Saturday, June 22, 2013

19th century poem about kindness to animals by Jane Taylor

These loose pages, long since separated from their book, contain a sweet-spirited poem about kindness to animals by Jane Taylor. We could use a little more kindness to animals these days.

Taylor (1783-1824) is most famous for having written the lyrics to "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star" in 1806, although she is rarely credited.

Friday, June 21, 2013

1883 Victorian trade card
from Geo. M. Hayes

Presented for you enjoyment on this Friday night is a 130-year-old Victorian trade card. Printed in the lower corner is "Copyright 1883, By Geo. M. Hayes."

The verse at the top of the card is taken from "The High Tide on the Coast of Lincolnshire" by Jean Ingelow (1820–97). The full stanza is as follows:

The swanherds where their sedges are
Mov’d on in sunset’s golden breath,
The shepherde lads I heard afarre,
And my sonne’s wife, Elizabeth;
Till floating o’er the grassy sea
Came downe that kyndly message free,
The “Brides of Mavis Enderby.”

Was this the end of the York Council for Community Education?

This April 1970 letter from York Council for Community Education President Alan Bessemer was tucked away inside a softcover copy of "Jefferson and Hamilton" by Claude G. Bowers.

Bessemer writes that "a motion was passed that a special meeting of the membership and Board of Directors be called to resolve the actual value of the organization as it relates to the community today. The question under discussion will be: the possibility of dissolving or continuing YCCE."

I wonder if that was the end of the organization. It's very likely, given that a Google search for "York Council for Community Education" yields fewer than 10 results, some of which date to the late 1950s.

The non-profit group is listed as "active" on, but I'm not sure that means anything. The York County Literacy Council is the organization filling the void that would have been left by the dissolution of the York Council for Community Education.

If you know anything about this former organization or its members, please share it in the comments section below.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Book inscription: An early morning's journey into daybreak

Here, presented without commentary or judgment, are the two pages worth of inscriptions that appear at the front of a copy of "The Acts of the Apostles, Volume I" by Oliver B. Greene.

The "Nut-House" in Staunton, Va., Oct. 18, 1976, 5:25 A.M.

Next smoke at 20 minutes to seven

My Darling Yvette - "Fairest of the Fair"

Darling — It seems incredible that only yesterday I was with you and was, at last, the son of man. And a true God carved from crubling [sic] sandstone in they image: Nuff said on that subject.

So! I'm a little [illegible] God, am I? Well I'll show you right away. Pronto, if nothing else

What will this page ever look like in the brilliant sun of the day.


It's 6:36½
Monday, Oct. 18, 1976

Darling -

I feel splendid, absolutely & without a doubt, fitter than I've ever felt before. Even if I am in a mad house, living as you in your silly dress

From 1938: "Tobacco is a factor in the alarming insanity rate"

Pictured above is a somewhat alarming illustration from the 1938 book "Science Speaks to Young Men on Liquor, Tobacco, Narcotics, and Marijuana" by Dr. George Thomason.

The author quotes a number of authorities regarding the effects of tobacco upon the mind:
  • Dr. Alvin Davidson, Professor of Biology at Lafayette College: "Tobacco prevents the development of brain cells, and results in a slow, dull mind."
  • Dr. Saylor of Saylor's Sanitarium: "I am not a faddist, but I say if a campaign of education relating to cigarette smoking is not entered into soon, it won't be long before we have a race of idiots."
And the author, Thomason, concludes:
"Insanity, representing degeneracy of the brain tissues and cells, is increasing at an appalling rate. There is scarcely a state in the United States that has been able to furnish the necessary additional facilities for caring for this class of patients fast enough to keep pace with the constantly increasing numbers. There are now over four hundred thousand persons confined in asylums in this country because of insanity. ... There is no question but that tobacco is one of the factors in the increase of this frightful malady."
While Thomason and other doctors might have been off-base in linking tobacco with mental illness, they were ahead of their time in launching an assault upon the nation's heavy usage of tobacco. That usage continued to increase in the following decades, and there was certainly no public stigma regarding cigarettes, as evidenced by mid-century advertising.

Of course, the identification and treatment of mental-health issues in the United States today remains a whole nother story.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

The curious cover of a book about Eleanor Roosevelt

I'm not sure what they were thinking back in 1970 at Crown Publishers when they designed the dust jacket of "A Woman of Quality" — Stella K. Hershan's book about the inspirational life of Eleanor Roosevelt.

The book contains "stories of the dramatic effects on the lives of hundreds of individuals helped and inspired by one of the most beloved women of all time."

In the cover photograph, taken by Olga J. Norbin, a smiling Roosevelt sits in the middle of a group of children who are presumably absorbing her wonderfulness.

But our eyes don't go to her. The cranky-looking boy in the foreground, who is staring right into the camera, steals the focus of the photograph and the cover.

(And he kind of looks like Peter from The Cosby Show, doesn't he?)

How did this happen? Didn't the cover designers have a different photograph to work with? Couldn't they crop out Grumpy Boy? Couldn't they use whatever they had instead of Photoshop at that time?

Maybe the cover was the product of a rushed deadline and Skippy the Summer Intern only had half a day to design it before it went to press.

Whatever the case, it just seems to me that this cover should have been sent back to the drawing board.

The only question that remains: Is this good avatar fodder?

Space-age pictures from a 1964-65 Futurama brochure

This pairs nicely with last month's post about the map for GM's Futurama at the 1964-65 World's Fair in New York.

It's a 9-inch-by-4-inch brochure that was intended for mailing. The inside of the brochure features a collage of scenes from inside Futurama. The futuristic settings remind me a lot of Thunderbirds and the supermarionation of this same time period.

City of Tomorrow

"A dynamic new spirit enlivens the 'City of Tomorrow.' People, vehicles, goods — even some of the sidewalks — are moving. The city, cured of its traffic ills, is reborn as the center of commerce, communication and culture."

Antarctica base

"Man turns ice-clad Antarctica into a global weather center and probes its frozen wastes for resources needed by a growing world population."

Firebird IV

"Firebird IV, latest in a series of turbine-driven experimental cars, promises new heights of comfort and convenience in automatic motoring."

Moon base

"In one of the greatest adventures of all time, man explores the moon aboard multi-wheel crawlers designed to cruise almost any terrain."

Undersea resort

"Resort hotels beneath the sea serve a new vacation playground."