Monday, October 15, 2018

Old inscription and a lighthearted threat of missed turkey

The above inscription appears on the first page of The Sick-A-Bed Lady, an actual hardcover book that was published 107 years ago, in October 2011.

The book, by Eleanor Hallowell Abbott, is actual a collection of stories. It's not just one long novel about a lady who's sick in bed, because that might become ponderous quickly. The title page gives this fuller title (which clearly would not fit on the cover): The Sick-A-Bed Lady and Also Hickory Dock, The Very Tired Girl1, The Happy-Day, Something That Happened in October, The Amateur Lover, Heart of the City, The Pink Sash, Woman's Only Business.

The frontispiece, still protected by tissue paper, has the caption "That will help you remember where your mouth is," and I'll just leave it at that. The book is dedicated "To The Memory of Two Fathers."2

The last line of the book is "Across the young, tremulous, vibrant greensward I heard the throb-throb-throb of a man's feet — running." I think greensward is just a fancy word for lawn, and I'm not sure how it could be "tremulous."

Anyway, throb-throb-throb aside, the interesting part of this book is the aforementioned inscription, written in lovely cursive ink. It states:
It may be lots of fun to be a sick-abed Lady, but if you don't get well "P.D.Q." you'll miss the turkey.
P.D.Q. was a polite way of saying "Pretty Damn Quick" — immediately, directly, forthwith, pronto or straightaway. Does anyone out there still use it in 2018?

1. Possibly a prequel to The Sick-A-Bed Lady.
2. Possibly Greg Evigan and Paul Reiser.1

Secondary footnote
1. Do you think Paul Reiser got eaten by that xenomorph? Or do you reckon he talked his way out of it?

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Edward Gorey bookplate inside
Budd Schulberg novel

This nifty old Edward Gorey bookplate is affixed to the inside front cover of a 1950 hardcover edition of Budd Schulberg's The Disenchanted.1 The bookplate is copyright 1953 and thus is from the early period of Gorey's career, when he was about 28, and according to Wikipedia, living in Manhattan and working for the art department of Doubleday Anchor, illustrating book covers and sometimes adding interior illustrations.

These Gorey bookplates, from Antioch Publishing, are fairly collectible. This very afternoon, never-used originals are selling for $8.95 apiece on eBay. There's also — and this is the better deal — an eBay offer of the original box containing the Gorey bookplates, plus the last five bookplates, for $20 plus shipping.

As far of provenance of this bookplate, Thelma L. Kelley is a little too common of a name and not quite enough information to positively determine her identity. A quick Google search provided two reasonable possibilities right off the bat. Whoever is she was, though, she had great taste in bookplates.

To delve into previous posts about Gorey, start here.

1. Of the novel, James Hartley has this to say on Goodreads: "This is a book that deserves to be called a classic. Hunt it out if you´ve never heard of it; if you have any interest in drunken writers, the history and workings of Hollywood, the reality of being a writer, the hangover of success, hangovers in generally, or simply working with someone who is impossible to work with."

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Saturday's postcard: Little Boy Blue, and Auntie Em is mad

This postcard is a companion, in two ways, to the "Pretty maids all in a row" postcard from September 2015. First off, the publisher appears to be identifiable only by the logo on the back, which features a raptor of some sort with a ribbon and some arrows (pictured at right). Second, the postcard features another short note from Auntie Em to Gladys.

The nursery rhyme on the front is Little Boy Blue, with this particular wording:

Little Boy Blue, come blow your horn.
The sheep's in the meadow, the cow's in the corn.
Where's the little boy that tends the sheep?
Under the haycock, fast asleep.

This postcard was mailed from Brooklyn, New York, and postmarked on August 11, 1910, a day on which the Philadelphia Phillies defeated the St. Louis Cardinals, 6-3, behind a complete-game effort by George Lemuel "Long Bob" Ewing.

It was mailed to Mrs. Gladys Gorman, care of the McCann's Hotel in Highlands, New Jersey. The cursive message states:
Gladys Gorman
I'm mad at you, you never wrote me the Postal you promised me. Tell Auntie Mar little Johns papa did not see the man with the Boat as he has been very busy. But maybe we will take trip up for a day anyhow soon. Love to all & yourself from yours Lovingly, Auntie Em.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

From the readers: Sennen Cove, witchcraft and inspiration for a song

Esther's Field in Sennen Cove, Cornwall

Melissa Buron, who helped get Ruth Manning-Sanders' A Book of Mermaids back into print, sent me a recent email with the following information:
I was researching Ruth Manning-Sanders and I thought you would be interested to know that you can actually stay in one of the homes that she and her family lived in during the 1930s. She was a neighbor of the writer Mary Butts and is mentioned often in Mary's diary at the time. The home is called "Esther's Field" and you can see it here:
Indeed, the copyright for Manning-Sanders' 1938 novel Children by the Sea indicates that her address is Esther's Field, Sennen, Cornwall, England. So, yes, it's pretty amazing that one could now stay there for about £136 ($180) per night.

Here are some highlights from HomeAway's description of the dwelling:
Thatched farmhouse with large garden a few minutes' walk from a stunning beach.
Esther's Field is a stunning 17th-century granite house with thatched roof set into the hillside above the beautiful white sands of Sennen Cove with fantastic views of the beach and sea from almost every window. ... The house feels spacious and relaxing — you will enjoy complete peace and seclusion, while still being within walking distance of everything. The house sits in an acre of private garden with a large central lawn, an upper garden, a hidden garden and many little paths and areas to explore. You will find many exotic plants and a summer house full of garden furniture: tables, chairs, benches and steamer chairs so you can relax in every part of the garden. You can walk down to the beautiful white sands of the cove (lovely little shops and restaurants) in a few minutes: fabulous for swimmers and surfers too. The house also sits a minute from the coastal path so you can walk straight out of the house onto the breathtaking coastal paths and enjoy the wonderful coastal walks around Land's End and its many coves and beaches and spot some amazing birds, plants and animals. Esther's Field is beautiful in the spring and summer, and a cosy getaway in the winter months too with wood-fires and books to enjoy.
Here's one more picture, from the 50 that are on the HomeAway site:

* * *

Book cover: "From Witchcraft to World Health": Dad writes: "A pinch of clove, a toad’s ear, crushed worms, tomato seeds, vinegar. Bring to boil. Stir for 10 minutes. Put in a helium balloon and let it drift in the air until it breaks and drops like rain to cure the world. Witchcraft and save the world."

America, in a mystery snapshot: Wendyvee, who energizes the eclectic Roadside Wonders website, writes: "Most definitely a Buick Century AND you get bonus points for lodestar and sunkenariums. Winner, Winner, chicken dinner."

Notes, scribbles and doodles on the back of an old postcard: Alana Thevenet, who is mentioned in one of this post's footnotes, writes: "I am Alana Thevenet, the one you mention in your notes. William was Wilhelm F. Thevenet, who was born in 1870 in Wassergasse, Pforzheim, Baden-Wuerttemberg, Germany. He was married to Helga Klara Ellonora Paulsen, who was born in 1868 in Kristiania, Akershus, Norway. If you would like more information, please let me know."

Note: I'm definitely in the process of trying to learn more from Alana. Stay tuned!

Mix tape memories: Tom from Garage Sale Finds writes: "I was never hip to trends, so when my friend sent me a mix tape back in the 80's, I had no idea what it was all about. After listening to it, I still wasn't sure what I was supposed to get out of it. Was it a personal message to me? Was it his thoughts? At the risk of not sounding hip, I never did ask him."

From the readers: Treasured copy of "Andersen's Fairy Tales": Margaret writes: "I also have a copy of Andersen's Fairy Tales. #0546. The cover is different from yours. My book cover is mainly green with a centered oval picture of 2 children sleeping and a red outfitted 'elf' nearby. This book has 3 stories: 'The Little Mermaid', 'The Steadfast Tin Soldier', and 'The Snow Queen'. All translated from Danish by Carl Siewers. The publishers were Graham & Matlack. I totally agree with you on the dates of possible publishing. I think the fun of the research is as interesting if not more than some of these books. I did find an interesting tidbit online which made a lot of sense and added to my research about these publishers and many like them: 'This cheaply illustrated and printed book is a good example of how much borrowing went on among many of the publishers who brought out versions of many books in the decades after the copyright lapsed.' It explains why there are no dates in this book and the 'cheap' materials used. But, we have to remember, these books were also made for the folks who could not afford the pretty much more expense editions. So, yes they were treasures to the children who read these books and now the the many collectors."

Gravity gone wild, atomic nonsense at Mystery House in St. Augustine: Robert Robinson writes: "The was also a House of Mystery in Haines City, Florida, during that time frame."

Going back 45 years for a product that I'm not putting in the headline: Wendyvee writes: "When illustrators were taught to create fashion drawings, that used to be the prevalent 'hand style'. Feet are often just triangles with shoes. AND NOW YOU KNOW."

"Atomic Explosion and the End of All Things" By H.E.M. Snyder: Brenda writes: "Hi Chris, are you the author of the poem 'It Didn't Just Happen?' Someone submitted that poem for me to use in our church letter, and I want to get permission from the author to do so, but I’m not sure who wrote it? Was it you? If so, may I have permission to use it?"

I replied: "I am not the author. My best guess is that the author is the late H.E.M. Snyder, who was a pastor in York County, Pennsylvania, in the middle of the 20th century."

Advertising trade card for J.P. Julius piano store of York, Pa.: Joan writes: "Hey, we both get full custody of the ephemera. It's blogging open season. Seriously, this is very cool. I will make sure I add a reference in that Weaver post to this extra info. People are always asking me about them."

Postcard of "Wheatland" mailed 90 years ago: Wendyvee writes: "But I LOVE 'onery' people and cheap side show stuff!"

Creepy and dilapidated structures of the eastern United States, Part 1: Marc Lussier writes: "Hi Sir, I was looking for a photo of an old inn picture to use as an image to go along with a song I made and felt on your blog. Would you give me the permission to use it please. My name is Marc and I'm from Québec, Montréal. Your website is super interesting by the way. I saved it to my favorite."

Permission granted. Hope the song turns out well!

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Thank you, Norman Reedus
(Lost Corners of the Internet)

Norman Reedus, star of The Walking Dead, went out of his way this morning to do a really sweet thing for my daughter. Earlier this month, she had spinal fusion surgery to address severe scoliosis, and it's been rough recovery thus far, with precisely the ups and downs you might imagine would follow such a procedure. She's been a super trouper, courageous and hard-working, and has battled through the pain as the recovery has progressed.

But it's nice to get an extra boost here and there. And she got a huge one this morning when Reedus, her favorite actor by a country mile, gave her a shout-out on Twitter (shown above) and Instagram.

I bring this up not to crow, brag or engage in celebrity worship, but because — as I've mentioned often — I'm genuinely interested in how certain elements of our online culture, and specifically social media, will be preserved for the ages. This was A Moment for her. But it's not like she received an autograph in the mail or Davy Jones knocked on the front door to visit and pose for photographs with the whole bunch of us. Norman's nod to Sarah was an exchange that existed entirely in cyberspace.

I'm certain Sarah and other members of Generation Z will come up with their own preferred and innovative methods for preserving and "scrapbooking" the ephemeral digital moments that are important to them. This middle-aged guy, meanwhile, is just going to handle it as he always does, through blogging, screenshots and printouts.

Book cover: "The Iceberg Express"

  • Title: The Iceberg Express
  • Author: David Cory (1872-1966)
  • That name is familiar. Yes, Cory's Puss in Boots, Jr. In Fairyland was featured on Papergreat in September 2016.
  • Series: Little Journeys to Happyland (#3 of 5)
  • Illustrator: P.H. Webb
  • Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap, New York
  • Cover price: Unknown.
  • Publication year: 1922
  • Pages: 154
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Advertising material on dust jacket flap: Little Journeys to Happyland. Individual Colored Wrappers. Profusely Illustrated. Printed in large type — easy to read. For Children from 4 to 8 years. This series is unique in that it deals with unusual and exciting adventures on land and sea and in the air.
  • Is it "Profusely Illustrated"? No. That's a bit of an exaggeration.
  • First sentence: One bright morning in August little Mary Louise put on her hat and went trudging across the meadow to the beach.
  • What does Mary Louise discover? A mermaid.
  • Last sentences: Well, well, have we come to the end of the story, you and I, little reader? I'm sorry I've nothing more to tell you in this book, but listen — lean over to me and listen — I've written another book for the "Little Journeys to Happyland" series — it is called "The Wind Wagon." Isn't that a strange title? But I know you'll like it — yes, I'm sure you will. So don't forget. It will be published next year. Yours for a story, David Cory. The End.
  • Random sentence from middle: The opera house was guarded by a candy lion, and a fountain in the middle of the town spouted maple syrup.
  • Wait. Is this Hatchy Milatchy? No.
  • Goodreads review: In 2016, Ramona wrote: "Came across this original 1922 hardcover childrens book that my mom had as a child. Delightful little book that takes you back to simpler times — long before reading & using your imagination were taken over by sitting in front of the tv or playing video games."
  • Amazon review: In 2014, Searchtower wrote: "another old story, no gore no violence just imagination."
  • Other series advertised in this book: The Little Washingtons books by Lillian Elizabeth Roy and Tuck-Me-In Tales by Arthur Scott Bailey.

Bonus: From the endpapers
While the book itself is not "profusely illustrated", the endpapers are gorgeous. There are eight separate color illustrations — four in the front of the book and four in the back. Here is one of the illustrations from the front.

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Montoursville 2018: Hurr's

Advertisement for the Hurr's Dairy Store in Lock Haven from the August 1, 1964, edition of The (Lock Haven) Express.

When my family lived on Montoursville's Spruce Street in the mid 1970s, we were just a short walk away from our own neighborhood ice-cream shop, the Hurr's Dairy Store on Arch Street. Specifically, I have memories of getting milkshakes and Tastykakes, walking home and enjoying our treats while sitting on the front stoop.

Coincidentally, the Williamsport Sun-Gazette — Williamsport being a few miles west of Montoursville — published an article this past June by Wendy Chestnut titled "Fond memories of neighborhood ice cream shops." The article begins: "The wonderful idea of using cream to make ice cream in the late 1920s and ’30s didn’t go unnoticed locally. Some businessmen, such as John Hurr, rose to the top, just like the cream from which he spun his sweet confection."

The article goes on to say that Hurr's Dairy began in 1921, had its base of operations in South Williamsport, had its name on a dozen stores in the area (including in Montoursville) and spread its footprint across 11 counties. It concludes with this quote, about Hurr's, from George Holmes of Montoursville:
"It was a hang-out after school before we were of driving age. It was the 1950s so there was not a lot of spare money. We could get a one- or two-dip ice cream cone for 10 cents or a milkshake for 25 cents. The basic flavors were vanilla, chocolate, strawberry, teaberry or butter pecan."
While there was more than one Hurr's location in Montoursville, Holmes might be referring to the same Arch Street location that my family walked to in the 1970s. That Arch Street site was also just a stone's throw from Montoursville High School and was likely inundated with hungry students at the end of the school day.

I could not, however, find much else online specifically about the Arch Street Hurr's. So I turned to the "You know you're from Montoursville PA if..." Facebook group for help. Here are some of the great responses I received to my July 21 query:

  • Doug Boyles confirms that it was Hurr's ice cream on the corner of 4th Street and North Arch Street, on the east side of Arch. This jibes 100 percent with my memory.
  • Crystal Miller said: "It was owned by my husband's family, along with more than a dozen other locations, started by my husband's great grandfather and John Hurr."
  • Lou Ann Tom said: "That was Hurr's Dairy Store. My Dad Bill Miller owned the whole business and there were about 30 stores total in the area. He has the whole story about it written but doesn’t know who to give it to to print/publish it."
  • Denny Derr said: "328 Arch Street. It was first run as Murray's (my grandmother), then by my dad (Derr's — following WWII). When my dad moved our store to the Golden Strip, Hurr's occupied the Arch Street store. Gary Williams bought the property when my grandmother sold it mid to late 60's. Since then it’s been only a residence."
  • Eileen Vernarec Craig said: "Monday nights in summer was Dime Night — ice cream cones for a dime."
  • Vicki S. Miller said: "Anyone remember 'dime night' at the Hurr's store? People would line up down Arch Street to get an ice cream cone for a dime. I remember working there one of those nights when someone came in and ordered 20 cones and wanted them wrapped in wax paper and placed in a paper bag. Crazy night!"
  • Linda Taylor Fitzgerald said: "Hurr's had the best peanut butter fudge sundaes. I've spent my life trying to duplicate that recipe."

The Facebook thread raised many memories of Hurr's and other Montoursville family stores — including Eder's and a penny-candy shop. And there were so many mentions of peanut butter fudge. Someone should put together a book with photos and recollections, perhaps one of those Images of America volumes, before it's too late!

* * *
As this mini-series heads toward the finish line — and, yes, I'm definitely starting to run out of steam now that July 13 is so far back in the rearview mirror — here's an updated look at what I envision for the final posts:

  • Our house on Willow Street
  • Other sites around the borough (TWA Flight 800 Memorial, Cellini's, the community pool, etc.)
  • Old postcards
  • Final thoughts

Danville hospital and a note from Susie to Georgia

The front and back are separating from each other on this flimsy, deteriorating postcard, so its days are surely more numbered than the others in my collection.

Featured on the front are the grounds of the state hospital in Danville, Pennsylvania. Located near the North Branch of the Susquehanna River, it opened in 1872 as the State Hospital for the Insane at Danville. It's still in operation today, as simply the Danville State Hospital, and it helps "individuals who have severe mental illness and substance abuse issues." The hospital, designed under the Kirkbride Plan, is the oldest psychiatric facility still in operation in Pennsylvania and is on a short list of Kirkbride facilities nationwide still being used for their original purpose. For more information about Danville, this website provide photos and a deeper history for researchers.

The stamp is missing from the back, but the postmark is clear — October 9, 1909, in Riverside, Pennsylvania, which is located on the other side of the Susquehanna from Danville. (Full disclosure: I did not plan or scheme to publish this post exactly 109 years after the original postmark. It just turned out that way.)

It was mailed to Miss G.B. Klinefelter in Shrewsbury, York County, Pennsylvania.1 Here's the cursive message:
Riverside, Pa. Oct. 8/10/09
Dear Georgia,
I have no apologies to make for not writing & answering the cards you sent me. I thank you very much for them, if I wrote to you every time I thought about writing I think you would have gotten tired reading my letters. I am very sorry I did not write to you. Hope you are well, hope your folks are well. Remember us to them. Love for yourself.
Lovingly Susie
Related posts

1. Georgia Klinefelter has appeared many times on Papergreat. Start learning more about her in this 2016 post and this 2014 post.

Monday, October 8, 2018

October roundup of Postcrossing recipient thank-you messages

I mailed a honking-huge bundle of autumn-themed Postcrossing cards in early September, so it's time for another roundup of emailed thank-you messages that have come my way from fellow postcard enthusiasts across the globe...

Marta from Portugal wrote: "Happy autumn! I loved your postcard, thank you so much! I love autumn too! It's such a great time of the year! ... Like you, my hobbies are books and photography, but I also do ballet. (I didn't understand exactly what was the other thing [ephemera] you do.) I also hope we can soon have a world with peace, acceptance, compassion and equality!"

Bubbaboo (age 5) from Australia wrote: "Thank you for my card. I listen to mum sometimes, but sometimes I ignore her."

Lisa from the Czech Republic wrote: "I love the postcard very much! It is so beautiful! I understand your love for the time of year, too! The colours are divine and the air is fresh and crisp as you walk down the street crunching on the dried leaves carpeting the pavement. My dad’s favourite word Is 'autumnal'"

Akvile from Lithuania wrote: "Thank you for a beautiful postcard. I checked out your blog. It's amazing that you have so many hobbies and were able to put everything in a blog. There is so much different and interesting posts that it's easy to get lost. Keep on being amazing."

Gamze from Germany wrote: "Thank you very much for this postcard with a lot of things to discover. I love these kind of colorful prints where you see something different each time you look at it! Also big thanks for the stamps! I usually receive the same stamps on postcards from US, these are way more interesting. Your answers to my questions are very interesting. The #1 answer to the question with the dinner guest I have received is ... Michelle Obama. I also think that she is gorgeous! I wish you all the best and a colorful fall season!"

Helena from Belarus wrote: "Привет! Спасибо большое!!!!!! Открытка великолепна! Лена." That translates roughly to: "Hello! Thank you so much!!!!!! The postcard is great! Lena."

Nadya from Russia wrote: "I am in awe of this gorgeous card!"

Jessie from Taiwan wrote: "Thank you so much for the beautiful postcard and glorious stamps. I love them. Here in Taiwan especially in Taipei [it] rains a lot in autumn and it's getting colder. I don't really like this. Have a nice day."

Oksana in the United Arab Emirates wrote: "Thank you very much for your message. Nice pic, nice stamps and nice words. It's a real pleasure to read kind words from an American person after watching USA news last months. TV programmes really scare me nowadays and only real-people messages kind of make me feel more safe."

Sunday, October 7, 2018

Wear-Ever Utensils card tucked away inside a Bobbsey Twins book

This old business card was tucked away inside a copy of The Bobbsey Twins at Cedar Camp, which was first published in 1921 and was written as the 14th book in the Bobbsey Twins series by Howard R. Garis (1873-1962) under the series pen name Laura Lee Hope.

The business card is for Joseph P. Geubtner, who lived at 144 West Jackson Street in York, Pennsylvania, and was selling Cooking Wear-Ever Utensils. Geubtner lived from 1900 to 1982 and is buried in York County. Per a February 1946 newspaper clipping, he was set for the "Christus" role in the Oberammergau and Freiburg "Passion Play" at St. Mary's auditorium on South George Street in York.

WearEver was founded in 1903 (though the origins go back to 1888) and is still around today. Here's a bit of history from the company website:
"Alongside the Wright brothers’ first flight and Henry Ford's automobile, in 1903 the WearEver brand was introduced offering cookware made of an innovative metal called aluminum. The revolutionary cookware changed the American kitchen forever because of its resistance to rusting; remarkable weight advantage and that it would seemingly wear-for-ever. In fact, the aluminum WearEver cookware was so extraordinary, that in 1909, Admiral Robert Peary took the cookware on an expedition to the North Pole. ...

"By [1941], four out of five homemakers preferred WearEver cookware and it accounted for more than 40 percent of the aluminum cookware business in the United States."

Saturday, October 6, 2018

Saturday's postcard: The Munsey Building for Master Albert

This old postcard, which has been trimmed slightly across the top and the left side, features the Munsey Building and Battle Monument in Baltimore, Maryland. The year "1932" has been written across the top.

According to an article on, the Munsey Building was completed in 1922 and named after publisher Frank Munsey (1854-1925), who had added the Baltimore News to his publishing empire and wanted to move its offices there. The newspaper was later bought by William Randolph Hearst, eventually became the Baltimore News-American, and saw its offices move again, to a few blocks away.

The renovated Munsey Building now features "loft" apartments catering to city dwellers who want a bit of luxury.

Meanwhile, the Battle Monument on Calvert Street in Baltimore was constructed in 1815 and commemorates several War of 1812 skirmishes, including the Battle of Baltimore. According to Wikipedia, "it is an unusually democratic monument for the time in that it records the names of all who died, regardless of rank."

Because of the trimmings, some of the original information is gone from the back of the postcard. We know that it was mailed with a one-cent stamp that was cancelled with a "RED CROSS ROLL CALL JOIN" stamp and that it was postmarked on November 17, 1932, in Baltimore.

It was mailed to Master Albert Sprague Johnson at St. Mary's Industrial School for Boys on Wilkens Avenue in Baltimore. The school had that name from 1866 to 1950 and today is called Cardinal Gibbons School.

The cursive note states:
Dear Son:
Do you know what street this is? Well Christmas will soon be here, so try and be a real good boy. I know you can be good if you want to. Why don't you write home some time a nice letter to us all. Love, [cut off].

Friday, October 5, 2018

#FridayReads: Autumn 2018

Titan, the newest of our five cats.

Here are some things for your reading pleasure (or necessary displeasure) while sipping on apple cider or a pumpkin-spice latte while sitting under some gloriously colored foliage.

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Book cover: "The Vanishing Shadow"

  • Title: The Vanishing Shadow
  • Author: Margaret Sutton (1903-2001)
  • Series: The Judy Bolton Mystery Series (#1 of 38)
  • Cover artist: Unknown
  • Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap
  • Cover price: Unknown. Dust jacket is clipped.
  • Publication year: This book was first published in 1932, but this edition cannot be from that year, as the dust jacket lists other books in the series that were first published as late as 1946.
  • Pages: 218
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Dust jacket blurb: "Here is a mystery of the shivery sort, adventure that makes the nerves tingle, clever 'detecting,' and a heroine whom all girls will take to their hearts at once."
  • First sentence: "Hey, Judy!" called Lanky Edna Jenkins. "Get your nose out of that book and come to the mail box."
  • Last sentence: Judy waved her hand while Blackberry, who had climbed to her shoulder, waved the black plume that was his tail.
  • Random sentence from middle: And yet, even after they had left the hut, that black cloak and the sinister weapon haunted her.
  • Goodreads rating: 3.99 stars (out of 5.0)
  • Goodreads review: In 2013, Celeste wrote: "Pretty good, though the mystery itself wasn't that interesting or captivating, and it really bothered me how everyone treated Horace (including himself) for not embodying stereotypically masculine traits. I may or may not read more in the series."
  • Amazon rating: 3.7 stars (out of 5.0)
  • Amazon review: In 2008, Arlene wrote: " I started reading the Judy Bolton books when I was ten years old and bought and read them as they were published. They are top of the line books about believable people who have believable adventures. I would recommend them to everyone. Even as an adult (70's +) I believe I will start reading them all over again and share them with my grandchildren."
  • Notes: Margaret Sutton, who has been mentioned before on Papergreat, was the pen name of prolific author Rachel Beebe. She was born on on January 22, 1903, in Odin, Potter County, Pennsylvania. Odin has become so forgotten that it's no longer even on the list of census-designated places (such as Roulette) or unincorporated communities (such as Elmer) within sparsely populated Potter County. ... Rachel Beebe didn't grow up in Odin, however. She was raised in Coudersport, Potter County. (Maybe she put this house into one of her stories.) ... The Judy Bolton Series, all written by Beebe under the Margaret Sutton pen name, consisted of 38 volumes published between 1932 and 1967. The Wikipedia entry on the Judy Bolton series cites an essay by Sally Parry within the 1997 anthology Nancy Drew and Company: Culture, Gender, and Girls' Series. In Parry's essay, she opines that Judy Bolton is a better feminist role model than Nancy Drew because "Nancy Drew is more likely to uphold the ideological status quo, while Judy Bolton is more likely to restore moral rather than legal order, because her mysteries tend to emphasize human relationships over material possessions." Also, unlike Nancy Drew, Judy Bolton often enlists the aid of family members and friends in solving mysteries; she "works in a collaborative way that subverts dominant values," Parry writes. ... On the website Vintage Series Books for Girls ... and a Few for Boys, Jennifer White adds: "The Judy Bolton series never attained the high sales of the Nancy Drew series but did command a very loyal following amongst its many readers. Judy Bolton is a real girl with real emotions and faces many of the same problems that face teenagers. Judy has friends that are both wealthy and poor. The main selling point for the Judy Bolton series was that each adventure was 'based on something that actually happened.'"
  • A bit of kismet: Finally, one of my stops for researching this post was and I was surprised to learn that today (October 4, 2018) is the start of a four-day July Bolton Weekend at the Westgate Inn in Coudersport. The website states: "Since 1991, fans have gathered in picturesque Potter County to explore the real life sites that served as inspiration for the Judy Bolton Mystery Series, to discuss the books, and to honor the author." This year's events include a wine-and-cheese reception; a focus on book #19 The Secret of the Musical Tree, a daylong tour of Potter County sites featured in the books; the annual Judy Bolton Trivia Contest; and the presentation of the Susabella Passengers and Friends 2018 Margaret Sutton Writer's Award. The four-day event also coincides with Coudersport's Falling Leaves Outdoor Festival.

Bonus: The (amazing) endpapers

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Early 1900s postcard showing path to Wissahickon's Devil's Pool

This postcard, from the first decade of the 20th century, has the caption: "Pathway near the Devil's Pool. Wissahickon, Philadelphia, Pa."

The Devil's Pool has been the sight of many deaths and injuries over the years, because, in a nutshell, humans are not bright. Many thrill-seekers (mostly young ones) travel there to swim or dive. Some don't come out alive. Here's an excerpt from "The Eternal Lure of Devil's Pool," an excellent article by Claire Sasko that was published by Philadelphia magazine in July 2015:
"Alex Bartlett, an archivist at the Chestnut Hill Historical Society, says no one knows exactly where the name 'Devil's Pool' comes from. But he's pretty sure it stems from an old legend, a sort of urban myth, that the Native American Lenape tribe considered the pool an interface between good and evil.

"The site is maintained by Friends of the Wissahickon, a 1,600-member non-profit preservation organization. FOW executive director Maura McCarthy says Devil's Pool is the most trafficked area in the Wissahickon Valley Park. The organization last tallied visitors in 2012, counting 400 people in about a 10-hour time span — and only those trekking from Valley Green Inn, one of the two entrances (the pool can also be accessed from Livezey Lane). Devil’s Pool sits at the intersection of three Philadelphia neighborhoods — Chestnut Hill, Mount Airy and Roxborough — but it also attracts people from hours away, McCarthy says."
This past summer saw a doubling-down on efforts to keep swimmers safe and away from Devil's Pool. Here are some recent articles:

Meanwhile, we know that this postcard was mailed in 1910 because of the date included with the cursive message. That's good, because the partial PHILADELPHIA postmark and the STATION S stamp cancellation wouldn't have given us much help in dating. The card was mailed to Mrs. Ella F. Ward in Fitchburg, Massachusetts. This is the message:
Phila, Pa. 12-22-10
Ideal Friend:— Please ex. cards with Ideal 12709 and Oblige J.E. Turner [?] Box 2905 Phila. Pa. Please ans soon. Yours for a Merry Xmas.
It sounds as if "Ideal Friend" was a postcard exchange not unlike today's Postcrossing. Such exchanges were a big deal early in the 20th century. Here's a lightly edited excerpt from a MetroPostcard article titled "The Peak and Decline of the Golden Age 1907-1913":
"Adding to demand was public's growing interest in collecting cards, not just using them for correspondence. ... While many other collecting manias visited this time, it was the postcard album that families kept in their parlor, where it became the centerpiece of social gatherings. The production of most other types of paper collectables dating from older traditions faded away as it was replaced by this new desire. Postcard exchange clubs arose like The Jolly Jokers, which had more than 2300 members; The Society for the Promulgation of Post Cards with 5,000 members; and the Post Card Union with an astounding 10,000 members. Those who couldn't fathom the changing times often referred to these clubs as cults. Soon card dealers began to outnumber booksellers."

Monday, October 1, 2018

Montoursville 2018:
Our second house

This is what I looked like around Thanksgiving 1977, when I was nearly 7 years old and we were living in our second house in Montoursville, on Spruce Street. We moved there from Mulberry Street sometime in the mid-1970s, and we remained on Spruce Street until the summer of 1978, when we moved to Clayton, New Jersey. I believe we were on Spruce Street for a little less than three years.

It was a cozy little neighborhood, not that I knew anything otherwise at that time. There was a church on the corner (still is), plenty of kids my age running around, and an ice-cream shop right around the corner (more on that in a future post). The house was just a few blocks from Lyter Elementary School, so I often walked there in the mornings during first grade.

I've driven and walked past the Spruce Street house several times over the past 15 years. Unlike my false start finding the Mulberry Street house this past summer, the Spruce Street house is always easy to find, with its distinctive front and with the church on the corner serving as a landmark.

Spruce Street, mid 1970s
Here is a trio of photos, from the family snapshots, of the house in the mid 1970s. At one point there were faux shutters. Maybe they've come on and off over the years. I'm not sure what the chronological order is for these shots, though the first one is marked as being from 1976.

Spruce Street, 2018
And here are my photos from July 13, 2018...

In no particular order, here are some of my recollections of living on Spruce Street with Mom, Dad and my younger sister, Adriane, who was born in 1974, while we were still on Mulberry Street.

  • I spent a lot of time playing in the basement, with various Fisher-Price toys, including their famous record player and, to the best of my recollection, the circus train and the jet airplane. The furnace glowed orange through its grill, but I don't recall being particularly scared of it.
  • The house had an enclosed side porch, on the left side if you're looking at the house from the front. I recall sitting out there during storms and learning to count after each lightning strike, to gauge the proximity of the thunderbumper.
  • To my knowledge, there are no family photos of my bedroom. I recall that I had a 45-rpm record player and probably a radio. I remember listening to Shaun Cassidy's "Da Doo Ron Ron" and I recall composing a song titled "One Day I Picked Up a Rabbit."
  • Dad writes: "Both of you had your own bedroom. Adriane in a crib, Chris in a twin bed. Sang to Adriane each night with Grover on my hand. I still chuckle. That was when things were good."
  • One day, however, I almost turned myself into a Darwin Award recipient. I was going around the house trying to find uses for a skeleton key, and I stuck it straight into an electric outlet. I got shocked. Dad got mad (justifiably so).
  • There was a small breakfast nook in the back of the kitchen. I remember decorating Christmas cookies there.
  • Somehow, there grew a legend that one blizzard brought snow to the very top of the light pole in the front yard. I suspect the only way that's true is if shoveled or plowed snow piled up next to the pole.
  • Our neighbors across the street were the Goodspeeds, and they had two daughters. We played together often.
  • Once, Dad brought home an amazing piece of technology called a tape recorder. It provided hours of amusement.
  • I remember the Easter egg hunts at this house. And I remember there was a smell when one of the hard-boiled eggs went undiscovered for a few weeks. (Always count your eggs, parents.)
  • Adriane and I had the chicken pox in this house.
  • I was an absolute brat at one of my birthday parties, stomping upstairs (or perhaps being sent to my room) when things didn't go my way and I threw a mini-tantrum.
  • We had the game Mouse Trap, and I swallowed one of those metal balls. I'm assuming it's not still inside me, but who knows?
  • While we were living at this house, Dad taught me to ride a bicycle. We used the church parking lot for practice.
  • This is the house where a door-to-door salesman sold us the plastic Whirley mugs that I wrote about extensively in 2012. (Post #1, Post #2)
  • I remember exploring in the backyard and Mom teaching us about honeysuckle, clover, peppermint and a tiny leaf that tasted like pickle if you chewed it.
  • But if Mom got mad, there was a wooden spoon in the kitchen. She had only to mention it to end any disobedience. It was never actually deployed.

Inside Spruce Street house, mid-1970s
To close out this post, here are some old snapshots from inside the house...

This one is marked "Christmas 1976." I still have the little white rocking chair.

This is a repeat of the photo I wrote about last December.

This one is stamped May 1978, so it's probably from Christmas 1977. There's so much in this photo! I ended up inheriting all those old photos on the wall. I might still have one or two of the Christmas decorations, including the stocking hanging toward the right. I LOVED playing with sets of wooden blocks; that was my go-to activity for years. The cobbler's bench and clock atop the television are still in the family. That's one of the weights from a cuckoo clock hanging on the wall, to the right. I mentioned in this post the things that I remember watching on TV when we lived on Spruce Street.

Sunday, September 30, 2018

Mystery photo of 3 women outside (likely in 1937)

This old snapshot, which measures 2¾ inches wide, features three women standing side-by-side in a backyard or field. In the far background, on the left, are what appear to be a pair of haystacks, but that's just my guess.

There is some writing, in different pens, on the back of the photograph. In black ink is the number "1937," so I'm guessing it's likely that's the year of the photograph. Other writing states:

  • 13—
  • 730—
  • Dec. 7 (or Dec. 700)

Click on the Mysteries label here or at the bottom of this post for more mystery snapshots and real photo postcards from the archives.

Saturday, September 29, 2018

Sci-fi book cover: "Where Late the Sweet Birds Sang"

  • Title: Where Late the Sweet Birds Sang
  • Author: Kate Wilhelm (1928-2018)
  • Cover artist: Ed Soyka (per
  • Publisher: Pocket Books (80912)
  • Cover price: $1.75
  • Publication date: January 1977
  • Pages: 207
  • Format: Paperback
  • Provenance: This used copy appears to have gone unread and unmarked for more than four decades. I intend to rectify that.
  • Accolades: The Hugo Award for Best Novel in 1977, the Locus Award for best novel in 1977, and the Jupiter Award in 1977.
  • Back-cover excerpt: "When the first warm breeze of Doomsday came wafting over the Shenandoah Valley, the Sumners were ready."
  • First sentence: "What David always hated most about the Sumner family dinners was the way everyone talked about him as if he were not there."
  • Last sentence: "Because all the children were different."
  • Random sentence from middle: "He learned to walk and talk early; he began to read when he was four, and for long periods he would curl up near the fireplace with one of the brittle books from the downstairs library."
  • Goodreads rating: 3.87 stars (out of 5.0)
  • Goodreads review excerpt (non-spoiler): In 2010, Sandi wrote: "I found Wilhelm's prose to be beautiful. Her descriptions of the Shenandoah Valley are richly detailed. She brings each season to life in the imagination with words. The problems I had with the story were mainly with the SF details."
  • Amazon rating: 4.2 stars (out of 5.0)
  • Amazon review excerpt (non-spoiler): In 2002, Patrick Shepherd wrote: "This book took the 1977 Hugo Award, and as well told exposition of one the major philosophical battles that man faces today and in the future, it deserved it. But it is a definite 'thinking' book, not one of action, grand drama, or deep psychology. Expect to do some internal reflection when you finish this book, and see how you stack up as an individual versus your place in and responsibilities to your surrounding society."
  • Amazon review regarding women writing science fiction: In 2016, Martyn Wheeler wrote: "For those who think there were no significant female authors in SF in the 20th Century — and I have actually read articles that essentially say that female-written SF is a New Thing in the 2010s — you should explore Kate Wilhelm (and C.J. Cherryh, Ursula Le Guin, and one of my personal favorites, James Tiptree Jr. (a.k.a Alice Sheldon). [Wilhelm's] Hugo Award-winning Where Late the Sweet Birds Sang is a good place to start. Themes and technologies that ring as true today as in the 70s, a logical progression of viewpoint characters, and an epic of whether humanity can survive what we're doing to the world. Brilliant."
  • Notes: The title is from one of William Shakespeare's sonnets. ... Wilhelm (pictured at right), who died a little less than seven months ago, was a prolific author of science fiction, mystery, and suspense fiction. According to Wikipedia, "Katie Gertrude Meredith was born in Toledo, Ohio, daughter of Jesse and Ann Meredith. She graduated from high school in Louisville, Kentucky, and worked as a model, telephone operator, sales clerk, switchboard operator, and underwriter for an insurance company." Now that she's gone, it probably won't be long before her final website becomes a Lost Corner of the Internet, so here's an excerpt from one of her notes to readers, on October 23, 2011:
    "I'm surfacing from a deep sea of concentration, trying to finish up a new Barbara Holloway novel. I'm grateful to all of you for your posts over the past weeks. I'm also sorry that I couldn't bring to this site the various posts that accumulated in a previous website. To get to some of the questions raised here: Heaven is High was set in about 1982. I wrote it recently but it was on my mind for a long time and I finally yielded to the impulse to fill in that blank, how Barbara met Martin and Binnie and why the enduring friendship developed. It also amused me to think that my readers will know something that Frank will never know. It was strange to write of a time before cellphones and modern computers. Such a short time ago and such big changes. I also wanted to write about Belize before it became a destination point for diving and such."
    ... Fellow science-fiction author Spider Robinson once said that Wilhelm "is one of the best practitioners of the short story in or out of SF." Two of her collections I'm hoping to come across some day are The Infinity Box and The Downstairs Room. ... Changing gears, there wasn't much to find about the cover illustrator, Ed (or Edward) Soyka, and I wasn't the first one to go looking. On the website Reprehensible Digest, self-described as the "official media center for eccentric illustrator Blacktooth," this has been written about Soyka:
    "Internet searches have revealed little information in regards to this obscure illustrator, but he was clearly an active force during the 1970s. Soyka's first known published works emerged in 1969, after which he became a regular hand in the science fiction and horror genre. ... Despite his lack of commercial appeal, Soyka was one of the true masters of relentless psychotic imagery. His frightening illustrations were unsettling in nature and often featured grotesque characters drained of humanity — as if their very souls were pickled in formaldehyde. The children were creepy. The landscapes felt ugly and stark. Even his best attempts at playing nice resulted in disjointed dry nightmares."
    Interestingly, I don't think much of that applies to Soyka's imagery for this cover of Where Late the Sweet Birds Sang.

Saturday's postcard: Climbing the stairs at Penn State's Old Main

This linen postcard, mailed in July 1954 and featuring a "FIGHT YOUR INSECT ENEMIES" stamp cancellation, features historic Old Main on the campus of The Pennsylvania State College. (It actually became The Pennsylvania State University in 1953, thanks in part to Milton S. Eisenhower.)

Old Main dates to 1867, though the current version of the building is from 1930. (You can see the original building here.) It is — and I didn't know this — part of the Farmers' High School National Historic District, which includes 37 buildings in the central portion of the Penn State campus.

Old Main was still used for classes when this postcard was mailed. But, by the middle to late 1960s, it was used solely for administrative offices. As such, it became a focal point for students to stage protests from the Civil Rights era forward to present day.

This postcard was mailed to Mrs. Curtis Bupp in Manchester, Pennsylvania, and features the following note, in neat cursive:
Dear Mrs. Bupp,
Greetings from Penn State. I am a student once again. I climb four flights of steps to get to my class in this building. No danger that I will gain too much weight this summer. I hope that you are having a very nice summer.
Clara M. Cassel
Clara might have been a teacher who was at Penn State that summer for continuing education classes. I found a news item in the April 1, 1946, edition of The Gazette and Daily of York, Pennsylvania, which might refer to the same woman.
Manchester High Students Organize
Council to Study Use of Atomic Energy

Manchester — In homeroom periods on Friday morning, students of Manchester High school organized a Youth Council on the Atomic Crisis. Approximately 100 students joined this organization, which is modeled on a similar council founded by the students of the Oak Ridge, Tennessee, High school, where the atom bomb was developed. This is a large sized project which many high schools throughout the country have adopted. The purpose of the organization is to have the students learn the facts about atomic energy and to strive to have atomic energy dedicated to peace.

The students will be given a chance to study the problem of the atom and its use through lectures in assemblies and in the classroom and through pamphlets with which the school library will soon be supplied. The faculty as a whole comprise the advisory committee. Miss Clara M. Cassel and Mr. Herbert C. Lefever are faculty sponsors.
Final interesting fact: Manchester, Pennsylvania, is four or five miles, as the crow flies, from Three Mile Island.

Friday, September 28, 2018

Our July 1982 calendar

I thought I'd share the Otto family calendar page from, ahem, July 1982, when I was 11 years old. Funny how you can just dig these things up at a moment's notice, isn't it? We were living on Willow Street in Montoursville at this time, and July was filled with swim lessons, Boy Scout meetings, a three-day Boy Scout camping trip (possibly Camp Karoondinha), some birthdays, a trip to Houston to visit my Uncle Charles and his family1, and other assorted events.

I believe the only handwriting on this page that's mine is the word "SCOUTS" on Tuesdays and the listing for Uncle Charles' and Pappy's birthdays on July 26.

1. I think we saw Nolan Ryan's 200th career victory at the Astrodome on July 27, 1982.

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Advertising trade card for J.P. Julius piano store of York, Pa.

This 2¾-inch-wide tattered advertising trade card was first featured seven years ago in "A blast from the past: Weaver Organ and J.P. Julius" on Joan's long-running hit blog, Only in York County. (Way back when I was "Hubby.")

I reckon the Ephemera Blogging Statue of Limitations1 has passed, so now it's my turn to write about the card.

York, Pennsylvania, was a hub of piano-making and piano-selling activity back in the day. I found a couple of short items in The York Daily about J.P. Julius. First, from the October 2, 1895, edition:
Owing to the demand for Pianos steadily increasing every year, I have decided to make a specialty of Pianos, and have prepared myself with a large assortment for the fall trade. These goods are all new, very latest designs and woods; best standard makes, such as Steinway, Stieff, Sterling, and Wissner, &c.

I sincerely hope that the Piano purchasing people will appreciate my efforts to give them a good selection of standard makes, and give me a call to see what I can do for them before buying.
22 South George St.
Store now open every evening.
Second, from the December 13, 1905, edition:
The Sterling Piano at Julius'
has made a reputation for itself in the city of York, and has gained its place at the pinnacle of piano popularity; besides being popular, the Sterling piano is highly recommended and used by York's best musicians. You will never regret the investment if you buy a Sterling piano.
46 South George St.
So, we can say that this advertising card dates to sometime before December 1905, as the street address of the business was different at that point.

As far as the back of the card, Joan detailed it seven years ago on her blog: "This even has writing on the back – the name 'Lizzie S. Misener' is signed, and under that is written 'Alfred Tennyson.' Is it THE Alfred Tennyson? Was Lizzie just practicing her penmanship? These things we’ll never know."

Lizzie's full name was probably Elizabeth S. Misener, but some initial searches didn't find anything under that name. Maybe Mark Felt or one of Papergreat's other sleuths will uncover something. I'm guessing that Lizzie was born sometime between 1880 and 1900.

1. Not a real thing.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Postcard of "Wheatland" mailed
90 years ago

Here's an old postcard featuring Wheatland, the Lancaster, Pennsylvania, home of 15th President of the United States James Buchanan (whose hopes of getting out of the cellar of the all-time rankings of U.S. presidents are on the rise). Although Wheatland is just blocks from my workplace, I haven't visited it yet, though I have been to Buchanan's extremely modest grave at Woodward Hill Cemetery, also in Lancaster, a couple times.

This card was postmarked in New York City in June 1928 and mailed with a red, two-cent Valley Forge stamp. It was mailed to Mr. H.C. Fall in Tyngsboro, Massachusetts, and contains the following cursive message:
N.Y. June 17, 1928
D.B.H. Carl had already set folks to getting that stamp but perhaps he can call it off to morrow — Glad you could go to Lowell & get in & do errands — It was a fine day. We went to Coney Island yesterday P.M. It has a fine beach but a perfectly enormous lot of cheap side show stuff & crowds of "onery" people — Keep auto tires 35 to 40.