An interesting desk set of small reference books bound in quarter vellum, circa 1911


A group of ten volumes, the smaller eight approx 3 x 5ins, contained in a simple contemporary wooden stand. The books are bound in cloth boards with a generous vellum spine titled in gilt, top edges gilt. They comprise: Atlas; Dictionary of Dates, English Dictionary, French – English Dictionary; English – French Dictionary; German – English Dictionary; English – German Dictionary; Dictionary of Mythology; Gazetteer; Proverbs and Maxims. Each has a simple title page REFERENCE LIBRARY. The Atlas has come adrift from its binding and the pages are now loose; the title page of the English Dictionary is torn out; two pages of Proverbs are loose and ragged. A fascinating little set which shows how the informed reader dealt with quick reference before the days of Wikipedia and Google. This set, with quite a literary leaning, may have been on the desk of a lady’s boudoir. The more masculine sets one comes across tend to include a pocket peerage and perhaps a Bradshaw.

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