Saturday, February 11, 2012

Saturday's postcards: Planes, boats, waterfalls and ice skating

Let's zip all over the world this afternoon with some cool 20th century postcards.

Eastern's Giant Douglas Silverliners

The front of this undated, illustrated postcard states: "Eastern's Giant Douglas Silverliners Bring a New Degree of Speed to Air Travel."

The back of the postcard provides more detail:

Eastern Air Lines has selected the famous Douglas Silverliners as one of the four types of new planes -- each picked for specific travel service over the routes of The Great Silver Fleet. Flying at 230 miles per hour, and carrying 56 passengers, these 4-engined giants of the air have been selected for fast flights of intermediate distances.
So this airplane is, if my research is correct, a modified Douglas C-54 Skymaster. These were originally military planes used during World War II and the Korean War. After Korea, it had a long career of military and civilian use. It was one of the first aircraft to carry the U.S. president while assuming the call sign Air Force One, according to Wikipedia.

Also printed on the back of the postcard is: "Hand to flight attendant for mailing."

Aborigine girls at Sun-Moon Lake, Formosa

This undated, unused Japan Air Lines ("Route of the Couriers") postcard doesn't contain much more information than what is stated above. But we can still learn a good deal. Breaking it down, piece by piece:
  • Aborigine girls: Taiwanese aborigines make up about 2% of the population (just under 500,000) of Taiwan. Wikipedia has a wonderful, in-depth article on these peoples. You could lose yourself for an entire afternoon there.
  • Sun Moon Lake: This body of water, the largest in Taiwan, is also referred to as Rìyuètán, Ji̍t-goa̍t-thâm, Zintun and Lake Candidius in various languages and historical eras. It surrounds tiny Lalu Island. In legend, Thao hunters discovered Sun Moon Lake while chasing a white deer through the surrounding mountains.
  • Formosa: Formosa is one of the former names of Taiwan. The name comes from the Portuguese phrase Ilha Formosa, which translates as "beautiful island."

Fossli Hotel, med Vøringfoss

Yes, there's a hotel pictured in this breathtaking postcard. Can you see it?

It's the Fossli Hotel in Vøringfossen, Hardanger, Norway. It was opened in 1891, according to the hotel's website. It is only open from late May through the middle of September each year.1

Here is some more background and history from the hotel's website:
"Fossli Hotel, established in 1891, is situated at the innermost end of the Hardanger Fiord in the beautiful Hardanger mountains. The hotel overlooks one of the highest waterfalls in Europe.

"The magnificent Vøringsfoss waterfall has attracted the Kings and Queens and, writers and musicians of Norway and Europe to stay at the Fossli hotel for almost 120 years. Edvard Grieg2 wrote his Opus 66 at the Fossli Hotel.

"The hotel which has been family owned for four generations was designed by the famous architect Konow Lund in the Art Nouveau style for visitors to relax in the clear mountain air. The hotel has retained it's original character to this day.

"In the absence of roads in 1891 the building materials which were carried on horseback to the mountain plateau."
A single room at the Fossli Hotel has a price of 790 Norwegian krones. If I'm doing my math correctly, that would convert to about $137.45 in U.S. currency on the date of this blog post. Not too unreasonable (if you can get yourself there).

The Galleria in Houston, Texas

And here's one last undated, unused postcard. It's an "Astrocard" postcard of the ice skating rink at the The Galleria shopping mall in Houston, Texas. The mall opened in November 1970, one month before I was born.

Stated on the back of the postcard is the following: "Three levels of shopping including over 60 Shops and Ice Skating Rink. In the Galleria -- Post Oak Complex, Houston, Texas."

But the main reason I'm featuring this image is a silly one. This old photo of people awkwardly milling about the ice rink inside a shopping mall totally reminds me of the mall zombies in "Dawn of the Dead."

And so, after Douglas Silverliners, Taiwanese aborigines and the magnificent Vøringsfoss waterfall, I'm leaving you with the wonderful product of American culture and society that is ... Herbert Chappell's "The Gonk."3

1. In the winter, the Torrance family takes care of Fossli Hotel. They've always been the caretakers.
2. Ha! This makes two Saturdays in a row that Edvard Grieg has been mentioned.
3. Here's a fun read about the incidental music from "Dawn of the Dead."

Friday, February 10, 2012

Four great Facebook pages for ephemera lovers

If you can't get enough daily doses of great ephemera, here are four terrific Facebook pages that feature wonderful old advertising, illustrations and other artwork, along with one sample image from each page to whet your appetite.

Go check them out!

Vintage Advertising and Poster Art

The International Poster Center

Leonetto Cappiello

Vintage image restoration

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Violet Anderson and Kenneth Lehman will sing and play

This is one of the more obscure things that I've posted, but I love this little note.

Scrawled across the bottom of a page within the 1933 textbook "Contemporary Banking" (by H. Parker Willis, John M. Chapman and Ralph West Robey) was the following:
"If you want some enternainers [sic] you can get Violet Anderson from Emigsville and Kenneth Lehman from the Glades1 to sing and play for 5.00."
This singing-and-playing duo were also partners in marriage.

According to online genealogy records2, Violet and Kenneth were born and died here in York County, Pennsylvania:
  • Kenneth E. Lehman was born on August 3, 1916, in Hellam Township and died on May 11, 2002, in York.
  • His wife, Violet M. Anderson, was born on April 13, 1918, in Manchester Township and died in 1995 in York.
  • Both are buried in Mt. Zion Cemetery in Springettsbury Township.
  • They had one daughter.
It doesn't appear that either one of them made entertainment a primary career. According to her obituary, Violet worked at the former D&D Sewing Company in North York. And according to his obituary, "Mr. Lehman was a retired self-employed painter who also worked for York Safe and Lock."3

But, within both obituaries, there is a hint of how making music was a part of their lives. Kenneth's obituary states that he was a member of the Green Valley Ramblers Country Band. Violet's obituary states that she was a member of Green Valley Ramblers String Band.

Surely, those are the same band. But what is (or was) that band? I found that a group called The Green Valley Ramblers released an album titled "Bluegrass Dawn" in 1974. Neither Kenneth nor Violet is listed among the group's members. Other evidence online seems to indicate that the group was around until at least the early 1980s.4 Was the York County couple involved in this group at some point? In what capacity?

Time to do some more digging...

1. York Daily Record/Sunday News editor Jim McClure writes about "The Glades" area of York County in this York Town Square blog post. Here's one small excerpt, in which McClure quotes Springettsbury Township's 1991 centennial book:
"The name Glades was given to the village about 1800 by travelers going from York to the river because it was an open passage or space in what was then a forest for miles around."
2. The source for this genealogy information is "Descendants of John Henry Shermeyer (6/18/09)" on Anita's Hobbies, which is written by Anita Heisig. Her tremendously organized and detailed website is also the source of the obituaries cited and linked to in this post.
3. I turn once again to McClure's blog for some background on York Safe & Lock, which was located at the site that later became part of a Harley-Davidson plant. (Check out this previous Papergreat post on Harley-Davidson attire.)
4. In trying to find information about the Ramblers, I came across this Mandozine interview with mandolin player extraordinaire Tony Williamson (a former Rambler), which is fascinating in its own right.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Only six days until Valentine's Day!

In just six days, it will be Saint Valentine's Day. Are you ready?

I am! I've been hoarding vintage Valentine's Day cards over the past year, waiting to present them on the blog this month.1

So look for a high Schmoopie2 Ephemera Quotient (SEQ) next Tuesday.

In the meanwhile, here's a sneak preview.

It's an undated valentine that was printed in Germany. On the back, written in cursive, is "To Mary Holstine." Under that is the mysterious notation:
"From 10-5-3"

Someone wanted to remain anonymous in sharing their heartfelt sentiment. And anonymous he or she shall remain!

1. This is probably not the portion of my Valentine's Day preparations that my beautiful spouse is interested in.
2. How time flies! It's been 17 years since "schmoopie" made its modern-language debut in "The Soup Nazi" episode of "Seinfeld."

Monday, February 6, 2012

New occasional series:
The Wanamaker Diary 1910

This is a battered, falling-apart-at-the-seams copy of "The Wanamaker Diary" for 1910 that I've been wanting to write about for a year. But the problem is that it's too interesting. I could never figure out where to start or conceive of how to fit all of the cool stuff from its 400-plus pages into one blog post.

I mean, this thing is PACKED with goodies. Vintage advertisements, diagrams of Philadelphia's sports and theater venues from a century ago1, poems, recipes2, household tips, pet names for a baby's fingers3, song lyrics, news reports of telepathy, some family information scrawled in pencil by its former owner, weather-forecasting guides and much, much more.

So I'm turning it into a series!

I can imagine churning out a dozen or more posts on this gem of a 102-year-old book during the next year. I have created a Wanamaker Series label to organize the posts as they accumulate.

For today, we get no further than the inside covers.

This is the inside front cover:

The advertisement for the Underwood Typewriter Company touts the No. 5 Underwood Retail Bill and Charge Typewriter: "For entering charges and making entry on weekly or monthly bill at one operation, this machine is incomparable. Typewritten Records, Time Saved, and Underwood Satisfaction."

Meanwhile, the inside back cover touts the Philadelphia Wanamaker's (which I'll write more about in coming installments):

1. Including Franklin Field, Adelphi Theatre and the Chestnut Street Opera House.
2. Including this recipe for Meat Tea: "Cut a pound of lean meat into thin slices, put into a quart and half a pint of cold water, set it over a gentle fire where it will become gradually warm. When the scum arises let it simmer gently for about an hour, then strain it through a fine sieve or napkin, let it stand ten minutes to settle, and then pour off the clear tea. An onion and a few grains of black pepper may be added."
3. Thumbo, Lickpot, Long Man Ling, Side Finger Ring, Lit-tle ducky duck-y ducky duck-y darling, Thumbkin, Pinnikin, Long Man Gray, Ring Man and Peezy Weezy, of course.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Advertisement for USFL clothing from 1984 championship program

As you're getting ready for Super Bowl XLVI, here's an advertisement from the $3 program1 for the second United States Football League championship game, which my dad and I attended on July 15, 1984,2 in Tampa Stadium.

The Philadelphia Stars3, my favorite team, defeated the Arizona Wranglers, 23-3. Before the 1984 season, the Arizona Wranglers had been traded for the Chicago Blitz. After the season, the Philadelphia Stars moved to Baltimore. And people wonder why the league was only around for three seasons.

It wasn't for lack of trying that the league folded. The teams had bright colors and memorable nicknames/logos -- including the Denver Gold, Birmingham Stallions, Memphis Showboats, Houston Gamblers, Tampa Bay Bandits, San Antonio Gunslingers and Pittsburgh Maulers.

I have plenty of great USFL memories. The Philadelphia Stars and the USFL in general were much more interesting in the early 1980s than the Philadelphia Eagles, who had a guy named Marion as their head coach. Nuff said.

Share your favorite USFL memories in the comments section below!

1. From Page 57 of the program:
  • "Today's National Anthem will be performed by one of the country's newest and exciting country-rock bands: Alabama.
  • "Halftime performances by the Chamberlain Chiefettes, Just Kids, Mary May Dance Studio, Suncoast Girl Scout Council, Suncoast Twirlers, Good Time Cloggers, Berry Patch Cloggers, Sun Country Cloggers and May's Twirling Cadets."
2. This game was played one year, to the month, before New England Patriots running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis was born. You may go ahead and feel old now.
3. The Philadelphia Stars' impressive roster included Kelvin Bryant, Chuck Fusina, Sean Landeta, Sam Mills, Bart Oates, Brad Oates and, hailing from Red Lion, Pennsylvania, York County's own Scott Fitzkee.