la Brocanteuse

Sep 26, 2010

The found treasure

I think the first time I fell in love with these pale tattered look of very old books, was when I discovered the work of  Michele Lalande and Gilles Trillard.

Last week a friend of mine called to remind me of the Stellenbosch University book sale.
most of the old leather bound books I was hoping to find, had gone already, 
 I went through the shelves and picked out all the tattered ones left behind, selecting what appealed to me from the outside and took all I could lay my hands on..

before I tied them in bundles with waxed jute 
I discovered the biggest unforeseen surprise

   they all belonged to the cousin of my Husband's grandmother...
 my Husband was actually named after the de Villiers family   with his second name as 
 "de Villiers" which is the same as his mother's maiden name

 1894 - 1978

Author of short stories about the Overberg and an authority on Music and Genealogy
Professor of Zoology at Stellenbosch University for 36 years

Cornelius Gerhardus Stephanus de Villiers was born on 16 December 1894 in Dunghye Park, District Caledon, where he grew up and in his first years and attended a farm school. In 1911 he matricuated from school in Caledon.
He studied Zoology at the Victoria College in Stellenbosch (BA 1914, MA 1916). At 21 he started to lecture Zoology at the Transvaal University College in Pretoria and in 1918, he went to Zürich for further studies (PhD 1922. Thesis: Neue Beobachtungen über den Bau und die Entwicklung des Brustschulterapparates bei den Anuren, insbesondere bei Bombinator).
1923 -1959: Professor of Zoology at Stellenbosch University. Dr. Con as he was affectionally called by students and friends, was well known for his research on the origin and evolution of the vertebrates and presented his results at universities in Italy, Germany and the USA. In 1935 he was invited as a visiting professor in Rome, where he remained for 18 months and later also at different universities in German and the USA.
He was a very cultivated man and served on the executive board of the SABC for 12 years. His great love was music, especially singing (The Golden Age of singing), and he also gave lectures on music. He produced plays for Stellenbosch University and translated plays for them. He spoke six languages and translated literary works from German, Italian and Scandinavian. His short stories about the Overberg first appeared in Die Huisgenoot.
As a founding member of the Genealogical Society he contributed to a large extent to the revised version of Genealogies of old South African families (1966).
Con de Villiers died on 25 November 1978 at his nephew's house in Ceres.

  I was amazed at the wide selection of topics  Dr Con  was interested in...

 these books came from allover the world
(before the days!)

 The  books vary in topic from wine to religion
health and no less than  seven dictionaries in different languages

I honor the joy of this discovery , this incredible treasure .. 

 I would like to think this old pressed oak leave found in one of the books, was left there by Dr. Con himself, 
if not, by someone who admired what he left behind ....

Colette x

back to sorting, measuring and getting the heap of French antique linen ready for my French Brocante


Anne Marie said...

your blog is one of my favorites...and this post is just so cool (sorry, no better word came to mind...)
i discovered that i have a great-g-uncle that discovered the gage plum grafting it...and I absolutely love all his books and notes...that 3rd to last picture - with the leaf and the light is a beautifully styled photograph.

have a wonderful day!
Anne Marie

The House That A-M Built said...

Oh Colette, what a find! what a find! It was meant to be, those books staying in the family... by accident. What a fascinating man Dr Con was, so learned. Books look beautiful all lovingly tied up too! A-M xx

Acquired Objects said...

What a great find Colette and not one, the books, but two, family! Those books look so amazing tied together. Now we want to know what are you going to do with them?

Sue Murphy@ life as a house said...

Isn't life amazing? It was definitely a meant to be. Those books coming home to live, back with family. Just found you. I am visiting you from the Coast of California. I love the way the world of blogging brings all together.

desde my ventana said...

Wonderful find Colette,these books are a great treasure that has come to your hands,
Have a lovely new week,

A Perfect Gray said...

what an amazing story. and such lovely books and pages. thank you for that story and those beautiful images...

Shel said...

Indeed a great find, Colette! And the way you so lovingly tied the books in little bundles...
Have a great week getting ready for your brocante.

Dianne said...

A wealth of history in these books and oh! if only they could talk ~ I love the autumn leaf so beautifully pressed between the pages.

Anonymous said...

Wat 'n heerlike verrssing and ontdekking...baie spesiaal en ja, ek is ook mal oor die herlfsblaar.
Ronelle xx

Silvia C said...

Wow Colette, imagine that! What a great, fantastic find. Ties to family and beautiful treasures. Lovely.

froogal said...

You are so lucky to have found these wonderful books..they must have been waiting just for you. I love old typeface, etchings and engravings...what a treasure trove.

designchic said...

Ohhh, so beautiful- there's something about an old book...what a great find!! Thrilled to have found your blog this's stunning!!

Tamra said...

How exciting!! To find not only beautiful old books but then to find they are from within your own family?!! I can't even imagine.

Lovely post, thank you!

Kellie Collis said...

What a great find it is! I believe it is destiny that the books landed on your hands. Enjoy a lovely day, Kellie xx

Trouvais said...

Bonjour Collete...LOVE that last photo! Can't wait to see your vast new enterprise. What wonderful serendipity to find your family hidden among such lovely books. Beautiful photos...merci! XO Trish

Max Marbles/Bookbinder said...

Love to get me talented fingers on these!

Mona Thompson Providence Ltd. said...

I love, love these books. found treasure is just my very favorite. that is just what I have been doing for the last 10 days. Treasure hunting. You will have to visit next week, when I show the results of the hunt. Resting up this weekend.

Blooming Rose Musings said...

Oh Collete, what wonderful treasures you have found. Actually, I believe the books found you and in doing so, brought a family history to your hands. A wonderful treasure.

We will all be looking forward to hearing about your brocante.
Many blessings.

Eileen said...

Oh Collette...what a marvellous find! That is priceless treasure. Isn't it amazing how life's best treasures are found when you are not looking for them?

Chrissy...The Apothecary Shop said...

Oh my gosh...this post and those books are so beautiful!! So happy I found your lovely blog! All the best,Chrissy

The French Maid said...

I feel so lucky to have stumbled upon your lovely blog today! I am a new follower!
--Lee Ann

Carole said...

What an incredible story! I would be thrilled to say the least if I found something like that.
To have come back to you is a treasure indeed.
Good luck with your Brocante!