Friday, April 29, 2016

Hoover Dam and a reminder to always use ZIP codes

This Plastichrome postcard features one of the scenic outlooks at historic Hoover Dam, which is located on the border of Nevada and Arizona.

The angle of the photograph makes the outlook appear closer to the dam wall than it truly is. (Actually, I wonder if this outlook still exists, given how long ago this was and the number of changes to the surrounding area's infrastructure over the decades.)

The printed text on the back of the postcard states:
"HOOVER (BOULDER) DAM — ARIZONA — NEV. Harnessing the mighty Colorado River to dorm Lake Mead and provide power for the entire Southwest is one of the world's proudest engineering achievements. The spectacular tourist viewpoints are prominent in this picture."
This card was postmarked on May 1, 1967, in Las Vegas, Nevada.1 It was addressed to:

Mr Carl Palm
Mohton R.D. No 1

That address was probably not sufficient for 1967, given that it was four years after ZIP codes were instituted by the United States Postal Service. It might or might not be a coincidence, but the cancellation stamp used on the postcard states: ALWAYS USE ZIP CODE.

The author of the postcard seemed, at least, to be aware of his shortcomings. His note to Carl states:
"I am a little late with this card, But I made sure to send one, but I also hope that you get it because I do not know your address, and I misspelled your Mohnton.
1. Also on May 1, back in 1840, the Penny Black — the world's first adhesive postage stamp — was issued in Great Britain.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Hutter had my dream bedroom

Previously on Papergreat, I have told you about my dream house (a cozy stone house with a goat on the roof) and my dream desk (it once belonged to Chauncey Depew).1

Now we shall move on to my dream bedroom.

I toyed with having you guess what movie the above frame is from. But then I reckoned that the scene (not the movie) is too obscure. So I'm just going to tell you. It's from 1922's Nosferatu. It's the bedroom in the rural inn where Hutter stays during his trip to Count Orlok's castle.

Isn't it awesome?

It's such a comfortable-looking room, with its huge, elevated bed, pushed up against the wall. There's a little window to the left, providing fresh air and a nice view. There's a place to wash up and a place to hang your clothes.

I wouldn't need anything else.

Here's a link to an image of Hutter reading at the side of the bed. Personally, I would probably just get into the bed and do my reading while fully tucked under the covers. (Especially if I was on the borderlands of vampire country.)

Speaking of books, I am aware that this comfy bedroom doesn't contain space for all of the books and bookshelves that would be in my dream house. We'll save that for another post. But, generally, I'm thinking of something along the lines of the old Public Library of Cincinnati.

Sweet dreams!

* * *
Note: The Nosferatu movie frame in this post is property of Eureka! and appears on Gerald Wurm's

1. Also, when I was a kid, maybe 10 or 11, one of my frequent daydreams involved having a secret underground shelter. A hatch in the backyard would open to reveal a ladder leading downward. At the bottom was a large, bright room filled with piles and piles of blank paper. It was safe, secure and quiet; I could do all the writing, creating and imagining that my heart desired. Each blank sheet represented a new possibility. The room represented endless possibilities.

Norva Hotel: An in-progress mystery from York, Pennsylvania

This (really) old business card, easily discarded or lost in the shuffle, presents a nice little hometown mystery that is still being worked on.

It's for the Norva Hotel, which featured outside rooms, steam heat, inner-spring mattresses1 and the slogan "Rest Assured."

The hotel was located at 17 North Beaver Street here in York, Pennsylvania.

Here's what that location looks like today...

So, 17 North Beaver Street is in a building that's adjacent to the famous National House (seen at far right in the above photo), which was constructed in 1828, has served many different hotel and business purposes over the years, and is currently home to the Holy Hound Taproom.2 Is it possible that 17 North Beaver was once part of the "National House"?

In my initial research, I have found only a few references to "Norva Hotel" in York. They all date to the late 1940s, so this was likely a short-lived enterprise. I also found reference to a Norva Hotel in Baltimore. So it's possible that the word "SYSTEM" on the business card indicates that it was a chain of some sort. "Norva" could stand for Northern Virginia, too.

Seeking more clues and feedback, I posted the business card on a Facebook page devoted to mid-century York history and memories. One Facebook commenter, Greg Halpin, shared these thoughts:
"Definitely the National House. Several of the references state it is at Market and Beaver Streets. The 'All Outside Rooms' on the business card would make sense with the balconies. Lots of folks in arrest dockets giving the Norva Hotel as their address, and several in Divorces started give it as their address as well. Also saw where it was raided and several were arrested for 'fornication.'"
So, we're off to a good start with the research and crowd-sourcing on this one. I'm hoping there will be additional updates in the coming days.

1. Because mattresses are really uncomfortable when the springs are on the outside.
2. I featured a vintage postcard of the National House in this June 2013 post.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Book cover: "Swords & Sorcery" (Pyramid Books, 1963)

  • Title: Swords & Sorcery
  • Subtitle: Action, magic, enchantment — eight novelettes by masters of heroic fantasy
  • Editor: L. Sprague de Camp (1907-2000)
  • Cover and interior illustrator: Virgil Finlay (1914-1971)
  • Publisher: Pyramid Books (R-950)
  • Year: 1963 (First printing, December 1963)
  • Cover price: 50 cents
  • Pages: 186
  • Format: Paperback
  • Notes: This nifty paperback was published 53 years ago, the month after the assassination of JFK. ... Annoyingly (to me, anyway), the front cover states the title as Swords & Sorcery, with an ampersand, while the spine, back cover, title page and copyright page state it as Swords and Sorcery. ... The eight tales were penned by Poul Anderson, H.P. Lovecraft, Robert E. Howard, Henry Kuttner, Lord Dunsany, Clark Ashton Smith, C.L. Moore and Fritz Leiber, which is a great lineup. Four tales feature swordsmen — Conan, Fafhrd, Prince Raynor and Jirel of Joiry. And the other four tales feature sorcerers — Ghiar, Alaric, Knygathin Zhaum and Hlo-Hlo (an evil spider with a silly name, created by Dunsany). ... L. Sprague de Camp makes it abundantly clear in his introduction that these tales serve one primary purpose:
    "The purpose of these stories is neither to teach the problems of the steel industry, nor to expose the defects in our foreign-aid program, nor yet to air the problems of the housewife. It is to entertain. ... They furnish the purest fun to be found in fiction today."
    (De Camp like that last phrase. He used it at least once more, in the introduction to 1968's Conan of the Isles.) ... According to Fletcher Vredenburgh, writing on Black Gate, this 1963 volume was the first anthology that consisted purely of sword and sorcery tales. In his excellent post, Vredenburgh adds:
    "Swords & Sorcery is an excellent primer on the formative stage of heroic fiction, containing a sample by every major author of the field’s youth, from Lord Dunsany to Fritz Leiber. It’s not a perfect collection, but if you want to see where the genre comes from this is about as good an introduction as I know."
    The good news is that this book can be purchased very inexpensively, if you're interested. As of this writing, there are a couple one-penny copies on Amazon, waiting to be snatched up.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Old postcard from Egypt that's on its way to Russia

I recently received a nice Postcrossing card from a woman in Nizhny Novgorod, Russia. As thanks, I wanted to send a postcard in return. It turns out that she has a 13-year-old daughter who loves "everything associated with Egypt." So I'm sending her this old, unused card postcard from that Middle Eastern country. Because what good is it to let postcards sit in a shoebox when they can instead travel through the mails and help inspire a new generation of students, collectors and history buffs?

On the front, in cursive script, the postcard is labeled "The Pyramids and Village during Nile Flood."

The flooding of the Nile was an important annual event for Egypt from ancient times until 1970 (when Aswan Dam was completed). This excerpt from Wikipedia explains why:
"If it were not for the Nile River, Egyptian civilization could not have developed, as it is the only significant source of water in this desert region. Its other importance was the fact that it was their gateway to the unknown world. The Nile flows from south to north, to its delta on the Mediterranean Sea. It would flood each year, bringing in silt-laden waters; when the waters receded the silt would stay behind, fertilizing the land for growing crops. If a flood was too large it would wash over mud dykes protecting a village. A small flood or no flood at all would mean famine. A flood must be of just the right intensity for a good season."
The flooding is still celebrated each August in a holiday called Wafaa El-Nil.

This postcard has a purple stamp on the back that states "Pyramids Photo Store & Book Shop." It was published by Lehnert & Landrock of Cairo.

Now it's on its way to western Russia after many decades in the United States.

Related post: Three old postcards from Cairo

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Rounding up the weekend
in 16 awesome tweets

We are what we retweet, right?

Or perhaps we wish we were what we retweet.

However you slice it, our retweets tend to lend some great insight into our personalities and interests. Here are 16 pieces of widely assorted awesomeness that were retweeted from the @Papergreat Twitter account over the weekend.