I suspect before Chessbase (or Nicbase or Scid), players had various ways of storing and sorting important games. Some players may have used filing cabinets, folders or even old shoe boxes. The other way was to use notebooks.
While doing some research in my chess library this afternoon I came across a just such a set of notebooks that I had picked up in a second hand shop almost 20 years ago. I do not know who the original owner was but the books (8 or 9 or them) contained collections of games from important tournaments from before and just after World War II. Featured were various Zonal and Candidate tournaments, as well as US Championships and Hastings Congresses. The games were all handwritten and most entries were accompanied by crosstables listing the tournament results.
While looking through the books for a suitable game to feature I came across the following game, one I think will amuse an occasional reader of this blog.
Stuart - Bonham,R [C11]
Oxford v Worcester, 1939
1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.e5 Nfd7 5.Nce2 c5 6.c3 Qb6 7.f4 Nc6 8.Nf3 f6 9.f5 cxd4 10.exf6 Nxf6 11.fxe6 dxc3 12.Nxc3 d4 13.Na4 Bb4+ 14.Bd2 Qa5 15.Qb3 Bxd2+ 16.Nxd2 Qe5+ 17.Kd1 Bxe6 18.Qxb7 0-0 19.Qxc6 Rac8 20.Qa6 Nd5 21.Nf3 Ne3+ 22.Ke1 Nxg2+ 23.Kd1 Rxf3 24.Bxg2 Rf2 25.Bd5 Qxd5 0-1