July 19, 2014

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Paper Crush #4 by Krissy (PonyBoy Press)

A zine about collecting postcards from a person whose made a habit of looking out for little lost bits of American life wherever she goes. Over the course of the zine, Krissy discusses a brief history of postcards in America, her relation to them, organizations devoted to postcards/old photos/etc. and how the electronic society has changed what future historians will examine or have access to.

Needless to say, this is exactly the sort of zine that piques my interest, even if I have been working hard to curb my collecting habits. Even though I've never personally collected old postcards or photos, I really am attracted to them, and I always will poke my fingers through them whenever I get drug to an antiques store, as that's the only thing in those places that usually interests me.

Reading about Krissy's fascination that's taken on collecting form was extremely interesting to me, especially when she talks about how she is one of the younger people involved, something I feel similarly to whenever I am active in photography circles. She's also the type who enjoys listening to old stories from the others who collect, learning history from those who lived it. As a person who did the same thing at my father's gun club or at train shows and other gatherings where older people tend to dominate, I know exactly what she's referring to, and the appeal it holds.

This is a link we were very much in danger of losing. Not so much because of electronic communication, but because there's a focus on the BIG AND IMPORTANT rather than on the small details, like how old postscards grew with the nation's highways and show them building, step by step or that a person might have photos of, say, North Portland back before it was invaded by people who want to "improve it." Those connections are disappearing fast.

Krissy's brief history of postcards will teach you things you didn't know, even if you aren't attracted to the collecting lifestyle. Did you know at first you weren't allowed to write on the back of a postcard? Or that Germany produced much of America's postcards until World War I? I didn't, and I even own a few of those old cards. She also discusses the link between postcards and tourism, a connection that remains to this day.

Perhaps the most interesting story, however, is how she acquired a group of postcards from one man, and was able to track down the family to return the missives to them. It's such a cute, heartwarming tale.
It never occurred to me to collect postcards to read the messages!

The zine ends with a notation that anyone who wants to collect postcards and similar effects should join a club and list a few in the Pacific Northwest. I don't think I need to add this to my world personally, but I think it's great that such clubs exist. She also notes that anyone who does this long enough might even make it into a book or be part of a museum display. All by keeping little pieces of paper in your closet!

This was a great zine to read, and you can find out more about Krissy's collection at The Cedar Chest, her website for the odds and ends or by going to PonyBoy Press site. There's plenty there to look around and explore, and I highly recommend doing so--as well as reading this zine, if you can find it.