Saturday, February 18, 2017

Two vintage postcards with comforting pastoral settings

It's a beautiful Spring day here in mid-February in the northeastern United States. So hopefully you're enjoying the outdoors and not sitting inside reading a blog about old paper...

Shepherd in Cyprus
"Cypriot shepherd" is the caption on the back of this card.

The Republic of Cyprus is a small island nation in the Mediterranean Sea. In the middle of the 20th century, agriculture and livestock were the backbone of the nation's economy. That has waned in the past few decades, as the service sector has risen to the forefront of the economy, while farming operations have become dependent upon government subsidies to remain afloat.

Previous Papergreat posts have featured sheep from France, France (again) and Parts Unknown.

This postcard has nothing to indicate its publisher or year of production. It has never been used.

* * *

Village and lake
Speaking of France, here is today's second postcard. It was produced in Strasbourg, France, and the caption on the back states "METZERAL — La Fischbœdle." Metzeral is a commune (township or, in this case, just a village) of about 1,100 residents in northeastern France. Its economy revolves around cheese-making and water-bottling. Fischbœdle is the name of a small lake within walking distance of Metzeral; it is the lake pictured on this postcard. It seems like a wonderful place to sit under a tree at the edge of the lake and read a book.

Stamped in purple on the back is the date August 21, 1946. But this postcard has not otherwise been used or written on.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Mystery real photo postcard:
Man and two women

Today's real photo postcard features a man with his arms around two women who are sitting in front of him. There are no identifications and the only clue on the back of the postcard is this:


That's not a huge help, though I did find a couple of Google hits suggesting this might have been a location in Taneytown, Maryland.

This is an AZO postcard and the stamp box, with four upward-pointing triangles, tells us that it dates to between 1904 and 1918.

And that's it for clues. All three individuals in this postcard look fairly youthful, but it's a bit hard to be sure. My best guess might be that we're looking at a brother and his two sisters. But husband-wife-daughter and father-daughter-daughter are possibilities, too, I reckon. Here's a closer look at the gang...

Other mystery RPPCs

Thursday, February 16, 2017

1960s science-fiction book cover: "Down to Earth"

But what about the book itself? Here's a closer look at Down to Earth, the science-fiction novel at the center of last night's Tucked Away Inside post.

  • Title: Down to Earth (the original UK hardcover title was Antic Earth)
  • Cover blurb: "A stunning science-fiction flight into the unearthly future"
  • Author: Louis Charbonneau
  • Cover illustrator: Paul Lehr (1930-1998)
  • Publisher: Bantam Books (F3442)
  • Date of publication: July 1967
  • Price: 50 cents
  • Pages: 187
  • Format: Paperback
  • Excerpt from back-cover blurb: "The Earth was little more than a memory for them — a memory stretching over time and the black abyss of space, a memory kept alive by the huge, three-dimensional images sent up to save them from the madness of their isolation."
  • First two sentences: The first incidents occurred on June 21, 2135 A.D. Dave Perry knew the exact date because a careful daily check of the chronometer had become a ritual.
  • Last sentence: "Huh!" said Jackie, as if he had thereby said it all.
  • Random sentence from middle: Now she hated bridge.
  • About the author: Charbonneau, born in 1924 in Detroit, Michigan, might still be alive as of the this writing. He'd be in his early 90s, and I cannot find any evidence of or reference to his death online. According to the "About the Author" section on the last page of this book, he served in the U.S. Air Force during World War II, has been an English literature teacher and has written for the Los Angeles Times. ... According to the Encyclopedia of Science Fiction, he "also wrote nonfantastic Westerns as by Carter Travis Young" and made his science-fiction debut in 1958 with No Place on Earth. Of his handful of science-fiction books, the Encyclopedia adds: "In all these novels Charbonneau tends towards claustrophobic situations in which his rather conventional protagonists explore themselves through action scenarios."
  • About the cover artist: Lehr is well-regarded in the history of science-fiction illustration. You can see large versions of some of his work on this post on the Muddy Colors blog. And check out even more of his artwork on Melt and Monster Brains. ... Muddy Colors states: "Along with illustrators like Richard Powers and John Schoenherr, Lehr's surrealistic works help define [the 1960s'] distinctly abstract style." And the Encyclopedia of Science Fiction adds: "while his works were not as extravagantly surreal as those of an artist he is sometimes compared to, Richard M. Powers, those two artists did contribute significantly to the distinctively imaginative style of sf art during that era, which for some represents the peak of the form's long history." ... A documentary called "The Visionary World of Paul Lehr" is in production, and you can learn more at the official website.
  • A positive review: From Goodreads (where the book has a 3.17-star out of 5 rating), Duane Colwell writes: "Very enjoyable. I read it first in 1967 and a couple times since. Recommended. Just finished reading it again, for, I think, the third time. Still a good story. Imaginative and exciting."
  • A negative review: In 2011, and Amazon reviewer with the moniker "Mithridates VI of Pontus" wrote [excerpt]: "The seductive combination of a beautiful cover by Paul Lehr, a seldom read author, a fascinating premise (well, at least from the back cover) appeared at first glance a glorious chance for the pen to wax delightfully on the glories everyone else missed out on. As much as the esotericist delights in searching through back catalogues of dusty books the lack of extant information/reviews on the work entails risk. If I had known the entire plot revolves around a vengeful/vindictive/insane man inflicting tortures (the PG-13 sort) on an unsuspecting family hanging out in space -- à la a watered down version of Michael Haneke's Funny Games (1997) without its postmodern deconstruction of our desire to watch violence -- I would have never spent my hard-earned $2.00 on a copy. ... If you find the book in your local bookstore gaze a moment at the Paul Lehr cover and set it back down. Avoid."

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Receipt and more tucked away inside 1967 sci-fi paperback

I recently purchased a used copy of a science-fiction paperback titled Down to Earth, and it was filled with "tucked away inside" treasures. Preserved inside the book were a small sales receipt and an advertising bookmark, both of which I believe date to the original purchase at a store in Michigan 50 years ago.

The first page contains, in the lower-right corner, an embossed stamp indicating that the book was once part of the library of J.R. Newell.

And there's a nifty advertisement, on heavier paper, for Isaac Asimov's Foundation trilogy that has been bound within the pages.

The book was published in July 1967 with a cover price of 50 cents. That information was helpful as I worked through the book's likely provenance.

And so away we go. That brings us to the first piece of ephemera tucked away inside — the receipt.

It's just 1⅞ inches wide, and the scan is difficult to read, so here is what's printed there...

PHONE 425-7550
20 JUL -7 5857
000.50 $
000.02 $
000.52 $T

It seems clear to me that this book was purchased new in July 1967 — the same month in which it was published. The cost was the original cover price of 50 cents, plus 2 cents for Michigan sales tax, which was 4% at the time.1

Ross Music also provided a nice bookmark — measuring 2¾ inches by 6⅜ inches — to go along with this purchase five decades ago, and it apparently never left the book. (The binding is not creased and you could make a fair argument that this book has never been read.)

Ross Music Shop was located within the Concourse of the Westland Center. It sold records, sheet music, paperback books and musical accessories.

And where was Westland Center? (With its rather generic name.) Through some searching, it became clear that there was only one possibility for a 1960s location named Westland Center that had a store named Ross Music. It would be the Westland Center in Westland, Michigan, located a bit west of Detroit.2 It opened with major fanfare in July 1965, including a full-page advertisement in the July 25, 1965, edition of the Detroit Free Press. That advertisement stated, in part:
"Westland is a community of fine stores and services in a beautiful new setting. A shopping center where it's always summertime, for its stores are joined by covered, temperature-controlled courts, landscaped with tropical plants. And Westland is more than simply a place to shop. It's a beautiful center to come and visit with its imaginative landscaping ... its interesting sculpture ... its many fine service facilities."
Ross Music Store was listed as one of the many stores for the grand opening, alongside the likes of Albert's Artiste Beauty Salon, Better Made Potato Chips, Hamby's Barber Shop, Raimi's Curtains3 and Triangle Furniture.

I don't believe that Ross Music Shop is still an incorporated business. There were multiple locations back in the 1960s; in addition to this one at the Westland Center, there was a Ross Music Shop at the Eastland Center in Harper Woods, Michigan.

I doubt that many bookmarks like this one remain after five decades. The best hope would be finding ones that were tucked away inside other books and forgotten.

Posting on a DetroitYES! message board in 2010, in response to the question "Where did you buy your records when you were growing up?" one user wrote:
"Bought my first LP at Ross Music Shop, at Eastland. Shopped at Hudson's there, too, but that was because I liked a girl who worked there. Ross had more of the English Invasion groups that I liked, and the proprietor, Bob (?) was hip and full of stories about rock n roll."
While I can't find much else about Ross Music, you can read more about the Westland Center in the 2008 post "Memories of Westland Mall" at Quasi-Interesting Paraphernalia Inc. And several photos of Westland Center can be found at the Malls of America website, with great comments on many of the posts.4 Start with this post and work your way backward through the "Previous entries" section at the bottom.

Finally, as mentioned earlier, here's a peek at the interior advertisement pitching Asimov's The Foundation Trilogy for just 10 cents as an introductory offer to get readers into the Science Fiction Book Club (which I wrote about last August).

1. Source for Michigan sales tax history: "The history of MI's sales tax" by Esther Kwon on
2. Fun fact: Westland, Michigan, took its name from the mall when Nankin Township incorporated itself as a city in 1966. (Source: Westland Center's Wikipedia page.)
3. Raimi's Curtains might have been owned by Celia Raimi, the mother of movie director and Royal Oak, Michigan, native Sam Raimi.
4. My favorite comment, appropriately from Anonymous: "I got busted trying to take pennies out of a fountain that was located in one of the department stores that was below and to the right of that clock. Can't remember the stores name. Santa used to set up right below that staircase."

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Enjoy this vintage "cubist" postcard for Valentine's Day

This cubist heart is sent to you
with a Valentine Greeting warm
and true

This old postcard looks like it would be right at home in Tetris or Super Mario Bros. I'm not enough of an art expert to say if this illustration would officially fall under the Cubism movement that began in the early 20th century, but it certainly seems that's the case.

There's no indication of the publisher or artist on the front of back. The only significant things pre-printed on the back are "MADE IN U.S.A." and "Series 514 B." Someone has written "E. Clap?" in pencil, indicating that they think the artist might be the famed and prolific Ellen Clapsaddle (1865-1934), but I can't find any way to confirm if that's true.

The postcard was never mailed, but it was addressed "From Lester Warner" to Howard Pollok in the village of Dansville, Michigan. Dansville is located in Ingham County, and I found a Howard Lewis Pollok of Ingham County who lived from 1909 to 1975. I think it's a good bet that he's the same Howard who received this Valentine. If he was a schoolboy at the time, that would date the postcard to sometime in the late 1910s or early 1920s, perhaps.

Monday, February 13, 2017

From the other great readers: Quests, socialists, knots & Mushroom Planet

When it comes to reader comments, I've spent a lot of time in the past couple of weeks with the amazing "Mark Felt Chronicles" (Part 1, Part 2). But, as usual, other awesome comments have also been submitted in recent weeks on Papergreat. Here's the latest roundup of that always-welcome and always-loved feedback...

1984 comic book advertisement for TSR's Endless Quest books: Tom from the Garage Sale Finds blog writes: "I loved those Endless Quest books. I still have a few I leave in the bathroom hoping my kids will get hooked. I'm not sure which book it was, but I remember one adventure where you come upon a bunch of slave elves and the decision is proposed whether to leave or free them. Well, of course I tried to free them. Unfortunately, once you free them, they attack and kill you. Taught me a valuable life lesson there. Don't trust anybody. :)"

1970 "Stop Pollution" first-day cover, octopuses and #FridayReads: Joan writes: "Well, I learned something new today about the plural of octopus, and I love these stamps, even if they do villainize the poor octopus."

Photos of Taftville/Ponemah Mill in eastern Connecticut: Seeking a little help, a person writes: "I'm trying to fine an old black and white photo of my grandmother with other coworkers at Ponemah Mill, Taftville, Connecticut, around 1940s. They were posed around the machines they worked. Please respond at I know there is such a photo. They all had copies. Mine was lost to a thief!!!"

Undated mystery photo of a plucky-looking young girl: Tom from Garage Sale Finds writes: "The girl's hat is similar to those worn in the early 1930s. Her boots are also similar to that era. There appears to be blurry Model T in the background. They were manufactured into the late '20s, so would have still have been in use in the early '30s as well."

Ephemera for Lunch #30: Glory to the victorious people! Regarding the handwritten Russian note on the back of this 1964 postcard, Anonymous writes: "Translation: 'Dear Nadya! I congratulate you with the 47th anniversary of the Great October socialist revolution and wish you the best success in life and get only excellent marks at school. 07.11.64 Verochka"

Some 1965 Amazing Stories ads were too amazing to be true: Tom from Garage Sale Finds writes: "re: 'WHY Buy Books? Send 10¢ for information.' For your dime, I suspect you would receive a list of local libraries."

Cool illustrations: The New Human Interest Library (Part 14): Jim Fahringer writes: "Loved seeing the many different knots from the chapter entitled — 'Things for Boys to Make.' It brought back many memories from my Boy Scout days. I remember so many of the knots but we remembered them by other names. For example the 'Sailor's or Beef Knot' was known as the 'Square Knot' when I was in Boy Scouts. One year while being a Boy Scout Lifeguard at Camp Tuckahoe we learned a new knot. I forget the name of that knot now but we used it to tie the lifeguard rescue boat to the wharf. It was a type of slip knot. In an emergency all you had to do was yank on the end and the boat would immediately come loose. The neat thing about the knot was that no matter how forceful the moored boat would pull against the knot when it was tied to the wharf, it would not come loose. I don't think I know how to tie that knot anymore. Loved seeing the various knots from this book."

Questions, answers & mysteries with Hookland's David Southwell (Part 2): Anonymous writes: "You should have asked [Southwell] about the influence of Scarfolk — it was conspicuous in its absence."

And Hookland's David Southwell replied: "Whilst I love and follow Richard (author of Scarfolk), I've never followed Scarfolk, nor Night Vale, because when people tell you what you do reminds you of X and that you and X represent some sort of pseudo-genre, you need to protect yourself and your work from being in the wake of something if you want it to bumble along being profoundly wrapped-up in itself. And trust me, Hookland is so profoundly wrapped-up in the peak 1970s Albionic weirdness that it is a response to, it's better that it doesn't get ideas of it being anything in relation to X, just carrying on with its own bumbling. Nothing harms the originality of any work more than thinking of itself as being part of a genre or existing as a response to another artist's work."

Scholastic Fest: #3, The Wonderful Flight to the Mushroom Planet: Paul Allen, a teacher and author of multiple blogs, writes: "Great write-up! I have written a biography of Eleanor Cameron due to be published this fall. I also have a Cameron website:, for those interested in more information about her and the Mushroom Planet. I ran into the same blanks trying to research [illustrator Robert] Henneberger. There's just nothing out there. But I did learn that he decided not to illustrate the final three Mushroom Planet books because he became involved with a religion that condemned the idea of space exploration."

Book front & back: "Love a Llama": Joan writes: "Personal vouching for llama hugginess. I love it."

Last week I learned about Maslenitsa

One of the many great things about Postcrossing is the opportunity it offers to learn to learn about the holidays, folk customs, folklore and history of countries all over the world.

Last week, I received this postcard from Natasha in Nizhniy Novgorod, Russia. The front features an illustration by Boris Kustodiev (1878-1927), a Russian painter and stage designer. On the back of the card, Natasha writes:
Hello, Chris!
Almost a month in our country starts a Holiday. Maslenitsa — farewell to the winter. It lasts for a week, when people bake pancakes (maaany pancakes :) ). And, the last day — Sunday — people burned stuff carnival. The holiday dates back to paganism and its traditions and ceremonies in pre-Christian (And it you can see on card.)
First let me compliment Natasha, who is in her late teens, on her solid grasp of English in conveying this history. She did an admirable job. I'm sure I would not do nearly as well if I tried to explain Halloween or Independence Day in Russian.

I looked up Maslenitsa on Wikipedia, and everything corresponds with what Natasha wrote. This Eastern Slavic holiday — perhaps the oldest Slavic holiday1 — is known by numerous other names, including Butter Week, Crepe Week and Cheesefare Week. It is celebrated eight weeks before Eastern Orthodox Easter (Pascha).

While Maslenitsa activities can vary, the main thing associated with the holiday, as Natasha notes, are pancakes, or blini, made with butter, eggs and milk. During Maslenitsa, meat is already forbidden and this is the last week in which eggs and dairy products can be eaten. Hence the mass production and consumption of blinis, which can be stuffed with cheeses and fruits.

Other Maslenitsa activities include parties, sledding, ice skating, snowball fights and sleigh rides. It can also be a time for courting, with that activity, and the others, then suspended once Lent begins at the end of the Maslenitsa week. Some of these activities can be seen on the festive postcard shown above.

This year, Maslenitsa will begin one week from today, on February 20, and conclude on Sunday, February 26. (Natasha wrote her postcard to me in mid-January. Postcards between the United States and Russia are typically in transit for 3 or 4 weeks.)

Here in the West, the holiday that corresponds to Maslenitsa is Shrove Tuesday, aka Fastnacht Day here in central Pennsylvania. But our holiday is just one day, as opposed to the week-long Maslenitsa.

Here, via Wikipedia, is another Kustodiev painting of Maslenitsa. (Click it to see it in its full glory.)

1. Per Wikipedia: "Maslenitsa has its origins in the pagan tradition. In Slavic mythology, Maslenitsa is a sun-festival, personified by the ancient god Volos, and a celebration of the imminent end of the winter."

Sunday, February 12, 2017

"Mark Felt" solves the mysteries of Papergreat's ephemera, Part 2

In recent weeks, a Papergreat commenter with the code name "Mark Felt" has left a bevy of great comments and insights on old posts. In many cases, these comments have solved or shed new light on some of the mysteries and myriad unanswered questions on this blog.

On January 30, I presented the first set of the Anonymous/Mark Felt comments. Here is Part 2, along with my continued thanks to this individual for getting involved in this little ephemera blog in such a wonderful way.

Vintage Halloween postcard: Running away from the ghosts (originally published October 24, 2015)

Anonymous writes: As your link [in the original post] indicates, Moreau Morris, Sr. lived from 1894 to 1945. His second son was named Moreau "Spud" Morris, Jr., who lived from 1924 to 2000. An even younger son was named Donald N. Morris, who lived from 1928 to 2009. This obituary differs in at least one minor detail, namely the spelling of his mother's maiden name ("Sinnerman" in the obituary vs. "Simmerman" at the site). Furthermore, Donald's name is not listed at the findagrave site at all. (The mystery thickens.)

Donald was predeceased by one his children, Garry Morris, who lived from 1956 to 2001. Sadly, Garry appears to have been a homicide victim. See here for details of the alleged murderer, who appears to have been subsequently convicted.

One of Donald's sisters was Dorothy Phipps, who lived from 1934 to 2013. Per the same obituary, one of Dorothy's grandchildren is named Jennifer Klinefelter Stover. Wouldn't it be karma to link back to Georgia B. Klinefelter, who features prominently in several of your posts?

* * *

Receipt tucked inside shorthand textbook from San Diego City College (originally published February 8, 2013)

Anonymous writes: Sales tax in San Diego County was 4% from January 1, 1962 to July 31, 1967. (Source: Since the receipt is dated September 17, it follows that the purchases must have taken place on that date in 1962, 1963, 1964, 1965, or 1966.

* * *

1906 postcard: "Four Queens and a Jack" and taunting from Los Angeles (originally published February 8, 2013)

Anonymous writes: The relationship between Orrin W. Lord and Ada Mason Fish was as follows:

Orrin W. Lord lived from 1867 to 1959. His father was James Russell Lord, who lived from 1844 to 1925. One of James's sisters was Dorcas Cornelia Lord Mason, who lived from 1841 to 1932. Dorcas's daughter was Ada Mason Fish, who lived from 1868 to 1948. Thus, the two cousins were very close in age, and, apparently, close in communications with the methods available in the day.

* * *

3 colorful vintage Thanksgiving postcards featuring turkeys (originally published November 17, 2012)

Anonymous writes: Charles Kennard was one of the founders of the Kennard Novelty Company of Baltimore, Maryland in 1890. This company was famous for producing Ouija boards in the United States. Baltimore is less than thirty miles from Glenelg, Maryland.

Mrs. Charles Kennard was one of two women: His first marriage to Caroline Barney Wickes in Chestertown, Maryland resulted in the birth of his first son, Charles Wesley Kennard Jr. and his only daughter, Adelaide G. He would later divorce Caroline and marry Katherine Hilbert. (Source:

An interesting article about Caroline, referencing a great-granddaughter interested in Ouija boards today, can be found here:

Of course, this may all be entirely coincidental with someone else by the name of "Mrs. Chas. Kennard of Maryland."

"Accept the mystery." — Joel & Ethan Coen, filmmakers.

Chris says: Full disclosure: My favorite Coen brothers movie is Blood Simple.

* * *

#24-26: Men getting in trouble (Postcard Blogathon 2013) (originally published June 6, 2013)

Anonymous writes: With reference to the card postmarked in October 1919, you asked, "Were people trying to tell the Ebens something?" By 1919, Ebens (in the plural) would have been sadly inaccurate. Frank Eben died in 1912 at the young age of 29, [according to the Reading Times in Reading, Pennsylania]. This is substantiated by this 1914 [also the Reading Times] newspaper in which Emma E. Eben is listed as the "administratrix of Frank W. Eben." Perhaps this explains the use of the title "Mrs. Emma Eben," as opposed to "Mrs. Frank Eben," a form of address which would have been common in the day.

* * *

1936 dust jacket: "Around the World in Eleven Years" (originally published November 13, 2014)

Anonymous writes: As we wait for the publication of Patience Abbe's memoir I, Patience, we can watch and learn from her nephew's video biography of Patience's life. Meanwhile, Amazon and numerous public libraries offer various books by Patience from the 1930s.

* * *

Six more neat things inside the 1964 Sunday News TV Week (originally published November 3, 2012)

Anonymous writes: Nathaniel N. Craley Jr. served as the only Democratic Congressman from Pennsylvania's 19th District from 1960 through 2012. [Source: My former boss Jim McClure's York Town Square blog.] The same article asked whether a Democrat might finally represent the 19th District as of the start of the Congressional term on January 3, 2013. We now know the answer — no and no:

1. No, because the 19th District was reapportioned out of existence after the 2010 census. (Pennsylvania now has only 18 Congressional districts.)

2. No, because York County is now part of the 4th Congressional District — represented by Scott Perry, Republican.


* * *

Vintage ink blotter supporting Quigley for mayor of Chelsea (originally published April 19, 2016)

Anonymous writes: The clue may be the Allied Printing Trades Council logo found at the bottom of the card. Appendix 1 of this source indicates that the logo printed on this card was adopted in 1897 but was apparently superseded by other logo(s) as of 1940. If so, the campaign of the younger Quigley would have used a more recently adopted logo. Thus, although this is far from a definitive conclusion, the "costly experiment" may very well have been by process of elimination the 1930-1931 mayoral term of John J. Whalen. Lawrence F. Quigley was subsequently elected to two two-year terms, 1932-1935.

The number "16" next to the logo represents the particular shop number which printed the card. As to which shop that represents, that is a mystery for another day.

For the same or similar logo printed on various other cards from the early part of the century, see for example, and

* * *

With apologies in advance ... Happy Halloween! (originally published October 31, 2014)

Anonymous writes: As for the Expo '70 card, this is from the 1970 Exposition in Osaka, an event similar to the World's Fair. The card is advertising the "Moving Arts Show," presented by the Koguma Theater, a Western-style puppet show or a "kami-shibai" (Japanese version of puppetry using tableaux and illustrations). In particular, the show lineup included the "Lotte Mates" (entertainment sponsored by the Korean food conglomerate Lotte, whose corporate presence is very large in Japan) and the clown Wimpey.

In Japanese, the name of the theater troupe ("Koguma-za") is a play-on-words with the term for the constellation Ursa Minor.

As to whether there was/is just one Wimpey the Clown in existence, that is a mystery for another day; still, here is a cute photo of Wimpey and his not-very-amused progeny.

Also, the Expo featured a performance troupe of costumed performers (something like the Mickey Mouses — Mice?!? — who wander around Disneyland taking photos with guests). Japanese-language source: (Best to use Google Translate.)

* * *

Theodor Kittelsen postcard: Trollkjerringer på Norefjell (originally published December 18, 2013)

Anonymous writes: More than one Trollkjerring (troll witch or troll crone) play a part in Henrik Ibsen's play "Peer Gynt." [Source: 2012 book Trolls by Gail B. Stewart.] The play is based on the Norwegian fairy tale "Per Gynt." "Peer" is an older, unusual spelling of "Per." [Source: 2016 Penguin UK edition of Peer Gynt and Brand by Henrik Ibsen.] American audiences are more likely to be familiar with the suites of the same name, composed by Ibsen's friend and contemporary, Edvard Grieg. Have a listen.

Chris says: You can read more about Grieg and Gynt in this August 2015 Papergreat post: Alex Steinweiss' cover artwork for Columbia's "Peer Gynt"

* * *

Deep thoughts: Is it ephemera if it's only on the Internet? (originally published September 1, 2014)

Anonymous writes: "I'm not sure I agree with you 100% on your police work." — Joel & Ethan Coen, Fargo.

The word "ephemera" stems from the Greek, meaning "lasting a day." By comparison, the Internet is forever — [2013 The Daily Beast articled headlined: "Dear Old People: The Internet Is Forever"]

Digital advertisements (or digital anything) are not at all ephemeral; rather, the cloud will outlast everything saved in drawers and envelopes or tucked away inside books. All the more reason to cherish our ephemera.

Chris says: I'm going to have to respectfully disagree, at least with regard to some aspects of the Internet's permanence and the idea of Clouds vs. Drawers. In my Lost Corners of the Internet series [first post here], I have previously cited a BBC article headlined "The decaying web and our disappearing history: Our online history is disappearing at an astonishing rate, creating a black hole for future historians."

I do not have confidence in the permanence or reliability of the Internet (which, I know, is an odd thing for a person who has devoted at least 1,600 hours to this blog over the years to say).

My first attempt at blogging,, circa 2002, is nowhere to be found in cyberspace.

The first iteration of Papergreat, a effort titled Relics ( is nowhere to be found in cyberspace. (It's OK. I printed the whole thing out years ago.)

As someone who has worked in newspapers for more than two decades, I can tell you that countless pieces of great and important journalism have vanished from the web. Certainly, it was deliberate human action — or inaction — that caused these pieces of history to disappear. But they are gone nonetheless. Hard copies (newspapers, printouts, microfilm) still exist, but in most cases you won't be able to find them online unless they happened to be captured by something like the Wayback Machine, which, despite incredible efforts, has preserved only a sliver of our online history.

Also, without getting too political, let's just say we're living in some disconcerting times right now when it comes to the preservation of online archives and data, especially at the governmental level.

So, my rallying cry remains: Print it out and stick it in a drawer!

* * *

Terry S. McMahon, ham-radio operator, drops Papergreat a line (originally published July 15, 2014)

Anonymous writes: Sad to report that Terry passed away in mid-2016.

Chris says: Thank you for sharing this news. I'm so glad that Terry and I had a chance to connect and share some of his memories before his death. Here is an excerpt from this obituary, regarding the incredible life he lived:
"Always excited by technology and inventions, Terry was a ham radio operator at age twelve and worked as a computer and AV consultant on many projects throughout his life. He was an early developer of holograms and created the first hologram with Georgia Governor George Busbee. Terry had a lifelong passion for Apple computers and was one of the first developers of using Apple computers to assist in [his wife] Polly’s early clinical practice with learning disabled and traumatized children."

* * *

Old postcard showing Teufelsbrücke (Devil's Bridge) legend (originally published November 30, 2013)

Anonymous writes: Altdorf is located by Lake Lucerne, basically smack-dab in the middle of Switzerland [map].

The von Matt brothers ("Gebr.", abbreviation for "Gebrüder", or "brothers") were the sons of patriarch Jakob von Matt. The sons included Kaspar, Theodor, Eduard, and Josef, with just one daughter, Marie. Details here [in German]:

Here is a photograph of the Teufelsbrücke (Devil's Bridge) almost assuredly portrayed in the postcard. If you're thinking of planning a visit to the bridge and want to steer clear of any satanic interference, have a read of various tourists' advice. The bridge itself is in Andermatt, about an hour south of Altdorf. Details here.

* * *

Lancaster's Hotel Brunswick, where you outen the lights (originally published December 27, 2014)

Anonymous writes: Joan's post about the Pennsylvania Dutch [German, really] adjective "stroobly" or "strubbly" is augmented by this extensive etymological analysis of the term (p. 140 of "An Analytic Dictionary of the English Etymology: An Introduction," by Anatoly Liberman).

If that analysis is accurate, there is a semantic relation to the noun "strumpet." Linguistics takes you down almost as many paths as ephemerology does.

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Saturday's postcard: The Howard Gould case (originally published April 7, 2012)

Anonymous writes: Here is the downstream genealogy of the recipient of this postcard, Daniel Stover of Valley Falls, New York. Fasten your seat belts:

Daniel Martin Stover lived from 1843 to 1914. He died in Valley Falls. Daniel had several children, including Peter L. Stover, who lived from 1882 to 1958. He also died in Valley Falls [second source].

(Note that the last site listed above was updated very recently, namely on January 13, 2017, by his namesake, Peter Lewis Stover — q.v. below.)

The earlier Peter L. Stover (1882-1958) had one son, Charles Agan Stover (1906-1993). Charles Agan Stover was the father of the younger Peter Lewis Stover. (Again, the younger Peter Lewis Stover updated this last link as recently as February 25, 2015 — an avid genealogist, it would seem.)

In fact, much of the Stover family tree can be traced to the family bible currently in the possession of the younger Peter Lewis Stover. This leads to the obituary of Peter Lewis Stover's mother-in-law, Evelyn Sierk Cady (1918-2013).

According to that obituary, she is survived by many descendants, including granddaughter Carolyn Stover — still a resident of Valley Falls, New York. No doubt Carolyn and her extended family members would be overjoyed to read your post about her great-great-grandfather's ephemera — which is anything but ephemeral.

Chris says: Thank you! I might indeed attempt to contact Carolyn with this little surprise. Of course, I'll first have to figure out which box it went into after I wrote about it.

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Reader comments: Memories of collecting QSL cards (originally published May 26, 2012)

Anonymous writes: Jim Fahringer's summary of the shortwave and QSL scene c. 1985 is an excellent snapshot of the intrigues of the pre-Internet Cold War era, redolent of high frequencies and short wavelengths of decades past. Unfortunately, many of the broadcasters he mentioned no longer issue QSL cards, no longer broadcast to the United States, no longer broadcast in English, or no longer broadcast, period — to wit:

On the other hand, Radio Havana Cuba still broadcasts in English to the United States and still issues QSL cards.

Finally, as mentioned in another post on this site, after the better part of a century, Radio Australia on shortwave just went dark two days ago (January 31, 2017). Have a listen to the lugubrious obsequies intoned by the last of the shortwave greats, Glenn Hauser.

To quote Mr. Hauser: "Sad." 73.

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1910 advertisement for West Laurel Hill Cemetery (Wanamaker Diary) (originally published November 18, 2012)

Anonymous writes: John Cromwell Bell Jr. (the nineteen-day governor of Pennsylvania) is buried at St. Asaph's Church Cemetery. Although close to one another, St. Asaph's Church Cemetery appears to be separate from the Laurel Hill Cemetery and the West Laurel Hill Cemetery. So is John Cromwell Bell Jr. truly one of the celebrities interred at West Laurel Hill?

Chris says: Excellent catch! Another history merit badge earned.

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An invitation to the 1946 Florence-Pope wedding (originally published November 25, 2011)

Anonymous writes: A litany of extended Pope family members (including the above-mentioned affianced Fletcher and Mary) are listed on this 2003 family reunion site. The most active Pope family genealogist appears to be one Sandra Pope. Although more than a decade has passed since this family reunion site was posted, her e-mail address may still be active. As a journalist, you may wish to give it a try, as bringing family ephemera to descendants and collateral relatives is a blessing.

Chris says: Another great tip! Again, though, I will first have to check to see if I still have this item, which I likely haven't touched since 2011. With more than 2,100 posts over the past six-plus years, I simply haven't been able to hold onto everything. I'm trying to stave off the "Hoarders" intervention as long as possible.