For the Love of Old Books

I have a love affair with old books.  Long before the world of blogging and all the fabulous design and decor inspiration we see, I used old books as risers for objets d'art or a lamp I wanted to make more important.  Mostly, I used my old college books because they had worn faded colors of red, green and black.  I have covered books in French sheet music to use as a riser, even using old books on a dinner table setting. 

I know there are lots of kindred spirits out there.  Because I see lots more old books when I am out treasure hunting than I used to.  Selling them on my website and booth as art, not for their value, it doesn't matter to me if they are tattered, worn, battered, bruised, pencil marked, torn or missing a page.  To me, that just shows me they were much read, loved and hugged. 

Children's book collecting has grown so much due in part to the classics our grandparents read as a child, our parents read, we read and now read to our children and grandchildren.  I once found a fabulous old copy of Alice in Wonderland.  My sister's name is Alice.  Much to my delight, when I opened that book, it had an old library card in the back, with her old school stamped on it.  She got that book as a gift and cherishes it.
My favorites have become the sweet petite antique Victorian gift books or poetry books, charming old Victorian children's books and gardening books. Due to high cost, colored illustrations were a rarity in true Victorian books, with most having beautifully illustrated black and white pictures. But the front covers were a treasure of color with beautiful pictures, often with gold gilt. The engravings and chromos of these old books are a true treasure.

 The beautiful patina of this antique Little Red Riding Hood Victorian book cannot be duplicated.   I adore how the once bright red fabric has mellowed to a soft pinky worn red.

 Aren't these cover illustrations just gorgeous?!!!

So many fabulous monotone engravings added within the stories themselves.  If the books are in really bad shape and falling apart, these illustrations are just wonderful as framed art.

 These books were my latest acquisitions and will be on the website.  Home Stories, Cinderella, and Little Red Riding Hood are exquisite pieces of ephemera.  Treat these old books, not for their value, but as amazing pieces of art work displayed in your home. 

Thank you Beverly, of How Sweet the Sound and Pink Saturday, for allowing me to tweak my pink just a bit.  Worn and decayed red works beautifully with pink. :) And yep, I do read some of these old books. Just recently I found a gorgeous old copy of Shakespeare's works, written in such childlike simplicity, everyone gets the story.  I plan on reading them to my grand-girls when next they visit. It's a Chicago kind of day here today. It's cold, cold, cold and real windy...brrrr.  Hope you are having a fabulous day and nice and cozy where you are! 

~ Add Something Special To Your Home ~
your place for affordable vintage flair


The Polka Dot Closet said...

Lynn I have all of my dads childhood books I just cherish, that little red riding book is fabulous! Someone will snap that up for sure!!


Gabriela Delworth said...


I love old books as much as well!
Love your decor!


Marti McClure said...

What treasure your books are! And I love the books covered in music paper. Happy Pink Saturday! ~Marti

Maureen Wyatt said...

I cannot part with old books. I know there will come a time when I can't fit one more in this house but that time isn't here yet! ~ Maureen

Jil~Say It With Roses said...

Olden books are such treasure. I know we have far too many and I have been trying saving some and giving away others. They are fun to read as writing styles have changed so much. I love the childrens books with the fabulous olde illustrations. Great to decorate with , too.
Jil ♥

The French Hutch said...

I love the vignette you created with the old books. Books make great risers and I do it too. I like the idea of books covered in old French sheet music. I must look into that. I see some of your fabulous books, I don't part with mine either Lynn.
Happy Pink Saturday

The French Hutch

~Lavender Dreamer~ said...

I've always decorated with books, too! I love them all...but children's books are my favorite! What wonderful old copies of some of the classics! Hugs! ♥

kathi @ traybella said...

the books are beautiful!
thanks for your visit and comment on my blog today...you made my day! :)

Maison Mutt said...

What a wonderful decorating idea! Thank you for sharing. HPS!
Wags, Niki

Susie Jefferson said...

Love the decorating ideas, and I am absolutely with you 110% re the old books (although I'm recycling my most battered and disintegrating ones into journals as we speak).

Happy Pink Saturday!

Unknown said...

Hi Lynn,
I too love old childrens books. I have two that were given to me by a very older gentleman. They were his as a child..they are a mess but I love them like they were new. And a bonus that they are picture books..I'm happy to know I'm not alone out there..
Have a wonderful weekend..

Two Cottages And Tea said...

Enjoyed your post on collecting old books and using them for risers. I like to use old Bibles to add height in my home. Most are black and go well with my decor.
Have a good week.
Nancy @ Two Cottages And Tea

Francie...The Scented Cottage Studio said...

I knoooow ... I have so many I'm almost ? out of room !
I just can't part with them.
Happy PS (())

Grace said...

Happy Pink Saturday! Oh what great books. I am facinated with old books also. Have a fabulous weekend. Grace

Sue McPeak said...

A wonderful collection of old books and ways to use them in home decor...so warm and inviting. Thanks for shareing...love the story of your Sister Alice...very special. Happy Pink Saturday and Stay Warm....Sue

Blondie's Journal said...

You have a wonderful collection of books, so worn and old. I could kick myself for donating all the fabulous childrens books I had when my kids outgrew them...some were very old...I just didn't know the value of how great they would look as risers.

Happy Weekend, Lynn!


Melissah from Country Style chic said...

I love decorating with old books too - they give a room so much warmth & character! Just got back from my summer holidays so popping by to wish you a Happy New Year & I hope all your dreams come true in 2012

Loretta said...

What a beautiful post.
I adore vintage children's books.
Happy P I N K Day!

Elizabeth said...

I also love old books. Your blog is delightful!

Rebecca said...

I just went to our local antique shop yesterday and was taken in by the old, tattered books. It makes you wonder if someone cherished the book long ago, if it was originally a gift from a loved one, if a child sat in a mama's lap to hear a story with one of those gold gilted covers. For me, the fun part is imagining the book's history! Great post!



thistlewoodfarm said...


Here I am! I made it! I am your newest follower! You are right....your photography is absolutely fabulous! I love the look of the blog!


Chubskulit Rose said...

Nice collection!

My PINK post, have a nice weekend!

Gypsea Nurse said...

Gorgeous.. I love the ones with sheet music! (sorry .. I pinned it!) I have tons as well.. and I sssssooo glad I am back in blogger world with you all..such inspiration you all are!
Have a wonderful weekend!
Gypsea Nurse

1CardCreator said...

Such great ideas for decorating with the books! Happy Pink Saturday!

Ann said...

I love to decorate with old books too--yours covered with sheet music are gorgeous. I love to collect them and keep my eye out for a few books Iv'e been looking for for a long time. Happy Pink Sat.

Lynne Moncrieff said...

Happy Pink Saturday
I adore this post. The photographs and your words touched a chord with me as I am a Bookworm, have been all my life with books being an important part of my daily life as much now as they were when I was a child.
Beautiful photographs with such beautiful touches.
Like you I adore old books but to be honest, so long as books surround me it doesn't matter their age, I receive such comfort from them.

Dee ⚜️⚜️⚜️⚜️⚜️ said...

Hi Lynn,

Your books are beautiful! I can only image all the wonderful ephemera there is.


Linda M. said...

Happy Pink Saturday Lynn, What a fantastic collection of books. I do really love the images. Have a wonderful weekend. Warmly, Linda

Leah H. said...

Really old books but worth keeping for. My daughter loves me to read her the "little red riding hood" over and over again..

Visiting for Pink Saturday! Here's my share-hope you can stop by:)


Anonymous said...

I so enjoyed your post on old books! I have been a "book-worm" since I was a very little girl...
my parents taught me the pleasure of reading and I still have quite a few of my old cherished ones...
all three of the "HEIDI" series; lots of "THE BOBBSEY TWINS" and "NANCY DREW" series, too. Plus some like "REBECCA OF SUNNYBROOK FARM" and such "THE BLUE WILLOW", etc. Everyone always knew what to give me that would make me happy!
I kept them all for my children to read and love to look through them from time to time..the illustrations in the older books are really lovely.
Your post brought back a lot of happy memories of me and the joys of reading I found. If I find an older book like the ones you mentioned, bad or good condition, I try to buy it to add to my collection!
I like how you use the books as risers and how you covered some with sheet music, etc. Very clever.
Thanks for sharing....Francy

Babs said...

Old books are one of my favorite things...especially leather bound ones and children's books.
Somehow I don't think a Kindle or Nook will ever replace beautiful old books.
Yours are so pretty. Love the graphics on your children's books.

Shabby Jen said...

I love old red colored books. I have 2 shelves full. I started collecting them for projects I wanted to do. But I fell in love with them and I keep finding them but never can seem to part with them. And I can't even pass them up because they are usually only about 50 cents or so! Oh my!!!!
I love your blog!! Stop by mine sometime? I don't have much there but I'm trying! Have a lovely day!
Shabby Jen

Eileen said...

I too have loved old books for many, many years! I have fith grade reader o found from 1880. I think yoir story of finding the book with your sister's school library is so totally awesome! What a trrasure! Take care
Eileen @ cottage beach house

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