Found Object

Diabolik fumetto ‘Il Morto che Ritorna’, Italy, 1995

Italian comic books await a Quentin Tarantino to make them cool again

Chocolat Pupier Asian cultures album, France, 1936

A 1936 collectible album for children, embedded with the politics of its age

Letter from Japan the day WWII ended

My grandfather’s firsthand account of the destruction of Japanese cities


French diary from WWII

The cramped hand suggests a shortage of paper, the mysterious letters and numbers hint at a code

An evocative group portrait at a cafe in Egypt, 1934

A moment captured during an outing to Roda island in the 1930s

My grandfather’s sketch of the home he’d found in Cairo in 1956

Part of an effort to entice his family to join him in Egypt in the aftermath of the 1956 war


Little Red Book by Mao Tse-tung, second edition, 1967

The rare second edition of Mao’s famous book, with a foreword by Lin Biao before he fell from grace

Chemistry notebook, People’s Republic of China, 1976

A 1976 notebook found in Xiamen begins with Maoist political slogans and ends with chemistry notes

Teenager’s songbook, France, early-1960s

A handwritten record of a French teenager’s musical passions in the early-1960s


What is in Gaddafi’s Green Book, Part One

In his infamous Green Book, Gaddafi offers his unorthodox solutions to the problem of democracy

What is in Gaddafi’s Green Book, Part Two

In his infamous Green Book, Gaddafi offers his unorthodox solutions on socialism and society

New Year’s surprise: Paris, France, c2006

A gift from Paris that came each New Year’s setting the tenor of the year ahead


Yen notes and coins: Japan, c1940s

Japanese yen brought home to America after WWII

Blue Guide to Yugoslavia: Paris, France, 1970

A travel guide to Yugoslavia, before war tore it apart

Tincture of cacao bean: Lyon, France, date unknown

Tincture of cacao, an antiquated medicine best taken with vodka


Tincture of viburnum: Lyon, France, date unknown

The bark of a shrub used as an antispasmodic

Fluid extract bottle: Paris, France, c1870s

The story of a 19th century medicine bottle, from the Marais in Paris

Guerlain container: Paris, late-19th century

A 19th C container by Guerlain, the French perfume house, ends up on the Bowery in New York


Extract for Eucalyptus Syrup: Melun, France, date unknown

An antique bottle of eucalyptus extract for the relief of respiratory ailments

Stella beer bottle: Cairo, Egypt, 1994

A bad beer but a beloved bottle

Zottos rhum bottle: Cairo, Egypt, 1994

A potent and potentially lethal drink with an archaic label


The Green Man Ferro China bottle: Cairo, Egypt, 1994

A bitter aperitif from 1990s Cairo with an odd name and undrinkable contents

La Baalbanaise arak bottle: Cairo, Egypt, 1994

Conjuring up neither the decadence of Baalbek nor the panache of the Lebanese

Portrait of Saad Zaghloul, leader of Egypt’s 1919 revolution

The tattered portrait of the man who led the Egyptian revolution of 1919