Saturday, October 1, 2011

Saturday's postcard: Oh, You Kid, I've Got My Fingers Crossed!

Today's old postcard is full of weirdness and mystery. The front features a scene of a police officer and three "women" sitting on a bench. The "women" appear somewhat distressed and the police officer seems to be taken aback.

There's also a circular logo for Gaumont. This might be a reference to Gaumont Film Company, and I think there's a good chance that this postcard is displaying an image from one of that company's early films or shorts.

The back of the postcard reveals the following information:
  • It was postmarked in York, Pennsylvania, in 1910.
  • It was addressed to Mr. Ray Barr, c/o Lochers Drug Store, Lancaster, Pa.
  • The short note on the postcard reads: "How are you. Be good. Give my regards to everybody. Remember (?) me to your wife. Ross. 31 E. King St. York, Pa."
While that postcard message is about as dull as they come, it's interesting to note the address of the sender -- 31 East King Street in York. In 1910, that was the address of The Gazette, which later became The Gazette and Daily, which later became the York Daily Record, which later became the newspaper I work for -- the York Daily Record/York Sunday News.1

I also found a handful of online references to Locher's Drug Store, including this wonderful advertisement for cough syrup that's archived in the Miami University Libraries' digital Victorian Trade Card Collection.

Finally, I twice referred to the figures on the bench in the postcard as "women." I'm pretty sure that those are men dressed in drag. Take a closer look, tell me what you think, and pass along any further leads you might have about this card and its history.

1. Editor Jim McClure chronicles the history and evolution of the newspaper on York Town Square.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Reader comments: Stamps, stamps, stamps and chickens

Time for another batch of reader comments from previous Papergreat posts!

Selections from the 1967 Top Value Stamps catalog: This post from back in May has draw some fresh attention in recent weeks. I guess, in this economy, lots of folks are trying to find out if they still get something in exchange for those old stamps!
  • Mel Kolstad of Ephemeraology writes: "Holy smokes! I've got a lot of Green Stamps, but I think I'd rather keep them than trade 'em in for greenpoints (with inflation, I'd probably need about a million of them for that toy switchboard anyway)!"
  • Anonymous writes: "Do you know if Top Value stamps can be redeemed anywhere? I know S&H no longer accepts them - wondering if some place else does?" ... Great question. Does anyone have any answers to this one?
  • Anonymous writes: "Wow, just going through some of my Mom's stuff and found these books of stamps. S&H, Family Stamps and Top Value stamps. I also found the Idea Book '75, from S&H. Surprisingly a lot of things have not changed. The biggest changes I found were in the TVs and radios. Oh and colors!"
Doll fads of 1960: romans wrotes: "Gosh, thanks for your blog! This is a memory from childhood, now I know what to call it. Hanging beside it was a rubber shrunken head, hanging from the basement light fixture in my uncle's room - I was fascinated by both." ... Wow. Shrunken heads hanging from light fixtures and baby dolls hanging from the rafters of abandoned buildings. Papergreat is getting kind of creepy!

100th anniversary of Bingham "rediscovering" Machu Picchu: Daniel Buck writes: "Atahualpa's lost ransom, catnip for countless dreamers and schemers -- among the schemers, Augusto Berns. Doubtful, though, Berns ever set foot in Machu Picchu: 'Atahualpa's Ransom & Other Treasure Fables' Daniel Buck, Peruvian Times, Lima, Peru, 26 August 2011."

Papergreat's star-studded 200th post (plus some chickens): Anonymous writes: "Oddly, I was in the kids' area at the Knoxville Zoo today and saw a chicken I described as a 'Beatles' chicken. I Googled that, and your site came up.1 Turns out (I broke down and asked) that they are Polish roosters. Google and you will see. Side note: I went to that World of Illusions in Gatlinburg to see R2D2 in like 1983. It hasn't changed since then."

1. I always enjoy checking out what Google search terms lead people to Papergreat. Today, for example, the following search terms have brought people to the blog: "wampole philadelphia," "copper plate engraving mermaid," "1960's cocktail lounge" (which could be any of three different posts), "1960s beauty parlor," and, yes, "hang baby."

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Two cards: "The Play-Hour" and "The Mother's Advice"

Religious texts -- bibles, hymnals, etc. -- are fantastic sources of Tucked Away Inside ephemera. People tucked all sorts of pieces of paper for future generations to discover inside their old bibles.

I came across today's two paper cards, which are about 3 inches wide by 4½ inches tall -- slightly smaller than a standard playing card.

The card shown above is called THE PLAY-HOUR and contains the following text:
The bell has rung; with merry shout
From school the boys are rushing out;
Now books are closed, with what delight
They grasp the marbles, ball, and kite!
Shout on, glad hearts! in boyhood learn
Your pleasure through your toil to earn;
If life were all one idle day,
You would not prize the hour of play.
Improve the golden hours that bring
Such stores of knowledge on the wing;
None have used them well but know
That labour's path is pleasure's too.
Choose heavenly Wisdom as your guide
And Peace will follow at her side;
A purer joy bless manhood's way
That brightened boyhood's hour of play
And here is the second card...

This one is titled THE MOTHER'S ADVICE:
My boy, you have met with a trial to-day,
Which I hoped to have seen you oppose;
But, alas! in a moment your temper gave way,
And the pride of your bosom arose.

I saw the temptation, and trembled for fear
Your good resolutions should fall;
And soon by your eye and your colour, my dear,
I found you had broken them all.

As soon as temptation is put in your way,
And passion is ready to start,
'Tis then you must try to subdue it, and pray
For courage to bid it depart.

But now you must go to the Saviour and seek
His mercy to pardon your sin;
Entreat him to make you submissive and meek,
And put a right spirit within.
Neither of the cards has any sort of date or indication of the company that published them.

I found copies of "The Play-Hour" in two other places -- in an undated book titled "Pictures and Songs for the Little Ones at Home" by the editors of the "Children's Paper"1 and in another book titled "Home Songs for Little Darlings: Children's Songs."

And I found several similar poems to "The Mother's Advice" -- some shorter, some longer. All offered as a verse to help good Christians from yielding to temptation.

These Christian-themed cards also have an interesting design along the left-hand side and the phrase "TEACH ME THY WAY O LORD AND LEAD ME IN A PLAIN PATH."

1. The "Children's Paper" might be the same as "The Children's Newspaper," the history of which is detailed here by Look and Learn.

Great links: 1960s address book from a York, Pa., bank

My wife Joan blogged about this neat piece of ephemera earlier this week on Only In York County.

It's a 1960s-era address book from The Drovers & Mechanics National Bank of York, Pennsylvania, which we picked up on a trip to The York Emporium.

She has included in her post a slideshow of fantastic vintage advertisements and images from the inside pages of the address book. Go check it out!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

McCall Chair Co. ink blotter

This is an undated 9⅛-inch-by-4-inch advertising ink blotter for McCall Chair Co. in Cornelius, North Carolina (a northern suburb of Charlotte). The blotter is touting the company's "Fashion Line," specifically the No. 90 swivel chair and the No. 350 platform rocker.

McCall Chair Co. was founded by Grover McCall and was in business from about 1946 to 1981.1 At its peak, the furniture manufacturer employed more than 50 people. In the 1960s, a new platform rocker might have cost about $38. We know that because one of McCall's original platform rockers is preserved at the Carl Sandburg Home, a historic site in Flat Rock, N.C.

James McCall, grandson of Grover McCall, described to how one of the company's chairs would have been manufactured:
“This entire chair was made in North Carolina,” said McCall. Every piece of the chair was crafted in the Cornelius factory, except for the springs and textiles which were manufactured by other local companies. McCall Chair Co. started with raw lumber, constructed the chair frames, added their signature corner glue blocks, painted and finished the frames, added the springs, and then added cushions and upholstery.
An upholsterer handled the assembly of the chair. At McCall's in the 1950s and 1960s, an upholsterer might have assembled about 40 chairs in a good week and earned $1.75 per chair.

McCall's chairs were considered to be high-quality, reasonably priced pieces.

James McCall told that he regrets he did not document more of the company’s history before it closed. At the very least, this ink-blotter advertisement is one more small piece of that history that will be preserved.

1. Information on McCall Chair Co. came from these two articles: "Cornelius was a seat of chair making following World War II" on Cornelius Today and "Sandburg History Hits Home for McCall Family" on