Saturday, August 9, 2014

Judy, a black cat and a ghost book

BOO! Here's the best vintage photograph you'll see this week.

It's Judy Garland hugging a black cat and reading a book titled Ghost's Night Out (which I believe is fictitious).

The photograph was taken in 1938 by Eric Carpenter, according to Books and Art, the Tumblr from which I'm reblogging this. I might attempt to recreate this shot with Mr. Bill, one of our black cats. Maybe for Halloween.

The Garland photo kind of reminds me of one of my favorite illustrations of all-time, from this October 2011 post.

Gallery: Five groovy ads from the 1933 Furst-McNess cookbook

The 1933 F.W. McNess Cook Book, which I wrote about back on July 20, is too filled with goodness for just one post. So here's a gallery of some of the vintage advertisements from its pages. Enjoy!

Marguerite Clark, 4-H Club Cake Baking Expert

McNess Effervescent Salts (in anthropomorphic glory)

McNess' Summer Drinks
(Orange, Grape, Raspberry, Wild Cherry)

"A Complete First Aid Home Treatment for Coughs and Colds"

Furst-McNess Company's famous Sunlight Laboratory in Freeport, Illinois

And here's one more look at this guy...

Friday, August 8, 2014

Promotional booklet: "Concerning Journeys Through Bookland"

Journeys Through Bookland was a set of children's literature books that was published in various editions between 1909 and 1959.1

This 26-page staplebound booklet from Bellows-Reeve Company touts the benefits of Journeys Through Bookland and is filled with endorsements from educators, authors and at least one judge.

The booklet begins with a short biography of Journeys Through Bookland editor Charles H. Sylvester. He was a lifelong public-school teacher who also traveled the world and thus was in a unique position to convey "the proper interpretation and enjoyment of good literature, particularly by young people at home and in school."

Next up is this statistical breakdown of the set:
  • Eleven volumes, containing over 5500 pages
  • More than 140 of the world's greatest writers
  • More than 900 pages of helps in the interpretation of the classics
  • Nearly a thousand color plates, half-tone engravings, and zinc etchings, prepared by over fifty artists
  • Glossaries, supplementary book-lists, and a general index
  • The set is beautifully and securely bound in handsome cloth and weighs about twenty-two pounds2

That's followed by a ten-item list titled "Why Every Family Should Own Journeys Through Bookland":
  • I. It helps children in their school work
  • II. It gives culture and refinement
  • III. It creates an interest in good literature
  • IV. It moulds character
  • V. It furnishes the classic literature that every one should know
  • VI. It solves the problem of what to read
  • VII. It is not merely a collection of literature3
  • VIII. It assists parents to direct the reading of their children
  • IX. It saves money
  • X. It is within the reach of all

And then there are the recommendations. Among those providing praise for the set are naturalist John Burroughs, activist/author Jane Addams, and author/professor William Lyon Phelps. The list of supporters also includes Edmund J. James, John J. Cavanaugh and Frank W. Gunsaulus.

After a wordy 10-page section featuring letters of recommendation from everyday people across the United States (including a healthy dose of religious leaders), the final page contains quotations "From Four Great Men." They aren't specifically related to Journeys Through Bookland, but I found these remarks by Theodore Roosevelt interesting:
"Public libraries are excellent institutions in their way, but you can't get half the enjoyment out of a book UNLESS YOU OWN IT YOURSELF and learn to love every dog-eared page of it for some bright vision it has given you of a world outside your own."

Although the original edition of Journeys Through Bookland is more than a century old, there are still some who seek out the collection today or have fond memories of it. Maybe it sat on a grandparent's shelf. Or was used by Mom or Dad for some bedtime reading.

In a December 2012 blog post, an author going by the name Georgipaech describes a trip to visit her mother and her pre-bedtime quest to find something to read:
"Right before I tucked myself in for an early night, I stumbled across a set of books that I had always ignored when I was little. Mum and I aren’t sure where they came from – a grandparent, surely, who read the books when they were young – the books were published in 1922. They are a set of ten books entitled ‘Journeys through Bookland’ – lovely, hardback, matching books. ... What a variety of tales there are! There are the obligatory fairytales, and extracts from Charles Dickens, poetry from Robert Louis Stevenson, Shakespeare, King Arthur, David Crockett, Lord Byron, Jerome K. Jerome, Edgar Allen Poe, Washington Irving. ... Stories, plays and poems of all kinds. And beautifully illustrated!"
And then there is this wonderful, poignant anecdote from Andee Martineau, the matriarch of the Martineau family, told in this February 2010 blog post:
"About a year ago a wonderful friend of mine recommended this amazing series. I was intrigued by her description, of a ten volume set of books filled with the best children's literature of all time. I mean who wouldn't want that...right?!

"So, I started doing my research to find out even more. I was also curious how hard it was going to be to purchase a set of books published in 1939. I kept freaking out a bit because, it just seemed to good to be true. Could there really be a set of books with some of the best literature in it? Its been almost a year now, and after a lot of searching I FINALLY received my own complete 10 volume Journeys Through Bookland set...and I think I'm in LOVE!! Not only are they BEAUTIFUL, but the stories, poems, and illustrations within the books are fantastic.

"As I unpacked each book tonight I began to have an inkling of the deep connection and love Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, and other great men must have felt about their precious libraries. I gently rubbed my hand across the red leather covers as I took each volume out of their packaging. I was in awe at the intricate designs, and craftsmanship that went into each book.

"The house was quiet as I unpacked my box. All the kids were in bed and asleep. For some reason I stopped and looked at my little stack of books. I reflected on the intentional life I am choosing to live. I thought about all the things I am now so willing to give up. Things that are distractions, and will get in the way of my spiritual growth, educational goals, and family vision are easy to recognize and say no to now. I realized how important this shift has been to my happiness, my success as a mother, and my marriage."

"I looked back to my stack of red leather books, and smiled. The thought of reading volume one in bed made me smile. I had thought I knew what made me happy a few years ago, and could never understand why it didn't last. I picked up my books and headed off to my room...thankful for the path I am on and the journey that lies a head."
There hasn't been a new post by anyone from the Martineau family on that blog since late 2010. I hope they are well. I hope that their Journeys Through Bookland set is still bringing them joy.

1. Full disclosure: We have a complete 11-volume set of Journeys Through Bookland available for the low, low price of $20 at our vendor space in the Dover Antique Mall. It's a steal! This booklet didn't come with that set. I came across it separately. Also, I should add that several, but not all, of the volumes from this set are available for free download from Project Gutenberg. It's a great way to peek inside and see what the books are all about.
2. I'm not sure which year's edition this booklet refers to.
3. "Scattered through JOURNEYS THROUGH BOOKLAND are hundreds of interesting comments and questions so adapted to the age of the youthful readers, as to stimulate the desire to read the selection again and again..."

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Old snapshot: These folks, and their dog, knew how to have a good time

Click on the photo for a larger version.

Here's an old snapshot that I'm glad I was able to save for posterity. It's a smidgen over three inches wide and visibly shows its age. But what a gang this is! Were they out for an automobile picnic? They all seem to be enjoying their food and bottled beverages. Their dog seems to be enjoying its opportunity to relax in the car seat.

Everyone's have a great time!

OK ... maybe not everyone.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Eleven great Tweets from @NightValeRadio

Because I'm always late to discover hip new things, I only recently began listening to the Welcome to Night Vale podcasts. I'm up to about #18 and my daily commutes between York and Lancaster and now filled with glowing clouds, levitating cats, dangerous wheat by-products and the worst-run daily newspaper ever. (Thank heavens I don't work for Leann Hart.)

Speaking of by-products, another one of the joys of Night Vale is the Twitter account run by the podcast's creative team.

Here are some of my favorite Tweets from the past year.

And this last one is neither funny nor morbid nor humorously morbid.
It's unexpectedly positive and inspiring, and I love it.

Recipes from "Star in My Kitchen" Motion Picture Cooking School

I found this brownish sheet of paper folded up inside a 1912 edition of Lowney's Cook Book. As you can see, the sheet highlights:

Sponsored By
APRIL 5, 6, 7, 1938

The Bremen Inquirer, by the way, is still around. Established in 1885, it is now a weekly publication that is handled by The Pilot News Group of Plymouth, Indiana. Bremen, located in the northcentral portion of the state, is a town of about 4,500 people.

So what was the Motion Picture Cooking School?

Ann Middleton, director of the Bossier Parish Library Historical Center in Bossier City, Louisiana, tackled that very topic in a pair of columns this summer:

Here's an excerpt from one of Middleton's columns, in which she quotes the June 16, 1938, issue of The Planters’ Press:
“The Planters’ Press’ Motion Picture Cooking School, entitled ‘Star in My Kitchen,’ will be the real community attraction for three days at the Southland Theatre.”

“This fascinating and different cooking school is open entirely free to every woman in town, and The Planters’ Press as well as Bossier City merchants, extends this last invitation to join in the home-making lessons and jolly entertainment for at least one day.”

The motion picture cooking school will be a practical rally of home-makers to contribute fresh perspecti[v]e for the ‘same old job’—the monotonous day-in-and-day-out job, yet the most important business in the world. Just as men have their annual conventions, where they listen to lectures from specialists, Bossier Parish women will have their convention to consider home-making problems.”

Another news release that Middleton quotes states: “The finished dishes which will be shown in full color, will look as though they could be picked right out of the picture and eaten on the spot.”

Apparently, newspapers across the country could host and sponsor these cooking schools. The Planters' Press was one. The Bremen Enquirer was another.

This 1938 handout includes recipes for pancakes, banana friters, potato salad, lattice top peach pie, lemon meringue pie, banana tea bread and more. The use of brand-name products is widespread. Recipes call for Aunt Jemima Ready-Mix, Kraft Velveeta, Miracle Whip Salad Dressing, Pillsbury's Best Flour and Spry Pastry Mix.

Here's the recipe for banana tea bread...

  • 1¾ cups sifted Pillsbury's Best Flour
  • ¾ teaspoon soda
  • 1¼ teaspoons cream of tartar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ⅓ cup Spry
  • ⅔ cup sugar
  • 2 eggs, well beaten
  • 1 cup mashed banana (2 to 3 bananas)
Sift the flour, soda, cream of tartar and salt together 3 times. Rub the shortening to a creamy consistency with the back of a spoon. Stire the sugar, a few tablespoons at a time, into the Spry and continue stirring after each addition until light and fluffy. Add eggs and beat well. Add flour mixture, alternately with banana, a small amount at a time. Beat after each addition until smooth. Pour into a well-greased loaf pan and bake in a moderate oven (350° F.) about 1 hour or until bread is done. Makes 1 load, about 8½ x 4½ x 3 inches.

Monday, August 4, 2014

"Siss Noch Unvergleichlich": 1962 Pennsylvania Dutch Days brochure

This is the front of a foldout brochure from 52 summers ago for the Pennsylvania Dutch Days festival in Hershey, Pennsylvania.

The six-page yellow brochure, which is 9¼ inches tall, provides all of the details of the five-day event.1

Siss Noch Unvergleichlich, the festival's slogan, means "It's Still Incomparable."

Pennsylvania Dutch Days began in 1949, having been founded by members of the 1948-49 Pennsylvania Dutch Dialect Class of the Hershey Evening School, and had its final year of operation in 1979.

But its spirit lives on in central Pennsylvania. The Kutztown Folk Festival2, which has been going strong for 65 years, is probably the biggest and best-known Pennsylvania Dutch event in Pennsylvania these days. It has many of the same kinds of attractions, although on a larger scale, that were featured at this event in Hershey in 1962.

Here are some highlights of the 1962 event, from the brochure:

1. "Focal point of the great exposition is the Sports Arena housing the working crafts and displays. In the center these activities are the quilting parties conducted by ladies of the area Churches of the Brethren. Here nimble fingers sew each stitch with loving care while colorful patterns emerge as living testimonials to their art."

2. Outdoor exhibits: "Included in this group are the apple-butter boilers, the village blacksmith, flax breaking and spinning, shingle making, agricultural displays, dairy cattle shows, farm implement exhibits, and the Pennsylvania Poultry Federation Fete."

3. "Educational programs concerning the Arts, Crafts, Folklore and Philosophy of the Penna. Dutch are held weekdays."

4. "Featured are expert Bands; plus Strollers Saturday and Sunday. Talented Folk Groups daily amuse the crowds with Dutch dialect and English programs."

5. Other events listed on the daily schedule were a seed guessing contest, an FFA hog show, old-time hymn singing, an auction of antique merchandise, free square dancing in a ballroom, and the crowning of the Pennsylvania Poultry Industry Queen.

6. And, of course, FOOD.

Speaking of food: related posts

If you have any memories or insights regarding Pennsylvania Dutch Days in Hershey, share them in the comments section!

1. While this event was being held — from Aug. 22-26, 1962 — the Philadelphia Phillies went 1-4. They lost three games to the San Francisco Giants and one to the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Phillies were 81-80 that season under Gene Mauch. Third baseman Don Demeter was their best player.
2. Kutztown is about 60 miles northeast of Hershey.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

F. Bayerlein postcard illustration with a hint of weirdness

I find the artwork on this old postcard to be just the slightest bit off and unsettling — and I think that's why I like it.

It seems fairly straightforward. A moonlit coastline. A lighthouse. And what appears to be a seaweed-covered shipwreck.

Maybe it's the reddish glow of the lighthouse beacon that lends a hint of something ominous. Or the shadows within the carcass of the shipwreck that make you not quite sure what you're looking at. Or that fact that the clouds in the overcast sky seem to have parted just enough to let the full brightness of the impossibly huge moon shine down.

Beyond the artwork, there is more mystery surrounding this postcard.

The artist was F. Bayerlein, who was apparently known for his landscapes. I believe he was German. You can view a couple more examples of his work under section "F" on He seems to like putting an off-in-the-distance glow into the background of his illustrations.

The postcard is undated and was never used. The initials HSM are printed on the back. According to the Metropolitan Postcard Club of New York City, those initials stood for publisher Hermann Sonntag of Munich, Germany.

In the upper-left corner on the back, the word for postcard is written in 15 different languages. Some of those words include:
  • Postkarte
  • Carte postale
  • Weltpostverein
  • Union postale universelle
  • Korrespondenzkarte Korrespondenzkarte
  • Cartolina postale
  • Dopisnice
  • Karta korespondencyjna
  • Korespondenčni listek
  • Briefkaart
  • Levelezö-Lap
  • Brefkort

I'll leave you with this. Sleep tight.
Az ábrán ezen régi képeslap létrehoz egyfajta félelem és a kétségbeesés bennem. Azt hiszem, hogy én vagyok, hogy figyelnek. Aggódom, hogy mi leselkedik a part mentén ezen a holdfényes éjszakán.

Book cover: "The Meadow-Brook Girls Across Country"

  • Title: The Meadow-Brook Girls Across Country, or The Young Pathfinders on a Summer Hike
  • Author: Janet Aldridge. (Sadly, I can't find any biographical information about her.)
  • Cover illustrator: Unknown
  • Publisher: Henry Altemus Company, Philadelphia
  • Year: 1913
  • Notes: The Meadow-Brook Girls were based in New Hampshire and enjoyed outdoor activities and nature. There were six books in the series, according to, and they were all published in 1913 and 1914. This book was the second in the series. ... There are, as was common for the time, nine pages of advertisements for other Altemus juvenile-fiction series at the back of the back. As a preface to those listings, some advertising text states:
    "Really good and new stories for boys and girls are not plentiful. Many stories, too, are so highly improbable as to bring a grin of derision to the young reader's face before he has gone far. The name of ALTEMUS is a distinctive brand on the cover of a book, always ensuring the buyer of having a book that is up-to-date and fine throughout. No buyer of an ALTEMUS book is ever disappointed."
    ... There are characters in this book named Jane ("Crazy Jane") McCarthy, Margery Brown, Harriet Burrell, Hazel Holland, Grace Thompson and Miss Elting. There is a character with a lisp who is treated quite unkindly at times: "I don't lithp. I thpeak jutht like other folkth." One online reviewer states:
    "When the reader first meets this series, one burning question leaps to mind: what the heck is wrong with Grace 'Tommy' Thompson? ... At 14, she lisps, babbles, frequently needs to 'cuddle,' hallucinates pink elephants when she eats too late at night, wants to sleep in her tentmate's cot because she's 'thcaired of bearth', etc. The Meadow-Brook girls seem to be some early domestic species of Campfire girl. They receive 'honor beads' for things such as 'sleeping with a window open for 30 days,' 'learning to recognize and describe three different cries a baby makes,' and making soup five days in a row. Their camp uniform is an ankle-length, long-sleeved dress. This series is the missing link between Victorian-era girls' series and those of the 1920's, which feature more independent, adventurous girls for whom the idea of a career (at least until they get married) is not entirely foreign."
    ... Finally, I've had a handful of previous posts about Altemus books, including "American flag history, compliments of Leinbach & Bro. in Reading" and "World War I propaganda fiction: 'At the Defense of Pittsburgh.'"