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The Home Library in 1836–what did it include?

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Farmers almanac.

I can't remember when the first one became available , but my family members ,of their most precious books handed down , aside from the family Bible...next was the farmers almanac.


I could be wrong , but I'm thinking cookbooks came ...wasn that around the turn if the century ? The 1900's timeframe?


Of the 10 books you were listing /brainstorming about a little bit upthread. I would think to add..


In some homes certainly the strongs concordance,

Shakespeare still. Though I believe the shift from British books became a bit less prevalent as America started to accumulate our own sources , probably Shakespeare would have been one of the only 'entertainment' books available.

I definitely think Ben Franklin s autobiography , not exactly sure of the original publication on thst though.

Farmers almanac , as told by my grandmother before she passed, was a staple as per ber relatives journal writings.


I'm goin to call my uncle. He's 83 and has devoted much time to proven genealogy, tracking down diaries passed down by family members.


Apparently, my relative were prolific writers. For their own pleasure , satisfaction, and for future generations .


We have boooks and books of compilations of things recorded, family stories etc.


My uncle has proven us to have landed at sewells point ( Sewell is my maiden name) in va in 1634.

They est. Sewells point where Norfolk naval base is now built *around* . they allowed my family to keep thst very tiny plot of land. I should have the word *keep* in quotation, as it was a fight for my family to keep that.


The Navy finally caved. One of my great great great ish lol, grandfather's fought tooth and nail to keep it.


My uncle actually had a list of what was in the bookshelves of our particular families bookshelves in the mid to late 1800's . he found this based on the writings of our ancestors .


I have copies of some of the writings, my uncle made me a nice book of geneology, important facts, books owned and those read, some of their writings.


Ben Franklin autobiography is what led me down this bunny trail lol.


All or most of my paternal relatives owned a farmer's almanac . I remember reading through family papers, the disputes pre 1900 of what should be included in the almanac. I chuckled. Struck me as funny.


Someone needs mentioned orphans.

This originally struck me when my big kids were younger.

1800 - around late 1940's , orphans were common.

I read , a personal writing by i forget who,there were more orphans than kids with parents, additionally, of the kids who had parents, having only 1 parent was more common than I would have thought .

This was due to wars, sickness, famine, but it struck me , more from wars and anything else .

Fathers fought the war, mother.wound up sick and died.

Then you have ww1 that brought even more of this. But I know, that's a later timeframe.


Fascinating . I'm going to see if I can't dig out some of those copies of writings.


....and...call my uncle :)

Have alot going on here with the little boys, wish I had more time to dedicate to this.

I enjoy it :)


ETA: I'm pretty sure on that date of sewells point landing. It was 1630 something and I'm pretty sure was 1634

Edited by Kat w
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Bullfinch is 1855/1858, so about halfway between the 2 sets.


What were people reading for the Greek and Roman Myths? Translations? My younger son had some Loebs of myths, but I forget the titles.


On Bulfinch, one thing that is amusing is that this was a sort of Cliff's Notes of Myths.  It had been assumed that people would have read the myths in Greek or Latin.   That wasn't happening so often anymore.  So, this Cliff's Notes version was created for the less well-educated so that they could understand myth references in other works.  

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On Bulfinch, one thing that is amusing is that this was a sort of Cliff's Notes of Myths.  It had been assumed that people would have read the myths in Greek or Latin.   That wasn't happening so often anymore.  So, this Cliff's Notes version was created for the less well-educated so that they could understand myth references in other works.  


Thank you for explaining that! That makes a lot of sense to me.

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I can list my books easy peasy. :lol:  I don't even own a bookshelf to put them on. My books all fit in a drawer in my desk.


I have a laundry basket on the floor next to my desk with the library books in it. And I don't pull the shade up in the window above the basket, and I pile the library DVDs on the window sill.


I'm walking around with holes in my sneakers because I charged the 10 inch Kindle Fire when it was on sale. I have a huge memory card in it and a ton of eBooks on that, though.

Edited by Hunter
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Judging by what's available on the used book market, complete missals probably weren't widely used by lay Catholics in the 1830s, but many people would have had a compact prayer book that included the Ordinary of the Mass (the parts that don't vary from one day to the next).  One of the most popular prayer books in the English-speaking world was The Garden of the Soul, by the English Bishop Richard Challoner.  The first US edition was printed in 1775 by Matthew Carey, who was an interesting figure; we have a children's biography of him from one of the Catholic equivalents of Landmark Books.  


Carey also printed the first Catholic Bibles in the US, which were the revised Douay version from the 1750s, also by Bishop Challoner (and quite different from the original 1610 Douay).  This is still in print, and used by Catholics who prefer the older language. 


The Sadlier publishing company was actually founded in 1836.  Their first product was an edition of Butler's Lives of the Saints, followed by Bibles and school textbooks.   Lives of the Saints is still popular, though some of the recent versions are complete re-writes, so caveat emptor if you're interested in authenticity.  It's a fairly large set, and books were still very expensive at that time, so I'm guessing that many copies ended up in shared libraries, rather than in average people's homes.   Most Catholics lived in the cities, which would increase the likelihood of access to a library, though I haven't looked into that side of things. 


Immigrants often had prayer books in their native language, such as German.  The better-off ones might also have brought some classic literature from their homeland, but either way, they would surely have brought an invisible "library" of music and songs.  :001_smile:

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