Bayswater's Find of the Week on the Used Book Floor Blog

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Laughter Soothes the Soul

     It is safe to say that here at Bayswater, we never know what to expect when we open the cover of a used book or slide it on a shelf.  This week’s find on the used book floor was tucked into the back cover of a pocket-sized, hardcover of “The Marked New Testament” that was published in 1899.  “The Marked New Testament” was published by the Bible Institute Colportage Association, which was founded only a few years before with the sole purpose of distributing religious books at a cost affordable to all.  While cost effective at the time, it also might be one of the smallest religion books we have ever seen, that’s for sure (a magnifying glass could be required here).

     As we opened the book, out came a handful of old (also tiny) newspaper clippings.  At first, we thought that they might be additional scripture readings or thoughts related to a passage in the New Testament.  Makes sense, right?  Alas, how wrong we were.  The very old clippings were actually jokes that had been printed a very long time ago, it appears, though there are no dates on the clippings.  Jokes tucked into a New Testament from 1899?  We kid you not (ok, a small pun was needed there). 

     One of our favorites was entitled, “Her Business.”  It reads as follows:
She – Is she a business woman?
He –Yes.
She – What business is she interested in?
He – Everybody’s.

     Another, clipped from the Philadelphia Telegraph and entitled, “Not Necessary,” quipped:
Teacher – Johnny, are you ready to repeat your history lesson?
Johnny – No, ma’am.
Teacher – Why not?
Johnny – Because you told us that history repeats itself.
     We found at least ten faded newspaper print jokes in "The New Marked Testament" and if you have read any of our previous columns, you know that we must have a thought about why they were found hidden in a religious book.  Was it to provide comic relief in church? Can’t you just picture someone pretending to read The New Testament and instead, suppressing a chuckle due to the hidden jokes? 

     The 1899 copy of The Marked New Testament (complete with jokes) is free (yes, free) for the asking here at Bayswater.  To catch up with our previous finds of the week from the used book floor, you can always check us out at and on facebook, or stop by the store in Center Harbor and check out the used book floor for yourself!

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