I place a high value on the collectible and aesthetic value of old paper. But what about the practical uses of ephemera? This 1906 home floor plan helps illustrate how ephemera can be useful in a very practical sense.
Suppose you were in the process of renovating a 1906 house--the home for which these plans were drawn--how dearly would you like to be able to reference these plans, especially if you were restoring the house to its original condition?
This vintage floor plan didn't come from a creepy, old basement. Rather, they were printed, along with many other floor plans in the March 1906 issue of Ladies Home Journal. Around the turn-of-the-century, the LHJ often featured the layouts and floor plans of the day's most popular house models. Often built for a very modest price, these homes are now some of the most valuable real estate in the county.
Take a close look at the "owner's bed-room" (nowadays called the master suite). The plan clearly shows a seat under the window. Suppose that seat had been removed by a previous owner. With these plans, the people doing the restoration work would know it once existed and exactly where it was originally located. Further, look at the balcony layout. The architect envisioned flower boxes or planters. These, too, might have been removed, without a trace, over the long decades between 1906 and 2007. It's little touches like this that mean a lot to the authenticity of a restoration.
While not all ephemera has a practical purpose, many documents that most people would consider worthless contain critical pieces of information--placed in the hands of the right person, at the right time, become priceless.