Friday, March 30, 2012

Quaker Oats takes you "Around the World with Hob"

This neat and occasionally disconcerting little book was a Christmas present from my wife. It's a 44-page staplebound volume that was published in 1929 by The Quaker Oats Company.

"Around the World with Hob" was written by Grace T. Hallock and illustrated by Electra Papadopoulos.1 While it was an unabashed advertising booklet, it had the legitimacy of being distributed throughout schools.

The copyright page states:
  • Around the World with Hob, prepared for school use, is designed for the primary grades. Accompanying the verses are drawings for the children to color with crayons.
  • This publication may be secured free of cost in quantity by writing to The Quaker Oats Company, School Health Service, 80 East Jackson Street, Chicago, Illinois.

The main character is, of course, Hob. We learn that he is a "little man"2 who lives in the mill below the hill. It's not clear whether he's a squatter at the mill or has received authorization to live there.

Hob's partner is Bob Robin, who is a robin. Bob Robin serves as Hob's transportation.

Bob, with Hob aboard, flies all around the world. Take a closer look at the two of them in this image, which is a magnification of a portion of the book's cover:

And what do they do as they fly all over the world? Well, here's where it gets a little disconcerting and perhaps even creepy. Hob and Bob are voyeurs.

As the book itself states:

Through windows open wide
They peep
When all the children
Are asleep.

Through doorways open wide
They steal
To watch the children
Eat oatmeal.

This is wrong, right? We can't be advocating this kind of behavior.

Not even by a "little man."

Not even if the doors and windows are already open.

Peeping pixies are uniformly unacceptable!

After all of his peeping, Hob sits down and documents the rampant oatmeal-eating that he has seen all over the world, which makes up the bulk of the book. His international subjects include:
  • Jill of America
  • Andy of Scotland
  • Lucy of England
  • O'Neill of Ireland
  • Gretchen of Holland
  • Otto of Germany3
  • Oscar of Sweden
  • Yuki of Japan
  • Mary of Australia
  • Rita of Argentina
  • Bingo of the West Indies
  • Pedro of Mexico
And we learn about all the ways these children like to eat oatmeal. Some examples: Andy likes it piping hot and in oatmeal cakes; O'Neill and Otto also like it hot; Yuki eats it off a plate, with chopsticks4; Mary eats it with a piece of bread; Rita likes it hot, but makes her donkey settle for cold and raw oats and straw; Bingo, who had no shirt and must sit on a log to eat, shares his porridge with his dog, Jingo5; and Pedro enjoys oatmeal as a "treat."

And so we can thank Hob the Voyeuristic Little Man for all these oatmeal observations from around the globe!

Finally, the back cover of "Around the World with Hob" presents one final wonderful illustration by Papadopoulos...

It reminds me a bit of the cover of "Georgina Finds Herself," which I featured back in January.

1. No, I didn't make up the name "Electra Papadopoulos." And, yes, it will go down as one of the greatest names ever mentioned on Papergreat.
2. It is not specified what kind of "little man" Hob is. He could be a brownie, tomte, kobold, di sma, gnome, Nimerigar, pixie or trow. Quaker Oats and Grace T. Hallock just don't give us enough information to go on.
3. Otto is described as follows: "Otto's hair is straight and yellow, Otto's trousers short and green. Black and tight is Otto's jacket, And his blouse is white and clean." I have nothing further I wish to say here.
4. I'm just telling you what the book says.
5. I'm just telling you what the book says. This was 83 years ago.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

1959 UPI photo of Dwight and Mamie Eisenhower

The large photo (9 inches by 7⅛ inches) was a news photo originally distributed by United Press International. The second image is the caption, which was on a separate sheet of paper and was glued to the photo. The caption states:
WAP-070114..................WASHINGTON BUREAU
The photograph was taken on July 1, 1959. Dwight David Eisenhower and Mamie Geneva Doud were married on July 1, 1916,1 in Denver, Colorado. He was 25 at the time and she was 19. (Their son, John Sheldon Doud Eisenhower , is 89 years old and is the oldest living presidential child as of this writing.)

On the back of the photo is a red "PLEASE CREDIT" stamp from United Press International. The text states, in part: "This picture is for you publication only and must not be loaned, syndicated or used for advertising purposes without written permission from United Press International. By accepting this picture you agree to hold United Press International harmless from any loss or damage arising by reason of your use or publication of this picture."

United Press International is described by Wikipedia as a "once-major international news agency," which accurately sums it up. For almost a century, UPI was a major player in the news business, competing along the Associated Press, Reuters and a handful of other outlets to provide national and international news content to newspapers, radio stations and television stations.

UPI is now a much smaller operation. After some rough times in the 1980s and 1990s, it was purchased in 2000 by the News World Communications.2

Meanwhile, the way that newspapers receive photos from wire services has evolved greatly over the decades. In the early 1990s, when I was working at The Gettysburg Times, photos were transmitted to newsrooms and printed out on AP Leafdesk machines. Here's what one of those photos looked like in September 1993:

1. Also on July 1, 1916, the Philadelphia Phillies defeated the New York Giants, 9-2. The 1916 Phillies featured players named Dode, Gavvy, Possum, Eppa, Erskine, Chief and Bud. Bud's last name was Weiser. That's right, the 1916 Phillies had Bud Weiser. Mr. Weiser was born and died in Shamokin, Pennsylvania.
2. News World Communications was founded in 1976 by Sun Myung Moon, who is 92 years old and was born two years before John Eisenhower.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Brochure for "Sightseeing Pleasure Tours of Portland Maine"

Here's a green, tri-fold brochure titled "Sightseeing Pleasure Tours of Portland Maine and the Islands of Casco Bay." There's no date of publication listed anywhere on the brochure and only a few solid context clues; I'd guess it was published sometime between 1946 and 1950.

The tours were operated by The Falmouth Transportation Company in Portland, Maine. With exclamation points aplenty, the brochure is clearly pitching its tours to visitors to New England, not local residents:
"With a bow to Mother Nature, we've planned these trips for your pleasure. Rolling surf! Rugged coast line! Tree-studded islands in beautiful placid bay! Historical interests! Happy remembrances!"
Four tours are described, and the prices range from $1 to $5, plus tax. Here are some highlights from the offerings:

(Combination Bus and Boat Tour)

  • Western Promenade, which offers views of the White Mountains in New Hampshire
  • Western Cemetery
  • Eastern Promenade
  • Tukey's Bridge
  • "through the heavily wooded Falmouth Foresides"
  • "board the new and Smooth-Sailing Diesel Powered passenger boat, Nellie G III"1
  • through the inner Casco Bay
  • Islands to be seen include Cousins, Littlejohn, Sturdivant, Clapboard, Basket and the destination of Chebeague Island

(Cape Shore & Lighthouse Drive, via the Beaches)

  • "graceful curving Cape Shore Drive bordering the outer harbor"
  • the extreme tip of Cape Elizabeth
  • United States Military Reservation, Fort Williams2
  • Portland Headlight (pictured at right)
  • "sometimes a whale or two"
  • Crescent Beach, with a short stop at Kettle Cove
  • Higgins Beach
  • Prout's Neck [sic]
  • Stroudwater
  • Deering Oaks

(Complete Tour of the Forest City)

(Famous Poland Spring and Bay of Naples)

This final tour -- which lasts all day and costs $5 (plus 75 cents tax) -- is described in the brochure in tantalizing fashion: "We will take you over 78 miles of the most scenic routes, off main roads and along rustic trails that border picturesque brooks and birch-lined lakes."

There's a stop in a Shaker village at Sabbathday Lake. But the primary destination is Poland Spring, "a gorgeous setting of more than 5000 acres of natural playground."

Pictured above is the Poland Spring House, which was a highlight of this tour. The historic hotel and spa opened in 1876, closed in 1965 and burned to the ground on July 3, 1975. An excellent website by Brian Harris offers a detailed history of Poland Spring and the Poland Spring House. There's lots of great reading there.

And, for even more on Poland Spring, there's an Images of America volume offered by Arcadia Publishing.

So, who's ready to head to Maine this summer?

1. Multiple websites confirm that the Nellie G III was constructed and launched in 1946. So, if it's being described as "new" in this brochure, I'm guessing the brochure was published sometime in the range of 1946 to 1950.
2. This is another minor context clue. Fort Williams was decommissioned in 1964 and turned into Fort Williams Park.
3. Here's another Longfellow-related Papergreat post: Saturday's postcards: Longfellow's Wayside Inn in Massachusetts

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Campbell's soup magazine advertisement, circa 1932

Even that old standby, Campbell Soup Company, has changed over the decades.

Sure, the comfort food of chicken-noodle soup and tomato soup (both of which sound great on this chilly, rainy weekend) have been mainstays.

But Campbell's other offerings have changed with the times.

Witness this circa 1932 full-page magazine advertisement for Campbell's. Here are the offerings that were available -- all for just 11 cents a can!
  • Asparagus
  • Bean
  • Beef
  • Bouillon
  • Celery
  • Chicken
  • Chicken-Gumbo
  • Clam Chowder
  • Consomm√© (still available as Beef Consomm√©)
  • Julienne (some history of this soup, which is no longer en vogue)
  • Mock Turtle1
  • Mulligatawny
  • Mutton
  • Ox Tail2
  • Pea
  • Pepper Pot
  • Printanier3
  • Tomato
  • Tomato-Okra
  • Vegetable
  • Vegetable-Beef
  • Vermicelli-Tomato

Looking over Campbell's current soup offerings, the most offbeat product I found4 was Harvest Orange Tomato Soup. Will that stand the test of time? Or will it fade into obscurity with Julienne, Mock Turtle and Mutton?

1. Per Wikipedia, "mock turtle soup is an English soup that was created in the mid-18th century as a cheaper imitation of green turtle soup. It often uses brains and organ meats such as calf's head or a calf's foot to duplicate the texture and flavor of the original's turtle meat." It's not hard to see why the soup's popularity faded. However, if you want some, here's where you can order the Cincinnati-based Worthmore's Mock Turtle Soup.
2. Here's an amusing blog entry about Campbell's Condensed Oxtail Soup and its use in one British family's recipe for Spaghetti Bolognese di Campeggio.
3. The website "Old and Sold" has an interesting Q&A about soups that was originally published in 1926. Printanier soup is described as: "A vegetable soup, especially popular during the spring months. Contains carrots, string beans, turnips, and some fresh peas and lima beans. ('Printanier' is the French word for 'spring.')"
4. Of course -- and I don't need to tell any mothers this -- Campbell's also has a bunch of co-branded soups nowadays: Disney/Pixar Cars Soup, Disney/Pixar Toy Story Soup, Disney Princess Soup, Goldfish Pasta Soup, Nickelodeon Dora the Explorer Soup, and Nickelodeon Sponge Bob Squarepants Soup.