Saturday, December 31, 2011

New Year's Eve list: My 10 favorite Papergreat images of 2011

It's New Year's Eve, and everyone finishes off the year with a list of some sort. So here's mine: My 10 favorite images from this blog in 2011 -- a purely subjective list.

#10: A postcard from Japan

This is from the March 15 post "Nippon-koku," in which a series of vintage postcards were presented as a counterbalance to the devastation and despair of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster.

#9: "Mystery at Long Barrow House"

In this March 22 post, I wrote: "The cover of this book made me smile when I came upon it. The greens and oranges punch out appealingly. And what more would you want from a juvenile fiction title than the word 'Mystery' and images of adventuring children, an old house with a green roof and a bearded little man (or leprechaun?) wielding a club menacingly? Adventure awaits!"

#8: Young banjo player on bedspread

This image comes from the still-popular May 16 post "Selections from the 1967 Top Value Stamps catalog."

No further words are needed.

#7: Crown Coal, King of Anthracite

This old ink-blotter advertisement was featured in the March 16 entry "Crown Coal, J.W. Wolgemuth and Wenger Feeds." It dates from sometime between 1920 and 1944, and I love the colors and design of the card.

#6: Underwood's Original Deviled Ham

This image hails from the March 17 post "Oldest food trademark still used in the United States." (And, yes, I'm aware that three of my top-10 images come from consecutive days in March. Very odd.)

This full-page advertisement came from a 1905 magazine and launched me off on a meaty tangent that included King Oscar Fish Balls, Rose Beef Tripe with Milk, Armour Pork Brains in Milk Gravy, Tasty Joy Quail Eggs and Goblin Meat Pudding.

#5: Story Gnome: The Keeper of Magic Books

Our family has a soft spot for Story Gnome, who was featured in this May 6 post. He's an illustration from "Mother Goose Secrets," a 1925 book by Barbara Webb Bourjaily. And for many months this past year, Story Gnome served as my Papergreat Twitter avatar.

#4: Sami girl and a reindeer

Check out the colorfully dressed Sami girl and her white reindeer in this postcard that I wrote about on December 17. My love for this image wasn't even lessened when I realized that the girl has a huge knife affixed to her waist.

#2 (tie): Fiskargränd and Møntestræde

These two postcards, from April 9 and April 16, are joined at the hip. Or perhaps I should say "joined at the alley."

The colorful Fiskargränd ("Fish Alley") in Visby, Sweden, and the black-and-white Møntestræde ("Mint Street") in Odense, Denmark, are both wonderful, human-scale early European alleys. They harken to a time when our lives weren't ruled by cars and the necessary speed of modern life.

#1: A dark and stormy night ... and a good book

I said in this October 4 post that this was my new favorite piece of ephemera, and nothing has unseated it. Not even close.

At the time, I wrote:
"A dark and stormy night. An old, shadow-filled mansion. A warm, comfortable chair by the curtained window, perfect for a golden-haired, blue-eyed young lady to sink in to -- good book in hand -- after everyone else has retired for the evening.

Then a sudden noise interrupts her reading. What's intruding?

The colors. The sense of gloom and utter aloneness in the middle of the night. The expression on her face. All of that makes it a wonderful illustration. And that fact that this trade card is in poor condition, with creases, scratches and a missing corner, only adds to the overall effect, in my opinion.

A perfect piece of ephemera..."
Perfect indeed. And it also serves as the main image for Papergreat's new page on Facebook. If you "like" the page, you'll be able to follow all of this blog's 2012 posts on your Facebook wall. Be among the first to find out if anything unseats "a dark and stormy night" as my favorite illustration.

Have a safe New Year's Eve!

1 comment:

  1. These are terrific. I must have missed this post earlier. That Deviled Ham add looks really familiar -- could I be old enough to have actually seen one of them? Great pictures. Thanks!