Tuesday, December 7, 2010

A Gift of Ephemera and a Little Research

It's the gift giving season and my friends are being quite thoughtful...

A few weeks ago, my friend April mentioned some "antique" cards she had. She purchased them as a teen because she thought they were pretty. She's carted them around to new homes with her for years. She's wondered about their age, thought about them little, and thought perhaps I would put them to better use. I jumped at the chance to add these items to my collection of archives and ephemera. Thanks April!

The first thing I wanted to do was to find the age on the items, so I could at least give my thoughtful "gifter" that information in return for her generosity. This set is lovely and complete, including birth announcements, envelopes (with glue bleeding through seams from age, composition, and deterioration), and the original box. I first looked up "Baby Batiste" on the Internet since this is what is written on the box cover. Dead end. I then noticed in little words on the side "Hobby Stationers Inc." I decided to pursue this route and came up empty handed with an Internet search. However, right below the company name is written, "Colorado Spring Colo." I used the Internet to locate a library in Colorado Springs. I requested any information the librarians could find about the company. Within a day, Sandy of the Special Collections at the Pikes Peak Library had pulled three articles for me. According to the first article, Hobby Stationers came to Colorado Springs from Kansas City in 1946. This told me that my stationery was made after that date. The second article told me that the company were the "largest manufacturers of humorous and novel stationery in the country," so I know these are not unusual and are more likely a typical sample of stationery from 1940s-1970s -- a perfect specimen to share with students who take my "Preserving Memories" classes. The final article showed me the new home of the stationery company as it appeared in 1947 and included photos of workers creating their stationery. What a lovely bit of history to go with the original item! Thank you Sandy for providing the wonderful information so quickly, proving once again that librarians and archivists are efficient, hard working, and a valuable resource!

Later this week on the ArchivesInfo blog..."A Gift of Ephemera - Replicated Antique Christmas Cards" (from my friend Regina)

No comments:

Post a Comment