Monday, January 28, 2013

Book worm?

Our primary collection focus at the Max Kade Institute is German-language books published in North America, so this 1858 volume of Schiller's sämmtliche Werke from the J. G. Cotta'scher Verlag in Stuttgart doesn't really belong here, yet I've been unwilling to give it up. Here's why:
If you look at the spine, just below Schiller, you can see a hole, as if the book were had been burrowed into by a large bug or bookworm.  Open the book, and you find this damage, which seems unusually drastic.

And what is that in the gutter? Is that the worm!?!

Not a worm at all -- turns out to be a bullet!

Can anyone identify this bullet, particularly in terms of how old it might be?

We have to wonder what took place in someone's library long ago: An accidental discharge? A life spared by bad aim? We will probably never know, but the mystery of it keeps this odd volume in our library.
PS The book's title page is stamped with the name "Edward T. Berkanovic," who we know was a lawyer in Milwaukee and who, in 1990, donated six other items to our Institute.