Monday, December 20, 2010

Unexpected Christmas Surprises

I love getting little unintended extras in book orders, like gorgeous bookplates, and vintage ephemera as book marks. One of my favorite examples is a Depression era flour sack being used as a replacement jacket for a Polly Brewster title (which is of course MIA right now). I have a new twist on the theme, though.

Goldsmith had a line of career girl type books in the 30s. The Janet Hardy books are probably some of the better know examples, but this particular title is Helen in the Editor's Chair. I normally can't stand Goldsmith editions due to the terrible paper, but I got this in a lot and thought I would at least read it. My middle name (shared with my grandmother) is Helen, and I love books with newsroom settings. I took off the dust jacket to put it in the protector and immediately smiled.
At first I just saw the tape substitute at the top--I think it might be reused packaging? But what are those little things down at the bottom?

1935 Christmas stamps!

I looked them up, and while they're not particularly valuable, they do however have a pretty interesting history. They're not really stamps--they're actually American Lung Association Christmas Seals (, and these specifically benefit tuberculosis victims/sanitoriums. New ones are still sold today, and I think that next year I'll buy some to put on my Christmas cards. The website has a place where you can submit stories/photos, and I added mine. Crazy to think of a little unwitting advertisement hidden away for 75 years.


  1. Cool. I know that books with marks in them, etc are not rated high by collectors but I love finding evidence of previous owners, even if it's just a name from some far-off town.
    Last summer I found a biggie: a Xmas card sent by a soldier serving in Italy in WWII. Someone had tucked it in a book 60 years ago and there it sat. Thanks to a little internet research I found the daughter of the man who sent it and was able to send it to her.

  2. That's a great story! I've always dreamed about being able to reunite something like that with the former owner or their descendants. I think it would be difficult in most cases, though, since I imagine that the names I find the most are someone's maiden name.

  3. I recently found a birth announcement in a Grace Harlowe book. It was surreal, because the baby, if still alive, would now be very, very old. I should mention it in a future blog post.

  4. When I moved into my current house in metro Atlanta, we found a letter from one woman to another, telling her that she had a new baby, dated 1948. It would be fun and interesting if that were all, but it was sent from the little town in Tennessee where I grew up. Too perfect.

    At the time I wanted to track down the now adult child, and the mother, if still living. I hadn't thought about it for awhile until you mentioned your birth announcement. For now it's framed over the mantel where we found it.

    If you'd like to see . . .


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