It's a minor miracle of ephemeraology that this has survived for 80 years.
- At some point after it was used in 1933, this cardboard back cover was torn from a school binder or notebook.
- Then it must have gone into a drawer, box or closet.
- For a long time.
- And survived many cleanings and purgings.
- Decades later, it somehow survived a final sorting and found its way to people who thought, improbably, that it was suitable to put up for sale in a lower-end antiques store.
- And then some silly bloke actually paid money for it.1
Like I said, a minor miracle.
And so it's pretty neat that I have the opportunity to present this piece here on the blog. These are among my favorite posts — writing about the stuff that's more Island of Misfit Ephemera than Sotheby's (or Hake's).
First, I am happy to say that we at least have a guess at who the original owner might have been. On the reverse side, in large letters, we have this:
And so, with nothing else to go by, let's consider that this might be the work of Charlie Malone.
The center portion of the back cover contains the spring 1933 schedule and scores for the Caesar Rodney High School baseball team. Caesar Rodney is a public high school in Camden, Delaware, that dates to 1915 and is named for a Revolutionary War hero.2
The schedule lists nine games for Caesar Rodney.
Here's my best attempt at a transcription of what's written above (Caesar Rodney's score is always listed first):
So, it looks like the team played an interesting collection of opponents and posted an 8-1 record, losing only the first game to Bridgeville.4/3/33 Magnolia Pick Up Team 5-3
4/7/33 Goldey's Colledge 8-4
4/11/33 Bridgeville High School 0-5 (7 innings)
4/18/33 Dover High School 4-2
4/21/33 Smyrna High School 2-1
5/2/33 Bridgeville High School 12-10
4/28/33 Middleton High School 8-1
[no date] Smyrna 14-8
[no date] Dov [?] 7-4
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.
Most of the athletes' names are quite familiar.
- Helen Wills Moody, tennis
- Marchy Schwartz, Notre Dame football
- Johnny Allen, baseball
- Tony Lazzeri, baseball
- Red Grange, Chicago Bears football
- Bill Tilden, tennis
Two of the names, though, proved to be more challenging. Written next to the two basketball players were Gumy Faulkner and Reds McAllister.
After some searching, I found Faulkner. It was actually William Faulkner, but not that William Faulkner. No, this was William R. "Gummy" Faulkner (1909-1999). I found his football exploits covered in a couple of early 1930s Wilmington, Delaware, newspapers. And then I found his obituary, which is pretty fascinating. Here's an excerpt:3
"Mr. Faulkner was born Aug. 5, 1909, in Wilmington, the son of the late Herman and Annie S. Faulkner.
"He was a graduate of Wilmington High School, where he played football for two years. While still attending Wilmington High, Mr. Faulkner also played semi-professional football for Pen-Del in Kennett Square, Pa., as Delaware had a blue law, which allowed no football games on Sundays. The Pen-Del team went undefeated for five years. He then played with the Penns Grove (N.J.) Red Devils, and played for Allied Kid, Cubs, St. Mary's and the Southside Terrapins. During his football career, Gummy was considered the best running back Delaware ever produced.
"He also starred and excelled in baseball, and later in bowling on a local bowling team. On Nov. 14, 1992, he was inducted into the Southside Athletic Association's Sports Hall of Fame.
"He and his wife, Edna, owned and operated Faulkner's Pier in Bowers Beach for more than 50 years, before retiring in 1975 and turning the business over to his two daughters and son-in-law, Maureen Irons and Phyllis Kay Moore and William Moore.
He was a great outdoorsman and enjoyed hunting and fishing. He also enjoyed playing golf and riding a bicycle."
Interestingly, while football, baseball, bowling and golf are mentioned for Gummy Faulkner, there is no mention of basketball. So, I wonder why his name was written next to that illustration on this old piece of cardboard.
The other name, Reds McAllister, remains a mystery. Was he a high school and semi-pro star, like Gummy? Maybe he even attended Caesar Dowling. If anyone has any ideas, let me know in the comments section.
1. Silly bloke = me.
2. Read about the history of Caesar Rodney School District here.
3. Faulkner's obituary actually appears in two places: Find A Grave and Miscellaneous Obituaries. I used the latter for the excerpt, because it was more grammatically correct.