I have talked many times before about my love for old books, but I have to be honest with yall–I really love any sort of old paper, not just books.  Postcards, documents, maps, leaflets, you name it.

I think I enjoy old paper items partly because at one time, those items had a functional life.  I appreciate decorations that have a purpose, and like to surround myself with objects that aren’t just “nothings” . . . but are “somethings,” or at least they used to be (if that makes any sense!)

To me, those types of items tell a story and create a sense of history in a living space. They often will spark conversations and cause people to stop, look closely, and ask questions.  In a sense, decorative items with purpose and history encourage interaction, both with the items and with each other, and can’t we all benefit from a little more personal interaction in this media driven age?

Well, not to get too far onto my soap box . . . I wanted to share with you all some great old paper I found at last weekend’s McKinney Trade Days flea market.  The shopping theme of the market last month for me was glassware, this month it was all about paper!

I came across these motor coach records in a dealer’s booth, piled up along with old photographs.

I think she had 6 of them, I bought 2.  They are from 1949 and 1950, and I love the notes inside that detail the driver’s logs.

All of this writing represents someone’s livelihood!  That’s just cool.

The same dealer had these vintage postcards in her space.

The colors are fantastic, and the top set with the bears is so cute.  It’s a whole souvenir book from the Great Smoky Mountains, the Hartford booklet is the same.  They were a great find.

Another dealer had a whole box of old bibles for sale.  She used to live in Virginia, and said it wasn’t legal to sell bibles there at flea markets.  I know some people might not think old family bibles are the best inventory to sell, but I love helping them find a new home. I have a few in my house, and this one is now for sale in my space.

The inscription inside the front cover says it was passed down to a couple by their grandmother in 1938.  Lower down it lists more people who owned it in generations past.

It is a little sad that this multi-generational family bible was discarded by the most recent family owners, but I would rather help find it a home in a new family than let it rot away in the trash.  It may be lost to its original owners, but it can still be an inspirational heirloom in a new family!

I have a few items of old paper in my personal collection as well that I would love to show you.

Framed in my bedroom is my grandfather’s baptism certificate.

The colors on it are stunning, and I love that I can show my children some tangible piece of their family history.

I also have framed this Austrian postcard I found at a Berlin flea market back in 2001.

I spent the fall semester of my senior year of college studying abroad, and was able to travel throughout Europe quite a bit during my time there.  I can kick myself for not buying more things at that flea market!! I did also purchase though these two postcards that are physical links to Germany’s less favorable past.

I’m sure you can spot Adolf Hitler as the face on the top postcard’s stamp (which is dated 1942);  the bottom stamp is post WWII, from sometime during the division of the country into East and West Germany.  This postcard is East German, or from the DDR as it was called in German.  I found these two cards so fascinating, and I have held onto them for almost 13 years now.  I have always had plans to frame them, but have been worried someone might think I’m some crazy Nazi freak!  I just love that they are a piece of history that I can hold in my hands, and I want to hold onto them so I can teach my children about this dark part of our recent history, lest we get too far away from it and forget.

The last pieces of my personal paper collection are these stereoscope cards.  I actually purchased these from the Nashville Antique Archaeology story when we visited back in June.  

I was determined to leave with something from the store that wasn’t just a t-shirt, and these cards were really all I could afford 🙂  I picked the top card because of its coloring, but the bottom I picked because it reminds me of home.

I was raised in Memphis, Tennessee, and growing up always heard about how we were a sister city to Memphis, Egypt.  So even though this card shows an image of Egypt, it made me feel like home.

I haven’t found a place to display the stereoscope cards yet, but I’m sure they will provoke some conversation once I have them out . . . which goes back to why I love old paper. These pieces don’t have the same function that they used to, but they still have a purpose today.  They are connection to our past, that can be held, read, and discussed.  Decor that isn’t only pretty to look at, but rather is beautiful and functional at the same time.

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