Saturday, April 7, 2012

Saturday's postcard: The Howard Gould case

I purchased this postcard when Joan and I were at a sprawling antiques store in Bennington, Vermont, earlier this year.

It was mailed to Mr. Daniel Stover in Valley Falls, New York. The cursive note on the front of the postcard, which is dated May 23, 19071, states:
Do you recognize this? While waiting to see a lawyer in the Howard Gould case I thought I would drop you a line. We often think and speak of your fine visit. Wish you would come again. The Goats are running again and things are getting lively. BURT.
So, who was Howard Gould? And what was his case? To answer that question, we need to hop into our DeLorean and channel 1.21 gigawatts of energy through the flux capacitor.

1. It starts with Jay Gould (1836-1892), who made his millions in the railroad industry but was more infamous as a robber baron. Scandals Gould was involved with included:
  • He was a key co-conspirator in some of Boss Tweed's Tammany Hall corruption.
  • He and James Fisk caused the Black Friday collapse in gold prices in 1869.
  • He precipitated an international incident and near war between the United States and Canada when he attempted to have Lord Gordon-Gordon kidnapped in the 1870s. This came in the aftermath of Lord Gordon-Gordon swindling Gould for $1 million.
All in all, you can see why ranked Gould as the eighth-worst CEO in American history in 2009.2

Gould and Helen Day Miller had six children together. And when Gould died in 1892, he left his millions to his children, one of whom was...

2. ...Howard Gould (1871-1959), who lived off his father's fortune and also had his father's penchant for getting embroiled in scandals. Howard Gould built a huge estate in Sands Point, New York (The "East Egg" of "The Great Gatsby").

The mansion had 40 rooms and an 80-foot tower. Based on Kilkenny Castle in Ireland, Gould's own Xanadu was constructed with granite and limestone and cost more than $1 million. A rough estimate is that a similar estate today would cost between $25 million and $35 million.

But, despite all his millions, Howard Gould found that money couldn't buy him everything. One man, in particular, emerged as a thorn in his side.

3. William Frederick Cody (1846-1917) was better known as "Buffalo Bill."3 The colorful Cody was a hunter, scout and showman. In 1872 he was awarded a Medal of Honor for "gallantry in action" while serving as a civilian scout for the United States.4

In the 1870s, Cody moved into the entertainment business with "Buffalo Bill's Wild West" (later "Buffalo Bill's Wild West and Congress of Rough Riders of the World"). Cody's show brought him in contact with many adoring and lovely ladies. Here's an excerpt from Brandy Purdy's Book Reviews and News Blog:
"[With] his most expensive mistake, actress Katherine Clemmons, her talent did not match her looks and all Bill’s attempts to make her a star ended in failure, but Katherine picked herself up, brushed herself off, and went on to marry a millionaire."
That millionaire, of course, was Howard Gould. And so we come to a tumultuous marriage and divorce.

4. Howard and Katherine were married on on October 12, 1898. At that time, she was roughly 18, Howard was 27 and Buffalo Bill was 52.

The divorce began in 1907 and lasted for two years. It is those divorce proceedings that constitute "the Howard Gould case" mentioned in the cursive note on today's postcard. (I have no idea, though, who "Burt" is, where he fit into this case, and why he was enamored with his goats.)

The Gould case was a Kardashian-level national sensation. Howard accused his wife of infidelity, naming both William F. Cody and a silent-movie actor named Dustin Lancy Farnum.

Gould lost.

He was ordered, according to Wikipedia, to pay the massive sum of $36,000 per year in alimony. That's the equivalent of $860,000 per year in 2010 dollars. Ouch.

1. Frank Herron's "100 Years Ago Today" blog has a post that contains neat tidbits from the newspapers of May 23, 1907.
2. If you're scoring at home, here are's top 10 worst American CEO's from that 2009 list:
  • 1. Dick Fuld, Lehman Brothers
  • 2. Angelo Mozilo, Countrywide Financial
  • 3. Ken Lay, Enron
  • 4. Jimmy Cayne, Bear Stearns
  • 5. Bernie Ebbers, WorldCom
  • 6. Al Dunlap, Scott Paper Co.
  • 7. Fred Joseph, Drexel Burnham Lambert
  • 8. Jay Gould, 19th century robber baron
  • 9. John Patterson, NCR
  • 10. John Akers, IBM
3. No, not the fictional Buffalo Bill of "It puts the lotion in the basket" fame.
4. Buffalo Bill's Medal of Honor was revoked in 1917 and reinstated in 1989.

Friday, April 6, 2012

More stuff from inside "A Thousand Ways to Please a Husband"

[Announcer's voice] Previously on "A Thousand Ways to Please a Husband"...

Today, let's dive back inside the tremendous tome that is "A Thousand Ways to Please a Husband" and see what other goodies that haven't been previously discussed are tucked away inside.

First up: The Queen.

A typed and folded sheet of paper contains a recipe with the following note at the top:

NOTE: This is supposed to be the only cake Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth makes herself. She goes into the kitchen and bakes it.1 The Queen gave the recipe to the Girl's Friendly Society.2 Her only wish is that the recipe not be passed on, but sold for charitable purposes for 10¢. If you share this with your friends, please remember.

The author of the Baking Family blog stumbled across a similar recipe with a similar note and wrote about it in September 2010 in The Mystery of Queen Elizabeth Cake. Here's a short excerpt:
"Now, the world wide web is not encyclopedic, nor is it all accurate. But if this were indeed a big deal for church and crown, wouldn’t one find something on, say, the official site of the royal family? Or the Church of England? Not only is there nothing there, a Canadian site includes a disclaimer, attributed to a representative of the current Queen: The recipe ain’t hers. If I were Queen Elizabeth, I would claim this recipe in a heartbeat. It makes a killer moist cake; when you pour the icing over the top, you’re headed for sticky toffee pudding."
Here's the version of the recipe that I came across, if you're interested:

* * *

Up next is this light-blue Merry Christmas/Happy New Year card that has been signed by Mr. and Mrs. Emory C. Landis.

According to RootsWeb
, there was an Emory C. Landis who was born in January 1896 in York, Pennsylvania; died in 1960; and was buried in Manchester, Pennsylvania. He married Lillian May Schroll (1896-1981) on March 18, 1915, in York.

On the back of the holiday card is this handwritten recipe:

Date Apricot Bar
1 pk. dates (cut in pieces)
1 can apricots drained
1 can crushed pineapple (small size can)

Add 4 or 5 tablespoons apricot juice + 1 C. brown sugar. Cook slowly for about 5 min. then cool.

2 cups Quick (dry) Mothers Oats3
2 cups flour
1 cup Brown sugar
½ t. soda
½ t. Baking Powder
1 t. vanilla
¾ c melted butter

Mix with hands like pie dough adding vanilla last. Put ½ the crumbs in bottom of pan + pat. Put filling on this layer of crumbs. Add remainder of crumbs on top. Bake ½ hr. at 350° to 375°.

* * *

Finally, here's a slip of paper with information about Bender Body Company of Cleveland, Ohio.

The company made funeral cars, ambulances and service cars, and had his pitch: "High quality, prestige-building equipment to meet the needs of every funeral director4 at reasonable prices. Distributed by Bender distributors and by the Studebaker dealer organization." Representatives in attendance were:
  • H.O. DeBoer, Sales Mgr.
  • Walter L. Baier, Spec. Rep.
  • J.W. Swanson, Studebaker Corp.
What's also interesting about this slip of paper is that it's covered in handwritten lists. The front (pictured) lists fish, turnips, quumquats, peppers, parsley, broccoli, tomatoes, grated red beets, "oyster roots or salsify", nuts and cream cheese.

Foods mentioned on the back include canapé, cream of corn soup, popcorn, turkey, filling, gravy, toasted carrots and creamed potatoes. There is also a note about pickling either tomatoes or lima beans. Or possibly both. The year 1942 is written on this side of the paper in pencil.

1. When I was writing this entry, there were zero Google hits for the exact phrase "She goes into the kitchen and bakes it." But isn't it a wonderful sentence, especially in the context of this piece of ephemera? I really think we should try to turn "She goes into the kitchen and bakes it." into a Internet phenomenon. Please help to make this important dream come true for me.
2. Girls' Friendly Society, founded in 1875 in England, was the first organization for women in the Church of England. The organization's slogan is "She goes into the kitchen and bakes it."
3. To see a vintage Mother's Oats coupon, check out this June 2011 post: A prayer card, a farm photo and a Mother's Oats coupon
4. A very poor slogan for a funeral home would be: "She goes into the kitchen and bakes it."

Thursday, April 5, 2012

It's Opening Day! Do you have Phillies Phever?

It's Opening Day for the five-time defending National League East champion Philadelphia Phillies. The Phillies, looking to shrug off their loss to the eventual World Champion St. Louis Cardinals in last year's first round1, will be in Pittsburgh this afternoon to face the Pirates.

To mark the occasion, here is a collection of Phillies ephemera.2 It's best viewed while listening to "Ain't No Stoppin' Us Now" by McFadden & Whitehead.3

Above: A large-sized 1980 Topps photo card of Michael Jack Schmidt. It's well-worn from being taped, tacked and glued to various doors, walls and bulletin boards over the years.

Above: An advertisement for Oscar Mayer wieners from an official 1953 Phillies score card. The hot dogs offered at Philadelphia's Shibe Park were "made only from selected meats; extra lean beef, tender veal, succulent pork."

Above: This advertisement for Phillies Franks4, from an early 1980s Philadelphia Flyers game-day program, is disappointing one aspect. The correct phrase -- as Tug McGraw would surely know -- is "Ya Gotta Believe!" not "You Gotta Believe!"

Above: This photograph of the Phillies' dugout during the 1980 World Series is from "Champions of the World," a special magazine that appeared in The Philadelphia Inquirer after the Phillies' triumph. Pictured are (from left):
  • 1. This is Randy Lerch, Warren Brusstar and Kevin Saucier. I'm almost positive they were the same person.
  • 2. Pete Rose Sr.
  • 3. Not a clue
  • 4. Former York Revolution player Pete Rose Jr.
  • 5. Bob Boone
  • 6. I'm pretty sure that's a young Bob Dernier, who got a cup of coffee in 1980

Above: Another photo from "Champions of the World." This one shows the 2-3 putout that remains the greatest next-to-last out in World Series history.

Above: My son, Ashar, and I at his first Phillies game, in 2006.

1. The Phillies' loss to St. Louis in that series might have been my fault. In retrospect, I think this Papergreat post following Game 1 of that series was a jinx. In addition, I discussed the notion of the Sports Illustrated Jinx and whether it might apply to the Phillies. Obviously, it did. So while I plan on plenty of baseball posts this summer, you'll hear nothing from me on the Phillies once the playoffs begin. Not that I'm superstitious.
2. None of this is likely to interest you if you are a New York Mets fan.
3. McFadden & Whitehead made a Phillies-specific version of their hit song in 1980. I remember first hearing it when it was played on the record player in my fourth-grade classroom in Clayton, New Jersey.
4. Note that the pictured hot dogs are Medford Phillies Franks. In 1994, Medford was bought by Hatfield Quality Meats, which now produces Phillies Franks.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

The "Imposing Troldtinder" in Horgheim, Norway

Here's another quick post for tonight...

This is a 1925 stereographic card1 of "The Imposing Troldtinder (witch pinnacles) From Horgheim, Norway."

Horgheim is a family farm in central Norway, not far from the Norwegian Sea (Norskehavet).

As for the witch pinnacles, I believe I found a passage in the 1907 book "Norway Through the Stereoscope: Notes on a Journey Through the Land of the Vikings" that refers to them:

"There are Witch Peaks innumerable in various places in Norway — the name is a favorite one for application to almost any ragged height that has any suggestion of the sinister about it — but these are the Witch Peaks, everywhere acknowledged as having the best title to the name. That long, jagged wall of archaic rock is actually higher than the Romsdalshorn. People say that, after sundown, when those pinnacles stand out against the strange, pale glow of the western evening sky, or, above all, in winter, when their uncanny silhouettes have for a background the weird red flicker and gleam of the aurora borealis, there is something positively unearthly in their threatening beauty.

"The post-boys tell one a fantastic tale about how a wedding procession was going down this road one day, long ago — the fiddler, the priest, the bride and groom, and all the guests — when, for some reason, they were all turned to giant shapes of stone. If you are skeptical, they help your imagination by pointing out the resemblance of specific peaks to the different members of the Brudefolge (bridal train)."

This excerpt from "Teutonic Mythology (Volume 2)," originally published by Jacob Grimm2 in the 1880s and translated here by James Steven Stallybrass, nicely complements the above passage:
"Close to the Romsdalshorn in Norway is a mountain called Troldtinder, whose jutting crags are due to giants whom Olaf converted into stones, because they tried to prevent his preaching Christianity in Romsdal. ...

"Grotesque humanlike shapes assumed by stalactite, flint and flakestone on the small scale, and by basalt and granite rocks on the great, have largely engendered and fed these fancies about petrified giants. Then the myth about stone-circles accounts for their form by dances of giants; many rocks have stories attached to them of wedding-folk and dancing guests being turned into stone."
1. This June 2011 Papergreat post featured a pair of stereographic cards of scenes from along the Rhine. It also delved into the legend of the Mouse Tower.
2. Yes, that is the Jacob Grimm of the Brothers Grimm.

Klein Chocolate Co. of Elizabethtown analyzes Fannie's butter fat

This little slip of paper, which has survived for 59 years, indicates that Mrs. Fannie S. Frey's milk had a butterfat percentage of 4.4 at one point in 1953. That milk would have been slightly richer and heavier than whole milk, which traditionally has a butterfat percentage of 3.25, according to this chart.

According to the Elizabethtown (Pa.) Historical Society, Klein Chocolate Company "was incorporated in 1914, a year after William and Frederick Klein1 began manufacturing milk chocolate in Elizabethtown. Klein Chocolate Company became a major player in the candy business with national distribution for their products. By 1922 the company employed 200 people and produced 250,000 chocolate bars a day. To produce that chocolate the plant required six million quarts of milk a year, which gave area dairy farmers a steady market."

It's likely that Fannie S. Frey was one of those dairy farmers providing milk for Klein Chocolate. A woman by that name lived 90 years -- from 1886 to 1977 -- and is buried in Elizabethtown.

Fannie had a daughter, Dorothy Frances Frey, who lived to be 100 before dying last October at Rheems2 Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Lancaster County. Here's an excerpt from Dorothy's obituary:
"Dorothy was born March 20, 1911 near Elizabethtown, Pa., the oldest of thirteen children. She was the daughter of the late Elias T. and Fannie ­(Daveler) Frey. About 1916, Dorothy and her family moved to their family farm on Rutts Road, Elizabethtown.

"Dorothy attended one-room Rutts School, walking a mile each way. She helped take care of her younger brothers and sisters and worked on the farm."
So Fannie had 13 children! And one of them, Claude, accidentally caused a tragic fire on the Frey farm in 1961. Here's a short article from the March 12, 1961, issue of the Reading Eagle:
Farm Buildings Are Destroyed
Elizabethtown, March 11 (AP) -- A fire which was believed to have started from an overheated fodder shredding machine destroyed a complex of farm buildings and killed some livestock near here today.

Five men were slightly burned and another suffered smoke inhalation while rescuing some livestock at he farm of Mrs. Fannie Frey, of Elizabethtown R.D. 1.

Her son, Claude, said he had been operating a shredding machine and apparently a bearing overheated, setting fire to the fodder. It spread to a barn, chicken hut and other structures. Damage was estimated at $25,000. Several farm machines were damaged.

Five pigs and 280 chickens were lost in the fire.
Meanwhile, Klein Chocolate Co. was sold to Mars -- maker of M&M's, Milky Way and Snickers -- around 1970.

1. Here's an interesting tidbit on the relationship between Klein Chocolate Company and The Hershey Company from Michael D'Antonio's 2006 book "Hershey: Milton S. Hershey's Extraordinary Life of Wealth, Empire, and Utopian Dreams":
"[Milton S. Hershey] was even able to get along with the Klein Chocolate Company, which was founded by a defector from the Hershey ranks. William Klein and his siblings made competing items at a factory in nearby Elizabethtown, which was served by the Hershey trolley. But Klein, who once served Hershey as an industrial spy, always got along well with his old boss. He even sold Hershey his excess cocoa butter."
2. Rheems has been mentioned in these two previous Papergreat posts:
And here are some other Papergreat posts about Lancaster County:

Monday, April 2, 2012

You never know what you'll find in the "FREE" boxes

Saturday, Joan, Ashar and I attended a homeschooling association curriculum fair here in York County. The immense basement gymnasium at Grace Fellowship was split between professional vendors hawking their top-of-the-line homeschooling materials and local folks selling their used books and educational materials for modest prices.

We spent a good deal of time with the vendors of used materials. Joan got some terrific deals that helped kick off a neat timeline project for Ashar.

One woman and her daughter had a long table full of used books. For $1.50, I picked up the following:

But what's even better than cheap stuff? Free stuff!

Many of the vendors of used materials had a cardboard box under their table labeled "FREE." Treasure chests for ephemera fans! When stuff gets to the point where it's too old, too decrepit or too "uninteresting" for someone to sell, then it's perfectly aged for Papergreat.

I found some nifty free stuff for Ashar, including a sheet of international stickers, a small book about the White House and a National Geographic map of Mount Everest. I also found some Supreme Court justice biography cards of Earl Warren, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., and Sandra Day O'Connor that were produced by Grolier in the mid-1990s.

Also in a "FREE" box was "Skit Hits," a staplebound paperback published in 1952 by Helen and Larry Eisenberg of Nashville, Tennessee. The 64-page book, which features illustrations by Blanche Sloan, is filled with ideas and scripts for skits (also called stunts). Here's an excerpt from the introduction:
"In stunts we depart from Shakespeare a little. ... Stunts give youth and adults a chance for the imagination and sense of fantasy that they may have lost or discarded as being 'childish.' A truly good stunt if not childish, but childful, undertaken in the spirit of play, which is child-like. Stunts can give a wonderful opportunity for people to show creativity and ingenuity. They can show how clever and cute they are! ... The ugly duckling or the shy person becomes a princess or a Great Detective."
It's a really neat old book and a fascinating snapshot of what people did for entertainment 60 years ago.

And now, on to the coolest thing I found in one of the "FREE" boxes. (Warning: You might not agree with me on this.)

Inside one of the giveaway boxes was a long, skinny envelope with these words written at the top:

Dental X-Rays!

As promised, the envelope was was filled with dozens of tiny X-rays (1⅝ inches wide by 1⅛ inches tall) of people's teeth.

Here's a sampling:

Pretty cool, huh? So, if you ever find yourself in need of some dental X-rays, you know who you can get in touch with!

1. The Three Investigators are Jupiter Jones, Pete Crenshaw and Bob Andrews. In Germany -- where they are almost as popular as David Hasselhoff -- their names are Justus Jonas, Peter Shaw and Bob Andrews. The series, in fact, is so popular in Germany that it has spawned its own original novels and a series of at least 140 radio dramas.
2. Amabel Williams-Ellis' husband was Sir Bertram Clough Williams-Ellis, a Welsh architect who was best known for creating the tourist village of Portmeirion in North Wales. Portmeirion was used to film the exteriors for "The Prisoner" in the late 1960s.
3. William Stobbs illustrated at least three Ruth Manning-Sanders books -- "A Bundle of Ballads," "Gianni and the Ogre" and "Scottish Folk Tales."

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Postcards: Lakes in Wisconsin and Vermont, and a river in England

There will be no foolishness or pranks1 today on the blog. Instead, here is a trio of old postcards in which the common theme is that they contain dihydrogen monoxide.

Grindstone Lake in Hayward, Wisconsin

The scratched-in caption at the bottom of this black-and-white postcard has this information:
The postcard was produced by The L.L. Cook Co. of Milwaukee. According to this University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee website: "From the late 19th century to the 1960s, there were numerous postcard publishers active in Milwaukee. The two largest, the L. L. Cook Co. and the E. C. Kropp Co., produced thousands of cards on every imaginable subject. Most cards have images of parks, buildings, street scenes, churches, hotels and restaurants, making them invaluable as a resource on historic Milwaukee."

Grindstone Lake2 is a 3,100-acre freshwater lake located in northwestern Wisconsin. Various portions of its approximately 10 miles of shoreline include Lac Courte Oreilles Indian Reservation; an unincorporated community called Northwoods Beach; seasonal cabins; public boat landings; and a commercial cranberry bog.3

The largest city near Grindstone Lake -- and the one noted on this postcard -- is Hayward, Wisconsin. Hayward is, famously, home to the National Fresh Water Fishing Hall of Fame, which includes a 143-foot fiberglass muskie.4

This is the only one of today's three postcards that was used. In August 1952, someone mailed it -- using two one-cent stamps -- from Hayward to my great-grandmother, Greta, in Swarthmore, Pennsylvania. Here's an excerpt from the message on the back of the card:
Aug. 6, 1952
Dear Greta,
This is the most beautiful spot and Bonnie has the ideal summer home. I am enjoying everything so much.

Church of the Holy Trinity upon the River Avon

Up next is another "Chic" Series postcard that features artwork by Elmer Keene, whose work was previously featured in this Papergreat post about Canterbury Cathedral.

This moonlit landscape by Keene is looking across the River Avon at Church of the Holy Trinity in Stratford-upon-Avon, England.5

Church of the Holy Trinity, portions of which date to 1210, has the official title of The Collegiate Church of the Holy and Undivided Trinity, but is more commonly known as Shakespeare's Church.

The church, a major tourist attraction, is the location of William Shakespeare's baptism (in 1564) and burial (in 1616). Shakespeare's funerary monument is located within the church.

Shakespeare is buried next to his wife, Anne Hathaway.

Lake Fairlee in Ely, Vermont

Finally, here's an undated postcard with the caption "Idlepine, Lake Fairlee, Ely, Vermont."6

Ely is a village within the tiny town of Fairlee, Vermont. Lake Fairlee is west of the village and southwest of the slightly larger Lake Morey, which is named after inventor Samuel Morey.

There is a blog for the Lake Fairlee Association. A primary focus of the blog is the battle against the non-native Eurasian Milfoil that is endangering the lake.

The blog also contains some neat history of The Betty-Anne Inn and Camp Passumpsic for Boys along Lake Fairlee.

But what was Idlepine? (And was it one word or two?)

Some clues:
  • According to this website, which hasn't been updated in six or seven years, Idle Pine Camp offered rental cabins and communal dining on the shore of Lake Fairlee from the 1940s through 1960s. The website documents the transformation of the location into a family's vacation property.
  • A 1956 volume of The Atlantic Monthly references "the menu of our Sunday dinner at Idlepine ... on the veranda overlooking Lake Fairlee."
  • The 1959 book "Adventures in Good Eating" by the Duncan Hines Institute has the following listing: "Idlepine Lodge. Lake Fairlee. June 25 to Aug. 25, 8 A.M. to 6:30 P.M. Spec.: Good home cooking, fresh thick country cream, good sweet corn and vegetables, fresh fruits served all season. Don't forget the fried chicken. B., $1.50; L., $2.50; D., $3.00. Tel. FE 3-6041."
  • Finally, this Stimson Family Reunion website contains neat old group photos that were taken at Idlepine Lodge in July 1929 and July 1931. So clearly the lodge dates to at least the 1920s.
Anyone have any Idlepine memories or information to share?

1. Here's a nice article with a rundown this year's lineup of April 1 Google gags and hoaxes, which includes Google 8-Bit Maps for NES and a self-driving NASCAR car. Back in 2009, I was fooled temporarily by one of Google's annual pranks -- the announcement about CADIE (Cognitive Autoheuristic Distributed-Intelligence Entity).
2. According to the online Dictionary of Wisconsin History, the origin of the lake's name is the English translation of the Chippewa word, Ga-jigwanabikokag, meaning "a grindstone." (Wikipedia, meanwhile, spells the Chippewa word this way: Gaa-zhiigwanaabikokaag)
3. Also, the Grindstone Lake Association has its own blog.
4. According to Wikipedia: "One can climb up into the mouth of the fish, and look over the town, as well as Lake Hayward. During the Christmas season, Santa Claus can often be found peering over the town from the musky's mouth."
5. The tiny caption in the lower-right corner of this postcard states: "The Church, Stratford-on-Avon."
6. The postcard was produced by the Portland Lithograph Co., 252 Spring St., in Portland, Maine.