Sunday, December 9, 2018

Update: Man reading book is
Odd Fellow, not necromancer

We have a quick answer to yesterday's Mystery of the Eyeball Pillow on a vintage Christmas postcard, thanks to some super sleuthing by Wendyvee of She says the pillow reminded her of some of the old memorabilia she's seen for the Odd Fellows (or Oddfellows), a fraternal order that dates to at least 1730 and, in present day and in its own words, aims "to improve and elevate every person to a higher, nobler plane; to extend sympathy and aid to those in need, making their burdens lighter, relieving the darkness of despair; to war against vice in every form, and to be a great moral power and influence for the good of humanity." Maybe I should look into joining!

One of the Odd Fellows' symbols is the triple links. The English motto of "Friendship, Love and Truth" is often placed in the rings with the letters F, L and T. And you can see this is the case at the bottom of the Eyeball Pillow.

Here are a couple images of old Odd Fellows items, from Internet searches, that help to confirm this solution.

There is an Odd Fellows building in the historic district of Strasburg, Lancaster County, that dates to 1856. LancasterOnline's Jen Kopf wrote about it in 2015, at which point the lodge had about 50 members.

"Joyous Christmas" postcard intended for Shanesville, Pa.

This black-and-white Christmas postcard, featuring a girl dressed as an angel, was published by Max Ettlinger & Company of London and New York and printed in Germany. It was part of The Royal Series. The company was in business from 1901 to 1916, according to

It appears there was never a stamp on the card. This is written across the back:

Miss A.V.B. Mathias
Shanesville Pa.
from your friend

Shanesville is an unincorporated village in Earl Township, Berks County. (Another village in that township is Woodchoppertown. I'm not sure what they used to do there.) According to Find A Grave, there's a Mathias Burial Ground in Shanesville. Here's a partial description:
"On Rt. 73 traveling south from Oley before Shanesville, turn right at the fruit stand at the southeast comer of Long View. Site is located on the hill behind the back of the house at the first residence on the left back a short farm lane past the barn. House is visible from the road."
It further adds that the burial ground measures about 77 feet by 40 feet. The house mentioned was built in 1858 to be the home of Jacob and Hannah Matthias [sic?]. Not all of the gravemarkers remain.

This genealogy website (WikiTree) lists an Alice Mathias who was 27 years old in 1910 and lived in Earl Township. That's as close as I can come to finding someone who might have been the recipient of this postcard more than a century ago.

Want old photographs of people you don't know?


In late October I mentioned that my collection of found and vernacular photographs was, to put it bluntly, a mess. Because of my own poor habits, there is no indication of which photos have been the topics of blog posts and which ones have not. Many are too mundane to be individual posts. It's a bit of a hoarding situation, to be sure. I don't want or need all these snapshots of people I don't know.

But maybe you do?

Free to a good home: A honkin' huge pile of vintage snapshots. Some are mysteries. Some have identifications written on the back. The lot contains many photos that I've featured and written about, but have no interest in keeping.

No charge for the photos or shipping. I just want them to go somewhere they'll be appreciated for awhile. It's time for someone else to take care of their next chapter.

Reach me at chrisottopa (at) if you're interested.

Saturday, December 8, 2018

Christmas RPPC of man with cat reading Harold Bell Wright novel

This is a mystery real photo postcard featuring a man who is bundled up with a large tabby cat and what appear to be MERRY and XMAS cushions while reading a book.

There is no writing or information on the unmailed postcard, so that's a dead end. The AZO stamp box indicates it was printed sometime during that prolific RPPC period between 1904 and 1918.

What's not a mystery is the book that this young man is reading. It's The Shepherd of the Hills, which was written by Harold Bell Wright1 and published 111 years ago, in 1907. The immensely popular book, which still has passionate devotees today, is described on Wikipedia as a "mostly fictional story of mountain folklore and forgiveness."2 It has been adapted into multiple movie versions, the most popular of which is probably the 1941 film with John Wayne.

Here's a closer look at man, book and cat...

There's a second mystery about this postcard. What's the deal with the pillow on the left? It appears to have a large glowing eyeball and several strange symbols. Was this man also a necromancer?3 (By the way, I recommend against a Google search for "old pillow with large glowing eyeball.")

Want more Christmas posts? Check out the full directory!

1. Two previous posts mention Harold Bell Wright: Christmas-gift dust jacket on 1919 Harold Bell Wright novel and Mystery photos inside "Helen of the Old House."
2. Reviewer Dorcas, writing on Goodreads in 2016, adds this in her 4.5-star review: "This book had a little of everything: the mad boy who runs wild in the hills, strange sounds in the forests, a forgotten gold mine, larger than life 'Lorna Doone-type' menfolk, drought, poverty, redemption, romance etc."
3. That was gratuitous. I just like using the word "necromancer" in a post.

Friday, December 7, 2018

#FridayReads to pass chilly days and nights in the final month of 2018

Komsomolskaya metro station in Moscow, 1980. From @SovietPostcards tweet.

I have been collecting a lot of great links for y'all! As I did earlier this year, I'll divvy them up into Serious and Not So Serious. (Some of these may require modest subscriptions. Support the journalism that's important to you!)


Not So Serious

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Book cover: "Legends of the Earth"

  • Title: Legends of the Earth
  • Subtitle: Their Geologic Origins
  • Author: Dorothy B. Vitaliano (1916-2008)
  • Cover designer: Guy Fleming
  • Publisher: Indiana University Press
  • Original price: None listed on dust jacket, which is odd.
  • Publication date: 1974
  • Pages: 305
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Provenance: (1) James W. Ellis Jr., Feb. 25 - 1995, (2) an online sale of books donated by patrons to benefit the Saline County Library in Arkansas.
  • Author's dedication: "To Charles, for his infinite patience"
  • Dust jacket blurb: "'Geomythology' the name of a fascinating new science, is a term invented by Dorothy Vitaliano and now increasingly current among both geologists and students of myth. It denotes the study of the actual geologic origins or natural phenomena which were long explained in terms of myth or folklore."
  • How well known is geomythology? There are only 67,200 hits in a Google search, but it does have a Wikipedia page.
  • About the author: At the time of the book's publication, she worked for the Translation Center of the U.S. Geological Survey, doing technical translations in several languages. She also worked as a geologist at Indiana University. And according to Atlantipedia, the "A-Z Guide To The Search for Plato's Atlantis," her husband, Charles, was also a professor of geology and together they studied major geological events and their effect on ancient cultures.
  • First sentence: Since childhood I have been fascinated by mythology and folklore of all kinds, and for many years now I have been professionally involved with geology.
  • Last sentence: But is it not a delightful sport?
  • Random sentence from middle: Pele is a very temperamental deity, easily enraged to the point where she sends floods of lava to destroy the object of her displeasure, often destroying scores of innocent bystanders besides.
  • Sampling of words in the index: Argonauts, dwarfs, Flatey Book, Ixtaccihuatl, Knossos, Love waves, polar wobble, Quiché flood traditions, Shakespeare, Zeus.
  • Amazon rating: 3.4 stars (out of 5.0)
  • Amazon review excerpt: In 2002, Jerald R. Lovell wrote: "A most refreshing aspect of this book is its scholarship. The author totally avoids the drivel associated with such fiction writers as Whitney Streiber and Erik von Daniken."
  • Goodreads rating: 3.30 stars (out of 5.0)
  • Goodreads review excerpt #1: In 2013, author Beth Cato wrote: "I found some new insights here, but the book was uneven, frustrating, and incredibly dry. It makes me all the more thankful for how creative nonfiction has evolved in recent years."
  • Goodreads review excerpt #2: In 2013, Dan wrote: "I was also disappointed that fully one third of the book was devoted to the Santorini eruption and Atlantis. That was way too much."

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Yet Another Holly Jolly Papergreat Directory of Christmas Posts

Monkey would like to be placed on Santa's "Nice" list. Or else he might clobber you.

The list of Christmas-themed posts in Papergreat's long history continues to grow. There are more than 150 now! So it's time for a newly updated directory all of the Ho-Ho-Holiday Goodness that's been dished out here over the years. Postcards, recipes, fashion, advertisements, greeting cards — there's a little something for everyone on this list. So bookmark it and scroll through it at your leisure this month when you need a break from wrapping gifts, singing carols or shoveling the driveway.

Greeting cards


Books and magazines
Fashion and decorations

Miscellaneous merriment

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Lost Corners: Violet Beauregarde historical revisionism

An amusing but compellingly relevant piece written by a woman named Evayna is making its way around back corners of the Internet. It's titled "Violet Beauregarde should've won Wonka's chocolate factory" and it makes a damn fine case for Violet as the should-have-been hero of 1971's Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory.

Evayna, who lives in Canada, describes herself as "a friendly pseudo-intellectual into nerd stuff and intersectional feminism." Her interests include Steven Universe, cute animals and veggie food.

She makes a tremendous case for gum-chomping and doomed-to-be-a-blueberry Violet Beauregarde. I am inclined to agree with her. Wonka eventually gave the factory to a rule-breaking white male, perpetuating societal gender norms. Violet was the best choice, and she was batted down and held back because of some perception that gum-chewing is a serious vice and, worse, because she was a woman who was willing to speak her mind. (Also, she didn't have the godawful song "Cheer Up, Charlie" associated with her.)

Here's Evayna's full argument, which I'm reposting here to help boost its chances of surviving the test of time.
Violet Beauregarde should've won
Wonka's chocolate factory

Have I watched the movie in the last decade or more? No.
Do I have iron clad evidence to support my argument? Yes.

1. She's the most knowledgeable about candy. She's committed to it, and knows her stuff. When Wonka holds up a little yellow piece across the room, she recognizes it immediately. She was able to switch to candy bars for the sake of the contest, so we know she has personal discipline and is goal oriented. Also, two major projects play directly into her strong suits: the 3-course-meal gum that Wonka failed to make safe (gum) and the neverending gobstopper (longevity).

2. She's the most fit to run a business. Violet is competitive, determined, hard working, and willing to take risks. Her father is a small town car salesman and politician, so she could easily pick up knowledge and support from him. (Veruca's dad is also a business man, and in a compatible market (nuts), but it's made very clear that Veruca has no respect or knowledge of business practices or hard work.)

3. She's the most sympathetic to the Oompa Loompas. She critiques Veruca when Veruca demands to buy one. More importantly, Wonka has been testing the 3-course-meal gum that 'always goes wrong' on Oompa Loompas while he presumably just watches. Violet is ready to put herself on the front line, instead of treating the Oompa Loompas as disposable, and would therefore be a better boss.

4. Her personality 'flaw' is the most fitting for the company. In the moralizing Oompa Loompa song, they just say 'gum is pretty cool, but it's not socially acceptable to chew it all day'. The thing is, we already know that she can stop if she wants, because she already did that to win the golden ticket. And yeah, she is defensive about the perceived impoliteness of her hobby (like when her mother tries to shame her about her habit during a televised interview) but the obsession with candy and neglect of social norms is EXACTLY what Wonka is all about. This is on brand.

5. Her misstep in the factory is reasonable. Wonka shows everyone a candy he’s very proud of. Violet is like “oh sick, that's gum, my special interest.” Wonka then pulls a “WRONG! It’s amazing gum!” In the very moments before she takes the gum Wonka has mislead her just to belittle her. So when he's like “I wouldn’t do that” why should she give a shit what he has to say? She's not like Charlie over here who's all “Sure Gramps, let's stay behind while the tour leaves and secretly drink this thing that has been explicitly stated to fill you with gas and is too powerful for safe consumption, oh and also I just saw what happened to Violet so I actually KNOW what this stuff can be capable of.” Also, Violet is not selfish about her experience, she tells everyone what she's tasting and feeling, and everyone is eager to hear it. Taking a personal risk to share knowledge with everyone. Violet is Prometheus: fact.

So Augustus contaminates the chocolate river. Charlie sneaks around and contaminates the vent walls. Veruca destroys and disrupts the workspace. Mike knows exactly what will happen to him and transports/shrinks himself deliberately. Violet had no idea what the gum could potentially do to her, and caused no harm to anyone or anything but herself.

Lastly: Can you imagine Charlie filling Wonka's shoes? That passive, naive boy? Violet is already basically Wonka. She's passionate, sarcastic, candy-obsessed, free thinking, and a total firecracker. She's even better than Wonka, because she doesn't endanger others.

Violet should've been picked to inherit the chocolate factory.

Comics cover: Freedom Agent is the superhero that I aspire to be

Following in the (tiny forest) footsteps of yesterday's post about The Gnome-Mobile, here's another 12-cent Gold Key comic book from the 1960s. It's Freedom Agent #1 from April 1963.

Freedom Agent, aka John Steele, was a very short-lived comic book hero. According to the wonderfully titled website Spy Guys And Gals, John Steele was only ever in two comic-book issues. Freedom Agent #1 was the only issue from that run. A year-and-a-half later, in December 1964, there was John Steele Secret Agent #1 from Gold Key. That was also a one-shot. Both issues were written by Paul S. Newman, and Steele's adventures included infiltrating a research lab, investigating a fireball in Tibet, stopping invisible saboteurs, and assuming the identity of a Latin American dictator (in a possible inspiration for Moon Over Parador, a 1988 comedy that I regrettably paid to see).

In my eyes, though, I look at the amazing Gold Key cover pictured above and have this vision for Freedom Agent: He's a hero who, while wearing a completely inconspicuous red blazer and purple pants, rescues chickens, capybaras and Flemish Giant rabbits from nefarious individuals. He is a liberator of all animals, fighting for their freedom. He's the kind of guy who makes a tractor trailer filled with turkeys pull over and then takes the turkeys to a safe place to spend the rest of their lives. And that's just his morning commute.

And I see no reason why my version of Freedom Agent needs to be named John Steele. I reckon you could call him ... Baron Von Papergreat. I had originally envisioned my fifth-tier-but-definitely-canon Marvel superhero as being a bit more roly-poly and bookish than Red Blazer Agent, but I think this line of animal-rescue adventuring could work for him. Liberating chickens and bunnies is a little less stressful than, say, battling Doctor Doom or Dormammu.

Monday, December 3, 2018

Walt Disney presents Upton Sinclair's "The Gnome-Mobile"

As a child of 1970, I'm relatively familiar with the Disney movies of the 1960s and 1970s. But I must admit that, until I ran across this silly-looking thing at the comic-book shop, I had never heard of The Gnome-Mobile, in any form. Clearly, it was no Darby O'Gill and the Little People.

Amazingly, it began as a novel by muck-raker Upton Sinclair. In 1936, he published The Gnomobile: A Gnice Gnew Gnarrative with Gnonsense, but Gnothing Gnaughty, which might just be the worst extended book title of all time. It is described as "an amusing tale of two gnomes, Glogo and Bobo, who travel to America in the company of two human friends in their custom gnomobile" and described by Goodreads reviewer Emily as "kind of lame." But another reviewer, Kookie, calls it "delightful and weird with a still important environmental message."

(I should point out that Sinclair also wrote Oil!, which served as an inspiration for Paul Thomas Anderson's There Will Be Blood. So I think it's a missed opportunity that the Oscar-winning There Will Be Blood wasn't marketed as "From the creative mind behind The Gnome-Mobile...")

So, Sinclair wrote about gnomes and cars way back in 1936. Three decades later, in 1967, Walt Disney Pictures turned the book into The Gnome-Mobile. As you might be able to tell from the above cover of the comic-book adaptation by Gold Key, Disney plucked both of the children from 1964's Mary Poppins — actors Karen Dotrice and Matthew Garber1 — and plopped them down in the gnome-filled forest with Walter Brennan, who apparently liked powder-blue jumpsuits. Brennan got to play both the jumpsuit-clad tycoon with a heart of gold and a 943-year-old gnome named Knobby. (It appears the names Glogo and Bobo didn't make the cut from Sinclair's novel.)

The movie plot involves a Rolls-Royce, precocious grandchildren, endangered gnomes, a quest for a gnome bride, a freak show, an asylum and an Important Message about preserving our forests as a haven for mythological creatures that don't actually exist. So, standard Disney fare. reviewer Jimina Sabadú opines: "I think this is much better than 'Lizzie McGuire' and all that 'princess Disney' stuff and things like that. At least, a movie like 'The Gnome-Mobile' does say something, not just 'Hey! Be cool and buy clothes' when you read between the lines."

It's hard to argue with Jimina on that point.

The comic book, also published in 1967, would seem to be a faithful adaptation of the movie, to the extent that it would ruin the whole thing if you read it before watching the movie. Maybe I'll track down and watch the movie some day, but, first, I'm itching for a double-feature rewatch of No Deposit, No Return and Candleshoe.

1. Sad side note: Garber died of pancreatitis in 1977 at age 21.

Sunday, December 2, 2018

Russian folklore postcard from a boy in Moscow

One of my recent Postcrossing arrivals was this dandy postcard from a boy in Moscow, Russia, who is involved in the hobby with some help from his mother. The postcard features an illustration from the Russian fairy tale "Go I Know Not Whither and Fetch I Know Not What." It features, as you can see, a frog in a jug and a nicely dressed Baba Yaga. That's her hut on chicken leg(s) in the background. Baba Yaga is a helper rather than an antagonist is this tale.

It is one of many Russian folk tales featured in Russian Fairy Tales by Alexander Afanas'ev — a volume I highly recommend.

The note on the postcard states:
Hello Chris.
My name is Aleksander. I'm 6 y.o. I'm just learning to read and write. My mom Olga will help me. Usually I go to class. Most of all I love to draw and build models from LEGO. Warm greetings to you.
Aleksander also likes sports, trains, airplanes, dinosaurs, outer space and cartoons. He's a very cool kid with a great mom.

Saturday, December 1, 2018

Let's give this classroom a novel gift for Christmas

If you'll oblige me for a moment, I have a passion project for this holiday season.

I was scrolling through and came across a high school classroom in southwestern Pennsylvania (Brownsville) that's requesting books to help expand its "25 Books a Year Challenge."

They need a total of $442 in donations by Dec. 30 in order to reach their goal, and they are currently not close. But we can make it happen!

I'll let the teacher, Mrs. Salvucci, tell you more:
"My students are at the academic level and are very interested and excited about reading. We are having a 25 book/year challenge, where students try to read 25 books this school year.

"Many of my students come from homes where reading is not a priority.

"They also do not have much access to books that they can't get at school. I would love for them to read books that are current and tackle issues that they are actually going through. There are so many books that I think my students would benefit from reading if they could get their hands on them. These are books that will encourage students to become more avid readers.

"My goal for my students is to read 25 books this year, and they are ready to take on that challenge. However, my classroom library is lacking books that they will want to read. I need more diverse and current topics for my students to explore.

"I want my students to gain insight into other cultures and people who are different than them by exploring new and diverse young adult literature.

"My hopes are that my students WANT to read these books and then encourage other students to read them as well. I know that they would love these titles and I would be introducing them to books they probably wouldn't have heard of on their own."
They pretty much had me at hello, but I hope Mrs. Salvucci's pitch inspires you, too, if you've read this far.

We can make this happen, but we have to do it by Dec. 30 or the fund-raiser is scuttled.

Please, if you can, donate and/or share the information about this campaign on social media, so that some young readers can discover more great reading.

Some of the great books they're hoping to get their hands on are All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven, Fever 1793 by Laurie Halse Anderson, American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang, The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas, and Akata Warrior by Nnedi Okorafor.

Let's give these students some great reading for Christmas!

(And thanks for listening to my pitch.)

Mystery RPPC of children
getting a ride from a goat

This real photo postcard dates from between 1904 and 1918, according to the AZO stamp box on the back. But, unfortunately, there is absolutely no information.

So we have two early 20th century children, a boy and girl, sitting in a small cart that the goat might or might not choose to pull. (That is a goat, right? I had a moment of doubt when I thought there was a possibility it was a ram.) It's very nice of the goat to look toward the camera for the photograph, by the way.

In case you're curious, a 2013 article on Thrifty Homesteader discusses the use of goats as cart-drivers. It states: "Goats have excellent work ethic and know how to please." No goats, however, were interviewed for the article.

I guess there's a very small chance, taking the later AZO range, that the boy is still alive, at age 104 or 105. If you're reading Papergreat, goat-riding boy, drop me a line and I'll return this postcard.

Bookplate and newspaper clipping inside a Nostradamus book

This beautiful bookplate, measuring three inches across, appears on the inside front cover of a Modern Library edition (#81) of Oracles of Nostradamus, by Charles A. Ward. This book was first published in the early 1940s. This appears to be a later edition. The dust jacket references Modern Library volumes costing $1.25 as of April 15, 1947.

Crist is a common name in southcentral Pennsylvania, so, while I found some possibilities, I would need more information to fully determine which Ruth Crist owned this book. I can tell you, though, that the illustration on the bookplate is a wood engraving by American artist Lynd Ward (1905-1985).

The cover text pitches the book about "prophet" Michel de Nostredame (1503-1566) as follows:
"Nostradamus, Europe's greatest prophet, foresaw three centuries ago events which history has confirmed with uncannny frequency. His 'prophetic centuries' forecast the fall of Paris, war in the air, the invasion of Britain. Read the fateful happenings predicted tomorrow for Europe and America by the sixteenth-century soothsayer whom Hitler relies upon today."
The endless interpretations of Nostradamus and his quatrains are, of course, ridiculous. But it's not hard to see why his prophecies have fascinated folks, especially in the 20th century, when it seemed as if The End of the World was around every corner. I first encountered him via the 1981 "documentary" The Man Who Saw Tomorrow, featuring Orson Welles. I remember watching it a few times on either HBO or Spotlight, when we were living on Willow Street in Montoursville. As an 11- or 12-year-old, I was fascinated by the supernatural-seeming angle and the fiery, horrifying visions of the future offered by the film, which preyed on both Cold War fears of nuclear annihilation and racist anti-Arab sentiment. It cast "The Middle East" as some strange land from which a devilish villain would start the gears of World War III into motion in the 1990s.

Another piece of Nostradamus ephemera is tucked away inside this book. It's an undated (but must be from the 1960s or later) newspaper clipping with the headline "Predictions by Nostradamus Have Been Coming True for 400 Years."

In the article, Paul Bannister — possibly this Paul Bannister — states that Nostradamus might have predicted an invasion from outer space and quotes author Stewart Robb: "It could be that 'the king of terror' will come from the planet Mars. I think the prediction also means that victory will be on the side of the right."

Of course, that's a different Orson Welles production: The War of the Worlds.

On the flip side of the Nostradamus clipping is an advertisement for a watch made from the John F. Kennedy half dollar, which was first minted in 1964.

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Postcard: Welcoming our new smiling blue orb overlord

Warning: Post contains stream of consciousness

Is it just me, or this a bit of a creepy scene?

Of course, it's a perfectly harmless and supposedly joyous representation of the cow jumping over the moon in "Hey Diddle Diddle," as depicted at long-gone Storyland Village in Neptune, New Jersey. Storyland Village was one of many, many children's theme parks in New Jersey in the 20th century. They popped up everywhere, like mushrooms after late summer rain. In 2004's Amusement Parks of New Jersey, author Jim Futrell states:
"Themed roadside attractions also became popular features in New Jersey during the 1950s. Like kiddielands, they catered to the automobile culture, but instead of rides, they emphasized a themed environment. The two most popular themes were nursery rhymes and the Wild West. ... While some ... were shuttered after only a few years due to increasing property values, New Jersey still has the heaviest concentration of these facilities in the country."
Futrell adds that Storyland Village was only in operation from 1956 to 1962, which would also help to date this unused postcard.

In the early 2000s, Joan and I were driving back from Atlantic City once and passed an abandoned theme park that looked like a perfect spot for a photo shoot. In later years, I spent an agonizing amount of time trying to determine which road we had been on, so that we could find it again. Turns out, I probably didn't have to be so obsessed. You can't swing a dead Jersey Devil in The Garden State without hitting an old kiddie park. This message-board post, which also references Futrell's book, features an awesomely long list of defunct parks, including Brigantine Castle.

But back to the orb...

My overlord reference in the blog headline is one that I had always attributed to Ken Jennings on Jeopardy! But it turns out — and isn't the Internet a wild thing? — that the phrase has a long history that (sort of) involves H.G. Wells, Joan Collins, giant ants, The Simpsons and sugar caves, in addition to Jennings.

Speaking of Jennings, if you'll be spending a lot of time in a car and/or in need of an audio companion this winter, I highly recommend the Omnibus! podcast co-hosted by Jennings and musician John Roderick. Each 60- or 70-minute episode features the pair chatting about life, showing off their wide range of knowledge and eventually discussing some obscure corner of history. It'll grow on you. But not like that stuff grew on Jordy Verrill. Or maybe just like that. I'm not sure.

Finally, backtracking and speaking of large ants and large creepy moons and cows jumping over the moon, how about that Knickers? (Yes, I know he's technically a steer. Details, details.)

Let the record show that while we were fretting about President Trump and Bryce Harper's destination in free agency on November 28, 2018, we were mostly just amazed by Knickers, whose udderly (udderless?) amazing story you can read about here.

OK, I think I should go to bed now...

Sunday, November 25, 2018

"So You've Joined a Club"
by Margaret Lynch Capone

We're not finished yet with Margaret Lynch Capone (aka Mrs. Carmen Capone). She has previously appeared in these posts:

In that last post, I mentioned that she authored at least two books: So You've Joined a Club (1954) and Parliamentary Pointers (1973). Well, I have tracked down one of those books, in a world in which there can't be that many that still exist. Here, using Papergreat's standard template for such matters, is the lowdown...

  • Title: So You've Joined a Club
  • Subtitle: A Practical Guide for Clubwomen
  • Author: Margaret Lynch Capone (1907-1998)
  • Cover designer: Dave Lyons
  • Publisher: Pageant Press, New York
  • Dust jacket price: $2
  • Publication date: 1954
  • Library of Congress catalog card number: 54-7466
  • Pages: 182
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Dust jacket excerpt: "If you are planning to join a club, or have recently become a member of one, you will find this book invaluable in making a success of your new interest. ... Written by an experienced clubwoman and public speaker, So You've Joined a Club provides the answers for the novice clubwoman who suddenly finds herself confronted with organizing a money-raising event, making a speech, or deciphering Robert's Rules of Order."
  • Back cover: The back cover is all "About the Author," which helps to add to our body of knowledge about Margaret. It states:
    "The inspiration for So You've Joined a Club began when Margaret Lynch Capone joined a club back in 1947 and discovered how little she — and many of her fellow members — knew about club organization and procedure. Her conviction that a simple, easy guide for beginners was necessary was strengthened by the number of women she met who were anxious to be active in club work but who felt they knew too little about it.

    "Mrs. Capone, who was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and still makes her home there, is the wife of an attorney and the mother of three children. She has found that she can successfully combine her duties in the home with her activities as clubwoman, lecturer and parliamentarian. In addition to traveling extensively to organize new clubs, she is the Director of the International Toastmistress Clubs, public relations chairman of the Central Deanery, National Council of Catholic Women, and a member of the National Association of Parliamentarians. She also belongs to a host of other organizations."
  • Chapter titles: Joining a Club, Committees, Elected Officers, Parliamentary Procedure, Club Etiquette, The Large Meeting, Decorations for Club Meetings, Program Planning, How to Get Publicity, Speech Situations, Contents, Ways of Raising Money, What to Serve, and Installation of Officers.
  • First sentence: Joining a club is the surest way in the world of meeting people, making friends, and keeping young in spirit.
  • Last sentence: You, above all, know the sort of cooperation that brings joy to a chairman or president; give it!
  • Random sentence from the middle #1: But the other day my teen-age son reminded me that several boys he knew did not know how to hold a fork correctly, and then my husband commented that a man with whom he lunched occasionally did not know how to handle his napkin or make use of the fingerbowl.
  • Random sentence from the middle #2: Newspapers do not like to print the same announcement month after month: "The Mainville Women's Club will hold its regular meeting in the Community Hall."
  • Notes: Pageant Press was, indeed, a vanity publisher. In a 1958 article titled "Vanity Press Publishing," Howard A. Sullivan wrote:
    "Advertisig for manuscripts is not an orthodox practice in the publishing industry and to do so is a departure from tradition. But the tradition has been breached in some very reputable periodicals and the advertisements of Exposition Press, Vantage Press, and Pageant Press — to name but three, although the three most active and ambitious of the subsidy publishers — can be found regularly in the Saturday Review and Writer's Digest."
    The article goes on to state that Pageant published 112 new titles in 1956 and was on the list of just 31 houses producing 100 or more new books that year.

But wait, there's more...

This book also had some treasures tucked away inside. There's a receipt from when it was purchased for $2.10 ($2, plus 10 cents tax) in 1965 at Joseph Horne Co., which had at least eight locations in western Pennsylvania. The regional department store chain was founded in 1849 and ceased operations in 1994. There was a Horne's in the Monroeville Mall when Dawn of the Dead was filmed.

There's also a note inside. The cursive writing on it is too light for reproduction here, but I can tell you that it states:
1. Congratulate Marge on her year
2. Present Gift
3. Pass out Booklets. Go over Booklets, any corrections
New Business
1. Introduce New Girls
2. Benson Fruit Cake deal
3. Money handed in at diff. committees
I wonder if Marge is Margaret Lynch Capone? Either way, I'm sure she would have been proud about how helpful her book was.

Eighth anniversary of Papergreat's first post

Papergreat's first post was eight years ago today, on November 25, 2018. If this blog was a person, it would be in second grade right now. This is post No. 2,766, so, at the current pace, I'll get to post No. 3,000 sometime in early July. I'll soon be sending an order off to Blog2Print for Volume 10 of The Collected Papergreat (partly because I don't trust this whole Cloud contraption).

So what's ahead for Year 9? More of the same, I suspect. The blog has been heavily trending toward postcards, book covers and family history (including more form Dad's side, which I've neglected), and that will continue. I'd like to get back to mixing in more obscure and oddball stuff and random ephemera. And I'm itching to return to the fanzine series, so look for that in 2019. I have posts about Estella Canziani, Phyllis Stalnaker, Florence Darlington, Loren E. Trueblood and Margaret Lynch Capone that I'd like to get cleared off the decks, so stay tuned for those. And of course I'll have some themed posts for "The Christmas," as Buck would say, at the appropriate time next month. (November 25 is not the appropriate time, says my grumpy self.) At some point, I'll probably have an existential crisis about whether I want to continue devoting time to Papergreat that could be spent reading or writing other things, all whilst continuing to rack up the Papergreat posts.

I recently came across this groovy 15¢ stamp, which also happens to neatly summarize my approach to life and this blog. Indeed, "Learning never ends." This stamp was issued on September 12, 1980, partially to commemorate the establishment of the United States Department of Education by President Jimmy Carter. (Carter signed a law spinning Education off from the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare in October 1979 and DoED began operations in May 1980.) The launch city for this stamp was Franklin, Massachusetts, the home of Horace Mann and America's first public library. Here are some quotes attributed to Mann:

  • Education then, beyond all other devices of human origin, is the great equalizer of the conditions of men, the balance-wheel of the social machinery.
  • Every addition to true knowledge is an addition to human power.
  • A house without books is like a room without windows. No man has a right to bring up his children without surrounding them with books, if he has the means to buy them.
  • Education is our only political safety. Outside of this ark all is deluge.
  • Resolve to edge in a little reading every day, if it is but a single sentence. If you gain fifteen minutes a day, it will make itself felt at the end of the year.

The image on the "Learning never ends" stamp is "Glow" by abstract painter Josef Albers (1888-1976). I believe that "Glow" is still part of the collection at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.

On We Love DC, Samantha Sirzyk wrote this in 2010:
"My favorite of Albers’s pieces in the 'Squares Series' was easily Homage to the Square: Glow (1966), which examined the affect of orange hues on red hues, or vice versa. I selected this piece over the rest, not because I saw the squares move, grow, or transform after staring at it for a very long time – or convinced myself that they would because they were 'supposed to', but simply because the bright colors were visually pleasing and kind-of made me smile."
And I'll finish up with quote about learning from Albers himself:
“We must teach each other ... education is not first giving answers but giving questions.”

Saturday, November 24, 2018

From the readers: Mark Felt checks in and much more

We'll start the new collection of dandy reader feedback with "Mark Felt," our Stealth Research Assistant and Executive Vice President in Charge of Ephemera Reunions, commenting on "Mystery bookstore in Lancaster: Greg's Book Mart":
"I checked the most recent Lancaster microfiche which the Company still makes available to me (1989, two decades after the date shown in the book).

"By that time, Greg's Book Mart had moved to 1831 Columbia Avenue. See:

"Around 1998, that location had become Sloppy Janes, which closed earlier this year, due to Jane's passing. See:

"I tried calling the phone number at the Leola location — disconnected. See:

"The plot thickens."
To which I replied: Wait. Did you actually CREATE a blogspot site for Greg's Book Mart to share your findings?? Now it will become both a One Post Wonder — — and a Lost Corner of the Internet. Future cybersleuths will be SO confused. I love it.

To which Mark Felt replied: "What I know, you'll have to find out on your own."


Christmas remembrances card featuring Strasbourg Cathedral: Jenna Moore Fuller writes: "The original has a yellow satin ribbon bow, not orange yarn. I have a set of ten, all by different location cathedrals, by same artist, with different colors of ribbon bows. Would like to discover more about the artist; these are lovely!"

Jenna is the author of Writing — by Coincidence: Flowing with Signs & Synchronicity to Write with Passion and The Secret Language of Synchronicity: Deciphering the Words & Wisdom of Meaningful Coincidence. She followed up her comment on the blog with a very nice email, in which she writes:
"I am in awe over your fantastic Papergreat site! My passions are old books, ephemera, and the workings of synchronicity, and your site is an obvious treasure trove of someone who loves this stuff. My books are on the same, and current WIP focuses on found paper. A picture entitled 'Christmas Remembrances' from your site popped up when searching for info on some cards of which you had one. ... I've had my set of cards for at least twenty years, and never have found out much about them. Would like to find more on the artist for sure. ... I plan to delve into your site, a bit at a time, and am very excited to do so. And perhaps share some of my o-d-d finds as well. They are always a mystery, and like you say, always hold a story."
Thank you for the kind words, Jenna. I will try to delve into the mystery surrounding those Christmas Remembrance cards and the artist "Rosenberg," though I fear it might be difficult hunting. But maybe I'll turn up something as a Christmas Miracle.

We might need these sweaters for the bomb cyclone and polar vortex: Stacia, the granddaughter of Knit-O-Graf founder Della Fitch, writes: "Hi there! Knit-O-Graf enthusiasts will be happy to know that Knit-O-Graf Pattern Company is back in business and exploring modern platforms to let folks know! We have an Etsy store and an eBay store, both of which stock the above pattern, #215 Scandinavian 'Skier/Skater' sweater. Just FYI! Cheers."

December 1981 boarding pass for Nigeria Airways: Anonymous writes: "I grew up in Lagos before the current airport opened and remember the old Ikeja airport. It later became the domestic terminal."

Summer plans tucked away inside "Claire Ambler": Jane Hoke Lindhorn, commenting on Facebook, wrote: "She forgot her underwear lol."

Montoursville 2018: Photos from elsewhere around town: Regarding the TWA Flight 800 Memorial, Wendyvee of the awesome Roadside Wonders writes: "That's a beautiful monument. It's been on my 'to do' list for some time."

Montoursville 2018: Our third house: Joan writes: "I liked looking at the Zillow listing for the house ... but I especially liked photo 4/5, which had a cat. You didn't mention what pets you had at each house!"

Alas, the Montoursville animal roundup is fairly boring...
  • Mulberry Street: No pets. Just a stuffed alligator.
  • Spruce Street: No pets. But a turtle or tortoise took a shortcut through our backyard once.
  • Willow Street: The cats Buddy & Cyrano, who we acquired while living in Clayton, New Jersey.

Selections from the 1967 Top Value Stamps catalog: Anonymous writes: "My mother always shopped at Star Market in the Boston area and they had those yellow-colored 'Top Value' stamps. My sister was way older than me and had her first child in 1967. My mother used the books of stamps to buy a high chair for her. I'm not sure if she had enough stamps to buy the whole item or if she supplemented it with cash. We went to a catalog store over in Cambridge to get the high chair."

Old photo postcard of Brackenhurst Hall in Southwell: Christopher Black writes: "Hi there, I currently work at Brackenhurst Hall (NTU Brackenhurst Campus) and would be extremely interested in any and all photographs or history connected with it. Many thanks for posting this."

50-year-old advertisement for Haggar slacks: Joan writes, snarkily, "You have to own a pair of these ... right?"

Two mostly mystery photos: Tom from Garage Sale Finds writes: "That's the January 1942 issue of Mademoiselle."

I replied: "Holy Schnizzle, Tom! Great job on that! You get the Mademoiselle Merit Badge. (Or, as the kids these days would say, 'You have unlocked the Mademoiselle Achievement.')"

To which Tom replied: "The truth is out. I spend way too much time staring at old magazines."

Know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em ... and when to call Sal: Tom writes: "Five-digit phone numbers were used into the '60's, particularly in rural areas."

Cheerful Card Company can help you earn extra money for the holidays: Anonymous writes: "I am 61 years old and I also have wonderful memories of selling Cheerful Christmas cards to friends and family in the Bronx, NY in the late 1960s. I also recall the cardboard box that folded into a carrying case, and the beautiful catalogue with sample cards. I think I was young, maybe 10 or 11 years old, the first year and continued for several years after that. The experience gave me a real sense of pride and independence. Of course the extra money was fantastic too."

Note: If you're scoring at home, we're now up to 24 comments on the Cheerful Cards post.

I want to ride my tricycle, I want to ride it where I like: Tom, tearing himself away from the magazines, writes: "I did a little color correction on your photo (yeah, I'm one of those people)."

That's the original on the left and Tom's stellar correction on the right. As soon as Papergreat becomes a million-dollar media enterprise, I'm hiring Tom to handle all color correction.

“There's some good in this world, Mr. Frodo, and it's worth fighting for.”: Mark Felt writes: "Thank you, Chris, for your kind anecdotes about whatever light we can find in this world, against the backdrop of so much darkness, even in your home state of Pennsylvania. To amplify on Tolkien's words, 'Some believe it is only great power that can hold evil in check, but that is not what I have found. It is the small everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keep the darkness at bay. Small acts of kindness and love.'"