Last night at Half Price Books I came across one that I've been trying to find for years, An American Primer, edited by Daniel J. Boorstin. It's a collection of foundational documents in United States history, starting with the 1620 Mayflower Compact and ending with Lyndon Johnson's 1965 "Address on Voting Rights." I had a copy of this in college, and somewhere along the way I got rid of it. The problem in trying to find it again was that I couldn't remember the title or the author/editor. Describing it as "a book of historical documents" didn't get me anywhere. These days I keep track of the books I dispose of, as well as books I read but don't own, because I'm constantly forgetting titles and authors.
Looking at this again after thirty years, I was surprised at what isn't included, until I realized it was published in 1966. A modern edition would hopefully be more inclusive. There is nothing from Frederick Douglass or Martin Luther King, Jr. There is only one document from a Native American, and that in 1774. It does have the 1848 "Seneca Falls Declaration" on women's rights, as well as Elizabeth Cady Stanton's "Address on the Divorce Bill" from 1861. Still, with its limitations, I think it's worth having. I can and have looked up some of these documents on-line, like the Constitution, but it's nice having so many in one place. I've just realized though that this edition doesn't include the 25th amendment, passed in 1967, so I shall print out a copy to add in. We're certainly hearing a lot about that particular amendment these days.
I was also looking last night in the British history section. I was sick over Christmas and New Year's. I didn't get a lot of reading done, but I did watch some TV and movies. I happened on "The Young Victoria" on Netflix, the film with Emily Blunt. I'd seen it before, and I was drawn in again by the gorgeous costumes and settings. I was struck though by the scenes of the coronation, with Prince Albert supporting the new Queen from the audience. That didn't seem right to me, so I went to check. I could have sworn that I had a biography or two of Queen Victoria on the shelves, but I don't. (I have Gillian Gill's We Two, which confirmed that Albert was not at the coronation.) I don't know what happened to my copy of Christopher Hibbert's biography. I see I gave Elizabeth Longford's to the library sale several years ago. Now, I guess if I haven't even needed to consult them in that time, I haven't really needed them on my shelves, and I didn't buy a replacement last night. But it has made me wonder if maybe I have been a bit too quick to discard books, to make shelf space or to cull the TBR stacks, especially when faced with packing books to move. I'm trying to be more deliberate about acquiring books, and now I'm thinking about that when it comes to getting rid of books as well.
I also found a few Patricia Wentworth books on the shelves. I was dithering over Pilgrim's Rest, before I remembered to check Library Thing and confirm I already have that one. I've sent more than one duplicate copy to the library sale, but those at least I'm not likely to regret.