Inside Ephemera: The Box SF

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Our friend Mark E. Sackett featured in my Ephemera book has the most amazing business dedicated to paper ephemera, the history of graphic design, letterpress and more.

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The Box SF is a gorgeous space, formerly the William Randolph Hearst Printing Plant. The period details of the building plus the authentic fixtures and cabinets that Mark has lovingly collected, make The Box SF one of a kind. "It's beautiful and unique and there is really nothing like it in North America," says Mark. He literally has millions of items. 

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Very unfortunately, the pressroom and mercantile was flooded with sewage backflow earlier this month due to city sewer cleaning crew. As you can imagine, that's really awful in general—and particularly bad for preserving delicate vintage papers. "Full repairs will take a few months as both bathrooms must be gutted now and additional mold and spores work will be ongoing. You can't risk mold growing near vintage paper and printed items."

"I spent the last three years of my life and all of my life savings and retirement to build my dream Letterpress Shop and Store in San Francisco selling rare printed history," he says. With this flood not covered by insurance, he's facing over $60,000 in costs and repairs.

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When my home was flooded in the Calgary flood of 2013, most of my paper archives were ruined. I admit it that I was vainly thinking that perhaps someday the graphic design ephemera that I had made in my design career would someday be valuable, but I was indeed compelled to save all those portfolio items for posterity, at least for me to look back on. Anyway, I know first hand what moisture can do to paper and thankfully my livelihood wasn't affected by the loss of my own things.

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Although I haven't met Mark in person (yet! I look forward to visiting The Box SF someday), I can say from our conversations that he is a generous and optimistic person.

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Mark has set up a GoFundMe campaign, please consider supporting him as he and his team endeavour to recover and reopen the business. 

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"Our items have already survived a century or two and I will continue to work to save them," he says.

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Donate here. 

Purchase the Ephemera book.

Thank you!