Saturday, July 30, 2016

The merry men of Dickson Mounds

This postcard dates to the time before people had a sense of how to create a visually attractive postcard.

It features four Caucasian individuals, some of whom might have been awoken recently from a nap, standing in from a building that's boldly labeled DICKSON MOUNDS, so that there is no doubt about the matter.

The men are not identified and the postcard was never written on or mailed. The only things we can learn from back are that it was published by L.L. Cook Co. of Milwaukee and that the design of Kodak Paper stamp box indicates the card was produced in 1950 or thereafter.

I'm assuming that these men have something to do with DICKSON MOUNDS and didn't just happen to be standing in the field when the photographer took the photo for the postcard.

So what is Dickson Mounds? Well, that's the cool part. It's a Native American (Mississippian culture) settlement site and burial mound complex that was in active use from about 800 A.D. to 1250 A.D. and is located near what is now Lewistown, Illinois. In 1927, a chiropractor named Don Dickson (possibly one of the men in the postcard) discovered the burial mounds on his family farm. He left the remains and artifacts intact and covered the excavation with a tent. Later, he opened a private museum on the site. The state of Illinois has owned the site since 1945 and opened the Dickson Mounds Museum in 1972. In 1992, after much debate, the portion of the museum that displayed Native American remains was closed and the remains were reburied.

The Dickson Mounds are about 140 miles north of another notable Native American location, Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site.

Here are some links for further information and exploration of Dickson Mounds.

Friday, July 29, 2016

Colorful gallery of vintage Cinderella stamps

These Cinderella stamps (aka charity labels) came from a big bundle of them that I picked up at a junk/antiques store a while back. It was from this batch that the Cal Farley stamps I wrote about in May came from.

Hope they add a burst of color (and perhaps nostalgia) to your Friday...

Boys Town, Nebraska
50th anniversary (1917-1967)

1962 Christmas Seals
(protect your health — fight TB)

The Military Order of the Purple Heart

1961 Christmas Seals
(use Christmas Seals — protect the family circle)

Boumi Shrine Circus

1963 Christmas Seals
(protect your health — fight TB and other respiratory diseases)

1964 Christmas Seals
(protect your health — fight TB and other respiratory diseases)

1959 Easter Seals
(help crippled children)

1957 Christmas Seals
(no one is safe from tuberculosis until all are safe)

1962 Easter Seals
(give today to your local Easter Seal Society)

1958 Christmas Seals
(no one is safe from tuberculosis until all are safe)

1977 Christmas Seal greetings
from the children of America

(Give for a healthier tomorrow. Fight emphysema, asthma, smoking and air pollution. It's a matter of life and breath. American Lung Association.)

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Old stamps and changing thoughts on refugees and petroleum

One the heels of Tuesday's post about The Key to World Peace stamp, here are two more stamps of historical interest (with regard to both past and current events) that I came across while browsing through small-denomination stamps to use for my Postcrossing efforts.

U.S. #1149, the 4-cent "World Refugee Year," was issued on April 7, 1960, according to the Mystic Stamp Company. Here's its history and context:
"The United States joined many other nations in issuing stamps to symbolize their participation in the United Nations’ World Refugee Year. The U.N. proclaimed International Refugee Year from July 1, 1959, until June 30, 1960.

"The stamps were issued to bring attention to the hardships of millions of people who were still displaced over a decade after the end of World War II. The stamp design shows a family heading from darkness toward a bright doorway, symbolizing escape from oppression into a new life.

"In 1958 – 13 years after World War II ended – there were still displaced people living in refugee camps. An idea started in the United Kingdom and was rapidly picked up by the United Nations and many other nations – individual countries helping refugees. Through the efforts of the participating nations, tens of thousands of people returned home."
This was just one of many stamps that were issued across the world in conjunction with World Refugee Year. You can see an impressive collection of them on Catawiki.

Flash forward 56 years and it was reported last month that the number of refugees, asylum-seekers and internally displaced people around the world has topped 65 million. That's one out of every 113 people on earth.

More than half of those 65 million are children.

But instead of compassion and rallying to a cause, we get sad blather like this.

So much for refugee families being able to head from darkness toward a bright doorway, huh?

* * *

Up next, the lowdown on U.S. #1134, the 4-cent "Petroleum Industry Centennial," is that it was issued in 1959, in Titusville, Pennsylvania, the home of our nation's first oil well. According to the American Oil & Gas Historical Society, there was much fanfare around the issuing of this stamp:
"On August 27, 1959, U.S. Postmaster General Arthur Summerfield, the keynote speaker at 'Oil Centennial Day' in Titusville, Pennsylvania, dedicated a four cent commemorative postage stamp. At the time, gasoline cost 30 cents per gallon – and the accomplishments of the petroleum industry were cause for national celebration. At the Drake Well Memorial Park in Titusville, popular NBC 'Today' show host Dave Garroway broadcasted live as thousands of guests crowded the grounds. ... According to the Titusville Herald, more centennial speeches followed the ceremony, and more than 400 guests attended a luncheon at the Titusville High School cafeteria. That evening, a 50-minute fireworks displayed capped several days of celebrating the petroleum industry – and the man who struck oil exactly 100 year earlier, forever changing America."
Flash forward to 2009, however, and the United States Postal Service wasn't nearly as receptive to the idea of celebrating the petroleum industry's 150th anniversary, according to the same article:
"[D]espite the best efforts of the Oil 150 Steering Committee of Oil City, Pennsylvania, and many others, the U.S. Postal Service Citizens’ Stamp Advisory Committee rejected creating a stamp to recognize the 150th anniversary of the petroleum industry in America. Oil 150 co-chair Rep. John E. Peterson (R-Pa.) noted that the stamp committee rejected the requests based upon 'unfavorable public impressions of the modern oil industry.'"
I'm guessing that also rules out any upcoming U.S. stamps celebrating the wonders of fracking or mountaintop removal mining.

Gorgeous endpapers in 1895's "The Young Conductor"

The Young Conductor or Winning His Way is a 246-page novel that was published in 1895 by The John C. Winston Company of Philadelphia.

The young conductor of the book's title is a character named Dick Farrallon, who is described as "one of the brightest and manliest boys."

The Young Conductor was written by Edward S. Ellis (1840-1916), who had more than a dozen pseudonyms, including James Fenimore Cooper Adams and Boynton M. Belknap. According to the biographical page at the back of this book, "the high moral character, the clean, manly tendencies and the admirable literary style of Mr. Ellis' stories have made him as popular on the other side of the Atlantic as in this country."

But we're not here today for Dick Farrallon or Edward Ellis or any sorts of manliness.

We're here for the pictures.

The coolest thing about this 121-year-old volume is the colorful endpapers. There are separate illustrations in the front and the back. Unfortunately, no artist is credited.

Here they are for your enjoyment. I think the second one will join the ranks of my favorite images presented on Papergreat.

Previous posts with groovy endpapers

Cartoon postcard from Germany featuring gondola lift and goat

This cartoon postcard, mailed from Germany in 1966, features a colorful group of characters ascending a mountain in a crowded gondola lift while a goat casts a wary eye at them.

The German caption states:
Mit Gesang ünd Holladiööh fährt die Seilbahn in die Höh Da oben gibt es Bier und Kaas-Auf Dein Wohl trink ich ńe Maß.
Google Translate wasn't a complete help in translating this. Some words, such as Holladiööh, don't translate at all. But the gist is something about singing on the cable car and drinking to your health. Any additional help from a German speaker would be greatly appreciated.

The card was postmarked in Bad Reichenhall, Germany, on May 20, 1966. Here's a look at the postmark and stamp...

It was sent to an address in Kenilworth, New Jersey, home of the notorious Sam the Plumber. Here's the note:
"Dear Richie
Grandma & Grandpa is in the Alps. You should see all the snow up on top the mountains. Richie how are the Games. Don't feel to [sic] bad if your team loses. Uncle Herman say that bilds [sic] the man. You got to be a good Loser. Keep on doing your best. Love your Grandma & Grandpa."

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Another mystery photo from the family archives

This undated snapshot measures 2¼ inches by 3¼ inches. It features a teenage girl or young woman wearing a white dress and sitting in a chair in the middle of a yard. All of the vegetation looks robust, so I'd guess that it's summertime.

There's a name written on the back, but I can't quite make out what it says. What do y'all think?

My best guess would be something along the lines of "Elizabethy."

And so she'll probably remain another Mystery Woman. Here's a closer look at her face...

Other "Chair in the Yard" photos

Good stuff: Sheep, hay and a winding path in the woods

Here are a couple of groovy old postcards for you this morning...

Postcard #1: If I'm reading the text across the bottom of the card correctly, it states: "EN BEAUCE. Troupeau de Moutons."

Beauce is an agricultural region in northern France. This website calls it "one of the two historic breadbaskets of France. This is a gently undulating plateau where vast wheat fields stretch as far as they eye can see."

Troupeau de Moutons, meanwhile is a "flock of sheep."1 And, indeed, this is a flock of sheep, along with a berger (shepherd) and several meule de foin (haystacks).

This postcard was postmarked in Paris sometime in the 1920s — I can't read the last number of the year — and sent to Miss Dora Lewis Porter, Dodge Pond, Rangeley, Maine, United States of America.2 The note states:
"We came out to Brittany today and passed by thousands of these haystacks and sheep — We shall be home 3 weeks from today — You and Sallie must be there — Love & Kisses for you & Sallie"

Postcard #2: "Where twined the Path", Trossachs.

The Trossachs is a small wooded valley (glen) in Scotland, renowned for its natural beauty.3 "Where twined the Path" is a line from The Lady of the Lake, a poem by Sir Walter Scott that is set in the Trossachs.

This postcard was never used, but there's a small hole near the top. I assume that it was nailed or thumb-tacked to someone's wall or bulletin board. I wonder how this postcard inspired him or her.4 Was it a place they longed to visit? A place they remembered from their childhood? Or just fodder for daydreams and the fires of the imagination?

Could that person have ever dreamed that this postcard would outlive them, be made available for the whole world to potentially see, and possibly inspire future dreamers and creators?

1. If you're wondering, "Flock of Seagulls" in French is troupeau de mouettes.
2. Rangeley was previously mentioned in the post "Lovers Lane, along the shore of Rangeley Lakes in Maine."
3. The Trossachs were previously mentioned in the post "Alba in five vintage postcards."
4. I like this postcard because it conjures up thoughts of what Sarah and I call "The Mystery Forest."

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

1970s summer comics nostalgia with Thing and Vision, Episode VI

Today, I'm taking a deep dive into this 1978 issue of "Marvel Two-in-One," focusing on perhaps the teeniest advertisement in the book. Nestled under the MARKET PLACE header, the two-line ad states:
"MUNICH" by Jones. $3.95. Dorrance, 35 Cricket Terrace, Ardmore, PA 19003.
You probably won't be surprised to read that I found very little information about this book online. Here's a roundup of what we do know:

  • Full title: Munich: A Tale of Two Myths
  • Author: Thomas Brooks Jones
  • Publisher: Dorrance Publishing Co.
  • Year: 1977
  • Pages: 58
  • ISBN: 0805923802
  • Format: Hardcover (I think)
  • Subjects covered: 1938 Munich Agreement, the influences of World War I, and the causes and diplomatic history of World War II.
  • Reviews or ratings: None on Amazon or Goodreads
  • Used copies: Five currently available from Amazon, starting at $12

Then, in a final sweep for info, I came across an article in the March 11, 1979, issue of The Enquirer Magazine, a Sunday supplement of The Cincinnati Enquirer. Here's part of the article — tellingly headlined "Vanity Fare: Publishing's Altar of Ego" — that discusses the book's history:
"... little more cynically,' says Thomas Brooks Jones, an Anchorage, Alaska, attorney whose book, Munich: A Tale of Two Myths, was published in 1977 by Dorrance & Co. of Ardmore, Pa., the nation's oldest subsidy house. 'I answered Dorrance's advertisement in the American Bar Association Journal and their editors had glowing things to say regarding my book (which was about the Munich Conference). They charged me $3000 to print it, and I'm supposed to get $1.48 for each copy that's bought. But it has sold only 74 copies, and most of them went to my friends. 'When I got into this, I assumed that my luck couldn't be that bad,' adds Jones. 'I figured that some people would buy it just by accident. But they don't.'"
I would say that explains just about everything regarding this book's publication and fate. A fee of $3,000 in 1977 is the equivalent of nearly $12,000 today, so you can understand Jones' unhappiness with the how things turned out.

I wonder if Jones even knew that his serious book on 20th century German history was being advertised in a comic book featuring characters named Vision, Daredevil and the Mad Thinker. Was that part of Dorrance's deal to provide "national advertising" for the book as part of the publishing deal? I'm sure those two little lines of classified advertising didn't cost much — or do much to woo potential readers.

A final note regarding the book's legacy: If it's any small consolation for the friends and family of Jones, who died in 2009, one of the few available (and remaining) copies of his book resides in the official library of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.

Ronald L. Dias stamp: The Key to World Peace

When I'm Postcrossing, I use old stamps frequently, to spice things up. This morning, I came across this beautiful 1956 stamp, which has a sentiment we need desperately these days. The blue, 3-cent stamp is U.S. #1085 and was issued on December 15, 1956. According to the Mystic Stamp Company:
"U.S. #1085 honors the importance of children in promoting world peace. Fittingly, the stamp was designed by a school boy. Ronald Dias, a 19-year-old student at Roosevelt High School in Lanikai, Oahu, Hawaii, won a nationwide contest for his design of the stamp.

"The shining key in the design represents the 'Key of Friendship,' used to unlock the 'doors to peace.' The stamp is typically called the 'Children’s Stamp.'"
Dias, by the way, went on to a long career as an artist with Disney after winning the stamp-design contest. He died in 2013 at age 76 and left a lot of great friendships and memories in his wake.

Maybe the United States Postal Service could issue a new version of his "Key to World Peace" stamp. We could kind of use it.

Santiago, Cuba 1913: "Only 86° in shade here today"

Here's the front and back of a postcard that features an incredibly generic monument1 and that was mailed from Santiago de Cuba, Cuba, in 1913. It was sent 1,800 miles north to Mr. William Clark of tiny Greenville, Maine.

The note, written upside-down on the card, states:
"Santiago Cuba
April 4, 19131
Only 86° in shade here today. Lots of pretty girls you ought to come down and locate here. LB."
I wonder if we could locate that obelisk today, 103 years later. And I wonder if there's a Pokémon near it.

1. We know, however, that it's Obelisk No. 42, which means it's the answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe and everything.
2. April 4, 1913, was the date of birth of McKinley Morganfield, who came to be known as Muddy Waters.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Chill out on a hot day with these 1950s dessert recipes

Personalized Recipes is a spiral-bound collection of recipes that was published by the Women's Auxiliary to the Reading Dental Society in the mid 1950s. That would be the Reading, Pennsylvania, Dental Society.1

The 214-page volume was collected and compiled by both The Ways and Means Committee and a Special Committee of the auxiliary. The editor was Mrs. Thomas H. Leininger, who apparently was not permitted to use her own name for reasons of national security. The book was printed by Rieck's Letter Service of Reading, which has been in business since 1936 and is now called Rieck's Printing. (Speaking of the book design, the back cover is a nifty fold-out stand that allows the chef to keep the book upright while preparing a recipe.)

Mrs. Harry D. Hamilton wrote a little poem to celebrate the book's publication. I'll include it here, in case any of the Trumps want to use it in a future speech.

When we started this adventure,
We knew that it would be
A tremendous undertaking
For amateurs, such as we.

Nor our trials and tribulations
Are in the past. But look!
The pleasure is ours, the gain is yours,
So we present this Personalized Book.

But enough with the poetry. It's another sweltering day, so here are some recipes from the book that might serve to keep you cool.

Pineapple Ice Box Cake
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 3 T. cream
  • 3/4 c. butter
  • 1-1/2 c. sugar
  • 2 c. pineapple, crushed
  • 3 T. lemon juice
  • 3 egg whites, stiffly beaten
  • 48 graham cracker, rolled fine (4 cups)
  • 3 T. butter
Beat egg yolks with cream and stir over hot water until mixture because thick and smooth. Cool. Cream butter and sugar and add yolk and cream mixture. Strain juice from large can pineapple — use all of pineapple and enough juice to make 2 cups. Add to creamed mixture. Add lemon juice. Beat egg whites and folk in gently. Blend butter with cracker crumbs. Line a 9x9x2 pan with waxed paper, bottom and sides. Spread 1 c. cracker mix on bottom of pan, press firmly with fingers. Over this, pour 1/3 of pineapple mixture. Spread evenly with knife. Cover with another layer of crumbs, pressing firmly. Repeat until all is used. There will be 4 layers of crumbs and 3 layers of filling. Cover pan with waxed paper. Chill in refrigerator over night. Turn upside down on cutting board or flat square dish. Serve with whipped cream or sauce made with leftover pineapple juice and lemon juice. Serves 9 generously.
— Mrs. E. Harold Finnerty
Scranton, Pa.

Snow Balls
  • 1 can (#2) crushed pineapple
  • 1/2 lb. marshmallows
  • 1 c. nuts, chopped
  • 1 lb. vanilla wafers (small size)
  • 1 c. sugar
Drain pineapple several hours; add sugar to pineapple, let stand 1 hour, drain again. Cut marshmallows into small pieces (16ths), add nuts and mix with pineapple. Crush about 14 vanilla wafers and add to above mixture. Spread this mixture on wafers, 3 wafers to a snow ball. Place snow balls in refrigerator over night. When ready to serve, spread whipped cream on snow balls and sprinkle with coconut.
— Mrs. Arthur L. Jones

Frosted Green Grape Sundae
Remove small green seedless grapes from stems. Dip into heavy cream, then into sifted confectioners sugar. Dry on waxed paper. Serve on any flavor ice cream desired.
— Mrs. Cyril V. Leddy

Chocolate Marlow Cream
  • 1/2 lb. marshmallows (32)
  • 1 pkg. semi-sweet chocolate
  • 3/4 c. milk
  • 1 t. vanilla
  • 1/4 c. chopped nuts
  • -1/2 c. whipping cream
Melt marshmallows and chocolate in milk over hot water. Cool and add vanilla and nuts. Freeze until firm. Remove and beat smooth. Fold in whipped cream and continue freezing until firm. Serves 6.
— Mrs. Charles J. Wolfe

1. Here's some proof of existence of the Reading Dental Society — a (somewhat odd) photo of their clambake from the June 14, 1957, edition of the Reading Eagle.