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Found items: Fly-aways or ephemera?

Today I discovered another thing left behind in a book. A business card from the 1960’s or earlier. I know because the phone number had letters in it, which was not used after area codes started and party lines were dropped.

This card has been placed in a box with other’s of its ilk. Over the years I have found many items that people have used instead of bookmarks: love letters, grocery lists,earrings, feathers,broken chain bracelets, coupons, cancelled checks, postage stamps, clean candy wrappers and business cards.

Lately it has been more business cards, as they have become more prevalent in our society in the last decade or so. Some of these items have been tossed, others have been “sold” on Listia and other sites for cryptocurrency, but most I have saved as a way to glimpse a bit of the past.

One thing I have rarely found left in books are book marks. Considering I see hundreds of types in every store that sells anything close to a book or journal, one might think that there would be more left behind in the pages of a returned library book. Sadly, for me, this is not the case.

Since childhood people always have given me bookmarks, and yet sadly I have never really used them. Where are you to put it when you are reading on the train or bus? And some are bulky and damage the spine. So while beautiful or thoughtful they have proven, to me at least, to be more art than practical. But is this the same for all readers?

So here is the thing….

What do you call the items that are used instead? Are they still book marks? When they are left behind do they change titles?  Are they mementos? Fly-aways? Ephemera?

No one really knows. Biblio groups all use their own names and classifications. A few years back the I-Love-Libraries  group wrote a post on it and quoted an article about it as well. (see below). Perhaps, in generations to come, people will treat them as historical treasures. Or perhaps just throw them away.

Either way I count it as a surprise to find them and collect them just the same.

Posted by I Love Libraries on Tuesday, June 11, 2013

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