Saturday, July 29, 2017

From the readers: Family trees, travel memories, ghosts & clowns

Here's another round of dandy reader comments, including a slew of great insights and mystery updates from Mark Felt. Thank you so much, all of you, for your ongoing readership of and participation in this blog.

An odd warning on Page 1 of "The Midwich Cuckoos": Inky, who has a wonderful blog titled "On Shoes and Ships and Sealing-Wax" writes: "I love when books start with notes or disclaimers. The 'unimaginative' part makes me think of the remark on the 1946 cover of Peabody's Mermaid that says, 'If you cannot bring yourself to believe in the existence of a beautiful and irresistible mermaid, this book is not for you.'"

Emanuel F. Ness' 1924 guide to perfect poultry: Shadowy Ephemera Correspondent "Mark Felt" writes: "In addition to his infant son Marvin (d. 1911), Emanuel also fathered Paul Warren Ness and Lloyd I. Ness (a biological son, subsequently adopted by his aunt and uncle Edward and Lydia Ness. Interesting: Lloyd's aunt Lydia's maiden name was Floyd, the same as his mother Minnie's maiden name). Paul's dates are 1910-1950 (source). Paul served in World War II and died of "military" tuberculosis. Paul's death certificate (which confirms the names of his parents as mentioned herein) can be viewed here. His brother Lloyd's signature and address are affixed to the above-indicated death certificate. Lloyd's dates are 1912-1990. His biological mother Minnie died about six weeks after Lloyd was born; perhaps that led to his adoption by his aunt and uncle (source #1 and source #2). According to Find A Grave, Lloyd had several children, one of whom was named Carl Anthony Ness (1936-2014). Carl was better known as Pete. Carl fathered several children, one of whom is Donna Gonzalez of Pembroke Pines, Florida. Indeed, her Facebook page lists York, Pennsylvania, as her hometown."

Enjoy this vintage "cubist" postcard for Valentine's Day: Mark Felt writes: "Ellen Clapsaddle's signature appears on most (though not necessarily all) of her postcards — see here. Given that no signature appears on this particular postcard, it may or may not be her work. A companion card (514D) from the same series was postmarked in 1916 — see here."

Be careful looking through those Greycliff Girls books: Mark Felt writes: "A fear of clowns is known as 'coulrophobia' — or is it? Although the phobia is certainly real, the term itself appears to have been contrived in the last few decades. Then again, all words need to start somewhere, sometime."

Happy Sweet 16 to Sarah! Mark Felt writes: "Glee Gum (under the corporate moniker Verve, Inc.) was founded by Deborah Schimberg of Providence, Rhode Island, and was named 2015 Rhode Island Woman-Owned Small Business of the Year by the U.S. Small Business Administration (source)."

Charles Simmons' cabinet card: Mark Felt writes: "Charles and Mary Simmons were the parents of Elizabeth (6/28/1874 to 2/24/1937), Charles Simmons Jr., James C. Simmons, Ann Gregg Simmons Carver, and Mrs. Florence D. Baylis (source). Charles and his brother Samuel were in the lumber business. Ann's husband was Henry Howard Carver (January 1867 to 10/22/1946) (source). All of the siblings are mentioned together here. 'Several nieces and nephews' and 'grandchildren' are mentioned in the various articles referenced above, so you no doubt have second and third cousins in Delaware."

Confusion over date of William Penn's 1682 arrival in Pennsylvania: Mark Felt writes: "Kenneth R. Rinker was quite the philatelist. This June 11, 1941, edition of the Greensburg (Indiana) Daily News referred to him as a 'local stamp collector.' He was also city editor of the same newspaper (source). Many of Mr. Rinker's philatelic covers can be found posted at various links, including: here and here and here and here.

Pair of York County QSL cards: Mark Felt writes: "'Ernie' is Ernest G. Smeigh (source). As to whether it's Ernie Sr. or Jr., the mystery continues."

Vintage "Auto Bingo" card, just in time for your Sunday afternoon drive: Wendy from the awesome-sauce website Roadside Wonders posted the following on Papergreat's Facebook page: "We had a set when I was little for the 5-hour ride to Grandma's ... and vacations. My sister hated playing it — but it was either that or hours of me doing fake interviews into my tape recorder with attached microphone. My parents must have really regretted getting that for me for Christmas."

Want some ephemera? Course you do! Tom from Garage Sale Finds writes: "Hmmmm. You may be on to something. I've been trying to downsize my ephemera as well. Some of it is so obscure, I'd hate to recycle/trash it."

Saturday's postcard: Miss Hilda Trevelyan (and cat): Wendy from Roadside Wonders writes: "That hair ... I would be a miserable looking specimen of a woman if I tried to do that."

(I'm sure you would not be.)

Mystery at Penmarth: a Ruth Manning-Sanders rarity: Trevor writes: "Hello, I'm looking for a copy of A Book of Ghosts and Goblins by Ruth Manning-Sanders. This is the one with the illustration of a goblin and a ghost on the front cover. I really don't know what year it was published. I know I enjoyed the stories very much. Do you have information where I can obtain a copy? Thanks."

My updated response: It's a great book and not too hard to find. It's available in both hardcover and (multiple) paperback editions. The hardcover came out in either 1968 or 1969. Here's a link to the Amazon page for this book: ... The prices are pretty reasonable, compared to some other Manning-Sanders books. However, read closely on the Amazon book descriptions. Most of the hardcover copies do not have dust jackets, which means you won't get the cover illustration you might be seeking (if that matters to you). Another option is eBay, where you usually see the exact copy you are purchasing or bidding on. Happy hunting! If you're not too picky about the condition of the book, this isn't going to set you back much.

Halloween Countdown #9: Who on earth would wear this? Anonymous writes: "Making your own clothes was fairly common up till the early 1970s. It was a different world where families were closer and did these sorts of things. I can recall my mother dragging me into stores with so many colors of yarn, the ones you mention above don't surprise me. That was when the doctors still made house calls — in other words, a long time ago."

Sunday's postcard: Nebraska's Crowell Memorial Home, circa 1910: Erica Bruner writes: "I work at Crowell, and I was so pleased to see this! How neat! I maintain our photographs and help with historical info on our website and Facebook pages, so I love seeing anything new. I had not seen this particular photograph. Thank you for sharing."

You're always welcome!

Also regarding this Crowell postcard, Mark Felt solves yet another mystery: "The indecipherable sender of this postcard was one 'Mrs. A.P. Flye' of Blair, Nebraska (as the postmark indicates). Here is an obituary notice for Mrs. Flye's brother-in-law Alvan McKenney, who died in January, 1915, buried in the Blair Cemetery (source)."

Photos of family members reading: Tom from Garage Sale Finds writes: "In the picture of your mother, my guess is the book is a collection of stereographs. Looking at the pictures in the book, they seem to be 2 nearly identical pictures side by side with no text. I'm guessing the book would have come with a viewer you would set above the pictures."

Mom and her brother in Texas: Anonymous writes: "Who is the ghostly silhouetted figure to the left? Based on the obscured image of that person, and the fact that he (or likely she) is pointing in a similar manner as your uncle, the figure nearly appears as a shadowy apparition of your uncle."

My thoughts: I'm really not sure! I don't think it's my grandmother. It could be the mother of my grandfather (Jack Ingham).

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