Vintage Writing Keepsakes, because I’m Sick of Talking Politics

No Telling


I believe it’s time for a political break. The whole mess has put me in a sour mood and I’d rather talk about writing goodies. So here are a few vintage writing keepsakes I’ve been collecting while on my tiny address book binge. I can’t help myself, really – they’re cheap, easy to find, and a complete delight to actually use. The lovely embedded abalone memo book with pencil above is my absolute favorite, and it only set me back about $4.00 on Ebay.


Oh, you can spend a fortune on the real McCoy sterling silver keepsakes, but I’m all about the cheap brass or tin variety. The memo covers are always just this side of classy and don’t seem to tarnish or wear in an unattractive way. The delicate brass pencil is a bit of a problem, though – I can’t seem to find the right size lead. It has to fit perfectly. The whole thing is 2 1/2″ by 4 1/2″ and finding little replacement notepads is no problem at all. It doesn’t appear to have been used much, if at all. only one piece of the original paper is torn off. This little keepsake must have lost it’s initial luster quickly for some reason.
There’s nothing quite like jotting a little here-and-there note in this compact keepsake – I’ve had to get over my post-it note brainwashing, though. It’s embarrassing trying to stick a note that simply doesn’t stick.

This little notebook is the same size and weighs almost nothing. It’s made completely out of cheap tin, cost all of $2.00, and I couldn’t love it more. The name “Evelyn” and pieces of an address in Pennsylvania are hand-etched on the inside cover, and it looks like our girl made her own notepads out of scratchy rag paper, cutting each page by hand and fastening them together with a staple.
This one wasn’t a throwaway keepsake at all. I’m guessing Evelyn had this for quite some time, writing lists and addresses and directions and things to remember. I’m also guessing Evelyn in Pennsylvania was quite proud of this sweet little memo book and might have made a modest public showing of pulling it out to make this note and that. In rooms where all the girls have ornate sterling, it wouldn’t work. But in a world of women with no silver memo books at all – tin or otherwise – Evelyn would be quite a hit.
My grandmother told me once that if your pearls aren’t real, you must either have an electric smile or a very fast walk. I’ll bet Evelyn had a winning smile.

4 thoughts on “Vintage Writing Keepsakes, because I’m Sick of Talking Politics

  1. Perhaps the first was gift? One to someone not known well to the giver, but one who needed a gift all the same? For an office Christmas party? An in-law?I am terrible– making up stories for things not even mine.Very cool writerly things, though.

  2. Making up the stories is my favorite part. Sometimes I get lucky and a piece of the story comes with it – like Evelyn’s name and address – but most of the time object history is all mine. It’s the Free Gift With Purchase.

  3. Holding Evelyn's tin must be like holding an “old friend's” hand. What a great find and a great connection to a world of no computers, no ipods…just the simple life of pen and paper. I think we all have a bit of Evelyn inside us…I know I do…I love my pencil/pen case I carry in my pocketbook that I take out in bookstores, cafes …when I'm in the writing mood and need a pen. For whatever reason, holding the soft, black & white paisley case and unzippering it for its contents to select my favorite pen brings my “writing mind” out for the afternoon. 🙂 Thanks for the good read. I enjoyed it.

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