Saturday, July 9, 2011

Saturday's postcard: Hanseatic warehouses in Bergen, Norway

This undated postcard shows the old warehouses from the Hanseatic League in Bryggen, one of the wharf districts of Bergen, Norway. Bryggen is the Norwegian word for "wharf."

Some quick history from Wikipedia:
The city of Bergen was founded in 1070. The area of the present Bryggen constitutes the oldest part of the city. Around 1360 a Kontor [foreign trading post] of the Hanseatic League was established there, and as the town developed into an important trading centre, the wharfs were improved. The buildings of Bryggen were gradually taken over by the Hanseatic merchants. The warehouses were filled with goods, particularly fish from northern Norway, and cereal from Europe.
The Hanseatic League "was an economic alliance of trading cities and their merchant guilds that dominated trade along the coast of Northern Europe" from the 13th through 17th centuries.

Here, also from Wikipedia, is a panorama shot of Bryggen taken in 2005.

Click on the above image for a larger version, or -- for an super-detailed version -- go to this Wikipedia page and click on the image twice.

To tie things together geographically, here's a portion of the political and economic map of the North Sea countries from the 1920 edition of "New Geography (Book Two)" by Wallace W. Atwood.1 Bergen is along the upper edge of the map, near the word "COD".2

Finally, if you're interested in more about Bergen and Bryggen, the Bergen Guide website is filled with articles and information about the historic Norwegian city. (It also has a terrific essay about Norwegian folk tales and legends by Birgit Hertzberg Johnsen.)

1. This is the textbook with doodles that were featured in a pair of February posts: Part 1 and Part 2.
2. If you haven't read it, I highly recommend Mark Kurlansky's "Cod: A Biography of the Fish that Changed the World."

Friday, July 8, 2011

"The Mermaid of Legend and of Art" (The Art Journal, 1880)

Within my bound volume of the 1880 issues of The Art Journal (picked up as part of a boxed lot at an auction earlier this year), there is a three-part series by Llewellynn Jewitt1 titled "The Mermaid of Legend and of Art."

Jewitt writes in his introduction:
"But few fabulous or mythological objects have entered so largely into Art, as well as into legend and poetry, as that of the 'enchanting syren' 'with dulcet and harmonious breath' -- the Mermaid (the mere-maiden, or maiden of the sea) -- and I have thought, therefore, that a few pages might profitably, as well as pleasantly, be devoted to a consideration of some of the main features under which the strange being has, at one time other, been presented to the eye by the painter, sculptor, or worker in metals."
Mermaids remain a popular figure in folklore today. I find it interesting that, of all of the titles in Ruth Manning-Sanders' "A Book of..." series, the hardest to find and most expensive one is "A Book of Mermaids."2

Here are some mermaid illustrations, and their descriptions, from Jewitt's 1880 series:

"Of its prevalence as an heraldic bearing it will perhaps be sufficient to say that, in some scores of instances in our own British armory, the mermaid occurs either as a distinct bearing on the shield, or as an adjunct in form of crest or supporter. ... [In Fig. 11], two mermaidmens appear as supporters to the arms of Bishop Berkeley, in Bristol Cathedral, where it occurs, exquisitely carved, on one of the stalls."

"A singular example of the mermaid as a bell ornament occurs in Fig. 34, which is carefully copied from one of the church bells of Appleby, in Derbyshire. She is represented with comb in her left, and mirror in her right hand. Doubtless the introduction of this device on bells had, like that of the fylfot cross, a superstitious origin, and was believed to be, like it, efficacious in the lulling of storms and averting of danger from lightning and tempest."

"Figures of the mermaid also occur in some of the early printed books, both in quaint old cuts and in those that are 'adorned with copper plates.' many of these are strange in their form, and occasionally hideous in their features and accompaniments. Figs. 35, 36 and 37 [Note: Figure 37 is not shown on this blog.] represent three extraordinary monsters, which will serve to show the extent of wildness to which the imagination of the old engravers sometimes carried them."
Jewitt further states that the "Bishop"3 is said to have been caught in the British Channel in 1531, and the "Monk" is said to have been captured in Norway.

These two illustrations come from the book "Monsters of the Deep," according to Jewitt. He's likely referring to 1875's "The Monsters of the Deep: And Curiosities of Ocean Life. A Book of Anecdotes, Traditions, and Legends," by Armand Landrin and W.H.D. Adams, which is available from Google as a free eBook.

"It would be interesting, did space permit, to quote at length some of the remarkable, and, in many instances, droll accounts that have from time to time been printed of the sight or capture of these fabulous creatures, but I am compelled to refrain from so doing, and must content myself by saying that ever and again mermaids have been exhibited and 'made much of' both in England and in other countries, and indeed may yet be seen preserved in some museums. The one give in Fig. 38 was exhibited in the Leyden Museum4, and Fig. 39 was shown in the early part of the present century in London. Like Barnum's late imposition, this monstrosity 'was a hideous combination of a dried monkey's head and body, and the tail of a fish.'"
1. In "The Art-Journal, 1850-1880: Antiquarians, the Medieval Revival, and The Reception of Pre-Raphaelitism," Brown University professor George P. Landow writes that Jewitt was the most important essayist in The Art Journal's history:
"In the 1870's Jewitt helped write a series on the ancient homes and castles of England, and he himself wrote a series on 'The Museums of England, with Special Reference to Objects of Art and Antiquity,' which appeared at irregular intervals after 1871."
According to Landow, Jewitt also wrote: "Art Under the Seats," an illustrated series on medieval carving and grotesqueries in choir stalls.
2. For example, on the day I wrote this post, there were six used copies available on, but the cheapest copy sells for $99.95! Why do people love it so? I'll let someone else answer: The 2008 post "Mermaid Influences" on the Black Mermaid Productions blog raves about the Ruth Manning-Sanders/Robin Jacques effort.
3. The Bishop is a dead ringer for Guiron, one of Gamera's enemies. Interestingly, I am not the first person to note this similarity. Chris Barrus of the Quartz City blog made the comparison in 2008.
4. The Leyden Museum is, I believe, now called the Dutch National Museum of Antiquities.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

An old receipt from L.B. Hantz, contractor, of York

Here's another receipt for customer Mr. R. Wm. Ziegler1 that I picked up at The York Emporium earlier this year.

The F.W. Behler receipt that I wrote about on March 29 and April 11 was also made out Ziegler, who must have saved many of his receipts and probably never imagined they would end up for sale in a books and curiosities shop in the early 21st century.

This May 14, 19072, receipt is from L.B. Hantz, a contractor handling plumbing, heating and stove repairs. Unlike F.W. Behler, I don't believe that the L.B. Hantz business is still around today.3

In 1907, L.B. Hantz was located at 361 West Market Street, which is now the home to the Blue Moon Restaurant.

Here's my best guess at what is written in cursive on the receipt:
Covering bay window
side of stove, Penn St. (?)
6 Sheets 40 lb Zinc 27
nails solder paper.
time 4½ hr. K
The total cost was $12.45, which would have been the equivalent of $287.53 in 2010, according to The Inflation Calulator.

Here are larger versions of the two illustrations -- a furnace and a stove -- on the L.B. Hantz receipt:

Above: It looks like the word "Paragon" can be seen in the middle of the furnace.

Above: It looks like this is an Excelsior stove from I.A. Sheppard & Co.

August 8, 2011, Addendum

This is now the most-viewed blog entry in Papergreat history, thanks to its mention in a thought-provoking New York Times article by Stephanie Clifford on paperless receipts.

If you're reading this on your first visit to Papergreat and are intrigued by the idea of a blog about everyday ephemera, I recommend that you check out this entry to see a wide sampling of the blog's offerings and/or follow @Papergreat on Twitter to get a link to each day's new post.

1. Here, however, is where things get interesting and confusing. On the F.W. Behler receipt, it clearly looks like it's spelled Z-I-E-G-L-E-R. And on today's receipt, it looks suspiciously like it's spelled Z-E-I-G-L-E-R. Ziegler or Zeigler? Sigh.
2. This receipt is dated one day after the birth of Daphne du Maurier.
3. I did find this cool excerpt from 1920's volume 91 of "Domestic Engineering and the Journal of Mechanical Contracting":
"L.B. Hantz, 361 Market Street, York, has recently completed the installation of plumbing and heating in the York Apartments on North Duke Street, and has secured the contract to install the plumbing and heating in the E. Ramer Apartments.

"F.W. Behler, 437 [Note: That street number is probably a typo. It's 473.] West Market Street, York, is at present completing the plumbing installations in the West Side Sanitarium, and has the contract to install the plumbing in the new nurses' home that is to be erected in the city."

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Peering inside 1944's "Strange Fruit" by Lillian Smith

This 1944 hardcover cover of Lillian Smith's "Strange Fruit" has some elements inside that caught my eye.

Smith was "a white woman who openly embraced controversial positions on matters of race and gender equality" and "a southern liberal unafraid to criticize segregation and work toward the dismantling of Jim Crow laws, at a time when such actions almost guaranteed social ostracism," according to Wikipedia.

"Strange Fruit" is a novel of interracial love that was quite controversial upon publication. Here's an excerpt about the book's reception from The New Georgia Encyclopedia:
In hindsight, the controversy that greeted the publication of Lillian Smith's Strange Fruit in 1944 seems unusually heated today. This novel of interracial love was denounced in many places for its "obscenity," although sex is barely mentioned.

Massachusetts banned it for a short time; so did the U.S. Post Office. But the book has had many admirers in the years since its publication. It was a commercial success — a best-seller, a Broadway play briefly — and it remains in print in many languages.
While the book itself is notable, some other elements inside grabbed my attention:

Above: There is a blue bookseller label for Herr's Book Store in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.1 L.B. Herr's Book Store, which is no longer in business, dates to at least the early 20th century. According to the caption on this Flickr photo, L.B. Herr's was once located at 53 & 55 Inquirer Building, North Queen Street, in Lancaster before moving to its "landmark" location on West King Street. (It's interesting to think that a Lancaster book store was progressive enough to stock and sell the controversial "Strange Fruit" in 1944.)

Above: This is one the most attractive bookplates I've come across, with its inscription: "I enjoy sharing my books as I do my friends, asking only that you treat them well and see them safely home." The name Verna H. Morgan is inscribed on the inside front cover of the book.

Above: This copy of "Strange Fruit" was produced during World War II, so the above note details the "paper quota" and the specifics of the wartime edition's production.

1. For more on bookseller labels, see this post: "Brentano's, the American Bookstore in Paris"

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Down memory lane with 1983 Topps Baseball Sticker Album

Here's a stroll back to my childhood with the 1983 Topps Baseball Sticker Album (the one with California Angel Reggie Jackson on the cover).1 I never did finish getting all the stickers pasted into my album. I was pleased to get the Home Run Kings page (pictured above) finished. But, on the other hand, I wasn't too heartbroken that I only had two of the eight stickers for the Milwaukee Brewers page. The stickers came in packs of six for a quarter.

I did have all of the Philadelphia Phillies stickers and was able to complete their team page:

Note that Bo Diaz sticker is autographed! My Dad and I got that autograph at a Phillies spring training game in Clearwater, Florida, in the spring of 1984. (Our family had moved from Montoursville, Pennsylvania, to Largo, Florida, in the summer of 1983.)

Diaz, you might remember, died at age 37 in November 1990 while attempting to adjust a satellite dish on the room of his home in Venezuela.

The other Phillies on the page include the usual suspects -- Steve Carlton, Mike Schmidt, Manny Trillo, Gary Matthews2 and Pete Rose. And then, somewhat inexplicably, there is Sid Monge.

Here's another interesting find inside sticker album:

It's York County native and Red Lion High School graduate Butch Wynegar, from his days with the New York Yankees. Wynegar was entering his second of five seasons with the Bronx Bombers in 1983.

At the back of the book were pages for the "Stars of the Future" in the American League and National League. It's fun to look back in retrospect and see the hits and misses. The National League future stars were mostly misses, with the likes of Terry Francona, Brian Giles, David Green, Atlee Hammaker and Bill Laskey. They did do well with a trio of National League second basemen, though -- Ryne Sandberg, Johnny Ray and Steve Sax.

The Amerian League future stars fared a little better overall. Among them were Jesse Barfield, Wade Boggs, Tom Brunansky, Von Hayes, Kent Hrbek, Glenn Wilson and this guy:

Little did I know that I would go from collecting baseball stickers in the summer of 1983 to editing a book about Cal Ripken Jr. for the York Daily Record 18 years later.

Diamond note
Tuesdays are "Baseball Day" on Papergreat this summer. Here are the previous installments:

1. These books are not scarce. Here's an eBay offer for 32 blank 1983 albums for just $4.99 plus shipping. I have no idea what you would do with them.
2. My daughter saw that picture and said, "He used to be a player?" She knows Gary "Sarge" Matthews now by his color commentary on Phillies broadcasts.

Monday, July 4, 2011

American flag history, compliments of Leinbach & Bro. in Reading

Above: A composite of two photos of children holding the American flag, from the pages of "The Story of the American Flag" by Wayne Whipple (1910).

For this Fourth of July, here are some images from my water-damaged copy1 of "The Story of the American Flag."

It was written by Wayne Whipple2, published by the Henry Altemus Company of Philadelphia in 1910 and offered to customers of Leinbach & Bro. in Reading, Pennsylvania.

There is a terrific, in-depth website devoted to the Henry Altemus Company. One of the website's sections describes the relationship between Altemus and Leinbach & Bro. Here's an excerpt:
"Altemus had a long relationship with Leinbach & Bro. which was a clothier store in Reading, Pennsylvania. As early as 1893 and as late as 1915 Leinbach gave away Altemus books as some sort of promotion (perhaps with the purchase of an item). Most of these books are stamped on the front or back cover with 'Compliments of Leinbach & Bro'. Within these books are two pages of ads for Leinbach. One ad is bound into the front and one is bound into the back of the book. There are a number of different versions of the ads. Some ads are personalized to the book it is placed in."
If you're interested in more on the Altemus/Leinbach relationship (or Henry Altemus Company in general), I encourage you to check out that website, which is filled with great images.

Pictured below are the back-cover stamp and the front-of-book advertisement for Leinbach & Bro. from my copy of "The Story of the American Flag":

There is also a full-page, all-text advertisement for Leinbach & Bro. at the back of the book. The Reading clothing company is no longer around, and I couldn't find any details on when, precisely, it went out of business. Does anyone versed in Berks County history have more information they can contribute?

Whipple's 125-page book includes the history of the American flag and, in the back of the book, "A Collection of Songs, Poems, Addresses, Drills and Sayings About the Stars and Stripes."

Overall, the book has dozens of illustrations and even a few interesting photos (such as the pictures at the top of today's entry). Here are a couple more photos from Whipple's book:

This above undated photo shows children watching the 46th star (for Oklahoma) sewn onto an American flag in front of the Betsy Ross House in Philadelphia. (Oklahoma was admitted to the Union on November 16, 1907.)

And this photo shows a building that no longer exists -- the Francis Scott Key House in Washington, D.C. A pair of blogs describe the sad fate of this historic house, which was built in 1802 and was Francis Scott Key's home for 22 years.

Streets of Washington states: "In 1907, a group of prominent individuals ... organized a group to try to save the Key Mansion. ... They leased the house, festooned it with flags and a large portrait of Key, and opened it as a museum on Flag Day in 1908. ... Unfortunately, this well-meaning effort was doomed from the start. The Key Mansion was located at the far end of Georgetown’s then-tawdry commercial strip, and tourists didn’t particularly want to go there. ... The museum soon closed. ... The real death blow came shortly thereafter, in 1912 or 1913, when drastic modifications were made to the structure. The entire gabled top floor was removed and replaced with a flat roof. The distinctive split chimney on the side of the house was also removed, as was Key’s office, which had been an addition on the side of the house."

And Washington Kaleidoscope states: "Even though Congress passed a bill in 1948 providing $65,000 to relocate the home, President Truman vetoed the bill, and the building's fate was sealed. It was razed because plans for the Whitehurst Freeway called for the site to be used as a connecting ramp with Key Bridge."

Much more information on the Key Mansion is available on those two excellent blogs.

1. One of the great things about digital archiving, of course, is that old pages and images can be presented and preserved, even after books and documents disappear or lose their value to aesthetic damage.
2. For more information on Whipple, check out (1) this under-construction website on the author (including a page on his "Patriotic Series", which also includes books on the White House and the Liberty Bell); (2) Whipple's geneaology page; and (3) a fascinating article about the Whipple Flag.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Over 1,000 tested and proved ideas for making money at home*

Members of the family gaze intently at father's bank account book in this image from the promotional brochure for 1954's "The Complete Home Book of Money-making Ideas" by Douglas Lurton.1

The brochure states: "You don't need extraordinary ability or a lot of money to get started. It takes careful preparation, plus a common-sense understanding of what you'll have to do to succeed."

Money-making ventures described in Lurton's book, according to the brochure, include:
  • Altering clothes
  • Appliance repairs
  • Carpentry
  • Catering
  • Child-care service
  • Dress-making
  • Gardening
  • Poultry
  • Beekeeping
  • Craftwork
  • Photography
  • Whittling
  • Raising animals2
  • Raising herbs
  • Renting rooms
  • Typing
I was about to say that the book, refreshingly, doesn't promote scams or pyramid schemes. But I don't think that's entirely true. There are chapters titled "How to Make Money at Home By Mail Order" and "Ways to Make Money by Telephone" that sound a bit questionable. And the brochure also states:
"A mail-order business offers an ideal way for a couple to make money at home, with a minimum investment. You can sell hundreds of things -- from canaries to kitchen gadgets -- by mail, and there's no middleman to share the profits. The book tells you what you need to know about mail order, to be successful."
Still, Lurton's book seems to be filled with useful information, if the brochure is any measure. It urges potential readers to "stop sitting on good ideas that can make you rich!" It describes how to copyright ideas and patent inventions, and it includes a list of 100 "needed inventions." (It would be interesting to see that list today and note how many of those inventions have since come to pass.)

And what could you do with all this extra money in 1954? According to the brochure: "That extra income can mean a luxurious fur coat3, a new TV set, a cherished piano, an expensive new car, a better college for the children, or whatever you want."

So order today! With the card below (and a time machine), you can get your copy of "The Complete Home Book of Money-making Ideas" for just $2.95 plus shipping from Book Club Associates Inc.4

*My apologies to those of you who came this blog hoping for actual advice on how to make money from the comfort of your own home, and were deeply annoyed to find a post about historical ephemera. You have to admit, though, that this entry's title is fantastic for search engine optimization. The only thing that would have made it better would have been to title it "Justin Bieber's 1,000 tested and proved ideas for making money at home." But that would not have been accurate or honest. It would have been gratuitous to mention Justin Bieber. This would also be gratuitous: "Justin Bieber. Justin Bieber. Justin Bieber." Also, "Scott Baio."

1. There's still a fair market for the book, 57 years later. Copies are available on Amazon and can be had for less than $4.

2. Among the animals it states can be raised are chinchillas! The brochure states: "Chinchillas are immaculate, and can be kept in small cages in an attic or basement. Best of all, each of these beautiful fur-bearing animals can be fed for an entire year for not over $3.00!" (Sigh. I wonder how many poor animals got stuck and neglected in cages left in people's attics?)

3. Perhaps a luxurious coat made from chinchilla fur? (Sigh again.)

4. Justin Bieber not included.