Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Last-minute Thanksgiving dessert ideas from the Maine coast

If you're still working out the final details of tomorrow's Thanksgiving dinner and need a sweet idea for dessert: (1) Wow! You're a procrastinator, (2) I have some ideas for you, courtesy of the spiral-bound 1964 edition of Maine Coastal Cooking and the Accomplisht Cook, or, The Whole Art of Mystery of Cookery, Fitted for All Degrees and Qualities.

The cookbook was published by Courier-Gazette Inc. of Rockland, Maine. Some of its recipes date back to 1664 and there are, as you might imagine, a lot of seafood recipes.

But right now the focus is on dessert, not 1,000 ways to prepare a lobster. So here are some of the sweetness-infused recipes from the book:

Molasses Blueberry Cake
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 1 cup sour milk (or hot water may be used instead)
  • 3 scant cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 cups blueberries (washed, drained, and floured)
  • 1 teaspoon each of nutmeg, cloves, cinnamon and allspice

Bake in greased and lightly floured pan in 350° oven, baking time depends on size pan used.

Submitted by Mrs. Milton Grierson, South Thomaston, Maine

Grandma Nancy's Lemon Cake
(An 1850 Recipe)
  • 1 cup butter
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 1 large lemon, grated peel and juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon saleratus (soda)
  • 4 cups flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • 4 egg whites, beaten stiff

Cream butter and add gradually while still creaming the sugar. Beat the egg yolks until thick and lemon colored; add to the first mixture. Flavor with the grated peel and juice of the large lemon. Sift the soda with the flour and stir lightly into the mixture alternately with the milk. Beat the four egg whites until stiff and fold into the mixture. Pour the cake batter into two well buttered loaf pans, 11 x 4 x 3 inches deep. Bake at 325-350° F. for about 50 minutes. Remove the cake from pan. Cool. Dust the top lightly with confectioners' sugar.

Brown Sugar Fudge
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • few grains of salt
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup nuts (optional)

Place sugars, milk and salt in a saucepan and cook, stirring constantly until fudge boils rapidly. Let boil until temperature reaches 239 degrees or until a firm ball is formed when a few drops are placed in cold water. Remove from heat and follow the very same procedure as in the recipe for making chocolate fudge. When cool, beat and pour into buttered square pan and mark into squares.

Variation: Sour cream fudge is made by the same method, substituting 3 cups brown sugar and 1 cup of sour cream in place of the white and brown sugar and milk.

* * *
Desserts in the "reprinted from 1664" portion of the book include almond tarts, cream tarts, French tarts, cinnamon pudding and "To make Rice Puddings in guts," which includes the instruction "cut the guts a foot long, and fill them three quarters full, tie both ends together, and put them in boiling water." Let's skip that one.

Other dessert posts

Some recent mailbox smiles

Here are some colorful and amazing postcards I have received in recent weeks that put a smile on my face and hopefully will bring you some cheer, too, on this Thanksgiving Eve...

Above: Who wouldn't want to live in this village? ... Où se cache ma petite fée? is French and translates to "Where is my little fairy hiding?" (according to Google) or "Where are you my pretty fairy?" (according to the English caption on the back). This Postcrossing card is from Jeremy, a married brewery worker with two cats who lives in Pérols, France. Jeremy used washi tape and a butterfly sticker on his postcard, which is just awesome.

Above: Because when the dragon says "Freeze!!" you should freeze, right? This Postcrossing card came from China and the only handwritten message is the final portion of Alfred Lord Tennyson's poem "Ulysses":

We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are,
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.

Above: This beautiful card brought extra cheer and features the TWA Moonliner that was, back in the day, a big part of Disneyland's Tomorrowland. Wernher von Braun helped with the creation of this exhibit and one of his quotes (plus some dandy space-themed vintage stamps) is included on the back: "We can lick gravity, but sometimes the paperwork is overwhelming."

Above: This postcard from Ekaterina in Moscow, Russia, features a nifty illustration of the Luzhniki Olympic Complex in Moscow. It was constructed in the mid 1950s and used for the 1980 Summer Olympics. As a bonus, this "Fox and the Grapes" stamp was used to mail the postcard.

Above: Finally, as autumn drifts away, here's a beautiful image from the town of Český Krumlov in the Czech Republic. Veronika says the town has a rotating outdoor garden theater during the summer, which might be separate from the also-famous 17th century Český Krumlov Castle theater, which is still in occasional use.

Book cover: "A Day in the Life of President Kennedy"

  • Title: A Day in the Life of President Kennedy
  • Author: Jim Bishop (1907-1987)
  • Front cover photographer: Cecil Stoughton (1920-2008)
  • Publisher: Bantam Books ("A Bantam Fifty" / F-2867)
  • Cover price: 50 cents
  • Year of publication: 1964 (First edition was Random House in March 1964. This edition is October 1964.)
  • Pages: 148
  • Format: Paperback
  • How acquired: For 97 cents from a thrift store in Lancaster County.
  • Waterstained? Yes.
  • Back-cover blurb: "To my eternal sorrow, I was the last writer to work with President Kennedy on an exclusive story. Therefore I asked to have it published as written, without anything added or changed, when the world was bright for him and the future held the warm promise of goodness and victory. What you will read in this book is a portrait of the Kennedy family as it looked then — with no premonition that, for him, time had run out. — Jim Bishop"
  • Dedication: "Dedicated with Affection to Caroline and John F. Kennedy, Jr. who will some day want to recall what it was like."
  • First sentence: The sun, like almost everyone in Washington, is on time.
  • Last sentence: The last few minutes of the day belong to God.
  • Random section from middle: The Kennedy Administration has been accused of managing news, and if this implies putting a good face on adverse events, and withholding certain news until the most good can be drawn from it, then the Administration is probably guilty.
  • Rating on Goodreads: 3.92 stars (out of 5.0)
  • Notes: John F. Kennedy was assassinated on this day, 54 years ago. This past May marked the 100th anniversary of his birth. ... Author Bishop wrote 21 books, the most famous of which was probably The Day Lincoln Was Shot. He also penned The Day Christ Died, The Day Christ Was Born, FDR's Last Year, and The Day Kennedy Was Shot. This book is most notable because, as the back-cover copy notes, it was researched during the summer of 1963 and finished shortly before JFK's death. The following is an excerpt from Bishop's obituary:
    "He made the best-seller list again by writing one of the top 10 books of 1964. It was A Day in the Life of President Kennedy, which Mr. Bishop completed on Nov. 12, 1963, 10 days before the assassination. The President had approved it without revisions. Jacqueline Kennedy asked for 60 small changes, which Mr. Bishop made."
    ... A three-page postscript to the book includes the author's own list of "parallels" between the Kennedy and Lincoln assassinations. So it's possible that Bishop had a lot to do with the perpetuation of and fascination with the Kennedy/Lincoln Coincidence Hoo-Ha that persists even today. ... Cover photographer Stoughton was JFK's official White House photographer, taking more than 8,000 shots during the nearly three years Kennedy was in office. According to Wikipedia, "Stoughton was present at the motorcade at which Kennedy was assassinated and subsequently took the only photograph on board Air Force One of Lyndon B. Johnson being sworn in." Also, according to Wikipedia, "on Stoughton's suggestion Johnson was flanked by his wife and Jacqueline Kennedy, facing slightly away from the camera so that blood stains on her pink Chanel suit would not be visible."

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Have a very Fritos Thanksgiving

Here's a recipe-filled advertising pamphlet that was published long ago by Fritos. That famous corn chip was "invented" by Charles Elmer Doolin (1903–1959) with The Frito Company, based in Texas, in 1932. In 1961, a merger created the Frito-Lay that we know today and that serves as a key component of so many Super Bowl parties.

So, since this pamphlet makes no specific mention of Frito-Lay, I think we can assume it dates to between 1932 and 1961.

The front measures 3½ inches by 6 inches. It folds out to four panels, which are printed front and back. It was geared toward restaurants, as the front states: "Offering Appealing Menu Variety For Exacting Appetites Of Restaurant Patrons."

One section includes a bit of contextual history:
"One may delve into the food customs of the Ancients and discover that a goodly portion of their commerce consisted of corn, wine and oil. Throughout the ages, corn is recognized as a most sustaining grain. Its planting and cultivation provided protection against famine. Corn was a chief ally to the empire builders of the old world; a friend to the pioneers of the new. ... FRITOS are a friendly food companion. Make them your ally in pleasing patrons and producing PROFITS."
The next section further stresses that notion of profits:
"The popularity FRITOS have attained in the food favor of millions, is by no means a passing fancy. More and more people are being captivated by the enticing taste of these new Mexican crisp chips, and are constantly finding manifold uses for their nourishing goodness. Being alert to the taste choice of your patrons, you are anxious to offer appealing menu variety to exacting appetites. Moreover, the quickness, ease and economy of preparing new feature dishes — with due respect to net profit — must have consideration."
And thus there are six recipes included in the pamphlet. All indicate the cost, per serving, of the ingredients for the restaurant and some suggest the menu price for the finished dish. For example the Frito Omelet has an estimated cost of six cents per order and a suggest menu price of 25 cents.

Here are two of the recipes from the pamphlet:

Frito Hot Tamale Pie
  • 2 cups ground meat
  • ¼ inch small garlic, clove, cut fine
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1½ cups meat stock
  • 8 ozs. FRITOS
Fry meat in 2 tablespoons fat, until done, mix salt, garlic and chili powder with meat and add meat stock. If no meat stock in available, use bullion cubes, and then line a baking dish, sides and bottom with crushed FRITOS, add meat mixture and cover top with remaining FRITOS.

Bake from 20 to 30 minutes in hot oven. Serve from casserole or individual meat pie dish. This is very good served with a salad, pickles or olives and cherry tarts.

Time: 20 to 30 minutes — Approx. cost 28c

At least 4 servings — Individual cost 7c

Suggested price 25c per order. Upward, when incorporated on a dinner with side dishes. Variations to suit Chef's preference can be made.

Frito Dressing
  • 3 cups moistened FRITO crumbs
  • 1 cup moistened bread crumbs
  • 2 small onions, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons melted butter
  • ½ cup celery, chopped
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 teaspoons sage, or more
Mix moistened FRITO crumbs, bread, onions, celery, salt, sage and pepper. Add melted butter and stuff fowls, game or heart. A distinctively flavored dressing that is sure to please.

Approx. cost: 10c

Variations to suit Chef's preference can be made.

* * *

The other recipes are the aforementioned Frito Omelet, Frito Enchiladas, Frito Peppers, and Macaroni La Frito.

P.S.: I think it's best that we never again discuss "Cooked Heart with Frito Stuffing."

P.S. 2: I received no money or Fritos in exchange for this post.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Get supper ready with mid-century Serbian cookery

Continuing with some long-overdue recipes this week, here is Serbian Cookery, a 143-page spiral-bound volume of recipes published in November 1955 by the Sisters of the Ravanica Serbian Eastern Orthodox Church in Detroit, Michigan. It was part of Mom's extensive and beloved collection of cookbooks.

First, here is an excerpt from the lengthy foreword by Vlaiko M. Lugonja:
"The Serbian people, who presently occupy the largest portion of Yugoslavia, settled centuries ago in the heart of the Balkans. This put them astride the great East-West historical highways, which stretch from the Alps and the Pannonian Plains of Central Europe, down the valleys of the Danube, Drina, Morava and Vardar Rivers, and along the Aegean Sea. As a result, the Serbians' cooking acquired many characteristics from other nations.

"At the start of this century, emigration to the New World brought women here from all parts of Serbia, each enhancing the customs of food preparation with her own contribution of rich and varied cooking traditions. And today, whenever Serbian women gather, the usual subject of discussion (other than the usual bits of gossip) is cooking. Out of such discussion came the realization that the younger generation of Serbian women in the United States felt a desire to preserve the traditional cooking arts of their parents and grandparents."
Here are some of the recipes from Serbian Cookery:

Jerinkitz Peppers
(Turshija od zutih paprika)

Use 1 peck yellow bell peppers. Remove seeds and cut peppers in half. Bring to a boil 6 qts. water, 3 qts. white vinegar, 8 T sugar, 6 T salt and 1-1/2 c oil. Drop peppers into liquid and boil a few minutes, but do not overcook. Pack in jars, pour boiling liquid over them and seal.
-- Celia Jerinkitz

Sauerkraut and Beans
(Kiseli kupus i grah)

  • 1 lb. Roman or cranberry beans
  • 1 large can sauerkraut, washed
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 T shortening
  • 1 heaping T flour, 1 T salt
Soak beans overnight. Throw water away. Cook beans in about 3 qts. fresh water until done, about 3 hours. Add sauerkraut, cook half hour together. Melt shortening, add flour, stir until brown, add onion and garlic, chopped fine, fry about 5 minutes, then mix with beans and sauerkraut. Add salt and cook together few minutes longer on slow fire. Smoked meat or sausage may be added and cooked with beans.
-- Anna Boryan

Roast Suckling Pig
(Peceno sisance)

The pig should weight about 16 lbs. Wash it thoroughly and drain. Salt it inside and outside generously. Cut slits under the shoulders and on the thighs. Put 1 t salt and a cut piece of garlic in each slit. Put 6 cloves of garlic and 1 T salt in a clean cloth. Pound this slightly with a hammer. Rub cloth over pig inside and outside. Put 1/2 loaf of unsliced bread inside of pig. In the largest roasting pan, place 2 short pieces of clean board (so the roast won't stick to the bottom of pan). Cover top of pig with foil of heavy parchment paper. Place shiny apple in mouth. Bake at 350 for 5 to 6 hrs., basting with oil once or twice. It is done when no pink juice runs when pierced with fork. Remove bread and dispose of it. Serve hot or cold. If apples become soft after baking, replace with a fresh one.
-- Draga Jocich

City Chicken
[Note from Chris: I just read an article about this!]
Cut 2 lbs. lean pork and veal in pieces 1-1/2 in. long and 1/4 in. thick. String pieces of veal alternately with the pork, about 8 or 9 pieces on a skewer. Salt the meat. Dip in flour, beaten egg and crumbs and fry in 2 in. of fat. Remove to a baking dish and pour a little fat in. Cover and cook half and hour or until tender. Delicious with scalloped potatoes.
-- Mrs. Walter Sigetich

Cheese Pancakes with Sour Cream
(Palacinke sa sirom i sa kiselim krimom)

Combine 3 beaten eggs with 1 c flour and 1-1/2 c. milk. Beat batter until smooth. Melt butter or shortening in a skillet until hot. Spread 3 T batter on and move pan so that pancake is very thin. Cook on both sides. Make a stack of pancakes and set aside. Mix together 1-1/2 lbs. cottage cheese, grated peel of half a lemon and 1 egg. Mix together and spread some over each pancake, rolling the pancake up and placing the filled pancakes side by side in a greased baking dish. When you have one layer, sprinkle with a mixture of 2 c sugar and 1 t cinnamon. As you complete each layer, sprinkle each one. When all pancakes are in pan, spread 4 c. sour cream over all and bake in hot oven at 400 for about 20 min. Serve immediately -- also good cold.
-- A Friend

Boiled Kisses
(Kuvane puslice)

Beat 3 egg whites until stiff, add 1/2 c. sugar, the grated peel of a lemon, 1 c walnuts cut in large pieces. Mix all together and cook over low heat until it comes to a boil and thickens. Grease a baking sheet and drop mixture by spoonfuls forming into kisses. Put one blanched almond into the top of each. Bake in a very slow oven at 200 until set and dry.
-- Mrs. Jelena Malbasa

Sunday, November 19, 2017

3 family photos from March 1960

So many family snapshots that still need sorting. So little time...

Howard Horsey "Ted" Adams (1892-1985) in the master bedroom of the house on Oak Crest Lane in Wallingford, Pennsylvania. To his left is the small bathroom that later was remodeled and became the "pink and black" bathroom. Directly behind him is one of the room's two closets. To his right, the alcove contains a dresser that remained entrenched there until late 2014 or early 2015, when it went to auction.

Greta Miriam Chandler Adams (1894-1988) in the same master bedroom at Oak Crest Lane. She's in the other side of the room, near the window that faces out into the backyard. The room layout eventually "flipped" and, during most of my lifetime, the bed was up against the wall to Greta's right and a bureau and mirror were located against the wall where the bed is in this photo. I don't believe we still have any of the pieces of furniture shown here.

Mary Margaret Ingham Otto (1948-2017) relaxing with unknown (to me) cat in, I believe, my grandmother's house in Rose Valley. It's not the Oak Crest Lane house, because that house didn't have those kind of big cast-iron radiators. The multi-colored blanket to the right is still in the family, at my sister's house.

Vintage "Radio Recipes of the Month" from Texas A&I

As I was bumbling around yesterday morning, juggling cartographers and quickies and airline stewardess outfits, I noticed, with some alarm, that the last official "Recipes" post on Papergreat was on November 26, 2016. A whole cycle of Christmas, New Year's, Easter, summer cookout and picnic season and Halloween has zipped right on by without any culinary-tip contributions from this blog!

This caused me to exclaim to the Twitterverse:

(Note: There are only about 120,000 Google results for "Holy Stromboli," which seems low.)

And so here we are. Today, we have an undated 8½-by-11 sheet of paper that is covered, front and back, with recipes from the Texas A&I College "Classroom of the Air." Texas College of Arts and Industries was the official name, from 1929 to 1967, of what is now Texas A&M University–Kingsville. So it makes plenty of sense to have this in the family papers, as Mom was born in Kingsville, Texas, in 1948 and the family lived there for a number of years.

So I would guess this piece of ephemera dates to sometime between 1946 and 1950. According to "Recipes of the Month," the "Classroom of the Air" was broadcast on KWBU three mornings a week, on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. (KWBU is now an NPR affiliate based in Waco, Texas.) The show was sponsored by the Houston Natural Gas Corporation, which was acquired in the mid 1980s by InterNorth, which later renamed itself Enron.

These recipes are all from a week in May. They include custard, cucumber mustard pickles, gingerbread cupcakes with apricot topping, piquant potatoes, party punch (non-alcoholic), "one-dish meal," chocolate cake with fluffy seven-minute frosting, ham cornettes, Harvard beets with raisins, "meat balls," and savory cabbage.

Here are a couple of the recipes, for your reading or cooking pleasure:

Gingerbread Cupcakes
with Apricot Topping

  • 1/2 c. boiling water
  • 1/2 c. shortening
  • 3/4 c. light molasses
  • 1 beaten egg
  • 1 1/2 c. flour
  • 1/4 t. salt
  • 3/4 t. soda
  • 1/2 t. cinnamon
  • 1/4 t. cloves
  • 1/2 t. ginger
Pour water over shortening; blend well. Add molasses and egg. Add flour sifted with salt, soda, and spices. Fill greased cupcake pans two-thirds full. Bake in moderate oven (350° F.) 25 minutes. Makes 12 cupcakes. Remove cone-shaped piece from center of each cake. Fill with apricot filling. Replace cone.

Apricot filling: Mix 2 T. sugar, 3 T. flour, and dash of salt. Add 2/3 c. cooked, sieved apricot pulp. Cook over low heat until thick and smooth. Add 1 T. lemon juice; chill. Fold in 1/2 c. heavy cream, whipped. (Note: Evaporated milk, scalded and chilled, whips well.)

One-Dish Meal
  • 1/2 lb. ground meat
  • 1 No. 1 can corn
  • 1/2 lb. egg noodles
  • 1 large onion
  • 1 small green pepper
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 No. 1 can tomato soup
  • 2 T. margarine
Boil noodles until tender. Drain. Melt butter; add ground meat, green pepper, and onion cut fine. Brown. In a buttered baking dish, add layer of noodles, meat, and corn, until all are used. Season well. Add tomato soup and bake 1/2 hour at 350° F. Serves 6.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

1974 magazine advertisement for then-Soviet airline Aeroflot

I had to change gears on this morning's post when I realized that my first choice for a "quickie" involved what appears to be the signature of a notable Civil War cartographer. So that one is going to need some more research.

Instead, here's the advertisement from the back cover of the December 1974 issue of Sputnik, which was essentially the Soviet Union's version of Reader's Digest and was primarily intended for Western readers.1 The advertisement touts Aeroflot, the oldest and biggest airline in the Soviet Union/Russian Federation.

This is a bit of a simplification, but what become Aeroflot was "founded" in 1923 as Dobrolyot, which was the civil division of Lenin's Soviet aviation efforts. In 1932, Dobrolyot and all civil aviation were consolidated into Aeroflot, a state-run enterprise that is now, in the Russian Federation era, 51 percent state-owned and otherwise partially privatized. (There will be a quiz on this Monday.)

Here is the advertising text that surrounds the Soviet stewardess in her — fuschia? magenta? crimson? amaranth? ruby? — outfit:

Transit through the USSR is the shortest and most convenient way from Europe to Japan, the countries of East and South-East Asian, and the Middle East.

AEROFLOT has direct flights to and from the capitals and other big cities in more than 60 countries.

AEROFLOT can fly you from London, Paris or Copenhagen to Tokyo with a single stop in Moscow.

Soviet air-liners IL-62, TU-154, TU-134 — the best of the Soviet civil aviation — have a world reputation for speed and comfort.2

AEROFLOT is always at your service.

1. I'll be writing more about this issue of Sputnik in the near future.
2. According to Wikipedia, the TU-154 and T-134 can be "operated from unpaved airports."

Thursday, November 16, 2017

1920s postcards: A walkable street and an adventurous path

Here are two old postcards that were mailed way back in the 1920s...

  • Caption on front: Bruges, Eglise St. Jacques [St. James's Church]
  • Postmark: August 26, 1926 [indicated as "26 VIII" on the postmark]
  • Stamp: Blue, 75-centime Louis Pasteur, issued by France in 1924
  • Sent from: Paris, France
  • Sent to: Media, Pennsylvania
  • Message: "Aug. 26. Paris. Aunt Dora and I have just gotten back from a trip up in Belgium. I enjoyed seeing the Bruges more than any place we've been. Most of the house are built in the old Flemish architecture and there are lot of canals [thru?] the city. Love Louise."

  • Caption on front: The Trail and Cold River, Mohawk Trail, Mass.
  • Postmark: July 30, 1922
  • Stamp: Green 1-cent George Washington stamp, issued in 1917
  • Sent from: Pittsfield, Massachusetts
  • Sent to: Media, Pennsylvania (different addressee than first postcard, though)
  • Message: "270 miles first day. Sunday 7 A.M. Dear Mr. Fronefield: Arrived here in Pittsfield Saturday evening 7:45. Raymond saw Harry Barton in an automobile along the curb, as we entered the town but we did not stop. Perfectly wonderful trip. All happy. Sincerely, Margaret.

1912 letter to my great-great-grandfather from Bessie T. Capen

This serves as a companion post to February's "1912 softball team at Miss Capen's School for Girls." Miss Capen's School was a Massachusetts preparatory school, run by Bessie T. Capen, that was connected with Smith College. It was founded in the second half of the 19th century and closed in 1920.

My great-grandmother, then Greta Miriam Chandler, attended the school for a year or so. Featured today is a letter that Bessie herself wrote to my great-great-grandfather, Lilburn Chandler, in 1912. Here is a full transcription of the note, which takes up the front and back of a small piece of Capen House letterhead:
Mr. Lilburn Chandler
601 Equitable Bldg.
Wilmington, Delaware

My dear Mr. Chandler,
I have your letter in regard to Greta's studies this year. I think it is best for her to take hold of practical work, like the Domestic Science and Sewing.

We have a good two years course in Domestic Science, with a year of elementary and a year of advanced work.

With kindest regards to Greta — and hoping to see her on the nineteenth.

I am very truly yours,
Bessie T. Capen
Sept. 7, 1912
If you have read some of the previous posts about my great-grandmother, you will surely know that Domestic Science never became any sort of fit for her, which makes this all the more amusing. It wasn't that long after this letter that she met my great-grandfather.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

1907 book cover: "Under the Ocean to the South Pole"

  • Title: Under the Ocean to the South Pole
  • Subtitle: The Strange Cruise of the Submarine Wonder
  • Author: "Roy Rockwood" (pseudonym used by Howard Garis for the Stratemeyer Syndicate)
  • Publisher: Cupples & Leon Co.
  • Year: 1907
  • Pages: 248
  • Format: Hardcover
  • First sentence: "Hand me that wrench, Mark," called Professor Amos Henderson to a boy who stood near some complicated machinery over which the old man was working.
  • Last sentence: "We shall see," said Mr. Henderson with a twinkle in his eyes.
  • Random sentence from the middle: For a while the struggle between the force of man represented by the engine, and the power of nature, embodied in the whirlpool, seemed equal.
  • Previous book in this series by "Rockwood": Through the Air to the North Pole, or The Wonderful Cruise of the Electric Monarch
  • Notes about the story: Professor Henderson is described as being 65 years old and possessing of a "fund of knowledge." He companions are Mark Sampson, Jack Darrow and — my great apologies — "the colored man, Washington White." ... The name of the submarine is the Porpoise, and it is described as being eighty feet long and, at the widest point, twenty feet in diameter. It was powered in this way: "The engine was a turbine, and steam was generated from heat furnished by the burning of a powerful gas, manufactured from sea water and chemicals. So there was no need to carry a supply of coal on the ship." ... During a shark battle, the sharks are described as having "horrible eyes, and big mouths with rows of cruel teeth, striking terror to the hearts of all." I think Quint would approve of that description. ... At the end of the book, there seems to be a setup for exploration of a "strange island with a big hole in the middle that seems to lead to the centre of the earth." Professor Henderson plans to explore it while traveling in a balloon. That Verne-esque adventure ended up being Book #3 in The Great Marvel Series, which also included trips to Mars and moon.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

A whole bunch of Edward Gorey

I have written about Edward St. John Gorey (1925-2000) — or, more specifically, his artwork — a couple of brief times here on Papergreat.1 But I never really knew much about Gorey himself. That changed over the past few weeks.

First, I listened to the excellent Stuffed You Missed in History Class podcast about Gorey's life, which was an eye-opener and really piqued my curiosity. I didn't know, for example, that Gorey obsessively attended all of the performances of the New York City Ballet during the many years George Balanchine was its primary choreographer.

And, much to my shame, I think, I did not know that Gorey was the creative force — his stamp is obvious — behind the 1977 Broadway revival of Bram Stoker's Dracula. I knew the Broadway play had been a launching pad for 1979's film version of Dracula, starring Frank Langella. But the Langella play and Langella film were very different; on Broadway, it was truly all Gorey's vision, and he won a Tony for costume design.

The image at the top of this post is from the paper-cutouts toy theater that is based on Gorey's Dracula and remains for sale today.

After listening to the podcast, I continued to bump into new things about Gorey on social media during the post-Halloween season. Here are a couple of them:

(Note: I'm going to repeat those two images at the bottom of the post, in non-embedded versions, for archival purposes. Otherwise, they won't appear in the book version(s) of Papergreat.)

Cats! Books! Beautiful old desks! Piles of stuff! More books! More cats! What's not to love about all this. I think I want be be Edward Gorey.

So, is your interest piqued now, too? If so, here are some websites where you can explore more about Gorey...

1. See these posts:

Images of Edward Gorey

Solve air pollution with volcanoes?

This is a portion of an advertisement from M.R.S. Sunshine Enterprises, Inc., that's featured on Page 70 of Dragon magazine #62 (June 1982).

The ad copy touts Helenite, artificial glass that is "fused volcanic rock dust from Mount St. Helens [which erupted two years earlier] and [is] marketed as a gemstone," according to Wikipedia.

The copy itself calls Helenites the "newest gem on Earth," as created by "Earthman." Which is a fancy way of admitting that it's a manmade stone. I found about 500 pieces of Helenite for sale on eBay this morning, with prices ranging from $10 to $460, though the higher-end pieces are set in silver. There was also a 10-pound hunk of Helenite for the Buy It Now price of $1,499.99.

This 1982 advertisement is pitching a special piece of jewelry — a Helenite-studded dragon. The creative but confusing ad copy attempts to tie together volcanoes, dragons, pollution and possibly climate change:
Released by the Volcanic Eruption of Mt. St. Helens, whose GOAL is to burn up the pollution threatening Earth's atmosphere. Cast in Solid Sterling Silver body and wings, and copper fire set with 3 Helenites spewing forth from its mouth!

The jewelry was designed by Monica Roi Saxon and offered by the aforementioned M.R.S. Sunshine Enterprises of Delhi, New York. I can't find much of what became of either the artist or the company. And I wonder how many of these Helenite dragons they sold, given the 1982 price of $110, which would be about $277 today.

Cool illustrations: The New Human Interest Library (Part 25)

"The Kiddies of Polygon Land"

Shown below are pages 216 and 217 from 1929's The New Human Interest Library. This is part of the section that was penned by Winifred Sackville Stoner (aka Mother Stoner), who was discussed extensively, along with her daughter, in the previous post. Here is how Mother Stoner introduces the educational tool known as Geomies:
"By showing the children various geometrical designs on the wall and in carpets and tapestries they become interested and love to hunt for Friend Geomies thus gaining practical knowledge of design and of forms which they will meet in later life and concerning which they must have some knowledge. Winifred, Jr., has told children about Geomies in interesting little rhymes. ... On the following pages we see a lot of the Kiddies of Polygon Land and we can make their acquaintance."
Winifred Jr.'s Geomie rhymes are to the tunes of songs like "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star" and "Auld Lang Syne." And so we get lines such as "But DUODECAGON can boast, With twelves lines it has the most" and "GEOMIES that have seven sides the HEPTAGONS are named."

Early Minecraft inspiration?

Sunday, November 12, 2017

1908 postcard exchange between Belgium and Cuba

Here's the front and back of a postcard that was sent from Antwerp, Belgium, to Havana, Cuba. Note that the single red stamp has been applied so that it starts on the back but folds over to the front. The postmark states the following:
Anvers is the French word for Antwerp. My guess is that the date for this postmark is September 24, 1908. That leaves the "9-10" undeciphered by me. I have seen similar postmarks from this Belgian era that also have hyphenated consecutive numbers, including this one and this one. My guess is that it's some sort of regional office designation, but that could be way off.1

The postcard image features the "skyline" of Antwerp, with the Cathedral of Our Lady dominating the view. The cathedral dates to 1352, contains a 14,000-pound bell installed in 1507, and is the burial site of, among many other notables, painter Jan Wildens.

The correspondence — or briefwisseling2 — on the back of the postcard is written in a tiny cursive handwriting, but it's in English, so here's my stab at transcribing it:
Mr. Franco,
I accept your offer for the exchange of postcards. I already have from Habana: Obispo street; — Avenida de Marti; — Castle of Chorrera3, — Dwelling house of the Dos Hermanas estate; — Central Park; — Francisco Square; — Clerk Association Building; — Daily Marina Building; — City Jail. —
Yours faithfully,
F. Vorlab. [?]
It's nice to see that postcard swaps and postcard collecting were in full swing in 1908. Those folks would have loved Postcrossing!

1. Also, in researching this postmark, I discovered the Wikipedia page for coded postal obliterators, which I did not know were a thing.
2. Briefwisseling, which is Dutch, is one of my new favorite words. Its most precise translation, according to Google, is "exchange of letters."
3. Castle of Chorrera could refer to Torreón de la Chorrera.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Bookmobiles, #FridayReads and some recent articles worth reading

Happy Friday! Who has past or present bookmobile stories to share?

I bring this up because I recently found myself driving behind the Library System of Lancaster County's bookmobile, which is part of a program that has been serving Lancastrians for 75 years.

My earliest bookmobile memories date to the late 1970s, when a bookmobile would come to the parking lot of our grocery store in Clayton, New Jersey. The town did not, to my recollection, have a library (Glassboro would have been the nearest), so the bookmobile was the most convenient way to access a wider range of books.

After that, we mostly lived in towns that had strong and nearby libraries and bookstores, so bookmobiles weren't as necessary to our family. But they remain vital to many communities in the 21st century and can serve an especially crucial role in developing nations. Check out this Piotr Kowalczyk rundown of "10 most extraordinary mobile libraries."

And now to the #FridayReads. My recent and current books include:

  • Exit West, by Mohsin Hamid
  • As the Crow Flies, by Melanie Gillman
  • The Ten-Cent Plague: The Great Comic-Book Scare and How it Changed America, by David Hajdu
  • Sixpence House: Lost in a Town of Books, by Paul Collins

And here is the latest collection of curated links, for your reading pleasure, broken down into two general categories.

Serious stuff

Not-so-serious stuff

And, finally...

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Mystery vernacular photos
of 20th century children

Here are three mystery found photos, all including children, that don't give us much information to go on.

The first photo has "18 mo. July 1940" written in cursive on the back. The third photo, most likely a school-picture day photo, has 1947-48 printed across the bottom. (I suppose that could even be the same girl, then, in the first and third photos. The dates seem to work, anyway.)

The first two photos measure 2¾ inches by 4½ inches. The third photo is 1¾ inches by 2½ inches.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Dust jacket: "The Merriweather Girls and the Mystery of the Queen's Fan"

  • Title: The Merriweather Girls and the Mystery of the Queen's Fan
  • Series: The Merriweather Girls Series (This is book #1 of 4.)
  • Author: Lizette M. Edholm
  • Dust jacket illustrator: Not sure. Looks like "Schubert" is scrawled at the bottom.
  • Publisher: The Goldsmith Publishing Company, Chicago
  • Original price: Unknown
  • Year: 1932
  • Pages: 245
  • Format: Hardcover
  • First sentence: The broad Hudson shimmered gaily in the sunshine of late summer, tiny rippling splashes of white dotted its surface and some of the joy of the day was reflected in the faces of the three girls who sat on the hillside far above the river bank, each intent on her own thoughts.
  • Last sentence: "Then yo-ho-ho for Campers' Trail!" they chanted in a gay chorus.
  • Random sentence from the middle: But if Phil was nervous and depressed over what had happened up to this time, he had reason to be still more concerned when the detective accompanied him home and began to question him privately.
  • Front-flap dust jacket blurb: "The Merriweather Girls, Bet, Shirley, Joy and Kit are four fun-loving chums, who think up something exciting to do every minute. The romantic old Merriweather Manor is where their most thrilling adventures occur. The author has given us four exceptional titles in this series — absorbing mysteries and their solutions, school life, horseback riding, tennis, and adventures during their school vacations. Every red-blooded, up-and-going girl is going to love these books."
  • Rating on Goodreads: 3.3 stars out of 5.0
  • Goodreads review excerpt #1: Leslie wrote: "The first sentence of the book is transporting. ... I wish the rest of the book was as well."
  • Goodreads review excerpt #2: Susan wrote: "While I enjoyed this series opener for its nostalgia, I can not necessarily recommend it to contemporary readers. It was a sweet journey, though."
  • Other books in series: The Merriweather Girls on Campers' Trail, The Merriweather Girls in Quest of Treasure, and The Merriweather Girls at Good Old Rock Hill.
  • Notes: The four titles in this series appear to be the only books that Lizette MacCully Edholm (1878-1967) ever published. ... Her husband, Charlton Lawrence Edholm (1879-1945), was also an author, as detailed on the Tellers of Weird Tales blog. ... The back of this dust jacket advertises some other Goldsmith titles, including Helen in the Editor's Chair; Jane, Stewardess of the Airlines; S.W.F. Club and Cheer Leader. I lost eight minutes of my life, because I was sure that I had previously blogged about Helen in the Editor's Chair. But apparently that must have happened in a parallel universe, because I cannot find any evidence it ever happened in this dimension. ... Speaking of juvenile-fiction series of the early 20th century, Wendy from Roadside Wonders and I were recently discussing a Mental Floss article titled "15 Children's Books No One Reads Now," and it was determined that I should embark upon writing a new juvenile-fiction series titled Betty Sue and the Crofthaven Campers. So that's now been added to the list of projects. Look for it soon.

Our actual greatest problem as a nation is too many M's

Postcards: A lobby & a lounge,
as they are no longer

On the heels of last weekend's spate of postcards, here are a couple more to finish off the batch. File them under "The Way Things Were."

Lobby at Kona Inn, Kailua-Kona, Hawaii

The unused postcard has the following information on the back:

  • LOBBY AT KONA INN ... Kailua-Kona, Island of Hawaii. This unique setting, in charming island decor, greets arriving guests at the world famous Kona Inn.
  • Published by Ray Helbig's Hawaiian Service, P.O. Box 2835, Honolulu 3, Hawaii. *Reg. 1951, Hawaii, U.S.A.
  • Nani Li'i Natural Color Card. Say "Nonnie Le'e" it's Hawaiian for "LITTLE BEAUTY"
  • S-304
  • Mirro-Krome Card by H.S. Crocker Co., Inc., San Francisco

The Kona Inn, which was built in 1928, is still around. But its lobby is no longer nearly this groovy. The circular waiting area — which would be an amazing sunkenarium if it was lowered three or four feet — is long gone, which is a darn shame. I wonder if anyone kept the pieces.

You can check out some photos of the lobby as it looks today on TripAdvisor.

The Great Lounge of the Ahwahnee Hotel

And here's a Curteichcolor postcard, from Western Publishing and Novelty Co., of the fabulous lounge, back in the day, at what is now the Majestic Yosemite Hotel (more on that in a bit). The postcard caption states:

The Great Lounge of the Ahwahnee Hotel
The Great Lounge is a magnificent room of gorgeous proportions. Its expanse is tempered by the use of warm colors, such as those in the highly effective mural above the fireplace, which repeats the cheerful tones of the furniture, the drapes and the floor coverings.

The mural is, indeed, amazing, but it's gone now. It appears that the hanging lighting fixtures are still there, though.

Here's the room in a recent photograph, from a similar angle:

This photo of The Majestic Yosemite Hotel is courtesy of TripAdvisor

The Ahwahnee Hotel, built on the grounds of famed Yosemite National Park, opened in 1927 (one year before the Kona Inn!) as the centerpiece of efforts to facilitate and promote year-round tourism at the park. Its official architectural style is called, appropriately, National Park Service rustic, which is to say, in short, that it attempts to remain in harmony with its natural surroundings. It contains 5,000 tons of granite and 30,000 feet of timber.

The Great Lounge contains two sandstone-cut fireplaces, one at each end. The Great Lounge and other elements of the hotel served as inspirations for the large studio sets in the UK that created the "Overlook Hotel" for The Shining.

Following a series of mind-numbing wranglings and lawsuits over concessionaries, intellectual properties, trademarks and intangible assets, the Ahwahnee was renamed as the Majestic Yosemite Hotel in March 2016.

Vernacular photos: Fire trucks and the great outdoors

For your Wednesday morning perusal and enjoyment, here are three vernacular/found photographs picked up at thrift shifts, etc., in previous years. My guess would be that all three date to the 1950s. There is no identifying information whatsoever.

First up is two kids in snazzy fire trucks. I believe these might have been called the "Dexton Fire Fighter Comet Sedan Pedal Car Riding Toy," because some fairly faithful reproductions are available for purchase, if you have two hundred buckeroos.

After that are two ways to enjoy nature without getting devoured by mosquitoes — an elevated cabin and a family-sized tent.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Just another Saturday at the office

I could do an entire spinoff ephemera blog on all the stuff I've kept, most of it now in envelopes, from my three decades in journalism, dating back to high school in the late 1980s. It would be heavily tilted toward the first two decades of my career, though, because I've made a conscious decision in recent years to stop being so much of a packrat, when it comes to my professional life.

These days, I treat work ephemera as if it's ephemeral, and 99.9% of it goes straight into the recycling bin next to my desk at LNP. Bad for future historians who want to do a thesis on newspapers of the 2010s. But very good for me.

Before it heads into the recycling bin, though, I'm sharing my checklist from yesterday's ridiculously busy Saturday here in the sports department. We had six high school teams win district sports championships, the state cross country championships and, of course, that seven-hour Penn State football game, thanks to the lengthy weather delay in East Lansing, Michigan.

As I do for every night production shift that I work, I made the checklist to serve as my personal air-traffic control and help me keep track of all the moving pieces while on deadline. Keeps me organized and keeps my OCD side from staging a mutiny.

Thanks to the great work of more than a dozen folks here in the newsroom and at sports venues all across southcentral Pennsylvania (and in East Lansing, Michigan), we successfully made our press deadline and got this sports section — just one part of a thick Sunday newspaper — out to Lancaster County readers.

Now it's time to make the Sunday checklist...

Lovely Lillehammer forest house
(but I would remove the skulls)

Let's keep this weekend's postcard theme rolling with this never-mailed card featuring a very old wooden home with a grass roof near Lillehammer, Norway.1 Here's the information from the back:
Lillehammer. De Sandvigske Samlinger.
The Sandvig Collections, Maihaugen.
Maihaugen features 200 structures and is one of Northern Europe's largest outdoor museums. It is also one of Norway's largest cultural attractions. According to Wikipedia: "The founder, Anders Sandvig, collected from old houses and farmyards within Gudbrandsdalen to provide a sample of Norwegian culture and history in a museum. He first started in his backyard, but when his collection grew, in 1901, the town council offered him a permanent site for the museum. In 1904, the city of Lillehammer set aside an area already known as Maihaugen and bought Sandvig's collection and established the Sandvig Collections (Sandvigske Samlinger), the formal name for Maihaugen."

Longtime readers know I'm a sucker for grass-roof houses, especially if goats are involved. Here are some more dandy dwellings:

1. I have no idea how it took until post #2,340 for me to mention Lillehammer. At one point, I was even trying to keep up with all my Scandivanian-themed posts. But I have fallen decidedly behind. I'll have to leave that to the staff archivists and librarians.

Autumn, The Atlas and D.C.

I'm not nearly ready to hand autumn over to winter yet, especially since we got such a relatively late start to autumn here in southcentral Pennsylvania. Only within the past 7-to-10 days has the foliage been been stunning; it was late this year, but it turned out pretty well and it's hard to top Pennsylvania foliage on the rolling hillsides.

So here's an autumn-themed vintage postcard featuring a booster rocket that once stood outside the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. The Capsco Wholesalers postcard has never been written on or mailed. It was once part of a postcard booklet, because one of the edges is perforated.

Here's the full caption from the back:
The Atlas, a rocket-powered launch vehicle with intercontinental range, which became the wheel-horse of the dawning Space Age as a booster for a whole series of experimental spacecraft. National Air Museum, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.
The National Air Museum opened in 1946 and, in 1966, President Lyndon Johnson signed a law that changed its name to the National Air and Space Museum. So that means this rocket and postcard are likely from sometime between 1958, when the U.S. first started launching satellites into space, and 1966.

Related posts

Saturday, November 4, 2017

"Looks a little like 'Leroy' doesn't it."

"Looks a little like 'Leroy' doesn't it." is the entirety of the handwritten note on the back of this vintage postcard of Lyman Run Dam in Potter County, Pennsylvania.

The postcard, an Ektachrome by Richard C. Miller that was published by Modern-Ad of Butler, Pennsylvania, was mailed from Port Allegany, Pennsylvania, with a two-cent Jefferson stamp sometime in the 1950s (the postmark is obscured).

There are more than a dozen places named Leroy (or slight variations of Leroy) in the United States, so I reckon the writer could be referring to one of those.

Here's the printed caption from the back of this beautiful autumnal scene:
LYMAN RUN DAM, located 8 miles southwest of Galeton, Pa., near Germania. The lake provides excellent fishing and the surrounding area is noted for good deer and bear hunting. Galeton, on U.S. Rt. 6 is just west of Pennsylvania's Grand Canyon.
The village of Germania doesn't have a Wikipedia page, but it does have its own Facebook page, where it is described as follows: "Germania, Pennsylvania was established by 100 Germans in 1855, looking for somewhere to live I suppose. I made this page so others from Germania that have moved away can still stop in and see some old pictures or post some of their own."

Friday, November 3, 2017

Utterly amazing 1959 cruise from Norwegian American Line

This is the gorgeous cover of an elaborate brochure that Norwegian American Line (1910-1995) published to advertise a 41-day cruise of the North Atlantic Ocean and Baltic Sea in 1959. Destinations on the New York to New York cruise included Glengarriff, Ireland; Oban, Scotland; Hammerfest, Norway; Balestrand, Norway; Bergen, Norway; Oslo, Norway; Copenhagen, Denmark; Visby, Sweden; Helsinki, Finland; Stockholm, Sweden; Hamburg, Germany; Amsterdam, Netherlands; and Antwerp, Belgium.

I believe this is a cruise that my great-grandmother, Greta, took. Lucky duck!

Here are some highlights from the brochure. Prepare to be floored ... and jealous.

  • "Join the beautiful motor liner Bergensfjord for the most thrilling of vacation voyages, a cruise to Europe's Northern Wonderlands, where lingering sunset bursts into sunrise during endless summer days. Enjoy first a leisurely crossing of the mid-Atlantic to Ireland and Scotland — a new feature for 1959! Then the romance of the old Norse Sagas comes proudly to life during the approach to the North Cape of Norway under the glorious Midnight Sun. The stately ship sails among thousands of lovely islands and through the most spectacular fjords — majestic inlets of the sea ringed about with soaring mountains, snowy glaciers and glistening waterfalls."
  • "Ultra-modern from stem to stern, the Bergensfjord is fitted with stabilizers for smooth sailing. She is air conditioned throughout, with individual control of temperature in every stateroom. She has both outdoor and indoor swimming pools, steam bath and massage room. .... Two attractive dining rooms accommodate the entire cruise membership at one sitting. You will enjoy fine food, served in quiet good taste, and there, of course, the added zest of the famous Norwegian cold buffet specialties."
  • "Many of Norway's leading artists and craftsmen were called upon to create the decor of the Bergensfjord. The paintings, tapestries, wood carvings and mosaics in her public rooms are all typical of Norwegian art."
  • "The charming Club Bergen is an ideal setting for bridge and canasta tournaments. There are quiet reading and writing rooms..."
  • In Geiranger, Norway, tours were set to leave the ship "by ferry for a journey through majestic mountains to Eagle Bend, with a stop to observe the Bergensfjord gliding 1,800 feet below toward Geiranger. The tours continue to Djupvatn [Djupvatnet], with its ever-frozen lake, and onto Dalsnibba, a 4,950-foot peak, before returning to Geiranger in the afternoon."
  • Special side tours, available by arrangement, included "an air tour to Moscow and Leningrad in the Soviet Union and a four-day tour by air and train to West Berlin, Frankfurt and Heidelberg."
  • And the cost of all this? Prices, per passenger, ranged from $1,050 to $5,200 (for the Leif Ericson Suite or Edvard Grieg Suite). The average price per passenger was around $2,300. I hope you're sitting down for this, because that would be about $19,200 per person today, which would work out to about $468 per day for a 41-day summer-vacation cruise.