June 12, 2016
I recently visited the Sally Bingham Women's Collection at Rubenstein Library. And there I met Laura Micham. Such hospitality...meeting me at the gate, then explaining the history of the Sally Bingham Collection. I was so impressed that I decided to donate my great-grandmother's diary to that library instead of UVa. This way, I can be close to the diary in case I ever need to refer back to it. Also, the book will be catalogued and preserved, and maybe even promoted (I hope).
I learned a lot from Laura. For example, her collection goes back to the 13th century and extends to the present. It is also international in scope. I'll be proud to have Emma's book in that collection.
More about the book. It's actually more of a memory book.
Emma Cole Kincannon was married to J. T. Kincannon. He helped to start the Bristol Female College (in Bristol, Tennessee at the time, I believe.) I'd always been told that JT founded Virginia Intermont College in Bristol, Virginia. My brother thought so to. However, I haven't seen any documentation on that, so I'm not sure if there is any truth to it. I'm planning to contact the Bristol Public Library and the Bristol Historical Society for more information next week.
From my research, I learned that the books called "Leaves of Affection" were very popular in the 19th century. Apparently, if someone was moving, that person's friends wrote poems in the book. I am not sure if the poems were original, or copied from someone else. There are no credits on the poems so I'm thinking that at least some of them were original.
The most charming page in the book features a poem on the forget me not, alongside the actual flower, attached to a little ribbon. I was so amazed that the book held together so well through the years, about 150, apparently.
Laura Micham and I noted the elegant handwriting in the book. It was tiny and very ornate. This was because paper was in short supply (and perhaps expensive).
"That's iron gall ink," Laura told me. This kind of ink was used from the 5th century until well into the 20th century. It was made from a mixture of iron salts and tannic acid. Its appearance is purplish/brown and I find it quite lovely.
Here is link from Wikipedia about iron gall ink: