Thank you for sharing all of this. It's a problem we can all relate to and your solutions are those of a person who has thought deeply about books and materiality. I'm feeling very inspired by this post. (I, too, have boxes of family papers.) So, I'll echo Mike Park's request: can you tell us more about the materials you used?

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Oct 13, 2022Liked by Adam Smyth

You have to wonder, did Mr. Godin live in Digon Lodge because of some anagrammatic nominative determinism, because he had the place built, or because he couldn't resist renaming it?


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Jan 13Liked by Adam Smyth

Thank you Adam Smyth. I am not sure that I would call these papers ‘unimportant’. Sometimes they interest me as much as the so called important archives. I am a conservator and am working to get some order and sense (with the reader in mind) to the papers of John Jones (1700-1770). He was the Vicar of Alconbury in Huntingdonshire from 1741 to 1757, curate of Welwyn from 1757 to 1767 and vicar of Shephall, both in Hertfordshire, from 1767 to his death. He used ephemera of all kinds to make notes on and to make wrappers for his papers. He also cut up early printed books to make pockets for his notes. This is probably the wrong way to draw your attention to this but I would love to have your opinion on this collection. Is this possible?

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Hi Adam! Interesting problem to have. Although I didn't address this particular situation in my post, I did recently write about a "notebook harvest" as a means to repurpose old materials: https://howaboutthis.substack.com/p/creative-realizer-a-notebook-harvest

On a separate note, I'm reminded of what happened after the deaths of my maternal grandfather and his second wife (several years later). I had send my grandfather postcards and some mementos from the days when I was doing a lot of work-related travel. When his 2nd wife died, all of those items were returned to me. I honestly didn't know what to do with them (still don't) so I can identify with your post a bit.

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These are both engaging ideas: thank you. Putting the documents in books at random is potentially a little misleading, though, as it tends to imply either a connection or at least that someone was reading the book at the time of, say, receiving the letter -- just the sort of thing that scholars of the materiality of books like to extrapolate from.... Still, no harm done. Unfortunately, most of my books already have *my notes and scraps in them.

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Thank you for this post addressing a problem/experience which most of us have had in the past....or will do, at some time in the future.

I think the collage is a wonderful idea. Would you tell us how the various pieces are mounted please ?

Best wishes

Mike Park

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