Today I am uploading an entirely new form of ephemera to The Paper Depository: Soviet-era matchbox labels. The first set, released in 1969, depicts the variety of berries and edible mushrooms purchasable at local consumer cooperatives. The second set, also released in 1969, depicts the variety of heavy-duty trucks and tractor-trailers manufactured (or soon to be manufactured) by the Minsk Automobile Plant between the years of 1944 and 1970. Both of these sets, and all future Soviet matchbox labels, can be found in the "Soviet Matchbox Labels" album.
These frail, thin, minuscule bits of paper convey a great deal of information about the society in which they were produced. They tell us what the members of that society valued, what they ate, what they drove, what they watched at the theater, what they read, what they wore, what games they played, what birds and plants and insects lived in their backyards, and what they hoped to achieve as a collective group in both the near and far-future, among other insights.
They also tell us, of course, about the aesthetics of the society—that a realistic rendering of a chanterelle on a bright pink background is something that match users would respond to.
So please join me in the coming weeks, months, and years as I delve further into this hobby. We can learn a lot.