Mattoon, Illinois: F.L. Horn, April and May, 1878.
Unbound. One quarto leaf folded to make four pages, apparently paginated with the previous issue: , 6-8pp. A small stain on the first page, else fine. An "amateur" newspaper. On page seven (the third page of the newspaper) is an advertisement that reads as follows: "Base Ball Cards! 25 for 20 cts. Special rates to clubs. State position and name of club when ordering. Agents wanted! Send 3 ct. stamp for samples. Franklin L. Horn, Mattoon, Ills." Within our own little circle of baseball scholars and enthusiasts, debate rages over the meaning of this advertisement. Some are convinced that this is an advertisement for business or trade cards, others that it indicates a previously unknown series of amateur baseball cards, and still others believing it was an advertisement for a stillborn project by the printer, abandoned with no takers. The definition of "baseball cards" is somewhat fluid. A few cabinet photographs were issued in the 1850s, and the sporting goods company Peck and Snyder issued a few cabinet photograph cards of teams in 1869-1870; but the first use of the term to indicate what we now consider "baseball cards" usually refers to mass-produced player cards issued with tobacco products in the mid-1880s.
*Odds and Ends* was an "amateur newspaper," part of a movement that started in the 1830s and continued, in fits and starts, until the Great Depression. The "golden age" of the movement began in 1867 with the popularization of an inexpensive tabletop "novelty press," and continued until 1880. This item might provide a vital missing link to the study of early cards, or may just be a dead-end in the evolutionary development of the hobby. At any rate, a fascinating and thought provoking item.