Sepia Saturday 210: Award-winning relatives

This week’s Sepia Saturday focuses on old books and the treasures (photographic or otherwise) found in them.Sepia Saturday 210

I don’t think I’ve ever found photos tucked away in old books but we did find a group photo behind another picture from my Grandparents’ house and I talked about that in my Moustaches and Mystery post recently.

Instead I thought I’d share a few book inscriptions with you. Over the past year I’ve acquired some of the family’s old books, including my childhood books, thanks to Mum’s move to an independent retirement unit.

Book inscriptions can be interesting I think as they reveal otherwise hidden parts of an ancestor’s or relative’s life. Back in the days when books were expensive and only rarely bought by families who weren’t affluent, they were often gifts or even school prizes.

Two of the books I have included prizes awarded to family members. One was for Mr Cassmob’s grandmother, Katie McKenna, for writing in 1901.

Katie McKenna

Another was for my grandmother’s brother, Duncan McCorkindale, who was awarded the prize for passing second stage physiology and physical geography in his Glasgow school.

Duncan McCorkindale

In fact it was something about Duncan that was one of the few things I found tucked away in a bible: the notice of his rather gruesome death in Sydney. Which makes me realise that I’ve never written about that story, or his role in the building of the nation’s capital, Canberra. I need to put that on my blog post list.Irish book

I’m curious who this book belonged to as there’s no inscription, and no publication date. My best guess is that it belonged to my Irish grandfather or one of his children.

A while ago I wrote about a prize that my grandfather’s young brother had won, but I’ve no idea what his prize was. I wonder if it too was a book.

Have you found prize inscriptions in books you’ve inherited, either from your family or a used-book store?

To read the stories other Sepians have submitted this week you can click here.

8 thoughts on “Sepia Saturday 210: Award-winning relatives

  1. After reading some of the other Sepia Saturday entries this week, as well as yours, I’ve resolved to go and check my bookcase for inscriptions.


    1. That’s interesting Wendy. I wonder if they were more prevalent in Catholic or private schools? Generally they were awarded at the end of year prize-giving night rather than class-by-class. My grandson just won his first prize at the end of the 2013 school year…suspect there’ll be more ahead. His was a book voucher which he was thrilled with, but that’s not as grand as a book with a bookplate.


    1. Pleased to add to your “to do” list Little Nell! I committed the heresy of taking out the prize plate from a book of mine that I didn’t want to keep. Will my descendants curse me I wonder.


    1. Thanks Bob – I’m not even sure how some of these items came to me, other than via my grandmother. But why did she have her brother’s prize when he had a family of his own. Perhaps he left it behind in Glasgow when he emigrated then she brought it when they came later.


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