In a small town called Otega in the state of New York, there is an independent used bookshop with something very special about it. For decades, the owner of Popeks bookstore, which was passed onto Michael Popek from his father, has been collecting and cataloguing the unusual and forgotten things he finds inside the pages of dusty old books. “I started working at my family’s used bookstore when I was about seven; now, I run the shop … 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.”
Over five years ago, Michael created the Forgotten Bookmarks website, the online counterpart to his accidental career of bygone bookmark collecting. His archives seem to go on forever, a reflection of what the real thing must look like. “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.” From the bank of “personal, funny, heartbreaking and weird things” found by Michael, here are a few of my favourite things found inside books…
1. Monopoly Money
Two $500 bills from a Monopoly game.
Found in “The Runaway Papoose” by Grace Moon. Published by Doubleday & Doran, 1929/
2. Fabric Samples
Advertisement from the New Process Company, maker of “‘Long Wear’ Silk Stockings,”showing off the “newest shades of the season!”
Found in “River Supreme” by Alice Tisdale Hobart. Published by Collier, 1934
4. A Marriage Certificate
Here’s a marriage certificate, dated October 18, 1899. It appears to be more of a keepsake than a legal document.
Found in “The Holy Bible” published by Samuel T. Armstrong, no date, circa 1850.
5. Fashion Advice
Found in “In Thackeray’s London” by F. Hopkinson Smith. Published by Doubleday, 1913.
I found this amusing but informative booklet inside a Winslow Homer art book. It’s titled “How To Be Best Dressed Anywhere” and it was put out by The News Corp. sometime in the 1950s, I would guess.