Friday, June 24, 2011

1926 Modern Library Moby-Dick - Two Prizes

Here is the 1926 Modern Library Moby-Dick, classic red cloth cover from the house of Bennett Cerf, already covered in a previous post.

On the inside is a large award plate from the Halifax Academy, June 19, 1942 given to Douglas Rogers, for the Grade 10 prize in mathematics.

A search from Halifax Academy failed to produce anything for the school, only the motto E Mari Merces confirms the connection with Halifax Canada.

In thinking about this volume, given 69 years ago to a young Doug Rogers, we pondered how proud he must have been to receive it. We can see him walking up to the person who today would be called "head of school", shaking their hand and almost defiantly walking back to retake his seat among his peers.

We then recalled a similar award, given almost 19 years later to the editor of TMDC, who remembers all too well the elation he felt when he received the Armstrong Award at the Sheppard Knapp School, outside of Worcester Mass. - now defunct.  The Armstrong award was given in memory of a lad who fell from a tree to his untimely death. The precise characteristics of the children who received the award were always a mystery, it was not academic nor sports related. Now it could be said it was a catch all kind of thing, given to some kid otherwise left out of the award stream, perhaps too shy to have close friends, too normal to have successes in sports, too smart to excel in main stream academics. But a likable child non the less, a child everyone would agree was a good kid.

The letter in Olson's Small Boat Seamanship, with yellowing tape, is in the controlled precise and neat hand of Mrs. Halkyard, the wife of the Headmaster, and the woman who began Mr. Pettit's latin journey. There is a decided left learn to the letters, signaling perhaps left handedness, and an erie hand writing quality that is exactly similar to little Billy Pettit's own left handed mother's precise, controlled and neat handwriting.

We will assume that if the Armstrong Award were given today, or the Halifax Academy X Grade Math Prize for that matter,  in the form of an ebook, 40 years from now, that E Book would no longer function. It would have been recycled or jettisoned into the land fill long before. The memories just that, vague memories of a lad proudly receiving yet another electronic device, cutting edge for the moment. Fleeting... gone... dust... nothing left to share.


  1. Your "qualities of citizenship" are still "outstanding!" Thanks for fighting to STOP DIGITAL MADNESS (to adopt the audiophile's anti-CD battle cry). It's hard to truly improve on the well-made printed book.

  2. Thanks for the comment G... we do what we can!

  3. I have the small book, 7 1/4 X 5 inches. Blue cover with the red square with yellow letters of the name and auther. The introductions is by Raymond Weaver. Does anyone know what I have.

  4. That is a modern library edition. The blue covers is. Later edition. I begin to see that in the 50's.