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.

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