Ballades and Bits (Toronto: Ryerson, 1937) is the second of Isa Grindlay Jackson‘s two published books of poetry. The first, Ripples from the Ranks of the Q.M.A.A.C. (London: Erskine Macdonald, 1918), by Isa Grindlay, was published before her marriage to Lionel Leslie Jackson (1888-1965), while she was was stationed at the Scottish Command School of Musketry in St. Andrew’s, Scotland, as a member of the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps (later Queen Mary’s Army Auxiliary Corps, or QMAAC). Her first husband, Canadian Charles Grindlay (1887-1916), had died in the trenches in November 1916.
Her history, as well as the history of our discovery of her fascinating biography, is recorded in other posts as well as her full entry in the Canada’s Early Women Writers project. The current volume was a gift from Isa Grindlay Jackson’s grandson, Jason Johnson, who was so generous in helping to create our bio-bibliography of his grandmother.
A couple of weeks ago, I published an essay (“The Ladies! God Bless Them“) and a couple of book lists from William Arthur Deacon’s works that I had discovered in my travels through the SFU library in search of Anastatia Hogan. The last delight I have to share with you from that adventure is the SFU library copy of Deacon’s Pens and Pirates (Toronto: Ryerson, 1923).
The book itself is a work of art. Some publishing houses in the early days of Canadian literature—Graphic Press in Ottawa is a prime example—produced new, exciting literary works bound as beautiful artefacts. Great care was taken with the decoration of the text, the covers, even the pastedown. This little volume from Ryerson’s early days is a case in point.
What makes this particular copy special, though, is that it was a gift to the library from Annie Charlotte Dalton, to whom the book was gifted in 1925 by the author. “To Annie Charlotte Dalton,” Deacon signs his gift, “with gratitude for her friendship and profound respect for her craftsmanship in verse. Toronto, 1925.”
It is awe-inspiring to hold a book that has passed from the hands of one notable author to those of another, to mine.
Moody, Irene H. “To Annie Charlotte Dalton, M.B.E.” Attar of Song (Toronto: Macmillan, 1936): 22.
Here’s Irene Moody’s tribute to Vancouver poet Annie Charlotte Dalton (1865-1938).