An Unusual Collection from Ian Brabner


An Unusual Collection from Ian Brabner

Items 73-79 are a group of broadsides and the like which appeal for help from the public on behalf of people with various maladies. They were perhaps something of a sophisticated form of begging. The unfortunate person would frequently have some sort of a poem to sell, which was essentially an excuse for people to provide assistance. Among the conditions described in these writings which brought about the need for help were blindness, an injured spine, and the need for an artificial limb. A brakeman who fell between two rail cars and was crippled pleads for aid, while a poor young girl whose father died and mother is ill seeks help. Most are priced at $50.

Item 29 is an epic poem, a literary form once of great popularity. I have no idea why. Of Battles by James H. Rea retells the Civil War as a poem. "Were Longstreet's pets and Lee's best fighting men; / Tho' ne'er been whipped, were doomed to whipping then. / They met the Philadelphia brigade / Who, unprotected or protected, staid. / Brigade with canon soon was reinforced. / Retained their ground all officers unhorsed..." On and on it goes, and you can read it all for $125.

Over fifty people attended the wedding of Thomas Hall and Sarah Holland at Goshen Meeting House in Pennsylvania. You weren't one of them. We know this because the wedding took place over 240 years ago, in 1763. The lovely couple is long gone, but surprisingly, their marriage certificate is still with us. They pledged to be "loving and faithful" husband and wife, and there being no evidence to the contrary, I will assume they were just that, "until death shall separate them." They have affixed their names to the certificate as have more than fifty of their neighbors and relatives. Item 117. $200.

Item 100 is one of those rare items pertaining to Penn County, Pennsylvania. Penn County? Where is that? It isn't. At the time of this petition, To the Honourable the Senate and House of Representatives of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, circa 1840s, there had long been a movement to create a new county, Penn, from portions of Lancaster and Chester Counties. This petition is signed by many residents of Chester County, and they opposed the plan. They state that the only point of the new county would be to enrich a few people who held land near the proposed county seat. Penn County was never to be, though it is never too late for those who might like once again to raise this cause. $200.

Ian Brabner, Bookseller, may be found online at, phone number 302-998-2886.