Saturday, August 3, 2013

Vintage postcard: "Birds Eye view of Knoxville, Pa."

This very old postcard (1900-1910?) features a view of Knoxville, Pennsylvania, and its covered bridge.

Knoxville, incorporated in 1851, is a tiny borough that now boasts perhaps 600 residents. It is located in Tioga County, along the edge of northcentral Pennsylvania.

It has a nice public library housed within a century-old Queen Anne style residence.

An excellent early history of Knoxville can be found on this page at Tri-Counties Genealogy & History by Joyce M. Tice.

Here are some historical tidbits from that page, to whet your appetite:

  • "The first settler at 'Delight,' near the mouth of Troup's Creek-where Knoxville now is-was Simon Rixford. He had been a soldier in the Revolutionary war, and was afflicted with deafness caused by his close proximity to the artillery during battle. Few details of his service have been handed down. He enlisted at the age of 15 and served seven years."
  • "Jonathan Matteson and Daniel Cummings built a log distillery in Knoxville in 1815. They brought the water from a spring on the north hill. They distilled whiskey from corn and rye. Stephen Colvin, a son-in-law of Jonathan Matteson, carried on the business for the proprietors. They continued the business until 1825."
  • "A few extracts from the minutes of the proceedings of the board of [school] directors are given to illustrate the changes in the laws, wages of teachers, and text books, and the duties and difficulties these unpaid officers have to grapple with: ... January 11th 1855. -- On motion voted our present teacher be discharged for incompetency and general lack of government. ... March 16th 1861. -- On motion the following text books were adopted: Davies's arithmetics, Kenyon's grammar, Sanders's series of readers and speller, Colton and Fitch's geography, and Comstock's philosophy."

Read much more here.

On the reverse side of the postcard, which has not yet been used, the following is printed: "10046 J.F. Rugaber, Westfield Pa. Printed in Germany."

There is also this peacock logo...

"The PCK Series" stands for Paul C. Koeber Co.

According to the Metropolitan Postcard Club of New York City, the company was in business from 1900 to 1923 and was based in New York City and Kirchheim, Germany.

Metropolitan further states that Koeber "published national view-cards and illustrations in chromolithography and in black & white. Much of their color work has a dark heavy feel to it because of the many thick layers of ink they used. In their later years they published postcards using tinted halftones."

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Old birthday greetings card from The (York) Gazette and Daily

Here's an old children's birthday card issued by The Gazette and Daily, the predecessor to the newspaper I have worked for since 2000 — the York Daily Record/Sunday News.

The card must have been printed prior to 1970, when, following an ownership change, the Gazette and Daily nameplate was retired and the York Daily Record came into existence.

My best guess is that this dates to the 1940s or 1950s. And it's in great condition, given that possible age.

The full text of the card states:

Here's to somebody
Who's seven to-day;
May you always be happy
At work or at play.


I asked about the card on Facebook, and one person found them to be familiar: "Yes, I remember getting those and when my Mother passed away I came across the enrollment letter that my Aunt sent to the G&D to have me enrolled. She wrote it like it was from my older brother."

Apparently, the you also got your name printed in the newspaper if you were part of this Birthday Club. One thing that's neat is that there was obviously a separate card for each age, since the poem is geared toward somebody's seventh birthday.

If anyone else has memories of this program offered by the Gazette and Daily, please share them in the comments section!

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Christmas in July for ephemera fans

It's less than five months until Christmas! The end-of-year holiday season is a big deal here on Papergreat, with robust collections of jolly ephemera having been featured in December 2011 and December 2012. In fact, there have been nearly 50 Christmas-themed posts thus far.

Some of my favorites posts from previous Decembers include:

(And, for more, here's a full guide to the 2011 Christmas posts.)

I already have a stockpile of merry items ready for this upcoming December. Featured today, as a little preview, are a pair of vintage Christmas cards. The card at the top of the post opens up to feature a greeting that states:

If a body wish a body
Everything that's good
Can't a snappy Christmas Greeting
Make it understood
Mr. and Mrs. Lewis T. Cook

Meanwhile, pictured just below is a light blue card signed by Irene Campbell.

On both of these old cards, the illustrations are really wonderful.

Here are some detail shots...

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Old textbook used in York County: "The Girl Next Door"

About a week ago, I was reading the always-fun Facebook group called "I Grew Up in York, PA in the 50's & 60's," and I came across the photo, shown at right, that had been posted by member Ed Strayer.

Ed wrote: "Who remembers when every classroom had one of these?"

He was referring to the wood-and-wire contraption that holds five pieces of chalk at once. It was used — with much screeching — by teachers who needed to put multiple straight lines on the blackboard in order to teach penmanship or music.

But the chalk holder wasn't what caught my eye.

I immediately thought, "Hey, I have that book!"

Indeed, I am a sucker for old schoolbooks. I cannot pass them up, if they're cheap. They are, of course, great fodder for Papergreat posts. But I also — much to Joan's chagrin — just enjoy collecting them. A moment of truth is surely going to come (probably in the near future) when I have to determine just what to do with all those old books. Our family goals, after all, are to simplify our lives and get rid of stuff, not accumulate it. I'm a bit troublesome in that regard, sometimes. But I'm working on it.

So, among my schoolbooks is "The Girl Next Door," which was published in 1948 by Scott, Foresman and Company. It was written by Dorothy Baruch and Elizabeth Montgomery and illustrated by Ruth Steed.1

It's part of the "Health and Personal Development Series," and so it has chapter titles such as "How Germs Are Spread," "Foods You Need," "Taking Care of Your Teeth," "Strong, Straight Bodies," and "Muscles and Ice Cream."

Also, "Hide the Bean."2

This textbook, which I picked up at last month's always-amazing Book Nook Bonanza3 in York County, has a direct connection to York County history, too. These are the two stamps on the inside front cover:

South Eastern Joint Schools

Property of Boro. School District Stewartstown, Penna.

Finally, this is the only schoolbook I've ever come across that features a chapter about children playing in an abandoned house. It's a step removed from becoming a Stephen King story, really. All it needs is a Hubie Marsten appearance.

1. One of illustrator Ruth Steed's most famous efforts was for Dodie Smith's "I Capture the Castle."
2. Would "Hide the Bean" be a good band name? Discuss.
3. I'm hoping to write about my Bonanza Haul later this week, finally. I've been dawdling on that one.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Provincial Council of Pennsylvania tackles witchcraft allegations

Last September, I wrote about an old book titled "Minutes of the Provincial Council of Pennsylvania. From the Organization to the Termination of the Proprietary Government. Published by the State. Vol. II. Containing the Proceedings of Council From December 18, 1700, to May 15, 1717."

I called it "pretty boring."

But, delving into it again, I found a neat tidbit worth sharing. You can never go wrong with some witchcraft allegations to spice up your council meeting. Here's the full excerpt:

"At a Council held at Philadelphia ye 21st of 3 Mo, 1701. ...

"A Petition of Robt. Guard and his Wife being read, setting forth That a Certain Strange Woman lately arrived in this Town being Seized with a very Sudden illness after she had been in their Company on the 17th Instant, and Several Pins being taken out of her Breasts, One John Richards, Butcher, and his Wife Ann, charged the Petitrs with Witchcraft, & as being the Authors of the Said Mischief; and therefore, Desire their Accusers might be sent for, in Order either to prove their Charge, or that they might be acquitted, they Suffering much in their Reputation, & by that means in their Trade.

"Ordered, that the Said John & Ann Richards be sent for; who appearing, the matter was inquired into, & being found trifling, was Dismissed."

So there you have it.

I'm a little surprised the Provincial Council didn't further assess the alleged witch, to make sure she didn't weigh the same as a duck.

Connie Mack has some advice for the 2013 Philadelphia Phillies

This seems like an appropriate time for this vintage advertisement.

The Philadelphia Phillies are an utter train wreck; they lost their eighth straight game yesterday, by a score of 12-4 to the Detroit Tigers. In one inning, the Phillies made three errors and gave up eight unearned runs, a nearly impossible feat.

Perhaps the Phillies should get back to basics.

Perhaps they can find a copy of the 110-year-old book advertised here — 1903's "How to Play Base-Ball" by Cornelius McGillicuddy Sr. (aka Connie Mack).

Here is the small type from the above advertisement:
"This is the first book ever published that explains fully how to play the National game. Although it is said that Base-ball players are born, not made, How to Play Base-Ball will not only develop the born player, but will go a long way towards making a good player of every desirous person.

Fully illustrated with pictures of the principal players in both the American and National Leagues; and a special article by 'Rube' Waddell on pitching, elaborately illustrated with photographs specially posed for by himself, showing how to hold a ball in order to throw certain curves, drops, etc."

Bob Warrington wrote about this Mack book on the Philadelphia Athletics Historical Society website back in 2002. He offered the following insights:
  • "The 169-page book contains far more than basic instructions on playing the game of baseball. It provides insights into Mack’s managerial philosophy at an early point in his career, and it offers his commentary on other issues pertaining to the state of baseball as it existed at the dawn of the 20th century."
  • "The 1903 publication of the book was also intended to capitalize on the Athletics’ AL championship in the 1902 baseball season. ... The City of Philadelphia and its citizens rejoiced at the A’s triumph. An enormous parade was held in their honor in downtown Philadelphia with over 350 clubs and organizations sending bands and marchers to participate. Consequently, it’s not surprising that a publisher based in Philadelphia would regard a book authored by Mack on how to play baseball as a highly marketable commodity. ... By contrast, the Philadelphia Phillies, who had been in existence for almost 20 years, were still looking for their first NL pennant."
  • "Connie Mack’s 'How to Play Baseball' is rarely found today, and obtaining a copy will be difficult. It’s not clear how many copies were published initially. There is no evidence to indicate that subsequent editions of the book were produced or if it was republished at a later date."

Those are just a few short excerpts. Warrington goes into much greater depth about Mack and the book in his article, which I highly recommend.

Author Norman L. Macht also discusses "How to Play Base-Ball" in his own book — "Connie Mack and the Early Years of Baseball." Macht notes the following: "Citing brains as the primary factor in a team's success, Mack considered base running the most important, most interesting, and most intellectual department of the game. A manager could flash all the signs he wanted, but once the ball was in play with a man on base, he couldn't do the thinking for the base runner."

Finally, Mack's 1903 book was published by Drexel Biddle of Philadelphia. Publishing was one of the few areas in which millionaire Anthony Joseph Drexel Biddle Sr. did not excel during his fascinating lifetime. His story, though, will have to be a blog post for another day. (Or another writer.)

If you're interested in "How to Play Base-Ball," you can find digital editions here or order a reprint from Amazon.