Hey, remember just yesterday when I wrote about the Kables and Cox mill records from old Osborn? Well, I have an update — yes, already!
Near the end, I wrote the following lines about the donor named on a placard in the front of each book: “They were donated by one Mrs. F. G. Szonnell – I’m now a little curious how she fits into the picture. Sometimes it’s obvious how or why donors have the things that they donate; not in this case. Perhaps I will do a little digging…”
As it turns out, I don’t have to do any digging. As a matter of fact, earlier today a patron visited me at the library and saved me a lot of time and effort I might have spent on said digging! Having gotten his permission, I’m going to tell you what he told me:
I happened to be working the local history reference desk when a man walked in and asked for Lisa Rickey. Hey, that’s me! So I asked, “What can I do for you?” Then he mentioned WordPress. My first thought was, Uh-oh, what did I write? I’ve only had this thing for 4 months – have I upset someone already?!
Then he identified himself as Mr. Dan Szonnell, and I recognized the name immediately. He said he found my blog when he was searching for his name online, and his mother was Mrs. F. G. Szonnell who donated the items mentioned in yesterday’s blog entry. What a fantastic coincidence!
He said he remembered that she bought the books at an auction in the 1950s or 1960s and later donated them to the library. As far as he knew, that was the only connection between his mother and the books.
I’m so glad Mr. Szonnell stopped by to tell me this. I would have assumed — as seems to be the case most of the time — that the person donating the materials was somehow related to the creators. You know the drill: a relative dies and their things are passed on down the line; sometimes those things make their way to a library or archives. But such was not the case here, and I’m glad I didn’t spend any time trying to figure out the connection. I never would have found the link by searching Ancestry.com!
So I give my thanks to Mr. Dan Szonnell for taking the time to tell me the story and for giving me permission to share the story here.
I must say, I’ve had a lot more response to this blog than I expected when I started it up. I’ve had good luck with WordPress and Flickr actually coming up on Google search results. It’s very encouraging; makes me feel that my attempts at sharing history in this way are actually worthwhile. Since people can actually find it, it makes me want to keep doing it! 🙂