You can easily find a
anytime, al-
though perhaps not the year you’re look-
ing for. As of this writing, you can purchase
different years, with prices ranging from
less than $10 (1935) to $199.99 (also 1935).
Paper items (letters, press photos, newspapers, au-
tographs) are very common, though specific pieces
might be exceedingly rare. You can probably still
find a
handwritten manuscript by
Irving Bacheller
Class of 1882, author of
Eben Holden), and there were three Bacheller signa-
tures the last time I looked. One was on stationery
from The Ambassador Hotel in New York City.
Last summer, you could have purchased a
letter on University letterhead,
written by President Almon
to “Harry,” inquiring of his “previous
condition” (sold for 99 cents), or an unsigned 1871
letter that seems to be a list of items that needed
to be ordered (including needle clamps and shuttle
Finally, for a “Buy-It-Now” price of
$4,500, you can purchase a signed
letter from Marie Curie on Faculté Des
Sciences De Paris letterhead to Para-
mount Pictures executive Emanuel
Cohen, thanking him for “the film of
the St. Lawrence University ceremony.”
You might also find a 1929 picture of
Madame Curie at St. Lawrence for that
ceremony, the dedication of Hepburn
Hall. It was available for $7.99.
Postcards are very popular. They can
be from any time period, from the early
s, when postcards were first pro-
duced, to today. Recently, I purchased
a postcard of the campus from the
s, but there was also a “vintage”
color postcard of the clock tower on
Sykes Residence. Except for the Koda-
chrome format, it could have been taken yesterday.
Some of the most intriguing items are the tobacco
felts and cards from the early 1900s. They represent
the infancy of a marketing strategy that became
prevalent in the 20th century and continues to this
day — a product prize, whether it’s Cracker Jacks,
baseball cards or a cereal toy.
A common find is a red tobacco silk with the
University seal. Measuring only 1
by 3
this cloth ribbon was free with Egyptienne tobacco
products. There were several different series pro-
duced, but St. Lawrence was included in only one.
Another tobacco premium was a sports card pro-
duced by the Murad Tobacco Company. Beginning
as early as 1909, they issued several sets of cards on
various subjects, and one of the most popular was
their “College Series,” 2 ½-by-2-inch cards highlight-
ing various collegiate sports and colleges.
St. Lawrence is card number 40 (out of 150).
Though I can’t part with my complete set of
Freshman Directories from the four years I spent
in Canton, I have posted a piece of St. Lawrence
memorabilia myself. I came across the art catalog
for the
Steinman Festival of
the Arts.
It was in mint condition, so I listed it
on eBay.
I’m a collector. That’s why I still have some NNBs,
Northern Lights
and one
I tend
to hold on to the relics of life, whether it’s my old
letters or the heirlooms of those who have gone be-
fore me. I know I’m not alone. It’s human nature to
feel nostalgia. St. Lawrence has touched thousands
of people. Over the course of 157 years, many have
saved mementos to remind them of that experi-
ence. That’s what we find today. We are proud of
that heritage, and some choose to collect symbols
of it. It’s an urge to hold a piece of those vestiges of
that past — our time at St. Lawrence.
Tom French collects student papers as an English
teacher in Massena, N.Y. He lives in Potsdam.
for your piece of SLU history on ebay?
< $10 - $4,500
Handwritten Manuscripts
University Letterhead
Tobacco Felts
Hockey Jerseys
The Gridiron
Antique Plates
picture of Madame Curie