Ephemera in the Bok papers

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Ephemera in the Bok papers

2013-05-31 16:38

While treating volumes from the William Curtis Bok and Nellie Lee Holt Bok papers (1836-1991) I often encountered objects pressed inside. The book below, History of Holt and Atchinson Counties, Missouri (vol. 26), seen after conservation treatment, is an example of the family's treasured books.  The leaf of an American elm, a ribbon with graphite scribblings, and a party souvenir printed on fabric were among the items stored inside the books.



The Holt family bible contained more ephemera than any other volume in this collection. Both boards and spine were completely loose when the book arrived in the lab. They were reattached after text block reinforcement and the construction of a new hollow tube, covered in cloth dyed to match the original leather.



Friedrich Frobel (1872-1852) is remembered for the introduction of the kindergarden system and books detailing educational activities and kits called "gifts."  Paper Weaving is the 14th gift among "Frobel's Gifts" as outlined in his Systems of Bodies and Occupations. One such paper weaving, seen below, completed by a member of the Holt family was stored inside the bible.



Family bibles, frequently used as repositories of family records, can be very valuable for genealogical research. This particular edition was outfitted by the publisher with special pages for marriage certificates and album pages for photograph storage.



A envelope scrap with a portion of a Nebraska postage stamp on the verso carries a short but poignant note: "Ma, I could not find any dried Beef. Geo."



A small bouquet was so carefully stored inside the book that it survived nearly intact.



All ephemera associated with this particular volume was encapsulated in clear polyester material for protection and improved handling and placed in an envelope inside the book itself.

The finding aid for the William Curtis Bok and Nellie Lee Holt Bok papers (Collection 3096) is available on HSP's website.


Submitted by Stephen Macrone (not verified) on

Recently made contact with a distant cousin who believes he may have what could be our Great-Great Grandparents' Bible (b. abt 1856) He told me it is all written in German and I'm praying it is a treasure chest full of Genealogy information? I will let you know.

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