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If you have readers or writers on your Christmas list then The Literary Gift Company is a good place to start. They have a multitude of different literary gifts, at various price points. Clothing, diaries, jewellery, journals, stationery and home decor, just to name a few categories. The team behind the website is super friendly and the shipping is fast and super reasonable. I placed an order and it arrived in 6 days.

I bought some Christmas gifts so I can only share the one item from the order I bought for myself: The Card Catalog: 30 Notecards from the Library of Congress. The notecards come in a realistic looking cardboard catalog drawer, with 5 tabbed dividers. It is published by Chronicle Books.


Let me explain two things that drew me to this notecard set. In university I worked in the university Library, part time during term and full time in the summer. I loved the work and in the first couple of years my job was to type up the card catalogue cards. Yes, actually type them up using an electronic typewriter. I still remember the thrill of completing a set of cards, one each for the author drawer, title drawer and subject drawer. Then removing the long steel rod in the bottom of the drawer, removing a section of cards so the new ones could be inserted, and then running the whole set through with the steel rod once again. Today we take for granted the digital catalogue we all enjoy at our local library, but there is something so satisfying about the physicality of the card catalogues of 20 years ago.

Secondly, I visited the Library of Congress in 2000 and I was forever changed by the experience. The library is like a fairy castle, shimmering white columns and soaring frescoed ceilings. The scope of their holdings is staggering, and I was overwhelmed with emotion as I stood and looked down upon the main reading room. It is an awe-inspiring building, and so it should be, for it houses the largest library in the world. If you want to take an online tour(!) click here.

So you can imagine my excitement when I found this notecard set. Let me apologize to any penpals reading this; you will not be receiving one of these notecards because I doubt I will ever part with one. Except for this one – it has been spoken for by a Salinger- fan-friend:


I must admit I do not remember any of the coding for the catalogue cards so I do not know what most of the markings mean. I was struck by the colour; it is the only yellow one in the bunch but google hasn’t been able to help me determine what that colour might mean. And I was struck by the “bz 40 Mar 12 1980” as David Chapman was reading Catcher in the Rye after shooting John Lennon in December of 1980. Chilling.


Can you imagine the outrage felt by Emily when her only novel was attributed to Charlotte? Although she may not have lived to see this edition published, as she died in December of 1848.


I love this cataloguer’s note detailing the use of the word repudiate and other textual changes, including the addition of a preface, in this particular edition of Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter.


Impressive; this edition is one of the original 2,000 published by Shakespeare and Company in Paris, 1922.


And my favourite; although I’m not sure this card refers to a book at all. It opens with the word Ornament, but it is a Card 2; I wonder what Card 1 said? Lovely prose and beautiful handwriting.


And if you are wondering the back of each notecard looks like this (on the left) with coordinating blue envelopes.

I hope you enjoyed this review of the notecard set and take a look around the Literary Gift Company site for more bookish items!