Found Objects

Finding a Colorized Quarter

I was doing laundry the other day, and as I was putting quarters into the dryers… I came across one quarter that had a colorful side.

It was a Pennsylvania state quarter, and looks like it was created in 1999. This is the first time I’ve come across a colorized quarter before, and it kind of caught me by surprise. At first glance, I thought it was some kind of a token.


A Letter from St. Ann’s Indian Mission, Written In Remembrance of Lieutenant John W. Cummings, Prisoner of War – 1952

I don’t know any of the people mentioned, and I haven’t read enough of the other letters to recognize names yet. But found items like this are what attract me to flea markets – these old and misplaced things, these magical objects that provide the briefest of window into other people’s lives.

What I love about old photographs and letters is how they can transport you, how a small bit of paper in your hand can take you a half century or more into the past.


Found Bracelet, One Year Later

About a year ago, I noticed a small bracelet, dangling from a small branch on a tree near our apartment. At the time, I thought it was kind of an odd placement (the branch it was on was super small, and I couldn’t tell if it was put there on purpose, or left there accidentally).


Autograph Book, Page 11

The more of these pages I scan and transcribe, the more I tend to really appreciate the notes and comments. Finding names and dates might be exciting for genealogists, but they’re just so terribly dry. It’s like someone signing a receipt or bill.


Autograph Book, Page 7

Unsure if the first letter is an “E,” but it’s my best guess. Whatever it is, it looks like a very fancy letter to make. If you look at the larger version, you can see that the letter was formed in one stroke, with the circular swirl done as the pen made its way down the letter.


Autograph Book, Page 4

This note from Annie was a bit tricky, as it took me a few passes to get acquainted with her letter “M.” The end of the letter has a slight swirl to it, a backwards curl that almost resembles a lower case “q.”


Autograph Book, Page 3

I had a tough time reading the letter p in this note, but after comparing a lot of similar words… I feel a lot more confident about words like precepts and point. The one letter I’m still struggling with is in the final attribution (in the bottom left corner of the page). I think it’s “by B. J. Howe,” but I can’t tell for sure what the second initial is.


Autograph Book, Page 1

What’s interesting to note is that her last name is spelled “Duryea” on this title page, but in subsequent pages shows up as “Duryee.” In fact, there are several other signatures that appear to be family members – and all of them sign their name “Duryee.”