It sometimes pays off to visit second-hand bookshops in search of usage guides: yesterday, I found a first edition of The Concise Usage & Abusage by Eric Partridge. A signed copy as well! The book was published in 1954, there is a dedication on the flyleaf, which reads:
Conrad van Hoewijk/ who doesn’t
yet need it, yet/ buys a copy – ‘the acid test’ – /gratefully acknowledged by /Eric Partridge/9/ix/954
We all know who Eric Partridge was: he has an entry in Wikipedia, complete with picture and all. Partridge is the author of many usage guides. But who was Conrad van Hoewijk, who bought what is now my copy of The Concise Usage & Abusage on 9 September 1954?
Googling for the name brought me in touch with a namesake, Jaap van Hoewijk, who told me he is not a relative, but who helped me identify Conrad. It turns out that Conrad, or Coen, was the first newsreader in the history of Dutch television. Coenrad van Hoewijk (1922-2007), too, has an entry in Wikipedia, as yet without a picture. Unfortunately, he is no longer alive. But the dedication by Partridge at least tells us how good his English was.
With thanks to Jaap van Hoewijk for helping me search the cloud. There will be more on Partridge and the book soon.