Two Rocking Horses


The rocking horses shown above are believed to be from the late 1800s and are primarily made of carved and painted wood, which includes the bodies of the horses as well as the curved bases which allow the horses to rock. While both horse bodies are painted yellow, the bases differ in color and have different landscapes painted on the center squares. Both horses are adorned with gray manes and tails and other features such as the eyes and nose are painted on. The original saddle, stirrups, reins, and even ears of the pieces were made of leather, though the yellow rocker is missing many of these details.

These rocking horses, likely handmade and not produced at a very large scale for the time, have many intricate details. As mentioned, the horses and bases themselves were carved out of wood. However, the horses’ bodies are hollow which was a technique learned in the Victorian era to make the toys less top-heavy, and therefore safer. The exterior of the bodies are painted yellow, though it is probable that it is not exposed wood which was painted but rather a few layers of gesso. This material, which is usually used in fine art paintings, was found to be both easier to sand a created a shinier surface to paint and decorate. Painted details cover the hind quarters of the horses in the form of saddle blankets and landscapes at the base of the rockers. The saddles, stirrups, and reins are all made of real leather, another costly adornment for a child’s toy.

This set of rocking horses, which were used by brothers Winne and Henry Hornnbeck in their childhood years, were donated to the Historic Huguenot collections by the estate of Ida M Hornbeck in 1976. She had died the previous year in 1975 and had left many of her family’s items and historical artifacts to this collection as well as other local historical collections. When tracing her relation to Winne and Henry Hornbeck I discovered that she was their older sister. Neither her brothers nor her sister Lela ever had children therefore I believe that these rocking horses were purchased directly for the family and never left the hands of the siblings. I infer that these items are purchased new as their father Louis Dubois Hornbeck was one of the largest merchants in the area, having owned a large general store in Napanoch. However, it is also possible the family employed craftsmen to create these pieces.

Although these objects were not primarily used in the town of New Paltz, their ties to historical New Paltz and its socioeconomic structure can be easily connected. I see these pieces as a mark of status and luxury; they are not the everyday doll or trinket. Instead, these objects were most likely bought new, possibly from the large general store which their father ran. However, we cannot know for certain how and when these rocking horses were made as there is no apparent makers mark on them. Therefore, it is also possible that these were handmade by someone in or close to the family. These pieces function as both furniture and toys, and as they were both clearly well worn I believe these were pieces that would’ve been put out in the main room as their own pieces of furniture. Toy horses and specifically rocking horses became popular as toys and furniture among the upper middle class after Queen Victoria established that they were her favorite. They were made in many different styles and colors and some had clear inspirations from imagery and forms found in carnivals and fairgrounds, which was a popular source of entertainment of the time. However, during the 1900s the production of rocking horses, especially the intricate handmade ones which had thrived during the Victorian era, were declining due to the Great Depression and the World Wars. The survival of these pieces is extraordinary and gives great insight into the lifestyle of the Hornbeck family who owned them as well as the social culture of the time.

When looking into both their family story as well as their extended genealogy, I found a few evidences of the family’s enriched status. First, as previously mentioned, Louis Hornbeck ran the largest general store in Napanoch, with a very comfortable house–which he owned–connected. His wife Catherine Freer Dubois did not work and I also found evidence of there being a young servant living with the family for a time. This was not uncommon for the area including New Paltz for families with luxurious lifestyle. Additionally, it appears that both Ida and Lela Hornbeck never married and never had to hold a job but were rather able to live off of the estate of their family for the rest of their lives. Brothers Winne and Henry Hornbeck did both end up marrying but neither had children in their lifetime. When looking further into the ancestry records of both the siblings mother Catherine Dubois Freer and their father Louis DuBois Hornbeck I was able to find that their mother was a descendant of Hugo and Isaac Freer, the original patent holders for the town of New Paltz. The Freers had been given 1200 acres to settle on in New Paltz and continued that line of wealth well into their descendants. While this is an interesting fact about their family it is also important to note that both mother and father had previously come from the Dubois family. It was very common in New Paltz among the wealthy families to intermarry children and cousins of the wealthiest families to keep the money close. This is one of the reasons that although the Hornbecks did not live in New Paltz, their prominence in the area was well established. These rocking horses are a symbol of the level of class and financial status of which this specific Hornbeck family was a part.

References

Heidgerd, Ruth P. The Freer Family: the Descendants of Hugo Freer, Patentee of New Paltz (Frear, Fraer, Frayer, Fryer, Etc.). The Huguenot Historical Society, 1991.

“History of Rocking Horses.” History of Rocking Horses | Victorian Rocking Horse | Stevenson Brothers Rocking Horses, http://www.stevensonbros.com/history-of-rocking-horses.

Hornbeck, Shirley Elro. Hornbeck Hunting (the Book) & Descendants of Warnaar Hornbeck, Born c1645. S. Hornbeck, 1994.

Terwilliger, Katharine T. Napanoch: Land Overflowed by Water. Ellenville Public Library and Museum, 1982.

Terwilliger, Katharine T. Wawarsing, Where the Streams Wind: Historical Glimpses of the Town. Rondout Valley Pub. Co., 1977.

Ulster County Directory, for 1880-’81: Containing a Historical Sketch of the County. D.S. Lawrence & Co.

The Cradle of Aviation

Tina Staniscia, Rachel Obergh, Brandon H., and Lilly Weilacher

Aviation has made an impactful presence on Long Island within the past 80 years. From transportation, luxury planes and war planes, Long Island has helped change flight into what we know it as today. There has been many accomplishments and advances made on Long Island for aviation. Many famous pilots have taken off from the airfields where the Cradle of Aviation Museum now stands. During wars factories such as Grumman on Long Island helped develop and produce much of the United State’s aerial arsenal.

One of the most important factors that made Long Island so valuable for flight was its geographic features. Surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean on the Eastern side of the United States instantly made it perfect for intercontinental travel and transportation. Nassau County, the main area for take offs and landings was full flat grassy areas away from trees and buildings. The ideal conditions for a pilot to want to land on.  

Many famous pilots have flown out of various sites on Long Island. The most famous being Charles Lindbergh. On May 20th 1927 he took off for Paris from Roosevelt field in his Spirit of St. Louis. It took him 33 ½ hours to fly across the Atlantic and land in Paris. With his only guide being his magnetic compass, he became the first person to complete a solo flight across the Atlantic. This was one of the many accomplishments of Long Island Aviation.  

Brunner Winkle Bird  

This three-seat biplane was the turning point into the Golden age of Aviation . Designed for leisure purposes, this became one of the most common airplanes flown in and out of Long Island. Many famous individuals owned one such as the Lindbergh Family. Charles Lindbergh taught his wife to fly and obtain her pilot’s license on this plane because of its reliability. This version in the Cradle of Aviation was flown by Elinor Smith. She flew around the same time as Amelia Earhart however did not get the same publicity but is known for being a better pilot. One time she flew in this plane under all the East River Bridges which was highly illegal! Although an excellent form of aircraft, production came to a halt when there was more of a need for transportation and industrial planes.

In 2004, Congress officially recognized Dayton, Ohio as the “birthplace of aviation”. This is when the Wright Brothers, in 1911, accomplished the first powered flight in the world. After visiting the Cradle of Aviation Museum on Long Island though, there is no doubt that this is where the future of commercial air transportation and the reality of space flight came to fruition.  

The facility covers about 150,000 square feet and houses over 75 original and replica aircraft. On location is a planetarium, IMAX theatre, 30 seat motion simulator, and a century old working carousel right next door. Eight interactive galleries cover over 100 years of aviation and aerospace history. With how the exhibits are organized and laid out, a museum goer can get up close to just about everything on display. Since the areas within the space are in chronological order, one can really go on a journey, following and learning so much about aviation.

People of all ages are welcome. School field trips, birthday parties, and even weddings take place regularly at the museum. It is about a two hour drive from New Paltz, making for a perfect day trip.  Tickets range from $9 to $20. It is open Tuesday through Sunday, 9:30 am to 5:00 pm.

As we explore the rich history of aircraft through the many eras of aviation, it is imperative that we first look back to the late eightieth century to see how this innovative drive commenced. During the peak of aviation interest during this time period, Professor Samuel Pierpont Langley (1834-1906) was one of many leading scientific figures in the United States in the early nineteenth century, well known for his advancements in aviation research. Over the course of the 1890’s, Langley had drafted and tested a myriad of different aircraft designs, most of which ended in failure. Eventually, Langley had created his new model dubbed the “Langley Aerodrome No. 5” and in May of 1896, it had managed two spectacular feats, making circular flights of 3,300 and 2,300 feet, at a maximum altitude of some 80 to 100 feet and at a speed of some 20 to 25 miles an hour.

It is important to note that the model on display in the Cradle of Aviation Museum is a replica, so my physical descriptions will be based on the original model. The No.5 had a metal tube-fuselage structure that stored the boiler, engine and other components that made up its propulsion system. The wings and tail were wood-frame, covered with fine silk, that spanned 13 feet and 8 inches. Moreover, the No.5 was connected by many strings that held many of its parts together, a common feat for my aircrafts during this time period. The power plant was a single-cylinder, one-horsepower steam engine outfitted with a double-action piston with a slide valve, and a flashtube boiler fired by a pressure burner that vaporized gasoline. The engine drove twin propellers, centrally mounted between the front and rear sets of wings, through a system of shafts and bevel gears. The aircraft weighed approximately 11kg (24.3 lb) ready for flight. Although the model on display is only a replica, this object both physically and symbolically represents the passion and innovation that defined this era of aviation.

Now, moving forward almost eight decades from the Langley Aerodrome #5, we come to another piece, known as the most historically significant vehicle ever built on Long Island: the Grumman Lunar Module. This specific module on display at the museum is the LM-13, which is one of only three surviving lunar modules. The modules were part of a larger project initiated in 1962 known as the Project Apollo Lunar Module, of which the Grumman Corporation was at the head. This craft would have had the ability to release from the Command Module and land on the moon, and then return to the Command. In its physical appearance, the lunar module seems quite simple from the exterior, being designed for neither impressive attractiveness nor aerodynamics. It measures to about 23 feet in height and 31 feet wide, weighing 8,600 pounds. Though this module still exists because its intended mission–the Apollo 19 journey to Copernicus Crater in 1973–was cancelled, it would have had the potential to reach 17,500 miles per hour. The craft is made up of very light and thin metals which was necessary for it to reach it destination without consuming a large amount of fuel. The exterior is covered in golf, silver, and black thermal shielding. Though this is an object which was an example of the immense advancements in technology and innovation, it is also a representation of the drive of discovery and spirit of aviation.

Bibliography

“The Brunner Winkle Bird at the Cradle of Aviation Museum.” Cradle of Aviation Museum, http://www.cradleofaviation.org/history/history/aircraft/brunner_winkle_bird.html.

“Charles Lindbergh Collection.” Missouri Digital Heritage Hosted Collections, cdm16795.contentdm.oclc.org/cdm/landingpage/collection/p16795coll12.

“Cradle of Aviation Museum.” Cradle of Aviation Museum | New York Heritage, nyheritage.org/contributors/cradle-aviation-museum.

“Cradle of Aviation Museum, Garden City, Long Island, NY 11530 • 516-572-4111.” Cradle of Aviation Museum, http://www.cradleofaviation.org/.

Cradle of Aviation Museum. Langley Aerodrome #5 at the Cradle of Aviation Museum. 2019, http://www.cradleofaviation.org/history/exhibits/exhibit-galleries/the_dream_of_wings/langley_aerodrome.html.  

Gray, Carroll. “Samuel Pierpont Langley.” FLYING MACHINES – Samuel P. Langley, 2015, http://www.flyingmachines.org/lang.html.

“Grumman Lunar Module LM-13 at the Cradle of Aviation Museum.” Cradle of Aviation Museum, http://www.cradleofaviation.org/history/exhibits/exhibit-galleries/exploring_space/grumman_lunar_module_lm-13.html.

“Long Island, New York’s Cradle of Aviation Museum Celebrates the Rich Heritage of the Region.” Warbirds News, 2 Aug. 2013, warbirdsnews.com/warbird-articles/long-island-yorks-cradle-aviation-museum-celebrates-rich-heritage-region.html.

McFarland, Stephen L. “A Concise History of the U.S. Air Force.” 1997, p. 2., http://www.upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/7/71/A_Concise_History_of_the_U.S._Air_Force.pdf.  

“Milestones:Grumman Lunar Module, 1962-1972.” Milestones:Grumman Lunar Module, 1962-1972 – Engineering and Technology History Wiki, 2011, ethw.org/Milestones:Grumman_Lunar_Module,_1962-1972.

National Air and Space Museum. Langley Aerodrome Number 5. 21 Feb. 2019, http://www.airandspace.si.edu/collection-objects/langley-aerodrome-number-5.

Stoff, Joshua. Historic Aircraft and Spacecraft in the Cradle of Aviation Museum. Dover Publications, 2001.

Canon 80D

A few months ago I made the decision to upgrade my DSLR. I had previously used a Canon t3i which I bought in 2013. Though this was a great beginner camera for me, I started taking more advanced photo and video classes and wanted to have more control as well as more advanced video capabilities. I had already researched many Canon cameras for the last year or so and I basically knew which one best fit my needs- and was closest to my price range. This was the Canon 80D, a 2016 model but the newest and most advanced of its series. It is still not considered a professional grade camera, but rather an “enthusiast-level” DSLR, with 24.2 megapixels and ISO capabilities from 100 to 16,000.

The specific camera I bought was from Best Buy and was part of a package deal from Canon which included the camera body, an 18-135mm lens, a battery, charger, and a generic strap. This package does not include a memory card, which is necessary to use the camera. In this post, I will primarily focus on the camera body. It measures 5.47 inches wide, 4.14 inches in height, and 3.09 inches in depth. The body weighs 1.43 pounds–which I will admit is one of the negatives about the model, especially with the lens attached. It is a significant increase from my last model and leads to quicker arm and hand fatigue, especially in more difficult shots or angles. The body is made out of plastic, metal, glass, and rubber.

Canon was founded in 1937 in Tokyo, Japan. Canon currently leads as top camera manufacturer, and most of these cameras are made at the manufacturing facility located in Oita, Japan.When researching where and how my camera was made, I struggled to find specific information. The Canon website, both USA and international, has a lot of information on their corporate mission statements, environmental social policies, and how their products cater to a multitude of lifestyles and industries–but very little information of their own factories and workers. On the global website, Canon describes its manufacturing as a “globally optimized production system in which we determine ideal production locations based on such factors as costs, taxes, logistics and labor.” They also speak about the importance of building employee skill sets. While I was initially a little suspicious of their lack of transparency in their specific operations, I was able to find PDF downloads available on their website which described their extensive policies and records on labor, sustainability, and other responsibilities. Though I still cannot find information on the exact process of manufacturing one camera, I do respect their environmental efforts and commitment to their customers with each product developed. Many other large corporations use their power and resources to get around certain ethical practices such as labor environmental standards, let alone prioritize and have pride in them.

While this research exercise did not give me all of the answers I was looking for, it made me more cautious and aware of where my products come from and the morality of each purchase, as well as all of the work and research that goes into each Canon camera as well.

Sources:

https://www.bestbuy.com/site/canon-eos-80d-dslr-camera-with-18-135mm-is-usm-lens-black/5005633.p?skuId=5005633

https://global.canon/en/index.html

Carrie’s Books

I feel that I have gone through the history and significance of my first edition copy of Little Men, at least as much as I can without the specific details of where it was purchased and who owned it previously, as this is difficult to do without it being a family heirloom. However, I am still greatly interested by the history of books and so I turned to the rest of my collection to see if I could dive into another book’s history. I looked for books which had previous owners’ names or dates inscribed inside. Though many of my books do have these details, I found myself most taken with a four specific books, of which I had forgotten their relation as I have owned them for several years now.

These four books–Rose In Bloom, Old-Fashioned Girl, Under the Lilacs, and Eight Cousins–have many things in common, as well as with most of my collection. They are all written by Louisa May Alcott and published by the Roberts Brothers. Rose In Bloom, printed in 1893, is bound in a dark brown cloth with black lettering and floral designs on the front and black, brown, and gold lettering and accents on the spine. Eight Cousins, printed in 1888, has the same brown cloth binding but with gold lettering and black floral design on the front and black, gold, and red accents on the spine. Old-Fashioned Girl, printed in 1892, is bound in a lighter brown cloth with black lettering and floral design on the front and black and gold accents on the spine. Finally, Under the Lilacs, printed in 1892, is bound in green cloth with black lettering and design on the front and black and gold accents on the spine. These four books were purchased together as a gift to me by my grandparents, who also love books and antiques and are always on the lookout for specific ones that would fit into my collection, such as this author or publisher. They were found in a large antique warehouse (from what I remember) in Pennsylvania. They had said this place housed items for anyone’s interests and was a treasure trove for hidden collectibles, as most of their items were from estate sales or the clearing out of large collections. Because my grandparents were buying all four, they were not very expensive and was a substantial edition to my collection.

However, there is another detail which unites these four books: all were originally owned by the same person. This information is found on the inside covers. When opening the cover of Old-Fashioned Girl, in faded ink there reads:

“To Carrie

From Mamma

March 6, 1892”

Though I am unsure of the significance of this date, I can assume that it may be her birthday or another special occasion. On the inside cover of Under The Lilacs, there reads:

“To Carrie

From Papa

December 25, 1892”

Though “from” different people, the handwriting makes me think they are both written by the same person with the same type of fountain pen and so probably written by just one of the parents. The other two titles do not have one of these messages, but rather a first and last name written in pencil in the same spot. The first name clearly reads Carrie, though after much effort I still cannot confidently make out the last name, though in Eight Cousins there is a middle initial ‘L’ also included. I am pretty confident that it was Carrie who wrote the names in these two books as one of the reasons I cannot make out the last name is due to the pencil handwriting not being very clear. Additionally, the letters, though I can tell it is the same last name, are made in slightly different script styles. This possibly indicates a couple year difference in when they were written and therefore the child having more practice or development of her handwriting.

While it is disappointing I cannot make out the last name, I am also unsure of how much more information I would be able to find on her or her family. She probably would have been married young and taken another name and I do not have the first names of her parents. However, I enjoy the idea of having a unique collection within my collection, and it brings to mind many questions I have about both her and the books’ lives since her ownership. I can tell, unlike my copy of Little Men, that these books were well read from the wear of the spine, cover edges, and the inner seams of the pages being loose and showing when opened. I do wonder of what financial means this Carrie girl and her family were, if she were spoiled and these were frequent gifts of which there are a few remaining. Or, if her family had to save for these and were only given for special occasions throughout her childhood. I also wonder at what point she parted with them, and if there were other Alcott books of hers that have since been separated. Or, even, how many owners they had before they became property of the antique warehouse, then of my grandparents, and now of mine.

1871 Edition Little Men

I have decided to continue pursuing the life of my first edition copy of Little Men. To understand the significance and history of this novel, I will first explain some of the context for its creation. As previously mentioned, this is the second novel in the Little Women trilogy written by Louisa May Alcott. The original classic, Little Women, was initially published as two separate editions in 1968 and 1969. These books exist on multiple levels due to the Roberts Brothers who not only published the titles but also pressured Alcott into writing them in the first place. The Roberts Brothers were initially bookbinders starting in 1857 in Boston, Massachusetts, consisting of Austin Roberts, John Roberts, and Lewis Roberts, but soon became listed only under the names Lewis Roberts and Thomas Niles. Niles became involved with the firm five years before the publishing of Little Women. It was Thomas Niles who approached one of his writers, Louisa May Alcott, to give rest to her original short stories write a novel for young girls. She was not interested in this type of writing as she did not value the stereotypes and expectations placed on women, though she attempted it and end up being a hit when shown to young girls. This was due to its somewhat negative grappling with issues girls often faced such as individuality, family pressures, and domesticity–while still being charming and idealistic. Therefore, the Roberts Brothers printed 2,000 each of these first two volumes of the future classic, Little Women.

When it comes to this edition I own, it had a very similar origin. Alcott was shocked with the success of the first novel and so she was asked to write a second, to please the readers waiting to hear of the fates of the relatable characters. Due to its demand, there were 10,000 copies released in its first printing in 1871. All were clothbound with color choices in terra cotta, red, and green. As I have hopefully explained in these first two paragraphs, this book was most definitely intended to be read. However, we must consider who was intended to read this novel. As printed in the book, this novel and others written by Alcott were listed at $1.50 each. I knew this price was not at all accurate to what we now value $1.50, but I was surprised to find that this would be equivalent to about $30 today. Though its expense surprised me–even with its detailed cloth and gold embossed binding–I also know that books in the late nineteenth century were still a symbol of status, wealth, and education. Therefore, I would assume that a book such as this would have been bought for a young, educated girl in a financially stable family. I would also guess that most of the initial readers of this book lived in New England, both because this is where it is set and published, but also due to the beliefs expressed in the novel about the disgrace of slavery and racism through its discussion of the Civil War.

While I do not know of the specifics about the extended chain of ownership before I acquired this book, I do know that I found this in an antique store or old book shop in New England. And, although this book was intended to be read, I know based on where it was found and its condition that this use has changed over time as it often does with old books, especially classics. In considering the condition of this book, especially in comparing it to other later editions of the same publisher I have in my collection, I would say this book was not read often. Most of the wear is located on the outer edges of the binding, from its contact with other objects and people. However, the inner binding itself and the pages are in some of the best conditions I own, which makes me believe that someone realized early on the significance of it being a first edition. Most likely this book has spent most of its 150 year life on a shelf with other books of similar value or condition in someone’s collection–perhaps someone who has not even read the title. This is what makes it interesting that it found its way to a crowded shelf of an antique store where its monetary or cultural value was not known. Today, a book from this printing can be worth somewhere in the realm of 300 to 500 dollars. However, I believe its chain of ownership will have an extended stop with me.

Little Men

The object I have chosen to describe is my first edition copy of Little Men by Louisa May Alcott. My fascination with her novels and life started in sixth grade when I first read Little Women. I then started collecting nineteenth century editions of her books, many of which have come from New England–including her hometown–though some have even been sent to me from family in the South. This specific edition was printed in 1871 under the full title Little Men: Life at Plumfield with Jo’s Boy’s, making it the second oldest book in my collection. However, this book holds a special significance in that it is also one of my favorite stories in my collection. Additionally, it is of the same author and publishing company as most of my collection–the Roberts Brothers, located in Boston, Massachusetts. The book is five inches wide, six and three quarters inches tall, and one and one quarter inches thick, with 376 pages in total. It is a green clothbound book, though there were also purple and terra cotta books released in the first edition printing. Unfortunately, I do not remember where I acquired this specific book as I currently have 20 titles by Alcott, 12 of them under the Roberts Brothers publication.

Little Men is the second book of Louisa May Alcott’s (unofficial) trilogy, proceeded by Little Women and followed by Jo’s Boys. The narrative follows Jo and Friedrich Bhaer’s life at Plumfield Estate School where they raise and school a grouping of children–both those in the family as well as orphans. This specific edition has only one illustration found opposite the title page, which gives a portrait of each of the characters introduced in the novel.

A few other details found in this edition which I like are the advertisements printed in the first four pages. They list three of Alcott’s other books, Little Women, An Old-Fashioned Girl, and Hospital Sketches and Camp and Fireside Stories, accompanied by their prices (each are $1.50) and reviews and press statements of each novel. On the fourth page is an announcement for the “nearly ready” Harriet Beecher Stowe book called Pink and White Tyranny, also from the Roberts Brothers Publishing. I find these advertisements interesting as in most of my other books of this era and publishing, the advertisements are found at the back of the book.

As it is nearly 150 years old, this book has some wear and tear found along the binding and along the front and back covers. There are also a few markings on the inner pages, ranging from writing by previous owners to other various stains on the pages. However, I find this book to be in surprisingly good condition for its age and popularity. Despite most collectors’ desire for their books to be in the best condition possible, I find the unique markings and acquired defects on old books to be some of the most interesting parts as it shows how the book has been passed down, used, and enjoyed. They often create a history of their own.

‘Tidying’ my Books

While reading the excerpts from Marie Kondo’s book on tidying, I found myself quite excited by the idea of trying some of the tidying processes she illustrates throughout her book. This kind of surprised me as successfully cleaning out my belongings is something that I definitely struggle with as I am an avid collector of various objects–and the memories associated. Because of this, I decided to watch a few episodes of her show on Netflix as well to prepare me and visually reinforce how she advises the tidying to be done.

My book collection before tidying. 267 Books.

I chose to ‘tidy’ my books as I thought it would be the most effective since I had recently gone through my clothes, though not using the KonMarie method. She was definitely right in that just the process of taking out all of the items in that category that you own and piling them in one room puts it into perspective how many you actually have. I discovered that all together I personally had 267 books in my house. Though there were many and it was a bit overwhelming, I decided not to separate them into subcategories as I wanted the process to be fresh for each book, without sorting them first. However, I did know right away that I wanted to keep all of the books that I deem part of my actual collection–which is about 25 books all printed before 1930. I know that these ‘spark joy’ for me as I have specifically bought or received them as part of my collection. Though these are not average books, I used my reaction and feeling towards these as a guide for the rest of the process. I was surprised at the difference it made to hold each book in my hands as she advised. I found that books that I had thought would be keepers soon became part of the discard pile.

My keep pile. 166 books.

After completing the KonMarie method with my books, I was happily surprised to have 101 books in my discard pile. However, this still leaves me with 166 books, ranging from those in my antique collection, childhood favorites I cannot yet part with, and some of my favorites from the past couple of years. I did feel joy in both my ‘keep’ pile as well as my ability to consolidate my memories from my many childhood phases reflected in my books by just keeping a few from each. In this way this process was emotional, looking back through my many different interests growing up and the memories that came with these phases. I was also surprised at how much I had forgotten about my younger self, and even became frustrated when I came across a title that I knew was at one point one of my all time favorites but could not remember a single detail about the story. However, thankfully, I also discovered that I had perhaps put too much emotional attachment in my books to provide reminders of myself when in reality I can do without them.

My discard pile. 101 books.

In the end, I am not sure Marie Kondo would be completely satisfied with my results, as I found I was not able to completely stick to some of her rules, such as getting of books that have sat unread or favorites that I know I will not read again. However, I am satisfied with my results as I am definitely more happy with my collection as a whole and what I learned about my habit of collecting memories. I know that this was a positive experience for me and I am excited to continue this method to ‘tidy’ my other overflowing collections and personal items, as well as possibly revisit this collection again in the future to do further ‘tidying.’