Friday, 29 June 2007

How to say you love someone - properly

In 1917, a 41 year old man named Alf Reed took his Easter leave off from the Featherston military camp, and hiked for five days, covering 193 kilometres through the central North Island, not easy even today.

When he got back to camp he wrote about it, by hand. For 124 pages. It took months.

The manuscript was in different shades of ink, with illuminated capitals and embellished headings. It contained maps and photographs fitted with text. The pages, 15 x 10 cm, were bound in leather. "In and Around Featherston Military Camp And (Mostly) Elsewhere" was the first book produced by Alfred Hamish Reed, who formed what would become Reed Publishing, still one of the most significant players in the New Zealand publishing market.

Only one copy of this book was ever produced. It was given as a gift to his wife Isabel, and she kept it until she died in 1939.

(Source: Heritage New Zealand, Winter 07, "First Edition" by Jack Leigh)


D. Sidhe said...

I've been trying to think of something worthwhile to say about this story, and I still got nuthin'.

My anniversary is tomorrow, my partner and I will have celebrated fourteen years since our ceremony, or eighteen years together. In this week, we'll also be remembering the day we lost our long-term third, eleven years ago.

I wish I'd ever been capable of saying I love you to them so well, but this... I'll keep trying with what I still have.

So thank you, for passing the story along. Truly beautiful.

Phoenician in a time of Romans said...

I'll see if anything else shows up from my reading (would you believe I get paid to read stuff all day?

Dee said...

You say she kept it until her death.

Where is it now?

Phoenician in a time of Romans said...

I believe Reed Publishing has it (presumably under glass somewhere) - it was presented to Reed's nephew and business partner after she died. A limited run fascimile (about 150) was recently printed - my library has a copy somewhere.