Most Beautiful Book
"Holiday Sport," printed and bound by M. A. Donohue & Company in Chicago, is a beautiful reader. I can't tell when it was published, but antique book sellers estimate 1880 and say that this book is very rare. It includes sweet stories such as "How A Goose Did Love A Dog" and "How The Elephant Tried The Bridge" as well as poems such as "Learning To Walk" and "All For The Best." Unfortunately, this book is extremely delicate, and the first few pages are falling out. I don't want to completely open the book for fear of breaking more pages, but it looks like nearly all the stories and illustrations are completely intact.
Most Personal Book
"Feltinum" Composition Book. Property of H. E. Hartman, Ellwood City, Pa., Betts Academy. This was my great-grandfather H. E. Hartman's composition book while he was at a private high school called Betts Academy (see "The Education of H. E. Hartman"). The first page includes subtraction problems (484.2 - 29.1 = 455.1) and formulas ("The plastic amorphous is formed by pouring the melted sulphur into some water"). All 64 pages of his notebook continue in this manner, with formulas (Fe+2Hcl=Fecl2+2H) and descriptions ("Iron melts, but does not burn, and it does not decompose water. It dissolves in dil. hyd., nit., and sul. acids, and hydrogen is given off"). He received lots of blue checks, which I think are good.
Historically Interesting Books
"Stoddard's American Intellectual Arithmetic" (published by Sheldon & Co., New York and Chicago, copyright 1866) belonged to my great-grandfather H. E. Hartman. It's signed "Holliday Ellwood Hartman / Ellwood City, Penna. / Lawrence County. May 8th, 1893" on the inside front cover. It then belonged to my grandmother Eleanor Hartman Wise. It's signed "Eleanor Ida Hartman" and then "Eleanor Millidred Hartman" - not sure why - on the first page.
The first lesson is basic addition and includes problems such as, "James killed 2 birds, and John killed 1 bird; how many birds did both kill?" and "A man had 2 cows, and he purchased 5 cows more; how many cows had he then?" By lesson five, the problems get more complicated: "A boy bought a pound of butter for 44 cents, a pound of meat for 20 cents, and a bunch of lettuce for 7 cents; how many cents did all cost?" In lesson nine, a duck costs 2 dimes, a candlestick is 12 cents, and a ton of hay goes for 13 dollars. Lesson 17 includes a "Table of Troy Weight" in which 24 grains make 1 pennyweight and 20 pennyweights make 1 ounce. Then there are lessons on partnership, fractions, algebraic questions, and interest.
Overall, the book is in great condition and most pages have no writing on them. The back inside cover, however, has a list of names written in my grandmother's handwriting. I'm guessing these are classmates, but I'll ask if she remembers.
"A Grammar School Geography: Descriptive, Industrial, and Commercial" by John N. Tilden and published by Leach, Shewell, & Sanborn (1894) was my great-grandfather's book, too, and is signed "Doc" (his nickname) in huge letters. It is also signed by his daughter Mary Hartman, who noted "Japan on page 190." I don't know why. The book includes illustrations and color maps.
When the book was published, Philadelphia was the third largest city of the Union and Pittsburg (no h at the time) was the largest producer of iron, steel, and glass. All of New Jersey had a population about equal to that of New York City. (Actually, a quick Google search tells me that's still true, with 8.7 million people in NJ and 8.2 million people in NYC. That surprises me.)
Property of Zelienople Schools
A few of the books that were stored in my grandfather's attic actually belong to the public school system. A 1913 edition of "Wilhelm Tell" - in German, with English notes - is stamped "Zelienople Schools No. 5-14; Pupil held responsible for damage or loss of book." The same stamp is on the first page of a 1900 "Halleck's New English Literature" ... and on a 1920 "Hamilton's Essentials of Arithmetic" by Samuel Hamilton ... and on "The Winston Readers Second Reader," a cute storybook with color illustrations from 1918 ... and on the similar "Elson Primary School Reader: Book Two" from 1913. If Zelienople Public Schools would like to reclaim their books, I'd be happy to send them.
I also have a Monongahela City Public School District book - "Stories of Pennsylvania" by Joseph S. Walton and Martin G. Brumbaugh (copyright 1897).
My Hartman Textbook Collection
Holiday Sport Reader from the Bright Eyes Series (c. 1880)
The Winston Readers: Second Reader (1918)
Appletons' School Readers: Third Reader (1877)
Elson Primary School Reader: Book Two (1913)
Town's New Speller and Definer (1896)
Halleck's New English Literature (1900)
Sheldon's Advanced Language Lessons (1895)
Stoddard's American Intellectual Arithmetic (c. 1890)
Hamilton's Essentials of Arithmetic: Higher Grader (1920)
H. E. Hartman's Science Composition Book (c. 1900)
A Grammar School Geography (1894)
Stories of Pennsylvania (1897)
Schiller's Wilhelm Tell (1913)