I don't think I ever read anything by C. S. Forester before. And I didn't buy these books because I wanted to start reading him now. I bought them because I was curious about their former owner, who had a few idiosyncrasies, some normal, and some surprising.
All three books had the Antioch Book Company bookplate of a Raymond J. Doremus pasted on the front pastedown:
I liked the motto on the bookplate: A BOOK IS LIKE A GOOD FRIEND. MY FRIENDS I WOULD FOREVER KEEP.
Above the bookplate on two of the books, the former owner stamped the pastedown with his custom address stamp, and wrote "Property of" and the date "12/31/61."
The third book, a special edition of Randall and the River of Times, was published exclusively for the members of the Sears Readers Club. Raymond stamped his custom address stamp on the half title page, and wrote the date "3/61" along with rather explicit instructions for anyone who had access to this book:
Doremus wasn't finished using his custom address stamp. He applied the stamp on page 100 of all three books. Was he a librarian in his day job?
And on pages 100-101 of his copy of Captain Horatio Hornblower, Doremus left a personal note for a future owner:
Re-read Thursday Sept 6, 1984 23 yrs Later - Ray Doremus
Weather - Cloudy - Temp 86 - Time 5:10 PM//GERRY is making Supper
Age 75.6 - 5704 Lisa Pl - Holiday Fl.
All is well!
Gerry was his wife Geraldine. And yes, The Doremus family retired to Holiday, Florida. As for the address, 5704 Lisa Place, I suspect the street name was replaced by Lima Dr. because Pinellas County records indicate that Raymond J. Doremus resided at both 5704 Lisa Place and 5704 Lima Drive. He lived another ten years passing away on Oct. 22, 1994.
Inserted in two of the book are the dust jacket flaps containing the blurbs about the books and its author. And to be inserted in the copy of Captain Horatio Hornblower will be a copy of this blog post. Who knows? Twenty-five years from now a curious book collector may happen upon these three books on the book shelves of a thrift store somewhere in Florida.