Thursday, December 1, 2016

Cool illustrations: The New Human Interest Library (Part 8)

Want to draw some birds? The New Human Interest Library has you covered, with this full page of bird forms from the "Drawing Made Easy" chapter. (See more drawing tips in the previous post.) No artist is credited, but now you have some guidance on how to draw chicks and ducks and falcons and geese and much more.

Bird Bonus:
How to draw Mr. Bird

I've been drawing Mr. Bird since the mid-1980s.
Now you can, too, in six easy steps!

Step 1

Step 2

Step 3

Step 4

Step 5

Step 6
Make any hairstyle you want!
Color as desired
Do not portray Mr. Bird using non-prescription opioids

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Processing silk (probably) in Japan

This undated, unused postcard, which was made in Japan, is simply labeled "Yarn-reeling." I'm guessing that it's silk yarn that is being meticulously separated and spun. It looks like she is holding silk cocoons in her left hand, and that basket could be filled with water and additional cocoons. I suspect that the wide circumference of the wheel is to help with the drying of the spun silk, but I'm really out of my league on this topic, so that's just a guess.

Any reader thoughts on this yarn machine would be appreciated.

It looks like a quiet and peaceful process, but I also suspect one's back and legs would ache after a while.

For a general history of silk, Wikipedia is as good of a place to start as anywhere. I also found a good website,, which contains a history of silk processing and this sentence: "A roomful of munching worms sounds like heavy rain falling on the roof."

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Tuesday morning giggles from old hotel postcards

We'll leave the dog on for you
Watkins Glen, N.Y.
Telephone 107

A century-old inn completely modern with large comfortable rooms. 22 rooms all new furnishings. The dining room has been noted for fine food since 1821 and is recommended by Duncan Hines and AAA. Watkins Glen State Park and beautiful Seneca Lake are 10 minutes walk from the Inn. Rates are moderate and children are always free. Large free parking area with side entrance. Jeff of the Jefferson welcomes you.

Note: I believe this inn was demolished in 1978. No word about the dog.

The world's least dramatic standoff
Front Entrance to Main House
Greene County, N.Y.

Note: This postcard was mailed in 1971. According to a 2002 article in The New York Times, The Shepard Farm "frowned on alcohol consumption. ('Those depending on stimulants for their fun should select a hotel where beer and liquors are sold,' advised one of its brochures. 'We do not have a bar and cater only to guests who do not require it.')" That might explain what's happening on this postcard.

I feel like there are some Torgo and the Master
jokes just waiting to happen here.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Old postcard: "Ice Skating Pond" at Kanaya Hotel

This vintage postcard features a group of women who are far better at standing while wearing ice skates than I am. (My only ice-skating experience, at Penn State in the early 1990s, involved a lot of falling on my butt and a few spectacular face-plants, too.)

The undated, unused postcard, labeled "Ice Skating Pond," is from the rink "in the Compound of Kanaya Hotel, Nikko."

The hotel, which caters to Western travelers, dates to 1873 and has hosted Isabella Bird, Frank Lloyd Wright, Albert Einstein, Charles Lindbergh, Helen Keller and Jack Nicklaus, among others. Read more about the hotel at its English-language website. They have Wi-Fi these days, but I'm not so sure about the status of the ice-skating pond.

You can read more about that pond and see some beautiful vintage images of past ice skating at Old Tokyo.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

From the readers: Horses, goats, chocolate and pooping

Happy Sunday evening. Here's the latest collection of dandy comments from Papergreat's readers...

Late 1930s college expenses logged in The Scribble-in Book: Cynthia Brown writes: "I just came across my grandmother's Scribble-In Book. The 1st page entry was for Dec. 19, 1932: 'At the Christmas meeting of the Thursday Club, we each gave some one of the members a 10-cent gift accompanied with a verse. This book was mine --' The next entry was her Christmas card list. Next was a diary entry for my brother's birth. Lastly there is a listing of 26 song birds she saw/heard at our home the spring of '33."

Thanks for sharing, Cynthia! What a neat little collection of your grandmother's everyday life.

Postcard: Little Nell and her (zombie) grandfather: Facebook follower Tom Beiter writes: "Funny that it's from a Dickens novel because it kind of resembles Alastair Sim as Scrooge."

My 1977 Kindergarten diploma: Tom from the Garage Sale Finds blog writes: "Should I ever need someone to stack boxes, catch butterflies or curtsy, I shall call upon you with confidence."

On having an old dog: Joan writes: "YAY FOR POOPING!!"

1918 postcard: "That Nightmare Sure Was A Horse On Me": A reader going by "ltl" writes: "I once had a lit prof who pointed out to us a usage thing about 'horse' in a short story (Eudora Welty, maybe? Some Southern writer) when a horse has its baby and somebody appears to ask 'Is it a horse?' — a horse vs. a female, that is. Filly/mare-to-be. Y'know. Maybe some of a horse being tougher than a mare might be in the mix in this card's caption. Anyway, cool card. Thanks for sharing."

Vintage Hallowe'en postcard: Witch declares that she's No. 1: "ltl" writes: "It's funny how Lida was ahead of her time, in moving on from 'lol' to the recently hipper 'Haha.'"

Note: I am NOT hip, so I had no idea we had moved on from LOL.

Dark & stormy night Halloween flick picks from Twitter's cool kids: Joan writes: "Bill Rebane!! Carnival of Souls!! I love this post. Also, my list runs more toward Hocus Pocus (which we're presently watching) than horror, but House on Haunted Hill is a good one and I'd be willing to put it on my list too. Also possibly The Shining, but that's a little too scary to make for a perfect night."

And Cheryl Zaidan adds: "So cool to read the picks. Also I LOVE Let's Scare Jessica to Death!"

Klein Chocolate Co. of Elizabethtown analyzes Fannie's butter fat: Regarding Klein's Lunch Bar, a milk-chocolate and peanut treat, Elaine Hyduk writes: "That was always the first piece of candy I would eat after going trick or treating. I wish they still made that candy bar."

A happy ending as an old, inscribed book returns home: Tom from the Garage Sale Finds blog writes: "Great story. I've only had the opportunity to reunite someone with their lost items once, but it was very rewarding."

Cool illustrations: The New Human Interest Library (Part 5): Joan writes: "Did you listen to this October's Stuff You Missed In History Class podcast on the Bell Witch legend? It was very well done!"

Actually, Stuff You Missed in History Class is my favorite podcast right now, well done, indeed, and the current length for my commute. Highly recommended. Also great: Imaginary Worlds with Eric Molinsky.

Campbell's soup magazine advertisement, circa 1932: I suspect that this comment from "William Brayden" was created by a bot, partly because it was accompanied by a link to a crossword-puzzle website, but I still find it fascinating: "It is anything but difficult to clean up your printed material and other paper things. Shockingly, I have found that paper is something that more often than not gathers rapidly. Whether it be garbage mail, bank articulations, expense forms or deals receipts, these are a portion of the things that a great many people wind up with a ton of."

History's turning points: When we chose TV over goats: Joan writes: "We have had a dramatic reading of this blog post here at home tonight and we also CHOOSE GOATS. But I'm not going outside right now because it is icy and snowing and I'm cold."

And Tom from the Garage Sale Finds blog adds: "Why do we have to choose goats or TV. Can't it be both?! By the way, a Goat named 'Hooker' has all the earmarks of crass joke."

Saturday's postcard: Illustrated map of Tokyo with taijitu symbol: Clark Parker writes: "Excellent map. This would still be fairly useful today, as many of the featured locations are still major sites in Tokyo, e.g. Tokyo Station, Shibuya, Asakusa, etc."

Old postcard: Great Image of the Daibutsu in Kobe, Japan: Clark Parker writes: "Wonderful postcard! For other views of the Great Buddha, I've compiled some pictures from 1863, 1897, 1902, 1923, 1942, 1951, 1983, and 2012.

Thanks for sharing, Clark!

The Gates of Circumstance

This used (but undated) postcard features a pastoral scene and a short poem:

The Gates of Circumstance
The massive gates of Circumstance,
Are turned upon the smallest hinge,
And thus some seeming petty chance
Oft gives our life an after tinge.
— Anon.

There is a longer, slightly different version of this poem. The oldest reference I found to it comes from the May 30, 1863, issue of Harper's Weekly1:

The massive gates of Circumstance
Are turned upon the smallest hinge,
And thus some seeming pettiest chance
Oft gives our life its after-tinge.

The trifles of our daily lives,
The common things, scarce worth recall,
Whereof no visible trace survives,
These are the mainsprings after all.

Affixed to this postcard is a green, one-cent John Smith stamp that was first issued on April 25, 1907, so the postcard could be at least that old. It was mailed to Pleasantville, Iowa.

The short note states:
"Maude and Chet got here this a.m. Fern [?] freind arrived this afternoon and we are looking for Laura tonight and then we will all be at home when they get here.
Esther [?]"

1. On May 28, 1863, two days before that issue of Harper's Weekly, the 54th Massachusetts Infantry Regiment, one of the first official African-American units in the United States, marched from Boston, Massachusetts, to fight for the Union. Just 51 days later, the 54th took part in the Second Battle of Fort Wagner. Only 315 men were left from the 54th after the battle — 30 were killed in action, 24 later died of wounds, 15 were captured, and 52 were reported missing after the battle and never seen again.