Generally on Fridays, I spend time on the History of Maryland Medicine, which involves poking through the artifacts, or working up in the stacks. I am working on a big project, see here, and I need to fill 172 linear feet of bookshelves in the Krause Reading Room.
So I headed up to the stacks to measure, post sticky notes in bright green, make notes on length and select a range of books. I am working to make sure there’s a mix of topics, bindings, eras, and other aesthetic and medical concerns.
As I was poking around, I pulled out a little book, no bigger than a sheet of paper. Its covers were missing and so was its title page. As I leafed through the book, I realized that it was William Battie’s Treatise on Madness, originally published in 1758 or so.
Who left it there? How long has it been there? Why did they leave it?
There was something so poignant about finding it.