Saturday, August 26, 2017

"Let the newspapers be kept!"
(Some thoughts from 1932)

While working on yesterday's post about George Manning-Sanders, I came across this interesting little article about the preservation of history and ephemera that fits in perfectly with the theme of this blog.

Here's the article, from Page 8 of the August 24, 1932, issue of The Manchester Guardian:
Keeping the Newspapers
At the opening of the new British Museum repository for newspapers yesterday Professor Gilbert Murray remarked that if only a week's supply for the fifth century B.C. was extant we should have a flood of light thrown upon those days; which is no doubt a true observation.

If an Athenian newspaper for the week ending April 4, 431 B.C., was in our hands we should have a fine example in miniature of the difficulties attending the peaceful settlement of international disputes, and a number of university graduates would be deprived of their present diversion of digging and guessing on Greek soil.

The new building at Hendon is the modern way of providing students in the next centuries with more certain, if less delightful, ways of obtaining the knowledge they seek.

But when we reflect that the newspaper as we know it has a history of only about 150 years, that in the future it may well be yet larger, and that the new storehouse in London with its fourteen miles of shelves will be sufficient for only fifty years, the housing prospect becomes terrifying.

The normal end of to-day's news is, alas! the grate of tomorrow, and though historians are entitled to the raw materials of their trade, the usual object of materials is to make from them finished goods. The writing of history has the drawback that the bulk of raw materials is in no way reduced by the publication of the book, and though it might be plausibly argued that newspapers in files are like gold in the Bank of England (and certainly capable of less harm), the thought of these warehouses springing up everywhere is somewhat appalling.

Besides, there are many incidents in human history better forgotten which someone will be sure to dig up. But we must be stern with ourselves. We must not run the risk of turning in our multitudinous graves because of the reproaches of posterity. Let the newspapers be kept!
According to the History of British Library Newspapers, Hendon (Colindale) was first home to a British Museum Newspaper Repository, which opened in 1905. The second Colindale facility, which opened in 1932 and is discussed in this article, was the British Museum Newspaper Library.

On October 20, 1940, a German air strike destroyed the 1905 building (the Repository), resulting in the loss of 6,000 volumes of newspapers — mostly late 19th century English provincial and Irish newspapers — and damage to an additional 15,000 volumes.

The newspaper archives were rebuilt, as much as possible, in the decades after World War II.

The British Library Newspaper Library at Colindale closed on November 8, 2013. According to a British Library press release, the huge collection was moved "to a purpose-built Newspaper Storage Building at the Library’s site at Boston Spa in West Yorkshire." The press release further stated:
"The purpose of the moves is to extend the life of the collection, which encompasses some 750 million pages of newspapers and periodicals, spanning more than three centuries, and includes local, regional and national newspapers from across the UK and Ireland and around the world.

"The existing location at Colindale is far from ideal for storing fragile newsprint, with few environmental controls and outdated means of access to the collection. The new building at Boston Spa will offer full temperature and humidity control, maximising the life-span of newspapers, and will have low-oxygen conditions to eliminate the risk of fire."
And so the preservation continues. They'll thank us, perhaps, in 2317.

Friday, August 25, 2017

George Manning-Sanders' short obituary from 1953

Ruth Manning-Sanders' husband, George, died in 1953, pre-deceasing her by what turned out to be 35 years. She never remarried, putting a huge amount of energy into her folk-tale writing from 1958 until her death in 1988.

With help from, I tracked down a short obituary notice for George Manning-Sanders that appeared in the November 20, 1953, issue of The Guardian (of London).

I know you can read the image just fine, but I'll repeat the text here:
Mr George Manning-Sanders, the writer and artist, who was injured when he was thrown from his electric wheelchair on Tuesday, died in the West Cornwall Hospital, Penzance, last night. He was 72.
An artist and art master in his youth, Mr Manning-Sanders later turned to writing. He wrote three novels and many plays and short stories. His play, "Mr Boyce's Birthday," became well known through being broadcast by the B.B.C. For many years he was a regular contributor of short stories to the "Manchester Guardian."
You can learn a little bit about the George Manning-Sanders novels and see their covers at these two posts: The jaw-dropping dust jackets of George Manning-Sanders' novels and Jaw-dropping dust jackets of George Manning-Sanders' novels, Part 2.

Other than a confirmation that it aired on the BBC in the late 1940s, I can't find anything else about "Mr Boyce's Birthday."

It would be a neat project for someone to go through and collect his short stories from the "Manchester Guardian." I'm not aware that they were published anywhere else. Here's one I found, for starters: It's titled "Bad News" and it appears on Page 16 of the August 24, 1932, edition of The Manchester Guardian. It features characters named Sampy Collum, Martin Price and Henry Pope.

Sarah & The Fortune Teller
and some #FridayReads

Earlier this summer, at Knoebels Amusement Resort in Elysburg, Pennsylvania, I tried to get a silhouette shot of Sarah checking out a fortune-teller machine. It turned out OK, but I wasn't completely pleased with it. The background was too busy, for one thing. So I used some photo-editing to try to turn it into something more artsy. Those results are above. I kind of dig it now.

And now on to Friday Reads, as we creep ever closer to Autumn in the Northeast. We're in a short stretch of unseasonably cool nights (in the 50s) here in the Dog Days of August, and it's a fairly dry stretch, too — nothing like the terrifying forecast of Hurricane Harvey bringing a meter or more of rain, plus damaging winds, to parts of Texas over the next few days.

Books I'm Currently Reading
  • Ring Around the Sun, by Clifford D. Simak
  • On Roads: A Hidden History, by Joe Moran
  • Restless Nights: Selected Stories, by Dino Buzzatti

Articles You Might Find Interesting

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Old bit of Papergreat advertising

Searching through some old files, I discovered this amateurish bit of promotional material that I created back in March 2012, when I had the notion that I was going to use the power of ephemeral advertising — note that it's the shape of a postcard — to turn this blog into the Next Great Media Empire. Five-and-a-half years later, I'm still twiddling my thumbs, waiting for Disney or Alphabet or Comcast or Penguin Random House to dial my digits. Or FaceGram me. Or something.

The main image on the advertisement is still one of my all-time favorites. It was first featured on the October 2011 post "A dark and stormy night ... and a good book." I've been collecting additional copies and variations of that Victorian advertising card over the years. So that's a future post you can look forward to. Maybe during the upcoming Halloween season.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

How to Recognise Different Types of Trees from Quite a Long Way Away

(Real Photo Postcard Edition)

It's a busy week at work, so here's a quick post with a pair of mystery real photo postcards featuring ... trees.

There is no identifying information whatsoever on the front or back of these never-used postcards. The top one is a split-back postcard with no publisher indicated. The bottom one is an AZO postcard that, based on the configuration of the stamp box, dates to between 1904 and 1918.

That might be a barrow there in the second postcard. Watch out for wights!

Monday, August 21, 2017

From the readers: Shakespeare, speeding tickets, school days & more

Whoa, this is the 99th post labeled "From the Readers," which just goes to show how much of a shared community and experience this blog is. Keep the comments and memories and questions coming, so that I can do another 99 of these...

A story in every piece of paper: Frequent commenter "Mark Felt" shared the following, which I appreciate greatly:

"Writing is about culture and should be about everything. That's what makes it what it is."
Irvine Welsh
(Scottish novelist, c. 1958 to the present)

It's about time one of your readers commented on your debut post.

Chris adds: Thanks! There is, by the way, a staplebound book by E. Haldeman-Julius in that photo from Post #1. And it's still on my list of future posts. We'll see if it ends up sharing the same fate as the Seth Seiders/"Pivot Man"/Al Capone post that I teased but never delivered on years ago.

Judy, a black cat and a ghost book: Anna in Spain writes: "Yeah that book cover is totally fictitious. No publisher, no colophon, no author – no nothing."

"Jim and Judy," a 1939 grade-school textbook with a York connection: Anonymous writes: "Was my first reader in Sydney, Australia. Loved this book. Am sad I gave it away when had to move family home. That was a big mistake!"

"The play's the thing / Wherein I'll catch the conscience of the king": Joan writes: "I love this post — and I'm glad to know that Ashar's great-grandmom was just as into theater as she is!!"

And Wendy of the terrific website Roadside Wonders, adds: "Go Ashar! Oh, you made me want to watch the movie version of Much Ado About Nothing again. Emma Thompson was fantastic in it."

I second Wendy's assessment of Emma Thompson's performance — in that movie and everything else, for that matter. Spurred by discussion of the Much Ado About Nothing cast, Wendy and I then went off on an unrelated discussion of terrible date movies, and determined that A Walk in the Clouds and Before and After were, indeed, two of the worst date movies of the 1990s.

Our family's funniest member: With regard to the note that my uncle typed up, he believes it might be from 1958, when his grandmother, Greta Chandler Adams, went to Brussels for the World's Fair. In that busy traveling year, she also took a cruise to Bermuda. So those are two possibilities.

Possibly my dream house, but I need to venture inside for myself: Tom from Garage Sale Finds and I had this fun back-and-forth:
  • Tom: A walled-up clock, eh? Is that a nod to John Bellairs?
  • Me: Absolutely, Tom! There's a hand of glory in that story, too.
  • Tom: I'd forgotten that. Coincidentally enough, I discovered the John Bellairs books at a garage sale years ago. I'd never read them until then. I thought they were great books and have always wondered why they weren't better known.
  • Me: Before I read the books, I was introduced to the story by the 1979 TV adaptation starring Severn Darden and narrated by Vincent Price. It was suitably creepy and memorable for 8-year-old me.
  • Tom: I've seen the TV adaption, but it was in recent years after reading the books, which is odd because I always rarely missed those kind of shows when I was a kid.
  • Me: I'm not really in a hurry to watch it as an adult. It cast a spell as a kid that I'm not sure I want broken by my adult eyes.

Putting a basket on your head is as good a plan as any these days: Mark Felt writes: "Mode is a feminine noun in French, and thus 'The Latest Fashion' should have been translated as La [not Le] Dernière Mode. Meanwhile, gotta love the now-obsolete diphthong in 'Diarrhœa.' The individual who 'presented' this card, Stephen B. Mann of West Galway, Fulton County, New York, was born May 15, 1852 and died January 16, 1883. Thus, the date of this card is likely not later than 1883. Indeed, the Museum of the City of New York puts the card in the 1860-1900 time frame. Stephen B. Mann owned a store (possibly a dry goods store with a pharmacy) in West Galway. Near the end of his life, he was also a Director of the Amsterdam, Chuctanunda and Northern Railroad (date of charter, September 23, 1879)."

That time in 1914 when my great-grandmother got a speeding ticket: Mark Felt writes: "Great-Great-Grandfather Lilburn would have been especially peeved considering his litigious pursuit of miscreants and scofflaws galore. By the way, on August 21 of this year, Great-Grandmother Greta would have been 45,000 days old."

Tom from Garage Sale Finds adds: "I'll bet she was doing at least 15 mph. Hellion."

It's (it is) important to proof every aspect of your book: I knew it was courting danger to write a post criticizing the grammar errors of others. Mark Felt writes: "Where do you stand on the four-dot ellipsis? Many sources state that an ellipsis should only be used in a quotation where some text has been omitted for conciseness without sacrificing context; yet even putting aside the requirement that it be used in quotations only, shouldn't you have used four dots ('on the spine....') instead of three, since the sentence had come to an end?

"Apostrophes aren't the only grammatical pain in the....


Chris replies: Touché. I will fully admit to being extremely inconsistent on the ellipsis. I toss those dots around like candy. It will probably cost me my shot at the Ephemera Blogging Hall of Fame ..... and rightfully so.

Old booklet for Harrisburg's Capital Roller Rink: Wendy of Roadside Wonders, writes: "Can you imagine 1,300 people at at skating rink now?? Great find!"

Scholastic book cover: "Mrs. Coverlet's Magicians": Wendy of Roadside Wonders, writes: "I don't know how many times per year we got the 'Scholastic' catalogs (the little newsprint that you could order books from) but it always felt like Christmas. Books were the one thing that I didn't have to beg my parents to buy."

Mystery real photo postcard: Well-dressed girl and chair: Commenting on Facebook, Wendy writes: "Stylin' and high-profiling with the rag curls," and Cindy adds: "Love that dress, very sharp."

Very authentic Star Trek postcard for Annika in Sweden: The Postcrossing postcard successfully arrived in Sweden! Annika writes: "Thanks for the lovely card, I love it :-). it just take 8 days for it to arrive, we are lucky this time."

DC Comics in 1973: "You will receive 15 consecutive issues for $3.00!": Mark Felt writes: "Item #9 is Shazam, which restarted publication in 1973, at the time this advertisement was published. Why bother paying 20¢ (or $1.10 or $3.99) when today you can read the first reissued edition here."

Vintage book cover: "A Cruise in the Sky": Mark Felt writes: "The recipient of this book, Lee Mather Brosius, was born in 1908, and thus was ten years old at the time this gift was given to him. Despondent due to poor health, Brosius committed suicide in August of 1951. He had been a resident of Mifflinburg, Pennsylvania, and had been an attendant at the Danville State Hospital for nearly a quarter century. His spirit lives on via ephemera, ironically intended to last for 'just a day.'"

RIP, Lee. I'll do my best to get your book to a great new owner.

Happy 131st birthday,
Ruth Manning-Sanders

Today is the 131st anniversary of the birthday of folk and fairy tale author Ruth Manning-Sanders. She was born on August 21, 1886. (Or, at least, that's the year I continue to go by. Some sources cite 1888 as her birth year.)

Here are the previous Papergreat birthday posts for Manning-Sanders:

And, if you're curious, there are now 50 posts, in total, related to Manning-Sanders' life and works on this blog (about 2% of all posts). Just click on the Ruth Manning-Sanders label here or at the bottom of this post to start reading all of them.

For a modest celebration of her birthday today, I'm featuring this old library circulation card and circulation card pocket from A Book of Mermaids, when a copy of that beloved Manning-Sanders book was part of the Contra Costa County Library system in California.

The card pocket features the "Book Selection Policy" at Contra Costa:
"It is the library's responsibility to provide material which will enable the citizen to form his own opinions. Therefore, the library provides books representing varying points of view."
It seems to me kind of a shame that the library had to explain itself in that way, but I guess they had to cover their bases.

A Book of Mermaids was published in 1967. It looks like the copy associated with this card entered the library system, at the Concord branch, in December 1968.

The card in this pocket might not have been the circulation card, per se. It looks like it might have been an administrative card used, perhaps, to record the status of the book. One thought I have is that SRV might stand for San Ramon Valley High School, which is within the Contra Costa County Library circulation area. Was the book loaned to a school library in the 1970s? If any longtime librarians can provide some insight, I'd be grateful.

The final notation, in red, on this card states: "Danville 9/23/88." Danville is one of the branches within the Contra Costa County Library system. Interestingly, that final date in red ink is less than three weeks before Manning-Sanders died, on October 12, 1988.

Here's another old-school Manning-Sanders library card, if you're interested.

This specific book, by the way, is still circulating. I put it into a Little Free Library earlier this summer, to keep spreading her stories to new generations.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Mom on Linden Hall's 1964 JV field hockey team

Continuing with the theme of relatives on school sports teams, here, as promised, is the 1964 team photo for Linden Hall's junior varsity field hockey squad.1 Mom was a member of this squad, though I don't recall her ever sharing much about this particular experience at the Lititz, Pennsylvania, boarding school. She's the third from the right, among the standing girls.

Helpfully, the names of everyone on the team have been written on the back of this 53-year-old photograph. So here they are:

Standing, from left:
  • Jayne Richman
  • Bonnie Ginsburg
  • Sue Mullen
  • Mindy Jansen
  • Nancy Chase
  • Randy Gaines
  • Ginger Martin
  • Cheryll Mitchell
  • Sandy Martin
  • Mary Ingham
  • Dee Crane
  • Miggy Markle

In front, from left:
  • Kittie King
  • Nan Todd

Those 1964 girls field hockey players might have been happy to learn that women's field hockey became an official Olympic sport in 1980. And they might have been shocked if you told them that, one day, the United States national team would have its practice facilities and offices about 10 miles southwest of Linden Hall, in Manheim.

1. Previous posts on this theme:
Pretty soon, I'll have to dust off one of the photos of me with the Strath Haven High School tennis team in the late 1980s.