Saturday, April 28, 2012

Saturday's postcard: Cheese market in Alkmaar, Netherlands

This is an undated postcard (my guess is late 1950s or early 1960s) of the cheese market in Alkmaar, Netherlands. The photo was taken by Giovanni Trimboli.1

Alkmaar, which dates to at least the 10th century, is notable for its key role in the Dutch War of Independence, for the Grote of Sint-Laurenskerk, for being the birthplace of cartographer Joan Blaeu2, and for its Beatles Museum (John Lennon's first guitar was made in Alkmaar).

But Alkmaar is best known, perhaps, for its traditional cheese market, a tourist attraction that is held on Fridays from April through early September. The cheese market is described in these excerpts from Wikipedia:

Dutch cheese markets entry: "Dutch cheese farmers traditionally brought their cheeses to the market square in town to sell. Teams (vemen) of official guild cheese-porters (kaasdragers), identified by differently coloured straw hats associated with their forwarding company, carried the farmers' cheese on stretchers, which typically weighed about 160 kilograms. Buyers then sampled the cheeses and negotiated a price using a ritual system called handjeklap in which buyers and sellers clap each others' hands and shout prices. Once a price is agreed, the porters carry the cheese to the weighing house (Waag), and scale of their company."

Alkmaar entry: "Every Friday morning ... the Waagplein is the backdrop for this traditional cheesemarket. ... It is not actually possible to buy cheese at the market itself, which is really only a demonstration of how this merchants' market operated in times gone by. However, the demonstration, which takes place in front of the medieval weighing house, is surrounded by many specialized stalls where it is possible to buy all kinds of cheese (and non-cheese) related products. The Waag (pictured at right) is also home to the local tourist office and a cheese museum."3

1. Here are some online references I found to Giovanni Trimboli:
2. One of Joan Blaeu's maps was featured in the Papergreat post "Maps, maps and more maps."
3. The Waag in Amsterdam was featured in this July 2011 Papergreat post.

Friday, April 27, 2012

View of Assmannshausen, Germany, from 1910 book

This is a photo of Assmannshausen, Germany, from the 1910 book:

"The German Rhine
Thirty Picturesque Views of the Rhine1
including Heidelberg, Wiesbaden and Frankfort.
With interesting Descriptions.
Translated by Andrew Mitchell."

Since 1977, Assmannshausen has officially been a part of the town of Rüdesheim am Rhein. It is famous now for its Assmannshäuser red wine.

Here is some description of what Assmannshausen was like more than a century ago, from the text on the page opposite the photo:

"The little town has not much room for modern expansion. The valley is narrow, and the steep vine-covered slopes rise immediately behind the houses. If we walk along the long promenade however, between the friendly hotels and the broad murmuring floods of the Rhine, we soon begin to enjoy the peace and stillness which broods on the vale. ... The names of several German poets are associated with Assmannshausen. Karl Simrock, Hoffmann von Fallersleben, Emil Rittershaus, and FERDNAND FREILIGRATH have sojourned here. Freiligrath lived in the town for some years. Having been in business in London as a youth, this poet had an intimate acquaintance with the English language and literature, and when in the revolution year 1848, he was obliged to flee from his native land on account of his poems on liberty, it was in the great city on the Thames that he found an asylum."

Also in this photo, on the other side of the Rhine, you can just make out Burg Rheinstein on the side of the bank. The book's author describes the castle as "clinging like a swallow's nest to the side of the steep rock."

But I find the photo's foreground more interesting. What is the story with the metal cross on the left side of the frame? Is it a grave marker? Something else? And is it a Celtic cross?

1. Here are two previous Papergreat posts about the Rhine:

Event covers from Scandinavian Airlines and Franconia Township

For something a little different today, here are a pair of old event covers. An event cover is a decorated, stamped and canceled envelope that is typically created to commemorate a special event or anniversary.

The first event cover, shown above, marks the first regular SAS flight from Scandinavia to Los Angeles in November 1954. SAS is Scandinavian Airlines, which was founded in 1946 and is the largest airline in Denmark, Norway and Sweden.

The envelope features a one-krone stamp depicting Grønland (the Danish word for Greenland). And the postmarks refer to Sdr. Strømfjord in Greenland and København.

Then there's the curious phrase in the middle of the postmark:


I'm not sure what language that is, but my best guess is Greenlandic, an Eskimo–Aleut language.

Today's second event cover was postmarked July 4, 1932, in Souderton, Pennsylvania.

The event being celebrated is the bicentennial of Franconia Township in Montgomery County. The blue stamp on the envelope states:
Hark Ye! Hark Ye!
All Ye People!
July 3-9
1732 1932
Franconia Township
Montgomery Co. Pa.
Interestingly, the township's own website now claims that it was founded in 1731, not 1732.

Meanwhile, printed in the border of the blue stamp are: Agriculture, Dairying, Schools and Churches, Social Clubs, Manufacturing and Poultry. At the bottom of the stamp is "Sponsored By D.W.16 Club. Souderton Penna."

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Touting milk: "Dairy foods add enjoyment to outdoor eating"

Pictured above is the centerfold illustration from "Let's Eat Outdoors," an undated (1960s?) staplebound booklet published by the American Dairy Association. The centerfold features a pleased youngster examining hot dogs, someone pouring glasses of milk and a list of some of the tantalizing recipes within the 28-page booklet.

By "tantalizing recipes," I mean:
  • Spam-aroni Picnic Salad
  • Nippy Cheese Dip
  • Cheese Beanies
  • Saucy Dogs
  • Cold Refreshing Milk
Yes, in addition to some dubious-sounding recipes, the pamphlet is pushing the benefits of milk as a refreshing summer beverage.

But as much as I personally love milk, this pitch doesn't do it for me:

Cooling idea for hot days -- enjoy milk or buttermilk outdoors -- just as it is.1 When a glamorous cooler is called for, try these easy ways to make milk really extra special.

LEMON REFRESHER: Combine and mix until light and fluffy 1 qt. cold milk, ½ cup fresh lemon juice, 6 tbsp. sugar, ½ pint vanilla ice cream. New and delightful for patio or back yard meal refresher.

RASPBERRY FLIP: To 1 qt. of thoroughly chilled milk, add 1 cup Stokely's Red Raspberry Preserves. Stir thoroughly. Serve at once.

CALYPSO COOLER: To 1 qt. of thoroughly chilled milk, add 8 tsp. Nestlé's Quik. Stir briskly and serve.2

MAPLE NUT MILK: Before the barbecue or picnic, beat together 1 qt. milk, 1 cup Karo Maple-y Syrup, ½ cup creamy peanut butter, 1 tsp. McCormick-Schilling Maple Flavoring. Chill and carry in cooler.
Those recipes are dotted with product references, as is the entire booklet. Some of the brands mentioned throughout include Bisquick, Trix, Hormel, Karo, Nescafé, Nestea, Van Camp's, Coleman, Dixie Cups, Dinty Moore, and Betty Crocker.

In a booklet filled with iffy-sounding recipes3, the one that stood out as the worst-sounding one involved -- no surprise -- gelatin:
A salad fit for a feast!

1 package package lemon-flavored gelatin
1 can (15 oz.) Stokely's SALADettes, drained4
2 tbsp. Stokely's Finest Sweet Pickles, chopped
¼ cup Stokely's Finest Pitted Ripe Olives, sliced

Dissolve gelatin, following package directions. Chill until partially set. Add remaining ingredients. Chill until firm. (For picnics, chill right in Dixie cups.) Serve with Garlic Butter Sticks.

1. No. A glass of cold buttermilk on a hot day does not sound fun.
2. So, to be clear, "Calypso Cooler" is just another name for "chocolate milk."
3. Other odd recipes include Chicken Salad Upside Down and two different suggestions for mixing Spam into pancake batter.
4. What the heck are SALADettes? They sound terrifying. And that's before they're put in gelatin. The only other reference I found to the SALADettes was on a blog called The Vodka Party, which references the same booklet I'm writing about here. The Vodka Party states: "Stokely’s Saladettes seem to be a discontinued product (from a discontinued brand). I’m still not sure if they were small pickles, or a pickled version of the 'saladette' variety of tomatoes. Either way, anything in a Jello® mold other than Jello seems strange and off-putting to the 21st century palette."

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Reader comments: Mysteries solved, memories and breaker boys

Once again, I turn things over to you fine folks with the latest batch of terrific reader comments:

Delving into Henry K. Wampole & Company: Sharon Reynolds of Morehead, Kentucky, writes: "I was working on cleaning a house that was destroyed by the March 2nd, 2012, tornadoes here in east Kentucky and found an old label off of a box of Wampole's but couldn't figure out what it was. Thanks, this was informative and interesting."

And Anonymous writes: "Any idea what a Henry K. Wampole 1 gallon crock would be worth? I found one while cleaning out our cellar. It is in prime condition."

Anonymous, I'm not really an expert on antique glass or ceramics. I do see old Wampole bottles listed fairly regularly on eBay, and they don't seem to fetch much when they sell -- maybe $10 to $20. If you have a larger piece in excellent condition, you might want to check with a local appraiser to get a better sense of its worth. And then, of course, you have to find a buyer. I'm in that spot right now, as I have stumbled upon one volume from the four-volume translation of the Old Testament published by Charles Thomson in 1808. Theoretically, it could have a good bit of value. But finding the right buyer can be hard work.

* * *

My daughter's special guest post about geography: Dianne writes: "Great post, Sarah. Good journalism seems to run in your family."

* * *

1961's World Flag Game About the United Nations: Anonymous writes: "The wiki says that the Ukrainian SSR become one of founding members of the United Nations (UN) together with the Soviet Union and the Byelorussian SSR. This was part of a deal with the United States to ensure a degree of balance in the General Assembly, which, the USSR opined, was unbalanced in favor of the Western Bloc. The fourth Soviet founding member,the Transcaucasian SSR, didn't make it into the UN because it was dissolved in 1936 and divided among the Georgian, Armenian and Azerbaijan SSRs."

* * *

The wonderful world of comic book advertisements: Mel Kolstad of Ephemeraology writes: "I LOVE comic book ads - they're a breed all their own. I used to pore over these when I was a kid! Thanks for rekindling those memories."

* * *

Mystery photos inside "Helen of the Old House": Someone from the website Ephemerania writes: "In the two closeups at the bottom: look at the chin and lower mouth region ... it's very distinctive, so I would say those two are the same person for sure."


* * *

Mystery photo of well-dressed boys: Anonymous writes: "Does not look like it is a normal outfit, it would probably be a Sundays outfit (church). (I'm not from Amsterdam but nearby, so I only know my regional clothing.) I would date the picture 1880-1910."

* * *

Quaker Oats takes you "Around the World with Hob": Lots of comments on this one!
  • Wendyvee of Wendyvee's writes: "Poor Hob would have to 'register' to live in the mill these days and would probably be on the TSA watchlist. If I were having a baby, I would SO steal the name Electra Papadopoulos."
  • Anonymous writes: "Electra Papadopoulos? You've obviously never heard of the author Crescent Dragonwagon."
  • Another Anonymous (or perhaps the same Anonymous) writes: "Did Bob Robin perhaps get his name from the song, or was it vice-versa? 'When the red-red robin comes bob-bob-bobbin along, along. There'll be no more sobbin' when he starts throbbin' his own, sweet song...'"
  • And my wonderful wife writes: "I would just like to point out that no other wife in the WORLD gave their husband this as a Christmas gift. I'm incomparable."
* * *

Postcards: Lakes in Wisconsin and Vermont, and a river in England: Mom writes: "Idlepine was where my grandparents and mother always stayed when they came up to visit my brother and I when were were at camp. The building you see in the photo is the main lodge, which was the dining room (Duncan Hines was right, the food was excellent), kitchen, library and game room. The rest of the property had cabins -- some singles, some twins -- which were very basic. Beds and a bathroom with a sink, commode, and a big old clawfoot tub. Each room had a small woodstove, which you really needed to light a fire in in the mornings because it could be COLD! All the cabins were nestled in the pine woods and had screened porches. It was quiet and lovely. There were many camps on Lake Fairlee, some of which are still there today. My brother and I spent years as campers and then counselors at Camp Norway (boys' camp, now gone) and Lochearn Camp (girls' - still thriving today)."

* * *

Mystery photos inside Cullum's "The Night-Riders": Alamedared writes:
Per this your Gerland...
Gerland Steck
Birth Date:
10 Apr 1891
Death Date:
14 Mar 1986
Enlistment Date 1:
9 Jun 1917
Release Date 1:
13 May 1919
Enlistment Date 2:
6 Jan 1921
Release Date 2:
13 Dec 1923
* * *

A trio of cemetery photos: Jo Ott, who previously contributed her memories of West Pittston, Pennsylvania, writes: "Chris, please visit the tiny cemetery on Alpine Road, about a mile or two off Route 177 [in York County]. It's on the right side of Alpine going towards Dover, set back a few feet from the road and is easy to miss. It is treed, has a stone wall a few feet high and a little wooden gate. I've stopped a few times but it looks snaky so I won't go in. If you dare, see if any names can be seen on the stones."

Thanks, Jo! As soon as this weird weather (80 degrees one week, 30 degrees the next week) stops, Joan and I fully intend to check this place out.

* * *

Two mysteries: Who were these people? What did they did do? Bob Gill writes: "Those are 'Breaker Boys'. Most of the major coal mines of the time hired boys to work in the breaker, where they sorted coal into different grades."

Thanks, Bob! After some examination of the old postcard, our initial guess was that these were, indeed, child laborers. But we didn't know what they were called or what, exactly, they were doing. Here are some excerpts from Wikipedia's entry on breaker boys, along with a public-domain photograph taken in 1911 in Pittston, Pennsylvania:
"A breaker boy was a coal-mining worker in the United States and United Kingdom whose job was to separate impurities from coal by hand in a coal breaker. ... The use of breaker boys began in the mid-1860s. ... The work performed by breaker boys was hazardous. Breaker boys were forced to work without gloves so that they could better handle the slick coal. The slate, however, was sharp, and breaker boys would often leave work with their fingers cut and bleeding. Breaker boys sometimes also had their fingers amputated by the rapidly moving conveyor belts. Others lost feet, hands, arms, and legs as they moved among the machinery and became caught under conveyor belts or in gears. Many were crushed to death, their bodies retrieved from the gears of the machinery by supervisors only at the end of the working day. Others were caught in the rush of coal, and crushed to death or smothered. ... Public condemnation of the use of breaker boys was so widespread that in 1885 Pennsylvania enacted a law forbidding the employment of anyone under the age of 12 from working in a coal breaker, but the law was poorly enforced; many employers forged proof-of-age documentation, and many families forged birth certificates or other documents so their children could support the family."

* * *

Advertisements from a 1977 Slovenian almanac: Mel Kolstad writes: "This is an AMAZING find! I LOVE THIS. My first husby was half-Slovenian; you don't usually find a lot of Slovenian ephemera!"

Meanwhile, I would also like to point out that the "Republika Slovenija - The Republic of Slovenia" liked this post on Facebook...

* * *

Saturday's postcard: America House Motor Inn: Anonymous wrote: "My family stayed at this property several times in the late 1970s. It was one of our favorite vacation spots - a very special place. It was located not in Virginia Beach but south of Cape Charles on the Eastern Shore, at the north end of the Bridge and Tunnel. The property still stands and is now called the Sunset Beach Resort."

(Note: Reader Melanie Pancho first updated us on what happened to America House Motor Inn in the January 31 edition of Reader Comments.)

* * *

Great links: Shorpy Higginbotham: Jo Ott writes: "I used to shop in that Super Giant as they were called back then. We lived in Rockville for about a year around 1967-1968. Those Super Giants were all over the DC metro area and had clothing and gift sections that sold, among other items, a zillion pairs of jeans just when they were becoming all the rage to be worn by others besides rednecks, farmers & hillbillies! Giant eventually got out of the clothing business but the stores remained Super Giants for many more years. When area liquor laws changed, those retail spaces were taken over by beer and wine products. There were two Super Giants in Rockville and I would shop in one or the other. The larger one was demolished and replaced by a much larger store. Not sure about the smaller one. Did you notice the blue frocks the checkers are wearing, those very large cash registers and the brown paper bags? No 'paper or plastic' or scanners in those days!"

Monday, April 23, 2012

Straight Arrow Injun-uity card from Nabisco Shredded Wheat

More than six decades ago, this piece of cardboard was situated between big biscuits in a box of Nabisco Shredded Wheat.1

The card -- intended to pique kids' interest in eating "hay bales," as some still call shredded wheat2 -- features a Native American named Straight Arrow giving instructions on how to create a travois -- a frame that could be used by humans, dogs or horses to drag loads over land.

The small type at the bottom of the card, which is copyright 1949, states:
  • Book One
  • Card No. 35 in a series of 36 STRAIGHT ARROW INJUN-UITIES

For the complete history of the Straight Arrow Injun-uity cards, you need look no further than Roland Anderson, who has documented them in fine detail on his personal website.3

Here are a few excerpts from Anderson's in-depth history:
  • "Straight Arrow was a fictional American Indian character.4 He was portrayed as a Comanche Indian orphan raised by whites as 'Steve Adams.' ... Each Straight Arrow tale had Steve reverting to his true 'secret Indian identity' in order to right some wrong, often committed against the Indians."
  • "Straight Arrow ... made his first appearances almost simultaneously on a radio program and on 'Injun-uity cards'. These two projects were tightly coordinated projects backed by the National Biscuit Company and its advertising agency, McCann-Erickson."5
  • "A package of Shredded Wheat contained 12 ... biscuits, packed in four layers with three biscuits in each layer. Separating these layers were three gray cardboard dividers. Starting in 1949, 'Straight Arrow's Secrets of Indian Lore and Know-How' were printed on these cardboard dividers in an effort to increase the popularity of Shredded Wheat among children."
  • "The cards were published in four series called 'books.' ... All the cards of the first two books were published as an single 'Injun-uity Manual' with a stapled binding in 1951. This manual was available through the mail from the National Biscuit Company for 15 cents and a Shredded Wheat box top."
For more information, including the names of Straight Arrow's horse and sidekick, check out Anderson's website.

1. Here's a Flickr image by Paul Malon showing what the vintage Nabisco Shredded Wheat box looked like. Shredded Wheat is now made by Post, which acquired the brand in 1993.
2. In 2006, readers of The Straight Dope shared their thoughts on how they liked to eat their shredded wheat.
3. Anderson's website -- a true find -- is full of other fascinating stuff, including:
4. Straight Arrow was featured in cereal cards (like the one in today's post), a radio program, a comic book, a newspaper comic strip, toys and clothing.
5. McCann-Erickson was also mentioned in this March 2011 Papergreat post: The Future of America (57 years ago).

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Prudential booklet on signers of the Declaration of Independence

"I don't know what you mean by short blog post." -- Ashar, implying that speed and brevity are two traits that I'm lacking when it comes to writing this blog.1

He says I'm not capable of writing a short post in a short amount of time.

So here's my attempt at just that.

Pictured at right is the cover of a small pamphlet from The Prudential Press titled "The Signers of the Declaration of Independence." The informative 40-page volume contains illustrations, biographies and signatures of the 56 signers of the Declaration, from Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin to William Paca and Francis Lightfoot Lee.

There's no date of publication anywhere, but it's pretty old. Edward D. Duffield is listed as the president of Prudential on the booklet, and, according to this list, he served as Prudential's fifth president from 1922 to 1938.2

The booklet is also stamped on the back with the name of a local Prudential agent -- S.E. Krichten of McSherrystown, Pennsylvania. Krichten also served as one of the auditors for the borough of McSherrystown in 1957, according to the May 15, 1958, edition of the New Oxford Item.

So there you have it! This post took just 27 minutes!

1. He is correct.
2. Here's Duffield on the cover of the September 26, 1932, issue of Time magazine.