My own serendipitous find was in a used bookstore about 20 years ago. I found this pocket editions of a Handel oratorio -
evidently well-used by an alto given markings in pencil and orangey-brown pencil crayon. A few rusty pin marks must have been the result of the singer being unconcerned about following along when she wasn’t needed. Otherwise it’s in good condition.
I wasn’t looking for a copy of this oratorio – I just liked that I could buy this beautiful folio for $5. It was when I got home that I found a treasure inside – a program from a Grand Performance of this work in the Anstige Memorial Institute back in March, 1908 – in the parish of Madeley, Shropshire, England, part of what is now the town of Telford. As luck would have it, I played in the magnificent abbey in nearby Shrewsbury when I was there accompanying a choir a few years back.
The program is printed with blue and gold ink, noting that a special train would leave Madeley Market after the Concert, or that Carriages could arrive for 10:15. I totally love the image of the whole thing – seen of course from the warmth and comfort of my modern home where I’m watching a blizzard rage, sipping coffee and reading a book.