Saturday, August 11, 2012

Saturday's postcards: "Pennsylvania Has Everything" vintage images

These four black-and-white postcards are part of the "Pennsylvania Has Everything" series1 that was once produced by the Pennsylvania State Publicity Commission.

The postcards must date to the 1930s, because the Publicity Commission was abolished in 1939, when the state Department of Commerce was created and the function of attracting tourists was transferred to it.

Click on any of the postcards to see a larger version. The original captions (some of which, I must say, feature some bad writing) are below each postcard.

OLD STONE HOUSE — Homesteads which have housed families for hundreds of years abound in all parts of Pennsylvania. Around most of them are historic events dating to the Revolutionary War days. In most cases few show the ravages of time and furnish interest to those loving early American architecture.

PENNSYLVANIA'S GRAND CANYON viewed from Harrison State Park in Tioga County — 20 minutes south of Wellsboro (U.S. Route 6). This reveals a section of a 50-mile gorge and is a scenic masterpiece in the Keystone State.2

HARVEST TIME in agricultural Pennsylvania. Rich, fertile, rolling ground with good drainage is ideal for farming of all kinds. The Keystone State ranks high in agriculture with splendid farms in every section.3

MOUNTAIN LAUREL4, Pennsylvania's official State Flower, is found throughout the State. In scenic Pennsylvania through the beautiful mountain trails and State Parks, mountain laurel is found in profuse displays throughout the Spring and Summer seasons.

1. The secondary motto of the "Pennsylvania Has Everything" campaign was "Land of Penn Invites You." My wife wrote about another piece of "Pennsylvania Has Everything" ephemera in this May 2011 Only In York County blog post.
2. An apparent misprint on this postcard also mentions the Horseshoe Curve that is located in Blair County and was once the target of the Nazis' Operation Pastorius.
3. Do you think, 80 years from now, people will write about vintage postcards of scenic fracking locations across Pennsylvania?
4. Mountain laurel is scientifically called Kalmia latifolia. It is also known as ivybush, calico bush, spoonwood, sheep laurel, lambkill and clamoun. It is poisonous to humans, horses, goats, cattle, sheep, deer and monkeys.1

Secondary footnote
1. Perhaps this is why monkeys no longer roam the hills and forests of Pennsylvania. They didn't know not to eat the mountain laurel.

Friday, August 10, 2012

1889 inscription by (presumably) Samuel Adams Wiggin

The above inscription, in lovely cursive, appears on the first page of "Sprigs of Acacia," an 1885 book of poetry written by Samuel Adams Wiggin (1832–1899). The inscription states:

J.N. Lemman Esq.
Foreman. No. 6.
with the regards
of the Author

March 31, 1889
Washington D.C.1

Is it fairly safe to presume that the inscription was penned by Samuel Adams Wiggin himself? I would think so.

Who was Wiggin? He was a military man, a prolific poet and the Executive Clerk to two United States presidents — Andrew Johnson and Ulysses S. Grant. Wiggin died from injuries sustained in a fall down a flight of stairs about 10 years after writing this inscription. He was 67.

I don't think, however, we'll be lucky enough to discover much about the recipient of this book, other than the fact that his full name was Joseph N. Lemman. (The name appears again on the inside back cover.)

Meandering footnote
1. On the date this book was signed — March 31, 1889 — the Eiffel Tower was inaugurated in Paris as the tallest tower in the world. While surfing through Wikipedia to see what else happened in history during this time — for example, Charlie Chaplin and Adolf Hitler were born a few weeks later, just four days part — I discovered the fascinating tale of The Leatherman. If you live in New England, you have probably heard of him. If not, you might find his tale as absorbing as I did, and get lost in a web of links about his life. The Leatherman — it's possible his name was Jules Bourglay, but no one knows for sure — was a vagabond who traveled a regular 365-mile, 36-day circuit through eastern Connecticut and western New York from 1856 to 1889. He wore a handmade leather suit of clothes, lived in caves at times, typically communicated in grunts, and was quite popular with townfolk when making his rounds through about 50 towns on his continuous circuit. He died of cancer of the mouth, and when his body was found in a cave on March 24, 1889, it was discovered that his cheek had been sown and patched with leather. Here are some links to learn more about The Leatherman:

Le Porc: 200 ways to cook a pig

Pictured above are the front and back covers of "Le Porc: 200 Facons de L'Accommoder."

The square little (4½ inches wide) French-language cookbook was published in 1971 as part of a series that translates roughly to "the continuing encyclopedia of daily life."

The book seems to have a sense of humor, as evidenced by the illustration to the right, which appears on the cookbook's first page.

The text on the back cover, meanwhile, translates to the following, according to Google Translate and Joan (better translations always welcome!):
"Do not fight, there will be something for everyone, since we eat the pig from head to toe. There will also be for all tastes: a mustard roast, cabbage stews, andouillettes, sausages, hams, etc. You will not learn to do sausage but, thanks to the Flash, you will know which piece to choose and how to use it to make good hot dishes in winter or to accompany appetizing summer dishes."

Here's one untranslated recipe from the book:

Haricots au bacon
12 tranches de bacon
1 petite boîte de concentré de tomates
2 oignons
2 cuill. á soupe de beurre
2 cuill. á café de sucre fin
500 g de haricots secs.

Faites tremper, la veille, les haricots secs dans de l'eau.

Laissez fondre de buerre dans une cocotte. Ajoutez les tranches de bacon, les oignons hachés, les haricots et le concentré de tomates. Assaisonnez de sel, de poivre et incorporez le sucre.

Couvrez les ingrédients d'eau et laissez mijoter á couvert sur feu doux pendant deux heures et demie environ.

Servez en cocotte.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

1970s Woodsy Owl bookmark: "Give a Hoot! Don't Pollute."

This 1977 Woodsy Owl bookmark was tucked away inside a copy of the 1977 hardcover edition of "The Accoustical Foundations of Music" by John Backus.

Woodsy Owl was "born" in 1970 — the same year as me — as a creation of the United States Forest Service with the mission of helping children appreciate nature and learn about environmentalism.

Woodsy's most famous motto is the one featured on this bookmark: "Give a hoot! Don't pollute!"1

Here are some more Woodsy tidbits and links:
  • Woodsy was voiced by several different actors for commercials in the 1970s and 1980s. They included Sterling Holloway (the original voice of Winnie the Pooh), Barry Gordon and Frank Welker.2
  • Woodsy appeared in a series of Gold Key comic books from 1973 to 1976. You can see those covers on Comic Vine.
  • This December 2009 blog post by Jamie "Mad B-Logger" Lewis on Peeling Back the Bark discusses the role that the late Harold Bell played as one Woodsy's co-creators. The best part about the post, though, is the comments section. More than a half-dozen people claim that they first came up with the Woodsy character and the "Give a hoot!" slogan.
  • According to Woodsy's history page on the Forest Service website: "Woodsy's looks have changed to be more identifiable with children in the 1990s. He now sports a backpack, hiking shoes, and field pants — smart and safe for exploring the 'great outdoors.' Woodsy appears sportier, readyn [sic] to fly across forests and urban areas or lead children on nature hikes. Woodsy provides a new generation with a positive, enlightened introduction to a world in which we all work together to conserve."
  • On Don Markstein's Toonopedia, Woodsy is referred to as an "advertising spokestoon." Markstein has this to say about Woodsy:
    "Woodsy ... works hard at being insufferable, with his constant preaching about environmental degradation. ... At Gold Key, it almost became a schtick to show how annoying he was. He was constantly haranguing his neighbors, such as Mrs. Hare and Hot Lion; and while they'd give lip service while he was watching, they often backslid when he wasn't. His protege, Bitsy Owl, was on board with him, but often made naive mistakes, damaging the environment even while trying to help."
  • Woodsy's current motto is "Lend a Hand — Care for the Land!" (I like "Give a hoot!" better.)
  • You can follow @WoodsyOwl on Twitter. Woodsy is also on Facebook.
  • Finally, you can print out some Woodsy coloring sheets for your kids here.

1. Here are the complete lyrics to "Help Woodsy Spread the Word" from the United States Department of Agriculture:
"Help Woodsy spread the word, never be a dirty bird. No matter where you go, you can let some people know to Give a Hoot, Don’t Pollute, never be a dirty bird. In the snow or on the sand, help keep America looking grand

"Help Woodsy spread the word, never be a dirty bird. No matter where you go, you can let some people know to Give a Hoot, Don’t Pollute, never be a dirty bird. In the city or in the woods, help keep America looking good."
2. Frank Welker has had a famous and lucrative career in voice-acting. His most notable work has been with Scooby-Doo and Transformers. His vocal work for "Raiders of the Lost Ark" included the double-crossing Nazi monkey. Movies featuring Welker's work have grossed a combined $6.4 billion. Check out Welker's website for more fun stuff.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

More fabulous covers from vintage juvenile-fiction books

Wendyvee of Wendyvee's said she loved yesterday's vintage Motor Girls book cover, so here are some more awesome juvenile-fiction covers and illustrations from the early 20th century...

Here's the cover of 1918's "The Brighton Boys with the Battle Fleet."

The Brighton Boys series was penned by Lt. James R. Driscoll, who cranked out 11 titles between 1918 and 1920.

Some other books in this First World War-themed series included:
  • The Brighton Boys with the Flying Corps
  • The Brighton Boys in the Trenches
  • The Brighton Boys in the Radio Service
  • The Brighton Boys at Chateau-Thierry
  • The Brighton Boys at St. Mihiel
  • The Brighton Boys with the Engineers at Cantigny
  • The Brighton Boys in the Submarine Treasure Ship

Another World War I-themed book is 1918's "Tom Slade, Motorcycle Dispatch Bearer" by Percy K. Fitzhugh.

This novel has a generic cover with no illustration...

But what's interesting about "Tom Slade" is the real photograph of pistol- and rifle-wielding motorcycle riders that is spread over the inside front cover and first page...

The photo, certainly staged, is credited to Underwood & Underwood, a photography firm that was previously mentioned in this Papergreat post.

If war isn't your thing when it comes to juvenile fiction, I'll close with this relaxing cover of "Grace Harlowe's Golden Summer" by Jessie Graham Flower...

Papergreat previously featured a Grace Harlowe book cover just last month. And this illustration completes a hat trick of illustrations featuring lovely young ladies reading in window seats...

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

"Second prize is a set of steak knives. Third prize is you're fired."

One last thing today.

As soon as I stumbled upon this 1902 Ralph Connor novel...

... the movie geek inside me knew that I had to use my pedestrian photo-editing skills to create this...

That is all.

May you have sweet dreams of winning that Cadillac Eldorado.

Afternoon Potluck: Vintage dust jacket and a Motor Girls book cover

Here are a couple more items that have been scanned for posterity, as I do some sorting and cleaning this week...

Above: I love the deep greens and rolling hills in this illustrated dust jacket for Chard Powers Smith's 1939 novel "Artillery of Time." The weighty tome tells the tale of a New York state farmer in the 1850s and 1860s dealing with the country's dual marches toward industrialization and the Civil War.

At right: And here's the fabulous front cover of 1910's "The Motor Girls on a Tour." The Motor Girls were another series within the Stratemeyer Syndicate.

(Alas, the Motor Girls appear to have been less popular than the Motor Boys.)

The listed author is Margaret Penrose, but that was a Stratemeyer Syndicate house pseudonym used for several different series.

Many of the "Margaret Penrose" books were written by Lilian Garis, the wife of Howard R. Garis (of Uncle Wiggily fame).

Here's a final closeup of the Motor Girls as they motor off on an adventure...

A poignant inscription from a mother to a daughter

This inscription appears on the first page of the 1946 Triangle Books hardcover edition of Kathleen Norris' "Bread Into Roses":

In case you couldn't read it all, it states:

"To Mary Ellen
June 28, 1946

From now on your decisions will become more and more your own. Choose wisely, think long, but remember life is what you make it — Happiness is found in thinking of others. It's been nice having you for a baby — a little girl and from now on I hope we will always be good pals."

* * *
I have no idea who Mary Ellen is. But I figure she'd be between 82 and 86 now, if she's still alive. Wouldn't it be wonderful if I could get this book back in her hands?

Monday, August 6, 2012

Anyone remember Sath Book Shop in Staunton, Virginia?

Here's a mystery for Papergreat readers to pass along to their friends in northcentral Virginia: Does anyone remember or know anything about Sath Book Shop in Staunton, Virginia?1

I found this bookmark for that store tucked away inside a 1974 edition of Pat Boone's "A Miracle a Day Keeps the Devil Away."

The store was located at 1323 Greenville Avenue, within the Staunton Plaza Shopping Center.

According to Google, businesses now in that general area include Country Cooking Restaurant, Dockers, Head Over Heels, Montie's Collectibles, Red Lobster and the Virginia Liquor Store.

But there's nothing at all on Google about Sath Book Shop.

1. These two previous posts also mention Staunton:

If there had been a Fail Blog in 1929, this would have been featured

From the 1929 book "110 Tested Plans That Increased Factory Profits"...

CAPTION: "An enterprising Seattle wood dealer designed and built the elevating truck body shown in the illustration. It saves time and labor in piling wood in high stacks. The elevating body can lift 2 cords of wood to a height of nearly 12 feet, providing a platform from which the wood can be easily transferred to the top of the pile. It is said to be the only truck with an elevating body that remains absolutely level when raised."
So, to be clear, there's a guy standing on top of two cords of wood, which is balanced on a rickety-looking platform that's extended 12 feet in the air from the bed of a truck.

Yup, that's FAIL, as my son would say.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Recommended book: "Huckleberry Hill" by Elizabeth Gemming

If you're looking for some light, quick reading that's rich on historical details, I recommend that you track down a copy of 1968's "Huckleberry Hill: Child Life in Old New England" by Elizabeth Gemming.1

(It shouldn't be hard to find a copy. Plus, there are plenty of super-cheap used copies available on Amazon.)

The book is exactly as described in the title: A look at everyday life for New England children in the early to middle of the 19th century, with anecdotes culled from various original sources and accounts.2

The book is split up by the seasons, taking you through a whole year — starting in winter and finishing in late autumn.

Here is just a sampling of 19th century tidbits from the 147-page book:
  • Winter mornings: "First in the yawning fireplace came the shaggy, snowy backlog, perhaps a foot and a half in diameter and five feet long, drawn in on a hand sled and imbedded in the ashes. It was an art to select a backlog of just the right size, so that it would break in the middle and the ends would fall in just in time for raking up in the evening."
  • The value of everything: "Children grew up knowing the value of everything in the household and the time it took to make it. They were taught never to waste anything. ... Many boys did odd jobs to earn a few pennies of their own. They saved up to buy a good jackknife, a country boy's most treasured possession."
  • Night-time reading: "Fathers liked to read aloud to their families. Newspapers were treasured, and never tossed out carelessly.3 The Farmer's Almanac urged men to use the long [winter] evenings well, and read for pleasure and instruction. The almanac hung in the chimney corner. It contained jokes, proverbs, puzzles, strange tales, home remedies, and household hints. It gave stagecoach timetables and the names of the tavernkeepers along the various routes."
  • Winter roads are good: "People did all their heavy hauling in winter, over the smooth snow-packed roads and frozen rivers. For one thing, every man had to cut firewood from his woodlot and haul the logs out of the woods, ready to be cut at the sawmill in spring."
  • Spring roads are bad: "The land was much wetter than it is now, for the ancient forests and thick matting of pine needles and moss and rotten wood, centuries old, held moisture like a sponge until the land was gradually cleared of trees and the sun evaporated the moisture from the open fields. ... The mud — no telling how deep it went — held wagon wheels fast, up past the hub. ... People just stayed home in mud time."
  • Traveling salesman: "The Yankee peddler was a traveling novelty shop. He was a clever trader because he had to accept all kinds of farm produce and goods in payment and then sell them later on to someone else. Same fast-talking peddlers got rid of all their goods and by the end of the season sold the horse and wagon besides."
  • You'll never drink apple cider again: "In cider time, the boys ... raced full tilt up the hill to the cider mill to suck the fresh sweet cider straight from the tubs. It was frothy as it squirted out of the press, and it was flavored with the juices of drowned bugs and caterpillars, and once in a while even an unfortunate bulge-eyed rat, soaking peacefully at the bottom of the tub."
  • Food for the Thanksgiving feast: This will help you get your appetite back. Here's what they had in New England for an early 19th century Thanksgiving feast:
1. Some of Gemming's other books include:
  • "Lost in the Clouds: The Discovery of Machu Picchu"
  • "Blow Ye Winds Westerly: The Seaports and Sailing Ships of Old New England"
  • "Maple Harvest: The Story of Maple Sugaring"
  • "Wool Gathering: Sheep Raising in Old New England"
2. Kirkus wasn't very kind to Gemming's book in its original 1968 review. Here's an excerpt:
"As a corrective to juvenile euphoria, this performs a real service but the style -- simple expository sentences which become monotonous en masse -- will deter many readers. And Mrs. Gemming tends to generalize as if everyone not only acted but responded the same way, even the animals. ... In sum, a supplement to such standards as Earle and, yes, Tunis, well-indexed for access to the many homemaking, farming, trading, entertainment topics, also to school and church and the nascent city."
3. Old newspapers, Gemming wrote, could be pasted together in layers to make the cardboard stiffening for summer sunbonnets.
4. Of their pumpkin pie, Gemming wrote: "The traditional pumpkin pie was made with molasses. Occasionally a town even postponed its Thanksgiving observance because there was no molasses to be had. Then, when a barrel could be brought in some days later, they had their feast."

Weekend postcards: Portchester Castle and Kingsgate in England

As the Summer Olympics continue in London, here are a couple of vintage postcards of historic sites elsewhere within Land of the Angles/Albion/Lloegyr.

Above: This old postcard1 shows Portchester Castle and its Norman tower. The medieval castle dates to the late 11th century, and the site and buildings have been used for a Roman fort, a baron's castle, a royal hunting lodge for King John, a base for a (failed) plot to overthrow Henry V, and a prison.2

Today, it is a well-preserved heritage site and it is marketed as a location for family outings. It has well preserved, as you can see by comparing the postcard with the modern photo of the castle.

Above: This old Frith's Series postcard from my collection shows Kingsgate, which is one of two surviving medieval gates to the city of Winchester, England. The existence of a gate dates to at least the 1100s, while most of the structure shown here probably dates to the 14th century.

A small church — St Swithun-upon-Kingsgate Church — sits above the gate and is, unusually, incorporated into the city walls. Again, it is interesting to compare the postcard image with the modern photo of Kingsgate from a similar angle that is shown here.

Most interesting, though, is the note on the back of the postcard. This was not used as a postcard or ever mailed. But the following text is written in cursive on the back:
"Here is another of the few remaining old gates, — about all that remains of the old wall. Over the gate is a unique little chapel. There is a lot of interesting study to be obtained in looking over these old walls, — wonderful examples of the old builders' art. It ought to shame our modern contractors."
1. This postcard is undated and was never used. It was published by A.H. Sweasey of Southsea.
2. According to Wikipedia, Portchester Castle was last used as a prison during the Napoleonic Wars. More than 7,000 French prisoners were kept on the grounds. Per Wikipedia: "Those that died in captivity were often buried in what are now tidal mudflats to the south of the castle, their remains occasionally disturbed by storms."