My friend Shirl is an ephemera magnet. I don’t know where she finds what she does! We’re talking seriously good ephemera. And she’s also extremely generous, much to my good fortune.
She recently gifted me with a scrapbook from the 1880s. The binding has completely come apart and the spine covering is gone, which, for me, is a large part of its attraction.
Its spine was formed by layers of paper that were folded, accordion-like, to form guards. The folios were inserted into the valleys. It was all sewn together over tapes.
There is only one folio still (barely) attached. It’s a bit hard to make out in the photo, but, if you look carefully, you can see that it had been sewn into the valley.
There is also a single fabric endband still attached.
Dang, I just love looking at old deconstructed bindings.
The actual content is marvelous too. It’s a fairly typical Victorian scrapbook filled with advertising cards and whatnot. I plan to photograph or scan some of it later.
And, by coincidence, I also recently acquired another Victorian-era treasure. A Webster’s dictionary from 1859! It was being sold in two pieces with a few pages missing, which made it affordable. Aside from that, the pages themselves are in good shape.
In the front there is a section of illustrations (some of which I am later planning to photograph more properly). As you can see in the photo below, some of the “birds” are a bit… interesting… to our modern eyes. (The “fishes” are similarly a bit surreal — apparently, for example, seals were considered a type of fish.)
All the latest in science is here too:
And some botany:
Among other things, I was surprised to discover that as relatively recently as 1859, the word “weird” still solely meant something to do with witchcraft.
It has a handy usage guide too.
I also have been enjoying Webster’s essay detailing why, for instance, he has taken the “u” out of words like “colour.” “That Johnson,” you can almost imagine Webster sighing and shaking his head as he wrote.
The Paper Ground Squirrel somehow doesn’t have quite the same ring…
Note: if you want a close-up look of any of these, click on the photo. It will take you to another page where it won’t look any bigger. However, if you click on it again from the other page, it will then display a larger version. Sorry for the inconvenience of having to click twice. It’s the native WordPress way, apparently.