Antique Letter Collages and “Scrap Art”

Coming back into popularity is the art of collage. It’s an interesting creative form of expression that has been around for generations. The losses it produces to the historical and genealogy community, though, worries me.

Popping up on shelves and computer screens across the country are craft books and blogs full of ideas, and unfortunately, they consistently list ANTIQUE ephemera as one of the greatest sources of ‘scrap’ material. Chiefly, antique correspondence.

It really saddens me that artists, commonly attributed with sensitivity and sentimentality, are the very people encouraging this behavior.  If they could imagine the lost love letters of their own grandmother, or the last surviving signature of  their great great grandfather, being torn apart by a stranger for the sake of a wall hanging or a craft sale item….

Surely, for the sake of posterity, the original items could be saved, and the art could be created using scanned images and reprints. A girl can wish, can’t she?

There is a twisted positive in this, though. With so many beginning to search for vintage and antique letters, postcards, and ect. the price of these items may come down so that people like us can afford to rescue more of them.  Sellers will begin to see a value in them and we will, hopefully, hear fewer stories about forgotten correspondence being thrown away by estate buyers and auctioneers.

 

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