No, I didn't find the lists of birthdays and death dates that are shown above. A guy named Michael Popek found them. He runs a used book store and often discovers things tucked away inside of old books, which he chronicles on his blog, Forgotten Bookmarks. Last fall he published a book by that same title. (As for the lists shown above, Popek found them inside a book of Shakespeare.)
As you may recall, about a month ago I ran an item about a 49-year-old note found inside a book. The guy who found that note successfully tracked down the fellow who'd written it. But Michael Popek doesn't try to connect the dots or reconstruct the stories of behind the objects he finds -- he just lets them speak for themselves.
And that's fine, because he finds a lot of them. He's been blogging about this stuff since 2007, during which time he's amassed over 1000 entries. If he tried to trace the backstory of each one, he'd end up so far down the rabbit hole that he'd never get back out.
So what does he find besides lists of dates? A small sampling: Snapshots. ... Recipes. ... Magazine clippings. ... Bus tickets. ... Postcards. ... Receipts (I really like that one). ... Letters -- sometimes handwritten, sometimes typewritten. ... Legal documents. ... Drawings (that's another of my favorites). ... Four-leaf clovers. ... Maps. ... And yes, as the blog's name implies, bookmarks (and what a beauty that one is!).
Sorry about all those links, but Forgotten Bookmarks is kind of addictive, so it's easy to get carried away. Frankly, I'm a little embarrassed not to have known about Popek's project until Kirsten Hively told me about it a few days ago. Just poke around anywhere on his site -- you're bound to find interesting stuff. (He also does used book giveaways on a regular basis, which is very nice.)
I haven't yet gotten my hands on a copy of Popek's book, but I plan to find a used copy. And I'm going to be seriously bummed if there's nothing lurking inside of it.