Here is an interesting story. For the past month I've been combing the internet and the library for information on Elizabeth Oakes-Smith to prepare for a presentation I'm giving in the spring. I have been printing out everything I can find by this author on the web, and the research is fun. Some of her works are entirely out of print, or in old magazines that are very hard to find.
Last week I had a thought. Out of all the out of print books and articles written by Elizabeth Oakes-Smith, I'd really like to find the little volume she published in 1845 called Complete Poetical Writings. That would make me really happy. This particular book has been out of print for over 100 years. I'll probably never find one, and if I do I bet I can't afford it. If I see it in an antique shop for less than $20, it's a sign, I decided. (I'm one of those
An amazing response to my thought came later in the week, no joke, when a Google search for poems by E.Oakes-Smith turned up an eBay address, and there was the Complete Poetical Writings of E. Oakes-Smith that I so wanted to find. I was shocked. What made this find even more special was that the book was a 1st edition signed by the author. This is what I read:
"Poems by Mrs. E (Elizabeth) Oakes Smith, published New York, J. S. Redfield, First Complete Edition, 1845, 204 pages, measures 3 1/8" x 4 1/2", hardback, gilt edge, inscribed "Yours Respectfully, E. Oakes Smith", belonged to a Steph. Wm. Smith, complete."
I've only bought something on eBay one other time. It was a blue pig potty seat for Big Brother. (He was two years old.) It was such a rip off. His little rumpus didn't fit on it and it ended up being another dog dish for Hell Hound. I vowed I'd never shop eBay again, until now...
What are the chances of someone coming across this old book in a box and putting it up on eBay? I got it for a steal at $15.
I was very excited to win this auction. I watched the book for two days, thinking some book dealer would outbid me last minute. If I won the auction for a reasonable price, I was convinced the book was meant for me.
Since I started researching the life of the Smiths,
- I've been inspired to stay committed to writing a novel (this is a project I start over and over, but never finish),
- I've had an opportunity to do a presentation for the local historical society,
- I've stumbled upon an opportunity to help create a memorial for E. Oakes-Smith in the new local YMCA,
- I've had an article published,
- I was contacted by a relative of the deceased,
- and I won a 164 year-old, signed book by the author for $15 in a landslide eBay auction.
Let me be clear, except for jewels, the best object to give Loren for a present is a book, especially a rare, out of print, first edition. Is it coincidence, or did a deceased person arrange for me to receive a "fab" thank you gift via eBay? You decide. I'm going to go look at my new ancient book!