Glidden Cook Book (ca. 1900s)

Of course books speak to their readers with their content; that is intended.  However, books also speak to us through their physical form, and this little cook book is an example of that.  The torn bits of paper wedged under the staples were my first clue that this textblock was missing some of its content.  The remnants still clinging to their staple fasteners tell me that at least 3 more pages were once attached and now are lost.  Some of those pages may have been blank; we have no way of knowing.  However, at least one page did contain text, as evidenced by the unfinished recipe at the bottom of the last page,  with the word “banana” cut off at the hyphen.  ISU’s copy of this cook book is the only one listed in WorldCat, so we cannot compare our copy against another to find out how much is missing — we know only that something is missing.

This physical evidence of something lost exemplifies why cataloging software should accommodate Preservation notes about the physical artifact when necessary.  Once I have removed the rusty staples holding the booklet together, the book will no longer offer future readers the tangible evidence of this particular bit of information.