Hidden Treasures in Old Books, part 1

NON-FICTION, 340 words.

Copyright 2012 Ara Hagopian.

Books and magazines are unique; they have a built-in capacity to preserve flat objects. What secrets do books of age hold? What vintage letters, notes, and certificates are pressed between pages and then forgotten–only to be discovered today?

In this ongoing series of blog posts, you will see handwritten paper items no one has seen, from between fifteen and ninety-six years ago.

While the majority of paper products are designed for short-term use, paper can be surprisingly durable. If protected from moisture and the breakdown of its fibers, paper can last indefinitely.

A book holding a note is the perfect time capsule, and it’s even more charming due to the unassuming nature of the stashed piece. While typical time capsules hold Elvis Presley records, books hold notes-to-self, which is fascinating when one considers the person who penned the thoughts has long been forgotten.

Are you ready to step into an obscure moment of history? Read what I’ve surmised:

In late August of 1943, Mr. Lindell Walters of Oklahoma City walked to his mailbox on 1703 NW 18th Street, and picked up his mail. Among the items delivered to his home that day was the September issue of Hobbies Magazine, and a postcard from his friend, Jules Soule.

Lindell read Jules’s postcard and smiled at his friend’s exuberant first hours in Houston. As Lindell walked back into his home, he tucked the postcard into the magazine–and there it remained, untouched, for sixty-three years.

Fast-forward to 2006. I acquired a vintage lot of Hobbies Magazines, my favorite periodical. The monthly was published by Otto Lightner starting in the 1930’s and was edited by Pearl Ann Reeder from the ’30’s through the late ’70’s, until she died.

When I discovered the postcard inside the aforementioned September issue, I imagined the mailbox-walk scenario. Is that what actually happened? Take a look at the items below and decide for yourself! As always, comments are welcome.

What glimpses into long-ago lives await to be discovered?

What glimpses into long-ago lives await to be discovered?

This postcard was discovered tucked in a magazine for over sixty years.

This postcard was discovered tucked in a magazine for over sixty years.

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About Ara Hagopian's The LITERATE Show

For over thirty years, I have enjoyed drawing beautiful shapes and writing complementary stories. The imagery tends to focus on our place in the world—whomever or whatever we may be. I am influenced by Twentieth Century history—I read vintage magazines, books and letters. Inspiration comes from visualizing human achievement and personal interaction—derived from people, places and things which may be obscure, but never insignificant. My pen-and-ink THE MAGNIFICENT RECOVERY was selected by the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston for their 2008 summer art auction.
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5 Responses to Hidden Treasures in Old Books, part 1

  1. bob says:

    Cool story! What a find.

    • Hi Bob. Any guesses on the life expectancy of a monthly magazine? Ditto on a postcard? Crunch those stats and I’m guessing the probability of both surviving 63+ years is pretty slim. The fact that they’re of no historical significance makes the two items, and the two men, interesting. What’s the story? What did they talk about, how did they live?

      • Anonymous says:

        for me the story is in the find. being the first person to set eyes on the post card in 63 years. too cool!

  2. Stephanie says:

    You should try to contact a living relative of Lindell’s- the name is unusual enough to garnish some sort of a hit. What a great find, fuels the imagination.

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