Friday, July 19, 2013

Great links: Book covers, a really old cookbook and Vivian Maier

I hope you're escaping the extreme heat that is blasting some portions of the globe on this Friday in July. It's expected to be about 102° F here in southcentral Pennsylvania.

Here are some ephemera-related links to check out while you stay cool...

The Cookbook of Unknown Ladies

This is an amazing blog devoted to centuries-old English recipes, found within what they've dubbed The Cookbook of Unknown Ladies. The blog's About page states:

"The Cookbook of Unknown Ladies is a manuscript recipe book in the collections of Westminster City Archives. The recipes, recorded in several different hands, span 150 years of British cookery, providing a fascinating insight into culinary craft of the Georgian and Regency periods.

"We know little about the provenance of the Cookbook, and its passage from the eighteenth-century kitchen to our library shelves is shrouded in mystery.

"It was originally thought that the book was written by a group of ladies about the year 1761, the date deriving from a rough note on the original binding. However, there are later recipes interspersed among those from the Eighteenth Century. ... Other recipes appear to have been compiled far earlier than 1761. Our analysis of handwriting and spelling in the cookbook suggests that some of its entries were written at the beginning of the Eighteenth Century, and in a few cases may even pre-date 1700."

Featured recipes include Cow Heel, Sweet Spinach Tart, Gooseberry Vinegar, and Irish Sack (honey wine).

The Decline and Fall of the Book Cover

In "The Decline and Fall of the Book Cover" on The New Yorker website, Tim Kreider writes:

"I was a nerdy sci-fi-reading kid in the seventies. The so-called golden age of book and magazine illustration had died out some decades earlier ... but superb illustration was still thriving in the marginal niches of pulp and genre covers. ... Looking at those old, beloved covers made me wonder: How come books for kids get to look so mysterious and tantalizing and spooky, while books for us grownups have to be so dull? Why don’t the covers of mainstream literary books make me feel that same way—almost scared to find out what’s inside?"

The Amazing Photography of Vivian Maier

OK, I understanding that I'm a little late to the dance on Vivian Maier, having just stumbled upon her story earlier this month.

But it's still incredible and worth sharing.

Vivian Dorothea Maier (1926–2009) was an amateur street photographer, mostly in Chicago, who remained unknown and didn't even develop much of her film during her lifetime. Yet her work is amazing. The story of her life and post-death "discovery" reminds me of another Chicago outsider artistHenry Darger.

A good place to start learning about Maier is this February 2013 post on Messy Nessy Chic: "Found at Auction: The Unseen Photographs of a Legend that Never Was."

After that, check out these sites:

Chill out in the archives

Finally, here are some wintry posts from the Papergreat archives that can also help you remember the times when the world wasn't broiling...

Thursday, July 18, 2013

1945 receipt for abnormal psychology textbook from Minnesota Book Store

It is very common for a receipt to be tucked inside a book upon purchase. People commonly use them as bookmarks, too.

But it's certainly less common to find a book's receipt tucked inside its page 68 years after the fact.

That's the case with this yellow receipt for "Principles of Abnormal Psychology: The Dynamics of Psychic Illness," which was written by Abraham H. Maslow and Bela Mittelmann and originally published in 1941 by Harper & Brothers.

The receipt — dated August 11, 1945 — indicates that a Dr. Eklund charged the textbook when he made his purchase at the Minnesota Book Store, located at 318 Fourteenth Ave., S.E., in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Perhaps the doctor had an account there?

The book's price was $3.75, which translates to about $47 in modern dollars.

And Dr. Eklund didn't even have to pay $3.75. He got a 10% discount, bringing his total to a tidy $3.38.

Finally, the small type across the bottom tell us that this is a Flatpakit brand receipt, manufactured by Cosby-Wirth Manifold Book Company, also of Minneapolis.

An advertisement in the November 17, 1938, issue of the Turtle Mountain Star states:
Now Is The Time!
Duplicate Sales Books
Wiz Register Flatpakit Slips
Duplicate Order Books
Duplicate Remittance Books
Store Coupon Books
Other Standard Forms

We are authorized agents for the Cosby-Wirth Manifold Book Co., one of the largest manufacturers of all these standard business forms. You cannot buy them anywhere else for less, and we appreciate the business. We also sell rubber stamps. Give us your next order...

Turtle Mountain Star
Rolla, N.D.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Four things tucked away inside "Mary Meade's Magic Recipes"

Cookbooks — along with Bibles and dictionaries — are the type of book that most often seem to have things tucked away inside their pages. Personal recipes are written on scraps of paper and added. Pamphlets fit nicely inside. And lots of other goodies.

One of my favorite "stuffed" cookbooks that I've written about is "A Thousand Ways to Please a Husband," which earned a series of posts:

Today's post will focus on the pieces of ephemera in the 1956 edition of "Mary Meade's Magic Recipes for the Electric Blender."1 The book features recipes for everything from Butterscotch Nut Bread to Foamy Orange Lime Cocktail to Yogurt Garlic Salad with Cucumbers. There is a large section on alcoholic drinks.

Here are the items that were left between the pages for decades, awaiting rediscovery...

Valuable Premium

For just fifty cents, Concord customers could receive a "beautiful necklace and earring set designed with detachable center piece that can be used as a pin." Unfortunately, this offer expired on January 31, 1957.

Topper Hangers

The Ferguson Distributing Company of Akron, Ohio, was offering hangers at a price of six for a dollar, which actually seems kind of high to me. Of course, they were certainly higher-quality hangers than the plastic ones that proliferate these days. I like that the advertising copy mentions the "haberdasheries or the notions departments of your local department store."

The Acme Safety Grater

Acme Metal Goods of Newark, New Jersey, was offering the Acme Safety Grater for just one dollar. The grater was touted for its ability to serve as a juicer for raw carrots — in order to receive all the healthful benefits of carrot juice without having to worry about the nasty "indigestible fibrous material" in the carrots. This Etsy page includes a picture of the Acme Safety Grater and its original packaging.

Magic Flavor Recipes

This is a recipe booklet for G. Washington's Instant Broth & Seasoning. This product was created by George Constant Louis Washington (1871-1946) and can still be purchased today.

Here's one of the recipes from the fold-out pamphlet.

Filled Celery
  • 1 pkg. (8 oz.) cream cheese
  • 2 envelopes G. Washington's Rich Brown
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 medium bunch celery
Allow cheese to reach room temperature. Add powdered broth and tomato paste and blend in well. Remove leaves from celery and cut off root ends. Wash and dry each stalk carefully. Fill each stalk with cheese mixture, chill and serve.

1. This is interesting: The title page refers to the cookbook as "Mary Meade's Magic Recipes for the Electric Blender," but the dust jacket states that the book's title is "Mary Meade's Magic Recipes for the Osterizer" — an interesting case of a company, John Oster Manufacturing Company, stepping in to serve as a book's "sponsor" with the aim of promoting its own "beehive" blender. There is even a fold-out advertisement for the Osterizer at the front of the book. Does anyone still have or use an Osterizer?

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

More utter goodness from the 1865 Philadelphia Inquirer, Part 2

Some crime and punishment for you this evening from the August 29, 1865, edition of The Philadelphia Inquirer...

PLEA OF INNOCENCE. — Jeremiah Townsend, who absconded with $110,000, the property of the Townsend Savings Fund, of New Haven, Connecticut, it is alleged, has entered a plea of not guilty to four separate complaints. It will be remembered that the accused was pursued and arrested in Liverpool by Detective Carlin, of this city, by whom he was brought safely to his former quarters. The prisoner has been bound over in an aggregate of $25,000 to appear and in September next.

[Whoa. That's quite an (alleged) heist. A sum of $110,000 in 1865 is about $1.6 million today.]

* * *

SUNDAY FIGHTING. — On Sunday afternoon a large crowd of men and boys assembled on a brick yard in the First Ward to witness a prize fight. The police appeared and the assemblage scattered. The police gave chase, and at Thirteenth and Federal streets captured James Mullin, who is alleged to have been one of the principals. The prisoner was committed by Alderman Lutz.

* * *

LARCENY OF MONEY. — Yesterday afternoon John A. Campbell was arrested at Dock street wharf on the charge of attempting to rob a man named John Thompson of $300. The evidence showed that Mr. Thompson was counting his money in the street, when he was approached by the accused, who snatched the amount from his hands and ran off. He was pursued by the police and overtaken. After a hearing before Alderman Butler, the defendant was held to answer for the offense.

[$300 is the equivalent of $4,400 today. What was he doing standing near a wharf, counting that kind of money?]

* * *

SLIGHT FIRE. — Last evening, a slight fire occurred in the dwelling house No. 1009 Nectarine street. The fire originated by some children playing with matches, who set fire to a lot of bedding.

[Nectarine Street is within what is now known as the Logan Square neighborhood of Philadelphia.]

More in this series

Vintage book cover:
"The Nürnberg Stove" by Ouida

This is the front cover of an undated (possibly 1920s or early 1930s) edition of "The Nürnberg Stove" published by A. Flanagan Company of Chicago.

The author is listed on the title page as Louise De La Ramé.

That would be Maria Louise Ramé (1839-1908), an English novelist who wrote under the pen name Ouida (though apparently not in this instance).

She preferred to be known as Marie Louise de la Ramée, and her pen name came from "her own childish pronunciation" of Louise, according to Wikipedia. She wrote dozens of novels, children's books and short stories during her career. Her most famous books were probably "Under Two Flags," which was adapted to film five times between 1912 and 1936, and "A Dog of Flanders," which was filmed most recently in 1999, with Jack Warden and Jon Voight.

But, most importantly, Ouida was an animal lover and rescuer who owned dozens of dogs during her lifetime. After she died, her friends and admirers had a fountain for horses and dogs erected in her name. The fountain's inscription read:

"Her friends have erected this fountain in the place of her birth. Here may God's creatures whom she loved assuage her tender soul as they drink."

Circling back to "The Nürnberg Stove," the short novel is about August Strehla, a Tyrolean boy, who is devastated when his father sells the family's magnificent heirloom stove — created by Augustin Hirschvogel in 1532 in Nürnberg — in order to pay debts. So he stows away inside the stove on the journey to its new owner.

Ouida sets the scene wonderfully in the first passage of the novel:

August lived in a little town called Hall. Hall is a favorite name for several towns in Austria and in Germany: but this one especial little Hall, in the Upper Innthal, is one of the most charming Old World places that I know, and August for his part did not know any other. It has the green meadows and the green mountains all about it, and the gray-green glacier-fed water rushes by it. It has paved streets and enchanting little shops that have all latticed panes and iron gratings to them; it has a very grand old Gothic church, that has the noblest blendings of light and shadow, and marble tombs of dead knights, and a look of infinite strength and repose as a church should have.

Then there is the Tower1, black and white, rising out of greenery and looking down on a long wooden bridge and the broad rapid river; and there is an old schloss which has been made into a guard-house, with battlements and frescos and heraldic devices in gold and colors, and a man-at-arms carved in stone standing life-size in his niche and bearing his date 1530.

A little farther on, but close at hand, is a cloister with beautiful marble columns and tombs, and a colossal wood-carved Calvary, and beside that a small and very rich chapel: indeed, so full is the little town of the undisturbed past, that to walk in it is like opening a missal of the Middle Ages, all emblazoned and illuminated with saints and warriors, and it is so clean, and so still, and so noble, by reason of its monuments and its historic color, that I marvel much no one has ever cared to sing its praises. The old pious heroic life of an age at once more restful and more brave than ours still leaves its spirit there, and then there is the girdle of the mountains all around, and that alone means strength, peace, majesty.

In this little town a few years ago August Strehla lived with his people in the stone-paved irregular square where the grand church stands.

Hooked? If you are, Project Gutenberg offers the entire novel for free.

1. It's not clear to me whether Hall is an actual town or a figment of Ouida's imagination. In my edition, the illustration opposite the first page of the novel is labeled "Montze Tower," which doesn't come up in any online searches.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Curious artistic endpapers from the 1912 novel "Corporal Cameron"

The 1912 novel "Corporal Cameron" by Ralph Connor1 had been sitting on my "To Be Blogged" shelf for more than year. It remained there, even through periodic purges, because of its unique and eye-catching endpapers, which are shown above in the wide view and below in a detail shot.

I hope the scans do this justice.2

What do you think of this illustration? What medium has been used? Clay?

Although the endpapers feature only a photograph of this illustration, it gives off a certain three-dimensional feel.

With regard to the artist, there's a name in the lower-left corner of the illustration. But it's not 100% legible. Joan and I have some thoughts on what the name is, but I don't want to plant any ideas in your mind before you look at it. Take a gander and tell me what you think in the comments section. If we can figure out who the artist was, perhaps we can learn more about this unique piece of art.

See the August 5, 2013, update to this post

1. A few things:
2. Another image of the same endpapers appears on this Etsy page.

Secondary footnote
1. Regarding William Fury, the following is written in "Sam Steele and the Northwest Rebellion: The Trail of 1885" by Wayne F. Brown:
"The aptly named William Fury was a very competent frontier Mountie who survived being shot in the chest during the fighting at Loon Lake. He was left with a collapsed lung, which limited his ability to exert himself, so he applied for invalid status and left the NWMP in 1888. ... He was awarded an uncontested pension and took up farming near Richmond Hill, Ontario, where he died in 1936. He was buried with full military honours in Killean, Ontario."

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Bookplate inside Edmund Wilson's "The American Earthquake"

This bookplate for Robert David Lewis is pasted to the inside front cover of 1958's "The American Earthquake" by Edmund Wilson.

In the book's preface, Wilson writes: "The material in this volume, a selection from my non-literary articles written during the twenties and thirties, runs more or less parallel to the literary material collected in my earlier volume, The Shores of Light, a selection of articles on books written in the same period."

The book is split into three sections:
  • The Follies, 1923-1928
  • The Earthquake, October 1930-October 1931
  • Dawn of the New Deal, 1932-1934

An interesting retrospective of Wilson's life and work can be found in Colm Toobin's 2005 piece in The New York Times titled "'Edmund Wilson': American Critic."

I also found an interesting 2008 blog post by George Packer, in which he describes "The American Earthquake" as "obscure" and connects Wilson's decades-old observations with the current plight of the automobile industry.

For your Sunday browsing pleasure, here are some previous Papergreat posts featuring bookplates: