Two items with pencil markings crossed my bench last week. My response to each was very different.
First, I built a new case for a book entitled The Twenty Years’ Crisis 1919-1939. While I was putting the finishing touches on it, I discovered that a section of pages had been both underlined and marked with what looks like a red pencil. This did not make me happy.
The second book was A Workbook in United States History which needed to be housed in a pre-made portfolio. As you can see, the outside cover had splotches of blue ink. Inside is covered with the work of one Natalie H. from Central City, Iowa.
As you can see, Natalie was one smart cookie.
She was also learning how to use a fountain pen.
As a conservator, I should be scared by crayon and fountain pen ink, and yet I find this to be just wonderful.
Back when I taught environmental science to undergraduates, I used to tell my students that “where you stand is what you see.” Standing at my bench last week, I saw two things. On the one hand, a book that has been abused by a patron. On the other, a wonderful peek into the life of an Iowa school girl.