Saturday, November 26, 2011

Saturday's postcard: Paul lost a tooth at Antoine's Restaurant

Here's a postcard of Antoine's Restaurant, a famous eating place still located in the heart of the French Quarter in New Orleans. It was mailed in 1972 with a bluish 6-cent Eisenhower stamp.

The restaurant was established in the spring of 1840 by 27-year-old Antoine Alciatore. According to the history section of the restaurant's website:
"[Antoine] felt at home in the French-speaking city of lordly aristocrats and their extravagances, an ideal audience for his culinary artistry. After a brief period in the kitchen of the grand St. Charles Hotel, Antoine opened a pension, a boarding house and a restaurant. It wasn't long before the aromatic odors wafting from his kitchen brought New Orleans to his door and, in five years, the Pension Alciatore was firmly established."
At Antoine's today, the names of the dining rooms also have plenty of history associated with them. Four are named after "Carnival krewes." There's also the Mystery Room, which dates to a secret spot where some customers could acquire a coffee cup filled with a warming alcoholic beverage during the United States' Prohibition.

Here's a look at some of Antoine's menu items today:1
  • Huitres en coquille a la Rockefeller (notre creation): Oysters baked on the half shell with the original Rockefeller sauce created by Antoine's in 1889.
  • Escargots a la Bordelaise: Snails basted and baked in a red wine and garlic sauce, crowned with a delicious mixture of cheeses and French bread crumbs
  • Poulet sauce Rochambeau: Grilled chicken breast grilled served with Antoine's original Rochambeau sauce and a rich Béarnaise over a slice of baked ham
  • Chateaubriand: Centercut tenderloin of beef for two, served with Antoine's special fried potatoes and sauces (Marchand de Vin, Bernaise, and sauteed mushrooms)2
  • Cerises jubilee: Sweet, dark cherries flamed in brandy at the table and served over vanilla ice cream
But in 1972, one customer wasn't focused on oysters, snails, crawfish, gumbo, or alligator. The back of today's postcard contains two notes. The first of which is from a boy named Paul:
"I lost my tooth at this place when we ate lunch here today on charlotte's birthday. Love, Paul"
That's followed by another note, in cursive:
"Took $7 sightseeing tour all afternoon. Had expensive lunch at Antoine's."
And there's one more note scrawled across the top of the card: "Wed. Even have a second phone in our bathroom!"

1. The Antoine's website includes the following menu note: "Antoine's menu is careful to remind patrons that fine food takes careful consideration and preparation. After all, one does not enter the world of Antoine's for fast food!"
2. Today's listed price for Chateaubriand is $110.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Fun facts & figures from
Year 1 of Papergreat

Dear readers: Today has marked both an anniversary and a milestone for Papergreat. It is the one-year anniversary of Papergreat's first post, on November 25, 2010.

And this very post is the 300th on Papergreat!1

Much thanks to those of you who keep coming back for more ephemera ramblings and also to those of you who have helped spread word to your friends and fellow history and paper enthusiasts.

And I especially appreciate your great comments. Most of them are shared in my regular roundup of reader comments and they help make this blog much deeper and more interesting than it would otherwise be!

Just for fun, here are some statistics on Year 1 of Papergreat (as of 5:50 p.m. EST today):

Total page views: 36,927 (an average of about 101 per day!)

Most popular posts

1. An old receipt from L.B. Hantz, contractor, of York -- 2,883 page views
2. "A Thousand Ways to Please a Husband" -- 2,674
3. Papergreat's star-studded 200th post (plus some chickens) -- 310
4. Selections from the 1967 Top Value Stamps catalog -- 246
5. Happy birthday, Henry Darger -- 240
6. An old receipt from F.W. Behler -- 197
7. Some selections from the "Papergreat" archives -- 190
8 (tie). Reader submission: "I pray you never get scaly leg" -- 144
8 (tie). Collection of Phillies ticket stubs -- 144
10. The wonderful world of reading and #fridayreads -- 136

Top referring sites

1. Google -- 6,582
2. StumbleUpon -- 2,478
3. The New York Times -- 2,235
4. Google UK -- 830
5. Google Canada -- 545
6. Facebook -- 476
7. Google Australia -- 239
8. Buffy's Write Zone -- 196
9. Google India -- 165
10. CoTweet -- 154

Top Google searches leading to Papergreat

1. Papergreat -- 206
2. Top Value Stamps -- 94
3. Henry Darger -- 62
4. Dealey Plaza -- 21
5. Al Schmid -- 18
6. Vincent Price -- 17
7. - 11
8 (tie). baseball illustration -- 10
8 (tie). jfk assassination -- 10
8 (tie). the beatles beatles for sale album cover -- 10

Top pageviews by country

1. United States -- 24,097
2. United Kingdom -- 1,589
3. Canada -- 1,245
4. Germany -- 1,050
5. Australia -- 465
6. France -- 457
7. Russia -- 431
8. India -- 331
9. Argentina -- 209
10. Ukraine -- 128

1. Which, as tradition clearly dictates, calls for a celebratory chicken.

An invitation to the 1946 Florence-Pope wedding

Tucked away inside an old book, I found an invitation to a 1946 wedding, complete in its original envelope (which was mailed with a purple, 3-cent Thomas Jefferson stamp).

The invitation was postmarked at 5 p.m. on June 15, 1946, in Bridgewater, Virginia. It was mailed to Mr. and Mrs. C.C. Moyers + Iva in Bergton, Virginia1.

The wedding invitation, also pictured in full below, states:

Mrs. Gracey Rawley
announces the marriage of her daughter
Mary Florence
Mr. Fletcher Pope, Jr.
on Saturday, the first of June
Nineteen hundred and forty-six
Mt. Solon, Virginia

Fletcher Pope Jr. died on January 23, 2009, at age 86 and was a notable figure as an agricultural economist, according to his obituary in The Washington Post. An excerpt:
"Mr. Pope worked for the USDA most of his career, until retiring in 1979. He then operated a consulting firm for almost 12 years, analyzing developments in Soviet agriculture.

"He was born in Fort Seybert, West Virginia, and raised on a farm near Bridgewater, Virginia. He graduated from Bridgewater College, served stateside in the Navy as an aviator during World War II and received a master's degree in agricultural economics from the University of Maryland after the war. He attended Columbia University's Russian Institute, now known as the Harriman Institute."
His survivors included his wife, Mary, two sons and a sister.

1. In 1936, Bergton and Cootes Store were affected by the Great Flood, which washed away many barns, cottages and other features in the area of Virginia.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Bettina's Thanksgiving in the country (and more)

Bettina, the fictional-housewife star of "A Thousand Ways to Please a Husband," and her family went to Aunt Lucy's house in the country for their Thanksgiving. That meant, for once, poor Bettina was off the hook for cooking!

An excerpt from the chapter:
Little Dick and Sarah had exclaimed with delight at the place cards of proud turkeys standing beside each plate. In the center of the table was a great wicker basket heaped with oranges, nuts and raisins. ...

The menu was as follows: Turkey with Giblet Gravy, Oyster Dressing, Mashed Potatoes, Creamed Onions, Cranberry Frappé, Bread, Celery, Butter, Plum Pudding, Hard Sauce1, Nuts, Raisins, Coffee
Meanwhile, another thing tucked away inside my tattered old "A Thousand Ways to Please a Husband" is a magazine clipping (of unidentifiable date or origin) that features "Menus for Thanksgiving Time" by Katherine Campion. The clipping was folded and glued to edge of one of the book's page.

The menus are themed around where you might be having your Thanksgiving dinner:
  • The Traditional Thanksgiving Feast (including oyster soup, roast turkey, sausage garnish, chestnut stuffing, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie)
  • Buffet Supper Dance After the Game (a slightly slimmed-down meal that includes fruit cocktails, lattice potatoes, jellied capon2, hot buttered rolls and thanksgiving cakes)
  • Two Business Girls Entertain Two Others in Their Kitchenette Apartment3 ("May be Served on a Card Table"; see full menu at right)
  • A Dinner Just for the Family (including old-fashioned chicken pie, instead of roast turkey, plus stuffed sweet potatoes, corn pudding, pickled peaches and mince pie)
  • When a Few Old Friends and Neighbors Have Been Invited (including consommé, roast turkey, oyster stuffing, crabapple jelly, creamed onions, sweet potato soufflé and Harvard beets)
  • The Young Man with a Small Apartment Has Friends in for Dinner (see full menu at right)
  • A Smart Little Dinner for Four or Six (including ripe olives, roast stuffed squab, whipped potatoes, broccoli with Hollandaise sauce and Tutti Frutti mousse ... and finishing with coffee in the living room)
  • Holiday Bridge Supper (consisting solely of Turkey á la King on toast triangles, molded cranberry salad, Thanksgiving fruit cake with frozen whipped cream and coffee)4
  • Twilight Supper by the Fireside (including sardine-and-dill-pickle canapés on crisp wafers, tomato bisque in bouillon cups, cold sliced turkey and molded vegetable salad on lettuce)
  • Autumn Tea (including golden cheese sandwiches rolled and toasted, orange marmalade and nut sandwiches on whole-wheat bread, apricot sherbet and chocolate cookies)
Have a happy and safe Thanksgiving! And may all of your favorite dishes be on the dining room table.

1. According to Wikipedia, hard sauce "is a sweet, rich dessert sauce made by creaming or beating butter and sugar with rum (rum butter), brandy (brandy butter), whiskey, sherry (sherry butter), vanilla or other flavorings. It is served cold, often with hot desserts. It is typically served with plum pudding, bread pudding, Indian pudding, hasty pudding, and other heavy puddings as well as with fruitcakes and gingerbread."
2. OK, I really don't want to ruin your Thanksgiving appetite, if you don't already know what a capon is. (I didn't.) If you're curious, Wikipedia will tell you all about it. And if you'd like to acquire a capon, North Iowa Produce Inc. claims: "If you've ever had a Capon here in the States, chances are it was one of ours since we supply over 90% of the birds consumed annually here in America." North Iowa Produce also has a well-written and detailed history of capons on its website.
3. That sounds like a title for something else entirely.
4. I'm definitely passing on that Thanksgiving dinner. Of course, it's for this crowd.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Great links: My wife goes to the antique store

Over on her blog, Only in York County, my wife recently finished a four-part series called "Joan goes to the antique store." Actually, we went to the antique store in the York New Salem square together to find stuff that would make for good blog entries.

Here's the rundown on what she found:

Monday, November 21, 2011

Some bulletin-board material for Thanksgiving

Remember how your classrooms looked when you were in elementary school and middle school? Your teachers were, of course, super-talented and super-creative people, but sometimes they needed a little help with all of those monthly and seasonal decorations.

Enter Hayes School Publishing Co., which has been producing materials to assist educators since 1940, according to its website.1

Among the company's many offerings over the decades have been books filled with suggestions on how teachers can decorate their classrooms in fun and educational ways. At a used-book sale last summer, I picked up some of their old paperback books, including 1967's "Hayes Bulletin Boards That Teach with Wit and Humor"2 and 1970's "Ideal Middle, Upper and High Bulletin Boards."3

Here are some of Hayes' suggestions for Thanksgiving-themed bulletin boards. The first two are from the 1967 book, and the final one is from the 1970 book.

Notes on November

Description from the book: "The special days of November are brought to the attention of students through this design. The border and lettering might be of blue construction paper, while the background could be white. The students could make small cut-paper pictures denoting the special events of November, while large 'tacks' may be cut from black construction paper and pasted to the background to 'hold' the pictures."

Now It's November

Description from the book: "Chalk, tempera paint or cut paper would be suitable media for this design on Thanksgiving. Try to include some three dimensional materials such as yarn for the border vine and perhaps real feathers for the turkey tail. A light blue background would contrast well with the bright autumn colors of the vegetables, leaves, and feathers. Students could illustrate the Thanksgiving story through small crayon pictures."

Tom Turkey's Invitation to Share

Description from the book: "The inscriptions on this scroll signify some of our thoughts during the Thanksgiving season. Red construction paper can be used for the background and a large sheet of white paper for the scroll. The scroll can be rolled and applied to the background in a 3-D manner. Yellow, orange, and black construction paper can be used for lettering. Fruit and turkey can be painted in tempera paint on white wrapping paper."

1. Hayes Publishing Co. is located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. These two books featured today indicate that Hayes Publishing was once located in Wilkinsburg, Pennsylvania, a borough in the eastern suburbs of Pittsburgh.
2. "Hayes Bulletin Boards That Teach with Wit and Humor" was compiled and written by Edith Ray and illustrated by Al Harris.
3. "Ideal Middle, Upper and High Bulletin Boards" was written by Lou Ann Dickerson, who dedicated it to her younger sisters -- Margaret, Andra and Porter Kim. Dickerson also writes: "Our latest musical show, 'Porter's Rocket,' by my family, has been presented at nursing homes, hospitals, orphanages, and institutions in the Wilmington, Delaware area."

Sunday, November 20, 2011

For Ashar, ephemera about a castle

My son Ashar has been focused on learning about castles this weekend. Friday night, he and I built a castle out of blocks1 and he spent part of Saturday reading some books about castles2 and emailing me about four dozen JPGs of castles while I was at work.

So I thought I'd write about some castle ephemera today, to keep the weekend theme going. This is the 1972 edition of a staplebound guidebook to Conway Castle in Wales, prepared by the Department of the Environment on behalf of the Welsh Office.3 (The castle is correctly known, by the way, as Conwy Castle, or Castell Conwy in Welsh.)

The heavily illustrated 32-page book focuses on the history of the castle and begins:
"The noble fortress on the Conway estuary which faces the motorist from Llandudno, or appears outside the right-hand windows of a train bound for Snowdonia on the old L.M.S. Railway from Euston and Crewe, is exactly the same age as effective English government in North Wales."
At the center of the book is this illustration, which is labeled "Reconstruction by Alan Sorrell of what the castle probably looked like about 1300."

There is also a nice map of the castle, showing the walls, wards and ovens:

According to Wikipedia, the castle was built between 1283 and 1289, during the second campaign of King Edward I4in North Wales: "Conwy's design and work were overseen by master mason James of St. George using 1,500 labourers and stonecutters. An estimated £15,000 (£9,000,000 as of 2011), was spent building the castle and the town's defences, the largest single sum Edward I spent on any of his Welsh castles between 1277 and 1304."

1. Castles are one of our favorite things to construct. Two years ago, Ashar and I built this small Lego castle and, to take advantage of an Educational Opportunity™, I explained to him that, in the Middle Ages, kings sometimes had their enemies' severed heads displayed on pikes outside the castle, to serve as a warning. So we built that feature into the Lego castle to, you know, add historical accuracy.
2. The books included the magnificent "Castle" by David Macaulay.
3. I like to tell people that I have some Welsh blood. It is not clear to what extent this is actually true.
4. He was also known as Edward Longshanks.