Old Books: Hiawatha


Although she passed away before I was born, I have so many wonderful “memories” of my Grama Mary.  My mother has always told my sister and me many stories about her.  We are much like her, in fact.  We have a curiosity about ghosts and all things psychic.  We love animals and flowers.  We believe that family is very important.  In sixth grade English class I was asked to write a letter to a “famous” person I wish I could have met;  I chose to write to my Grama Mary.

When my mom was a little girl, she and her mother sometimes visited the childhood home of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow(1807 – 1882). For some reason, when my mother told me this story, I imagined the house in the woods, on a lake, sort of like Walden‘s small house in Concord/Lincoln, Massachusetts, which I visited several years ago with my husband. The house, is actually, on Congress Street in Portland, a busy street in a busy city. A city, in fact, that during Longfellow’s life, was still part of Massachusetts, and not yet Maine.


My parents recently acquired an antique copy of Longfellow’s lyric poem, Hiawatha (original publish date:  1855) to add to my newly began old book collection.   This copy, printed in 1898, is amazing.  It appears to be hand bound and has a leather cover.  The pages are ragged on the sides and all of the pages are in tact.  There are illustrations on some pages that appear to have been stamped on.   I am so excited to have this new memory of my Grama Mary attached to my new/old book.

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