Sunday, June 23, 2013

Sometimes You Don't Find Objects; The Objects Find You

I titled this post: "Sometimes you don't find objects; the objects find you" because it is true.

Years ago, I was visiting a local antique store, and I came across a book that I thought I would buy. It was titled: Pennsylvania In The War Of The Revolution, Battalions And Line. 1775-1783, Volume II. The subject matter of the book included histories and rosters of the regiments that made up the Pennsylvania Continental Line during the American Revolutionary War. The book has what is known as "three-quarter leather binding with hand-marbled paper covers." The pieces of leather on the cover are of a reddish-brown color, and the marbled paper is predominantly red. I like books that are so nicely bound, and so the purchase of this one was not in question. The only problem I found in the book was that it included information only on the Continental Line and not the various provincial militia troops. (Of the thirteen men from whom I directly descend, who took up the Patriot Cause during that War, they all served in provincial militia units rather than the Continental Line. Therefore, the book I had found, although interesting enough, was not of much use to me personally. What was a bit aggravating was that this volume, being the second of two, contained an index in which I could see that information regarding my own Patriot ancestors had been included in Volume I.

About four or five years after finding the above-mentioned book, I was visiting an antiquarian bookstore in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Much to my surprise, I came across a box of nineteen books from the published Pennsylvania Archives. They were under a table of other books, in a part of the store that I had not really intended to visit. The books were from the Second Series and included nineteen volumes. At the time, I did not take the time to check if every volume was in the box; I was assured that the set was complete by the owner of the bookstore. The bookstore owner said that the whole set, which consisted of nineteen volumes, was there, and so as the price was right, I purchased the box. As I was looking through the books that evening, at the motel in which I was spending the night, I put them in order to make sure that every volume was accounted for. In so doing, I discovered that there were actually two copies of Volume VI (i.e. Six) and no Volume XI (i.e. Eleven). In this set, Volume X (i.e. Ten) was titled: Pennsylvania In The War Of The Revolution, Battalions And Line. 1775-1783, Volume I.  The set of books that I had just purchased was complete, with the exception of missing only one volume ~ and that volume was the one that I had purchased about five years before.
I was dumbstruck! I could hardly wait to get home to check if the book that had been on my shelf for five years was the one missing from this set.
The nearly complete set of books that I purchased in Lancaster were also three-quarter leather bound, with hand-marbled paper covers, but while the paper marbling was the same as the other single volume ~ predominantly reddish in color ~ the leather portions were of a dark brownish-black color. The set was published in 1895, while the single volume was published in 1880.

It's amazing how the set-minus-one-volume made its way to be found by me, and for the missing volume to be the one that I already had in my possession. I am not sure if it was coincidence or fate that brought all nineteen volumes together, but somehow they all found me.

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