The chapter this page is a part of is called Branch Vertebrata, the section called Class Mammalia, which takes up a large portion of the book and finishes it. This particular page describes mostly the raccoon family, differentiating the raccoon-fox of Mexico from the raccoon of the United States. they are described as "having the instinctive cunning of the fox, the inquisitive meddlesomeness of the monkey, the greediness of the bear, and the slyness of the cat." Seems that raccoons were just the troublemakers they are now then. It also seems that animals were attributed with personality types, which seems odd but not unusual for a time period that didn't mind perpetrating stereotypes. The last portion of this page starts to talk about bears and their particular characteristics, though there are many different types.
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Marginalia is usually defined as notes or responses written in the margin of the book. It is similar but not often used to describe ownership marks, that of names or places not associated with the text they are near to. They are always handwritten, though of course how and how much is dependent on the author of notes.
The marginalia here reads "Why is raccoon so named" though the text says, "It derives its specific name from its habit of dipping its food in the water before eating." The marginalia may be a genuine questioning of why, or perhaps a question asked by the teacher to be answered the next class. Though we can't know the real reason or meaning behind the question, we can determine that the handwriting is that of Ed Austin, a boy who owned the book and wrote his name throughout. He may not have been the only owner, as there are two other names crossed out within the book, but it matches the handwriting that writes his name.
To learn more about marginalia from The New Yorker, click on the button below.
Foxing usually refers to moisture disrupting the paper, making the aging process and the acid spread to speed up and create discoloration, usually green, while oxidation creates mostly a coppery color. Most foxing stops at a certain point, as in when moisture is removed from the equation or the book is moved, but can cause the "old book smell" that most of us associate with the joy of reading and acquiring vintage and antique books. It's probably actually mold, and most rare books dealers try to make sure that the "smell" of their books is kept to a minimum.
This foxing and oxidation is most likely not only from moisture and exposure but also travel and use, so dirty hands and not so newly washed clothes, affecting the quality and cleanliness of the paper. Many hands make for a more easily foxed page.
To see the process of removing foxing and oxidation on paper from Period Fine Bindings, click on the button below.
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