Saturday, March 24, 2012

Saturday's postcards: Churches in Norway, Denmark and Belgium

Today's theme is churches featured on postcards. All three of these churches have foundations or portions that are at least 750 years old.

Nikolaj Church in Copenhagen, Denmark

This undated Dancolor postcard has captions on the reverse side in two different languages.

The English caption states: "COPENHAGEN -- GL. STRAND i.e. 'Old Strand' with the well-preserved old houses. In the background we see the spire os [sic] St. Nicholas' Church."

"GL. STRAND" is the Gammel Strand, a street and public square in central Copenhagen that features brightly colored houses from the 18th and 19th century.

The church pictured here hasn't served as a church for more than two centuries. It's the Nikolaj Copenhagen Contemporary Art Center. (See it's English-language page here.) Here is some history of Nikolaj Church, culled from a pair of websites:1
  • The original church was supposedly built in the early 11th century, but there is no official record of it until 1261.
  • A total reconstruction was completed in 1517. Given its location, it was considered a church for sailors.
  • By 1536, as the Danish Reformation continued, Nikolaj ceased to be a Catholic church.
  • In 1567, according to the Nikolaj Copenhagen Contemporary Art Center, "A number of supposed witches, causing a 'sudden darkness' during a sermon were being burned."
  • In 1611, the first Gothic spire was constructed and, in January 1628, a storm sent the spire crashing down.
  • The church survived Copenhagen's fire of 1728, but only "sooty remains" of Nikolaj remained after the fire of 1795. That fire destroyed about 900 buildings and left about 6,000 residents homeless.
  • The church ruins from the fire stood for several years. Eventually, everything was torn down but the high tower, which became an observation post for the fire department for 60 to 70 years in the 19th century.
  • The church was finally rebuilt to its current appearance in 1917. A few years earlier, a new copper spire identical to the one from the Renaissance period had been paid for by brewer/philanthropist Carl Jacobsen. The complex was reinaugurated, but not for church services -- it was to be used for other cultural and commercial activities. Since 1980, it has been the aforementioned Nikolaj Copenhagen Contemporary Art Center.

St. Michael and St. Gudula Cathedral in Brussels, Belgium

This undated Colorprint postcard features St. Michael and St. Gudula Cathedral (as it is now called) in Brussels, Belgium, and gives you its name in four different languages on the reverse side:
  • BRUXELLES: Collégiale des SS. Michel et Gudule.
  • BRUSSEL: St. Michiel en Ste. Goedele Kerk.
  • BRÜSSEL: St. Michael und St. Gudula Kirche.
  • BRUSSELS: St. Michael and St. Gudules Collegiate Church.
This location has housed a church since at least the 11th century. The patron saints of the church, archangel St. Michael and the martyr St. Gudula2, are also the patron saints of Brussels.

The cathedral was renovated in the Gothic style in the 13th century, and the current facade was completed in the 15th century. More good information about the church can be found at its official website, on this travel/sightseeing website, and on

But here's my question: How did Colorprint chose this photo for the postcard? Did they tell their photographer to go get a nice vertical shot of the cathedral ... but wait until there's a car driving right in front of the shot! Did they think a photo of just the cathedral would be too boring?

As for the car, we're pretty sure it's a first-generation (1955–1956) or second-generation (1957–1959) Ford Fairlane. Can any car experts out there provide confirmation and/or further details?

Borgund Stave Church, Norway

Finally, this undated postcard shows the Borgund Stave Church in Borgund, Norway.

The reverse features an Ultra logo and has this credit line: "ENERETT: KNUT Aüne KUNSTFORLAG - PRINTED IN NORWAY".

The 12th century structure now serves as a museum for the Lutheran Church of Norway.

Here's an excerpt from Wikipedia on the building's history:
"Borgund was built sometime between 1180 and 1250 CE with later additions and restorations. Its walls are formed by vertical wooden boards, or staves, hence the name 'stave church'. The four corner posts were connected to one another by ground sills, resting on a stone foundation. The rest of the staves then rise from the ground sills, each stave notched and grooved along the sides so that they lock into one another, forming a sturdy wall."
Churches that were inspired by this church or serve as replicas of it can be found in Bergen, Norway; Hahnenklee, Germany; and Rapid City, South Dakota.

Also of note at Borgund Stave Church are the runic inscriptions on its walls. One of them, Runic inscription N 351, translates roughly to: "Þórir carved these runes on the eve of Olaus-mass, as he travelled past here. The norns presented measures of good and evil, great toil ... they created before me."

The norns of Norse mythology were female beings who had control over the destinies of both gods and men. It was believed there were both malevolent and benevolent norns. Here's more information, from Wikipedia:
"According to Snorri Sturluson's interpretation of the Völuspá, the three most important norns, Urðr (Wyrd), Verðandi and Skuld come out from a hall standing at the Well of Urðr (well of fate) and they draw water from the well and take sand that lies around it, which they pour over Yggdrasill so that its branches will not rot."
Belief in norns continued even after the introduction of Christianity, as evidenced by Þórir's inscription at Borgund Stave Church.

And the legends of the norns may have inspired Shakespeare when he envisioned the Three Witches in Macbeth.

1. Sources for Nikolaj Church's history are The Illustrated History of Nikolaj on the the Nikolaj Copenhagen Contemporary Art Center's website and Nikolaj Kirke - Copenhagen on Copenhagen Portal.
2. Gudula lived in Moorsel, Belgium, and died and was buried in Hamme. Then her remains (called relics) went on a bit of a whirlwind tour. The relics were moved to the church of Sint-Salvator in Moorsel and later transferred to the chapel of Saint Gaugericus at Brussels before finally landing at the church of Saint Michael. Somehow, along the way, Gudula's skull separately ended up at Eibingen Abbey in Rüdesheim am Rhein, Germany.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Peering at Devil's old medical record

This is Devil.

Or, to be more precise, this was Devil, a German Shepherd, in December 1972, at the age of eight months. Quite a handsome canine!

Devil's old medical record from Endwell Animal Hospital in Endwell, New York,1 was part of an auction lot of estate ephemera that we acquired a couple of years ago. In addition to the snapshot of Devil shown above, there are eight other pieces of paper inside the "Medical Record" envelope. There's also a metal dog tag issued in 1975 by New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets.

Here are some facts about Devil that can be gleaned from his records of four decades ago:
  • He was born in April 1972.2
  • He belonged to the O'Hora family of Endicott, New York.
  • Dr. H.W. Norris gave him his eight-month rabies vaccination on December 5, 1972. At that point, Devil's next official appointment wasn't until November 1976 -- nearly four years later.
  • Devil already weighed 70 pounds when he was eight months old.
  • The O'Hora family renewed his New York state dog license for 1973, 1974 and 1975. In each case the fee was $2.35.3
  • The 1973 license is stamped with the name of Union deputy town clerk Leone E. Silvernail, while the 1974 and 1975 licenses were handled by clerk Kathryn S. Bell. Dr. Norris is indicated as the veterinarian on all three licenses.
  • There is no record of Devil -- medical or otherwise -- past the 1975 license that was issued on December 31, 1974.
Also included inside the "Medical Record" envelope are a pair of brochures that would have been distributed to dog owners in the early 1970s.

There's an illustrated staplebound pamphlet, copyright 1970, from the women's auxiliary to the American Veterinary Medical Association titled "I Like children -- BUT."

The common-sense tips for interacting with dogs include:
  • Don't bother me at chowtime
  • Don't pet me if I don't know you
  • Never tease me! If you do I might bite you! If I do -- your parent must call your family's DOCTOR to look at YOU. Then call your family's VETERINARIAN to look at ME!

There's also a 1970 "Dog Owners Guide to Grooming" from the Gaines Dog Research Center.

Here are two photos from that 20-page pamphlet -- one cute and one silly.

1. A fun tidbit of history of the hamlet of Endwell, from Wikipedia:
"Endwell used to be known as 'Hooper,' but the name had to be changed in 1921 because of post office regulations. There were too many locations in the state with the name Hooper. The most likely story, shared by an elderly man who attended the meeting to change the name: Endicott Johnson Corporation was producing a line of shoes called the 'Endwell.' An advertisement for the shoes read, 'Wear the Endwell shoes and your day will end well.'"
2. These people were also born in April 1972: Jennie Garth, Jason Varitek, Jennifer Garner, Carmen Electra and Chipper Jones.
3. According to this article, New York's Department of Agriculture and Markets got fully out of the dog-licensing business in 2011.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

My son's special guest post about geography

Today's special post is by my son, Ashar.

Today my father and I were down in our basement in his ephemera hideout looking for old school books. My dad came up with the idea to do this.

I enjoyed it, because I found this really cool old geography book. It's called New Geography Book One. Frye-Atwood Geographical Series by Alexis Everett Frye. It was published in the year 1920.

On Page 80 of the geography book, it talks about animals of North America. Here is an intro of that page:
"Farm animals. In the story of the Indian, we learned that the white man brought cows, horses, sheep, and hogs to America. There are millions of these animals here now."
On Page 80 of the geography book, there is a map called "The Animal Map of North America" and we're going to show you a closeup of it:

Here is another part that I found interesting:
"The horse is the farmer's friend. It hauls the plow to break up the soil, the seeder to plant the seeds, the mower to cut the hay and the grain and the wagon to bring in the crop. Without the horse or the mule, the work on small farms would be very much harder. On many large farms, the work that was once done by animals is now done by machines run by steam or other power. The place of the carriage horse has been taken largely by automobiles."
Well, yes and no. Because the Amish still use horses to pull their seed plowers and to get around to different places because they don't use cars. They still follow the same rules of their Christianity from a long time ago. They don't use cellphones, they don't use TVs, they don't use computers. They make everything they have from hand. They grow most of their food. They don't have cameras or anything.

I sometimes see the Amish when we're at the food market or when we're driving we see horse and buggies, or when we're in an Amish town and you see all the Amish kids playing and riding their wooden scooters. To us, we think that they get all their things handmade, and we might also think it's kind of boring, but it's just how they live and we all respect that. At least, we should. The picture that you see is some Amish people riding in a horse and buggy in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. It's near our house, which is in York, Pa.

Here is another section from this geography page:
"Bear family. We have read about some of the animals of the frigid zone. Cousins of the white bear are found farther south. The Western Highland is the home of the grizzly bear. Black bears and brown bears are seen in some of the mountains and forests, where they have fled from man."
I did not know that black bears (pictured here) and brown bears were seen in mountains and forest, and that they fled from man. It kind of makes me a little bit sad, that man was hunting them for food and then finally the animals decided that we need to flee, we need to go.

My dad told me that now there is four to five days of bear hunting in Pennsylvania, but only for hunters that have a legal license. That is to control the bear population, which I can understand that.

This book was really interesting. I'll probably just still look at it and see what other sections there are of the book.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

A closer look at the first day of spring (circa 1850)

One year ago today, also on the first day of spring, I featured a mid-19th century magazine illustration titled "Spring." It was just a short post and only featured that single image.

Looking back, however, I think I should have taken a closer look at the illustration. The artwork has a lot of surprises to offer.

So, here are some magnifications, beginning with the lovely lady and her flowers...

To the left of the woman, in background, a few sheep are milling about...

And some tiny, fragile butterflies flutter through the air...

Finally, look at the care that went into the tree roots and flowers in the bottom-right corner of the illustration...

Monday, March 19, 2012

How would Delaware respond to a nuclear attack?

Last summer I wrote about some college textbooks that Elbert Nostrand Carvel -- who went on to serve two terms as the governor of Delaware -- personally used in the early 1930s. But that post didn't generate much interest or commentary.1

So I thought I would spice things up with a nuclear attack.

In 1967, two years after the end of his second term as Delaware's governor and less than five years after the Cuban Missile Crisis, Elbert received a 2½-inch-thick, six-pound blue binder from the state's Office of Emergency Planning. The cover letter is dated April 28, 1967,2 and is signed by J.A. Sullivan, director of the Department of Civil Defense. The letter states:
Dear Governor Carvel:

The State of Delaware has developed a plan for the assessment and management of its resources in the event of an emergency caused by a nuclear attack on this country. This plan was approved by the Office of Emergency Planning, Executive Office
of the President and adopted by the Governor as the Emergency Resource Management Plan for the State.

It is the Governor's desire that all State and local government officials and agencies, organizations of our private sector and individuals concerned become thoroughly familiar with the scheduled participation in the program. A copy of the complete plan is hereby submitted for your review and retention in event its implementation is necessary.

Periodically, this plan will be reviewed and updated. Any changes noted or recommended should be submitted at that time.

Kindly acknowledge receipt of your numbered copy by signing and returning the enclosed postcard for record purposes.
The binder includes a preface, a letter than from then-Governor Charles Layman "Charlie" Terry, Jr., a small section labeled "Part A: Resource Management" and a larger section -- taking up the bulk of the binder -- labeled "Part B: Resource Programs."

Here's an excerpt from the preface:
"In the event of a nuclear emergency, with the isolation of areas and the probability of disruption of national government, the resultant effect upon our industrial and economic system would have a devastating effect upon the State and its people. Despite all Federal efforts and deterrents planned to prevent such an occurrence -- if it should happen -- national survival would be impaired if the individual State was not prepared and capable of survival through its own efforts."
"Part B: Resource Programs" is split into nine tabbed sections:
  • Construction and Housing
  • Economic Stabilization
  • Food
  • Health and Water
  • Industrial Production
  • Manpower
  • Petroleum, Gas and Solid Fuels
  • Transportation
  • Electric Power
Here are some items that struck me as interesting from the thick tome, which is written entirely in dry government language that in no way differentiates between the urgency surrounding The End of All Things and, say, legislation to designate an Official State Macroinvertebrate:3

Everyone freeze!
Included are copies of executive orders that would institute price, wage and rent freezes, per the Federal General Freeze Order.

Also, consumers would not be allowed to purchase and hoard necessities: "All retail sales except perishable foods or any health end items, shall be prohibited for a period of five (5) days from the effective date of this order, except that this period may be extended if exigencies of the emergency require such an extension."

After that period, a controlled and orderly rationing system would be put into place (if such a thing would even be possible in the chaos of a nuclear aftermath).

Make a list
There is a 12-page list of "Essential Survival Items" broken into seven major groups -- (1) Health Supplies and Equipment, (2) Food, (3) Body Protection and Household Operations, (4) Electric Power and Fuels, (5) Sanitation and Water Supply, (6) Emergency Housing and Construction Materials and Equipment, and (7) General Use Items.

All of the obvious medical supplies, foodstuffs, tools and construction materials make the list. Here's a sampling of some of the non-obvious items that also appear on there:
  • "Coffee, tea and cocoa are important for morale support"
  • DDT, water dispersible powder
  • Translucent window coverings
  • Corsets and all bed garments
  • Diatomaceous earth

Time to register
One of the first priorities in the aftermath of a nuclear attack would be the "registration of the populace of the State of Delaware" through use of the existing school districts. They even calculated how much time this would take:
"The population of the State of Delaware is approximately 500,000 persons.4 Assuming two (2) adults and three (3) children to the average family and establishing a procedure whereby one person registers an entire family, a requirement would exist to accomplish approximately 100,000 registrations. That is, one person would register for approximately five people.

"Allowing twelve (12) minutes per registration, one registration team at a Local Board site could accomplish five (5) registrations an hour. One team could accomplish forty (40) registrations in an eight-hour day. Five teams could accomplish two hundred (200) registrations in one eight-hour day. With five teams assigned to each of approximately one hundred (100) schools located within fifty-seven (57) districts, twenty thousand (20,000) registrations could be accomplished per day or the entire population of the State could be registered in five (5) eight-hour days."
What an example of an attempt to impose mathematics, bureacracy and order to a situation that would be incalculably chaotic and uncontrollable!

Finding manpower
Of course, one reason to get all the survivors of the nuclear attack registered as quickly as possible is ... to start putting them to work. The "Manpower" section of this 1967 emergency resource management defines "manpower" as "any person capable of performing work or other services needed for the survival of the community, state or nation."

Some further details regarding manpower:
  • "Many factors will govern assignments of manpower, including intensity of fallout, travel distances, shortages of regular occupational skills, and personal capabilities of physically able workers."
  • "The Delaware manpower agency (Employment Security Commission) will coordinate its activities through the Bureau of Employment Security of the U.S. Department of Labor. The Bureau's regional office, (Region III), Chambersburg, Pennsylvania will be the Delaware Agency's direct link with the Federal government5, which will continue to establish policy and guidance in the development and implementation of pre-attack plans and procedures and in the management of civilian manpower after a nuclear attack."
  • "During a nuclear emergency, The Selective Service System will screen its file and refer to The Employment Security Commission individuals not required by the military."

1. I should have known better. While the first Carvel post certainly held some historical interest, textbooks with titles like "Handbook of Equity Jurisprudence" and "Handbook of the Law of Municipal Corporations" don't exactly make for sexy blog topics.
2. Also on April 28, 1967, Muhammad Ali refused to serve in the U.S. military. From Wikipedia: "Appearing shortly thereafter for his scheduled induction into the U.S. Armed Forces on April 28, 1967 in Houston, he refused three times to step forward at the call of his name. An officer warned him he was committing a felony punishable by five years in prison and a fine of $10,000. Once more, Ali refused to budge when his name was called. As a result, he was arrested and on the same day the New York State Athletic Commission suspended his boxing license and stripped him of his title. Other boxing commissions followed suit. Ali would not be able to obtain a license to box in any state for over three years."
3. From Delaware's official website: "On May 4, 2005, the Stonefly (Order Plecoptera) was designated as Delaware's State macroinvertebrate, because it is an indicator of the excellent water quality in the State. ... By designating the stonefly as its State macroinvertebrate, Delaware once again demonstrated its leadership as the First State, because currently, no other state in the United States has designated an official State macroinvertebrate to accompany their State symbols..."
4. The population of Delaware is now more than 900,000 people.
5. I guess they're expecting the national telephone system to be just fine?

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Neat illustrations and more from a 1948 Bear Cub Scout book

Here's a wonderful old book that was loaned to me by Tracey Stoppard, so that I could check it out for Papergreat.

It's a 64-year-old Bear Cub Scout handbook that belonged to her father, Kenneth Stoppard. And it's chock full of wonderful vintage illustrations and insight into what life was like for boys in the 1940s and 1950s, long before Pong, Space Invaders, Atari 2600, ColecoVision, Nintendo, Game Boy, PlayStation, Dreamcast, Nintendo DSi XL, Wii, Zynga, iPod, iPad and ephemera blogs kept everyone indoors.

The 156-page paperback, published in 1948, is filled with fabulous illustrations and details of activities for young boys in the Bear Cub stage of Cub Scouts.1

It includes 12 Bear Achievements, including Feats of Skill, Flag, Tools, Collection, Scrapbook, Knots and Reading.

And then there are 23 electives, including Secret Codes, Make Believe, Radio, Electricity, Model Boats, Aircraft, Indians, Photography, Farm Animals and Pets, Soils, Cooking and Safety Service.

Here's a small sampling of some of the Bear goodness within:

1. Feats of Skill

The typography and illustrations (presumably all by cover artist Don Ross) throughout the guide are just wonderful. Here's an illustration for a skill they probably don't teach kids anymore -- the fence vault.2 The directions for the skill are: "Take a short run, place both hands firmly on rail, and, in same motion, spring up and swing your feet over. Start practicing on a low rail and work up to one 30 inches high."

Other Feats of Skill for this Bear Achievement include the dodge spring, baseball, horseshoes, swimming and shinnying up a 15-foot pole.

2. Secret Codes

The sample secret code illustrated here involves a picture for each letter of the alphabet -- Apple for A, Baseball for B, Cow for C, etc. Some of them are kind of tricky. That's a jack-o'-lantern for J, a letter (remember those?) for L, an oil can for O, a quart bottle for Q, and a trowel for T.

Scouts are encouraged to use other secret codes and forms of communication, such as tin-can phones and invisible writing with lemon juice.

3. Make Believe

In the Make Believe elective, scouts are encouraged to expand upon the skit they had put together for the Wolf rank. Hand puppets and shadow puppets are also suggested as creative projects. Some of the suggested costumes (pictured above) include Viking, pirate and Chinaman, the last of which I'm guessing has long since been (thankfully) phased out of the handbook.

4. Roller Skate Scooter

The "Things That Go"3 elective begins with this paragraph:
"Try making a scooter. It is fast and easy to make. There are many kinds, but one of the easiest is a roller skate scooter. Maybe you and the other boys in your Den can make scooters and have races."
The diagram for making a roller skate scooter out of soap boxes and roller skates is shown above. Other projects suggested for this elective include stilts, a windmill and a waterwheel.

5. Decorate your room with a theme

Finally, I love this aviation-themed bedroom illustration, which is included in the chapter on the Art elective. The caption reads:
"What is your favorite hobby? Sports? Collections? Boats? Aviation? Why not fix up your room with things you like? If you like aviation, you could decorate your room as shown here. The airplanes pinned on the wall can be cut out of colored paper. Or, if Mother will let you, you can cut a stencil ... out of cardboard and draw airplanes on your wall."
Isn't that a great bedroom for a kid? And the best part? No video games!

1. According to a note on Page 4: "The book was created and designed by Don C. Ross, Art Director of the Editorial Service, and written by Gerald A. Speedy, Assistant Director of the Program Division. The Boy Scouts of America is also grateful to many other persons who have contributed to this volume."
Speedy (April 18, 1910, to August 31, 2008) lived a long life and died at age 98 right here in southcentral Pennsylvania. He was a resident of the Willow Valley Retirement Community in Willow Street (outside Lancaster) when he died. I found obituaries for him here and here.

2. There could be all kinds of liabilities with fence-vaulting in 2012, right? Splinters. Scraped knees. Can't have any of that! (Sigh.)

3. Here's Monty Python's investigation into other things that might or might not go.