Friday, September 4, 2015

Ephemera for Lunch #21:
Class photo on the outside steps

We'll cap this week "Ephemera for Lunch" theme with what is possibly the oldest photograph of the lot. It's a group of schoolchildren and their teacher standing and sitting on the wide stone steps in front of what is probably their school.

The only identifying information is a stamp on the back that states: "G. Bernard Lohmuller, 1908 Bank Street."

There are several references to a G. Bernard Lohmuller living in the Baltimore, Maryland, area in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. He might have been married to a woman named Bertie — Bernie & Bertie, how cute! I also found references to a G. Bernard Lohmuller associated with the Baltimore Polytechnic Institute and the University of Maryland.

Most interestingly, assuming it's the same person, there's a G. Bernard Lohmuller listed as one of the architects associated with the Cedarcroft Historic District in Baltimore. It was a residential subdivision that was built between 1848 and 1937 and features the work of at least seven architects, including Lohmuller.

The only citation I found that connected a Lohmuller with 1908 Bank Street is that there was a Bessle C. Lohmuller listed as a registered Notary Public at that address, circa 1911.

None of that, of course, helps us figure out who these schoolchildren are and what school they attended, other than the strong possibility that it was located in Baltimore.

Here's a look at just the photograph...

And here are a couple of close-ups of schoolchildren. Maybe one of them is the child of Bernie and Bertie...

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Ephemera for Lunch #20:
Mystery classroom (1907-1929)

This one's a mystery, for sure. And possibly forever.

It's a real photo postcard featuring a large group of schoolchildren and their teacher in a nondescript classroom. The postcard was never used or written on. And there is no identifying information in the classroom.

All we know, since this is a NOKO postcard (per the logo in the stamp box), is that it was produced sometime between 1907 and 1929. (I suppose it's possible that a couple of these kids could still be alive and in their 90s, but that might be a stretch.)

Here are some closer looks at the students...

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

[Blank] Victorian advertising card: Man eating in front of dogs

OK, let's use The Match Game format to describe this old Victorian advertising card for "N.W. Appleton, stationer."1

Gene Rayburn: "The man in this vintage illustration looks BLANK."

So how would you describe this smiling gentleman sitting upon a fence with a plate of food, surrounded by some begging dogs hoping for scraps.

Would you go with this...

Or this...

My hunch is that an overwhelming majority of us would agree with Betty White (and not just because she's a much safer bet than Charles Nelson Reilly). While this Victorian illustration might have seemed funny and comic in its time, within the cultural context of 2015, it's just plain creepy. A very early example of the uncanny valley effect.

These days, it seems, there's even more general creepiness around smiles. We can blame pop culture, I reckon, from Conrad Veidt in The Man Who Laughs to The Joker2 and everything in between.

Here are some links, best read in daylight perhaps, on how smiles have become horror icons.

1. N.W. Appleton was likely located in Boston, Massachusetts.
2. Slightly related post — Scholastic Fest: #6, The Phantom Brakeman and Other Railroad Stories

Ephemera for Lunch #19:
Virginia and her friends

This found photo features a group of schoolgirls standing outside what I assume is their school. The photo itself measures only 3½ inches across, and so we have an opportunity to see it at a higher magnification here.

There is no date. But we do have some names. As you can see, "Virginia" is written on the front. On the back, in pencil, are the following names:

  • Evelyn Asbury
  • Shirley Wilkens
  • Pat [?] Barksdale [?]
  • Shirely [sic?] Page
  • Joyce Wilkens
  • Virginia Murray [possibly Virginia Murry]

Here's a closer look at the group of young ladies. Any guesses on the decade?

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Ephemera for Lunch #18*:
"The Penna. Dutch Country"

*It's noon right now in Nepal,
and so this is their ephemera for lunch...

This postcard of schoolchildren in their classroom was postmarked in 1969 and was published by James E. Hess of Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

The caption on the back of the card states:
"GREETINGS From 'The Penna. Dutch Country'. AMISH Children at School. The AMISH are a Religious Sect of people who have retained most of their forefather's original customs, and make their living almost solely by farming, without the use or aid of modern conveniences. They are widely settled in Eastern Penna. Photo by Vincent Tortora"
Upon closer examination, at least two of the schoolchildren are reading a 1947 book titled Days and Deeds, which was published by Scott, Foresman & Co.

After school, perhaps they went home to enjoy some calf's head soup, pawnhaas or tzitterli. Or maybe some schnitz and knepp.

Ephemera for Lunch #17:
Glenwood School, 1962

Now that many Americans are back to school (or will be soon), this week's theme of "Ephemera for Lunch" will be photos and other ephemera featuring schoolchildren. Most of these posts will feature found photos, so I don't know very much about the people or places pictured. If you see your younger self in one of these, post a comment or email me at chrisottopa (at)

And if you're in the mood for more School Days Ephemera, check out this directory of past posts.

The only identifying information on this photograph from 53 years ago comes from the board posted in front of this smiling group:


I assume the woman in the upper-right corner is Mrs. Shorts.

Monday, August 31, 2015

Mega-spoiler for "Captain America: Civil War"?

From Avengers #7 (August 1964), Thor issues a harsh sentence to Iron Man, who was not being a Team Player in their little Avengers club.

Foreshadowing??? Is there a dramatic seven-day suspension1 coming in the Marvel Cinematic Universe next year?

Previous Papergreat posts involving comic books:

1. I wonder if the suspension was with or without pay. And what is Iron Man's salary, anyway?