Saturday, June 15, 2013

Postcard: "The Tower and Hotel, on Mount Penn. Reading, Pa."

This is one of the postcards that just missed the cut during Papergreat's recent Postcard Blogathon.

Pictured on this old, damaged card are buildings and a gravity railroad car on a moonlit night atop Mount Penn, a mountaintop borough that overlooks the city of Reading, Pennsylvania.

A nearly identical view can be found on page 63 of the 2000 book "Reading in Vintage Postcards" by Charles J. Adams III.

Adams' postcard caption provides a great deal more insight on both postcards and states:
"Mount Penn Tower. The dance hall and concession stand are visible in this c. 1910 view of the former Mount Penn Tower and Tower Hotel. The buildings were the ultimate destinations and the high point of the Mount Penn Gravity Railroad. One of the Gravity Railroad's cars is seen at the right. The tower depicted here went up in flames in spectacular fashion April 26, 1923."
For more information, check out these links and websites:

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Photograph of creepy old house for thunderstorm-filled June day

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

The old box top for "Illustrated Stationery for Little Folks"

Yes, I'm the guy who looks around the drafty antiques store — this one was in the community of Red Rock in Luzerne County, Pennsylvania — and picks out the cardboard top to an old box of stationery just because it has a delightful illustration.

That's all it was. Just the top of the box. No bottom. No actual stationery or envelopes. Somehow it stayed out of the garbage bin all these decades. And then some guy actually paid a dollar to buy it.

And so here it is.

And here, improbably recorded for posterity, are the colorful sides of this cardboard box top. You're welcome.

Addendum: Five minutes later...

Well, well. It looks like I'm not nearly as original or unique as I thought I might be with this post.

Google "illustrated stationery for little folks" and you're sure to find even more!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

German-language bookplate inside 1871 Dr. Chase book

This colorful German bookplate, which translates (fairly obviously) to This book belongs to Henry Kauffman, is pasted to the inside front cover of an 1871 edition of "Dr. Chase's Recipes, or, Information for Everybody: An Invaluable Collection of About Eight Hundred Practice Recipes for Merchants, Grocers, Saloon-Keepers, Physicians, Druggists, Tanners, Shoe Makers, Harness Makers, Painters, Jewelers, Blacksmiths, Tinners, Gunsmiths, Farriers, Barbers, Bakers, Dyers, Renovaters, Farmers, and Families Generally. To Which Have Been Added a Rational Treatment of Pleurisy, Inflammation of Lungs, and other Inflammatory Diseases, and also for General Female Debility and Irregularities: All arranged in their Appropriate Departments."

The author, Dr. Alvin Wood Chase (1817-1885), was a New York state native who spent much of his life in the Midwest, selling household wares, gathering folklore and (sometimes questionable) folk cures, and writing numerous editions of his most popular tome. There are claims that sales of his book rivaled sales of the Bible in some years.

Much has been written about Dr. A.W. Chase, and so I'll turn it over to some other fine bloggers and writers for you to explore more about his legacy.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Nifty cover of the 1928 novel
"Bobs, A Girl Detective"

"Bobs, A Girl Detective" was published in 1928, two years before the first title in the Nancy Drew series was released.

So, before Nancy there was "Bobs." Here's a little bit about her adventures, according to a short synopsis from a reviewer on Goodreads:
"The 'impoverished' Vandergrift sisters, Gloria, Roberta (Bobs), Gwen, and Lena May have moved to New York City to find work and to live in a dilapidated mansion. They solve mysteries. And help immigrants. And have romantic entanglements. ... The characterization is not deep and the language is often stilted."
And here's an excerpt from the novel, involving Bobs, from Chapter 7:
"There was no anxiety in the heart of Roberta. In her short walking suit of blue tweed, with a jaunty hat atop of her waving brown hair, she was walking a brisk pace down Third Avenue. Even at that early hour foreign women with shawls over their heads and baskets on their arms were going to market. It was a new experience to Roberta to be elbowed aside as though she were not a descendant of a long line of aristocratic Vandergrifts. ...

"At one corner where the traffic held her up, the girl turned and looked at the store nearest, her attention being attracted by a spray of lilacs that stood within among piles of dusty old books. It seemed strange to see that fragrant bit of springtime in a gloomy second-hand shop so far from the country where it might have blossomed. As Bobs gazed into the shop, she was suddenly conscious of a movement within, and then, out of the shadows, she saw forms emerging. An old man with a long flowing beard and the tight black skull cap so often worn by elderly men of the East Side was pushing a wheeled chair in which reclined a frail old woman, evidently his wife. In her face there was an expression of suffering patiently borne which touched the heart of the young girl.

"The chair was placed close to the window that the invalid might look out at the street if she wished and watch the panorama passing by.

"Instantly Bobs knew the meaning of the lilac, or thought that she did, and, also, she at once decided that she wished to purchase a book, and she groped about in her memory trying to recall a title for which she might inquire. A detective story, of course, that was what she wanted. Since it was to be her chosen profession, she could not read too many of them."
The author of "Bobs, A Girl Detective" is listed on the cover as Carol Norton. That's a pen name for prolific juvenile-fiction author Grace May North (1876-1960). According to some (unsourced) notes on her LibraryThing page, she:
  • Relocated to Nevada from New York City around 1910.
  • Published children's poetry.
  • Wrote two juvenile-fiction series (Adele Doring, Virginia Davis) from 1919 to 1924 in Santa Barbara, where she married widower W.N. Monfort in 1921.
  • Wrote eight novels from 1926 to 1935 for A.L. Burt. These were later reissued by Saalfield.

If you're interested in "Bobs, A Girl Detective" and don't want to track down one of the old books, your other options include Project Gutenberg and LibriVox.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Reader comments: Pants, Leipzig, notions, nightmares and Valentines

Yonder lies another wonderful collection of reader comments...

How a gentleman should properly pose himself in a fake setting: Regarding the punch-line photograph of me from the 1970s, My Better Half writes: "Chris just told me, 'I still have those pants.' I desperately hope not, but it's at least possible. At least I'm always the better-dressed partner. Regards, His Wife."

I was joking. I no longer have those pants.

And Joan is correct. She is always the better-dressed partner. But I'm getting better. I'll have this whole fashion thing licked by the time I'm 50.

* * *

Postcrossing card from Germany: Hotel Astoria, Leipzig Central Station: It's pretty neat how this Postcrossing postcard spurred some other people's contributions and memories.

"Hotel in Leipzig" writes: "Unfortunately this nice hotel in Leipzig [the former Hotel Astoria] has been closed for years. Many plans have been made out for re-opening. Today the plan is to make it a convention center which does not contain any hotel rooms anymore. The new concept is to rent out the convention rooms and facilities to the hotels and businesses surrounding the old Astoria building. Its location in the heart of downtown Leipzig makes this formal hotel in Leipzig [ideal] for the desired concept. Many people in Leipzig hope that this concept will be realized as quick as possible."

"The Little Death" writes: "I'm from West Germany. Hope I remember it right. The thing was you order the car [the Trabant] when your child was born. So the child has a car when he or she is old enough to drive one."

* * *

Caption contest: Win a bundle of vintage paper! A big thanks to everyone who participated. The winner was Bonnie Jeanne (aka PostMuse), who quipped: "Pick your friends well, Sweet Baby, because you sure can't pick your relatives."

* * *

Birthday gift from the Class of 1943-44: Reader magx01, who blogs on The Thoughtful Gamers, writes: "I'm having a near psychedelic experience reading all of these! Incredible isn't it? I can log onto the internet in 2013 and look at a picture of a card that was pasted into a book seventy years ago by a group of people who no longer exist. Little did they know that a seemingly mundane, nondescript and unimportant moment in time would cast a reflection through the mesh of time to me here and now..."

Indeed, that is one of the things Papergreat is all about. Preserving and sharing these tiny shreds of history that would otherwise be lost forever. I present them here, and leave it up to everyone else (perhaps future Everyone Elses) to decide what has lasting meaning.

* * *

Here's hoping that Pixlr is a cure for blogger's block: PostMuse writes: "Bloggers block happens to me in big bursts and I end up not writing for a few days or a week, once five months! And it means tons of rescheduling of posts and apologies to the people whose orphaned postcard didn't get featured when it was supposed to and I feel awful. Sometimes I'll just do what you did ... put up something different and fun ... and that works to remove the block. Sometimes I just need to take the break."

Clearly, my Blogger's Block is a thing of the past, as I had 31 posts last week thanks to the Postcard Blogathon. PostMuse, by the way, contributed some wonderful comments during the Blogathon, and I'll be rounding those up in a separate post later this week.

* * *

Old notebook documenting trips to the general store: Anonymous writes: "Um ... notions are items used for sewing. Thread, ribbons, braid, needles, etc."

Well, NOW I know that. Clearly, I did not when I originally wrote that post.

I still like the notion of a notepad for my kind of notions, though.

* * *

Cheerful Card Company can help you earn extra money for the holidays: Anonymous writes: "I remember when I was a youngster seeing the above ad in a magazine and sending for the kit to sell greeting cards. I do not remember how much I earned. That had to be 50 years ago. I am now going to be 66. What a happy memory."

And thanks for sharing that memory!

* * *

"Safety on the Farm" — a nightmarish coloring book for kids: PostMuse writes: "Nightmarish indeed! And the book asks kids to draw a picture of a farm accident at the very end ... I'm guessing the kids who got this book also ran out of red crayon."

* * *

Obscure nostalgia: 1970s plastic mugs from Whirley Industries: Lee Shearer writes: "I have one with a frog smiling on it."

* * *

Isaac Wilson: The photographer? The homeowner? Or both? Anonymous writes: "Isaac Wilson built the house in the photograph in the 1940's and also took this photograph of his house."

Wow. This is a situation in which I wish the reader commenting wasn't anonymous. If you're out there and can share some more about how you know this, please do! Thanks.

* * *

Three vintage Valentine's Day cards: Venus Fortuna, whose blogs include Inkpressive Invitations, Write The Invite and Sisters Craft Café, writes: "Hi! I downloaded the Steamed Up card, it is so cute, I'm using it for my little girl's 1st birthday party - it's going to be a Valentine's Day themed party."

Glad you can make use of it! As a side note, one of the "finds" that my wife and I made on our recent eighth wedding anniversary trip through central Pennsylvania was a gaggle of vintage Valentines. You'll definitely be seeing them here next February.