Saturday, August 27, 2016

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

Is there anyone out there who found their lifelong career thanks to an advertisement in a comic book? I'd love to hear your story. Heaven knows that comic books of yore loved to pitch, in tiny type, careers of all sorts to the readers. Today's dive back into the May 1978 issue of "Marvel Two-in-One" looks at three of the ads that wanted to help people find permanent work (as opposed to part-time first jobs, such as being Gritboy).

The Police Sciences Training Institute of Newport Beach, California, wanted to help you learn law enforcement from scratch:
"Criminal investigation, rules of evidence, fingerprinting, traffic control, court procedures — these are just a few of the fascinating subjects covered in this home-study course that explains everything from arrest procedures to disaster control. Burglary, narcotics, homicide, sex offenders ... learn the methods of the professional law officer."
These advertisements also ran in Popular Mechanics, Ebony and Black Belt magazines at generally the same time. In those, it was just called the Police Sciences Institute (because you paid for your ad by the word).

I'm guessing the "Institute" was a PO Box or perhaps, at best, a single room in a business park. My guess is that, for X dollars, they were willing to sell you a book or series of booklets containing information that you could purchase for less than X dollars elsewhere.

At one point in the early 1980s, there was a Police Sciences Institute based in Scranton, Pennsylvania. Not sure if it was related to this, but it does mention "home study instruction." Here is one of its "diplomas" (with the name removed by me) ...

* * *

If being like Starsky or Hutch wasn't your thing, perhaps you were interested in the great outdoors.

The North American School of Conservation — also, stunningly, based in Newport Beach, California — wanted to help you "Wear the Badge of the Future in Conservation"...
"Don't be chained to desk, share counter or factory machine. Enjoy an outdoor life with the extra rewards of hard muscles, bronzed skin, vibrant good health. Sleep under pines! Catch breakfast from icy streams! Feel like a million and look like it, too! Step-by-step home study program gives you valuable 'know-how' about this exciting outdoor life."
Hey, can real-life conservation officers out there who currently sleep under pines and catch breakfast from icy streams please raise their hands?

WorldCat lists a "North American School of Conservation basic text," authored by Douglas B. Jester and published in 1964. Its three volumes are described as "a correspondence training program covering game management, fish management, forest and park management, soil conservation and employment opportunities." A different edition of the book that's likely from that same series is pictured at right.

Other advertisements for the North American School of Conservation indicate that it existed as early as 1960.

Read about another advertisement for this "school" in this 2009 post from The Amazing Spider-Ads blog.

* * *

This final advertisement is better geared toward the target audience of comic readers, right? If you like reading comics, you might like to someday create comics, like Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko. The ad simply states:
Make Money at home with simple drawings!! Fun!! Big-Free Book!! Send 35¢ for postage/handling: Cartoon-E. Box 40614, Detroit, MI 48240."
There must be some of those Big-Free Books still floating around out there. It would be great to see one. I"m sure we could devote a whole post to it.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Last chance to get your wanderlust on before Labor Day

There's still time for a short road trip or afternoon drive before school days, Labor Day, county fairs, NFL fantasy drafts and everything being flavored with "pumpkin spice" fully kicks in! Here are a few photos — found and family — to inspire, I hope, your sense of wanderlust. The first photo, shown above, was a found photo with absolutely no description included. So you can leave it to your imagination regarding the location of this picturesque scene. Maybe you'll come across it this weekend, when you aren't even looking for it.

Below is one of my grandmother's vacation snapshots. There's no caption on this one either; I'm guessing it's the United Kingdom in the 1970s.

Up next is one more old snapshot with absolutely no information. These folks seem, though, to be enjoying their leisurely time by the lake.

Finally, here's an old postcard that strong on the wanderlust...

It was published at Mrs. A.H. Hardy's Studio in Warner, New Hampshire (site of the 69th annual Warner Fall Foliage Festival in early October), and mailed to the small town of Bradford, New Hampshire, in 1911.

The cursive note on the postcard states:
Dear Frances:
This is one of the Warner views. I suppose you are enjoying the summer. Can't you come over & see us before you go home? We should be glad to see you. Mrs. Clark.
"Mountain View"

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Postcard: Early image of bridge in Alum Rock Park in California

This sepia-toned postcard was postmarked in May 1915 in San Jose, California. The "Bridge on the Alum Rock Road" was in its infancy when this postcard was created, as it was constructed in 1913 at Alum Rock Park. Now, of course, at more than a century old, it's considered "historic." Here's a modern look...

By Oleg Alexandrov - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,

The most interesting piece of history regarding Alum Rock Park might be its Alien Rock from the early 20th century. You can read that entertaining tale on Judy Thompson's Alum Rock Park History website.

This postcard originally traveled about 2,000 miles east from San Jose, to its destination in Maquoketa, Iowa. The 101-year-old message states:
"Many thanks for the birthday greeting. This has been a cold windy day — For the last two days have had very high winds. Did lots of damage along the coast. Regards to you all.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Postcard mailed 101 years ago from Albany, Vermont

This scenic (and almost certainly generic) postcard featuring a dirt road was mailed almost exactly 101 years ago — on August 24, 1915 — from Albany, Vermont.1

Albany has always been a small town. It peaked in population around 1860, with 1,200 residents. It had 920 souls in the 1910 census and 941 souls in the 2010 census. The area is described in a straightforward fashion on Wikipedia:
"The town is hilly and uneven. The highest point in town is in the northwestern part of the township, which is cut off from the main chain of the Green Mountains by a brook. Lord's Creek flows north through the eastern part of the township, having several tributaries. There are other minor streams in town. There are also several ponds, the principal of which are Great Hosmer, Hartwell, Page, Heart, and Duck ponds."
The town's original name was Lutterloh and its first road was Bayley-Hazen military road, built in 1779, according to the Orleans Country Historical Society, which also notes a "large amount of smuggling in the area around 1813."

The postcard was mailed to Mrs. Mary E. Clark of Greenville, Maine (about 145 miles to the northeast, as the crow flies), and has the following message:
My dear Mrs. Clark
Your letter came to me about a month ago and I am patiently waiting waiting for some definite date regarding the family of your mother V [?] grandfather — and can you tell me any thing of Moses, (a brother of Stephen) who died in Me [Maine]. Have written Mr. Cummings.
Delia (Darling) Honey
So, they were working on some genealogy, it seems. There was definitely a Delia Darling Honey of Albany, Vermont. According to this website, she died on April 17, 1949, at the age of 101. This is just one tiny piece of all the hard work she did over the decades on her family history.

1. On the afternoon that this card was postmarked, the Philadelphia Phillies lost to the Chicago Cubs, 5-1, in front of 5,000 fans at Baker Bowl in Philadelphia. Bob Fisher had a home run and three RBIs for the Cubs, Possum Whited had two hits for the Phillies, and Philadelphia pinch-hitter Bud Weiser made an out, dropping his season average to .131. (He finished the year with a surge that brought his average to .141.)

Monday, August 22, 2016

What on Earth does this have to do with soap?

I came across this vintage advertising trade card on eBay last week, and it's an image that's so bizarre that I need to share it here. For therapy, perhaps.

The trade card is touting some varieties of soap produced by an obscure company called Page, Derr & Co. of Creston, Iowa. The illustration, presumably by Richmond & Co. of Buffalo, New York, features a person who has some sort of fruit or vegetable in the place of his head.

To what end, I do not know.

Is it supposed to be an eggplant? A plum? Is it smoking?

Why is it smoking?

There's a lot that's disturbing about this imagine, which is partly silly but also borderline nightmare fuel. It's probably best that you don't stare at it too long.

1952 U.S. stamp honoring 4-H clubs

This nifty green 3-cent stamp, which honors 4-H youth clubs, was issued 64 years ago, when three pennies was all you needed to mail a one-ounce, first-class letter.

Part of the reason I wanted to write about this particular stamp is our family's experience with this organization. We are very fortunate, especially as homeschoolers, to have 4-H as a part of our lives here in York County, Pennsylvania. Sarah has been involved in two clubs (Wildlife Watchers, Alpaca Club) for years and has also taken part in some outstanding educational field trips and overnight programs. If you have kids and a 4-H program in your neck of the woods, I heartily recommend that you check it out.

As for this stamp, the Mystic Stamp Company tells us that U.S. #1005 was issued on January 15, 1952. And the National 4-H History Preservation Program tells us that the stamp was designed by C.R. Chickering and engraved by M.D. Fenton.

The Preservation Program has a boatload of great information about this stamp's history, so you should check it out. Here are a few more of their notes:

  • The stamp was officially released in Springfield, Ohio, which was considered to be a federal validation of the once-debated claim that A.B. Graham launched the first of the youth programs in that area in 1902.
  • 4-H members in the Springfield area were excused from school on the day the stamp was released, so that they could attend festivities that included music and speeches. Graham himself was present, and he talked about raising pigs as a youth.
  • More than 400,000 pieces of mail bearing the new 4-H stamp received first-day cancellations. The biggest single mailer was the Stran-Steel Division, Great Lakes Steel Corp., with over 16,000 envelopes addressed to farm leaders throughout the country.

Gratuitous photo of Sarah and
a 4-H alpaca named Coal

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Happy 130th birthday,
Ruth Manning-Sanders

Ruth Manning-Sanders wrote novels and poetry, too.

On this date 130 years ago — August 21, 1886 — Ruth Vernon Manning was born to John Edmondson Manning and Emma Manning (nee Brock) in Swansea, Wales. That baby grew up to become Ruth Manning-Sanders, a collector and teller of timeless fairy tales whose work brought joy and creative inspiration to many young people during the second half of the 20th century.

(That's right. Papergreat has been around long enough to publish two Manning-Sanders birthday posts, five years apart. Here's the 2011 post.)

To mark the occasion, this time around the sun, here are some assorted tidbits from my ongoing (and stalled at times) research on her life and works. If I never get around to writing The Ultimate Piece of Scholarship on Ruth Manning-Sanders, perhaps these will prove useful to some future researcher who can finish the job.

1. It is my understanding that Manning-Sanders' daughter, Joan, submitted some of her mother's unpublished stories to an Australian publication called The School Magazine in the 1990s. I have no idea if any were published or specifically when that might have been.

2. I had some correspondence last fall and winter with John Floyd (Manning-Sanders' grandson) and his wonderful wife, Pat, who live in Cornwall. They generously sent me photocopies of some pages from a 2011 publication titled A Forgotten Prodigy: Joan Manning-Sanders (1913-2002) and her Circle. It was written by John Floyd and Owen Baker.

The book is, of course, primarily about Joan and her time as an artist. (You can learn more about her and the 2011 book from Helen Hoyle at Women Artists in Cornwall, Western Morning News and The Cornishman.)

But there is also a good deal of excellent (and new to me) information about Ruth and her husband, George. And photos! This makes the third photo of the photographically elusive Ruth Manning-Sanders published on Papergreat.

In A Forgotten Prodigy, we learn that, following their 1911 marriage and last-name hyphenation, Ruth and George Manning-Sanders "embarked on a nomadic adventure, travelling in a horse drawn caravan and taking a fashionable interest in gypsy and circus life. They lived in the caravan as a two year adventure until the arrival of their daughter Joan."

In the late 1920s and early 1930s, the family was based in Sennen, in extreme western Cornwall. They were living the "artistic life," socializing regularly with other writers and painters. It was during this time that Manning-Sanders, in a prolific period of output, published Hucca's Moor. According to A Forgotten Prodigy, "this too was set in Cornwall and contains some of her best writing about the area."

Caravans and circuses continued to hold a great interest for Ruth Manning-Sanders, according to this passage from the book:
"Ever since her early caravanning days Ruth had been a lover of horses and of the romance of life on the road. During the inter-war years it had become fashionable for artists and writers to seek to record circus and gypsy life. ... Ruth's papers contain correspondence with friends in the circus world spanning the years 1932-1952 and thus inspired, she was to write several children's books Elephant: The Romance of Laura (1938), Luke's Circus (1939), Mr. Portal's Little Lions (1952), The Golden Ball: A Novel of the Circus (1954) and Circus Boy (1960)."

I will delve more into A Forgotten Prodigy in a future post.

3. Samantha Morrish of the University of Reading has published an excellent short biography of Ruth Manning-Sanders on the Modernist Archives Publishing Project. Morrish's work has a bibliography that cites some sources I have not come across before.

4. Manning-Sanders published numerous novels before entering the unofficial second act of her writing career and focusing primarily on folklore and fairy tales. But she always had the world of piskies and magic near and dear to her heart, as evidenced in her early writing. Here are just a few examples from her novels:

  • From The Twelve Saints: "The bulge of the bed knob made her face more elf-like than usual, though there was always something elf-like about Elizabeth."
  • From Adventure May Be Anywhere, a book she dedicated to her children, Joan and David: "They also told us that it was the identical castle where Jack killed the giant." (That's just one of many such references in this fairy-tale-infused novel for children.)
  • The first paragraph of  1931's The Growing Trees contains this passage: "... Margaret; who, with her long strands of bleached hair, and her deep-set blue eyes, reminded James of the picture of Rapunzel in the colored woodcuts in his big old edition of Grimm's Fairy Tales."
  • Two examples from Mystery at Penmarth, which shares characters with Adventure May Be Anywhere: "There was a kind of elfish look about him, if you know what I mean." and "[E]very hill had a giant living on it once, and they used to play a game called bob-buttons, with rocks for ammunition." This book also features horses named Cormoran, Merlyn, Skillywidden, Keri, Pennalunna and Tregeagle.

Hungry for more? Click on (or, using your magical internet device, touch your finger to) the Ruth Manning-Sanders label at the bottom of this post to see the 40+ Papergreat posts that mention her. There's lots of great stuff to dig into.

Birthday tweets for Manning-Sanders
(and her fairy-tale co-conspirators)