Forgotten Bookmarks Q&A

I've gotten some emails wondering who it is that runs this site. My name is Michael, glad to meet you, and here is a handy Q&A - many thanks to Carol Corbett for helping me put this together. Any if you have any other questions about me or the site, comment away. I'll answer nearly anything.

When did you start collecting these forgotten bookmarks?

I’ve always collected random stuff like this. I started working at my family’s used bookstore ( when I was about seven; now, I run the shop. I can’t tell you how many otherwise worthless books I have stashed away over the years just because there was an interesting inscription or drawing.

On average how often do you find one?

In a typical day of sorting, I can go through five or six hundred books. If I’m lucky, I’ll find five bookmarks of real interest. If anyone wanted to start their own collection, I recommend dictionaries and cookbooks, they always seem to have something.

What made you think to create a website of these hidden treasures?

I have boxes of bookmarks saved up, all things that seemed just too interesting to throw away. About three years ago, I came across a large pot leaf inside a microwave cookbook—it was just too funny not to share. I scanned the leaf and book cover into the computer to show some internet friends who got a real kick out of it. After that, whenever I would find something really fascinating or humorous, I would take a picture and share it. I realized I wasn’t the only one who thought these forgotten items were something special.

What’s the most common thing you find? The most unique/valuable?

Pressed leaves are by far the most common. I’ve actually stopped saving them, they are too fragile to keep and I don’t think there’s much interest in 100-year-old maple leaves. Sometimes I find money, like an old crown, but that’s rare. The most unique was a suicide note from the 1930’s, but I decided not to post that one.

What’s your favorite find?

My favorite item is probably the optometrist bookmark (
There’s something really corny about it, but its fun. I’ve even made it my Twitter avatar @forgottenbkmrks. Overall, however, I really enjoy the old letters. They give us a glimpse into the past, how people talked and wrote and thought.

What do you DO with the items?

Generally I just keep things in storage until I post them to the website or figure out something better to do with them. I’ve given away things like four-leaf clovers through the site and on Twitter; recently I came across a Reddit posting asking for help cheering up a friend with cancer ( I sent along a few books and clovers, and got a really lovely letter in return. I’ve even tried to offer some things back, but most of our books come from libraries, auctions, and estate sales, so it’s hard to even figure out who the original owner might be. There was one case where a cross-stitched bookmark was returned to its owner after I posted it to the site. His sister had made it for him 24 years prior and he was thrilled to see it again.

Do you do any research on the history of your finds?

If there are names or specific dates, I try and do a cursory look. One of the earlier posts was a black and white photo from a funeral ( There was a Cornell University banner draped over the casket, and a plaque with some information. I tried all of my CSI-type tricks to enhance, but couldn't make it out. That was one I wish I could have know more about.

Do you allow others to submit what they’ve found?

Sure, we’ve had several guest posts, including the sawblade (
Readers can just use the contact form on the site (

How can people subscribe to your posts?
I run a lot of book giveaways, so it's good to keep an eye on me.

What’s next for Forgotten Bookmarks?

I am hoping to put together a book of favorite items from the site as well as a bunch of new stuff I’ve found. Seems like it would be a good gift for a bibliophile.