The older I get, the more fascination I seem to have for old paper or, as it is often referred to, ephemera. It started out with old books which I have collected for quite a long time. That interest grew to include pulp paperbacks which I have expounded upon in a previous blog. But now I find myself inundated in vintage magazines, postcards, train schedules, posters, old catalogs, ticket stubs, autographed photos, and dozens of other oddities from “back in the day”. I cannot really explain the interest other than the old saw that these pieces of paper are from “an older and simpler time.” That may or may not be true, nevertheless they are often quaint, artistic, and revealing of the social and cultural mores of the day.
For instance, a write-up in a 1924 Victor Record catalog says of a contemporary fox trot “light and graceful in style, incentives to good dancing but with enough jollity for the carefree sort.” A 1938 issue of The National Republic admonishes against “The Enemy Within Our Gates” (communists). A cover from a 1930s issue of Popular Mechanics shows fanciful aircraft of the future while the articles inside hint at the possibility of impending war. These are all time capsules of a sort and items that I find it hard to get rid of. Nevertheless, I have recently established a website - http://westslopebooks.ecrater.com - for just such a purpose. So if you are interested in the wonderful world of weird paper, you might want to check it out. You too could get hooked.