Notes Written in the Margins of Books Highlight Love Across Time in “Book Traces @ UVA”

This Valentine’s Day, UVA Today offers an article “Love in the Margins” about notes that lovers have inadvertently bequeathed us in the Book Traces @ UVA project—an effort to create an archive of books from the Library’s collection that have been uniquely enhanced by notations in the margins.

According to project head, English Professor Andrew Stauffer, “only a small percentage of [the books] contain emotionally revealing, personal notations … But it is clear that readers in previous centuries sometimes reacted to their books by inscribing parts of their lives, including their romantic feelings, within them.”

Stauffer’s favorite is a reminiscence of a love affair in 1900 that UVA student Jane Chapman Slaughter wrote into a copy of Longfellow’s Poems and Ballads. Slaughter graduated in 1935 at age 75—one of the first women to earn a Ph.D. at the University. Her lover, John H. Adamson, owned the book and would read to her from it before leaving to do missionary work in 1900, never to return. He left his book with her, and it found its way into the Library as part of a donation of her papers and books to the University.

Read more about romantic notations from the Library’s collection in the article “Love in the Margins” (UVA Today, 2/14/2017).

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