Ex Libris Eleanor Roosevelt

As the Metadata Librarian, one of the best parts of my job is cataloging our rare book collection. Lots of interesting and quirky things pop across my desk. Today’s item is brought to you by the David Kamansky and Gerald Wheaton gift donation.

The book, All I Want is Everything (Funk & Wagnalls Co., New York, 1957) by Marion Mill Preminger, arrived uneventfully on my desk. A Gettysburg Times article from July 29, 1964 describes Preminger as an ex-Hungarian model and showgirl who dedicated her life to working as a nurse alongside Dr. Albert Schweitzer in Africa. All I Want is Everything is her attempt to share those experiences.

There’s nothing remarkable about the book. It has a copyright of 1957, so it’s not really rare in the traditional sense. There is something special about it, though. The inscription from the author caught my eye:

Left: Bookplate from the library of Eleanor Roosevelt. Right: Inscription on the endpapers of Preminger’s book from the author to Eleanor Roosevelt.

So many questions! How well did Preminger know Eleanor Roosevelt? And why would Preminger choose to personally send a book to her? The librarian in me wants to know how big Roosevelt’s personal library was. The archivist in me needs to understand the provenance of this particular book and how it ended up in Holland, Michigan. Most importantly, what does that inscription actually say?! (Seriously, if you know, or have time to figure it out, please email me and I’ll note that in the catalog.)

Rare book cataloging backlog
Rare book cataloging backlog

But alas, so many books to catalog, so little time. These are the perils of being a librarian, I suppose.

We have so many great books at our library. Visit our special collections page if you’re a curious bibliophile, or write to us.

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