Buy the Book with the Inscription
Like I posted on Insta earlier today...I always buy the book with the inscription. Inscriptions add a human and personal connection to old books - I'll get a more banged up copy of a book with a name or other inscription inside the cover over a more well-preserved copy every time. In this case, I followed my instincts and wound up up Brainerd Dyer's copy of Americans Interpret Their Civil War by Thomas J. Pressly. Who was Brainerd Dyer? Well...he was a professor of history at UCLA (my alma mater, thank you very much) from 1930 to 1969 - specializing in...you guessed it...the Civil War and Reconstruction. Over the course of his career, he authored Francis Lieber and the American Civil War (1939), The Persistence of the Idea of Negro Colonization (1943), and Zachary Taylor (1946). All of these works are now out of print - so I have challenged myself to find them. Somewhere.
His papers...for those of you interested, are housed in the special collections department at UCLA. Dyer, considered by many a s a mainstay of the UCLA history department, passed away in 1980. I was in the 8th grade. His obituary called him "old school." I'm cool with that - Dyer was straight OG, and now I've got his book.