Once upon a time, people wrote with “ink” or “fountain” “pens” that created wet lines of inkon paper. This wetness took time to dry and “blotters” were used to hurry the process along.
The use of the ink “blotter” created a space for printed business advertising on its reverse side.
That is what we see here in three reproductions of the advertising sides of blotters used in Davis in the 1930s-40s.
Each measures in the six by three inch range.
I am particularly struck by the Railway Express Agency blotter ad, which is encouraging male students (seen on the right) to send their laundry home with that service.
One would think the ad was devised only for Davis, but its generic character suggests it was used in REA offices anywhere in the country where there was a college campus. The reference to telephoning “the nearest” office is particularly indicative.