Paper and communication in 1865

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I only just recently saw the movie Lincoln, which was excellent. I don’t know how I missed it when it was in the theater.

It’s an epic and historic film, so I’m a little embarrassed to admit my favorite scenes were those in the White House in his study where meetings were held. It was a great glimpse into paper and communication in 1865. Books and papers were piled on every surface. People took notes on paper and in little notebooks. They carried their documents in awesome marbled-cover folios. (Where can I get one of those??) And on the desk surface they used a wood secretarial writing desk. Seems like I’ve seen those somewhere before because I know they open to hold paper and other writing supplies. (Where can I get one of those???)

As much as I loved seeing all the stationery products, the method of communication made even more of an impression on me. In the age before telephones and email, when you wanted to speak with someone you had to go to them and speak to them in person. There’s a lot to be said for communicating within someone else’s breathing space where you can see each other’s facial expressions and body language.

What are your favorite stationery products from history?

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