Calgary librarian shows off rare first edition of ‘A Christmas Carol’

Calgary librarian shows off rare first edition of ‘A Christmas Carol’

Calgary librarian shows off rare first edition of ‘A Christmas Carol’

The Charles Dickens classic A Christmas Carol was published 173 years ago this week – on Dec. 19, 1843 – and a copy of it is in remarkably good condition in Calgary.

Pointing to a handwritten inscription inside the front cover, rare books specialist Annie Murray said:

“Someone called John Adams owned it in 1851 and eventually it made its way to Calgary. Who knows how?”

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    Murray is a curator at the University of Calgary library, where the book is part of a collection of vintage volumes.

    The first edition of A Christmas Carol is one of only 10 in Canada.

    “This is a morality story. It’s about a person changing for the better,” explained Murray, referring to main character Ebenezer Scrooge gradually coming to appreciate the Christmas spirit of generosity over the course of the story.

    “Dickens was very scarred from childhood experience of poverty,” said Murray. “Having to work while his father was in debtors’ prison, he was very sympathetic to the poor and he felt that by telling a Christmas story, this was the best way for him to help create more attention around charity and giving.”

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    Murray feels this timeless tale is particularly timely in Calgary this year, “because of all the people who’ve lost their jobs.”

    “Families are struggling, people need help. And this is a book that reminds you that everybody has something they can give.”

    You’re welcome to stop by the U of C library to check out A Christmas Carol and other rare books.

    The library closes for the holidays on Wednesday, Dec. 22 and reopens on Jan. 3.

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