Friday, December 2, 2011

Adams County Christmas postcard from 1916

Now that it's December, I can begin to unveil my tiny hoard of Christmas-themed ephemera.1 On the Mondays and Fridays leading up to Christmas, I will feature a variety of festive items I've been holding back until now.

First up is an ornate postcard featuring a bell and the caption "A Joyous Christmas." The postcard was never mailed, but a name, address and date have been written on the back.

Mentioned are a pair of boroughs in Adams County, Pennsylvania -- Gettysburg and New Oxford (which are less than 10 miles apart).

Here's the back of the card:2

And so it's addressed to: Mr. Nevin E. Pitzer, Gettysburg, Pa., R.R. 9.

Here's some basic information about Pitzer from the "Find A Grave" website:
  • Birth: March 8, 18963
  • Death: August 31, 1977 (age 81)
  • Was the husband of Mrs. Bertha M. Flickinger Pitzer, who died in 1981.
  • He was the son of the David L. Pitzer (1867-1942) and Margaret Catherine Amelia Mickley Pitzer (1864-1934).
  • He was a retired farmer and a member of St. Luke's Lutheran Church, Whitehall (Littlestown).

1. My Christmas-themed ephemera hoard is tiny -- one barely bulging manila envelope -- compared to our household's collection of Christmas decorations that gets hauled out every December. Here's a photo of me from this past January, finally storing away the final box of decorations in our basement.
2. I also love the graphic design of the word "POSTCARD" on the back. It deserves its own close-up:

3. Also born on March 8, 1896, was Alan Thomas "Lefty" Clarke, who played one game for the Cincinnati Reds in 1921. In five innings of work, he surrendered seven runs (three earned) and struck out one. Before and after his appearance with the Reds, he played minor-league baseball in both Martinsburg, West Virginia, and Waynesboro, Pennsylvania, in the Blue Ridge League.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Interesting tidbits from Gray's Pharmaceutical Quiz Compend

Within the 1937 book "A Condensed Compendium of Pharmaceutical Knowledge, A Quiz Book"1 there are some interesting glossaries and lists.

The book is "designed for the use of students of pharmacy preparing them selves for examination in colleges and pharmacy, and before the pharmaceutical examining boards of the various states."

Some pharmaceutical abbreviations
(Note: I haven't cross-checked all of these to see which ones are still in use today, though I have made footnotes on some entries. One current reference for this information is Wikipedia's List of abbreviations used in medical prescriptions.)
  • Altern. hor. (every other hour)2
  • Aq. (water)
  • Aq. bull. (boiling water)
  • Aq. com. (common water)
  • Aq. dest. (distilled water)
  • Aq. ferv. (hot water)
  • Aq. fluv. (river water)
  • Aq. pluv. (rain water)
  • Carbo. (charcoal)
  • Coch. ampl. (tablespoonful)3
  • Cret. (chalk)
  • Flor. (flowers)
  • Ft. pulv. subt. (make an impalpable powder)4
  • Hydrarg. (mercury)
  • Lan. (wool)
  • Lig. (wood)
  • Lot. (lotion)5
  • Mic. pan (crumb of bread)
  • Ung. (ointment)
Selections from "Therapeutic Classification of Medicines"
(The wording of some of these definitions is interesting, from a historical standpoint.)
  • Aphrodisiac: Excites the functions of the genital organs when morbidly depressed.
  • Cholagogue: Increases the flow of bile.
  • Narcotic: Medicine having a sedative influence, frequently promotes sleep, relieves pain, may produce insensibility.
  • Vulnerary: Any remedy useful in healing wounds.

1. On the front cover, in gold lettering, the title is simply "Gray's Pharmaceutical Quiz Compend." The book was authored by H.C. Gray and R.E. Terry.
2. The modern abbreviation for "every other hour" has been shortened to "alt. h."
3. Coch. ampl. was short for Cochleare amplum and was used as the abbreviation for tablespoonful. The abbreviation used today is "tbsp."
4. Ft. pulv. subt. is an abbreviation for Fiat pulv. subtillum.
5. The lotion should, of course, be put in the basket.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Bon-Ton Rental Library in York

This 1957 G.P. Putnam's Sons hardcover edition of Charles Elliott's "Trial by Fire" is mostly interesting because of what's been wrapped around the dust jacket.1

At the bottom of the front cover is a yellow strip of paper that states: "The Bon-Ton Rental Library."

I had no idea there was a time when you could "rent" books from The Bon-Ton.

(I wonder if there were once other department stores that offered such a service.)

But I can't find much information online about The Bon-Ton Rental Library in York, Pennsylvania. I think this is a topic for which I'm going to need the memories of the readers of some other local blogs -- such as Only in York County, York Town Square and Preserving York -- to help fill in the blanks.

Some more details about this Bon-Ton offering can be found on the yellow sheet that wraps around to the back cover of the dust jacket:
  • The full name is "The Bon-Ton Rental Library & Book Department."
  • It boasted having fiction, mysteries, classics, non-fiction, history, science and art.
  • The location of the library was the street floor of the building at "Market at Beaver" in York.
For what it's worth, there is no evidence that a card pocket was ever attached inside the book. Was The Bon-Ton offering a traditional library from which books could be checked out and later returned? Or was it more of a rent-to-own purchasing system (which first caught on in the United States in the 1950s)?

More questions: What was the building at Market at Beaver like? How many books did The Bon-Ton offer? How long was this rental library in existence?

This inquiring mind wants to know!

Long footnote
1. As for the novel itself, I don't think you could pay me to read it. These two passages might explain why:
  • FROM THE DUST JACKET: "East meets West every day in Arabia, in a superheated atmosphere of impending crisis. Elizabeth Grant knew this when she went out to join her husband Leslie, adviser to the newly oil-rich Sheikh of Kurayan, but by no stretch of the imagination could she have conceived the situation in which she would find herself only a few weeks after her arrival. Torn between her loyalty to her husband, liberal-minded but vacillating, and the sheer strength of Wolfers1, the oil company's manager, she found all her standards, her whole life, at stake."
  • FIRST PARAGRAPH OF BOOK: "The road was made of oil and sand, the two elements of the place. The oil was older than the sand. In the shallows of some epicontinental sea it had lived, died and sunk as a slime to the sea floor a hundred million years before the wind and sun had crumbled the surface rock to make the sand. But now the oil was imposed on the sand. This Miocene secretion, this ancient black blood of the earth had been probed, released and let come shrieking to the surface of the desert, there to bring everything new."

Short secondary footnote
1. Wolfers? Really?

Monday, November 28, 2011

"While You Were Out" message for an engineer

Here's a great find from inside a book that was discovered by my mom.

Tucked away inside a 1957 hardcover copy of "Radiation Shielding"1 was a typed "While You Were Out" note from a pink telephone message pad.2

The note is from "Anne" to "TRD" -- who I can safely assume is the "Thomas R. Darmody" whose name is stamped in red on the inside front cover of the book.3

Anne is passing along to TRD that a Mr. Kennard left a message at 1:30 on 6/22. Mr. Kennard's message, as typed by Anne:
would like you attend meeting tomorrow at 10 AM in Conf. Rm. B re: preproposal to National Lead (about 1-1 1/2 hrs)
Ahh, there's nothing like the idea of a 90-minute "preproposal" meeting to get your juices flowing. And, the way this note is written, is doesn't appear as if Mr. Kennard is giving TRD a choice.

Then again, if Darmody was reading books such as "Radiation Shielding," it's possible that 90 minutes in a conference room would seem like a refreshing break.

The dense tome contains chapters with titles such as:
  • Ionization as a measure of biological damage
  • Recommended maximum permissible levels for external whole-body irradiation4
  • The attenuation of narrow beams of gamma rays
  • Heating of the shield by gamma rays from core and reflector
  • Minimum cost bulk shields5
  • Activation induced by irradiation in a neutron flux
Here's one example of the type of illustrations and diagrams that can be found throughout the book:

CAPTION: "Fig. 2.11.6. Intensity and angular distribution of bremsstrahlung produced by stopping monoenergetic electrons in targets slightly thicker than the maximum range of electrons (BUECHNER et al.(69))."
ME: "Sure."

1. "Radiation Shielding," by B.T. Price, C.C. Horton and K.T. Spinney, was part of the International Series of Monographs on Nuclear Energy. It is Volume 2 of Division X (Reactor Design Physics).
2. This pink pad was produced by Lerman Bros. Inc., Contract Stationers-Printers-Office Furniture, Hunters Point Ave. & 39th St., Long Island City, N.Y. (Here's a tangental question: Other than the fact that you don't want them to get lost amidst the shuffle of white papers, why did they choose PINK for message pads?)
3. In a search on Google Books, a "Thomas R. Darmody" turns up as a railway engineering draftsman in the 1940s; as the assistant general manager of Vitro Engineering Division, Vitro Corp. of America (which was tied to the military and atomic industries), in the mid-1950s; as the vice president of engineering for The M & T Company in Philadelphia in the early 1960s; and as manager of Parsons-Jurden Corp.'s Systems Engineering Division in the late 1960s. All of those seem to logically fit the profile of the man who owned this book and received this pink message slip.
4. Those folks might need one of the "Personal radiation exposure record" forms featured in this previous Papergreat post.
5. Maybe it's just me, but the shielding of reactors and radioactive materials seems like an area in which you wouldn't want to be thrifty and opt for "minimum cost" shields.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Photos of the University of Delaware, circa 1937-41

Featured today are 11 snapshots that my grandmother, Helen Adams Ingham, and her friends took while she was a student at the University of Delaware from 1937 to 1941.

Those familiar with the campus might be interested to see what some of the buildings and landscaping looked like more than seven decades ago. It's also interesting to check out the student fashions and a small peek inside some of the women's dormitories.

Above: Science Hall

Above: "Mildred and Jane on cleaning day."