Saturday, February 4, 2012

Saturday's postcard: New Jersey trolley line in 1907

This postcard was postmarked September 3, 1907,1 in Ocean City, New Jersey. The front of the card states "Fast Shore Line between Ocean City and Atlantic City, N.J."2

Whoever produced the card transposed two words. It was actually called the Shore Fast Line. According to Wikipedia:
"The Shore Fast Line was a line of fast trolley cars running from Atlantic City, New Jersey, to Ocean City, New Jersey, by way of the mainland communities of Pleasantville, Northfield, Linwood and Somers Point. The line ran from 1907 until 1948. The company that operated the Shore Fast Line was called Atlantic City and Shore Railroad."
More history on this trolley line can be found in Mervin E. Borgnis' 1979 book "We Had a Shore Fast Line."

Also, here's a headline and excerpt from a related article published by The New York Times on March 2, 1907:

The Pennsylvania Planning a
Line from Sandy Hook
to Cape May.
Trip May Then Be Made in Five
Hours Without Change
of Cars.

ATLANTIC CITY, March 1. -- Pennsylvania Railroad capital is back of a plan to link all resorts on the Jersey Coast from Sandy Hook to Cape May by trolley. Railroad engineers assert that within three years it will be possible to go from New York to Sandy Hook by steamer and ride without change of cars to the southernmost point of New Jersey.
This postcard was sent between two of my ancestors. It was mailed by Edgar Chandler Gause to Miss Edna Chandler in Wilmington, Delaware. Here's the note Edgar wrote on the back:

So, my ancestors had more house parties than I do.

And they also used the word "dandy."3

Finally, the 1¢ stamp on this postcard features Captain John Smith. It was one of the Jamestown Exposition stamps of 1907, a commemorative set for a world fair that was held that year.

According to, this stamp is exceptionally difficult to find well-centered. For more information, check out the website's article titled "Postage Stamps of the United States First Issued in 1907."

Other New Jersey related posts

1. One day later, on September 4, 1907, composer Edvard Grieg went to the big Hall of the Mountain King in the sky.
2. Side note: Less than one year before this postcard was mailed, 53 people died in an Atlantic City train wreck involving the West Jersey and Seashore Railroad on October 28, 1906. And as a further side note, according to Wikipedia:
"The accident resulted in what is regarded as the first press release when public relations expert Ivy Lee, working with the Pennsylvania Railroad, parent company of the West Jersey and Seashore Railroad, convinced the company to present a statement to journalists at the scene of the accident. The New York Times printed the release word-for-word on October 30, 1906."
3. Now, the people who know my own fondness for the word "dandy" will understand that it's in my family blood. I clearly cannot help it.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Esso touts the oil culture in these 1950s books for kids

I have a pair of interesting staplebound books published by Esso Standard1 in the 1950s and intended for use in classrooms. What better way to indoctrinate fledgling Baby Boomers into the wonders of automobiles and petroleum than to pepper their schools with propaganda?

The first book, published in 1957, is titled "What Makes a Car Go?" It features an unnamed boy and girl, their little black poodle, the friendly service-station attendant pictured at the top of today's post, and "Men."

In the 16-page book, students learn that:
  • "Gasoline comes out of the hose into our car."
  • "Gasoline is not made at the service station."
Well, that's not all they learn. Students learn about crude oil and drilling deep into the ground and refineries and pipelines and jet fuel and heating oil. And the fact that most of the roads we use are paved with asphalt, which is made from crude oil.

And they learn who makes this all happen: Men.

Men. Men. Men.2

"Men use oil to make many things to help us work and play and travel."

Here are two additional illustrations from Esso's "What Makes a Car Go?"...

"Men can make many things we need from oil." This illustration must be straight out of James Howard Kunstler's worst nightmare.

"Hey Sis, did you know that 32 years after the publication of this book, an oil tanker much like this one will hit a reef off the coast of Alaska and spill hundreds of thousands of barrels of oil, which will turn birds like the ones in this illustration as black as our pet poodle?"

The second book was published in 1959 and is titled "Travelers' Island." It's the story of Tom, a young man who is very excited because he gets to work at Bart's service station for two weeks in the summer. This leads to the following family scene:
"That's wonderful, Tom. You always did like to work around cars."

"Do you know enough about them to be a helper?"

"Oh, sure, Dad. There's nothing to it."

Tom's sister, Penny, made a face. She said, "Oh, Dad, you should know that Tom knows everything." They all laughed and sat down for supper.3
Tom discovers he doesn't really know everything. At Bart Carlson's service station, he puts on coveralls and learns words like "island"4 and "bay."

Tom also learns how to use tools. And watches as Men deliver gasoline and other oil products to the service station.

Tom is left with many wonderful memories, as clearly evidenced by this illustration at the end of the story:

I am strongly considering making this my new Twitter avatar. Thoughts?

1. Esso is an international trade name for ExxonMobil, which is a direct descendant of Standard Oil. Esso stations were widespread in the United States until around 1972. They can still be found throughout the rest of the world.
2. Within the 16 pages, there are 11 references to "men" making this all happen.
3. That scene is an accurate reflection of real family life in the late 1950s. I checked this blog post for historical accuracy by watching an episode of "Leave It to Beaver."
4. "This concrete island keeps cars from bumping into the gasoline pumps," Mr. Carlson explains.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Recipes from Cook's Corner in the Tyrone Daily Herald

Peg Hurd worked for the Tyrone (Pa.) Daily Herald1 from 1972 to 1992 and wrote this of her two decades there in her September 26, 1992, farewell column: "Since I arrived in the Herald newsroom in 1972 (a wide-eyed kid of 45), I have worked with four publishers and five editors. I have learned to type, to use a computer, to avoid adjectives and to be objective in my reporting. I have also had fun."

One of the things that must have been fun for Hurd was putting together the "Cook's Corner" food column.

I came across some of those newspaper clippings in a bag filled with recipes that I picked up at a flea market in northcentral Pennsylvania last year.

In one 1984 "Cook's Corner," Hurd wrote: "Penn State football fans are in a quandry. When Paterno and Company move kick-off time to noon, what do you serve at the tailgate picnic? If you want to make it to your seat 80 rows up before the Blue Band leaves the field, it means you better have the table set up and be munching your lunch before 10:30 a.m."

That column provided recipes for Impossible Quiche, Coleslaw With Fruit, Spicy Raisin Coffeecake, Coconut Cake Doughnuts and Poppy Seed Muffins.

The "Cook's Corner" clipping pictured with today's post also mentions Joe Paterno. On October 17, 1984, Hurd wrote: "WPSX-TV recently published its second annual edition of 'Joe Paterno's TV Quarterbacks Tailgating Cookbook,'2 and since this is definitely the season for it, we have chosen some of the recipes contributed to the book by veteran Penn State tailgaters."

Here's the Tailgate Bean Soup recipe:

  • 2 ounces each: large limas, small limas, yellow split peas, green split peas, kidney beans, barley, lentils, navy beans, black-eyed peas, small red beans
  • 2 or 3 ham hocks or ham bone
  • 1 can tomatoes (blended in a blender)
  • 1 pod red pepper (optional)
  • juice of one lemon
  • salt and pepper to taste
Wash beans thoroughly and place in a large kettle. Cover with water, add 2 Tblsp. salt and cook overnight.3 In the morning, drain well and add 2 quarts water and ham hocks. Bring to boil; simmer slowly 2½ to 3 hours. Add onion, tomatoes, pepper, lemon, salt and pepper. Simmer another ½ hour or longer if desired. The soup can be made ahead of time and frozen. Before the game, be sure the soup is hot. Place in thermos jug and take to tailgate. It is especially good at late season games when the weather is likely to be cold.

1. Tyrone is a small borough in Blair County, Pennsylvania. It has a notable historic district and is the birthplace of Fred Waring -- "The Man Who Taught America How to Sing." It's not clear, by the way, whether the Tyrone Daily Herald is still in business.
2. At right, see what the cover of "Joe Paterno's TV Quarterbacks Tailgating Cookbook" looks like, according to's product page.
3. Maybe I'm just dim, but it would be nice to know what temperature to cook them overnight.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Reader comments, including an update on the quest for Oona

Earlier this month, I received a request for help finding a book of fairy tales featuring Oona. Simon, who contacted me through my Wikipedia account, is trying to help his grandmother find a book from her youth:
"She could not remember its title, only that it was a book of fairy tales, and that the main character was a fairy called Oona (she was certain of that spelling). She said she read it between the ages of 7 and 9, which would mean c. 1932-35 (although of course the book may have been published before that)."
Reader Cindy Snyder was the first to respond. She prefaced her Oona information with "I found this information, but I'm not sure if it will help because of the publication date." What Snyder found was "The Wee Christmas Cabin of Carn-na-ween" by Ruth Sawyer, which was originally published in 1941.

The book description states:
"A hundred years ago and more, on a stretch of road that runs from the town of Donegal to Killybegs and the sea, a drove of tinkers went their way of mending pots and thieving lambs. Having a child too many for the caravan, they left it, new-born, upon a cabin doorstill in Carn-na-ween.

"So begins the life of Oona Hegarty, who grows up to be beautiful, kind, talented and clever — but doomed , as a tinker's child, never to marry or have a home of her own. She spends her life wandering from cabin to cabin, nurturing others' children or tending the sick and the old, only to be turned out again when her usefulness has passed. Then comes the snowy Christmas Eve when Oona, an old woman now, finds herself homeless, hoisting a bundle of donated treasures almost too heavy to lift. With a famine turning human hearts to stone and not a soul who is willing to take her in, it seems Oona will end her days with no place to rest her head or warm her bones. But what of the Gentle People said to live in the boglands near Carn-na-ween — will they let an old woman's lifelong kindness go unrewarded, especially on a white Christmas?"
Simon, who has since contacted me by email, agrees that this is probably not the book his grandmother remembers. (It's worth noting, though, that Sawyer began publishing books in 1915. Perhaps she had more than one story featuring a character named Oona?)

Meanwhile, Justin Mann of Justin's Brew Review let his Google+ friends know about our search. One of them, Floyd McGaha, suggested searching Google Books with a date filter of 1900 to 1939. You can view those results here.

And my mom, who works at The Helen Kate Furness Free Library in Wallingford, Pennsylvania, and loves to help with the mysteries we come across, added the following suggestion: "Check out 'Oona and the Giants,' an old Irish folktale which has been published many times with different titles by several tellers and retellers. I can't find an original author, which is normal for old folktales."

So we haven't solved this one yet for Simon and his grandmother. But I feel like there are still some good leads to pursue. I'm definitely going to delve more deeply into Google Books. Stay tuned!

Moving along to other recent reader comments:

Reader memories of West Pittston, Pennsylvania: Reader Jo Ott provided us with some wonderful tales of growing up in West Pittston. At one point, she wrote: "There are many more stories -- like how our family received eggs and sugar in the mail from a relative in Juniata County during those war years."

That prompted me to ask, "How does one mail eggs?"

Jo, of course, had a fascinating answer. She writes:
"The egg story goes like this: My aunt Lydia owned a restaurant in Mifflin, across the Juniata River from Mifflintown. As a business owner, she was able to have much larger rations of food items than residents with those tiny ration coupons. She would share with some family members & I'm sure some town folk some restaurant supplies that were rationed by the government during those war years. She had a square box made out of some kinds of composite materials that was very sturdy. Inside were three layers of dimpled and thick fiber board. Each dimple held one egg, so the box was able to hold two dozen eggs, with one layer on the bottom, one above filled with eggs and the third on top for protection. Once filled and ready to be shipped, there were two heavy-duty straps to hold the lid, which fit down over the sides, in place. On the outside there also were two square, metal frames in which to place address to and return address cards. Aunt Lyd, as nearly everyone called her, would ship the carton of eggs to us and we would ship the empty carton back to her to begin the process all over again. I don't recall if any or how many eggs were ever broken in the few years we did this. I've no idea whatever happened to that box. With the many floods in that area, I'm sure it floated on down into the Chesapeake Bay and out to sea many years ago!"
J.C. Savage of Belfast, tailor and breeches maker: JT Anthony of A Pretty Book writes:
"My eye caught this phrase and it made my brain stumble: 'Remittances payable to J.C. Savage, and crossed Ulster Bank, Carlisle Circus, Belfast.'

"I know that 'remittances payable' is old-fashioned code for check, but I've never run across the phrase crossed, even in my brief, but tortured stint, as a bank auditor.

"Research indicates that it is a banking practice found in Europe, Asia, and other places but not the U.S.

"To cross a check, you draw two parallel vertical lines across the face of the check with various notations between the lines, each meaning something different. At this point the check cannot be cashed, it must be deposited.

"If a bank name, as requested by J.C. Savage, is included in the lines, it's even more restrictive, indicating that the check must be deposited to that bank in order to get payment.

"Very similar to the U.S. endorsement 'For Deposit Only' except that the safeguards are made by the person writing the check not depositing the check.

"More than any sane person would want to know..."
And exactly the kind of cool history I love to pass along here on Papergreat. Thanks, as always, JT!

The (new) oddest stuff I've found tucked inside a book: Wendyvee of Wendyvee's comments: "I love a person who would track down info regarding embroidery floss and tags found in a book ... I would totally do the same thing."

Postcard: Wishing Thoma a Merry Christmas in 1913: seldom_seen writes: "If you find out who the publisher of the Post Card is, let me know. I have a card with an identical Post Card header but underneath it is an additional little Trademark of an S inside a larger Q. I have net been able to identify the trademark, yet."

Saturday's postcard: America House Motor Inn: Melanie Pancho, responding on Papergreat's Facebook page (do you "Like" this blog yet?) was able to solve the primary question posed by the post, because she lives in Virginia Beach, Virginia. She writes: "Yep, it's still there! It's called the Sunset Beach Resort now, though." And she provided this link.

Advertisement for Murine Eye Remedy Co. in "The Rival Heiresses": Also commenting on Facebook, Linda Chenoweth Harlow writes: "I'm going to see if I can get out of doing a lot at work tomorrow because my eyes are 'enfeebled' and the computer screen makes them worse."

Advertisements from a 1982 issue of Creative Computing: Finally, I received this mysterious comment from Anonymous: "wondering about the poster in the upper left." Attached to the comment was a link to this photo:

Now, I'm sure the reason Anonymous sent me this photo is because of the Microsoft poster on the right. I have no idea what product Microsoft is touting with this colorful illustration of what appears to be a samurai.

Of course, the rest of this obviously-early-1980s photo is amusing, too. We have:
  • Three young women doing something odd with their hands
  • poster for Vail, Colorado
  • A T-shirt that states: "Still looking for Prince Charming"
  • And an E.T. button
You never know where this blog is going to take you, eh? Today, it was from Oona to E.T.

Monday, January 30, 2012

A trio of cool cover illustrations

Let's start off the week with three wonderful book-cover illustrations that I came across over the weekend.

This above illustration is from the torn dust jacket to the 1922 novel "Georgina Finds Herself" by Shirley Watkins.

You already know that I'm a sucker for illustrations of young ladies reading books. So, naturally, I was drawn to this piece of artwork featuring Georgina sitting in a window alcove and sporting a pair of nifty red slippers!

Pictured above is the front cover of "A Text-Book of Nursing," compiled by Clara S. Weeks and published in 1888 by D. Appleton and Company. I love the gold lettering, which looks practically hand-drawn, and the line illustration of the sick woman in bed.

Finally, here's the cover of 1909's "The Submarine Boys' Trial Trip" by Victor G. Durham. This adventure series was published by Henry Altemus Company1 of Philadelphia.

Eight books in this series were published between 1909 and 1920. ("Trial Trip" was the second in the series.)

If you check out this excellent web page on, you can find out all you ever wanted to know about the Submarine Boys, including the title of the never-published ninth book in the series. One interesting note is that this same cover illustration was used throughout the series.

I also highly recommend this in-depth history of the Altemus Juvenile Series on the same website. The Altemus titles were in competition with the Stratemeyer Syndicate juvenile-fiction books that I wrote about last April.

1. Henry Altemus Company was previously mentioned in "American flag history, compliments of Leinbach & Bro. in Reading."

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Three old postcards from Cairo

I haven't written much about the Middle East. (As you might imagine, my ephemera bins are not overflowing with old magazines from Lebanon, receipts from Syria or clipped recipes from Iraq.)

But I do have some postcards, courtesy of decades of world travel by my 20th century ancestors.

Here are three old, black-and-white postcards featuring various scenes from Cairo -- Egypt's largest city:

"Cairo - Interior of the Mosque Mohamed Ali"

The generally accepted English spelling of this place is now Mosque of Muhammad Ali Pasha. (It's also known as the Alabaster Mosque.) It was commissioned by Muhammad Ali Pasha al-Mas'ud ibn Agha1 and was constructed between 1830 and 1848. Situated on a summit, it is one of the most visible buildings in Cairo, and can be easily seen as one approaches the city.

This Wikipedia image of the mosque's interior, shot in 2006, was taken from an angle similiar to the one in the postcard and shows that little has changed inside the mosque throughout the decades.

None of today's postcards are dated or were sent through the mail. Other than the cursive script on the front, this one has the following text on the back:

Publ. & Copyright, Lehnert & Landrock, Cairo

Lehnert & Landrock is still around. It's a famous and prestigious bookshop and art gallery in Cairo. Its extensive website contains biographies of Rudolf Lehnert and Ernst Landrock.

"Cairo - General View"

This is another Lehnert & Landrock postcard.

I have no idea what corner of the city this is, or what that location looks like today.

Church of St. George

I might have been out of luck on identifying this postcard if a relative hadn't scrawled something on the back, because the only markings are some odd etchings on the front of the card (more on that in a moment) and the single word "FORTE" on the back of the card.

But someone, either my grandmother or great-grandmother, wrote the following in ink on the back of the card:
"Coptic Church (Christian)
Oldest Church in Cairo
St. Georges Church
So that would make this a postcard from the Church of St. George, a Greek Orthodox church in Coptic Cairo. The original church building dated to the 10th century, but was destroyed by a fire. The church shown in this photo dates to 1904. There is also the Monastery of St. George, which is next door to the church.

Here are some sites where you can read more about the Church of St. George and Coptic Cairo:
But what about those etchings on the left side of the postcard? A closer look:

To me, the four letters at the top look like BADG.

It's not clear what's written underneath. But, with a little imagination, you can perhaps see the C, A and O of the word "Cairo." Thoughts?

1. Muhammad Ali Pasha al-Mas'ud ibn Agha (1769-1849), who is regarded as the founder of modern Egypt, is buried in a tomb in the courtyard of this mosque.