Saturday, December 1, 2012

Christmas begins: Peter Pan recipe for peanut butter cookies

Happy first day of December!

Now that it's the Twelfth Month1, the holiday season is officially under way, as far as I'm concerned. (I'm not a fan of all the businesses that kicked off Christmas in late October or before Thanksgiving.)

I have a sackful of Christmas-themed ephemera — postcards, recipes, illustrations, greeting cards and more — to post this month, so it's a great time to get started.2

To start, here's a vintage and festive recipe sheet for peanut butter cookies from Peter Pan. My educated guess is that this dates to the early 1970s; I found some similar Peter Pan advertising copy (with the same mention of "Scrooges"), in a December 1971 newspaper. I'm sure that this style of glass jar and Peter Pan label could also help us date this piece.3

Here's the cookie recipe from the paper...

  • 1 cup shortening
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup Peter Pan
  • 2 cups sifted flour
  • 2 teaspoons soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 5 dozen (about) peanuts
Cream shortening, sugars, eggs and vanilla. Stir in Peter Pan Peanut Butter. Sift dry ingredients, stir into creamed mixture. Shape 1 teaspoon of dough. Press into slim S-shape and place on ungreased cooky4 sheet. Insert peanut in end of dough. Press dough with back of fork to make criss-cross. Bake in 350° oven about 10 minutes. Makes about 5 dozen cookies.

1. And you can't spell twelfth without ELF.
2. If you want a sense of what's ahead in the coming weeks, here's the Guide to Papergreat's Christmas 2011 posts.
3. According to Wikipedia, Peter Pan peanut butter, which dates to 1920, was originally packaged in a tin can with a turn key. During World War II, the packaging switched to glass jars because of metal shortages. And in 1988, again according to Wikipedia, Peter Pan became the first brand of peanut butter to be packaged and sold in plastic jars.

As an additional aside, I am a huge peanut butter addict and, currently, my favorite brand of PB is Peter Pan's 100% natural creamy honey roast. (It's a little obscure, and I fear they won't continue this particular line forever. Hoarding might be an option.)
4. Cooky? Suddenly they're using a Middle Scots spelling of the word?

Friday, November 30, 2012

Gratuitous photo of two cats dishing out some ice cream

Yesterday's vintage animal photo was popular, so here's another one from Harry Whittier Frees' 1939 book...

"Then what fun they had!
They ate and they ate and they ate.
And every kitten had
Two helpings of ice cream."

Family field trip to Jim Thorpe (formerly Mauch Chunk)

We're off this morning on a family field trip to Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania. Much like Istanbul is formerly Constantinople (and Byzantium), Jim Thorpe began its existence in 1818 as Mauch Chunk (from the Lenape Màxkwchunk, which translates to "Bear Mountain.")

How Mauch Chunk became named Jim Thorpe is complicated and still mired in controversy.

But, controversy aside, it should be fun to check out this scenic mountain town today. I'm sure it doesn't look anything like the old Tosh's Department Store postcard pictured above.


If you're wondering how the trip turned out, check out the Jim Thorpe Learning Guide on my wife's blog. (Plus, see me wearing my 1970s Eagles hat.)

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Gratuitous photo of a dog pushing a cat and baby doll in a cart

"Purrrrr!" said Suzz. And she began
the picnic by riding in a dog cart with her
doll. Frisky, the pup, pushed her. That
was fun, too."
This picture and caption are from a tattered 1939 copy of "More about the Four Little Kittens" by Pennsylvanian Harry Whittier Frees.

On the dedication page, Frees notes: "These unusual photographs of real kitten were made possible only patient, unfailing kindness on the part of the photographer at all times."

I'll be posting more images from this book in the coming weeks. (This one is a birthday present for my wife, who said she wanted to see some cat ephemera.)

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

How to make the Red Heel Sock Monkey and Sock Elephant

Now here is some ephemera you can USE.

I recently came across a single sheet of paper (probably dating to the 1960s) from the Nelson Knitting Company that features the instructions for making the famous Red Heel Sock Monkey and the somewhat-less-famous Red Heel Sock Elephant.1 (The side featuring the complete instructions appears below.)

The sheet also advertises the various types of Nelson Rockford cushioned socks that were available at the time, including Athletic Stretch, Thermal Cushioned and Lightweight.

But the Nelson Red Heel Rockford Socks were the star, as they are the primary ingredient — along with some stuffing and red yarn — for creating the beloved sock monkey.2

The front of the sheet also describes how you can order the book "How to Make Sock Toys" for just $1.50 from Pack-O-Fun. Used copies of that book remain popular today and sell for $6 and up on Amazon.

Much has been written online about Nelson Knitting Company, sock monkeys and Pack-O-Fun. Here are some of the better sites to check out:

But, monkeys aside, if anyone makes the Sock Elephant, be sure to sent a picture of your work to Papergreat!


1. "Sock Monkey" gets about 4,810,000 Google hits. "Sock Elephant" gets about 16,300.
2. Personally, I prefer to have my warm, red-heeled socks remain on my feet. But I'm just practical that way, I reckon.

Let it snow. Let it snow. Let it snow.

SNOW! It's about time we got the 2012-13 winter season under way!

Here is probably the best snow photo I've ever taken. A pair of plows move down Kenneth Road in West Manchester Township, York County, late in the morning of February 10, 2010.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Four vintage Aune photos of Hammerfest, Norway

The coastal city of Hammerfest, Norway, was established in 1838 and now boasts a population of just under 10,000. It is one of the northernmost cities in the world, putting it on a list alongside such settlements as Longyearbyen, Norway; Khatanga, Russia; Tiksi, Russia; and Barrow, Alaska.

Hammerfest is considered to be one of the great locations for checking out the full majesty of the Northern Lights.

These small photo cards, produced by Aune, appear to date to the 1950s or early 1960s. They measure about 3⅞ inches by 2⅝ inches.

Above: A view of Hammerfest from above.

Above: Tourists check out the fountain in the harbor area.

Above: This is the Meridian Statue, which is located at the site of the Fuglenes Lighthouse in Hammerfest. The statue is a key component of the Struve Geodetic Arc, a 19th century effort to accurately measure a meridian. Read more about it at Wikipedia, Northern Norway and

Above: Locals (who appear to be Sami, judging by their clothing) relax on a hillside while the cruise ship Stella Polaris travels through harbor. (For a comprehensive history of the Stella Polaris, check out

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Prose and illustrations from 1963's "Sewing Pants for Women"

"Sewing Pants for Women," written by Elsé Tyroler and published is 1963, is described on the dust jacket as "the first book devoted exclusively to altering and fitting pants for women, written by an expert who has measured and fitted thousands of pairs."

The preface establishes some context regarding the evolution of the need for pants specifically designed to fit women:
"Until World War II, pants were a man's prerogative, designed for men by men. Then Mother became an inventor of necessity. Off to defense plants she want, doffing aprons, donning pedal pushers, Capris, Bermudas, Jamaicas, and even short shorts. The clothing industry was caught with its preparedness down. Everyone, from patternmaker to manufacturer, took up the — sorry we must say it — slack, turning out women's pants by the only fitting methods the knew; men's tailoring. Results? Womanly curves were firmly entrenched in pants fit for men — and a new field of humor was created for cartoonists."

Tyroler has a fun touch as a writer, which is pretty neat given that she's clearly a master dressmaker first1 and wordsmith second. Here are some more examples of her breezy writing:
  • "Pants have turned out to be rather important. They are worn for cocktails as well as gardening. They turn up in silks and satins under floating evening skirts. They stride forth on the golf course where they are expected to be as flawless as madame's game is not.2 They constitute the suburban uniform for the supermarket circuit."
  • "Some women are long from ankle to knee, some are long from knee to hip. It couldn't matter less which you are, unless you have ambitions for the Folies Bergere, or unless you have a hankering for a pair of Bermudas, Jamaicas, house boy pants, pedal pushers or any type of pants whose length relies upon the knee!"
  • "What is the back rise, anyhow? When you look at the blueprint of a pair of pants, the back rise is your sitting room! It is the extra bit of length built into the center back seam to give you the necessary leeway for sitting, bending and walking. No one can appreciate it more than the poor unfortunate who has heard that ominous rrrrrip in public!"
And here are some of the additional illustrations from the book. (No illustrator is credited.)

Finally, here's an advertisement from the back cover of the dust jacket for a set of patterns by Elsé. I think most of us — with the possible exception of Shawn Bradley, Yao Ming and Mark Eaton — can be very glad that most women do not, in real life, look the women in this advertisement.

1. According to a 1968 newspaper article I came across, Tyroler, based in Los Angeles at the time, was a "European-trained designer and dressmaker" with "a coveted Master's Diplome in Dressmaking and Pattern Drafting, garnered from years of European training."
2. Annika Sörenstam, Lorena Ochoa and many other stars of women's golf would beg to differ.

1928 gift book from Dolin & Rushford in Hinton, West Virginia

In 1928, Madge King received a copy of Grace Livingston Hill's novel "Not Under the Law" as a gift from her mother.

We know where the book was purchased — and that it cost 75 cents — thanks to a tiny sticker affixed diagonally to the upper-right corner of the first page:

Department Store
Ladies Wear
Books, Gifts

Hinton W Va

But Dolin & Rushford remains a bit of a mystery. The Internet does not, at this time, have anything in the way of details about this department store of long ago. We're probably going to need someone from the vicinity of tiny Hinton to check in and offer some details.1

The book has inscriptions on a few different pages. Written on the inside front cover, vertically from bottom to top, is "Madge King lovingly your devoted mother."2

Madge King's name is written again, in cursive, on the first page. And the first page of the novel contains this inscription, dated June 17, 1928:

1. Though it has a population of less than 3,000, Hinton looks like a good destination for off-the-beaten-path history buffs. (It's about two hours southeast of Charleston, West Virginia.) It has a veterans memorial museum, a railroad museum and a Civil War museum.
2. Here's one possibility for the identity of Madge King. It seems to fit the necessary details.