There is much history in books, if one looks carefully enough. By this I do not mean those works concerned with history itself, nor am I refering to historical fiction. Rather I am referring to passing references, such as that contained in the 4-volume edition of John Buchan’s “The Thirty-Nine Steps”, which resides on the top shelf of the tall pine bookcase in my bedroom. The book’s title page reads
“… printed and published by the National Institute for the Blind, Great Portland Street, London W” and carries the date of 1938.
The National Institute for the Blind has, for many years, been the Royal National Institute of Blind People, and its head office is today located in Peterborough.
On turning over the title page, the reader comes across the following
“The price given for this book in the National Institute’s books catalogue represents the actual cost of production. The book is sold to libraries and institutions for the blind in the British Empire, and to blind persons resident in the United Kingdom, or in any part of the British Empire at one-third the catalogue price”.
The British Empire has, of course long ceased to be. However contained within the pages of the braille edition of “The Thirty-Nine Steps” I find a reminder of a vanished age.
I would be interested to learn of any books owned by this blog’s readers which contain interesting historical data. Please do comment below.