We were up in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, all this past week, and my son Jack and I spent some time at one of our favorite places, Epilogue Book Company. The front part of it is an unremarkable resort-town bookshop, but the backroom has shelves lined with the most randomly assembled collection of very old books I have ever seen. We spent over an hour poring through such things as the Congressional Record from 1911 and Volume III of a metallurgy textbook from 1944.
There was a biblical concordance, given from a mother to a daughter on her 18th birthday in 1879, in which the mother had clearly spent days writing and decorating a beautiful dedication on the frontispiece, in several different colors of ink. I was tempted to buy it just for that dedication. I didn't; what would I want with a biblical concordance?
I noted several of my favorite titles:
The Master’s Carpet; Or Masonry and Baal-Worship Identical, by Edmond Rougne, 1897
I Married a Ranger, by Dama Margaret Smith, Mrs. “White Mountain,” 1931
The Travels of Cyrus: A Discourse Upon the Theology and Mythology of the Ancients, by Chevalier Ramsay, 1728
How We Are Clothed: A Geographical Reader, by James Franklin Chamberlain, 1914
Female Quixotism; or, the Extravagant Adventures of Dorcasina Sheldon, Vol. II, written as near as I can tell by Dorcasina her ownself, 1829
Kentucky’s Famous Feuds and Tragedies: Authentic History of the World Renowned Vendettas of the Dark and Bloody Ground, by Chas. G. Mutzenberg, 1917
I bought a copy of The True Stories of Celebrated Crimes: Adventures of the World’s Greatest Detectives, by George Barton, from 1909. Jack got a novel called A Winning Hazard, by Mrs. Alexander, from 1896; he says he’s going to read it.
Sadly enough, Epilogue has announced it will be closing in April (although not so sadly, we got 50 percent off the books we bought). So that will be our last visit. We’ll miss it.