negres sauvages” or negro savages. Then, in the study question they ask whether or not the indigenous race is “civilized.” We’ve got a ways to go but I like to think humanity has made some progress since then!

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Last but not least is this old book entitled “Lectures instructives et amusantes sur diverses inventions, découvertes, ?” (Informative and entertaining lectures on various inventions and discoveries). I couldn’t find a date but apparently it was first published in Montreal in 1866 and the last print came in the final years of the 1800s. What’s most interesting is how the obviously originally hand-written text changes often throughout the book. You can see some of the differing forms of calligraphy below. There must have been a few different people collaborating to write this.

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That’s all for now. This evening I’ll explore the eastern Plateau where I’ll see if whoever threw out these books is putting out more stuff today.

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5 thoughts on “Man and his World

  1. Lynn says:

    very nice. I hope you are able to rehome them with someone will value/appreciate them. (and of course make some cash)

  2. It’s always interesting to poke through old books, particularly geography ones.

  3. Marie Thone says:

    Hi Martin are you selling the Man & His World guidebook? Let me know the price if you are. Thanks and keep up the great work!

    • martng says:

      Hey, sorry for the late reply. Someone actually emailed me about it slightly before you did. If she doesn’t want it though I’ll let you know!

  4. Scott says:

    Awesome find, man. Hope you have a plan for the winter!

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