Friday, February 27, 2015

Telegram: Sandra & Leonard Nimoy plead with JFK for a safer planet

Years before Star Trek, Leonard Nimoy hoped that the planet Earth would live long and prosper.

This afternoon, in the wake of Nimoy's death, the JFK Library tweeted out the above image of a telegram that Nimoy and his first wife, Sandra, sent to John F. Kennedy at the White House in 1962.

It states:
Mashable's Megan Specia provides some background and context for the telegram in this article.

While the telegram did not stop the Starfish Prime high-altitude nuclear test, its simple plea on pink paper is worth remembering. We'll never, of course, reach the universe's distant stars and planets if we destroy our own.

Apple crumb pie for Jack Benny and Canadian cheese soup for Bob Hope

"How to hold a star" is a 12-page staplebound recipe booklet that was published in 1950 by the Edison Electric Institute.1

It's one of the most sexist things you can imagine.

Which was par for the course in the United States in 1950.

The introduction states:
"Like clever wives everywhere, the wives of movie stars know that there's more truth than poetry in the old saying, 'the way to a man's heart is through his stomach.' ... On the pages that follow, you will find how the wives of top-notch motion picture husbands 'hold their stars' by cooking their favorite recipes the modern way — with a modern Electric Range."
And so we get pages of recipes and photos in which women who only get to exist as "Mrs. Pat O'Brien" and "Mrs. Gene Autry" share the recipes that apparently kept them in good standing with their Hollywood husbands.

Here's the full rundown:

  • Jack Benny: Apple Crumb Pie
  • Pat O'Brien: Savory Beef Stew
  • Bob Hope: Canadian Cheese Soup
  • Robert Young: Ham-Yam Casserole
  • Gene Autry: Veal Chops California
  • Alan Ladd: Hamburger Rodeo
  • Eddie Cantor: Almond Chicken Casserole
  • Broderick Crawford: Mixed Grill

Here are two of the pages from the booklet...

And here are the two above recipes typed out for your convenience, in case you want to try to wrangle a movie star of your own.

Apple Crumb Pie
Made by Mary Livingstone for her husband
  • 7 cups peeled, sliced apples
  • 1/3 cup orange juice
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon grated orange rind
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup sifted, enriched flour
  • 1/2 cup butter or margarine
  • whipped cream
Place apples in greased deep pie pan; add orange juice. Combine sugars, orange rind, spices, salt and flour. Cut in butter or margarine with 2 knives or pastry blender. Spread evenly over apples. Bake in moderate oven, 350° F. 1 hour. Top each serving with flavored and sweetened whipped cream. Yield: 6 to 8 servings.

Canadian Cheese Soup
Made by Dolores L. DeFina for her philandering husband
  • 4 tablespoons butter or margarine
  • 4 tablespoons flour
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 cans condensed consomme
  • 2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • Dash tobacco
  • 1/4 cup minced pimientoes
Melt butter or margarine; blend in flour, paprika and pepper. Add milk; cook over low heat, stirring constantly until thickened. Add consomme, just as it comes from the can. Add cheese; stir until melted. Add remaining ingredients, salting to taste. Serve at once. Yield: 8 to 10 servings.

1. The Edison Electric Institute is still around and is holding its 2015 convention this June in New Orleans. Just FYI.

Some cool stuff inside 1878's "Young Folks' History of Germany"

Unfortunately, this handsome 1878 edition of Young Folks' History of Germany by Charlotte M. Yonge is falling apart in its 14th decade of existence.

But, before its final farewell, I wanted to put a spotlight on some of the delights within this particular edition.

(If the book itself is something you're interested in, good copies can still be had for prices in the $25 to $35 range. Note that there are several different editions. This is the one published by Estes & Lauriat of Boston.)

Once we get past the gorgeous cover, the first thing of note is this cool inscription, made to Willie for Christmas 1880, on the first blank page.

Yonge's book traces mythological and actual Germanic history from Valhalla and the Nibelungen up through the Confederation of the Rhine and Wilhelm I. There are plenty of Ottos (no relation) along the way. In the first chapter, Yonge writes:
"The history of the German Empire rightly begins with Karl the Great, but to understand it properly it will be better to go further back, when the Romans were beginning to know something about the wild tribes who lived to the north of Italy, and to the coast of the Gaulish or Keltic lands. ...

"The country was full of marshes and forests, with ranges of hills in which large rivers rose and straggled, widening down to their swampy mouths. Bears and wolves, elks and buffaloes, ran wild, and were hunted by the men of the German tribes. These men lived in villages of rude [sic?] huts, surrounded by lands to which all had a right in common, and where they grew their corn and fed their cattle. Their wives were much more respected than those of other nations; they were usually strong, brave women, able to advise their husbands and to aid them in fight; and the authority of fathers and mothers over their families was great. ...

"The German tribes all believed in the great god Woden, his brother Frey1, and his son Thor, who reigned in a gorgeous palace, and with their children were called the Asa gods."
* * *

Here are some of the neat illustrations that are sprinkled throughout the first, more fanciful, half of the volume.

The Elves
They are described as shadowy creatures who lived throughout the woods and plains and watched over humans at night.2

These are, of course, the valkyrie, supernatural beings that choose who would live and who would die in battle.

Brynhildr (or Brünnhilde, or Brynhild) is one of the most notable shieldmaidens and valkyries in mythology.

Haroun al Raschid's Gifts
Yonge writes: "The great Khalif Haroun al Raschid ... sent gifts to the great king of the Franks — an elephant, a beautiful tent, a set of costly chessmen, and a water-clock, so arranged that at every hour a little brazen ball fell into a brass basin, and little figures of knights, from one to twelve, according to the hour, came out and paraded about in front." The elephant was named Abul-Abbas, and it remained with Charlemagne for perhaps seven to eight years before its death.

* * *

The final treat with regard to this volume represents a great addition to the Tucked Away Inside archives. There was a very small envelope, about 3¼ inches wide. The pencil writing on the front appears to state: "For Delerium - Dissolve one in 6 tea-spoonsful of water. One teaspoonful every ½ hour."

At least, I think that word is Delerium (a misspelling of delirium). Does anyone see any likely alternatives?

Inside the envelope was a tiny piece of paper that had been folded several times. I unfolded it and inside there was ... some white powder.

I threw it away.

Not everything should be kept around.

1. I'm not sure if Odin and Freyr are actually brothers. But, then again, they're not actually real. And it's really complicated.
2. Yonge adds: "A great many of our best old fairy tales were part of the ancient German mythology, and have come down to our own times as stories told by parents to their children."

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Making the most of a 1928 postcard to Edna Albert

(Note: This is another one of those posts that I thought would be a "quickie," and then things took a turn during the research.)

This pre-stamped penny postcard was mailed from Lancaster, Pennsylvania, in May 1928 to Miss Edna Albert in Gardners, Pennsylvania.

Pre-stamped blank postcards were popular for people who wanted to send messages as cheaply as possibly.

And, of course, if you could write small, you could really get your money's worth from your penny. The postcard shown here is a good example of the efficiency of small, cursive writing.

Here's my best estimation of what the note states:
"Dear Edna: Some time ago I rec'd your letter with Mr. S. letter. At the time we were studying Japan. The letter came just at the right time, and tomorrow evening we are having our spring exhibit. Well part of the letter is on our chart for exhibit, the part with reference to the different counties - population, etc. The kiddies thought it was just lovely to have something direct from Japan. I have worked hrs. & hrs. for this exhibit. I wish you could be with us. My sister-in-law has been very ill in the General Hospital. Taken sick very suddenly - very seriously ill for a few days. She is better now, and getting along nicely. It kept me very busy - burning the candle at both ends. I had some help at the house, but still much depended on me. Such is life. Glad to know when you wrote me that father was quite well - a very remarkable man. I see Mr. Roddy quite often - pass his home on my way to work. Pardon a card. I will try to write a letter just as soon as I have more time - I'll be rushed for a while. Love, L.G."

Edna Albert was, among other things, an author. She wrote Little Pilgrim to Penn's Woods, a tale of a family coming to the New World in a quest for religious freedom. It was published around 1930.

She died in April 1960 and had a somewhat bizarre end in Gardners. Her death was reported on the front page of the April 4, 1960, issue of The Gettysburg Times with the headline "Miss Edna Albert Found Dead By Friend Sunday; Had Fallen Off Porch."

Here's a long excerpt from the article:

Miss Edna Albert, 81, author and well known in the county for her activities in the WCTU and YWCA, was found dead Sunday morning at 8 o'clock at her home in Latimore Twp., Gardners R. 1.

Dr. C. G. Crist, Adams County coroner, said death was caused by a broken neck and fractured skull caused in a fall from an 18-foot high porch roof to the ground where she struck a flagstone.

The body was found by Mrs. John Peters, Gardners R.D., who had gone to Miss Albert's home to drive her to services at the Chestnut Grove Lutheran Church, about three miles away, of which she had been a member for many years.

Dr. Crist set the time of death at 6 o'clock.

Suspect Fright

Those called to the home found the doors locked and a chair was placed blocking her bedroom door. Marks on the windowsill of her bedroom indicated that she had crawled out of that window to the porch roof. She was found with a cane in her hand. It was surmised that she may have been frightened by some noise in the house and went out on the roof, then frightened and confused had fallen to the ground.

In good health physically, she had walked a mile or two nearly every day visiting friends in the area. She had walked to the Chestnut Grove church several weeks ago.

She was a daughter of the late Franklin Albert, who had been a teacher at the Millersville school, and Hannah Mauger Albert. She had been raised in the Millerville [sic] area. Her mother died when Miss Albert was three years old and she had resided with her father until his death in 1931. She lived in a house near Gardners which had been the home of her grandparents.

A native of Millersville, Lancaster County, Miss Albert was graduated from the Millersville State Normal School and then attended Dickinson College where she graduated with Phi Beta Kappa Honors in 1905.

She was a member of the Adams County Historical Society and of the county WCTU [Women's Christian Temperance Union].

She was the author of "Little Pilgrims in Penn's Woods," [sic] a best seller and Book-of-the-Month selection for children's libraries several decades ago. ...

Surviving are a brother, Frank, and a sister, Mrs. Elizabeth Gold, both of Los Angeles.

This 1928 postcard is signed with the initials L.G. and makes reference to "father." I wonder if L.G. could be Edna's sister, initialing as "Liz Gold" (or Lizzie or Lizabeth).

This won't be the final mention of Edna Albert here. I have a half-dozen other 20th century postcards that were addressed to her, including one with handwriting much smaller than that featured on this postcard.