Saturday, June 9, 2012

Weekend postcards: Celebrating the Diamond Jubilee of Elizabeth II

The Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II -- a celebration of the 60th anniversary of the beginning of her reign -- has been taking place throughout 2012 on a number of fronts.

She has received:
  • a Diamond Jubilee Pageant, also known as "The World Comes to Windsor," which featured more than 500 horses, Cossacks from Russia, cowboys from Oklahoma, huasos from Chile and, yes, Susan Boyle.
  • another pageant -- the Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant. This one featured more than 1,000 ships and boats in a procession that was 7.5 miles long.1
  • a June 4 tribute involving the lighting of thousands of beacons across the Commonwealth.2
  • The Diamond Jubilee Concert, which featured the likes of Robbie Williams, American rapper, Grace Jones, Annie Lennox, Sir Tom Jones3, Sir Elton John, Stevie Wonder, and Sir Paul McCartney.4
  • the honor of the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal being designed to commemorate the event. The medal is being awarded to about 450,000 members of the United Kingdom and 60,000 Canadians.
  • and, of course, a Google Doodle featuring diamonds and corgis. The two O's in Google are diamonds, while the E is within the Queen's crown.
Here on Papergreat, I've already featured the Queen once. On her 85th birthday last year, I wrote about a 1957 magazine cover and an old postcard.

Now, for the Diamond Jubilee, I have five more extremely cool vintage postcards featuring the Queen and her family. At the top of today's post is a "John Hinde Original" color postcard of the gorgeous-looking monarch (presumably from sometime in the 1950s). The unused postcard also has this text: "Colour Photograph by Baron Studios" and "Published by John Hinde Ltd., 6 Rupert St., London W.1. Tel.: GER 1734: Empire."

Here are the others:

Above: This card and the following two cards are all published by the same company. It's a Valentine's Real Photo, published by Valentine & Sons Ltd., Dundee & London.5 The short caption states:
From left to right on this postcard we have:

Above: The caption on the back of this Valentine's postcard states:
The royal dog is not identified.

Above: The caption on the back of this Valentine's postcard states:

Above: No manufacturer is listed for this last postcard. Printed on the front is "THE ROYAL GROUP." On the back is the statement "THIS IS A REAL PHOTOGRAPH."

Elizabeth II and Prince Philip are clearly pictured in the center of this group of royals. But I have no idea who all those folks to the left and right of them are. Chime in if you recognize anyone!

1. Also, according to Wikipedia, Queen Elizabeth II wore "an ensemble designed by royal couturier Angela Kelly, comprising dress, coat, hat and shawl. The coat, which had a pleated frill at the front and neck, was of ivory boucle, decorated with gold, silver and ivory paillettes and Swarovski crystals. The matching hat had a small cockade of feathers in gold, silver and ivory, each trimmed with a crystal. Her jewels were the diamond starburst 'Jardine brooch', a three strand pearl necklace, and pearl earrings that had belonged to her Grandmother Queen Mary."
2. It kind of reminded me of this.
3. Sir Tom Jones sang Randy Newman's "Mama Told Me (Not to Come)".
To the Queen.
Think about that for a moment.
On the other hand, perhaps Elizabeth II was delighted with Jones' choice. Perhaps it reminded her of the great party scene from "Boogie Nights."
4. Not to be outdone by Sir Tom Jones, Sir Paul McCartney played "Live and Let Die" for the Queen. I wish Freddie Mercury was still alive, so that he could have performed "Fat Bottomed Girls" at this concert.
5. The always dependable Metropolitan Postcard Club of New York City website provides an in-depth history of Valentine’s here.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

A Greeting by Western Union

This old Western Union telegram isn't terribly interesting beyond that fact that it still exists.

The short note reads:
UN 27 UNION 11 520 P.M.



Western Union now focuses on money transfers. The company's telegram infrastructure was sold off in 2006 and now operates as iTelegram, a company that touts its "trusted" telegram service, but can't even avoid typos on its website:

I'm sure Samuel Finley Breese Morse would roll his eyes at that one.

Rest in peace, Ray Bradbury;
we'll keep on reading books

Author Ray Bradbury died today in Los Angeles at age 91. And he would have hated this blog post,1 a modest celebration of some of his vintage paperback covers.

Here are Bradbury's in-depth obituaries from The New York Times and The Associated Press.

But let Bradbury himself have the final word:
"As for my gravestone? I would like to borrow that great barber-pole from out front of the town shoppe, and have it run at midnight if you happened to drop by my mound to say hello. And there the old barber-pole would be, lit, its bright ribbons twining up out of mystery, turning, and twining away up into further mysteries, forever. And if you come to visit, leave an apple for the ghosts."

1. Victoria Bekiempis of Village Voice explains it all eloquently in "Ray Bradbury Would Have Hated Your Blog Post, Tweet, or Facebook Status About His Death (And This Too)." He was not a fan of computer technology, hated e-books or was not supportive of digital versions of his works. And that, as Bekiempis writes "brings up an important question: Should we electronically express condolences for someone who disliked all things electronic?" She comes up with an acceptable answer in my, err, book.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Black-and-white souvenir photos from 1939 New York World's Fair

Here are five interesting black-and-white souvenir photos from the 1939 New York World's Fair. They were taken by Underwood & Underwood. (Click on any of the photos for a larger, more-detailed version.)

Above: The Perisphere. Together, the Trylon and Perisphere were known as the "Theme Center." The Perisphere had a diameter of 180 feet and housed a diorama called "Democracity."

Above: "One of the Many Colorful Entrances to the Fair." More than 44 million people attended this fair during the two seasons it was open.

Above: This is the Communications Building. According to this 1939 New York World's Fair website, some of the exhibitors in the building were The Book House for Children, The Independent Order of Foresters, Keystone Manufacturing Company, Underwood & Underwood and Universal Camera Corporation.

Above: This is the "British Pavillion [sic] on Lagoon of Nations." The Lagoon of Nations was part of the overall Hall of Nations, which included Albania, Cuba, Iceland, Iraq, Yugoslavia, Siam, Haiti and many others. The only major world power that did not participate in this World's Fair was Germany.

Above: This is the Polish Building and Tower. The statue -- the King Jagiello Monument -- that can be seen on the left-hand side of the tower was a replica of one that was converted into bullets by the Germans after they invaded Warsaw. The monument now resides in Central Park. The Am-Pol Eagle has an interesting article about the 1939 World's Fair and Poland's place in it.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

An old bookseller's label from
Miller & Rhoads department store

This tiny (less than an inch wide) bookseller's label1 was inside a copy of "Bambi," a 1914 novel published by Marjorie Benton Cooke.

Miller & Rhoads was a Virginia-based department store that was in existence for 105 years, from 1885 until it went out of business in 1990. Here is some history on the store from Wikipedia:
  • "The [Richmond] store was home to the ever-popular Tea Room, which featured regular fashion shows, and signature menu items such as the Missouri Club2, Brunswick stew, and chocolate silk pie."
  • "Every Christmas season, a room on the 7th floor of Miller & Rhoads transformed into a magic wonderland called Santaland. The room was dimly lit, but thousands of tiny, white lights gave the appearance of night stars overhead. Woodland scenes with lifelike, animated animals were strategically placed throughout the room. Fully decorated trees adorned a path leading to the beautiful stage. Onstage were a huge fireplace, a Christmas tree, and a golden chair with a red velvet back and seat where Santa Claus sat."
  • "The real magic of the Miller & Rhoads' Santas was that they knew every child's name - greeting them by name as they walked up to him - a tradition that lives on today. Stories exist of parents who've driven their children to Richmond from as far away as Texas - or grandparents who've flown their grandchilden from Colorado just to see THE Santa."3
  • "Even as its stores grew more contemporary, the chain adhered to many old traditions. Miller & Rhoads stores almost always had engraved metal name plaques at their entrances, even on mall entrances. An early 1980s redesign of the store logo featured curvaceous script reminiscent of calligraphy."
  • "The Garfinkel, Brooks Brothers, Miller & Rhoads company was acquired by Allied Stores in 1982. This marked a low point in the chain's history, as Allied closed many of the smaller stores, exiting the North Carolina market except for Raleigh, and began to neglect the maintenance on its larger stores in an effort to cut operating costs."
1. For more on bookseller labels, see these past posts:
2. The Recipe Circus has the recipe for Miller & Rhoads' Missouri Club Sandwich, which features turkey, ham, tomatoes, cheese, cheese sauce and bacon on white bread.
3. Here's a Facebook page devoted to photos of Santa at Miller & Rhoads.

A whole mess of lazy on a Sunday afternoon

From left: Mr. Bill, Salem and Huggles. In the foreground: Mitts the polydactyl cat.