Good finds have been pretty hard to come by lately. I’m wondering if this is just a normal late summer lull. I was looking at my posts from this time last year and it doesn’t seem like I found much then either.
My working theory is that people are busy vacationing, visiting friends and family, or enjoying time with the kids before they go back to school. Quebec’s construction holiday ran from July 22 to August 6, and apparently lots of other Quebeckers not in the industry take time off around that time as well.
I hope to someday again find something exciting in the trash. On the plus side, at least I’ve had more time to do organizational stuff. My room for example is pretty much set up. I have a working area divided from my living area with a curtain, which ensures that I can separate my work from my life. I have much more room for storage (thanks in part to this nice old filing cabinet I found a couple weeks ago), and the things I need to access are usually easily found. I’m happy about that.
I also just bought a little photography light box, which should make taking photos of small items a lot easier. I’ll have to find a place for it somewhere.
Sometimes I find things and don’t know what to do with them. The huge box of photos I found in April of last year is a great example. Since then the box has sat largely untouched in my storage. I brought it home recently because my storage isn’t climate controlled and isn’t an ideal place for old papers. Also, I realize that at some point I need to figure out a plan for their future.
The box is the one that contained that cool cow photo that became subject of a newspaper article. For those who missed out, the journalist was able to locate the house, which looks different but still rests at 8112 Henri Julien in Villeray. If you can read French, the article discusses the history of cows in the city, among other things.
There are a lot of other photos that might interest Quebec historians as well, such as the shot of the O’Brien Mines in Abitibi at bottom right. Others feature lumber camps, sugar shacks and random Quebec small towns.
The great thing about these photos is that a lot of the names of the people are written on the back. If not for that it would be more or less impossible to track down who they are.
Also of note are these large hand-drawn portraits, which I think were common in the late 1800s and early 1900s. There’s a similar drawing of my grandpa’s dad up at my grandparents house.
At some point I’ll have to do something with this box. I certainly don’t want to hold onto it forever. Part of the reason it sat around so long though is because I’m not sure exactly what to do with it. I’d like the collection to stay intact and go to an archive, someone with an interest in history, or the family itself. However, most archives won’t give them much attention, and family members are hard to find and quite possibly totally disinterested.
I’m also not rich enough to just give the box away. I owe lots and lots of money in student loans, and probably will need a root canal at some point in the near future. As a result, it’s impossible not to have self-interest in mind when considering what to do. I’m pretty confident I could sell the lot for at least 100$, and probably more.
My best idea right now is to put it all up for auction on eBay when traffic picks up again in the fall. Mention the most common last names found written on the photos in hopes that a family member or someone interested in genealogy sees them. If not, so it goes! At least the names are written on the back, and that they were saved from the trash in the first place.
However, if you have any other ideas feel free to mention them in the comments! I actually have a couple of other ephemera stashes too, including a bunch of WWII-era letters I found in NDG and some photos I found with that Nazi passport back in 2014. I’d like to deal with those at some point as well.
On a related note, I found this postcard while digging through the box. It’s not from the same collection, but I stashed it there at some point with some other photos I found last April. The image is that of a house, and the postcard is probably from the 1920s. It’s not too exciting, but the fact that the address is written on the back makes it somewhat interesting. The house still stands today, and in fact looks very similar to how it did back then. If you want to check it out, the address is 377 Westchester Ave, Crestwood, Yonkers NY – you can see it using Google Maps.
I had the idea of mailing it to the owners of the new house. I’m pretty sure I want to do it, but I have to figure out how best to do so. The safest way in theory is to mail it in an envelope. However, might the new owner just throw out a letter addressed to their house (not them) from someone they don’t know? I’m thinking the best way to do it is just to mail it as is, since most postcards seem to make it through the mail okay. It would require putting a new stamp on an nearly antique postcard, but I’m not too worried about that.
On the off chance that these people are your neighbours, please ask them if they want this photo.
Potential postal strike?
In other news, Canada Post is talking strike again. As you might expect this is a serious pain in the ass for me given that most of my money comes from eBay sales. Other couriers are not only more expensive but also charge customs fees on every package going to the States which is very annoying for my customers. I prefer to put my store on vacation mode rather than bother with all that. My hope here is that they strike sooner rather than later, because I’ll be screwed if this lasts into the holiday season.