top of page

And in come Warner with Ann, and Poppy...

I've added a couple of other characters to my study of readers' marginalia. Two more annotated copies of PP have come into my possession, with funding help from a Biola University Provost's Research Cost Grant. One is inscribed as owned by Ann Rhys

Evans, but all subsequent annotation is in a different, more scrawly hand. This a 1928 Bunyan tercentenary facsimile edition of PP, reproducing the look of the first 1678 edition - the kind of version that interests historically minded readers. Helpfully, the book came with information from the seller identifying the provenance of the item. This is a disbursement from the library of one Warner Berthoff. Ann Rhys Evans became his wife in 1949, bringing, presumably, her copy of PP with her. They were married for 69 years until his death in August 2018. Both English literature scholars, it is Warner's hand that annotates this copy.


Comparison handwriting is available to be sampled and compared online.



Warner Berthoff was Professor of English at Bryn Mawr College (1951-67), and then Harvard University until his retirement in 1990. I've not tracked down any of his work that explicitly mentions Bunyan or PP yet, but he does write about Mark Twain's 'Innocents Abroad' which is subtitled 'A New Pilgrim's Progress.' Typical of a lit prof to enter a marginal comment from the king of marginal annotations - STC - Samuel Taylor Coleridge on a front endpaper leaf! And then refer his reading back to another Bunyan text as in the note to Grace Abounding...





The other addition to my roster of annotating readers I call Poppy. So far as I can make out, the inscription on the inside front endpaper is 'To Pop, from her loving bro, George. 1899.'


Outside the family, Pop seems too familiar, so I'm going for Poppy. She is an enthusiastic underliner and writer outer of Bible verses, even extending those hand written transpositions to the back endpapers and inside cover. There are only a few instances of a note that is not Bible quotation that I've made out so far. A couple are just summary names of the Bible incident -e.g. Parable of the Good Samaritan.


Now the question is - how does one interpret marginalia? I'm working on an answer...


83 views2 comments

2 Comments


Stumbled on your post while looking for something else. For accuracy's sake: The "scrawly" marginalia and Coleridge extract in your Berthoff copy of PP are all Ann's. She tended to clean up her notorious scrawl when inscribing her name. But she, too, was a scholar; wrote a book on Andrew Marvell and went on to be influential in English composition and rhetoric (Prof. Ann E. Berthoff, U. Mass.-Boston). Since you're interested in provenance, here's more info, from a memoir by AEB. Looking back at her two years in Manhattan at age 22-23, right after the War, she wrote, "I had gotten a job at the Columbia University Bookstore and cut back the copygirl job to a couple of days a…


Like
Replying to

Thanks so much for this post, and your kindness is sharing more information to help with my provenance research. It's a good demonstration of the necessary tentativeness of identifications based on 'hands' - without any information about your Mom's handwriting I thought I'd spotted a match to your Dad's from a letter located online - but that is very distant. Your help on detail is invaluable. Thanks for correcting my mistaken inference. You help underline the obvious - that handwriters use different handwriting for different occasions/locations. That memoir extract is fun. I love your care for this literary and bibliographical legacy. Thanks, once more.

Like
bottom of page