Monday, April 2, 2012

Godey's Lady's Books

Front plate from 1857 edition
Mom is so awesome! Every other year she runs a community tag sale in the senior community where she lives in Maine. Funds raised go to the resident's assistance fund. Her garage is where all the donations go until sale day, so she usually gets to pick over the donations. Last year, she found two pieces of needlepoint, nicely done but unfinished. She bought them before the sale and had them finished for me. This year, she outdid herself. She bought two copies of Godey's Lady's Book, one from 1857 and the other from 1870, for five dollars apiece! Wow!!

The books are in good condition, but there are some condition issues throughout. The covers show minor cosmetic damage, and some of the pages have come loose. There is yellowing throughout, and some staining in places. Nothing too out of the ordinary for books of this age. Still readable, and the illustrations are wonderful. I thought I'd share some of the ones that caught my eye.

There are only a few color plates. One of these is a wonderful full color Berlin Wool Work design with a pheasant perched in an open wreath, and the design is all done on a grid.

There was a small card inside with handwritten note on the back. I think it was something done by a friend of one of the book's owners. The image was printed and hand colored. If you click the picture of the back side, you should be able to see it large enough to read its charming message.

Best of all, there were some patchwork quilt designs. Interestingly, most of them were just pictures with the word "patchwork" and no other information. These weren't patterns as we know them today. If someone wanted to make a quilt, they could do the math and draft templates themselves based on the inspiration design in the book. I guess that's how it worked. I found one place with a rather remarkable piece of writing accompanying the patchwork designs. Click to enlarge...hope you can read it!

So, what a treat! Mom's the best. She spent a total of ten dollars for both books. When I told her I thought the books might have some value - I've seen some for sale for several hundred dollars - she said, "Oh. Maybe I should put in another ten dollars." Love you, Mom!!


  1. Thank you so much for sharing! And thanks to your mom too.
    Nan In FL

  2. She sounds like a wonderful Mom! These books are so interesting to look though.

  3. What a fabulous find! And a bargain to boot!

  4. You are a luck lad with a mom like that. I am a mom so I should know. I've used Godey's Ladies Book as reference in the past so I would treasure to own a bit of that history.

  5. Do you have a date on the patchwork pages?

  6. I'll have to look. I didn't notice any dates other than the one on the spine of each book. Is there somewhere in particular where it would be? I don't think the actual pages with the patchwork are dated...

  7. What a lovely gift from your mom!!!

  8. I'm not sure where the dates would be, but which book was the pattern from. Or did you already mention, and I just didn't see : )

  9. I'm pretty sure I found all the patchwork images in the 1857 edition. There weren't any that I could recall finding in the 1870 edition.

  10. Dear!
    Do you have Godey's Lady's Book, 1871.
    I am looking for old pattern - parrot.
    My e-mail
    With love

    1. I do not have 1871, sorry. The only ones I've got are the two in this blog.