Tuesday, December 31, 2013

My favorite Papergreat posts of 2013

Where did 2013 go?!?

As we prepare to bid adieu to this year and sally forth into 2014, I took at quick look back at the nearly 400 posts I had this year and chose 16 of my personal favorites.

Maybe this is the first time you've seen some (or all) of these posts, which I think represent a good sampling about what this blog is all about. (And if you know someone who's never heard of Papergreat, send them this link as a New Year's Eve present. It can serve as a nice introduction to the world of ephemera, and it will certainly be more intellectually stimulating than watching Ryan Seacrest or Kathy Griffin tonight.)


The Incomplete Lada Draskovic
Excerpt: "One the most interesting lives I've come across while writing Papergreat is the that of Lada Draskovic. Her story, as I know it, remains incomplete. And it's not just incomplete, but scattered across several different posts. So I thought I'd compile everything I know about her in one place, for the sake of completeness and perhaps to make it easier for someone who's seeking (or sharing) information about Draskovic and her Sweetniks."

Ink blotter for Ticonderoga pencils with Frances Tipton Hunter artwork
Excerpt: "This old ink blotter for Ticonderoga pencils features an absolutely wonderful illustration by Frances Tipton Hunter. (Confession: It took me some guessing and Googling before I was able to correctly read the blurry artist's signature in the lower-left corner.) Hunter (1896-1957) had a style that was similar to Norman Rockwell and was one of the top female illustrators of her era, contributing 18 covers to The Saturday Evening Post in the 1930s and 1940s."

Connecting with the world via postcards in 2013
Excerpt: "If you love mailing and receiving postcards as a way of connecting with the world in a non-electronic way — even in this day of rising stamp prices and shrinking postal delivery — PostMuse's Orphaned Postcard Project is one wonderful effort you can get involved with. ... Another great website to check out if want to mail and receive postcards is Postcrossing. Its motto is simple: 'Send a postcard and receive a postcard back from a random person in the world!'"

(This ended up being the first of more than a dozen Postcrossing-themed posts in 2013.)

Caesar Rodney High School's 1933 baseball results
Excerpt: "Another interesting thing about this cover is that it came pre-printed with illustrations of athletes playing basketball, tennis, football and baseball. The original owner printed the names of athletes who were popular in the early 1930s next to each illustration. ... Two of the names, though, proved to be more challenging. Written next to the two basketball players were Gumy Faulkner and Reds McAllister."

Reader comments: Stamp collecting, mysteries solved & Whirley mugs
(Some of my favorite posts are the ones in which YOU are the star. I love it when you send me your comments, feedback and reminiscences.)

Excerpt: "I still remember coming home from Noel Elementary School (in York, Pennsylvania) one afternoon when I was in second grade in 1954. I was walking down the 300 block of East Poplar Street, where I lived, and I happened to see an orange and black tiger striped envelope in a garbage can which advertised the stamps from around the world that were included inside. Gleefully I snatched that packet from the garbage can and clutched it in my hands all the way home. That day so very long launched a lifelong joyful learning experience for me."

1916 postcard from Norristown's State Hospital for Insane
Excerpt: "Some of the therapy options that were available for the first patients, many of which were occupation-oriented, included a bakery, a billiards room, a carpentry shop, a working farm, a garden, a mattress shop, painting, shoemaking and weaving. Patients could also play croquet and tennis. On the other hand, according to the hospital's website, electroshock therapy, insulin coma therapy, and lobotomies were methods of treatment during the 1930s and 1940s."

Rupert Croft-Cooke observes Ruth Manning-Sanders with the circus
Excerpt: "Driving to Petworth the next morning I passed the Count with the monkey cart and his little cavalcade of ponies, and beside him on his box-seat Ruth was perched. She always drove with the Count in the morning when she was with us, loving the trot of the horses, the fresh smell of the air which is lost to motorists, and the journey made longer. With a gypsy-like scarf round her head, she would sit there chatting with the Count, waving to the successive lorries, waggons and cars as they passed, and happy as a human being could well be in the morning sunlight with a pleasant day ahead."

Postcard featuring my dream house
Excerpt: "Cozy stone house? Check.
Built into the surrounding environment? Check.
Sod roof? Check.
Goat on sod roof? CHECK!!
This Plastichrome postcard by Colourpicture1 features a photograph by Hugh MacRae Morton."

Graphic design: 8 cool company logos from old magazine ads
Excerpt: "Today, for something a little different, here are eight company logos pulled from advertisements featured in the pages of Ladies' Home Journal in 1919 and 1936. I chose these because I thought the graphic design and typography used by these companies were creative and worth sharing here in 2013."

Dubble Bubble Quiz tucked away inside an old schoolbook
Excerpt: "Today's find is an old Dubble Bubble gum wrapper that was tucked away inside the handsome 1936 textbook Elson-Gray Basic Readers Book Six. The book, published by Scott, Foresman and Company, features 400+ pages of reading selections, including 'Starting a Wild-Life Sanctuary' by Dallas Lore Sharp, 'Pandora's Box' by Nathaniel Hawthorne, and 'The Village Blacksmith' by Henry W. Longfellow. The flattened gum wrapper measures 2½ by 1¾ inches. In addition to the cartoon representation of Jonah and the whale, which serves as the Dubble Bubble Quiz."

Hay llamas! 1950s illustrated map of Catskill Game Farm
Excerpt: "The zoo was in operation for 73 years, from 1933 to 2006. It was owned and run by members of the Lindemann family (including founders Roland and Kathryn) during that entire time. It was officially recognized as a zoo in 1958, which allowed for it to expand its collection of animals. The entire site spanned more than 900 acres, but the Game Farm itself consisted of about 136 acres that were open to the public from spring through autumn."

Esther (Bassick) Whittaker and the Gettysburg Address
Excerpt: "And so Esther Elizabeth Bassick — the future Esther E. Whittaker — was born at 4:30 a.m. on September 4, 1910, and weighed in at 7½ pounds. William Howard Taft was the President of the United States and it had been a little less than 47 years since Lincoln's famous speech. ... She died earlier this year. ... At age 102."

The Nimoy Award for 1967 goes to...
Excerpt: "After a short wait, in which we had chewed our fingernails down to the third knuckle, an elevator door opened, and we all looked up — it was him! He was wearing a dark suit with a kind of turtle neck affair. A tremendous black cape was slung over his arm. We were all sitting on a small red velvet couch when he approached us. We all froze, and as a result, we probably had expressions on our faces akin to the Three Stooges."

Hurry and get this old-fashioned ice skating party for just $1
Excerpt: "So realistic, they almost spring to life. Ma and Pa sit bundled in their sleigh as their snowball flinging lads and lasses frolic and gay villages whirl across the ice. Authentic Mid-Eighties costume design, in true, bright, rich colors. ... You and friends will enjoy this rare bit of Holiday Charm that sends you on a sentimental journey back through many Christmases. Use year after year — on mantel, table, near tree. Durably constructed of dimensional plastic."

Helen Myers and the dandy 1926-27 West York girls' basketball team
Excerpt: "Myers was more than just a basketball standout. Her full name, according to the yearbook, was Helen Romaine Myers and her nickname was 'Hellie.' She was her class secretary all four years, was a member of the Athletic Association, was the sports editor of Blue and White (the bi-weekly student newspaper) as a senior, was the business manager of the Ladies' Home Journal Campaign, sang with the Glee Club, competed on the track and volleyball teams, participated in the minstrel show, and was a member of the Alpha Beta Literary Society."

Eight awesome things you'll never find inside e-books
Excerpt: "I'm a Books Guy. Books you can hold in your hands and take anywhere without worrying about battery life or the elements. Books, too, are more than just the sum of the words written by the author. They are full of other treasures. The kind of treasures that, to my knowledge, will never exist with e-books.

"As a Books Guy, I live for those discoveries within old books."

Monday, December 30, 2013

1929 textbook illustration of Château de Coucy


This illustration, from History of Europe: Ancient and Medieval, shows the magnificence of Château de Coucy, a French castle that was built in the early 1200s and blown to smithereens by the German army about 700 years later during World War I.

The huge round tower in the forefront is the keep/donjon, which was one of the largest such fortifications in the world. It measured between 100 and 115 feet wide and between 180 and 210 feet high. According to History of Europe: Ancient and Medieval, the walls were 34 feet thick at the base.

This is all that remains of the grand castle today...


According to Wikipedia, one of Château de Coucy's lords, Enguerrand VII de Coucy (1340–1397), is the primary subject of Barbara Tuchman's award-winning narrative of the fourteenth century, A Distant Mirror, which was published in 1978.

For a wealth of information about and images of Château de Coucy, see the English-language version of this website by Pierre-Emmanuel Sautereau, which focuses on pre-1917 postcards and photographs.

(While I am very happy that Sautereau provided an English-language version of his history website, I think there were some translation problems with this section:
"This site aims to help you discover Coucy-le-Chateau, through postcards and old photos, collected by several collectors. They agreed to share their treasure, I thank them all very much. These documents are obviously for personal research, not for breeding purposes."
And, just to be clear, that goes for all of the ephemera on Papergreat, too. None of it should ever be used for breeding purposes.)

1944 advertisement: How much will you pay for this love seat?


I wonder where this walnut-framed, original-horsehair love seat is today? If it was more than 100 years old 1944, chances are that it's approaching 200 years old today.

This advertisement was featured in the December 1944 edition of Hobbies — "The Magazine for Collectors" — which was published by Lightner Publishing Co. under that name until 1985.

Here are some links to read more about Hobbies and its publisher:

Sunday, December 29, 2013

1936's "Albanian Wonder Tales": Frontispiece and endpapers


Here are a couple of delightful illustrations from 1936's Albanian Wonder Tales, which was written by Post Wheeler (pictured at right) and illustrated by influential children's book artists Maud and Miska Petersham.1

The book, which is dedicated to Prince Essad Kryeziu, contains 10 folk tales, including "The Princess Who Had the Silver Tooth," "The Girl Who Took a Snake For Husband," "The Boy Who Took the Letter to the World Where the Dead Live," and "The Boy Who Killed the Dif."2

Although Wheeler, a diplomat and journalist, was not best known for his folk-tale collections, he did put together a few others, including:
  • Tales from the Japanese Storytellers As Collected in the Ho-Dan Zo
  • Hawaiian Wonder Tales
  • Russian Wonder Tales

Russian Wonder Tales, first published in 1912 and republished numerous times thereafter, is probably the most notable of his folk-tale books, as it contains illustrations by famed Russian illustrator Ivan Bilibin.

Getting back to Albanian Wonder Tales, here is the endpapers' illustration.


Footnotes
1. Per Wikipedia, Maud Fuller Petersham (1890-1971) and Miska Petersham (1888-1960) "helped set the direction for illustrated children's books as known today. ... They worked as a seamless partnership for more than five decades. Both prolific and versatile, they produced illustrations for more than 120 trade and textbooks, anthologies, and picture books. ... [And] they are known for technical excellence, exuberant color, and the introduction of international folk and modernist themes."
2. Difs are described in the story as being "giants four yards tall, eaters of human flesh, which live on high mountains or in the Underworld — whence they come forth into the white world through hidden wells in the forests."


Found photo: Blurry things piled high on shelves


I'm probably the only person who could ever love this blurry Polaroid snapshot.

Where was this room?
When was this taken?
Who sat in that chair?
What treasures are piled haphazardly on those shelves?

Something to ponder in the middle of a cold winter night.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Saturday's postcard: High mountain passage in Norway


How would you like to drive on this road?

This undated postcard, published by Normanns Kunstforlag, features a view of a "high mountain passage" in Norway. It states that the photograph was taken in June. (Presumably, this road becomes impassable during the winter.)

It's possible, though I can't be sure, that this was taken along the Sognefjellet National Tourist Route. According to www.VisitNorway.com, the Sognefjellet is the highest mountain pass in northern Europe. At its peak, the 67-mile route is about 4,700 feet above sea level. Along the way, travelers will see a fjord, mountains, rivers, waterfalls. And they can stay at historic hotels that date to the 18th and 19th centuries. Sounds like a pretty dandy vacation.

Here are some more links to help fuel your Norwegian travel daydreams:

Friday, December 27, 2013

Christmas-themed QSL card from Appleton, Wisconsin


There's always room for one more Christmas post, right?

I got a chuckle from this vintage QSL card featuring an illustration of Santa Claus getting snagged on a ham-radio antenna (referred to here as a super-mag) while making his worldwide rounds. The card was issued by Harold and Agnes Welter1 of Appleton, Wisconsin, who had the call sign KLK 7037.

In ham-radio lingo, "73" means "best regards." So, if you want to be technical, the phrase "Best of 73's" would translate to "Best of Best Regards's."

But it's the holidays, so there's no need to nitpick. Cheers!

Check out Papergreat's other vintage QSLs here.


Footnote
1. According to some genealogy websites, there was a Harold Welter from Appleton who lived from 1921 to 2000.

Summing up Christmas 101 years ago in Mason City, Nebraska

For the sake of efficiency, a mother and daughter used both sides of a single piece of paper to write their respective post-Christmas notes 101 years ago.

Here are the two sides of the letter, followed in each instance by a faithful transcription.


Mason City, Nebr.
Dec 29 1912

Dear Cousin
I was up to grandpapa Christmas. I got a glass and three book and doll and a ribbon and a handkerchief and two postcards and a pencilbox and a string of beads and piece of goods for a white apron and a box of candy.

We had a week of vacation and are school is going to start tomorrow.

We like are teacher and her name is Martha Whitehead.1

We are all well except cold.

Hope you are all well.

From your cousin
Blanche


Dear niece
We recieved our box and many thanks
mine is just fine
how did you know I did not have any thing like it Ha Ha
The children think theirs is fine too.
I am in a hurry this morning trying to get the girls off to school and they are bothering me too
Write soon
Emma Hammer

Footnote
1. I found a reference to Martha Whitehead in the NEGenWeb Resource Center. She was one of seven graduates at the Mason City (Nebraska) high school commencement in Custer County on May 21, 1897.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

The American Gas Association's holiday lineup for 1971-72


Gaslight was a four-page pamphlet from Columbia Gas System that I'm assuming was included in the envelope with customers' gas bills about four decades ago.

One of these that I came across is from 1971 and includes tips for cutting heating costs in the winter, tips for using your dryer properly, a recipe for Italian Meat Loaf from someone named Betty Newton, and a guide to the 1971-72 television specials sponsored by various gas companies and the American Gas Association.

These were the six gas-sponsored shows that were set to air on NBC:

  • "Snoopy at the Ice Follies,"1 on October 24, 1971
  • "Festival at Ford's II," from Washington, D.C., on November 15, 1971
  • "The Little Drummer Boy," starring Greer Garson, Jose Ferrer and the Vienna Boys Choir, on December 14, 1971
  • "The Spring," a documentary about Africa, on January 16, 1972
  • "Bing Crosby Show," featuring Carol Burnett, Bob Hope and Jackie Gleason, on February 10, 1972
  • "Circus Town," documenting how a city stages a circus, on April 1, 1972

A newspaper article titled "Networks Plan wide Variety of 'Specials'" in the September 10, 1971, edition of the Arizona Daily Sun2 adds a bit more detail about "Festival at Ford's II," stating that is "the working title for NBC's sequel to last Thanksgiving salute to American music at historic Ford's Theater. [sic]"

Regarding "Circus Town," NBC first aired the documentary about circus performers in Peru, Indiana, in 1970. According to the Chronology of Clowndom page, its "featured performer was 'Joey' Kelly, son of Emmett 'Weary Willie' Kelly, Jr. and grandson of Clown and Circus Halls of Fame inductee Emmett 'Weary Willie' Kelly Sr."

I can't, however, dig up anything about the African documentary titled "The Spring."

Footnotes
1. This was the first of four Peanuts-themed ice-skating television specials. Here's the full list.
2. That 1971 newspaper article in the Arizona Daily Sun begins this way:
"A FCC ruling cutting prime-time network programming to three hours per night was almost certain to reduce the number of special telecasts this year — but it didn't. The list of specials is already lengthy and the political conventions, President Nixon's visit to China, the Apollo program, and Vietnam are naturals to add to the list."
And the article concludes with this throwaway sentence:
"A few other specials, including an ABC investigation of invasion of privacy by the government, will fill the special program season."
The invasion-of-privacy special referred to was hosted by ABC's Frank Reynolds. I found some more about it in the January 8, 1972, issue of The Morning Herald of Hagerstown, Maryland:
"The ABC News special, 'Assault on Privacy' ... details the many ways in which vast volumes of information are being gathered on millions of Americans. Hosted and narrated by ABC News special correspondent Frank Reynolds, the program focuses on two specific areas of privacy invasion — law enforcement and consumer credit reporting. Law enforcement agencies contend that surveillance and information-gathering are essential to their work. The growing number of consumer and credit reporting companies claim they are only providing a service to retailers, lending institutions, insurance companies and the consumer. The net effect is the compilation of a staggering amount of data — accurate, inaccurate, properly used, sometimes abused — on virtually all adult Americans. As correspondent Reynolds points out on the program, 'the invasion of privacy takes many forms. Some manifestations are the result of population — the pressure of people in our overcrowded cities. Some result from an affluent and automated society in which we choose to make a trade-off between personal privacy and the benefits of modern technology. But some deprivations of privacy are man-made. They have to do with Constitutional rights, with political beliefs, and with personal and commercial information about individuals."
That was four decades ago, but it sounds like it could have been spoken or written yesterday!

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Vintage postcard of Abdul the camel in Tuxedo, New York

This post is a gift for my daughter, Sarah, because we want to let you know that today is more than just Christmas...


IT'S HUMP DAY!
(That's what you get when Christmas is on a Wednesday, folks.)

This is a Dexter Press postcard from 1971. The caption on the front states: "'Abdul' the Camel and young friend."

According to the back of the card, "Abdul" offered gentle rides for young visitors to Sterling Forest, which is located on Route 210 near the town of Tuxedo, New York.

Since 1978, the same area has been host to the New York Renaissance Faire, which features its own camels.

But I can't find any mention of what became of Abdul. It's possible that he's still around, as a dromedary can live up to 50 years in captivity. But I don't know.

Vintage vernacular photograph of a boy with Christmas presents


Have you finished opening presents yet?

Here's a mystery vernacular photo of a young boy with his gifts on a Christmas of Days Past.

No date. No identification. Can anyone hazard a guess based on some of the toys that he's received?

(To see some old Christmas photos of Yours Truly, see this 2011 post.)

God Jul!


Merry Christmas, all!

This vintage postcard features the phrase God Jul!, which is how you say "Merry Christmas" in Swedish and Norwegian.

Keeping up a tradition I started last year, here is how you say "Merry Christmas" in a few other languages, according to Santa's Net:

Armenian: Shenoraavor Nor Dari yev Pari Gaghand
Cornish: Nadelik looan na looan blethen noweth
Frisian: Noflike Krystdagen en in protte Lok en Seine yn it Nije Jier!
Hungarian: Boldog Karácsonyt
Maori: Meri Kirihimete

And here's a closer look at the central illustration on this old postcard. Note that both the Swedish and American flags are at the top of the Christmas tree.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Vintage Christmas card from Father: "Bright Days Always"


I think this is my favorite illustration from the various Christmas cards and items that I have posted this month (although those that I have saved for Tuesday and Wednesday are fairly stellar, too).

This card, titled "Bright Days Always," is just wonderfully atmospheric, with its pockets of colorful holiday cheer punching through the cold and gloomy December weather. Plus, of course, full moons always make for dramatic illustrations and photographs.1

Inside the undated card, which was printed in England, is the following Christmas message, from Father to Anna and Earl...


And here's a closer look at the Victorian-era musicians and their portable lamp.


Footnote
1. I have been stockpiling a nice little set of vintage "full moon" postcards that I plan to share in a gallery sometime in 2014. In the meantime, here are some previous posts featuring the moon:

Papergreat's Favorite Reads of 2013


This illustration, which was pasted into the pages of a decades-old scrapbook that I came across earlier this year, seems like the perfect accompaniment to this list of my favorite articles of 2013.

Vintage snapshot of a man, a woman and a snow shovel


Here's a fun vintage photograph. It features two well-dressed adults out in the snow, with the man holding a show shovel. The woman looks like she's either feigning alarm ... or possibly getting ready to toss a snowball at the gentleman. It looks like there might be something in her hand, but I can't tell for sure.

When you take a closer look at these two individuals, they appear to be quite amiable. Having some fun in the snow.



The back of the photograph does not contain a date or any identifications. And there doesn't seem to be enough in the background to determine a location. When do you think this was taken? The 1930s?

Looking even more closely, one final neat detail I discovered is that the man is holding a pipe.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Five awesome Christmas gift tags

I have no idea whether these small Christmas gift tags, seen below in closeup, were made in 2012 or 1952 or sometime in between. I don't know if you can call them vintage or old-fashioned or handcrafted or homemade. For all I know, they were stamped out by albino children using cutting-edge machinery in a secret factory in Capileira, Spain, last year.

But regardless of who made them, and when, and how, they're fairly awesome — a classy and creative alternative to those endless sheets of to/from stickers that are so common during this holiday.

And they're ephemera.

So enjoy.