Forgotten Bookmarks blog, I recently finished reading the epically titled As You Like It: edited with a life of Shakespeare, an account of the theatre in his time, and numerous aids to the study of the play by William Shakespeare, Samuel Thurber, Jr. and Louise Wetherbee (1599, 1922).
This nicely constructed little book consists of the text of the play, extensive schoolmarmish notes (Rosalind: "Thou losest thy old smell." Note: "Remember that Rosalind's vulgarity was very common at the time."), a glossary, discussion questions for each scene, a selection of literary criticism from the 19th century, a biographical sketch of Shakespeare, and a discussion of Elizabethan theatre.
But, better than all that, the book contains extensive annotations made by a certain schoolboy named Edward R. Scudder in 1929. How do I know his name? Because he wrote it about 200 times throughout the book.
a larger selection of the annotations here. Note that one of the drawings is pretty racially insensitive, but it seems that kind of thing flew at Oneonta High School in 1929.
How did I know Mr. Scudder lived in Oneonta? Why because I am an amazing information professional, that's why! I noticed that he put "OHS '29" on the inside back cover of his book, which told me that he lived in a town that started with an "O" and that he graduated from high school in 1929. A little searching on the Social Security Death Index showed me an Edward Scudder who was born in 1911 and who died in Oneonta, New York in 1981. That would make him 18 in 1929, and a perfect candidate for our book. Further research showed that this Edward Scudder's middle initial was R., which sealed the deal.
Other random facts: In 1938 Edward visited Mr.and Mrs. Edgar Boyce in Kingston, NY in the company of Mr. and Mrs. Lee D. Crouch and their daughter Dorothy (as reported in The Kingston Daily Freeman, February 25, 1938); in 1953 he served on the Oneonta Chamber of Commerce election committee (as reported in The Binghamton NY Press, February 7, 1953); and he was a member of the Men’s Chorus in Oneonta in 1957 (as reported in a flashback feature in the Oneonta Daily Press, December 7, 2007).
I won't deny that I have amazing search skills, but it also helped that Mr. Scudder had a very googleable name.
It seems that Mr. Scudder did get married, although I wasn't able to find the names of any of his children. If by some chance a relative comes across this post and would be interested in the book, just let me know and I'd be happy to mail it to you. Otherwise I'm going to keep this little gem forever -- it is a nice copy of a great play, with some wonderful history inside!
[Curious how Edward felt about "As You Like It"? He didn't really like it.]