Saturday, April 6, 2013

1905 stereographic card: Manchurian orphans near Port Arthur

This old stereographic card is titled "Manchurian Small Boy Orphans." It is dated 1905 and was copyrighted by T.W. Ingersoll.1

The text on the back states:

These two Manchurian boys, photographed near Port Arthur, have been driven from their home by Russian shells that killed their father and mother, and are now tramping from one Japanese camp to another selling eggs.

This sad scene is from the Russo-Japanese War, which lasted for 18 months in 1904 and 1905 and resulted in at least 150,000 deaths.2 The battle over Port Arthur, now known as Lüshunkou District in the People's Republic of China, was one of the focal points of the war, which was waged between the Russian Empire (1721–1917) and the Empire of Japan (1868–1947).

These boys' parents would have been among the approximately 20,000 civilian deaths suffered in China.

I have three other Ingersoll stereographic cards from this series, titled:
  • No. 11. Japanese Water Guard Protecting Camp Supply.
  • No. 58. Scene in the Japanese Trenches.
  • No. 60. Gen. Tsuchiyas' Private Mess Camp.
I can certainly scan and post those, if anyone is interested.

If you want to see more from this series right now, check out this page on

1. The Yellowstone Stereoview Page has this comprehensive article about Truman Ward Ingersoll. It states: "It is no understatement to proclaim T. W. Ingersoll as one of the three most important Yellowstone stereoviewers ever. Only William Henry Jackson and F. Jay Haynes have had more overall importance."
2. That very rough total includes both military and civilian deaths. Read more here.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Roger Ebert: "Books do furnish a life"

In the past day and a half, there have been countless tributes and remembrances for Roger Joseph Ebert (1942-2013), fully commensurate with what he meant to journalism, movies and American culture over the past half-century.1

He was on the short list of my favorite writers.

Ebert's annual Movie Home Companions (later called Movie Yearbooks) introduced me to countless films I wasn't aware of and gave me fresh insights to ponder on movies I had already seen.

He was, among many other things, one of the great champions of documentary film-making, and his passion for that genre helped to fuel my own. It was from Ebert that I learned of Errol Morris' "The Thin Blue Line"2; Barbara Kopple's "Harlan County, U.S.A."; Les Blank's "Burden of Dreams"; and the "Up" series. And it is primarily because of Ebert that I intend to some day sit down and watch Claude Lanzmann's "Shoah".3

Many have shared their favorite pieces by Ebert in the wake of his passing.

I could link to dozens of my favorite reviews and writings. He had few equals when it came to skewering a bad film, but I prefer reading and re-reading the enthusiasm and keen analysis he offers when discussing the great movies.

But I'm only going to share one piece.4 It's the one with the most relevance to Papergreat, and it's also one that's probably not being circulated as much today.

In October 2009, Ebert published an essay titled "Books do furnish a life" on his blog. It's a beautiful piece about a lifetime of reading and being surrounded by books.

It won't take you very long to read, though I will say that the 600-plus comments are also required reading, and the sum total of what is conveyed by Ebert and his commenters is a powerful statement about the importance of books (not e-books!) in our lives.


Documentary filmmaker Les Blank, who I mentioned in this post, died on April 7, 2013, three days after Ebert.

1. I want to at least pass along two links: First, Chris Jones' 2010 Esquire profile of Ebert. Second, this collection Ebert remembrances, as curated by The Atlantic.
2. It was, however, William Uricchio who introduced me to the Errol Morris film — "Gates of Heaven" — that might be my personal favorite documentary. Uricchio screened it as part of a film studies course I took at Penn State in the early 1990s.
3. Ebert writes of the 563-minute "Shoah": "It is not a documentary, not journalism, not propaganda, not political. It is an act of witness. In it, Claude Lanzmann celebrates the priceless gift that sets man apart from animals and makes us human, and gives us hope: the ability for one generation to tell the next what it has learned."
4. OK, I'll share a second piece by Ebert. Again, an unexpected one. His 2009 essay, "My Name is Roger, and I'm an alcoholic," is another must-read that has nothing to do with movies.

Cal-C-Malt, for sound teeth, improved appetite and robust health

This is an advertising ink blotter for Cal-C-Malt, a 1930s health product that contained calcium phosphate, vitamin B, vitamin C and diastatic malt. Apparently you could mix it with milk, which doesn't sound terribly tasty.

It was claimed that the product could build resistance against infection and give you "sound teeth, improved appetite [and] robust health." (As opposed to run-of-the-mill health, I reckon.) While that's not too boastful, I wonder if it's veering a bit close to Maść Żywokostowa Ucco Salve territory.

Here are a few tidbits about the product I found with a Google Books search:

  • It was referred to as a "swell chocolate drink" in a circa 1937 issue of American Druggist. The full issues aren't available online, but I could see these snippets: "Why can't I take my vitamins like Jimmy Smith? He gets a swell chocolate drink -- Cal-C-Malt. He let me taste some the other day and, oh boy, was it good! ... Since Jimmy started taking Cal-C-Malt, he's not nearly so susceptible to colds."
  • From a 1942 edition of Roche Review: "At that time, this preparation was called Cal-C-Malt 'Roche.' The vitamin C content of Cal-C-Malt was 50 mg per serving, equivalent to about three-fourths of a glass of orange juice. In 1938, the name of Cal-C-Malt was changed to Cal-C-Tose."
  • According to a 1938 issue of Hospital Management, the name was changed "as a safe-guard against possible confusion of the product with other preparations featuring the term 'malt'."
  • I cannot find the full text, but it appears there was a 1939 Federal Trade Commission ruling regarding Hoffman-La Roche Inc. and its advertising of Cal-C-Malt.

Here's a link to an image of a different Cal-C-Malt ink blotter.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Postcard of a domovoi from Ukraine (Slavic folklore)

Here's a teaser to an post I'm putting together for this weekend about how much I'm enjoying my involvement with Postcrossing, which I first wrote about in early February. I've received awesome postcards, messages and more from all over the world.

This postcard arrived recently from Masha in Sevastopol, Ukraine. She wrote: "I thought that if you like folklore, you might enjoy this postcard with domovoi — a kind of house ward."

I had never heard of a domovoi before! And he comes with a cat!

Read more about them on Wikipedia. And check back this weekend for more about Postcards of the World, 2013 Edition.

(The postcard illustrator, by the way, is Vladimir Arzhevitin. You can see more of his work here.)

Decal for Squirt soft drink from 1948

Squirt, a caffeine-free, grapefruit-flavored soda, was introduced in 1938 and has had its ups and downs in popularity over the years. One of its strongest periods was in the 1940s and 1950s, when this mascot, Lil' Squirt, helped to raise public awareness for the beverage.

The actual size of this decal is 2¼ inches by 4⅜ inches.

It has never been used. (And probably can't be at this point.) Some of the tiny text on the back states:
  • This is a double purpose decal. Apply to inside or outside of glass or any smooth surface.
  • DIRECTIONS (Inside of glass, facing out) 1. Clean and wet glass where decal is to be applied. 2. Dip decal in water for half a minute. 3. Place decal, color side, against glass. 4. With squeegee, roller or damp cloth smooth out all air bubbles and water, working from center to outside edges. 5. Slide or peel away the wet backing paper. 6. Remove any bubbles as before. Be sure to keep decal wet while doing this. 7. IMPORTANT - Wash off any gum and wipe dry.
  • OUTSIDE APPLICATION. 1. Make sure surface is smooth, clean and free of grease. 2. Dip decal in water for half minute. 3. Place decal, backing paper against surface, ABOVE spot desired. 4. Carefully slide decal film down into position using palms of hands. 5. With squeegee, roller or damp cloth smooth out all air bubbles and water, working from center to outside edges. 6. IMPORTANT - Wash off any gum and wipe dry.
  • CAUTION. Do not apply decals to windows in freezing weather.
  • ENJOY SQUIRT, THE FRESH FLAVOR GRAPEFRUIT DRINK. A sparkling soft drink for your children, your family and you. Only pure natural ingredients are used in Squirt.1
  • "Squirt Quenches Quicker"
  • THE SQUIRT COMPANY. Beverly Hills, California.

Squirt is currently owned by something called Dr Pepper Snapple Group. Prior to that, it was most recently owned by something called Cadbury Schweppes Americas Beverages. It seems poor Lil' Squirt has bounced around and changed hands quite a bit in recent decades.

For some interesting tangental reading on the history of soft drinks and the regional names (soda, pop, coke2) used around the United States, check out this 2011 article by Daven Hiskey on Today I Found Out.

1. Squirt's current ingredients, according to its official website, are "CARBONATED WATER, HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP AND CONTAINS 2% OR LESS OF NATURAL FLAVORS, CONCENTRATED GRAPEFRUIT JUICE, CITRIC ACID, MODIFIED FOOD STARCH, SODIUM BENZOATE (PRESERVATIVE), ESTER GUM, BROMINATED VEGETABLE OIL, CALCIUM DISODIUM EDTA (PRESERVATIVE)." I guess, somehow, that still qualifies it to brand itself as a "naturally flavored citrus soda." Only in America.
2. I don't drink carbonated beverages very often. But when I do, I prefer Pepsi. I usually call it soda. And when I order in restaurants, I say, "Pepsi or Coke, whichever you have." Because you don't really get a choice.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Ad for Swami Panchadasi's "Clairvoyance and Occult Powers"

This advertisement is featured toward the back of "How to Converse with Spirit Friends," a small staplebound publication from the 1910s that I picked up for $3 Saturday at the awesome twice-a-year York Book and Paper Fair.1

The advertised book apparently featured all sorts of supernatural silliness, including:

Swami Panchadasi was one of the many pseudonyms for William Walker Atkinson (1862-1932). And, apparently, it was one of his least-successful pseudonyms. Atkinson published just three titles under that name: "The Human Aura: Astral Colors and Thought Forms" in 1912; "The Astral Plane: Its Scenes, Dwellers, and Phenomena" in 1915; and "Clairvoyance and Occult Powers" in 1916.

Atkinson was much better known for his writings as William Walker, W.W. Atkinson, Yogi Ramacharaka, Swami Bhakta Vishita and Theron Q. Dumont.

Here are some details about his life, from his Wikipedia biography:

  • He was born in Baltimore, Maryland, in 1862.
  • While working as a lawyer in Pennsylvania in the 1890s, "the stress and over-strain eventually took its toll, and ... he experienced a complete physical and mental breakdown, and financial disaster."
  • As part of his healing and recovery, he discovered and became part of the New Thought movement.
  • He moved to Chicago sometime around the turn of the century and worked as editor and publisher of various New Thought magazines.
  • He also became interested in Hinduism and, according to Wikipedia, "was not alone in embracing a vaguely exotic 'orientalism' as a running theme in his writing, nor in crediting Hindus, Buddhists, or Sikhs with the possession of special knowledge and secret techniques of clairvoyance, spiritual development, sexual energy, health, or longevity."
  • When he wrote as Yogi Ramacharaka, he claimed to be a Hindu. There was a full fictitious biography for Yogi Ramacharaka. It was claimed that he was born in India in 1799 and spent the first half of his life traveling the world by foot and visiting great libraries located within monasteries and royal palaces.

For a little more about the tangled publishing web that Atkinson left behind, check out this post about "Yogi Ramacharaka" on Ananda's Website.

1. We were in "small ticket item" mode this time around, which is painful, because this event is always filled with great vendors, many of whom have exquisite items to tempt bibliophiles. One of the neatest items we came across was a set of 50+ personal journals that spanned both Abraham Lincoln's 1865 assassination and the sinking of the Titanic in 1912. The price tag was $2,200. I did, however, snag a couple other small items that I'll be sharing in future posts.
2. What do you call people from Denmark with ESP? Clair Danes.
3. Speaking of astral-body traveling, remember Philadelphia Phillies catcher Darren Daulton? He wrote a book titled "If Only They Knew" in 2007. Here are some excerpts:
  • “Talking about my Wrigley Field experience [in 1997] and metaphysics, along with countless media reports about my problems, brought a lot of attention. Over the last few years there has been much talk about what has happened to Dutch. Is he O.K.? The things he talks about are really out there. Has he lost his mind? Somebody said that he believes in aliens and that he enters other dimensions. The guy is obviously on drugs or drinking way too much of Grand Pappy’s cough syrup. … Not to worry, I haven’t lost any sleep over it, but have always felt impelled to tell the world exactly what is going on and what I personally have experienced.” (Pages 14-15)
  • “Once we are able to open up our chakras and allow energy into and through us, which enables kundalini, we are able to form our human light bodies called Mer-Ka-Ba.” (Page 63)
  • “Within our physical bodies our consciousness is affected by the numbers — the numeric patterns or specific numbers — we encounter. Our DNA can be activated with repetitive numbers such as a countdown from 10 to 0 or the pattern of the Fibonacci Theorem, or through the master numbers of 11 and 22. Numbers with two digits are believed to have greater power in our awakening than those with only one digit. These digital codes spark our mind to awaken and return to a higher and expanded consciousness and level of awareness.” (Page 67)
  • “I will voice my opinion from a multi-dimensional being living in a multi-dimensional world that the souls that were taken in the 9/11 tragedy were a part of the reincarnation process (more on this topic later) and were to be a part of that event prior to reincarnating. In no way do I mean to lessen the seriousness of the tragedy or to diminish the devastation of the loss of lives, or offend the grieving friends and families of the souls taken. These souls didn’t die; they passed on to higher realms, a higher way of being. This has to be, this is Universal Law in the 3rd density. We live in duality, polarity, black and white, good and evil, positive and negative.” (Page 73)
  • “I have experienced what we would term as demonic encounters just like in the movie The Exorcist. Why? I believe it was for my spiritual growth and more importantly I was ready for it when it happened. It can be a very frightening experience. You will also realize these energies and spiritual laws that must be adhered to concerning what we perceive to be demonic possession.” (Page 73)
  • “When we were created it was forever. Eternal doesn’t die. … We don’t die folks; we just pass on to another realm. … How do I know? Because I’ve consciously been in these other realms — astral travel while in a sleeping state and conscious experiences during the day, while awake. At first it was very strange because I wasn’t privy to how or why this new world opened up to me. I wanted to tell people but I wasn’t well versed in how it all worked.” (Page 77)
  • “When I first went public with my experiences of traveling in other dimensions, people looked at me, and talked about me, as if I came from outer space. I guess the most difficult part of it all for me has been figuring out a way to explain to them what they are and what each are capable of because some people are in serious denial. Your just have to connect the dots of what myself and others are trying to convey to you concerning entering these realms. … After a few years of my being awakened and experiencing these higher realms on a daily basis, things are really awesome.” (Page 78)
  • “If this book flies and people start to awaken I will probably be led to write another book. Next time around I will take up some other so-called myths and mysteries such as controlling the weather around you. This is a wonderful phenomenon that can be realized and manifested in your conscious reality.” (page 168)

Monday, April 1, 2013

For Opening Day, great Phillies hairstyles of the late 1970s

The Philadelphia Phillies play their season opener against the Atlanta Braves tonight. To mark the occasion of baseball's return and Cole Hamels' truly special mustache, here are six late 1970s Phillies baseball cards from my collection featuring Very Special Hair.

James Douglas Bird

Arnold Ray "Bake" McBride

Barry Clifton Foote1

Warren Scott Brusstar

The late Arnulfo Acevedo "Nino" Espinosa

Lawrence Robert "Larry" Bowa

Here are some more baseball-related Papergreat links you might have missed over the years.

Foote Note
1. Barry Foote only played 57 games with the Phillies in 1977 and 1978. He was the third overall pick in the first round of the 1970 Major League Baseball Draft (by the Montreal Expos). Players selected after him in the first round included Darrell Porter and Darnell "Disco Dan" Glenn Ford. Actually, it was a pretty terrible first round, in retrospect.

From Tre to Killmey (with an assist from Nita Johnson Brenner)

I found a sheet of folded paper tucked away inside a 1966 staplebound souvenir booklet titled "The Silversmith in Eighteen-Century Williamsburg, An Account of his Life & Times, & of his Craft."

Written on the front of the paper is the name Killmey. Inside, there is a short piece of verse, followed by "Good Luck" and "Tre."

It turns out that the poem was written by Nita Johnson Brenner and had been published in the February 12, 1966, edition of the New Castle (Pa.) News. Tre must have like it so much that he (or she) used it to convey a heartfelt message to Killmey (but without attribution).

Nita's poem appears on page 4 of the aforementioned issue of the New Castle News, in the Poet's Corner.1

Here is the poem as it appears in the newspaper:
An old friendship
Full of tears and cherished memories
Is an old friendship,
That asks no pledge,
No loyalty
No any assurance...
Save to be aware
That the friends be alive
And happy somewhere.
Nita Johnson Brenner was mentioned in a few other issues of the New Castle News over the years, always for her poetry, according to Mentions of her that I found span the years 1946 to 1973.

Even though she didn't receive attribution, I think that she (or her descendants) would like knowing that one of her poems was used for this note between friends.

1. Poet's Corner featured "Selected verses" that came "From our readers." Here's an excerpt from the guidelines:
"Poetry submitted to publication in this column will be reviewed by a panel of judge who are not connected with The News. Rejected poetry will not be returned to the sender. Neither will there be criticism offered even if requested by the author. All poetry must be limited to 20 lines and signed with the name and address of the author. Selections will be published Saturday as space allows. ... The editor reserves the right to make minor changes to poetry submitted to this column."

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Naomi Eisenhart's "Swiss Family" Sunday School attendance reward

This is the wonderfully illustrated cover of a 1901 hardcover edition of "Swiss Family Robinson," published as part of The Favorite Library1 by DeWolfe, Fisk & Co. of Boston.

The book was presented to Naomi Eisenhart on January 1, 1908, as noted by the plate on the inside front cover from Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church.

There are a few different Naomi Eisenharts from southcentral and southeastern Pennsylvania who I would have to research further in order to have any degree of certainty regarding the recipient of this book. Likewise, this bookplate could be from a few different churches, given its lack of a town or city designation.

You can discover some interesting facts about history of the Eisenhart family name, including the migration to Pennsylvania of settlers Conrad Eisenhardt and George Eisenhard, on

1. Other titles in The Favorite Library series included "Lives of the Presidents," "Child's Life of Christ," "Robinson Crusoe," "Grimm's Fairy Tales," "Black Beauty," "Aunt Martha's Corner Cupboard," "The Water-Babies," and "Tanglewood Tales."