Saturday, April 23, 2011

Saturday's postcard: Hotel Statler in Buffalo

Today's postcard had been tucked away inside a copy of "Midcentury Journal", a non-fiction 1952 book by William L. Shirer.

The postcard is undated and unused. Here's the text on the back:
1100 Rooms with Bath

LOCATED in the heart of downtown Buffalo convenient to railway terminals, steamer landings and Niagara Falls routes. Operated in connection with Hotels Statler, Boston, Cleveland, Detroit, St. Louis, Washington, New York and Los Angeles.

The Statler Hotel company has a long and interesting history, which is well-documented on this Wikipedia page, which also has some terrific photos. Here are some excerpts that deal with the two Statler buildings in Buffalo:
The original Hotel Statler, at Swan and Washington Streets in Buffalo, was opened in 1907. Although Statler continued to operate it, it was renamed Hotel Buffalo in 1923 upon completion of the new Hotel Statler at Niagara Square. It was sold in the 1930s by the Statler Hotels Company. It closed in 1967 and was finally demolished in 1968. The site remained vacant until Dunn Tire Park was built there in 1988. ... [Then, the Statler Towers were constructed in 1923.] The second Buffalo Statler was gradually converted to offices starting in 1948 ... because it had more hotel rooms than the city could support. In 1984 the last hotel rooms were closed and the building was renamed Statler Towers, although three of its public rooms are open to the public for catered events and banquets. After a failed renovation attempt into a combination of hotel and condos in the late 2000s, the building went into bankruptcy, and the vacant building was auctioned in August 2010. On March 15, 2011, the property was acquired by developer Mark D. Croce.
Another of the famous Statler hotels was the Hotel Pennsylvania in Manhattan, which was operated by Ellsworth Milton Statler1 after its construction in 1919 and had the Statler name from 1948 until the mid-1980s.

After this post was published, a commenter alerted me to the existence of the website Statler City, which documents the history of Hotel Statler and, more importantly, provides updates on the future plans for the historic building.

1. There is conflicting information on where Ellsworth Milton Statler was born. Everyone agrees he was born on October 26, 1863. But some sources list his birthplace as a farm near Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, while other sources list his birthplace as Somerset County, Pennsylvania.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Elgy Hadley's book cover

These days, you don't see many textbooks from the 1920s that are still wrapped in their school-issued book cover.

This brown cover is protecting the McGraw-Hill 1922 textbook "Industrial Physics: Mechanics" by L. Raymond Smith.1

According to the cover, it was used by Elgy Hadley2, who attended William Penn High School within the Harrisburg (Pennsylvania) School District. William Penn opened in 1926 and was closed and merged with John Harris to become Harrisburg High School in 1971, according to this timeline on

So, while "Industrial Physics: Mechanics" was published in 1922, this book cover couldn't have been put on any earlier than 1926.

Some other interesting tidbits from the book cover:
  • Across the top is written what appears to be the following: "I pity old Simp if he steals this book". That reminds me of this previous Papergreat post.3
  • The address listed is 627 Boyd St. A parking lot is now located at that site in Harrisburg. Did Elgy live there once?
  • The cover is all business, as it contains the warnings "NOT TO BE TAKEN FROM THE SCHOOL ROOM WITHOUT THE CONSENT OF THE TEACHER" and "Marking upon or otherwise defacing this book is forbidden, and any injury done it must be paid for by the pupil to whom it is loaned".

The book cover was produced by The Holden Patent Book Cover Company in Springfield, Massachusetts. Holden had already been around for quite a while. Here's one of the company's advertisements from 1896:4

1. The book, like many textbooks of that time, was printed by The Maple Press in York, Pennsylvania.
2. Elgy Hadley kind of sounds like the name of a character in a Stephen King novel, doesn't it?
3. Also, and this is kind of random, but I discovered that there was a 1920 short comedy film called "The Simp" and that one of its stars was Otto Fries. So there.
4. This image is from the Google eBook version of The Publishers Weekly, Volume 50.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Happy birthday, Elizabeth II

Queen Elizabeth II turns 85 today, and I was able to dig deep into my vast warehouse of ephemera and come up with a pair of vintage pieces with Her Majesty's image.

Pictured above is the October 1957 cover of Woman's Day magazine. In addition to alerting readers to a "Collector's BEEF Cookbook", the cover pictures Elizabeth II, Prince Charles and Princess Anne. Inside, this cover photo is credited to the British Information Service.

Margaret Saville's article discusses the Queen's "Transatlantic trip" and how she spent much time acquiring souvenirs to send back to Charles and Anne:
"She sends them picture postcards of all the places she visits. There is one difference, though. The cards arrive at Buckingham Palace in sealed envelopes. Royal correspondence has to be kept completely private even as it goes through the mails. Prince Charles always seizes the envelopes eagerly for they are plastered with stamps, far more than necessary, since the Queen has remembered how keen Prince Charles is on his latest hobby of collecting foreign stamps and postmarks."
The other piece of ephemera involving Elizabeth II is pictured below. It's an undated postcard from Photocrom Co. Ltd. of Tunbridge Wells, Kent.

According to the Metropolitan Postcard Club of New York City website, Photocrom "originally produced Christmas cards and became a major publisher and printer of tourist albums, guide books, and postcards that mostly captured worldwide views as real photos or were printed in black & white, monochrome, and color. They also published many advertising, comic, silhouette, novelty, panoramic, and notable artist signed cards in named series as well. The number of titles Photochrom produced may exceed 40,000."

For more about the Queen, see the official website of the British monarchy.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Business card from old beauty salon in New Jersey

This business card, which is in somewhat sad condition, was tucked away inside an old book. It's for Barney's Beauty Salons, which had two locations in Somerville, N.J.

The 116 W. Gaston location is now the home of Bangz Hair & Nail Studio. So the building -- or at least that site -- has possibly remained a beauty salon through the decades. Meanwhile, the 49 West Main Street location now appears to be the site of a comic book store called A Comic Adventure.

The "Fashion Tress wigs" mentioned on the business card were a popular brand in the 1960s and early 1970s. They were marketed for the "woman on the go" and made in Europe from "luxurious, all-human hair." Here's an advertisement for Fashion Tress wigs from an April 1965 issue of Ebony magazine.

Fashion Tress was a predecessor of Claire's.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Enjoy some rio cream and apricot ice cream

Here are two recipes to pass your way on a rainy Tuesday morning here in southcentral Pennsylvania. The first comes from the pamphlet pictured at right: "19 Wonderful Coffee Recipes". It was published in 1951 by General Foods and is filled with recipes that call for the use of Maxwell House Coffee. The pamphlet includes an introductory note by Frances Barton of General Foods' Consumer Services Department.

Some of the recipes in the pamphlet include party coconut kisses, mocha spice cake, coffee dream puffs, coffee eggnog sundae, coffee charlotte squares, baked coffee custards, chocolate chip coffee fudge and coffee velvet pie.

Here is the recipe for rio cream, which is pictured as the third item down in the pamphlet image:

rio cream
1 tablespoon Instant Maxwell House Coffee
1 package Jell-O Vanilla Pudding
2 cups milk
1/2 cup cream, whipped

Combine Instant Maxwell House and pudding powder in a saucepan. Add milk gradually, blending well. Cook and stir over medium heat until mixture comes to a boil and is thickened. Turn into bowl, cover, and chill well. Then beat slowly with rotary egg beater and fold in whipped cream. Turn into sherbet glasses. Garnish with ladyfinger strips, Baker's Coconut, and maraschino cherries with stems. Makes 5 servings.

Meanwhile, I recently found a handwritten recipe for apricot ice cream tucked away inside a copy of "The Dukes" by Malcolm Ross. Here is that recipe:

apricot ice cream
(makes 3½ cups)

1 lb. ripe fresh apricots
1 T. lemon juice
¾ C sugar
1 tsp. unflavored gelatin
1 C heavy cream
½ tsp. vanilla

1. Cut apricots in half, remove pits. Cut apricots into slices. Place in blender. Add lemon juice; cover and puree, stopping occasionally to scrape sides with spatula.

2. In 1 qt saucepan, combine sugar & gelatin. Stir in apricot puree. Cook over med. heat until boiling, stirring constantly. Remove from heat, pour into 9x9 baking pan. Cover with plastic wrap. Freeze until firm, about 2 hrs.

3. In small bowl, beat cream with electric mixer until stiff. Set cream aside.

4. Spoon apricot mixture into a lg. bowl. With some beaters, beat mixture until light & softened, but NOT watery. Add whipped cream, vanilla and continue beating until well-mixed and mixture is fluffy. Return to baking pan and freeze overnight (covered) before serving.

If you try either of these, let us know in the comments section how they turned out!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Three unrelated advertisements (Michaud's, Duz and Q*bert)

Here are a trio of unrelated American newspaper and magazine advertisements spanning the decades...

Pictured above is an advertisement from a late October 1935 edition of the St. Paul (Minn.) Dispatch. It's for Michaud's, a food market that is probably worthy of its own post. (But that will have to wait for another day.) They're pushing the Halloween candy and the fresh meat aggressively in this advertisement. I'm really interested in the reference to Bunte Halloween Rarebits, a candy that is a pricey 43 cents per pound. We'll have to chalk that one up as a Mystery for now and explore it more someday, too. All of these food prices of 76 years ago are a wonder, though.

This advertisement for Duz laundry detergent is from an early 1950s magazine. (Probably Woman's Day, if I had to guess.) Laundry detergent advertising buzzwords and catchphrases haven't changed much in the past half-century. The emphasis remains on toughest dirt, softer, smoother and dazzling whites. You don't see phrases like this much anymore, though: "Duz does it! ... by giving your hands almost toilet-soap mildness!"

And finally, here's an advertisement for the Q*bert video game from the December 1983 issue of Woman's Day. It states: "So hop Q*bert out of the arcade and into your home, because Parker Brothers' family wants your family to have a fun holiday season and a Hoppy New Year." The home version of Q*bert is offered for the Atari, Intellivision, Coleco and Commodore video game and computer systems. (Speaking of arcade and video games, I stumbled upon this fascinating -- in a geeky way -- article titled "Understanding Pac-Man Ghost Behavior" last week. For some of you, it might be a fun read.)

Sunday, April 17, 2011

The book is passed to Lou

Here's the inscription on the first page of the 1962 hardcover "Gabriela, Clove and Cinnamon" by Jorge Amado:
Dearest Lou -- of recent date, a kind friend sent this to me when I was ill, saying he thought it was one of the really great novels of the past decade. Since then I have heard and read other other glowing reports. But alas, the book remains pristine and untouched. Perhaps it will fare better in your hands, and if you recommend it, then I'll borrow it! Love, [Illegible]
The questions that are raised are:
  • What is the name of the person who wrote this note? (It looks like it begins with "E".)
  • Is "Lou" a man or a woman? Thus, was this written from a man to a woman? Or from a woman to a man?
  • What is the significance of the word "I" being underlined in its first occurence?
  • Did the author of the inscription receive this book from Lou in the first place?
  • Did Lou ever read the book?
These are the kind of things I wonder about.