I love inscriptions and marginalia

A wonderful inscription appears on the inside cover of a book I am reading for my sabbatical research, Ken Roemer’s The Obsolete Necessity: America in Utopian Writings, 1888-1900 (Kent State UP, 1998). This is a copy from the shelves of our library at the College of Charleston. From the author to his dissertation director, the note reads:

Dr. Cohen,

The margins of this book are blank. But for me they are filled with the hundreds of comments and suggestions you offered. I chose you as a dissertation director because you impressed me as one of the most conscientious teachers I have ever met; your supervision of my dissertation proved that my impression was correct. (To say nothing of going beyond the call of duty–imagine reading a dissertation in Spiller’s cabin!)

Thank you; and thank you for the continual advice and encouragement.


I have not researched who Dr. Cohen is. I wonder if Spiller’s cabin was the cabin of Robert Spiller, author of the monumental literary history of the US from way back.  But those details, though I would love to know them, really don’t much matter.  The main thing is Wow.  How cool.

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