In Special Collections, we get donations of all shapes and sizes. Books, papers, artifacts – they all come to us, and we make them available for researchers. Sometimes, though, it is the things we don’t get to keep that really intrigue us.
Heather Adkins's blog
“It’s out of paper!” You scream in terror as your printer (leisurely printing your homework), grinds to a stop. You look around, but there is no extra paper to be found. These days, a simple run to the office supply store can solve your paper needs. However, paper has not always been as accessible.
In the 19th Century, letter-writing was a surprisingly expensive task. Producing paper was not cheap, and buying quality paper came at a cost. Early in the century, postmasters began charging for distance traveled and the weight of paper. Combine the price of paper with the budding idea of paying for postage – writing to loved-ones suddenly became a line item in the family budget. This added expense led many to find ways to save on paper.