Saturday, April 2, 2011

Saturday's postcard: The dancing pavilion at Hazelden

Today's entry rambles headlong into the worlds of dance halls, American authors, turn-of-the-century outdoor recreation, fables and baseball. It all starts with the intriguing black-and-white image above (which reveals even more of its fine detail if you click on it for a larger version).

The text across the bottom of the postcard states:
The back of the card is blank except for the printed phrases "POST CARD", "CORRESPONDENCE" and "ADDRESS ONLY".

I think this postcard dates from the 1910s or early 1920s. And I think -- and there's a chance I'm wrong here -- that the pictured pavilion is on the estate of author George Ade (1866-1944).

Ade's estate was built in 1903 in Brook, Indiana, and was referred to as Hazelden Farm or just Hazelden.

The long excerpt that follows comes from the December 1921 issue of The Playground, a journal of the Playground and Recreation Association of America. Toward the end of the passage, Ade refers to a dancing pavilion:
"We need in the country more playgrounds and more shower baths and recognition of the truth that the men and women who live in the country need not regard themselves as mere work animals. We need these things if we are to check the flow of the population to the cities," writes George Ade to the national headquarters of Community Service (Incorporated).

Out on Hazelden Farm in Indiana Mr. Ade (pictured at right) is putting this belief in practice. Here is his description of the way his private woods and fields and swimming pool and golf course have become a recreation center for the people of the country round about.

"In 1904 I moved to the country, in order to find a quiet spot where I could do my work undisturbed by the complications of city life. My house was built at one corner of a farm which I own and because this corner of the farm bordered a small river and was wooded with very fine specimens of our best native trees, I became generous and gave myself a wide domain for the private grounds surrounding the house. ... People came in large numbers to ramble about the premises and hold picnic parties. We had about the only playground in the whole region which was cleared away and had an artificial setting of flowers and green sward.

"In 1908 Mr. Taft opened his presidential campaign here at Hazelden, and we had 15,000 to 20,000 people on the grounds that day.

"I built a swimming pool out at the west of the grounds and later on built a dancing pavilion, fifty by thirty-five feet, and that building has been used for a hundred purposes since 1910. The State Council of Defense met there and also the County Council. The Red Cross used it during the war as an assembling depot. Clubs and societies from Chicago and Indianapolis and other cities have made it their headquarters at various outings. Near the pavilion, as we call it, was a fine open playground entirely circled by trees. Here we laid out a small diamond and the business men from surrounding towns came once a week to play soft ball. Later on we laid out a little nine-hole golf course within the home grounds. The neighbors became so fond of the baby course that a club was formed and now we have a real nine-hole course, three thousand yards long, and we have a club-house and a good tennis court and nearly all the usual fixtures of an up-to-date country club.2"
My first thought after reading that passage: Why would someone who wanted a "quiet spot" in the country to get away "the complications of city life", create a recreational estate that regularly drew tens of thousands of visitors and partiers?

It's possible that my great-grandparents visited the dancing pavilion at Hazelden. They lived for awhile in Hammond3, a couple hours north of Brook (by the driving standards of that time). My mom explains: "Grandma and Grandpop had good friends, a couple they socialized with out there. ... The four of them might have made a late night of it going dancing occasionally. It was THE thing to do in those days. Nice dance halls with big bands in park pavilions and at clubs were popular right up thru the 1950s."

So maybe they rubbed shoulders with Ade at some point.

Ade was an interesting fellow, writing books, newspaper columns and plays during his career. Wikipedia states:
"Ade's literary reputation rests upon his achievements as a great humorist of American character during an important era in American history: the first large wave of migration from the countryside to burgeoning cities like Chicago, where, in fact, Ade produced his best fiction. ... His work constitutes a vast comedy of Midwestern manners and, indeed, a comedy of late 19th century American manners. Ade followed in the footsteps of his idol Mark Twain by making expert use of the American language. In his unique 'Fables in Slang,' which purveyed not so much slang as the American colloquial vernacular, Ade pursued an effectively genial satire notable for its scrupulous objectivity."
His 1899 book "Fables in Slang" is available as a free download from Project Gutenberg. Or, if you want a physical copy, there are plenty of cheap editions available on

The "fables" are mostly very short. I'll leave you with one (and the accompanying Clyde J. Newman illustration):


Once upon a Time a Base Ball Fan lay on his Death-Bed.

He had been a Rooter from the days of Underhand Pitching.

It was simply Pie for him to tell in what year Anse began to play with the Rockfords and what Kelly's Batting Average was the Year he sold for Ten Thousand.

If you asked him who played Center for Boston in 1886 he could tell you quick—right off the Reel. And he was a walking Directory of all the Glass Arms in the Universe.

More than once he had let drive with a Pop Bottle at the Umpire and then yelled "Robber" until his Pipes gave out. For many Summers he would come Home, one Evening after Another, with his Collar melted, and tell his Wife that the Giants made the Colts look like a lot of Colonial Dames playing Bean Bag in a Weedy Lot back of an Orphan Asylum, and they ought to put a Trained Nurse on Third, and the Dummy at Right needed an Automobile, and the New Man couldn't jump out of a Boat and hit the Water, and the Short-Stop wouldn't be able to pick up a Ball if it was handed to him on a Platter with Water Cress around it, and the Easy One to Third that ought to have been Sponge Cake was fielded like a One-Legged Man with St. Vitus dance trying to do the Nashville Salute.

Of course she never knew what he was Talking about, but she put up with it, Year after Year, mixing Throat Gargle for him and reading the Games to him when he was having his Eyes tested and had to wear a Green Shade.

At last he came to his Ninth Inning and there were Two Strikes called and no Balls, and his Friends knew it was All Day with him. They stood around and tried to forget that he was a Fan. His Wife wept softly and consoled herself with the Thought that possibly he would have amounted to Something if there had been no National Game. She forgave Everything and pleaded for one Final Message. His Lips moved. She leaned over and Listened. He wanted to know if there was Anything in the Morning Papers about the Condition of Bill Lange's Knee.

Moral: There is a Specific Bacillus for every Classified Disease.4
1. Bregstone refers to St. Louis postcard photographer H.H. Bregstone. In a situation we've also seen with Koester Bakery, Bregstone is remembered more for its baseball cards than anything else.
2. This might have become what is now Hazelden Country Club.
3. Previous posts featuring Hammond include "The more F's the better, plus a little mystery" and "An old copy of The Herbalist Almanac."
4. Being a diehard baseball fan, this is one of the few fables by Ade that made sense to me. The basic characteristics of a baseball fanatic haven't changed much in 100 years. Most of Ade's other fables, though, are difficult for the modern reader to understand, as they are so steeped in the specific culture and references of that era.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Peeking inside a circa-1940 Shippensburg High gradebook

Did you ever peek inside the teacher's gradebook when you were in school?

I came across George John Miller's 1939-40 gradebook1 from Shippensburg (Pennsylvania) Senior High School and have had a chance to comb through its pages.

First off, it took a little sleuthing to confirm that it is, indeed, from Shippensburg High, because the word "Shippensburg" doesn't appear anywhere. The clincher: One of Miller's students was Jack Hargleroad, who was the editor of The 1940 Scroll, Shippensburg's high school yearbook (title page pictured at right).

The school year began on Monday, September 18, 1939. The subjects Miller taught were:
  • Mathematics: This was four days per week, with no class on Wednesday. There were 32 students2.
  • Physics: Five days a week, with class starting at 8:53 a.m. There were 27 students, including Hargleroad.
  • Trigonometry: Four days per week, with no class on Monday. There were 16 students, including Hargleroad, who sat front and center in the first row.

The grading system at the time called for letter grades of A, B, C, D and E (no F). In his Mathematics class, Miller handed out five A's, seven B's, 15 C's, four D's and one (presumably failing) E.

There's an interesting page toward the back of the gradebook (pictured at left) on which Miller has written a series of dates, followed by numbers that range from 1 to 4, in ½ increments. One day is marked as "Absent." I wonder whether Miller was keeping track of his "overtime" each day? (Presumably, extra time tutoring students before and/or after school.) Supporting this theory, there are also a couple longhand multiplication calculations on the page. In one, he computes that 34 times .30 equals 10.20. Another one: 38 times .30 equals 11.40. Was he computing his overtime pay, based on thirty cents per hour? That would seem to be in the right neighborhood, moneywise. In 1940, the average teacher made roughly $1,500 to $2,000 per year. (It varied somewhat, based upon the region of the United States.)

It looks like the gradebook was only used for that 1939-40 school year. Miller appears to have started using it for a chemistry lab that he was teaching (perhaps the following year), but abandoned that page in the first week.

Shown below are Miller's seating charts for his Mathematics and Physics classes.

Taking attendance
Here's a list of the names in Miller's gradebook. I figure that if this helps even one genealogist some day, then it was worth typing up:

MATHEMATICS: Hilda Adams, Esther Baker, Edwin Book, Esther Clough, Ray Martin, Dorothy Cressler, Stanley Cressler, Sarah Durff, Geo. Helfrick, Chas. Hockersmith, Morrow Holtry, Gus Jackson, John Koser, Maro. McCune, Alma Noaker, Sarah Neff, Anna Orris, Anna Perry, Bruce Perry, Robt. Rotz, Rich Schwenk, Jean Shannon, Evelyn Sheaffer, John Sherman, Maralee Sowers, Galen Smith, Ruth Smith, Helen Sufficool, Alice Yocum, Robt. Florig, Ruth Gearhart, Paul Hauk, and Edith Heavner.

PHYSICS: Louise Booz, Jane Clark, Marvin Cooper, Galen Currens, Jane Fleck, Rachel Foreman, Pauline Garling, Harold Green, William Grove, Dorothy Hall, Jack Hargleroad, Dorothy Hubley, Jean Morgan, Marg. Means, Dorothy Naugle, Rhetta Osuannessy, Elizabeth Reeder, Jerry Rohr, Garnita Seavers, Rebecca Sheaffer, Clara Jane Singiser, Jane Stewart, Thad Stover, Neva Walters, Lucille Werner, Helen Yocum, and Louise Zinn.

TRIGONOMETRY: James Cunkle, Galen Currens, Harold Green, William Grove, Jack Hargleroad, Jerry Rohr, Thad Stover, Jean Coffey, Marg. Davidson, Elizabeth Diehl, Rachel Foreman, Zelda Meiley, Dorothy Miller, Dorothy Naugle, Rosalyn Shearer, and Lucille Werner.

CHEMISTRY LAB: Thomas Beidel, Jean Burkhart, Robert Etter, John Fogelsanger, Ed Grove, Lee Hippensteele, Paggy Hargleroad3, Lee Hale, Harry Jacobs, Lester Kann, Lee Kohr, Leona Kegris, Wayne McBrid, Joe Miller, Rachel Miller, James Reddig, Merrill Reed, Dick Rine, Betty Stock, Virginia Squires, Edith Sheaffer, Charles Sowers, Ray Smith, Paul Smith, Park. Freidinger, and Dot Brenneman.

1. It's called "Continental Class Record" and was published by The Continental Press, Cameron and Kelker streets, Harrisburg. It employs WIRE-O BINDING, which is listed as "Patent Pending" on the front page. Looks like the patent came through, because I found this tidbit: "James Burn International and Spiral Binding/James Burn USA are the creators and only manufacturers of Genuine Original Wire-O® Binding Wire."
2. And they complain about class sizes these days!
3. "Paggy" is clearly what is written. But I wonder if the correct nickname is "Peggy", which would be short for Margaret Hargleroad.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Why time begins on Opening Day

Happy Opening Day of the 2011 Major League Baseball season!

Today marks the first time that MLB has opened its season on a Thursday since 1976.

To celebrate Opening Day, below are some illustrations by Eric Gurney from the 1957 pamphlet "Baseball Made Plain," which was published by MLB's Office of the Commissioner.

(Today's blog title, of course, comes from the 1984 book by Thomas Boswell.)

Now go watch some baseball!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The Future of America (57 years ago)

Picture above are two pages from "The Future of America," a 24-page, staplebound booklet published in 1954. It was prepared for The Advertising Council by McCann Erickson1 "as a public service." The back page of this copy indicates that it was issued as part of the "Western Electric Booklet Rack Service For Employees."

Some excerpts from the booklet:
  • "Since you opened this booklet, a baby has been born. By this time tomorrow, your country will have 11,000 new Americans. By next month, a city the size of Syracuse will have been added to the strength of your nation."
  • "All these babies need food and how! A job first for the farmer, perhaps. And to meet it efficiently, farmers must buy machines, and that can help create new jobs all over America."
  • "Billions of dollars worth of new schools are needed -- because we must nearly double the existing system. ... Money spent in this construction creates work for bricklayers, masons, plumbers, architects, real estate brokers, construction workers and many others. In turn, everything they buy for themselves just adds new UP to everybody's opportunity for prosperity."
  • "The tremendous backlog of needs that must be met does not even include the billions that the electrical industry needs to invest. Demand for electrical energy is expected to increase by 250% by 1975."
  • "Highway transport is another industry moving ahead. For example, in the expansion plans of the entire automobile industry two manufacturers alone have immediate plans to spend $1¼ billion while one oil company alone plans a $500 million expansion program. ... (This need is pressing, too, for today's roads are carrying 55 million vehicles, 72% more than in 1940.)"2
  • "Right now we need 100 billion dollars worth of new homes."3
  • "America science continues to give us miraculous developments in electronics, jets, rockets, chemistry, which are opening broad new fields of opportunity. We stand at the very beginning of the new atomic world."4
  • "It all adds up to a ... $500,000,000,0005 OPPORTUNITY RIGHT NOW...because this staggering sum should be spent immediately just to meet current actual needs."

Man, in just 24 pages, I think they used the world "billions" more than Carl Sagan.

Below is another pair of pages from "The Future of America" booklet. An interesting note (but certainly not a surprise) is that all 33 people pictured in the booklet are caucasian. And, even with that, none of the caucasians have the slightest touch of ethnicity to them. (The good news is that, by 1971, McCann Erickson had properly recognized how to exploit the power of feel-good multiculturalism in advertising, as that was when the advertising agency introduced Coca-Cola's "I'd Like to Teach the World to Sing (In Perfect Harmony)" hilltop commercial to the masses.)

1. McCann Erickson, now McCann Worldgroup, was formed in 1930 by the merger of advertising companies run by Alfred Erickson and Harry McCann. Among its other advertising campaigns: MasterCard's "There are some things money can't buy. For everything else, there's MasterCard" and the Rice-a-Roni jingle.
2. I was wincing as I typed that excerpt. And not just because I'm in agreement with some of James Howard Kunstler's writings.
3. Are we sensing a trend?
4. Here's a week's worth of sobering reading: Lists of nuclear disasters and radioactive incidents. Or, if you read just one, check out "Nuclear and radiation accidents."
5. That's $500 billion, if you don't wish to count the zeroes.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

An old receipt from F.W. Behler

Here's an old receipt that I acquired recently at the fabulous York Emporium.

The receipt is written out to Mr. R. Wm. Ziegler in account with F.W. Behler, a business in York, Pennsylvania. It is dated December 7, 1907.1 Mr. Ziegler acquired one enameled sink for $13.00 and one spigot for $1.25, for a total bill of $14.25.2

F.W. Behler, which was founded in 1900, is still going strong in York County. It even has a Facebook page.

The 1907 receipt states that company was a "Plumber and Gas Fitter, Tin and Sheet Iron Worker." Roofing and spouting were specialties, and it was a dealer in ranges and furnaces. Today, F.W. Behler advertises itself as offering "full sales & service for plumbing, heating, air conditioning & solar."

In 1907, F.W. Behler had its office at 533 West Princess Street in York and its shop at the rear of 473 West Market Street -- where it's still located today.

Here is some additional background on F.W. Behler excerpted from a 2000 article published by the York Daily Record/York Sunday News:3
Founded in 1900, it was established in Jefferson by Franklin Washington Behler. In 1906, Behler and his wife bought their dream home in York and relocated the business. It has been there ever since. Franklin Behler eventually passed the business to his son, Herb Behler Sr. After World War II, Franklin Behler's grandsons, Herb and Scott Behler, entered the family business. They ran the business from 1950 until 1985, when they retired. David Yates bought the business from the brothers in 1985 and has been in control ever since.
And what of the man who paid $14.25 for a sink and spigot 103 years ago? A little research found a couple of items that could refer to him:

1. The January 1896 issue of the American Journal of Pharmacy lists "R. Wm. Ziegler" as the "preceptor" (teacher or mentor) of Paul Herbert Gross of York, who was a member of the senior class that year at the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy.

2. In 1906 or 1907, "R. Wm. Ziegler" signed a petition asking the Pennsylvania legislature that proper resolutions be passed recognizing the service of the York Rifle Company.

And, with that, I hope we can say that today's entry has everything AND the kitchen sink.

April 11 addendum
Read more about F.W. Behler's history, straight from current owner David Yates, in this post.

1. One day before, December 6, 1907, was the date of the Monongah (West Virginia) mine disaster, an explosion that claimed the lives of at least 362 workers (including children) and is the worst mining disaster in American history.
2. Today, a low-end, drop-in sink might cost as little as $50, while a sink that's top-of-the-line could cost as much as $1,200.
3. Where I have worked as an editor since October 2000.

Monday, March 28, 2011

He, She, Me and a Couple in England

So I was leafing through my prized copy of "He-She Jewelry", which I purchased a while back with actual money1 that could hypothetically have been used to pay off credit-card debt.

I decided it was time to blog about this 16-page, full-color jewelry catalog, which was published by Craft Course Publishers in 1976, was written by Keith Fellows and contains the following fantastic disclaimer: "Due to variations in materials and differing climatic conditions, Craft Course Publishers cannot be responsible for untoward results."

From the catalog, I chose and scanned the two grooviest photos of male models. They are pictured above in all of their 1970s glory, with sideburns, jewelry, wide lapels and chest hair.

Then, performing my due diligence, I researched the "He-She Jewelry" catalog online. I found a January 2009 blog entry on Chris And Shana's Online Dairy Diary. And, lo and behold, not only did Chris and Shana write a snarky piece about bad hair and posing and with pipes, but they used THE SAME TWO PHOTOS THAT I CHOSE.

Clearly, there is some kind of cosmic, karmic connection going on here across two continents.2

And, to celebrate it, you should clearly run out and purchase Chris' book "A Modicum of Daftitude."3

A bigger issue I want to touch on here is that these two models from "He-She Jewelry" are never going to have any peace, thanks to the Internet. Those catalogs should all have been trashed or forgotten by now. But thanks to certain bloggers who scan forgotten ephemera and send it out to the worldwide masses surfing the web, those guys are going to be around forever. Maybe they'll even become a meme someday, like Leeroy Jenkins.

The good news is that most people in my generation understand the devastating speed with which the spread of news or photos on the Internet can affect one's life and social standing. And so we are able to take careful steps to avoid any potentially embarrassing material ever finding its way online. And that's great peace of mind.

1. I paid 25 cents.
2. Chris and Shana are from Lincolnshire, England.
3. Yes, that was a shameless plug for a person I've never met or spoken to about a book I've never read. It could be terrible. But wouldn't you want to purchase a book written by a guy who blogs about 1970s jewelry catalogs? I need your answer on this to be yes.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Happy birthday, Robin Jacques

"Robin Jacques: an artist of sustained brilliance", a checklist of the artist's works, is available for a reasonable cost from Manchester Metropolitan University.

Robin Jacques and Ruth Manning-Sanders went hand-in-hand.

Ruth retold the fairy tales from around the world. And Robin illustrated them, magnificently and memorably. He was the illustrator for the 20+ volumes of the "A Book of..." series. Giants. Dwarfs. Dragons. Witches. Wizards. Ogres. Trolls. Ghosts. Goblins. Spooks. Monsters. Mermaids. Changelings. Heroes. He drew them all.

If Ruth's fairy tales drew you into another world, then it was Robin's drawings that completed the illusion and took the reader to a strange and faraway land.

Robin Jacques, who died in 1995, would have been 91 today.

He led a fascinating life. One that is certainly worthy of a full biography.

Jacques (pronounced "Jakes") was born in London on March 27, 1920, and was orphaned at any early age. He had no formal art training and was self-taught, going on to a long career as an illustrator, art director and educator. He served as art editor for The Strand Magazine and later taught at Harrow College of Art, Canterbury Art College, and Wimbledon Art College in the 1970s.

Jacques' artwork employed the stippling technique. In penning Jacques' obit for The Independent in 1995, Nicholas Tucker wrote:
"Jacques's real talents were always for black-and-white drawings. Drawn with the finest of lines against backgrounds made up of innumerable swirling dots, his heroes and heroines stood out as if momentarily frozen in what they were doing. This static quality, even in the middle of otherwise violent action, was typical of Jacques's style. These were drawings over which children could always take their time, observing every detail at leisure without ever feeling rushed towards the next sequence."
Though Jacques was surprisingly critical at times of his own work -- his output included more than 100 books -- he seemed most satisfied with his fantasy illustrations for the Manning-Sanders books. The website Glass Grapes1, which features the only photo of Jacques that I've come across, quotes Jacques as saying:
"My preference is for children's books of the more imaginative and fanciful kind, since these leave greater scope for illustrative invention, where I feel most at home. Thus, my work with Ruth Manning-Sanders has proved most satisfying, and the twenty-five books we have done together contain much of the work that I feel personally happiest with."
In London, commuters and tourists continue to walk past his work every day. Since 1979, seven murals of Sherlock Holmes by Jacques have been featured at the Baker Street tube station.

1. The Glass Grapes site features a nice gallery of images of Jacques' work. Other sites that include a sampling of his drawings include this entry on the Illustration Station blog and this survey of Jacques' illustrations for C.S. Forester novels.