Managing a library collection sometimes has its surprises, especially when you open a book and find little treasures saved within its pages. How many of us have ever used a photo or other piece of paper to mark a place in a book? And have forgotten to remove it after we finished with the book? Without a doubt, librarians over the years have encountered many pieces of “ephemera” (printed matter of passing interest, such as postcards, tickets, ads, etc.) inside volumes upon their return.
Luckily, my find was better than generic ephemera: two precious little watercolors painted by two young girls in 1858 and saved by their father, Charles M. Taynton, in one of his personal books. Each painting was carefully dated as to when it was painted and when its caption was written. Although my search for information about the family has been unsuccessful, I hope Mary and Phebe would be pleased that their father inadvertently saved their artwork for posterity.