Saturday, October 19, 2013

Postcrossing card featuring vintage illustration of Game of the Goose

I received a Postcrossing card from the Netherlands this week featuring a vintage illustration of an old board game that I had never heard of.

The game is called the Game of the Goose and its origins most likely date to the 16th century.

Here's a description of basic game play from Wikipedia:

"The board consists of a track with consecutively numbered spaces (usually 63), and is often arranged in a spiral with the starting point at the outside. Each player's piece is moved according to throws of one or two dice. Scattered throughout the board are a number of spaces on which a goose is depicted; landing on a goose allows the player to move again by the same distance. Additional shortcuts, such as spaces marked with a bridge, move the player to some other specified position. There are also a few penalty spaces which force the player to move backwards or lose one or more turns, the most recognizable being the one marked with a skull and symbolizing death; landing on this space results in the player being sent back to start."

There is an interesting theory that the game was created by the Knights Templar and secretly served as a guide for the Way of St. James pilgrimage. That sounds like something out of a Dan Brown novel!

The individual who sent me this postcard has a blog called Happy Postcrossings and added the following note about Game of the Goose: "My parents have this game with this picture on the box from the early 1900. Do you know this game in the USA?"

Now I do! What about you? Have you ever heard about or played Game of the Goose? (For all I know, it's available as a spiffy app these days.)

Thursday, October 17, 2013

A rather mundane list tucked away inside an English textbook

This short list was tucked inside a copy of 1950's Enjoying English 12 by Don M. Wolfe and Ellen M. Geyer.1

The idea of "get morning paper" was, of course, more important six decades ago than it is today, when it becoming more of an antiquated notion with each passing year.

The saddest/strangest thing, though, is that it contains "make list" as one of its items. So, this was apparently just the master list, with a secondary list on the way. As someone who can't get through most days without lists any more, I find that kind of depressing.

I guess our main takeaway from this piece of paper can be this: If you're going to stick your list inside a book and potentially let it sit there for decades, until some future ephemeraologist discovers it, MAKE IT INTERESTING.

I'm serious. This is an important public service that you, from the comfort of your own home, can perform. Have fun with it. Make your regular list, but then throw in some oddball stuff, tuck it inside The Alchemist, and secretly laugh at the head-scratching you'll induce in 2063.

Here's an example:
  • pay bills
  • vacuum
  • write blog post
  • Floyd to vet
  • monkey cage
  • call Bravo-1
  • tongs?
  • Nehi

That'll leave 'em flummoxed!

1. Enjoying English 12 features this photo on Page 151. I feel like this guy was in every short film about school days that was ever shown on Mystery Science Theater 3000. The photo was taken by Ewing Galloway, an agency that was discussed in a footnote on this post.

From the Rare Dust Jacket Files: Hucca's Moor by Manning-Sanders

Here's a super-duper rarity that I'm thrilled to be able to post for posterity. It's the dust jacket for Hucca's Moor, a 1929 novel by Ruth Manning-Sanders. The novel was published by Faber & Gwyer of London.

I came across the image because someone has listed the book, with this original dust jacket intact, for sale on eBay. Who knows how many copies were originally printed, or how many of the original dust jackets remain in existence 84 years later?

It's a morbid and fascinating illustration, isn't it? I've never read the novel, and, at first, this was the only description I found of its plot: "The story tells of a man's unsuccessful attempt to lose his own soul."

Then, with a bit more digging, I came across what I think is a capsule review of Hucca's Moor that appeared in the April 6, 1929, edition of The Spectator:

"The tragedy of Zephan Wall, a half-idiot pedlar, is that his ludicrous ambitions only accentuate his poverty of mind and body. His patient wife, Deborah, is housekeeper to a gigantic bed-ridden miner, by name Bendigo Scoffern; and his step-daughter, Mabel Best, is an imbecile of twenty-six, who plays with toys and has screaming fits. She is convicted of the murder, of which she was innocent, and removed to an asylum. The book concludes with descriptions of her mother's misery, and Zephan's brain-storms and suicide. It is, in its dreary way, very well done, though whether it were worth doing at all is a question for each reader to decide. The atmosphere of horror is sustained throughout, and there is not one pleasant moment in the story. Those who hike to wallow in misery may find some justification for the book..."

Not a ringing endorsement, eh?

Meanwhile, the other interesting thing about this specific dust jacket is that it contains a bookseller's label for Bridger's Bookshop on Market Jew Street in Penzance, Cornwall, England.

I don't believe that bookstore still exists, but there is now a store called The Edge Of The World Bookshop on Market Jew Street in Penzance. It would be neat to visit it some day.

Other Manning-Sanders
covers and dust jackets

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Oh yeah, Papergreat has a spin-off

In case you haven't already noticed the large logo for Capper's Farmer on the right-hand side of the page, I wanted to let everyone know that there is now a second blog carrying the title of Papergreat.

(Yes, you may be wondering why the world needs this.)

Just as Happy Days spawned Mork & Mindy, I am pleased to announce that Papergreat now has a spin-off titled Papergreat: Farm Life. (Pam Dawber not included.)

That blog will focus specifically on vintage ephemera related to farming and farm life, and I think it will be a lot of fun. Like a barrel full of chickens.

Papergreat: Farm Life can be found here, if you want to bookmark the link. The Capper's logo on this page will also take you straight there.

Here's a summary of the first two posts:
  • A 1924 Guide to Perfect Poultry: What was this 427-page book used for? Just what it says. It provides the official breed standards for all North American poultry. The classifications and descriptions of physical appearance, coloring and other attributes are used as a measuring stick for, among other things, the competitive judging of chickens, ducks, turkeys and other poultry.
  • The Seedy Side of Vintage Farm Ephemera: Discovering more about a 1908 kohlrabi seed packet that was sold by De Giorgi Bros of Council Bluffs, Iowa.