Home Library 1931

Bonzo, MV and Doris Graham. 1932. Backyard of Theodore, Detroit,MI

In my grandmother Fannie’s scrapbook, I found two library cards made by my mother, Doris and her older sister, Mary Virginia in 1931.  My mother was 7 and Mary Virginia was 11.  There is no book listed on my mother’s card but Mary Virginia names “The Children’s Story Hour” on hers.  I wonder what other books they borrowed and lent or if this was a one time happening. I did notice that Mary Virginia returned her book on time.

This photograph was taken later that year in their backyard. Howard died of scarlet fever the following year. He was two and a half.

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42 thoughts on “Home Library 1931

  1. I wonder how many of us played at being librarians and schoolteachers and then went on to actually follow that profession. I have to say that’s very neat handwriting on thos library cards.

  2. That story is priceless. We used to play library too. My sister and I. The library is still my favorite place to browse, even better that malls for me.

      1. I also prefer libraries and bookstores to malls. My mother was the librarian at a very small library when I was growing up. I used to love to go to the library after school and help her.

  3. My friends and I used to play library in the summer and we’d borrow books from each other, complete with a check out card. “Date Took” – HA — love that!

  4. Those library cards are a real treasure. And to think you have a photo to go with the cards. It looks like being a librarian was in your blood!

  5. Reading your post brought back memories…my siblings and I played library at home. Your grandmother was super about keeping important items from when her children were young. First the report cards and now their library cards. By the way, great choice of family pictures at the top of your blog page. Can you identify the little girls dressed in white with the baby seated between them? They are lovely.

  6. While still at school I had the privilege of issuing books at the village adult library so I suppose I ‘played’ for real with those huge date stamps that are now past their ‘use by’ date.

  7. I can remember taking great delight in numbering thebooks in my little bookcase. Wouldn’t like to try and do that now!

  8. Wow! That’s precious!

    I remember my first book borrowed from the library; ‘Charlotte’s Web’.
    I read it, put it in my toy chest, and forgot about it.

    I remember the late fees as being huge and worthy of a spanking! LOL
    From then on, me and my friends would take out the maximum amount of books in order to fill up our library cards the quickest.

    1. Poor George. You should have waited to return it during fine free week. Our cards weren’t fill up cards. You just showed them to identify yourself when you checked out a book. If there was a list they were keeping, they never showed it to us.

  9. Aside from the highschool library, I was never keen on old books, preferring new ones where my fingers would be the first to roam their pages. But about your story, could it be that this was a record of what they borrowed at the [real] library to insure they didn’t lose or forget the books? Sorry to hear about Howard, but the ladies in the picture sure had nice hairdos!!

    1. That could be the case but that seems so organized…making a card for your library books when all you have to do is put them in a specific place. Too bad I can’t ask. Glad you like the hairdos. They wore them that way until late highschool, I think, when they grew their hair out and then Mary V. cut hers really short. My grandmother eventually grew hers out too.

      1. I remember seeing pics of my grandma (and eventually my mom as a child) with a somewhat similar hairdo, but they did not have the same bounce to it. The curse of the flat hair!! My mother’s sister was even worse!!!!!!

  10. Sometimes the simplest creative things become treasures. I had not thought of library cards as a place for genealogy research, and of course now they are all gone, but what if we could find a record of what our great-grandparents read and when? My new ebook tells Amazon not only how much I read, but the time and the date and every other title I click on. Will that be the same as finding your grandmother’s handwriting?

    1. It won’t be the handwriting but I love having a list of the movies my uncle Henry saw because he wrote it in his journal. I would find a list of books read very interesting.

  11. What a wonder this fragile ephemera of homemade library cards has survived, and its delightful story for you to tell. Your mother’s middy blouse is charming. So sad that Howard was not to make it. Again, thank you for putting your remarkable family history online. Between photos, scrapbook and family stories, sounds like a book in the making.

  12. Oh you lucky thing, you’ve managed to find the actual library cards. The ones I made and stuck inside the books seem to have been lost over the years, but I can visualise them now. Tanks for helping to take me back there.

  13. Those cards are some great finds! And those pictures are wonderful! Like most kids, they seem to have gotten bored of their game quickly. 🙂

  14. We played at a lot of ‘real’ things when we were young, but somehow we missed playing ‘library’ which is funny because we had a ton of books and all of us were avid readers. How sad little Howard passed away of Scarlet Fever. Was he the only boy in the family? I guess I was lucky. I had Scarlet Fever when I was around 4 years old but survived!

    1. He also had diabetes that complicated it. There was Mershell, who was born right between my mother and her sister. He was hit by a car on the way back to school and died. Howard was born the next year and then died when he was three. There were no other children.

  15. Yes, I agree, its still sad to hear of both Howard and Mershell’s early deaths.

  16. As a child, I had a great fun setting up a “library” at home and getting my parents and little brother to come along and get their library cards. I was delighted one year in my Christmas stocking to receive a date stamp and be a true librarian. And yes, I did grow up to become a librarian, but spent much of my time counteracting the myth that all librarians did was stamp books!

  17. How cute is that homemade library card. When I was in elementary school, I loved when the librarian picked me to be the helper because that meant I got to ink the stamp and press the due-date on the card and on the slip attached to the book.

    1. Our lower grade elementary librarian was a horror. She had all the books marked with a different color stripe on the spine for each grade. You were only allowed to read the ones for your grade.

  18. I may love books, and have spent many more hours than needed in a library, but I never got to play librarian! And I don’t think I even volunteered to be an assistant in one. These are so charming, the cards, as well as beautiful sunny photos of family. Thanks for reposting so I could see it, since I missed 2012 version!

  19. Little Howard looks a bit like the wee fairy on the book cover.

    And I remember playing library. They were usually Scholastic books bought from the Weekly Reader that we shared. Wasn’t it fun to pretend to be an adult.

    1. We used to order those books from Weekly Reader too. The boringest newspaper ever. Or is that just in retrospect?

  20. We used to do a lot of play-acting when we were kids but I never thought of a library.

    1. I don’t remember playing library when I was a kid, but then again, I vaguely do. I remember going to the real library often.

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