Saturday, July 28, 2012

Weekend postcards: French sheep, old structures and people-watching

Here are a trio of vintage postcards from France, home of the Chauvet-Pont-d'Arc Cave.

First up is this color postcard of sheep grazing across from Mont Saint-Michel, the towering 8th century monastery and commune located on a tidal island in Normandy, France. (Thematically, it fits in nicely with this March 2011 post, which features cows grazing across the way from Scotland's Linlithgow Palace.)

Next up is this undated, unused postcard showing a street scene along the Avenue des Champs-Élysées in Paris.

One neat thing about this postcard, I think, is that the power of modern cropping and magnification allows us to enjoy some people-watching of a Parisian crowd from about a half-century ago.

The first guy we check out seems to be checking out someone else...

And this second guy is checking out someone — or something — else, too...

This guy is also scoping something out, but is trying to be subtle about it...

This guy is looking elsewhere but, more notably, is the most casually attired Frenchman of the bunch. Is that because he's a spy?

This lady is focused, perhaps stressed, and has no time for wandering eyes...

And this lovely lady is reading a book. Is she the one some of the French men are checking out?

This final postcard is the oldest and has the best story. It was mailed at Christmas 1935. It was written from Marie to Fanny, who was residing in Roger Ground, Hawkshead, Ambleside, Westmoreland, England. (And exhale.)

The building on the front of the postcard is the old Palais du Trocadéro, which was first constructed for the Exposition Universelle (World's Fair) of 1867 in Paris. It sat across the Seine from the Eiffel Tower, which itself was constructed for the Exposition Universelle of 1889.

But before yet another exposition was held in Paris in 1937, the old Palais du Trocadéro was demolished and replaced by the Palais de Chaillot.

Marie, in part of her 1935 note to Fanny, laments the razing of the building in a note written around the edges of the postcard's front:
This lovely building is no more too old fashioned! they want something more modern for 1937. it was a perfect vandalism!!!

If you're interested, here's a link to an interesting blog post by John Coulthart with a bit more history of the old Palais du Trocadéro.

Friday, July 27, 2012

"Leisurely, unhurried living" at Mexico City's Hotel Tecali

The best feature of this 1960s brochure for the Hotel Tecali in Mexico City is the description of the hotel and its various themed rooms.1

Here's the overall description:
"Admittedly, the Hotel Tecali is unique, not just another Hotel. It is in a class by itself, and for many resons [sic]. For one, its luxurious appointments are what the discriminating visitor might expect to find in a private residence, hardly in a Hotel. Twenty-six Duplex Suites, each with a spacious living room, completely equipped kitchenette, and marble bath room with steam bath cabinet, suggest and are conducive to leisurely, unhurried living, the kind of living experienced world travelers seek but seldom find.

"Everything about the Tecali, from its splendid furnishing to its trained and polite personnel, is a cordial invitation to the guest to relax, absorb to the full myriad attractions of colorful Mexico."

Absorb to the full myriad attractions of colorful Mexico?

A photo of the dining room, meanwhile, is accompanied by this description: "Its breath-taking view from the marvelous Dining Room where delicious food in either Mexican or International cuisines offers you delectable dishes and beverages. A refined atmosphere and modern melodies surround you in this unique setting."

So, to be clear, "delicious food ... offers you delectable dishes and beverages."

Finally, here is the photo of the Colonial Suite from the brochure:

Of its Colonial-ness, this is written:
"This spacious bedroom is part of one of the Colonial Suites, its windows overlook beautiful Chapultepec Park."
Capultepec Park ... that's something I could absorb to in Mexico City.

1. According to the 1967 "New Horizons World Guide" from Pan American World Airways, room rates at Hotel Tecali started at $28 for a single and $32 for a double that year. Those are pretty hefty prices. The equivalent of $181 for a single and $207 for a double in 2010 dollars, according to The Inflation Calculator. In later years it became the Hotel Howard Johnson Tecali Suites, but it appears the building might be vacant as of this writing.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Gorgeous cover of 1934 Platt & Munk edition of "Peter Pan"

To bring some vibrant color back to the proceedings after last night's post, here is the cover of the 1934 staplebound edition of "Peter Pan" by The Platt & Munk Co.1

The 12-page book (more of a booklet) is interesting in several respects.2 For one thing, it never mentions or credits author J.M. Barrie, who invented Peter Pan with his 1904 play and a 1911 novel.3

The cover artwork continues, in illustrated form, the idea of Peter Pan having a slightly feminine look; from the very beginning, the character was traditionally played on stage by an adult woman.

The cover and interior artwork is by the late (and long-lived) Eulalie Banks. I'm planning a separate post on her in the near future, so you'll be able to check out more of her illustrations later.

1. I am somewhat surprised at the dearth of information available online regarding the history of The Platt & Munk Co. I know at some point it was a division or imprint of Grosset & Dunlap. But I can't find much beyond that, which is silly.
2. If you like the looks of this slim vintage volume, used copies — as of this morning — are available for as little as 24¢ on Amazon!
3. Sadly, there has been much legal wrangling over the copyright status of Peter Pan over the years.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Faint doodles inside a very old arithmetic textbook

To see the above doodles, you might need to squint or adjust the angle of your computer screen. They were drawn on the inside back cover of "School Arithmetic, Primary Book," which was published in 1900 by B.F. Johnson Publishing Co. of Richmond, Virginia.1

From left, we have:
  • A chick.
  • A girl with a dress and bow in her hair. She appears to be holding something rather large. An animal, perhaps?
  • A rabbit standing on its two back legs and wiping/covering one eye.

The book once belonged to Mae Beathe of McDowell, Virginia, whose name is written next to the date October 17, 1912, on the book's first page.2 She might or might not be the artist responsible for the doodles.

I don't have many good leads for Mae Beathe. The best one comes from a 2011 obituary for James Hugh "Corky" Cross, who was born in 1928 and was the youngest child of Edward Marcey and Anna Mae Beathe Cross. Some of the time and geographic elements there seem to fit.

Meanwhile, McDowell is an unincorporated community in Highland County, Virginia.3 It must have been an interesting place to grow up and go to school a century ago. Nowadays, it is sparsely populated, with an estimate of just 2,321 residents in 2010. It is the least-populous county in Virginia and one of the least-populous counties in the eastern United States.

Highland County is known as "Virginia's Little Switzerland" and its museum and heritage center is located in McDowell.

McDowell itself is too inconsequential for its own Wikipedia page. But the Civil War's Battle of McDowell — an early victory by Confederate Gen. Stonewall Jackson — has its own page. So the area's past seems to be more relevant than its present.

1. Interested in more doodles? Check out these posts from February 2011:
2. Also on October 17, 1912, Albino Luciani was born in northern Italy. He would go on to become Pope John Paul I for 33 days in 1978 before dying of a heart attack. Well, probably a heart attack.
3. Other unincorporated communities in Highland County include the wonderfully named Blue Grass, Clover Creek, Doe Hill, Forks of Waters, Hardscrabble, Head Waters, Possum Trot, and Trimble. Sounds like the perfect kind of county for Joan and I to explore.

"Mind not the Blush that burns your cheek" (plus gratuitous goats)

Tucked away inside this copy of the 1923 textbook "Composition and Rhetoric By Practice" was a crude cut-out of a cat.

Written in black ink on the cat -- who knows how many decades ago -- is this piece of verse:
Mind not the Blush
that burns your cheek;
For modesty's a virtue
all should seek.
So there you have it. It's not an earth-shaking piece of wisdom. And I cannot find, after a quick search, any indication that the specific phrasing used is pulled from a particular well-known source.

And I cannot understand what an alarmed cat has to do with blushing and modesty.

The textbook itself, written by William Williams and J.C. Tressler, is fairly unremarkable. The name "Pete Hauser" is scrawled in pencil on the inside front cover. There is some underlining and some mundane margin notes within the text. The endpapers include someone's cursive notes on "means of developing paragraph."

There is a neat section on how to have proper conversations that includes some vintage advice:
  • Speech is valuable in the social world. A young woman may adorn herself with five hundred dollars' worth of fine raiment; but, if, when she opens mouth, "Javvagootim?" "Ain't that just fierce?" "Djeet yer lunch yit?" or "Ancha hungry?" bursts forth, she is socially undone.2
  • Don't be satisfied with the weather as a topic.
  • Watch for your pet expression. It may be awfully, very, funny, great, splendid, get, you known, listen, grand, nice, you see, fine, fierce, lovely, they say, gorgeous, then, now, and, I, so, well, why, or just an ur-r-r when you stop to think.
  • Conversation is like the measles or chicken-pox -- contagious. If your friends are ungrammatical, vulgar, coarse, or profane, it will be hard for you to become a clean, forceful speaker. Associate with a good conversationalist if you would speak well.
  • Practice. ... Let one pupil represent the employment agent of John Wanamaker and another a boy or girl who has come in response to an advertisement: Wanted -- bright, energetic, trustworthy, accurate high-school graduates as salesmen. Capable and reliable boys and girls advance rapidly. Many buyers and department heads earn more than $5,000 a year.

Finally, the textbook contains this frontispiece, which doesn't seem to relate much to what's inside.

Perhaps they're just operating under the theory (which I agree with) that you can never go wrong by adding some goats.

1. It actually looks more like virtune or virture, but I think we can probably agree that virtue is the word the writer was going for in this case.
2. Javvagootim would be a good name for a band.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

All that remained of a very old book

In going through a box of used books yesterday, I came across this poor thing at the bottom.

There was nothing else with it.

It's just a torn-off back cover of an old book. Even with the illustration of the boy and girl in a boat, it would take a miracle to figure out what book this is from.

Truly, it should just be tossed in the trash. (My wife is nodding yes).

But I reckon the illustration is interesting enough to post online for posterity before sending it off to the Great Book Beyond. Or putting it into the Drawer of Blogged-About Items, where it won't take up much space. (My wife is giving me a stern look.)

April 1965 issue of Quinto Lingo, from Rodale Press

Here's the cover of the April/Avril/Abril/Aprile 1965 issue of Quinto Lingo magazine, which was published by Rodale. The magazine's format involved printing brief passages -- aimed at juvenile readers -- in six languages down six columns across side-by-side pages:

The languages were Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, English, French and German.1

This is the "Insect Issue" of Quinto Lingo.2 It contains facts about flies, bees, termites, ants, locust plagues, mosquitoes, black widow spiders, using insects to predict weather, moths, butterflies, fleas, crickets and more.

There are also a few insect jokes, translated across the languages. Here's one in English, Italian and German:
  • ENGLISH: Two fleas came out of a movie. "What do we do? Do we go home on foot, or do we go by dog?"
  • ITALIAN: Due pulci escono dal cinema. "Che facciamo? Andiamo a casa a piedi o cavallo ad un cane?"
  • GERMAN: Zwei Flöhe kamen aus dem Kino. "Was machen wir? Gehen wir zu Fuss nach Hause, oder gehen wir per Hund?"

According to Carlton Jackson's 1974 book "R.I. Rodale: Apostle of Nonconformity," Quinto Lingo was published by Rodale from 1964 to 1971, when it was sold to Learn-En-Joy, Inc., of Arlington, Virginia.

For additional information and memories about Quinto Lingo, I found two 2002 threads on The Linguist List that discuss the magazine.3 Here are some excerpts:
  • Karen S. Chung: "Quinto Lingo made a big difference in my own life. My father subscribed to it for my sister and me when I was about eight, in an effort to help us keep up and expand our knowledge of German, which he was teaching us at home. In addition to getting exposure to the major European languages, I was intrigued by the subject matter of many of the articles. ... Mario Pei became a household word for me. There were dialogues, fables, jokes, crossword puzzles, recipes. The ads were almost as much fun as the articles."
  • Yehuda N. Falk: "For reasons unbeknownst to me, my parents had a subscription to it. It may have been for my benefit, as I have always been interested in language, but I don't know for sure. ... I, too, learned the name Mario Pei from Quinto Lingo, and when I was in high school in the 1970s I read some of his more pop-science oriented books. How much of a role did it have in my becoming a linguist? I honestly don't know."
  • Lorna Feldman: "I think I still have all the copies from my subscription which I had during junior high. The magazine certainly was an influence on my decision to go into linguistics, but I subscribed to it because I already loved studying languages. One thing I remember was folding the pages so I wouldn't be tempted to read in English."

Read more Quinto Lingo memories here.

1. Regarding the Romance languages, Wikipedia states in this entry that "although Portuguese and Spanish are closely related, to the point of having a considerable degree of mutual intelligibility, there are also important differences between them, which can pose difficulties for people acquainted with one of the languages who attempt to learn the other." Furthermore, there is a difference between Portuguese and Brazilian Portuguese, which is spoken by nearly 200 million people. (I taught English to a speaker of Brazilian Portuguese during my days as an ESL instructor in the 1990s.) Per Wikipedia: "Some authors compare the differences between Brazilian Portuguese and European Portuguese to those found between British and American English, while others see the differences between Brazilian and European Portuguese as greater or much greater."
2. It would seem that the lovely cover illustration has nothing to do with the issue's theme of insects. The illustration is listed as "courtesy of KLM Royal Dutch Airlines." I have no idea what the connection is there.
3. Specifically, the Quinto Lingo threads on The Linguist List are here and here.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

From the readers: Abandoned places, School for Indian Girls and more

Y'all have come through once again with a great collection of insights, comments, great links and more. I greatly appreciate it when you take the time to share your thoughts about Papergreat. Here are your most recent contributions:

Victorian trade card for James Pyle's Pearline Washing Compound: Elizabeth Handler, whose terrific genealogy blog From Maine to Kentucky played a key part in the researching of this item, writes: "Thanks for the reference to my blog! You've got some great links here. You can also search eBay on Pyle Pearline and see what's available for sale. I've always found it fascinating that so many of these Victorian era advertising cards have survived. And what variety!"

* * *

Saturday's postcard: Ringkirche in Wiesbaden, Germany: mshatch, who authors Unicorn Bell and mainewords, writes: "What a beautiful church."

* * *

Partial label from Ecco Tomato Juice and the Tomato Twinkle recipe:
I got a lot of responses on this one, including "ew" and "ick".
  • Linda H.: "Lose the gelatine, use vodka instead of cold water and put the olives on a little plastic sword. NOW that will make you twinkle!"
  • Cindy Snyder: "Tomato Twinkle is actually an aspic (as·pic/ˈaspik/) -- a jelly made with meat or fish stock, usually set in a mold and used as a garnish. If you Google tomato aspic, you will see some pictures of this retro salad. I'm sure Joan and Sarah will be anxious to make one for you."
  • My response: "Well, I Googled "tomato aspic." My heavens, the horror!! Why, why, why did people put OLIVES in those things? And this one might be the worst way to waste shrimp that I've ever seen."

* * *

Manger scene at St. Mary's Episcopal School for Indian Girls: Elizabeth Conway writes: "I found a copy of 'The Bugle', the quarterly bulletin of St Mary's Episcopal School from March 1978 among the papers belonging to my aunt. She was a member of the DAR and they supported the School for Indian Girls. There was a picture of a snowy roadway with the rear of the manger that couldn't be removed until it thawed. They had had 68 consecutive days with the temperature below freezing."

Thanks for writing, Elizabeth! Here are a couple more vintage postcards from St. Mary's Episcopal School for Indian Girls in Springfield, South Dakota:

Above: The caption on the back states: "The School Chapel - Ascension Church."

Above: The caption on the back states: "View from Bluffs of school campus showing Lewis and Clark Lake and across the river - the state of Nebraska."

* * *

More miniature photographs from 1930s New York City: Wendyvee of Wendyvee's RoadsideWonders.Net writes: "These are FAB! Love that it was the 'new' Rockefeller Center."

* * *

Cruises offered in a 1925 issue of National Geographic: Anonymous writes: "My father was an Engineer on the P&O SS Kaiser I Hind (Emperor of India) between 1918 and 1928. They did a Raymond Whitcomb cruise from New York to the North Cape of Norway. Among the passengers was a man named Colgate. I would like to have any information you might have on this cruise. Thanks."

OK, folks. Sounds like that could be a whole followup post, after some research. (And we do like a good mystery.) Any ocean-liner experts out there?

* * *

1952 booklet: "What Your Family Should Know — ABOUT TEETH!": JT Anthony of A Pretty Book writes: "I love that as I'm viewing this post, Google served me ads for 'Fly to a Great Smile, Premium dental travel service. A trip to the dentist, only better', 'Kool Smiles Dentistry', and 'Kids Teeth Brushing Games' along with a hydromulching service and lawn mower repair. I wonder how Google's ad algorithm works to make such a connection. And for sure, I need some premium dental travel." [Note from me: This reminds me of the wonderful moment when Spam advertised on Papergreat.]

* * *

Delving into Henry K. Wampole & Company: Lisa WRS writes: "I love your information. One of my family names is Wampole and they resided in the Philadelphia area. I am currently trying to connect the family history I have to see if he is listed! I had never heard of the company until I bought a 1930s bottle with his Preparation label on it and I bought it for the family name. There is definitely always more to our family stories!!! Thanks again for the history lesson."

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Three sci-fi paperback covers with UFOs (and one with a chimp): Anonymous writes: "The saddest thing about 30th century Earth is that we haven't come up with anything newer than rocketships or atomic weapons. A nine-century-long drought of innovation ... a second Dark Age!"

And Linda Chenoweth Harlow (on Facebook) adds: "It's when you have Flying Monkeys that there's trouble!"

* * *

Creepy and dilapidated structures of the eastern United States, Part 1: This photo post brought numerous great comments:
  • Anonymous: "Neat photos! To me, the 'big old house' in Bennington looks like an old hotel or inn. Or rooming house." [Note from me: Or possibly an orphanage. That one should be pretty easy to research, if I can get around to it.]
  • Wendyvee: "Those are great! Seneca Rocks has been on my 'to-do' list. I've actually been there before; but it was before I took a real interest in vintage stuff. I hope that great old motor company building is still there when I go! I love the signage on the Golden Rule store. This is my favorite old building from my travels. [Note from me: Love those shots of the Webster Wagner Mansion. And it's wonderful how one commenter swooped in with all of those details about the building's history.]
  • John Myers (on Facebook): "You should take the train between Washington and New York sometime. You would see three hours of properties that are worse than this ... with some of the worst just north of the Baltimore station!"
  • Ted E. Palik (on Facebook): "I love pics of old rundown abandoned buildings and deserted landscapes. I like to imagine what they might have been like."
  • Dana DiFilippo (on Facebook): "I love these! Free Manson, creepy! And I think I want a catnapper recliner! We have a good friend, Kevin J. Miyazaki, who has done some amazing photography of abandoned places, including fast-food eateries ... you can see some of his work here. [Note from me: Great link! Thanks. I will be adding that to my "Cool Stuff Elsewhere" rail.]

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Saturday's postcards: Two greetings from 100+ years ago: Jim Fahringer writes: "This is so neat. I have been collecting postcards for 40 years but it never occurred to me to do genealogical research on the writers and recipients. I guess I started collecting before the PC and Internet. Thanks for sharing this added interesting side to postcard collecting. I will definitely get out some of my oldest cards and try to do research on them."

Every piece of paper tells a story!