Samuel David

Feb. 11

Book with Handwritten Notes at Ashurbanipal Library


The Ashurbanipal Library has been collecting books for over 30 years.  During that time, it has received numerous book donations.  Of course, the actual content of a book is important, but sometimes, the handwritten notes from previous owners can be just as fun to read!


Take a look at the handwritten notes found in our copy of The Complete History of Joseph the Patriarch Composed Poetically by Saint Ephraim the Syriac Doctor of the Church, which was translated into modern Assyrian by the first Chaldean priest of Chicago, Samuel David, in 1925.




In case you have trouble reading the handwriting, the left page says:

I am in love.  I should have said, I am love sick.  My intention is to get married.  But I wonder who is the lucky girl?  Oh boy!  I am expecting her to be as wonderful as myself.

John Moses.


The right page says:

I will never make up with my girl, because she is too good for me.




We aren’t sure why there appears to be notes by two separate authors in this book.  Perhaps two young men were sharing a book and writing notes to each other during class?  However, the handwriting on both pages look similar, so it’s confusing!


What we do know is that the notes were from the late 1920s (so almost 100 years ago!), because on the other side of the book, we learn that John Moses bought the book in Chicago in 1927.


Do you have any guesses as to why it seems as if two people wrote notes in this book?


Feel free to share your thoughts with us in the comments below!