Friday, December 9, 2016

Vintage Christmas postcard featuring dangerous escapades

Don't try this at home, kids!

This colorful Christmas postcard features a not-so-bright boy who is simultaneously:
  • ice skating
  • blowing a trumpet
  • holding onto the leash of a harnessed, running dog

If this postcard was part of a series, the next one likely involves bruises, scrapes, tears ... and possibly much worse. His Christmas might not be "joyful."

There are a lot of good details on this vintage card, such as the snowman, the chain of beginner skaters, and the boy's multicolor shirt. Also, the tree closest to the forefront looks a little odd, doesn't it? Sadly, there is no artist listed, nor is a publisher for this postcard noted. It was never mailed. The stamp box on the back calls for a one-cent stamp in the United States, which still allows for a wide range of years of publication.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Cool illustrations: The New Human Interest Library (Part 9)

For today's illustrations from 1929's The New Human Interest Library, we're still in the "Drawing Made Easy" section and we're back to some work by Cobb Shinn, the artist who was also featured in Part 7. These drawing instructions detail how to create Humpty Dumpty, Little Tom Tucker, and a Japanese woman. The page has some doodles and blemishes, so this was obviously a book that was used, which I think is also part of its charm.

There are also instructions, which I have not included here, for drawing Uncle Sam, a coffee pot, a doll, and a character with the unfortunate and quite racist title of Ching Chong.

Vintage Christmas greetings featuring a holly-jolly snowman

This vintage Christmas postcard features a cute little girl with knee-high red boots hanging out with an snowman who has a branch of holly and hat that looks like a brass bucket or pitcher.

No artist or manufacturer is listed for the postcard. The only words of note on the back are "Printed in Saxony" and "Import." I was able to find, in an Internet image search, a very similar card with different wording and some slight changes in the illustration. Here they are, side by side...

My card is dated December 22, 1915.1 It wasn't mailed, but it was addressed simply to "Ethel Deibler."

The short note states: "Wishing you a Merry Xmas and a Happy new year from Ellen."

1. Also on that date, Barbara Billingsley was born. And that's no jive.

1962 receipt from Dynasty Salon in Hong Kong

This 54-year-old receipt — dated April 17, 1962 — is from the Dynasty Salon in Hong Kong.1 It's from the second month of my great-grandmother Greta's trip around the world. She purchased some kind of goods or service (hair styling?), for which she paid a deposit of $25.95 and 15 cents stamp duty.2 She paid by traveler's cheque.

Dynasty Salon was located at 103-105 Peninsula Hotel Kowloon in Hong Kong. I found some history about that place on the Vintage Fashion Guild website:
"The Dynasty Salon was located in the Peninsula Hotel in Hong Kong.

"The Dynasty label was established in 1953, when designer Dora Sanders started manufacturing clothing sized and styled for Americans who were traveling in Asia.

"By 1959 Dynasty clothing was sold by 600 stores in the US and was the leading fashion exporter in Asia. Sanders cleverly let important US department stores like Neiman Marcus, I. Magnin, and Lord & Taylor have exclusive rights to new styles for six months before the designs were sold directly to customers in Hong Kong.

"In 1964, Dynasty hired a new designer, Urleene Chaplain, and she started to use materials other than the fine Asian silks the company had used exclusively up to that point. Italian couturier Patrick de Barentzen joined the Dynasty design team in 1966. During that year the company opened its first retail store in London."
So, I'm now guessing that it was a piece of clothing and/or accessories that my great-grandmother purchased on this date. shows examples of some of the clothing that was sold there.

1. Also on April 17, 1962: The United States and South Vietnam jointly launched the doomed-to-failure Strategic Hamlet Program and the Cleveland Indians beat the visiting Boston Red Sox, 5-0, behind a complete-game shutout by Dick Donovan and a 4-for-4 day at the play by Willie "Boom Boom" Kirkland.
2. Something that cost $25.95 in 1962 would cost about $205 today, according to The Inflation Calculator.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Book cover: Scholastic Book Service's "Senior Year"

  • Title: Senior Year
  • Author: Anne Emery
  • Cover artist: Unknown
  • Publisher: Scholastic Book Services (T70)
  • Cover price: 50 cents
  • Original date of publication: 1949
  • This edition's date of publication: December 1968 (7th printing)
  • Pages: 188
  • Format: Paperback
  • First paragraph: Sally Burnaby raced up the stairs and dropped two suitcases inside her room. She drew a deep breath and exhilaration bubbled up inside of her like soda water. This was the most wonderful part of the whole vacation — getting home again! And she couldn't wait another minute to talk to Kate Kennicott and find out all the news.
  • Last sentence: "Last dance!" he said with a note of triumph. "I want Kate and Ted to see that pin!"
  • Random sentence from middle: It was a difficult problem, but she finally chose her black crepe with gold belt and beads.
  • Back-cover blurb: "Sally Burnaby feels awful! Here she is, ready for a fabulous senior year, when everything goes to pieces! Kate, her best friend, goes away to school. Scotty begins to date another girl. Trying to forget, Sally almost ties in with the wrong crowd, and descends into a world of cocaine, gun-running, fast cars and the illegal importation of exotic salamanders."
  • For real? Not exactly, but exotic salamanders are cool.
  • Actual blurb: "Sally Burnaby feels awful! Here she is, ready for a fabulous senior year, when everything goes to pieces! Kate, her best friend, goes away to school. Scotty begins to date another girl. Trying to forget, Sally almost ties in with the wrong crowd. Now she must proved she can make adult decisions ... and gain another chance with Scotty!"
  • About the author: Biographical information from Page 2 of the book: "Born Anne Eleanor McGuigan in Fargo, North Dakota, she moved at the age of nine with her family to Evanston, Illinois. After graduation from Evanston Township High School, she studied and received a B.A. degree in her home town university, Northwestern. Her father then took the entire family including all the children to Europe for a year. While abroad, Anne studied at the University of Grenoble in France. When the McGuigans returned to the United States, Anne became a teacher in Evanston schools. Following her marriage to John Emery, she resigned to keep house, raise her children, and continue to write books."
    According to a biography at Yesterday's Young Adult Novels (, Emery lived from 1907 to 1987, so her year in Europe would have been in the late 1920s, well before World War II. She wrote several different book series, including the "Jane Ellison 4-H" series.
  • Reviews of Senior Year: The book is rated 4.0 (out of 5.0) stars on Goodreads. A reviewer named Kathryn writes: "What a delightful read! Full of charming period details and the sort of "life lessons" that never go out of style. ... Sally's senior year provides a delightful glimpse into high school life in the late 1940s and a sweet, innocent romance that I thoroughly enjoyed. The Burnaby family is fun and interesting and I look forward to reading more about them as this is, happily, a series."

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Check out Papergreat's ghosts of Christmases past

This nifty greeting card will be the subject of a post later this month.

I don't know how this happened, but we're already a few days into December (and I've already heard "Jingle Bell Rock" eleventy-one thousand times).

So, with the spirit of the holiday season long-since launched, I have dutifully updated Papergreat's directory of the more than 100 posts — dating back to December 2010 — related to the books, illustrations, postcards, greeting cards, recipes and other ephemera of the Most Rudolphy Time of the Year.

You can find the updated directory here.

Bookmark it. Read a few a day. Or binge-read the posts of Papergreat past while drinking hot cocoa on a snowy night. It's just some enjoyable old ephemera — some pieces with great tales behind them — to spice up your December and give you a night off from Yukon Cornelius/Sam the Snowman slash fiction.

And there will, of course, be new holiday ephemera posts throughout this month. So stay tuned!