Great Sticker Mystery

Posted on | June 12, 2013 | No Comments

Here is something fun that we received from Kathy in Washington – perfect for you ‘old house sleuths’! Please give us your feedback!  What are these??

Dear Bradbury Company,

I have an interesting piece of “old house archaeology” to share with you.

My husband and I have been restoring an 1879 Italianate home in Port Townsend, Washington. We have your paper in several rooms (amazing!) and, I believe, you have some documentation of our home’s original wallpapers. But this is about what lies beneath.

As we have worked on each room, we have documented the wallpaper(s) and kept samples prior to washing the walls and repairing/restoring the plaster. As I have stripped old paper, I have come across small oval decals or stickers. They are placed at eye height and consist of color depictions of Asian faces and, in one case, a rabbit wearing a top hat.

adult face

 

partial with top hat


Today in prepping another wall in another room I inadvertently scraped a layer off of one of the decals. I was curious to see writing, written facing towards the wall so that it was backwards to me. I was able to read this much of it:
Directions. __ __is side thoroughly; __re not to lick or wipe ___ __g_m. Wait a minute __ is sticky and paper ___ ____p, wipe dust from place ___ ___ _____ book
no. 4800
1883

directions

Have you ever seen anything like this before? Are they the directions for applying the paper? Then why the decorated side with the faces?

We would love to know if you have encountered or heard of anything like this before!

So what do think?  Port Townsend had a large Chinese community in the 19th century, according to Kathleen.  She also noted that the faces on the stickers all seem to be Asian.

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