Saturday, February 9, 2013

Colorful postcard from 1964-1965 New York World's Fair

This postcard is from the 1964-1965 New York World's Fair and pairs nicely with my May 2012 post about the AMF monorail at that fair. The caption on the back of this Dexter Press postcard states:

"Peace through Understanding"
Left Side: Unisphere® from the Promenade of the Court of Nations; Top Right: Chrysler Corporation's Giant "Autofare"; Bottom Right: Coca-Cola Pavilion.

The Unisphere still resides within Flushing Meadows–Corona Park in Queens.1 The carillon from the Coca-Cola Pavilion was moved to Stone Mountain, near Atlanta, Georgia.

The reverse side of the postcard isn't terribly interesting. It was mailed to a family in Mount Pleasant, Pennsylvania, in September 1964.2 The brief cursive note states: "Hi. Having the most wonderful time. Home soon. Love Elsie & Shrum family." The postmark and the cancellation mark are both specific to the World's Fair. The 5¢ stamp features George Washington.

Finally, I wonder if the woman featured prominently on the front of the postcard ever knew that she was famous?

1. The park was originally built in preparation for the 1939-1940 World's Fair. It was constructed at the site of the ash-, manure- and garbage-filled Corona Ash Dumps, which inspired (if that's the correct word) the "valley of ashes" in F. Scott Fitzgerald's "The Great Gatsby."
2. Note for Phillies fans: This card was postmarked exactly two weeks before Chico Ruiz stole home.

Connecting with the world via postcards in 2013

I received the above postcard, an absolute work of art, in the mail recently from Bonnie Jeanne (aka PostMuse), who runs the Orphaned Postcard Project and blog over at

I had mailed her a vintage Lancaster County postcard, partly as thanks for being a regular Papergreat commenter and partly because I'm rediscovering the joy of actually mailing postcards1, which nicely complements the joy of discovering them in old shoeboxes, scanning them and writing about them. And this fabulous card was her reply to me. It even has its own title — "B is for Bingo, Blanket, BBQ, Bing." She describes the artistic spark behind her work as: "I just started stitching bits of stuff to cardstock. I'm having a blast clearing out lots of little bits! Not sure how well they travel yet..."

So cool!

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.

She began the project in 2008 and participation is a breeze, as outlined on her website.2

Commenting on a recent Papergreat post, Bonnie Jeanne explains: "I don't collect postcards as much as I collect connections. Doesn't really matter what is on the front as long as the message on [the back] connects me to the person who wrote it."

And those connections come through on her blog, in which she writes about the postcards that arrive back in her mailbox from the project. Some of her recent posts include:

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!"

I'm still in the preliminary stages of using Postcrossing. (It's really quite simple.) I've sent postcards to people in Russia, China, Belarus, Poland and Germany.

And I've received one postcard back — from a Russian native who is now living in Troisdorf, Germany, and loves visiting that country's historic castles. She sent me a postcard of Eltz Castle and wrote:
"In Russian are not real castles, but here in Germany you can travel from one castle to another, so many of them! Here on the card is one of my favorite castles — Burg Eltz. Usually the castles are 'sitting' on a mountain top. But this castle is on the valley hidden in the mountains, an amasing place. Every stone here is a part of history with footmarks from real knights and wraiths..."

So, I recommend both the Orphaned Postcard Project and Postcrossing if you're looking to connect with other people in a way that leaves a memorable and lasting paper trail.

1. I was originally going to take this post in a different direction. Look at all these articles and blog posts that came up when I typed "the lost art of sending mail" and "the lost art of sending postcards" into Google! Most of these, by the way, were published within the past 12 months.
2. There's a slightly sad and interesting story behind where PostMuse got some of her old postcards that she uses for the project. In answering the question "Where did you get all the old postcards?" on her FAQ, she states:
"Many of the old postcards were rescued from a long ago neighbor’s trash. I noticed a big box overflowing with postcards and since I was already exchanging postcards I thought it a shame to see those cards go to a landfill. I didn’t ask, just took them. I didn’t do much with them, though, because other postcard folk wanted 'new' postcards, not the dusty vintage views in that box. I carted that box from Massachusetts to the third floor apartment in my first Pittsburgh home, then down from that apartment into my current home. Mostly they collected more dust...

"And then I came up with Orphaned Postcard Project, mostly to find something to do with the gazillions of contemporary blank postcards I had accumulated. But then I got caught up in the spreadsheet and pulled out that box and added all those dusty views. Most of the UK and Italy cards are rescued cards."

Friday, February 8, 2013

Rules governing the library of McKees Rocks M.E. Sunday School

This notice is pasted down on the inside front cover of the undated novel "The Floating Light of the Goodwin Sands" by R.M. Ballantyne (1825-1894). On the second page, there is also an inscription that states:

By S.S.
Feb 28 - 1912
To M.E. Church

M.E. likely stands for Methodist Episcopal Church. It has since been merged into the United Methodist Church.

The rules, as laid out, are fairly specific and strict. I find it interesting that a Sunday School library would have a system of fines. Assuming that these rules were issued around 1900, a fine of a nickel per week then would be the equivalent of nearly $1.40 per week now. Ouch!

McKees Rocks
is a borough in western Pennsylvania, about four miles northwest of Pittsburgh.

Receipt tucked inside shorthand textbook from San Diego City College

This old receipt was tucked away inside a paperback book titled "Most-Used Shorthand Words and Phrases" by John Robert Gregg, Louis A. Leslie and Charles E. Zoubek.

I can't really nail down what year the receipt is from. It states "SEP 17," but not a year. The book itself is part of the November 1960 printing, so I suppose it wouldn't be wrong to guess that the receipt is from the early to mid 1960s.

San Diego City College was founded in 1914. One of its most famous alumni is Cameron "You had me at hello" Crowe. It now offers more than 100 majors, including cosmetology, nursing, small business operation, and graphic design.

It took me a minute to figure out all of the information that's being conveyed by this receipt.

It's interesting how receipts evolved from a large format, in which everything is spelled out in detail; to the condensed electronic receipts of the mid 20th century (such as this one); to today's five-foot-long itemized receipts that you receive at grocery and department stores. (And, of course, we could see printed receipts entirely phased out, moving forward.)

Anyway, here's my take on the decoding of today's receipt. I would guess the shorthand book was the $2 item, not the $5.40 item.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Two artistic interpretations of Neuschwanstein Castle

Neuschwanstein Castle (Schloss Neuschwanstein) in Bavaria, Germany, is certainly one of the most famous and iconic castles in the world. And, as such, it is featured widely in photographs, illustrations and other works of art.

Shown above is an undated Palette postcard featuring an artist's rendering of the palace.1

And shown below is a photo of Lego Neuschwanstein that I took Sunday at the Reading Public Museum's marvelous LEGO Castle Adventure exhibit. Ashar is a serious fan of Legos (as was I at his age), which is a hobby we certainly don't mind encouraging.

The Lego exhibit was jaw-dropping and interactive and is highly recommended.

1. The small type on the back of the postcard states: "Alpiner Fotokarten - Verlag Herm. Wisberger, Krun b.Mittenwald. Nachdruck verboten." By the way, "nachdruck verboten" translates to "reproduction prohibited," so I guess it's possible I might be in trouble here. 

Monday, February 4, 2013

From 1916: Hey kids, sell Friend Soap and get a free baseball outfit

The Super Bowl is over. Baseball spring training is just days away!1

This awesome advertisement comes from the August 1916 issue of Little Folks, a magazine for children.2

Friend Soap Co. offered boys a free baseball outfit in return for selling some of its soap. Young men simply had to get 25 cakes of "Olive Oil Castile Soap" to sell for 10 cents apiece.3 Then, upon sending the $2.50 to the company, a boy would receive a "splendid baseball outfit."

The description of the baseball outfit is my favorite part of the advertisement:
"SHIRT, handsome grey flannel, broad shoulders, very long, three button front, double sewed.
PANTS, well made, very strong, wide belt, straps, knee elastics.
CAP, snappy new 1915 League shape.
BELT, new style, bright colored, patent nickel buckle."
This wasn't the only sales enticement aimed at children that Friend Soap, based in Concord Junction, Massachusetts, was involved with. I did some Googling and found advertisements from this same time period in which Friend Soap offered fountain pens, watches, furs, dolls, teddy bears, soldier suits, a "moving picture machine" and even violins in exchange for hawking its various products.

I should make a gallery of all of their advertisements, because they're pretty hilarious. I think it's safe to say these weren't exactly the highest-quality products, and that these advertisements have a lot in common with some of the stuff that my generation is familiar with from comic books of the 1970s.

1. This post from last month had a guide to more of Papergreat's baseball content.
2. I plan provide a more thorough post on the entire Little Folks magazine, which is quite dandy, later this winter. Today, I just wanted to highlight the advertisement.
3. Ten cents in 1916 is the equivalent of about $2 for a bar of soap today, according to The Inflation Calculator.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Three vintage "We Missed You at Church" postcards

Here are three vintage examples of those postcards that are sent in the mail if you are absent from church services or Sunday School. I'm guessing they're all from the 1960s or early 1970s. The first one was produced by Abingdon. The other two were produced by Broadman Supplies of Nashville, Tennessee.