Saturday, July 12, 2014

Postcard mailed in July 1910 featuring High Rock in York County

This postcard from more than a century ago features a geological formation called High Rock here in York County. I am not sure precisely where this wall of white stone is located and will have to crowd-source it a bit with some of our local historians. (My best guess is that it's somewhere in southwestern York County, and the Pennsylvania Gazetteer pinpoints a "High Rock" as being located northeast of Hanover and west of Spring Grove. But is that the High Rock shown on this postcard?)

The card was postmarked in York on July 28, 1910, and mailed to Miss Georgia B. Klinefelter of Cooperstown, New York.1 The message on the back is faded and smudged, but this is what I can make out:
Dear Friend,
If for any cause you should be called home, kindly drop me a card as soon as convenient. In that event I may purchase round trip ticket to North field and it must be ordered in advance.

The hot [indecipherable] is broken and this morning it is some what cooler. Will write you soon. Lovingly - M. July 27, '10.
As a final note, this postcard was made in Germany and sold by F.W. Woolworth & Co. of York. That company had some important ties to Lancaster, York and Harrisburg here in southcentral Pennsylvania during its early years.

1. Georgia Klinefelter must have moved around (or traveled) quite a bit. And then all of her postcards ended up in the antiques store in York New Salem, where I purchased them. I have previously featured three other postcards that were mailed to her:

Friday, July 11, 2014

Postcard from more than 100 years ago: I'm off (for home)

This seems like a good postcard at the end of the work week (for some) here at 5 p.m. on a Friday. And a good pick to cap off the trio of vintage postcards from the past 24 hours.

The comic illustration is captioned "I'm off" and someone has added "for home" after the word "off."

The text written sideways on the card states: "leave here in a few minutes for home. Excuse this kind of a card but it's all I have with me now. C."

Unfortunately, the postmark on the back of the card is unreadable, so I can't determine what the city or the date is. The card is addressed simply to:
Miss Bertha Howard
Yes, that was once perfectly sufficient for a mailing address! There are Nelsonvilles in New York, Ohio and Wisconsin. Some Google searches make me think it's likely that this Bertha resided in Nelsonville, Ohio, a coal-mining town that was once nicknamed "Little City of Black Diamonds" and is the birthplace of actress Sarah Jessica Parker.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

A second vintage postcard featuring a white donkey (to Edith Nevin)

This white donkey looks very similar to the one featured in the previous post, don't you think?

This vintage postcard was mailed in January 1907 from Albuquerque, New Mexico, to Miss Edith Nevin of Marysville, Pennsylvania. The message on the front states:
Saturday P.M.
Cousin Edith,
Budd & I are traveling to Los Angeles just passing through Mexico. Both well. Kind regards to Papa & Aunt. Kiss Grandma & Grandpapa for me. Cousin Maggie!
Written across the top of the postcard is "will stay six or eight weeks."

Here are some tidbits I found in old central Pennsylvania newspapers related to Edith Nevin (1895-1944) of Marysville:

  • 1913 (September): Mr. and Mrs. J. L. Hain of Marysville entertained young folks at their home in Front Street in honor of their daughter Hazel's sixteenth birthday. The evening was pleasantly passed in playing games. Refreshments were served to the following guests: Miss Edith Nevin, Miss Esther White, Miss Mary Corl, Miss Louise Corl, Miss Marguerite Glass, Miss Margaret Ellenberger, Miss Mary Deckard, Miss Leona Bare, Miss Helen Hain, Miss Hazel Hain, Cassius Kennedy, James Roberts, Linn Lightner, Charles Michener and Harry Deckard.
  • 1918 (September): "Miss Edith Nevin, who is employed as a government stenographer at Washington, is spending a vacation with her father, James Nevin."
  • 1927 (March): A reference to an Edith Nevin Booth purchasing property from James A. Nevin.

1906 postcard: "Four Queens and a Jack" and taunting from Los Angeles

This amusing postcard, titled "Four Queens and a Jack," was mailed in March 1906, before the time when Americans were allowed to write messages on the backs of the postcard — only the recipient's address was allowed.

This card was mailed from Los Angeles, California, to a Mrs. Ada Fish of Warehouse Point, Connecticut (a village within East Windsor).1 Here is the full message that is written in tiny cursive handwriting on the front of the card:
Los Angeles Cal. Mar. 2, '06
Dear Cousin — We have been "listening" to hear from you but I suppose the "cold" "cold" world in which you live has had something to do with us not being able to. We are all well and getting along nicely and hope you are happy: the weather here is just like June in old Connecticut. Write soon and let us know how old Jack Frost has served you. Yours loveingly, Orrin W. Lord, 316 E. [?] 8 St. Los Angeles, Cal.

There's nothing like folks living in sunny California taunting their shivering relatives back in the Northeast, eh?

This postcard was published by M. Rieder of Los Angeles and is labeled No. 121. According to the Metropolitan Postcard Club of New York City, M. Rieder produced postcards from 1901 to 1915. Rieder "printed and published view-cards of the West and of Native Americans. His cards were printed in Germany except those contracted out to Edward H. Mitchell in the United States."

1. According to, Ada Fish was born around 1869 and was married to a man named Edwin, who was roughly eight years old than she was. The Fish family lived until at least the taking of the 1940 Census.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Hans Gerhard Sørensen's cover art for "A Brief History of Norway"

I just like it and wanted to share...

Hans Gerhard Sørensen (1923-1999) was a Norwegian graphic artist, painter and illustrator who was best known for his woodcuts, including this troll, this doorway image, and this toad.

I don't know when he created this cover illustration for A Brief History of Norway, which was first published in 1963. (This is the tenth edition, from 1989, shown above.)

Monday, July 7, 2014

"I hope you will enjoy reading about these enchanted waters"

Oh, look! It's another thing you can't do with an e-book.

I discovered this inscription from August 1988 on the inside front cover of a copy of Shipwrecks and Legends 'Round Cape May by David J. Seibold and Charles J. Adams III.

Obviously, it was nice for the family to get Pappie a book as a gift — books are the best gifts. But the inscription, which is perhaps turning into a lost art, was the sweetest touch.

Pappie probably also liked that he didn't get a dull book. This small volume has tales of lost treasure, pirates, sunken vessels, World War II, maritime disasters and more. Topics discussed include Cape May diamonds, the capture of a German U-boat off Cape May's shore, and the eventual fate of the hull of the PS General Slocum.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

A mighty fine piece of ephemera from the set of "Inherent Vice"


Whoa! Here's some groovy breaking news from the worlds of ephemera and film. Shown above is the framing chart that was used during the production of Paul Thomas Anderson's Inherent Vice.1 The chart is used as the director, cinematographer2 and others work to frame each shot in the movie's chosen aspect ratio (in this case, 1.85:1).

Inherent Vice, which is scheduled for a December release, is an adaptation of Thomas Pynchon's novel of the same name.3 The cast includes Joaquin Phoenix, Reese Witherspoon, Josh Brolin, Jena Malone, Martin Short, Benicio Del Toro, Sasha Pieterse and Eric Roberts.

For the latest information on the Inherent Vice movie and the filmmaking career of PTA, I direct you to the Cigarettes & Red Vines website maintained wonderfully by CJ Wallis, who kindly allowed me to post the above image.

1. That chart would look very nice framed and on my wall, next to Story Gnome, The Three Bears and some other pieces that have been featured here. A guy can dream, right?
2. The cinematographer for Inherent Vice is Robert Elswit, who won an Oscar for his work as cinematographer on Paul Thomas Anderson's There Will Be Blood.
3. I first wrote about this movie back in May 2013.

The Jolly family's splendid bookplate

Love this! This cool bookplate1 for The Jollys was affixed to the inside front cover of the 1975 paperback edition of The Golden Age of Colonial Culture by Thomas J. Wertenbaker.

Obviously, this was a family with some refined intellectual tastes.

Wertenbaker (1879-1966) was an Ivy League historian who focused on Colonial America. The book's chapters are titled:
  • Crucibles of Culture
  • The Puritan Begins to Play, Boston
  • Father Knickerbocker Becomes Aesthetic, New York
  • Culture with a "Thee and Thou," Philadelphia
  • Intellectual Life Around the Punch Bowl, Annapolis
  • The Mind of the Tobacco Aristocrat, Williamsburg
  • Rice, Indigo, and Elegance, Charleston

More posts featuring bookplates

1. While I would LOVE a cozy home library complete with a fireplace, I would say two things about this illustration. First, the painting above the fireplace is awful. Second, some of the bookshelves are clearly too close to the fireplace. That's bad for the books.

OK, another thing. The bowl of fruit on the mantle is tacky, too. But maybe that's part of why I love this bookplate.

1970 calendar tucked away inside 1936 book about Blacky the Wasp

On the Fourth of July I featured a newer item that was tucked away inside an older book. Here's another piece of ephemera along those lines. It's a pocket calendar (slightly larger than a credit card) for the year 1970, courtesy of Good News Publishers of Westchester, Illinois, and the Christian Book Shop at 255 West Market Street here in York.

Good News Publishers dates to 1938 and still continues under the name Crossway. You can read about its history here.

The 1970 pocket calendar was found inside a 1936 staplebound volume titled The Adventures of Blacky the Wasp.

The book was written by Chas. E. Robinson1, illustrated by Charles Ramsay and published by the Gospel Publishing House of Springfield, Missouri. That publisher is still in existence.

The nature of this 88-page volume can be gleaned from the blurb on the title pages, which states:
"Filled with many strange, little-known facts, stated with scientific accuracy, about John Bartram's Great Black Wasp whose life history cannot be explained by the supposed laws of Evolution."
(Bartram (1699-1777), who was born in the Pennsylvania Colony, was a Quaker botanist, horticulturist and explorer.2 In 1749, he wrote a letter to Mr. Peter Collinson in which he described the Great Black Wasp.)

Here's an excerpt from Robinson's tale about Blacky, to give you a taste of the author's approach:
"Blacky the Wasp is a great digger. Indeed such wasps as she is are called, by men who study about such things, Digger Wasps. Since Blacky found the place for her home on the side of the clay bank by Laughing Little Brook she has dug and carried out a great deal of clay. The clay that Blacky has carried out of the hole she has made if it were weighed would weigh as much as one thousand seven hundred wasps the size of Blacky. ... God made Blacky so that she knew without being told what she ought to do, and just how to do it. He made her so she didn't need anyone to tell her to hurry with her work, and get it done. Isn't it a wonderful God who would take the pains to put it into little Blacky's head the knowledge that she must dig a deep hole in the side of a bank, and that she must dig it in a certain distance in one direction and then change and dig it in another direction until she has dug it deep enough?"

1. One source indicates that the E. stands for Elmo. According to the author biography on the final page of The Adventures of Blacky the Wasp: "Charles E. ("Daddy") Robinson understands that the child receives many of his first and lasting impressions from the living things about him. So Mr. Robinson makes nature speak out to the glory of God. He causes the birds and insects to give a vocal lesson on faithfulness and the wonderful provisions of the heavenly father." Other books by Robinson included The Adventures of Sally Cottontail, The Gnat's Lifeboat and Other Stories, The Adventures of Keo the Colt, and The Adventures of Hush-Wing the Owl.
2. Bartram wrote a book titled Observations on the Inhabitants, Climate, Soil, Rivers, Productions, Animals, and other Matters Worthy of Notice, made by Mr. John Bartram in his Travels from Pennsylvania to Onondaga, Oswego, and the Lake Ontario, in Canada.