Sunday, May 24, 2015

From the readers: Indians, color photos, hot dogs and much more

Thank you, as always, for your comments on the various Papergreat posts from throughout the years. I think this is a fun "mailbag" to present for you today, from the home office in York, Pennsylvania. Enjoy!

Straight Arrow Injun-uity card from Nabisco Shredded Wheat: Jim writes: "I ate Shredded Wheat, and collected the cards. I remember that they helped me and inspired me for Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts. I would want to polish off a box of them as soon as they arrived from the A&P, but Dad and Mom enforced patience on me .... circa 1954, West Fitchburg, MA."

[Untitled April 10 post featuring the Indian-head test pattern]: Marty Rotten (possibly not his real name) writes:

"Cheech and Chong c1972:
Cheech: So whatcha watching?
Chong: I'm watching this movie about Indians, but it's really boring.
Cheech: That's not an Indian movie, man. That's a test pattern!"

(This, if you're keeping score at home — and heaven help you if you are — represents the first mention of Cheech & Chong on Papergreat.)

Great links: Prokudin-Gorskii's color photographs of Russia: Similarto writes: "Were these Russian photographer's pictures colored when originally taken or have they been digitally enhanced or improved using some similar technique? Did we have colored pictures in those days?"

Indeed, we did have color photography in the early 20th century, and experiments in color photography date to the mid-1800s. Here's an excerpt from the Library of Congress' description of how the Prokudin-Gorskii color images were created:
"We know that Prokudin-Gorskii intended his photographic images to be viewed in color because he developed an ingenious photographic technique in order for these images to be captured in black and white on glass plate negatives, using red, green and blue filters. He then presented these images in color in slide lectures using a light-projection system involving the same three filters."
Here are more Prokudin-Gorskii color photographs, from a January post.

Front covers and opening passages from four old books: Bessie Blue writes: "Great site! Love these vintage series, especially Grace Harlowe."

1907 postcard: Nubilous but moonlit sky hangs over riverside town: Mom writes: "I'm voting for Linden Hall in Centre County for this postmark. I graduated from Linden Hall in Lititz a long time ago, and I never heard that the school ever had its own post office. We had individual mail boxes but they were only for sorting."

Six illustrations from 1920's "Primer of Sanitation": Joan writes, in all caps: "IS THIS BOOK STILL IN THE HOUSE??? If so I want it!!!"

Everyone will be happy to know that the sanitation book has been bequeathed to Joan, and it now sits in a spot of honor on her desk at the Penn State College of Medicine in Hershey. I'm pretty sure she's the only one in the building who has this particular volume in his or her office.

Obscure nostalgia: 1970s plastic mugs from Whirley Industries: Dawn Sanders writes: "My mom has one and [her] grandson loves it. He is only 8 months old. The 'Hands Off My Mug.' Wish that there was a way to get a replacement top."

1936's "Albanian Wonder Tales": Frontispiece and endpapers: Anonymous writes: "Post Wheeler was a member of The Pilgrims Society, which constitutes the secret 'Senate' of the world's big rich, as conceived by Cecil Rhodes in the 1870s to be 'a secret society gradually absorbing the wealth of the world.' (Review of Reviews, May 1902, pp 556-558.)"

Note: I cannot confirm the above information. I'm just passing it along. For more information, please contact your neighborhood Illuminati representative.

Card for a free game of Skilo at Palisades Amusement Park: Anonymous writes: "I worked at Skilo 1968-1971. ... I still have my employee admission card."

Book cover: "Six Little Bunkers at Miller Ned's": Barbara Peters writes: "Wonderful stories for your boy\girl. I really like them. Thank you for posting it."

Victorian trade card for George Boepple, bologna manufacturer: Jann Bauer writes: "Jacob Bauer mentioned above was my grandfather, I remember going to his store in Worcester when I was four years old. That is a strange card for sure!"

Silver Floss sauerkraut and the Pennsylvania Casserole: Anonymous writes: "What's holding up the hot dogs?!!"

(Please direct that question and all other questions about gravity-defying meat to The Pilgrims Society.)

Coupons from the E.H. Koester Bakery Co.: Alice Crowell writes: "My dad worked there. He went by the nickname of Hump."

Cheerful Card Company can help you earn extra money for the holidays: Responding to The Post That Keeps Giving, "Mkay" writes: "I sold 'em too! I am 55 now ... did this door to door til I was old enuf to make money babysitting. Loved it!!"


Finally, a woman named Sandi sent me a wonderful email about Papergreat, which she said I was free to share here:

Hi Chris,
I too love old books and pictures, old cards and letters, and all the rest of the random bits and pieces that tell of another life in another time. I have been following your page for a while, and I love reading about your discoveries and your speculations on their histories, along with the facts you can dig up.

Two days ago, I happened on a box of old greeting cards at a flea market, and my friend and I spent a lovely evening reading through the years as tracked by the Easter and birthday cards that Mabel sent to her sister Ethel. There were also a handful of cards from Ethel's lodge sisters, the occasional thank you card for a gift sent, and invitations to bridal and baby showers, as well as a postcard from a couple on their honeymoon.

It was a magical journey, but just as much fun as reading their exchanges was seeing these beautifully preserved old cards, dating from the late 1930s through the mid 1960s.

Thanks for making me feel less like a freak. :)

We're not freaks! Thanks for writing, Sandi. I appreciate that you took the time to write and share your thoughts about ephemera and Papergreat. That sounds like a great find you came across. I still get energized by this hobby/passion, even when I don't have as much time to devote to it as I might like. The "every piece of paper tells a story" motto rings so true, especially when it comes to things like the postcards and letters and book inscriptions and greeting cards. It's our time machine into the past.

1 comment:

  1. My sanitation book is very happy on my desk. (Or I'm very happy it's there, whichever.) And I'm not entirely 100% sure I'm the only person with it. There are some stunning desks here. (1)

    (1) Stunning in an ephemerologist sense, not in an organizational sense.