A few months ago, my husband spent a day helping a buddy move. I didn’t expect him to come home with this: The Century Dictionary: An Encyclopedia Lexicon of the English Language, Revised and Enlarged Edition, published in 1914.
Weighing in at 26.5 pounds and made obsolete long ago by ever-changing information (not to mention Wikipedia), this book was destined for the landfill until the hubby decided that it should take up new residence in our tiny apartment. Awesome.
Among the tome’s highlights:
- Its snazzy brown corduroy cover;
- New insets on “Aëroplanes”, “Injurious Insects”, and “Wireless Telegraphy”;
- A long-forgotten bookmark with a quote from St. Francis of Assisi;
- Its definition of the word Canadian: “1: pertaining to Canada, a British possession in America north of the United States; 2: a name given to a type of embroidery made with small pieces of fur, of the skins of reptiles and the like, applied to the surface of the stuff, and combined with needlework done with porcupine quills split so fine that they are flexible, and dyed in various colors.”
I love big books and did in fact spend a significant portion of my childhood reading through the World Book Encyclopedia, volume by volume. But this book is essentially one more thing to dust, and let’s be honest, my tolerance for dusting is already mighty low.
So what becomes of this big-ass book? Like my husband, I’m loathe to throw it out and would prefer to either find it the right home or otherwise make use of it. Does it have any historical significance that warrants preserving? Can it be recycled? Craft project?