As we prepare to bid adieu to this year and sally forth into 2014, I took at quick look back at the nearly 400 posts I had this year and chose 16 of my personal favorites.
Maybe this is the first time you've seen some (or all) of these posts, which I think represent a good sampling about what this blog is all about. (And if you know someone who's never heard of Papergreat, send them this link as a New Year's Eve present. It can serve as a nice introduction to the world of ephemera, and it will certainly be more intellectually stimulating than watching Ryan Seacrest or Kathy Griffin tonight.)
The Incomplete Lada Draskovic
Ink blotter for Ticonderoga pencils with Frances Tipton Hunter artwork
Excerpt: "This old ink blotter for Ticonderoga pencils features an absolutely wonderful illustration by Frances Tipton Hunter. (Confession: It took me some guessing and Googling before I was able to correctly read the blurry artist's signature in the lower-left corner.) Hunter (1896-1957) had a style that was similar to Norman Rockwell and was one of the top female illustrators of her era, contributing 18 covers to The Saturday Evening Post in the 1930s and 1940s."
Connecting with the world via postcards in 2013
(This ended up being the first of more than a dozen Postcrossing-themed posts in 2013.)
Caesar Rodney High School's 1933 baseball results
Reader comments: Stamp collecting, mysteries solved & Whirley mugs
Excerpt: "I still remember coming home from Noel Elementary School (in York, Pennsylvania) one afternoon when I was in second grade in 1954. I was walking down the 300 block of East Poplar Street, where I lived, and I happened to see an orange and black tiger striped envelope in a garbage can which advertised the stamps from around the world that were included inside. Gleefully I snatched that packet from the garbage can and clutched it in my hands all the way home. That day so very long launched a lifelong joyful learning experience for me."
1916 postcard from Norristown's State Hospital for Insane
Excerpt: "Some of the therapy options that were available for the first patients, many of which were occupation-oriented, included a bakery, a billiards room, a carpentry shop, a working farm, a garden, a mattress shop, painting, shoemaking and weaving. Patients could also play croquet and tennis. On the other hand, according to the hospital's website, electroshock therapy, insulin coma therapy, and lobotomies were methods of treatment during the 1930s and 1940s."
Rupert Croft-Cooke observes Ruth Manning-Sanders with the circus
Postcard featuring my dream house
Built into the surrounding environment? Check.
Sod roof? Check.
Goat on sod roof? CHECK!!
This Plastichrome postcard by Colourpicture1 features a photograph by Hugh MacRae Morton."
Graphic design: 8 cool company logos from old magazine ads
Dubble Bubble Quiz tucked away inside an old schoolbook
Hay llamas! 1950s illustrated map of Catskill Game Farm
Excerpt: "The zoo was in operation for 73 years, from 1933 to 2006. It was owned and run by members of the Lindemann family (including founders Roland and Kathryn) during that entire time. It was officially recognized as a zoo in 1958, which allowed for it to expand its collection of animals. The entire site spanned more than 900 acres, but the Game Farm itself consisted of about 136 acres that were open to the public from spring through autumn."
Esther (Bassick) Whittaker and the Gettysburg Address
Excerpt: "And so Esther Elizabeth Bassick — the future Esther E. Whittaker — was born at 4:30 a.m. on September 4, 1910, and weighed in at 7½ pounds. William Howard Taft was the President of the United States and it had been a little less than 47 years since Lincoln's famous speech. ... She died earlier this year. ... At age 102."
The Nimoy Award for 1967 goes to...
Hurry and get this old-fashioned ice skating party for just $1
Excerpt: "So realistic, they almost spring to life. Ma and Pa sit bundled in their sleigh as their snowball flinging lads and lasses frolic and gay villages whirl across the ice. Authentic Mid-Eighties costume design, in true, bright, rich colors. ... You and friends will enjoy this rare bit of Holiday Charm that sends you on a sentimental journey back through many Christmases. Use year after year — on mantel, table, near tree. Durably constructed of dimensional plastic."
Helen Myers and the dandy 1926-27 West York girls' basketball team
Eight awesome things you'll never find inside e-books
"As a Books Guy, I live for those discoveries within old books."