Saturday, June 18, 2011

Saturday's postcard: Was this supposed to be a threat?

I'm filing today's postcard under "Mysteries," because I can't figure out what the note on the back means.

The postcard features a colorful beach scene from Ocean City, New Jersey. It was postmarked in Ocean City on July 13, 1963 -- 19 weeks before JFK's assassination.1

The card is addressed to "Kleffes Dept Store" at 43 Baltimore Street in Hanover, Pennsylvania. That must be a misspelling of Kleffel's, a clothing store that opened in 1949 and is still in business today.

The note on the message side of the card reads:
A vacation here is worth $500.00 to any body. BRING YOURS DOWN!

Is that supposed to be a threat? A playful plea? A motivational tool?

Or maybe it's just the 1963 equivalent of junk mail?

Any and all interpretations are welcome in the comments section below.

1. I am not, of course, implying that this postcard had anything to do with the assassination. Just trying to give that date some context. I could have, instead, said that the card was postmarked just six days after the Double Seven Day Scuffle, but that would have held meaning for far fewer people. (It is, though, an interesting historical tidbit involving David Halberstam and Peter Arnett. It also might be the only "scuffle" to have its own Wikipedia page.)

Friday, June 17, 2011

"Snacks, Sandwiches, and Such"
(An Underwood Deviled Ham post)

On the heels of the Underwood Deviled Ham post from March1, here's another piece of ephemera from the William Underwood Company -- an undated, 12-page recipe booklet titled "Snacks, Sandwiches, and Such."

Here's part of the pitch for deviled ham:
"IT'S THE 'HANDY HAM' that's so deliciously good and so easy to use for sandwiches, snacks, and for ham-and-egg or ham-and-cheese favorites.

"AND DID YOU KNOW ... that in making Underwood Deviled Ham, we actually grind whole hams extra fine, then add a subtle whiff of seasonings which accent that smoky ham flavor. That's why Underwood Deviled Ham has a wonderful home-cooked aroma and goodness."
The booklet also makes the following bold statement: "Children love Underwood Deviled Ham with peanut butter."


I did find another vintage advertisement that also touts the possibilities of deviled ham and peanut butter. But have you heard of anyone eating and enjoying that combination? I'm going to need some reports from the field.

In the meantime, here are a couple of recipes from the booklet.
Deviled Ham Treasures
3 hard cooked eggs, chopped
1/4 cup chopped celery
1/4 cup chopped green olives
2 tablespoons chopped onion
dash pepper
One 4½ ounce can Underwood Deviled Ham

Combine ingredients and fill centers of small rolls (scooped out). Heat in 350° oven 10 minutes. Serves six.

Hot Dog! It's Ham-in-Rolls!
Slit 4 frankfurter rolls. Spread with mayonnaise. Fill with a layer of Underwood Deviled Ham, a long thin strip of dill pickle, a strip of cheese, and another layer of Underwood Deviled Ham. Brush outside of rolls with melted butter and grill on both sides. Every day's a picnic with these hammed-up hot dog rolls, whether you're eating indoors or out!

1. While out doing the grocery shopping and looking at canned meats yesterday, I was telling Joan about how the original Underwood Deviled Ham post was one of my favorites, partially because of the long tangent about "Canned Meat, Fish & Bugs From Around the World." I said I'd love to do a series about unusual canned meats from around the world. "Would you eat them?" she asked. "Well, I'd try them, at least," I responded. I worry my wife a lot of the time.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Guy Brown Wiser, artist and
World War I aviator

This illustration from "Ivanhoe" serves as the frontispiece of the 1927 textbook "Prose and Poetry for the Ninth Year." The artist was Guy Brown Wiser. On the copyright page, the book's publisher, The L.W. Singer Company1, gives him the following thanks:
"Grateful appreciation is extended to the artist, Guy Brown Wiser who has studied extensively in American and European Universities, for the colored frontispiece and the oil paintings illustrating the poems and stories."
Wiser had an eventful early life. Less than a decade before he was illustrating this scene from a Walter Scott novel, he was being held by the Germans as a prisoner of war. Here's a short rundown on Wiser's life:
  • He was born on February 10, 1895, in Marion, Indiana.2
  • He graduated from Cornell University in 1917. He then served in World War I as a pilot with the First United States Army.
  • This excerpt from "Knights of the Air," a 1980 book by Ezra Bowen, describes Wiser's capture by the Germans during the war:
    "On a September morning in 1918, Lieutenant Guy Brown Wiser of the United States 20th Aero Squadron took off from a French airfield in his DH.4 to bomb the rail yards at Dun-sur-Meuse. Within hours, Wiser and his observer had been forced down in a dogfight and were taken prisoner. But, perhaps because he was an aviator, and perhaps because his German captors sensed that the War was nearly over, Wiser's incarceration was more a confused lark than the nightmare experienced by many prisoners of war. ... In the two months before his release, Wiser was shuttled in custody from one place to another: private homes, a bug-infested hotel, formidable Karlsruhe prison and finally the stables of a 12th Century Bavarian castle."
    Wiser was even given a sketch-book by a German sergeant, so that he could make drawings of the time that he was a prisoner of war.
  • While Wiser's fate was still unknown, his capture was reported in the October 31, 1918, issue of the Cornell Alumni News:
    Second Lieutenant Guy Brown Wiser, Av. Sec., Signal B. C., son of Mr. and Mrs. A. B. Wiser, of South Bend, Ind., is reported missing in action. He had been flying over the German lines with his squadron, when his plane was seen to fall in enemy territory. Nothing is known as to his whereabouts.

    "Bud" Wiser is a graduate of the College of Architecture, class of 1917. He is a member of Delta Upsilon, Sphinx Head, Tau Beta Pi, the Savage Club, L Ogive, Gargoyl, and the Masque. He rowed on his college crew, in 1914-15. He was a member of the Widow board in his sophomore and junior years, and a member of the Annuals board in his junior year. As a senior, he was art editor of both the Widow and the Annuals.

    Before going to France, Wiser was stationed at Taliaferro Field, Fort Worth, Texas.
  • After his release from captivity, Wiser went home to South Bend and practiced architecture. According to "During 1924-26 he studied art in Paris with Despujols and with Charles Hawthorne at Cape Cod. He taught for nine years at Ohio State University before moving to Los Angeles in 1934 and then taught at Scripps College for two years. During the years 1925-57 he illustrated about 80 books."
  • Wiser married Grace Clark and had two children.
  • He died on March 30, 1983 -- six-and-a-half decades after being shot down in a dogfight -- in Canoga Park, California.

1. L.W. Singer was eventually swallowed up by Random House, according to this excerpt from the 2008 book "The Time of Their Lives: The Golden Age of Great American Book Publishers, Their Editors, and Authors" by Al Silverman:
"Finally, late in 1960, Random House went into the textbook business, buying the L.W. Singer Company of Syracuse, New York, founded in 1924. At that time the magic word among book publishers, who were gobbling up other publishers, was synergy. The word later spread throughout the business world and became one of the primary concepts behind any kind of merger/acquisition."
2. The main sources for much of the basic biographical information are and

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Advertisements from 1891 issue of North American Review

Today we have some advertisements from an 1891 issue of North American Review, which was the first literary magazine in the United States. It was founded in Boston in 1815 by a group that included Nathan Hale. Thomas Jefferson was one of the magazine's early subscribers.

I have a handful of loose pages of advertisements from an undated issue of the magazine. I'm dating this as an 1891 issue because there's an advertisement for the Gurney Hot Water Heater Company that states: "Not too late!!! For a comfortably heated house during Winter 1891 and 1892. Get Estimates immediately; we will take care of your orders."

Pictured below are advertisements for the following:
  • Instantaneous Chocolate ("the greatest invention of the age"), from Stephen F. Whitman & Son. Instantaneous Chocolate had been introduced in 1877.
  • Harderfold Hygienic Underwear from Harderfold Fabric Co. in Troy, New York. It's "adapted to all climates and all variations of temperature."
  • An herbal weight-loss plan -- with a less-than-subtle pitch -- offered by Dr. O.W.F. Snyder of Chicago.1
  • Dr. Haines' Golden Specific, a "cure" for drunkenness. (There's a great article about this remedy by Caroline Rance on The Quack Doctor.)
  • Woodbury's Facial Soap2, for skin, scalp and complexion. You could get a bar sent to you through the mail for 50 cents (the equivalent of about $12 today).

1. There's a forum pertaining to Dr. O.W.F. Snyder on the message board.
2. There's a Wikipedia page for Woodbury Soap Company. But it's a bit incomplete and spotty. I'd only use it as a starting point if you're interested in more about this company's history.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Slats Marion, baseball's best shortstop

It's summertime.1 Baseball is still America's true national pastime. I'm going to make Tuesdays "Baseball Day" on Papergreat this summer...

This small clipping was floating around, untagged, in my ephemera collection.2 It's definitely from the middle 1940s, as there's a reference to World War II on the back. And I'd also guess that it's from Grit.

Slats Marion's full name was Martin Whiteford Marion. He was best known as Marty Marion, and his two nicknames were Slats3 and The Octopus.

Here's some of the scoop on Slats:
  • He played for 11 seasons with the St. Louis Cardinals (1940-1950) and then was the manager of the Cardinals in 1951. He then spent the second half of 1952 and all of 1953 as player/manager for the St. Louis Browns. 4
  • The Cardinals won the World Series three times (1942, 1944, 1946) during Marion's time with them. This, no doubt, helped to solidify Marion's status as "Baseball's Best Shortstop" in the eyes of the public. And he was considered the shortstop in Cardinals history until Osborne Earl Smith came along in 1982.
  • According to "As a child, Marty fell into a 20-foot pit and spent better than six months in a body cast, his right leg was severely injured giving him a trick knee which kept him out of World War II and shorted his major league career."
  • Marion won the National League MVP award in 1944, when he batted .267 with six home runs, 50 runs scored and 63 RBIs. As you might imagine, it's considered one of the more controversial MVP awards. Among the players Marion beat out were the Chicago Cubs' Bill Nicholson, who led the NL with 33 home runs and 122 RBIs and teammate Stan Musial, who batted .347 and led the National League in hits (197), doubles (51), on-base percentage (.440), slugging percentage (.549) and OPS (.990).

    Musial himself was not unhappy about the MVP voting. He stated: “I think this was the greatest tribute to defensive play in the history of the MVP Award.”5, on the other hand, argues that Marion's 1944 MVP award is the greatest MVP snub of all time: "In short, Marty Marion beat out easily 10 more qualified players on his own team for the NL MVP in 1944. The only explanation I can come up with is that he was incredibly good looking, and all the male baseball writers had been shipped off to World War II, leaving only the women to vote for the MVP that year."6
  • Finally, here's my favorite piece of Marion-related information. For a season-and-a-half, in 1941 and 1942, his double-play partner was Frank Angelo Joseph Crespi -- better known as Creepy Crespi (right). According to Crespi's Wikipedia page, Creepy had a tremendous run of bad luck after playing his final game with the Cardinals in 1942 at age 24:
    Crespi was drafted into the army in early 1943. Though he qualified for a deferment as the sole supporter of his elderly mother, he refused, claiming, "I don't think I'm too good to fight for the things I've always enjoyed."

    During an Army baseball game in Kansas, he suffered a compound fracture of his left leg while turning a double play. Soon afterwards, he broke the same leg during a training accident, and later he broke it a third time during an impromptu wheelchair race while in the hospital.

    While he was recuperating at the hospital, a nurse accidentally applied 100 times the appropriate quantity of boric acid to his bandages, causing severe burns on Crespi's leg and leaving him with a permanent limp.
    Unable to play baseball any more, Crespi went to to become a budget analyst for McDonnell Douglas. He died of a heart attack in 1990.

Marion, meanwhile, lived a long life and died this past March at age 93.

1. Well, technically not until June 21.
2. I could use an official curator of my archives. Anyone need a free summer internship?
3. He was called "Slats" because of his long and limber frame. He was 6-foot-2, which was tall for a shortstop in that era.
4. In the following season (1954), the St. Louis Browns became the modern-day Baltimore Orioles.
5. Source: "How Marty Marion won MVP by one point" on RetroSimba.
6. There was eventually some irony and balancing-out here. In 1944, less-deserving Cardinals shortstop Marty Marion edged Cubs slugger Bill Nicholson for MVP. In 1987, less-deserving Cubs slugger Andre Dawson edged Cardinals shortstop Ozzie Smith for MVP. And Smith had far greater offensive numbers (.303 average, 104 runs, 43 stolen bases) in 1987 than Marion had in 1944.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Rev. Rickard's complimentary copy of "Good-by to G.I."

Tucked inside this copy of 1945's "Good-by to G.I." by Maxwell Droke was the above card, which is addressed to Rev. Harry C. Rickard. It states, in part:
  • "We hope that it will prove to be a very helpful book."
  • "We very much desire to have the Chaplains see this book and so are sending you this copy which you will please accept with our compliments. If you have any opinions about it, we will be glad to have them."
The book, which sold for $1, is a guide for American soldiers returning home from World War II. Here's an excerpt from the dust jacket:
"Home, Mr. Veteran, is what you have been dreaming of these many months. But somehow home when you get there isn't quite like your dreams. Your new start in civilian life seems almost as bewildering as the first days of military life. You need some basic training again, and here is the guidebook that smooths your way through it."
The book's chapter titles include "How to Get Acquainted with Your Family and Friends," "The ONLY Girl - or How to Awaken from a Dandy Dream Without Losing Love," "The Old Job - or a New Opportunity," "Your Handicap - Face It and Forget It!" and "It's YOUR Country - from Now On."

Author Droke (1896-1957)1, pictured at left, was a veteran of World War I and the son of a Methodist minister. During World War II, he edited The Messenger, a paper that Protestant churches sent monthly to "nearly a quarter of a million of their members in the armed forces."2

In the chapter "The School Bell and the Cash Register," Droke discusses the G.I. Bill and makes a interesting comparision of the returning veterans of World War I and World War II:
"In one respect at least you men who are coming out of World War II have it all over the group to which I belonged a generation ago. If you can qualify under certain very liberal regulations - and a majority of you can - you may pick up your educational program just about where it was so rudely interrupted, and your Uncle Samuel will pay all expenses, including an allowance for spending money. To be entirely fair in the matter, however, we should point out that this liberal educational provision of the current G.I. Bill of Rights would have been quite impracticable back in 1918-19. It would not have met the situation for two primary reasons: (1) the average soldier was considerably older3, and (2) he lacked the foundational structure to absorb additional education.

"Education was not, I regret to say, too highly regarded by the rank and file of the armed forces in my day."
And who was the Rev. Harry C. Rickard, who received this complimentary copy of "Good-by to G.I."?

For one thing, he was an author, just like Droke. In 1954, he published "Hospital Chaplain (Europe 1944-1947)," which is now a hard-to-find volume.

And the work of Rickard and his wife live on through a bequest to the Virginia United Methodist Foundation that is described in the the September 2007 edition of the foundation's newsletter:
A bequest of $894,000 has been received by the Virginia United Methodist Foundation to assist the work of the Foundation and five other United Methodist causes. The bequest comes from the estate of Mrs. Reba C. Rickard, the wife of a deceased former chaplain and clergy member of the Virginia Conference, the Reverend Harry C. Rickard. ...

“This is a wonderful example of a couple who believed profoundly in the connectional work of the church and left a major portion of their estate to assist these causes,” said Jim Bergdoll, president of the Conference Foundation in announcing this gift. The funds received in the bequest will establish the Harry C. and Reba C. Rickard Endowment Fund in the Virginia United Methodist Foundation.

Chaplain Rickard was a member of the Virginia Conference for 42 years but served in the chaplaincy of the US Army for 20 years. He and Mrs. Rickard retired in Strasburg following his last appointment at Greenville-Mint Spring in the Staunton District. He died in 1999. Mrs. Rickard was in a nursing home in Woodstock at the time of her death in April 2006. She had worked in the area of Christian education and was active in various church work. During retirement, she and Mr. Rickard had been associated with Strasburg United Methodist Church and were supportive of that church through the years.
I think that Droke, the World War I veteran who worked to help World War II veterans, and Rickard, who ministered to soldiers during the 1940s and remained active in ministry for decades afterward, would like that they remain linked in history through this 66-year-old complimentary copy of "Good-by to G.I."

1. Here's a link to the best bibliography I could find of Droke's works.
2. The source for the Droke's biographical information is the dust jacket of "Good-by to G.I."
3. This is Droke's footnote at that spot in the text: "The minimum draft age in World War I was 20; it is now 18."

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Papergreat's origin story

So where did the word "Papergreat" come from, anyway?

If you're a fan of the band Genesis, as I am, then you probably caught the reference right away.

Here's the full rundown on "Why is this blog called Papergreat?", complete with footnotes and tangents:

AUGUST 1973: Genesis -- which at that time consisted of lead vocalist Peter Gabriel, Tony Banks, Steve Hackett, Mike Rutherford1 and drummer Phil Collins -- records the song "Dancing with the Moonlit Knight," which is to be the first track on the album Selling England by the Pound.

"Dancing with the Moonlight Knight" opens with the following lyrics:
"Can you tell me where my country lies?"
said the unifaun2 to his true love's eyes.
"It lies with me!" cried the Queen of Maybe
- for her merchandise, he traded in his prize.

"Paper late!" cried a voice in the crowd.
"Old man dies!" The note he left was signed 'Old Father Thames'
- it seems he's drowned;
selling England by the pound.
And so that was the first use, in lyrics, by Genesis of the phrase "Paper late." It's a phrase that kids selling the evening newspaper on street corners in England used to cry out.

MAY-JUNE 1981: Genesis now consists of just lead vocalist/drummer Collins, Banks and Rutherford. The group records "Paperlate," taking the title from their previous "Dancing with the Moonlit Knight." (The two songs couldn't be more different. "Paperlate" is an upbeat pop song3 with generic lyrics that feature no unifauns, mythological references or deep meaning.) A sampling:
Ooh I'm sorry but there's no one on the line
Oh I'm sorry but rest easy no news is good news
1982: "Paperlate" was released to the world in the following ways:4
  • As a single in the United States on May 15, 1982, with the B-side of "You Might Recall."
  • As one of three songs on the EP album 3X3, which was released on May 21, 1982.5 The covers of both the "Paperlate" single (pictured above) and 3X3 album are an homage to The Beatles' 1963 EP Twist and Shout. The other two songs on the EP are "You Might Recall" and "Me and Virgil."6
  • As one of the songs on the United States version of Three Sides Live, which was released on June 1, 1982. (This is how I first heard "Paperlate," when I bought Three Sides Live on cassette sometime in the period of 1989-1991.) The international version of Three Sides Live, a double album, had three sides of live material from Genesis' 1981 tour. There were two different versions of the fourth side put into release:
    • The version that went out to North America and some other parts of the world features the studio songs "Paperlate", "You Might Recall", "Me and Virgil", "Evidence of Autumn" and "Open Door" on the fourth side.
    • The UK version featured other live performances from previous tours on the fourth side. So, no "Paperlate."
  • "Paperlate" is also available on Genesis Archive #2: 1976–1992, a box set that was released on November 6, 2000.

JANUARY 2010: My first stab at an ephemera blog, Relics, has a short-lived run of 15 entries.

NOVEMBER 25, 2010: Papergreat, an homage to "Paperlate," (and, frankly, a much cooler name than "Relics") has its debut post. Having a unique word as the blog title turned out to be pretty cool. It's sort of the "unifaun" of blog names.

So, here's a video of Genesis performing the catchy "Paperlate," if you've never heard the tune:

1. Rutherford's full name is Michael John Cleote Crawford Rutherford.
2. I used to think Gabriel was saying "uniform," not "unifaun". I was half right. It's kind of a portmanteau. George Starostin, in this insightful analysis of the full lyrics of "Dancing with the Moonlit Knight" states:
'Unifaun' is supposed to be a pun, a cross between 'uniform' and 'faun' - the 'faun' brings in the mythological element, while the 'uniform' brings in certain military associations. Patriotic lament over the fate of one's country?
There is also some discussion of "unifaun" and the song in general on The Straight Dope message board. Member "Johanna" wrote in 2003: "The song 'Dancing with the Moonlit Night' is about the ironic contrast between the romantic glamor of medieval England and the drab commercialism of modern England, both worlds overlaid on one another and interpenetrating in the singer's imagination. The unicorn is a symbol of the English nation — order and rule, while the faun is a symbol of wild nature — randy and untameable. Packed together they make an ironic contrast. The whole song is an exercise in wordplay. The fat old lady dealing out credit cards instead of Tarot cards is like T.S. Eliot's Madame Sesostris from The Waste Land, only satirical."
3. "Paperlate" is one of two Genesis songs that feature the Earth, Wind & Fire horn section. The other is "No Reply at All."
4. Disclaimer: I am not an expert discographer. And I don't play one on TV. This is not intended as the definitive word on the releases of "Paperlate" from the Genesis catalog.
5. 3X3 was one of two EPs released by Genesis. The other was 1977's Spot the Pigeon, a somewhat obscure (in America) release by the band that contains "Match of the Day", "Pigeons" and "Inside and Out."
6. Collins has said that the song "Me and Virgil" is "a dog" and refers to it as one of his worst pieces of writing.