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Recent interesting finds #2

Richard Sheaff

This oversized trade card is not really a new find, but one I came across in my accumulations for the first time in along time. It’s a wonderful example of Victorian imagination and analogy!

A recent exhibit I posted (Back The BB!) was about my attraction to homemade, stenciled signs of one kind or another. I collected this large one in Arizona in 2018, at a point in time when a presidential election coincided with the New England Patriots played in a (losing) Superbowl game in Arizona against the San Francisco Giants. Some Ron Paul campaign person cleverly combined the political message with a simulated Patriots team logo.

Despite a reputation in some quarters for being repressed, Victorians in fact frequently displayed a vivid imagination. Here a man’s head is pictured as a machine that could convert mice marched into his ear into elephants coming out of his mouth!

A 1939 usage of the word “EPHEMERA” as the name of the literary magazine of the Mississippi State College For Women.

That Victorian sense of whimsey at work again. Love the flying fish with wheels.

This must have been a particularly annoying advertising medium . . . ads projected onto a front wall during a movie or theatrical production! The Best and Most Refined Advertising Medium of the Present Day. Right.

A door hanger. The suggestion was that a housewife take it off the front doorknob, then head off to the store to show them what you needed to buy. Then as now, advertising works to create a need if it doesn’t already exist.

An uncut full sheet of small motto or etiquette labels to be used on the back flap of letter envelopes. True love can ne’er be forgot, We are so happy together, Do you ever think of me?, Yours most faithfully, From you know who, Who the deuce can this be from?, and more . . . .

One of my favorite sorts of ephemera from any era . . . purely functional, words and numbers, naive in construction, graphic.

There are two or three trade cards bearing this same imagery: waiting grasshoppers and crows watching a field being sowed, with the pun “That’s wheat by-and-by”. The hymn The Sweet By-and-By, written by S. Fillmore Bennett with music by Joseph P. Webster was published in 1868. This version was hand-drawn on a page of an autograph album.

Love the lace collar!

A pastoral scene on a WWII postcard image  of Spirit Lake, before Mount St. Helens blew in 2008. Spirit Lake no longer exists.