The Rules of Engagement

I've been working on a giveaway on Twitter, and I wanted to make sure I opened it up to everyone. Here's a pic of the books in the giveaway:

The books included are:

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland; Lewis Carroll: Macmillan, 1909
The Little Prince; Antoine de Saint=Exupery: Reynal & Hitchcock, 1943 (5th ptg)
Fantastic Mr. Fox; Roald Dahl: Knopf, 1970 (First Edition)
In The Night Kitchen; Maurice Sendak: Harper & Row, 1970 (First Edition)
The Poetical Works of Longfellow, Volume II: Houghton Mifflin, 1882.

Winner takes all. To enter, comment in this thread, comment on Facebook, or reply on Twitter.

I was going to announce the winner today, but I will wait until Monday to let things circulate and give you all a chance to enter. I will announce the winner at 5:00 PM on Monday, so that should be enough time. Good luck.

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I'm A Sensation

Sensation brand hair net, made from natural medium brown human hair.

Found in "Elements of Mechanics and Machine Design" by Erik Oberg. Published by The Industrial Press, 1923.

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Bookmark with three month calendar from 1889 advertising Andes Stoves and Ranges, made by the Phillips & Clark Stove Co., Geneva NY.

Found in "Contemporary Art In Europe" by S.G.W. Benjamin. Published by Harper and Brothers, 1877.

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Tax Man


I counted 27 books (have to write him a tax letter)

Found in "Symmetry, Orbitals, and Spectra" by Milton Orchin and H.H. Jaffe. Published by Wiley, 1971

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Homemade laminated bookmark featuring the Statue of Liberty.

Found in "Learn To Bake... You'll Love It1" published by General Foods Corp., 1947.

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Photo, no writing on reverse.

Found in "Song of Solomon" by Toni Morrison. Published by Alfred A. Knopf, 1977.

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Happy Ending

A few weeks ago, I found a "baby book" from 1926. It's one of those books where you can write down your baby's weight and height and first gifts, things like that. It seemed like something I'd want to have if it was mine, so ...I tried to find the original owner. With the help of Twitter, and @geneabloggers in particular, I was able to track down a cousin who came to the bookstore to pick up the book. Check out the full story on the Destination: Austin Family blog, it's a good one.

Sally and Bobby

Today's post comes from one our readers.
Peggy writes:

Are there are any fans of Mad Men amongst the Forgotten Bookmarks followers? Published in 1960, the same year that Mad Men's story begins, this cover bears a striking resemblance to the opening credits of the series. Inside, was a black and white photo of two children (a real "Sally" and "Bobby")? This was found in the donations box at my mother's assisted living facility."

So Dies The Dreamer, a Red Badge Mystery Novel by Ursula Curtiss. Published by Dodd, Mead & Co., New York, 1960.

Thanks, Peggy

Thank you, Peggy.

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Stars and Stripes

American flag decal.

Found in "Choke" by Chuck Palahniuk. Published by Anchor Books, 2001.

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Uncle Sam and Auntie Mame

Advertising card for "Blue Coal" via J.W. Van Cott & Sons, Unadilla NY.

Found in "Auntie Mame" by Patrick Dennis. Published by Vanguard, 1955.
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We Three

Black and white photograph.

Found in "Tiffany Thayer's Three Musketeers" published by The Citadel Press, 1942.

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.

No Tarzan Jokes

Simple cloth bookmark, or Tarzan's loin cloth.

Found in "Tarzan and the Ant Men" by Edgar Rice Burroughs. Published by A.C. McClurg, 1924.

A Real Swell Navy Man

Photo with inscription:

Best of everything to a real navy man. Be good and stay out of trouble. Don't break all of the girl's hearts. Drop me a note if you get time. Hope you don't get seasick. Have fun.
Betty Jean

Found in "Genesse Fever" by Carl Carmer. Published by McKay, 1971.

In Heaven We May Dwell

Handwritten poem:

Youth is the time to improve the mind
In things that is to us inclin'd
And may our thoughts be ever rais'd
To God in prayer love and praise
The days to us alotted here
Are short and few as it doth appear
And may we thus improve them well
So that in heaven we may dwell

Found in "English Grammar on the Productive System" by Roswell C. Smith. Published by William Marshall and Co., Philadelphia, 1835.

Pay Any Price You Wish

Holiday card:

Season's Greetings
I am Selling this Card to make a Living
Pay any Price you wish
Merry Christmas - Happy New Year

ASL alphabet on reverse.

Found in "Orphan Island" by Rose Macaulay. Published by The Holiday Library, 1951.

Please Return

Hospital appointment card.

Patient: Mr. Lewis Dutcher
Hosp. No. 20652
Please return to the
Mary Imogene Bassett Hospital
to see Doctor Pollock
on Thurs. Sept 19, 1957 at 2:30 PM

Found in "The Spanish-Cape Mystery" by Ellery Queen. Published by Triangle Books, 1939.

Life's Golden Milestones

Birthday card:

May thy birthdays
be life's golden milestones

Found in "The Royal Path of Life" by T.L. Haines and L.W. Yaggy. Published by The Standard Publishing House, New York, 1881.

King Richard

Political protest announcement, most likely from 1973 or 1974:


People of SUCO, and all other people who value their Liberty!
A rally will be held on Monday, February 25th at 8:00 PM in the College Union Ballroom. The purpose of this rally is to DETHRONE KING RICHARD NIXON!!!
Our land is once again afoul with Tories who would keep the people in chains in order to increase their profits at the expense of our liberties. King Richard is but the monarch (and somewhat of a figurehead at that) at the head of this Corporate Dictatorship. The People's Bicentennial Commission recognize that there is more to securing our freedoms than simply getting rid of King Richard. He is but the top of the "iceberg of despotism" that is freezing our liberties. Yet, we also realize that it is important for all freedom-loving patriots - the new sons and daughters of Liberty - to have a point to rally around. The first American Revolution was more than a blow to King George!!! The second American Revolution will be a victory over of the common folks over the corporate monopolies and their political conspirators (Richard Nixon, to name one of them).
Therefore, be it resolved that...
Sponsored by the Peoples Bicentennial Commission Representative will speak from:

1. Vietnam Veterans Against the War / Winter Soldier Organization

2. National Emergency Civil Liberties Union

3. SUCO Faculty

4. Peoples Bicentennial Commission

Found in "The Selected Works of Thoreau: Cambridge Edition." Published by by Houghton Mifflin, 1975.


Photobooth photo.

Found in "Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell" by Susanna Clarke. Published by Bloosbury, 2004.