I had some time between appointments today in downtown Ottawa and visited small used book store on Laurier east of Dalhousie. A nice small store with a friendly owner, but most of the stock was relatively contemporary. Nothing wrong with that, but when I mentioned to the owner that I was looking for some older editions he suggested I try a store called "Patrick McGahern Books". I visited the store and it was worth the 3 story climb to their shop at the top of 368 Dalhousie Street. 613-230-2275.
The entire store is antique and specialized used and rare books on every subject. I made a B-Line to the literature section and lost myself for an hour thumbing through nothing that looked younger than 50 years. And yes, I smelled every book. ;-)
I had to limit myself or my wife would want to know why I mortgaged the house to buy old books... so I ended up settling on 2. Milton's poetry and a Shakespeare collection.
The Milton poetry book is "estimated" to be from 1850. I found this interesting when I spoke to the gentleman who helped me told me how they date a book that does not have a date printed in it. They go by the paper used, the quality of the book, the name of the publisher, and other factors to estimate a date. They can tell by the name of a publisher for example, if that publisher has records (which they do) on when they published an edition even if it doesn't appear in the book itself. So the company records show they printed one edition of a work in a certain year.
Either way, its cool and I like Milton, so its neat to hold a book of one of my favorites that was 110 years old before I was even born.
Mr. "Robert Humble Newcastle", if you're still alive and enjoying the ripe old age of 165, please contact me so I can return your book. ;-)