10.0690 history of casual customs

WILLARD MCCARTY (willard.mccarty@kcl.ac.uk)
Tue, 11 Feb 1997 13:56:38 +0000 (GMT)

Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 10, No. 690.
Center for Electronic Texts in the Humanities (Princeton/Rutgers)
Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London
Information at http://www.princeton.edu/~mccarty/humanist/

[1] From: John_Lavagnino@Brown.edu (14)
Subject: This page left intentionally blank

It is always pleasant to adduce new evidence in support of the idea
that even our most casual customs have long histories. I've just
learned from John Carter's *ABC for Book Collectors* (seventh edition,
revised by Nicolas Barker, published by the Oak Knoll Press in New
Castle, Delaware, 1995) that "This page left intentionally blank" goes
way back before the founding of IBM. In his entry for "Blank leaves",
Carter comments on the preference of "the fastidious collector" for
copies containing all blank leaves that were part of a book as
originally printed; and he continues:

Mere readers will prefer to remember the note printed, in Greek and
Latin, on the otherwise blank leaf A9 of the Aldine Isocrates of 1513,
which, freely translated, reads: `This leaf is an integral part of the
book, but cut it out if it bothers your reading, for it is nothing.'

John Lavagnino