Saturday, February 8, 2014

Egg-O-See cereal postcard (This is what our table looks like at meals)


This well-worn postcard is an advertisement for Egg-O-See breakfast cereal.

Some initial thoughts:
  • I chuckled when I first saw this illustration, because our dining room table is often surrounded by cats and the dog at meal time. (The dog, Coby, to his credit, sleeps through most of the meal and does not actively seek handouts.)
  • If you look at the size of the cats compared to the boy and the dog, they must be HUGE. Nearly the size of lynxes! These are not cats to be trifled with.
  • It looks like this boy has had a good upbringing. He's in a nice room and there is some fine tableware apparent. Do you really think he would utter the phrase: "Dere aint go'n'er be no leavin's"?


Regarding Egg-O-See cereal and the Egg-O-See Company, there's a good amount of information available in cyberspace. Some of it, however, is a bit murky and even contradictory. Egg-O-See was established as a business sometime between 1901 and 1905 and was based in Quincy, Illinois. Later, it ran into financial difficulty — this was a frenzied period of breakfast cereal companies competing against each other in the United States — and was, I believe, purchased by the Battle Creek Toasted Corn Flake Company (which was renamed Kellogg’s in 1922).

Egg-O-see was made from "from the whole grain of the the very best white wheat grown." The postcard phrase "Dere aint go'n'er be no leavin's" was in fact the official slogan for the cereal.

Here's some of the copy from one advertisement:
"Make your boy's food tasty — Mother — for it has to do some big things. It has to make flesh, blood, bone and muscle and supply boundless Energy. Remember, the boy of today is the man of tomorrow. Don't injure him physically and mentally with indigestible meats, pastries, rich puddings, etc., that act as a drain on his nervous energy. But feed him plenty of Egg-O-See."
The advertisement further states: "Egg-O-See keeps the blood cool and is the ideal summer food."

Here are some links for additional information about Egg-O-See:
  • MrBreakfast.com: The Egg-O-See page contains some good information1 and a handful of advertising images.
  • The Old Foodie: A 2009 post about Egg-O-See being on the breakfast menu of the SS Minnesota in 1914.
  • BiblioBuffet: A detailed post by Lauren Roberts about the history of Egg-O-See and other breakfast-cereal companies. The best part: It features a circa 1906 Egg-O-See bookmark!
  • Illinois Digital Libraries: A small collection of Egg-O-See-related photographs.
  • Circa 1906 Egg-O-See magazine advertisement. (It looks like the illustration on today's postcard originated from this photograph, or composite photograph, more likely.)
  • Heritage Battle Creek: A good history of the origins of breakfast cereal in the United States. It only mentions Egg-O-See in passing.


Footnote
1. The MrBreakfast.com page includes this interesting tidbit: "The unusual cereal name may have come from an accented-delivery of the phrase 'I'll go see'. According to one tale, a salesman asked for corn flakes in a diner and was told by a Scandinavian waitress, 'Eg go see'."

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Books available from London's Bedford Bookshop (in 1934)

In 1934, The Bedford Bookshop of London — H.B. Copinger, proprietor — issued Catalogue No. 8 of its stock.

The 44-page staplebound booklet is titled "Books Old and Modern on many Subjects including Americana, Architecture, Bibliography, Classic, Drama, English Literature & Topography, Genealogy, London, Medicine, Printing, Theology, etc."

I thought it would be neat to take a look at some of the volumes and ephemera listed in this booklet, along with their prices then and now.

  • Some Memories of the Civil War, together with an Appreciation of the Career and Character of Maj.-Gen. Israel Putnam, Leader in the Colonial Wars and in the American Revolution, by G.H. Putnam (New York, 1924).1 1934 price: 4 shillings. 2014 price: $18.
  • Modern English Literature, its Blemishes and Defects, by H.H. Breen (Longman, 1857). 1934 price: 5 shillings, 6 pennies. 2014 price: Original edition unavailable on Amazon. Reprints are as low as about $15.
  • An Inquiry into the Nature and Form of the Books of the Ancients; with a History of the Art of Bookbinding, by John A. Arnett (London, Groombridge, 1837). 1934 price: 15 shillings. 2014 price: $317.
  • Struggles and Triumphs, or 60 years' Recollections, including golden Rules for Money-making, by P.T. Barnum (Buffalo, 1889). 1934 price: 6 shillings, 6 pennies. 2014 price: The original 1869 edition can be had for as low at $18, although I would exercise some caveat emptor if you're looking for a nice 19th century copy.
  • The Great Pyramid: its History and Teachings. A Lecture, by T.S. Marks (London, Partridge, 1879). 1934 price: 5 shillings. 2014 price: Original edition unavailable on Amazon. Reprints start at $24.
  • Intercepted Letters, or The Twopenny Post-Bag. To which are added Trifles Reprinted, by Thomas Brown, the younger (London, J. Carr, 1813). 1934 price: 6 shillings. 2014 price: $128.
  • Northumberland: its History, its Features and its People, by the Rev. James Christie (1893). 1934 price: 4 shillings. 2014 price: $55.
  • The Twilight of the White Races, by Maurice Muret (London, Unwin, 1926). 1934 price: 6 shillings. 2014 price: $63.
  • A Letter from an Arabian Physician to a famous Professor in the University Hall in Saxony, concerning Mahomet's taking up Arms, his marrying of many Wives, his Keeping of Concubines, and his Paradise, (Paris, 1706). 1934 price: 12 shillings, 6 pennies. 2014 price: Paperback reprints start at $8.
  • British Locomotives, their History, Construction, and Modern Development, by C.J.B. Cooke (London, Whittaker, 1893). 1934 price: 10 shillings. 2014 price: $46.

Footnote
1. The booklet lists the publication date as 1824, but that must be a typo, given that it would predate the American Civil War.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Mystery real photo postcard: Who were these three kids?


So many questions!

Who are the three children shown in this vintage real photo postcard?
Where was this picture taken?
What were there lives like?
What happened to them when they grew up?

We can, at least, narrow down (somewhat) when this postcard was produced. It was never written on or mailed. But the stamp box on the back (shown at right) gives us an indication of the time period.

According to playle.com, a website that deals with vintage postcards, stamps and more: "Most Real Photo Postcards, abbreviated RPPC, have information on their backs to help in identifying the manufacturer of the photographic paper that was used by the postcard publisher. If you can identify the paper manufacturer, you can approximate the age of the old postcard."

In this case, the stamp box contains the word AZO and, importantly, four triangles in the corner that are pointed upward.

According to this page on playle.com, those four upward triangles date the postcard to between 1904 and 1918. About a century ago.

AZO photographic paper was produced by Kodak until 2005 or 2006.

So, we have a time period. But little else. Wouldn't it be wonderful to know who these people were?

Monday, February 3, 2014

More snow in southcentral Pennsylvania

After some mild winters the past few years, our barrage of snow in Winter 2013-14 continues today in southcentral Pennsylvania...




...and the wintry weather isn't expected to let up this week. The forecast is calling for 1-3 inches snow and ice on Tuesday night and a weekend snowstorm that could bring another half-foot of snow.

RIP: Philip Seymour Hoffman

F--k.

Sunday was a terrible day, with the news of the death of Philip Seymour Hoffman at age 46 in New York City.1

Hoffman was my favorite actor, which isn't something I say lightly.

You know someone's your favorite actor when you even revel in his early, throwaway work, such as the portrayal of "Chuck Bronski" in the 1993 zombie comedy My Boyfriend's Back.2

In July 2003, I traveled to New York and paid $100 to sit extreme stage left and watch him in a riveting Broadway production of Long Day's Journey Into Night, along with Vanessa Redgrave, Brian Dennehy and Robert Sean Leonard. (In retrospect, the play's theme of how devastating addiction can be adds another layer of sadness to all of this.)

In less than 20 years in the spotlight — most count 1997's Boogie Nights as Hoffman's breakthrough performance — he put together a body of Hollywood and Broadway3 work that holds up against any thespian in his generation. (On Twitter, journalist Sam Adams (@SamuelAAdams) wrote: "The answer to which Philip Seymour Hoffman performance you'd put in a time capsule is: Get a bigger time capsule."

But if you are familiar with Hoffman, you don't need me to tell you these things. But if you don't know much of Hoffman's work and you're a fan of great acting and great movies, here are two checklists of must-see films in which he's featured. Work your way through these lists and marvel at the range and depth of his work.

IN A STARRING ROLE
  • The Master
  • Doubt
  • Synecdoche, New York
  • Before the Devil Knows You're Dead
  • The Savages
  • Capote
  • Owning Mahowny
  • Flawless

IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
  • Moneyball
  • Charlie Wilson's War
  • Mission: Impossible III4
  • 25th Hour
  • Punch-Drunk Love
  • Almost Famous
  • The Talented Mr. Ripley
  • Magnolia
  • The Big Lebowski
  • Boogie Nights
  • Empire Falls

Beyond telling you to go watch those magnificent performances, I'm really not equipped to write eloquently about Philip Seymour Hoffman's life and career.

For that, here are some articles you should check out:

That last piece, by Hirschberg, ends with this paragraph.
Hopefully, Hoffman will not give up his film career. “I heard that Eastwood is saying that this will be his last film as an actor,” Hoffman said. “There’s part of me that feels that way during almost every movie. On ‘Synecdoche,’ I paid a price. I went to the office and punched my card in, and I thought about a lot of things, and some of them involved losing myself. You try to be artful for the film, but it’s hard. I’d finish a scene, walk right off the set, go in the bathroom, close the door and just take some breaths to regain my composure. In the end, I’m grateful to feel something so deeply, and I’m also grateful that it’s over.” He smiled. “And that’s my life.”

I'll leave you with one clip. If you're hungry for more, everyone else is posting and sharing their most memorable Hoffman clips.

This isn't necessarily my favorite, or his "best." What I like about this one, from Magnolia, though, is that he takes what must have seemed a bit silly (or overly self-aware) from the page of Paul Thomas Anderson's script and turns it something powerful and empathetic.



Footnotes
1. I learned the news from Twitter, while standing in the middle of The Collectibles Store in the soon-to-be-revamped West Manchester Mall, while killing time waiting for my turn at Mastercuts. I just stood there, dumbfounded and staring down at my iPhone, in the middle of the store — surrounded by LaserDiscs, 1970s comics books, Star Wars figures and the like — until the news sunk in.
2. Hoffman's character was eaten in that movie1, which is still probably better than the fate his character suffered in Red Dragon.
3. Hoffman's other Broadway performances included Sam Shepard's True West (in which he and John C. Reilly alternated the dual lead roles) and Death of a Salesman, in which he joined a long list of distinguished actors who portrayed Willy Loman.
4. Hoffman's role as the villain in Mission: Impossible III is fascinating because he was never an obvious choice to play a villain in a summer tent-pole blockbuster. But, as always, he rose to the occasion and portrayed a terrifying baddie, one who makes Hans Gruber or Silva from Skyfall look like a pussycat by comparison.

Secondary footnote
1. Seriously, though, My Boyfriend's Back had a ridiculous cast that included Edward Herrmann, Mary Beth Hurt, Jay O. Sanders, Paul Dooley, Austin Pendleton, Cloris Leachman and even Matthew McConaughey. It was directed by Bob Balaban.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

FOVA #20: Hip-o-lite marshmallow creme



Shown above are two detail shots form today's advertisement, which takes up a full page and is too large for my scanner. You can get a sense of the entire advertisement to the right.

Magazine: The Ladies' Home Journal
Date: November 1919
Company: The Hipolite Company, St. Louis, Missouri
Product: Hip-o-lite marshmallow creme
Excerpts from the voluminous text: Can You Make a Cake Filling That "Stands Up"? -- a frosting that Will Not Run? -- prepare the sauce for Marshmallow Sundae? or add a professional touch to home desserts? These Are Problems Which the Modern Housekeeper Says Are Really Not Problems At All!

Hip-o-lite is an exquisite marshmallow the exact consistency of the filling found in cakes supplied by the best caterers. In fact, it is the same preparation caterers use for that purpose. Hence, as a cake filling or frosting it is ready for instant use without cooking or the addition of eggs or other ingredients. You merely spread it on the layers and over the cake as you spread butter on bread.

As a filling or frosting, Hip-o-lite costs less than the home-made kind. As a sauce, somewhat less than plain cream and sugar. AND — as it will not "spoil," even after being opened, the element of waste is entirely eliminated.

"Drug Store Ice Cream" remains just what it is — until it is served with marshmallow sauce. Then it becomes a charming emergency dessert to meet the approval of even the most critical of guests.

Hip-o-lite is on sale grocers' everywhere. If yours happens to be without it, send us his name and we will arrange to supply you through him.

* * *
(Note: This is the final entry in the Far-Out Vintage Advertisement series.)