Saturday, June 2, 2012

Saturday's postcards: 1950s motels in Florida and New Jersey

Up for review today are a pair of colorful postcards from the 1950s. I picked these up during a recent return trip to Hoke-E-Geez in Bedford, Pennsylvania.

This is a linen postcard for the Horne Ocean Motel in Jacksonville Beach, Florida. The front of the card indicates that the motel:
The reverse side of the postcard has a postmark from February 4, 1955, in Jacksonville, Florida.1 It was mailed to an address in Mount Pleasant, Pennsylvania. Some additional details about the motel are also printed on the reverse side:2
  • "Overlooking the World's Finest Ocean Beach"
  • "Wonderful Surf bathing, fishing, golf"
  • "A new Motel, Luxurious Rooms and 10 Efficiencies"

And this vibrant postcard showcases the building, carport, lobby and swimming pool at the Sea Breeze Motel in Pleasantville, New Jersey. Importantly, it's actually the New Sea Breeze Motel, as indicated on the back of the card. And this motel is still around, offering a "weekly rent special" of $185.

Here's the printed text from the back of the card:
  • Albany Avenue Boulevard - Route 40
  • West Atlantic City, P.O. Box 42, Pleasantville, N.J.
  • 5 minutes from The World's Playground3
  • Featuring luxury living at logical rates.
  • 80 ultra modern units and efficiencies.
  • Largest swimming pool on the Blvd.
  • Air Conditioned -- Television -- Open year round -- Hot Water heat. All private baths. Ownership - management.
  • Phone Pleasantville 171.
This postcard was published by Jack Freeman of Longport, New Jersey, and is Genuine Natural Color Made by DEXTER PRESS of West Nyack, N.Y.

It is postmarked July 24, 1957, in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania. I wonder if this is one of those cases in which vacationers forgot to mail their postcards while they were away and then mailed them when they returned home. The written message states:
Staying at this place, having a good time.
Emily & Frank Urban
1. The written message on the postcard is so boring (and punctuation free) that it's truly worth only a footnote. It is: "Hello here we are nice place hope to see you when we come home Love [unreadable] Byron."
2. Also, this postcard is part of the "Tichnor Quality Views" series produced by Tichnor Bros. of Boston.
3. According to this Press of Atlantic City article, Atlantic City was known as "the world's famous playground" from 1884 to 2004, when the slogan was changed to "Always Turned On." Then, this past January, the slogan was changed back to "the world's famous playground." An excerpt from that article:
[Councilman George] Tibbitt said HBO’s “Boardwalk Empire” series has increased interest in — and the value of — marketing the resort’s history along with newer offerings. Generations of tourists and residents also knew the resort as the “world’s famous playground”.

“It’s a part of Atlantic City’s heritage,” he said. “The new slogan, it just never fit and never worked.”

Friday, June 1, 2012

Found recipes, Part 2: Whose box (and turketti recipe) was this?

Yesterday's post about the abandoned box of family recipes prompted some spirited comments from readers. So I've done some more research, in hopes of pinpointing who the former owner was. And, as a bonus, you'll find a turketti recipe at the bottom of today's post.

First, here are yesterday's comments:

  • Gena Philibert-Ortega wrote: "Thanks so much for sharing this. Recipes are so important to a family history archive. Did any of the recipes give you a clue to who the original owner was?"
  • Jo Ott wrote: "My mother passed away leaving such a collection of recipes and I can assure you none will ever end up in such a sale. Gena is correct -- such collections are as important to family history as the furniture, the house, the photos left behind."
  • And, on a different note, Wendyvee of Wendyvee's wrote: "One of my favorite 'Twitter-ers' tests vintage recipes often. She also photographs her husband's reactions to her culinary experiments and he cracks me up nearly every time with his facial expressions --"
Thanks, Wendyvee! That looks like a tremendously fun website. The spaghetti subs blog post is hilarious.

Now on to the business of determining the former owner of this plastic box of recipes. I combed through the full contents last night, and, unfortunately, I did not find a definitive answer. But some clues and possibilities have surfaced.

The best possibility is this PetRecipe card, which is pre-printed with the name Frances Ludwig. Some unknown company of long ago offered the customized cards.

The question is: Was Frances Ludwig the owner of this recipe collection, or did Frances Ludwig give some of these cards, printed with her name, to the still-unknown owner of this collection? There are only two recipe cards like this in the box -- the above one for lime chiffon pie and one for cherry delight. As my wife points out, however, the style of handwriting on these two cards is not like the clean printing that appears on the majority of the recipe cards. So perhaps that's another strike against the idea of Frances Ludwig being the owner of this collection.

Many of the cards, as I suspect is common, feature the name of the person who originally provided the recipe. It's possible that some of those names could lead us to identity of the owner of the plastic box. Here are some of them:

Above: Sue Fox's recipe for veal and chestnut in wine.

Above Gretchen Feeley's recipe for French-style oven-braised beef

Above: Dee Swemley's recipe for drop sugar cakes.

By the way, I love the illustration of the old-fashioned stove with the cat sleeping under it on Swemley's recipe card:

Some of the other names that appear on recipe cards in this box are: Emilie A., B. Minker, Zenie Adamson, Connie and Mirka. Help spread this blog post around southcentral Pennsylvania and let's see if these names and scraps of information ring any bells for anyone.

Finally, as promised, here's a recipe from the box for turketti, if you're looking to make something adventurous this weekend:

1¼ cup spaghetti - 3 oz.
1½ to 2 cups cold turkey
½ cup cooked ham (optional)
¼ cup minced pimento
¼ cup minced green pepper
1 10 oz. mushroom soup
½ cup of broth
⅛ teaspoon celery
⅛ pepper
½ small onion - grated
6 oz. grated sharp cheese

Cook spaghetti until barely tender. Drain. To spaghetti add rest of ingredients except ½ cup of cheese. Toss lightly. Pour into 1½ quart casserole. Sprinkle with remaining cheese. Refrigerate. About 1 hour before start heating oven to 350. Bake uncovered 45 min. (4 servings)

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Found recipes: zucchini, corn and tomatoes & brownie mounds

Late last year, my wife and I were checking out The Biggest “Little” Flea Market in Hallam, Pennsylvania, when I came across a great find for Papergreat: A plastic box that was absolutely packed with recipes -- some handwritten, some clipped, and all well-loved and often-used. This had been someone's lifelong collection and now it was for sale on a table in flea market. For a buck.

It's filled with all kinds of treasures, and I'll share a couple here today. First up is a recipe for a vegetable dish of zucchini, corn and tomatoes. As a bonus, it's written out on an old sheet of notepaper from The York Dispatch.1 The Dispatch is afternoon competitor of the news organization I currently work for in this two-newspaper town. But I worked for the Dispatch, too, many moons ago.2 So I think it's pretty cool to stumble across this old piece of its history (notice the phone number).

Here's the recipe from that notepad sheet:

Zucchini, Corn & Tomatoes
2 lbs. zucchini - sliced
¼ cup butter
½ cup sliced onions
1¾ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon oregano
3 med. tomatoes, sliced thin
1 can whole kernel corn

In hot butter sauté onion - add zucchini, salt, pepper and oregano. Cover & simmer about 15 min. Add tomatoes - cook uncovered 5 min. longer. Add corn and heat through. Serves 6-8.

And here's a recipe for a dessert, which is rated as "Good!" on the index card it was written on:

Brownie Mounds
Sift 3⅓ cups sifted flour, 1 teaspoon baking powder & ½ teaspoon salt. Mix ⅔ cups margarine and 1½ cups sugar. Stir in ⅔ cup Karo light corn syrup and 2 eggs. Stir in the flour 6 (1 oz.) squares melted unsweetened chocolate, 2 teaspoons vanilla and 1½ cups chopped nuts. Drop by heaping teaspoonfuls on greased cookie sheet. Bake at 350° 10 to 12 min.

If you try the Brownie Mounds recipe, feel free to send some my way!

And if there are any ephemeral recipes you're looking for, as we head into the summer months (sandwiches, desserts, barbecue, things in Jell-O) please let me know and I'll dive into this little yellow box and try to find something for you. We can keep circulating the collected recipes of this unknown York County resident.

Read Part 2 of this post

1. Notepaper! That means this post qualifies to be included in the much-neglected From the Notepad category, which hasn't had a new post since August 2011.
2. I was a copy editor at the Dispatch from 1995 to 1997. I've been at the York Daily Record/Sunday News since 2000. In between, I was Down South.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Postcard: "This castle in the middle of no-where"

This postcard was tucked away inside a hardcover copy of "The Illiterate Digest" by Will Rogers.1

Pictured on the postcard is Scotty's Castle, which is located in Death Valley (about three hours from Las Vegas). The photograph was taken by Ferris H. Scott and the postcard was produced by Western Resort Publications of Santa Ana, California. Here's the text on the back of the card:
This fabulous multi-million dollar castle was built by Scotty and his partner Albert M. Johnson in the mid-twenties. Located near the upper end of Death Valley, it is today one of the showplaces of the West.2 Scotty and his gold mine sprang into prominence in 1905 and for 50 years he continued to make the headlines across the nation.

Scotty's Castle is not a real castle. Historically speaking, the two primary requirements of a castle are that it (1) is fortified and (2) is a private residence for nobility.

Also, this "castle" did not belong to Scotty (aka "Death Valley Scotty").3 The house, built between 1922 and 1931, cost between $1.5 million and $2.5 million and was financed by Chicago millionaire Albert Johnson, to serve as a winter vacation home for he and his wife.

The house was purchased by the National Park Service in 1970. Tours of both Scotty's Castle and the infrastructure under the castle (with a quarter-mile of tunnels) are available.

This postcard that was inside the Will Rogers book was mailed from Las Vegas back in January 1972, with an eight-cent stamp.4 Here's the note that Florence and Emil Rafael wrote to Mary Miller back in Enola, Pennsylvania:
Dear Mrs. Miller,
Emil and I had wonderful holidays in Phoenix Arizona -- went over to Mexico -- came to Las Vegas and saw Death Valley and this castle in the middle of no-where.

1. It appears that the book originally belonged to Berl William Wager of Lebanon, Pennsylvania, who inscribed the book with his name and the date December 11, 1926. Wager might have gone one to become a Pharmacist's Mate in World War II, according to one stray reference I came across.
2. That seems like a bit of an overstatement.
3. Death Valley Scotty was once a member of Buffalo Bill Cody's Wild West Show.
4. They didn't need that much postage. The price of postcard stamps didn't rise from six cents to eight cents until March 2, 1974.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Esoterika Biblion Society ad in 1930 issue of The New Republic

The July 2, 1930, issue of The New Republic1 features Very Important Essays by the likes of John Dos Passos (on "Red Hysteria"), Waldo Frank and John T. Flynn.

But the real fun is on the back page, nestled among the classified advertisements for foreign-language lessons, summer cottages, and three-room apartments for $75 in Greenwich Village.2

It was there that I spotted this advertisement for the Esoterika Biblion Society:
"THE BOOKS YOU CAN'T GET ELSEWHERE may be rented for a nominal fee. Members throughout the United States have access to a large collection of rare, scarce, out-of-print, strange and curious books; limited, privately-printed editions, unabridged translations and extraordinary new books. Please state occupation or profession when writing for information and lists. Esoterika Biblion Society."
Sounds pretty neat, huh? A great opportunity for intellectuals, bibliophiles and even the common folk to check out some books they might otherwise never have access to. A chance for that knowledge to be available to the masses. A chance for furthering higher education. A chance for....

Nope. None of that. Turns out this was simply a veiled opportunity for folks to get their hands on 1930's versions of "Fifty Shades of Grey."

In his wonderfully titled 1999 book "Bookleggers and Smuthounds: The Trade in Erotica, 1920-1940," author Jay A. Gertzman describes exactly what was going on with this 1930 classified advertisement in The New Republic:

"Below are classified advertisements for two New York concerns as they appeared in the February 1935 Sunday book supplement of the New York Herald Tribune. Note such code words for 'erotica' as 'esoterika,' 'anthropological' (having to do with naked, libidinous natives and their curious customs), 'privately printed,' and 'rare.' ...
"READ RARE BOOKS. Members read without buying, rare, scarce, out-of-print books, limited, privately printed editions, unabridged translations. Write for information, giving age and occupation. ESOTERIKA BIBLION SOCIETY, Dept. 33, 15 E. 45th St.

"ANTHROPOLOGICAL LIBRARY, 41 Union Sq. Limited and out of print editions, obtained on rental basis. Particulars furnished on request.

"In 1935, many readers were happy to borrow what they were led to believe was erotically enticing. ... Both the Esoterika Biblion Society and the Anthropological Library had very extensive catalogs. The former's reading charges were between fifty cents and five dollars per volume3 ... Books were divided into classes, the more expensive being the most explicitly erotic items; one assumes officially banned and thus uncatalogable titles, such as Lady Chatterley's Lover, Tropic of Cancer, or My Life, might have been made available to discreet borrowers."
So there you have it. Tucked away among the advertisements for Camp Aladdin, real Harris Tweed and Miss Louise Holmquist's for-rent artist's studio (with skylight) in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, you had the Esoterika Biblion Society catering to everyone's prurient interests.

1. I became sidetracked in writing this post because, in researching The New Republic on Wikipedia, I tumbled down the rabbit hole and found myself reading successive entries for:
And if you can figure out the chain of how all those people and topics are related, then you clearly party just as hard on the Internet as I do!
2. Here's another classified advertisement that caught my eye: "POSITION WANTED. YOUNG MAN, exceptional personality, liberal education, whose eyes have recently failed, would like to take charge of a group of exceptional youths next winter. Creative methods in general. Conversational French. Address, Box 496, The New Republic."
3. Five dollars to borrow a racy book in 1930? That's the equivalent of more than $60 today! You had to be rich to borrow these books from Esoterika. I suppose the poor folks settled (happily enough) for their Tijuana bibles.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Memorial Day: Jacob Jackson Brown and past posts on American soldiers

For Memorial Day (Decoration Day) here is a photo of a Confederate soldier's grave. I took this snapshot at Old City Cemetery in Lynchburg, Virginia, in January 2010. (See more of my photos of the cemetery here.)

The grave belongs to Jacob Jackson Brown (simply "JJB" on the marker), who was a soldier in Company G of North Carolina’s 57th Regiment during the Civil War. He was born in 1832 and died on February 17, 1863. Here is more about him, according to the NCGenWeb Project:
"Resided in Lincoln County and was by occupation a shoemaker prior to enlisting in Lincoln County at age 30, July 4, 1862, for the war. Sent to hospital at Richmond, Virginia, January 28, 1863. Died in hospital at Lynchburg, Virginia, February 17, 1863, of 'pneumonia.'"
But we can also get a sense of Brown's wartime life in his own thoughts and words, thanks to an extraordinary series of letters that were preserved and published by the Lincoln (N.C.) Times-News. The letters were written by Brown and sent to his wife, Christina Plonk Brown.

Here are verbatim excerpts from one of those letters, dated January 13, 1863, (about one month before his death):
Dear Wife,
I now seat myself to drop you a few lines to let you know that I am not so very well at this time. I have got a sympton of the chills but I am now a getting better than I have been and I hope that these lines may reach you and find you all well. ... I want you to send me some dried peaches if you have got them and if you have got them send some dried apples and send some butter if you have got hit and a few onions too with Henry Mullens if he is not gone. ... I do hope that the war will not last long anymore so that I can come home and stay there for I am getting very of lying out in camp. Just to think how comfort I could be at home in my shop by the stove and good warm fire and then to see how we have to lye out and suffer the weather as hit comes theres a day coming that will end all these sorrows and I don’t think hit well be long I have not wrought you no letter since Christmas. I had said in my other letter that I would write on New Years day but I did not have no ink and I could not write so this is all that I have to say at this present time so I will remain you affectionate husband until death so fair you well My dear loving wife I hope we will meet again.
Read the full January 13 letter here. And here are links to some of the other Brown letters published by the Times-News:
* * *

Finally, here are some links to previous Papergreat posts that fit in with the general theme of America's soldiers: