Saturday, June 23, 2018

Light & shadow & Lochearn


The is a snapshot that Mom (presumably) took in 1960 at Camp Lochearn in Vermont. That cursive caption on the back states:
Carol Good
1960
Lochearn Camp in front of cabin 7
There's nothing terribly special about the photo. It's just a captured moment in time 58 summers ago in New England. Shaped like one of today's Instagrams. Minus the high-resolution detail and the groovy filters, we are left to admire the interplay of light and shadow against the cabin in the middle of the woods.

Related post

Friday, June 22, 2018

Lifestyle tips from a late 1960s
"beer budget"

I snagged this paperback from a Little Free Library in Dover so that I could pass it along to Sarah for a quick laugh (which it did provide).

It's 1969's Champagne Living on a Beer Budget, subtitled "How to Buy the Best for Less." It was written by Mike and Marilyn Ferguson and published by Berkley Medallion.

The Oregonian wrote this review: "Light-hearted and eminently practical, the book is based on information garnered from 17,000 miles of travel and months of research by mail to provide tips applicable to people of all incomes across the country."

Research by mail! Those were some heady hippie days, kids, long before the Internet and Microsoft Encarta and Ask Jeeves. It was nearly before The Brady Bunch, too!

Here are some verbatim excerpts from the the book that I found notable or amusing:

  • Display companies, whose primary business is supplying props for store-window displays, often rent to the public. All the trimmings for a medium-sized luau — fish-nets, palm tree, seashells and grass skirts — cost a bachelor friend only $14. A respectable artificial palm tree is $5. Think what pizzazz it lends to the cocktail corner!
  • The Bell people claim that an extension telephone saves the average housewife 76 miles of walking a year. This would be a pretty fuzzy item to compute, but, even if it's not that much, a second phone saves steps.
  • Records are popular gifts, of course. Best all-around deal we know of is the Record Club of America. [It] speaks softly (it didn't advertise nationally in until 1965) but carries a big roster — third largest in the country, after the Columbia and RCA Victor clubs. Life membership costs $5.1
  • Human nature being what it is, encyclopedia firms sometimes have to repossess books and bookcases. These two-shelf bookcases are generally resold to all comers, although they're rarely advertised. From Collier's offices in two different cities, we bought walnut-printed hardboard cases for $6 apiece.
  • Rummaging through stacks of dusty old books, we've found gems. Five cents bought an old, old Mother Goose volume with hundreds of exquisite, full-page color plates; that was at a Denver book sale sponsored by Brandeis University alumni. ... At a church sale in Houston, we found a tiny, 50-year-old French edition of Cinderella, color-illustrated, for ten cents. A collector has said that it's worth at least $7.
  • Real money isn't chic these days. Most everyone who's anyone signs the tab. Sort shows that you're known. Credit proclaims status that way a roll of bills once did.
  • Three times as much electricity is being used now as 15 years ago. Not much can be done about that. It does help a little if you whip the refrigerator and oven doors shut as quickly as if they were the lid on Pandora's box.

Final note: Co-author Marilyn Ferguson (1938-2008) went on to write 1980's The Aquarian Conspiracy, a New Age tome. Her work influenced Al Gore and had her rubbing elbows with the likes of Mother Teresa and the Dalai Lama.

Footnote
1. For more about the York County-based Record Club of America, see Only in York County and Wendyvee's Roadside Wonders.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Herb Roth's endpapers illustration for "Aunt Polly's Story of Mankind"


Herb Roth (1887-1953) crafted this delightful endpapers illustration for the 1923's Aunt Polly's Story of Mankind, written by Algonquin Round Table regular Donald Ogden Stewart and published by the George H. Doran Company.

Stewart had previously written A Parody Outline of History, and the Aunt Polly book is an interconnected set of humorous short stories set in different epochs. Stewart would go on to write many screenplays, including The Philadelphia Story and then be blacklisted and chased from the United States during the McCarthy Era, never returning to America during the final 30 years of his life.

Meanwhile, one of the interesting side notes of Roth's long career as an artist involved a never-published version of Mighty Mouse comic strips in the 1940s. You can read more about that at Cartoon Research.

Here's a better look at Roth's right-hand side of the endpapers, which are partially blurred in the full scan.


Other posts with endpapers illustrations

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

1946 encyclopedia infographic on immigration


At York's Book Nook Bonanza earlier this month, I bought an amazing old encyclopedia — the 1946 edition of Compton's Pictured Encyclopedia and Fact-Index. The illustrations, typography and graphics throughout the 15-volume set are just stunning, and I know we'll be returning to it again and again. I also expect it to make many appearances here on Papergreat.

Today, I thought I'd share this infographic from the article titled "Immigration" in Volume 7. Here are some excerpts (not necessarily endorsements) from that entry:

  • "Only the Indians can properly call themselves native Americans, and even they are believed to have come from Asian centuries ago. All the rest of the people of the United States are immigrants or descendants of immigrants."
  • "At first, the United States held out open arms to the stranger. There were canals to be dug, railroads to be built, minerals to be mined, forests to be cut, farm lands and prairies to be cultivated, great industrial plants to be manned. ... They brought their families with them. They were eager to become citizens. Stalwart, courageous, and upstanding, they were, as a rule, intelligent, educated, and skilled in the use of tools."
  • "The 'new immigration' [1905-1915] differed from the old in several respects. ... They were largely illiterate; and they were not so easily Americanized. Many of them had no intention of becoming citizens. They had a tendency to be clannish, to live together in the same part of a city, and to cling to their national customs. They became easy tools in the hands of unscrupulous politicians."
  • "Quotas are not applied to immigration from Canada or Latin American countries. Until 1929 Mexicans came in large numbers, particularly for common labor in the Southwest."
  • "Everywhere today [1940s] immigration is strictly regulated by law. Nations which still need people want immigrants who will readily become assimilated with their populations, and they want particular classes of workers. ... Totalitarian nations followed a mixed policy."

* * *

Immigration is very much in the news right now in the United States. Here are some tweets and posts of relevance, now and for the historical record...




















This one's a screen shot, in the event they try to delete the tone-deaf tweet.

No doubt about these words



For all of you who lived through the long national nightmare of Papergreat and its readers grappling with that word in the Madison Square Garden postcard1, I thought you'd get a chuckle from this fishy cartoon postcard.

Mailed between a pair of New Jersey locations (Asbury Park and Irvington) in 1950, it features this cursive message on the back:

Hi Hon:
Guess where we
ended up? Bet
you can't????
Love
?
P.S. This pen stinks



Footnote
1. Need to catch up? Go to this post and scroll to the middle portion, titled "Complete roundup of that Madison Square Garden postcard word"

Monday, June 18, 2018

Book cover: "Mind Cosmology"
[Holy hokum, Batman!]


  • Title: Mind Cosmology
  • Cover subtitle #1: The Secret Doctrine of Cosmic Energy Revealed!
  • Cover subtitle #2: How to translate your inner dreams into the outer reality your desire!
  • That's a two-exclamation-point cover: Indeed.
  • Author: Anthony Norvell (1908-1990). Much more on him below.
  • Designer of groovy cover: Unknown
  • Publisher: Parker Publishing Company, West Nyack, New York
  • Year: 1971
  • Original price: Unknown, as dust jacket is price-clipped
  • What I paid: $4, which is in line with the cheapest used copies on Amazon
  • Pages: 223
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Dust-jacket highlights:
    • "When you tune in on its cosmo-astral forces, brilliant new powers will be yours."
    • "Mind Cosmology traps the invisible wavelengths of lifegiving cosmic energy and raises your rate of physical vibration to protect you against most forms of sickness..."
    • "Astral projection — yours for the asking"
    • "You'll see how to speed up time and make events happen in the eternal now..."
  • That basically describes all the Marvel superheroes: Correct.
  • First sentence: "For centuries past, mystics, seers, holy men and prophets have taught a secret doctrine of tremendous mental and psychic powers that man may tap when he wishes to achieve astounding miracles in his life."
  • Last sentence: "How to use the soul's divine inspiration to be aware of the tremendous forces that are alive within the universe, and be inspired by the beauty in nature, by beautiful music and high levels of inspiring poetry, literature, and art."
  • Random sentence from middle: "Mentally take trips to foreign countries you want to visit."
  • Goodreads rating: 4.67 stars (out of 5)
  • Amazon rating: 4.0 stars (out of 5.0)
  • Excerpt from Amazon review: In July 2017, Matt. S. wrote: "In a nutshell is this, find what speaks to you, the rest let go if it doesn't."
  • About the author: Anthony Norvell — some sources claim his real name was Anthony Trupo — was quite the colorful character. One site amusingly and disparagingly refers to him as "the da Vinci of clap-trap." He knew Mary Pickford, lectured at Carnegie Hall, might have attempted to found his own religion and claimed to have an 85 percent accuracy rate on his psychic predictions. ... His other books (it appears there were more than 30) included How to Train Your Child's Subconscious Mind of Health, Wealth and Happiness; Meta-Physics: New Dimensions of the Mind; Norvell's Dynamic Mental Laws for Successful Living; and The Occult Sciences: How to Get What You Want Through Your Occult Powers. ... You can read more about his life at Cornerstone Books; a Medium essay titled "The Surprisingly Noble Path to Power" by Mitch Horowitz; and an entertaining (though disputed and contentious) 2011 post on HIL-GLE Wonderblog. Here are some excerpts from that Wonderblog piece:
    • "Norvell is undergoing something of a renaissance on the Internet. His writings are now available on dozens of self-help sites. ... In truth, Norvell's current non-obscurity may have more to do with the fact that his works seem to have fallen into the public domain then to their actual quality."
    • "Norvell had essentially the same career that Jeane Dixon later plied. During his day, Norvell was the only astrologer anyone could name. That is, when he was an astrologer — which he sometimes wasn’t. Norvell changed his stripes a few times over the years."
    • "Norvell never claimed to be a spiritualist. His mumbo jumbo claim was that he was essentially selectively telepathic. (Later branded as Tele-Cosmic.) Instead of showing up with a pack of assistants, he worked alone. As opposed to an act full of props for parlor tricks pulled in the dark, Norvell does his routine with the lights on where everyone can see his hands."
    • "Having tried and failed as a sideshow promoter, astrologer, gigolo, star nanny, lecturer and author, Norvell spent much of 1959 taking a turn at the religious cult racket. It appears to have been something of a closed end effort. Calling himself Doctor Anthony Norvell and acting as the Director of the Church of Religious Mind Sciences of Hollywood, he began taking out advertisements for a series of lectures he was giving in Long Beach."
    That's it. Check out the lengthy Wonderblog article (and delve into the comments afterward) to find out more about Norvell's eventful life.

Saturday, June 16, 2018

The Amazing Colossal Edition of "From the Readers"

I have been delinquent again. It's time to open the bulging digital mailbag and catch up on Papergreat's amazing reader comments...

Linen postcard: Parachute jump at Steeplechase Park, Coney Island: "Kayo56" shares this memory: "My uncle had been a paratrooper in Germany, and this was the closest thing he was going to come to recreating the experience in Brooklyn. He persuaded our mother, his twin sister, to go with him, and take my brother and me. We must have been preschool age, since we're 61 and 62 now. I don't remember being bothered by the ride up, but on the way down, I decided the ride was over before it was over, and attempted to stand up in preparation for disembarking. When we did actually come to a landing, it was with a bit of a thump, and I banged some part of me. I wasn't hurt, but it hurt at that moment, and I connected it with the ride, not my own actions. Although he was willing to take us on again, I refused. Since the parachute jump was still standing, for a long time, I was unaware that it was no longer in operation. When I learned that it was closed, part of me regretted the lost opportunity for a repeat ride, and the other part of me was glad I'd never be asked."

Miscellaneous snaps from the family shoebox, Part 4: Wendyvee, who authors the dandy Roadside Wonders blog, writes: "I can't get a female re-boot of Reservoir Dogs out of my head with the group shot."

Cheerful Card Company can help you earn extra money for the holidays: The comments keep flowing for this 2012 post. Anonymous writes: "My mother sold these cards every fall to earn money for our Christmas gifts. Without the Cheerful Card Company we might never have had Christmas gifts. Definitely not a scam and I still smile remembering looking thru the 'selling book'."

Selections from the 1967 Top Value Stamps catalog: Eric Ferguson writes: "Santa brought me that Handy Andy Tool Set for Christmas in '70 or '71. It kinda sucked. The hammer was way too tiny to pound anything. My parents didn't even buy it: Just used their stamps. My mom always shopped at Kroger's, so she got the Top Value stamps."

Earth Day 2018 thoughts: Edward Humes' "Garbology": Joan, who writes Unschool Rules while juggling a zillion other things, writes: "I can't thank you enough for lending me that book. I know I have a long way to go but it really does open your eyes."

Burrill's beautiful "fluff", or "Hey, that Papergreat guy is creepy": Wendyvee writes: "Which reminds me of this article that I read some time ago: Mementoes of Grief Go to Auction from the US’s Only Museum for Mourning Art."

And Joan adds: "This is a rather unusual post, but I really like it. I also want to know what envelope the Coby hair is in."

Provenance clues in 1878's "The Old Church, and Other Stories": Stealth Research Assistant and Executive Vice President in Charge of Ephemera Reunions "Mark Felt" once again provides some excellent sleuthing: "It is quite possible that 'Hiram William M. Bickel' is a name which refers to one person. See this grave in Shillington, Pennsylvania. His date of death matches this obituary in the Reading Times (scroll down or search for "Reading"). That obituary lists his parents as Moses and Mary Bickel. At the bottom of Moses' grave is the inscription 'Erected by H.W.M. Bickel.' At the bottom of Mary's grave is the inscription 'Erected by Mrs. Ella M. Gromis.' Might that be Ella M. Bickel's married name? Perhaps, yet despite assiduous sleuthing, there the trail goes cold..."

Damaged but dandy dust jacket: "Mystery at High Hedges": Tom from Garage Sale Finds writes: "Great cover. I love the covers from youth mystery novels from that era. They hook you and make you want to read the book."

The evolution of Barry Leffler's KCC2188 QSL cards: Mark Felt writes: "Finally, a reference on Papergreat to a living person! Contact Barry Leffler directly [on Facebook] to fill in all the details. As for the Vocaline Company of America, here is the SEC's record of the initial public offering of that company in 1959, with a brief overview of the company's products."

[Chris adds: Yes, I did see that Leffler is on Facebook, and I've tried that route. He hasn't actually posted on Facebook in 6.5 years, and it can be difficult to contact/message someone that you're not Facebook friends with. But we shall see.]

Punch-card bill for The American Garden Guild Book Club: Anonymous writes: "What are the punches for?"

[Chris replies: The card could be fed into a punch-card reader, thus "quickly" entering data — subscriber information, an account number and/or billing information — into an early computer. The "punched card" entry on Wikipedia adds, rather dryly: "A punched card or punch card is a piece of stiff paper that can be used to contain digital data represented by the presence or absence of holes in predefined positions. Digital data can be for data processing applications or, in earlier examples, used to directly control automated machinery. Punched cards were widely used through much of the 20th century in what became known as the data processing industry, where specialized and increasingly complex unit record machines, organized into semiautomatic data processing systems, used punched cards for data input, output, and storage. ... While punched cards are now obsolete as a storage medium, as of 2012, some voting machines still use punched cards to record votes."]

1913 postcard: "You can put it in a frame and hang it up": Matt Hinrichs, who authored a blog titled The Joyce Compton Shrine, writes: "I don't blame you for finding Ruth's message vague — it sounds to me like she took a pre-printed photo postcard and hand-colored it herself."

A handful of artistic travel snapshots taken by my grandmother: Mark Felt writes: "'Somewhere in France' [pictured at right] is the town of Cordes-sur-Ciel in the south of the country. The hotel and restaurant indicated by the sign in Grandmother Helen's photograph is referenced here. Grand Écuyer translates as Great Squire."

Miscellaneous snaps from the family shoebox, Part 3: Wendyvee writes: "These are all lovely; but I would hang a litho of the Jean Pratt picture in my living room for sure."

Plethora of pudding within 1888 "Cyclopedia of Practical Information": Mark Felt writes: "Well, if Mom wasn't a Paul Thomas Anderson fan, then Chris certainly is. By the way, in 2007 this was the world's most expensive photograph."

[Note from Chris: Indeed, I am a major fan of Paul Thomas Anderson's films. I'm fairly certain that Mom never saw any of them. These were her favorite movies.]

A little bit more about Helen Goodrich Buttrick: Joan writes: "This led me down a small rabbit trail also related to fashions."

Get duly inducted into the Silent Mysteries of the Far East: Donald Gergely writes: "My uncle had this card also."

Saturday's postcard: Kozy Kabin Service Station & Kafe: Mark Felt writes: "The ineluctable march of progress forced owners Ralph and Julia Johnson to shutter the Kozy Kabin Service Station & Kafe in 1954, eighteen years after it opened. The history of this location and an impassioned eulogy for Mr. Johnson can be found here. Requiescat in pace."

1961 Ginza Tokyu Hotel guest booklet: Mark Felt writes: "You may find it interesting to learn of the basis of the $1/¥360 exchange rate which was in effect from 1949 to 1971: The word for the Japanese currency (pronounced 'en' in the native tongue but which we transliterate as 'yen') could mean 'money' or 'circle' in various contexts — try typing 'yen' into Google Translate — and there are 360 degrees in a circle. Also see The Yo-Yo Yen: and the Future of the Japanese Economy."

Wonder Bread bakery destroyed by 1933 Long Beach earthquake: Wendyvee writes: "Mother Nature is a fierce mistress. Also, don't you just wish we could know the stories of all of the people looking at the destruction."

Family Circle's "Most Beautiful Christmas Tree" of 30 years ago: Mark Felt writes: "Third-prize winner Mary Cooksey Wilks of Verona, New Jersey is still decorating and lighting her annual Christmas tree and giving back to her community in many ways."

Sorry "Infinity War," the greatest Avengers crossover was 34 years ago: Wendyvee writes: "This is EVERYTHING. It needs a live-action movie right this minute."

[Chris adds: Casting a young version of David Letterman will be difficult.]

The ephemera of families separated by the United States: Everyone gets their say here, as long as they're polite, so here is a response from a commenter referring to himself as Mr. Derp: "Poor illegal invaders and their hellish offspring who come here to lower the wages of the working class liberals claim they care oh so much about."

Дайте миру шанс [a Samantha Smith post]: Mr. Derp writes: "Pining for the 'good ol' days' of the 'workers paradise', I see."

In which I was 24 and really, really awful at journaling: Joan writes: "You still use the word schlonkered. Hopefully more ironically."

How to promote your hotel with a disturbing illustration of a dog: Mark Felt writes: "This is an example of a Victorian trade card, the predecessor of the modern business card, printed and sold by chromolithographers, and customized by businesses of all varieties. Trade cards often depicted animals in comic scenes. This card in particular was designed by George M. Hayes of Philadelphia, active from 1878 to the 1890's. However, this primary source announced his retirement, or perhaps a continuation in a new venture, in 1884. Other businesses which customized the same bulldog design include the following: Hartman's Bookstore, Ashland, Pennsylvania, French Confectionary, and a blank bulldog card. Other similar cards designed and/or printed by George M. Hayes include: Collection of four trade cards (including the bulldog design); examples from the Spencer Museum of Art, University of Kansas; and various feline designs.

Menus and recipes shared by Mrs. Anna B. Scott in 1936: Wendyvee writes: "Yes to the Chocolate Icebox cake but a great big NO to the Sardines!!"

Joan adds: "Also not sure about mock turkey."

[Chris replies: The mock turkey recipe itself sounds interesting, and pretty easy to make. No need to shape it into a bird, though.]

Receipt for Knights of Pythias and Tweets of Old: Mark Felt, self-titled "Royal Order of the Genus Capra", writes: "A link is worth a thousand words: The Strange Case of the Mechanical Goat in the Fraternal Lodge."

* * *

Complete roundup of that
Madison Square Garden postcard word


In late March I featured an old postcard of Madison Square. The message on the back contained a word that was difficult to discern, and the meaning of the message changed, depending on how you deciphered it.

Here's a recap that repeats some previous information but also presents it all in one place...

This undated postcard was mailed to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, and the message on the back is fairly easy to decipher with the exception of one word. And that one word is crucial.
Mother,
I am going over to Brooklyn. it is 2 o'clock a.m.
[???] in this Joint are no good.
Johnnie
So, that [???] is the elephant in the room. Intially, four parties, myself included, took a stab at it and compared it to all the other words and letters on the back of the postcard. The chief possibility, we thought then, would turn the final sentence into an ugly ethnic slur.

So, at that point, we thought the mystery word could be:

  • Jews
  • Jeus (a misspelling of the above?)
  • Tens (a shortening of tenants?)
  • Something else

Part 2: Later, Ephemera Detective Extraordinaire "Mark Felt" checked in with this assessment:
The abbreviation "Tens" refers to "Tenements", squalid living quarters common in lower Manhattan at the turn of the century.

Note the cursive uppercase "T" which contrasts markedly with the cursive uppercase "J" in "Joint".

Furthermore, leaving Manhattan for Brooklyn as a means of avoiding individuals of Jewish heritage would have been counterproductive, then as now.

The writer and sender of this postcard was one John ("Johnnie") H. Moulfair (1901-1964), son of John Sipert Moulfair (1880-1946) and the addressee Miriam M. (Selin) Moulfair (1882-1963). All names and dates are readily found on findagrave.com.

The exact year of issue of the 1¢ stamp is no simple task from [this] website alone, but should be between 1908 and 1923.

Still, if Johnnie were out and about in Manhattan at 2 AM — and if his postcard were postmarked at 2:30 AM — and based on the level of his handwriting and his date of birth in 1901, this card was most likely written and mailed in the early 1920s.

Part 3: But then, in response to Felt's comment, an anonymous commenter going by "L" left this tantalizing response: "It just sez 'Pens'. Compare the P to the one in "Penna" (nearly identical, except where the former faded), and note the lousiness of the pen the writer is using in several places — most significantly, in the two letters right before the sentence in question, which had to be gone over more than once."

Part 4: And, finally, this was Felt's rebuttal to "L": "The writer may very well have intended to write 'pen', but not in the sense of a writing utensil, rather 'any small enclosure in which someone or something can be confined'. See definition 1.2 under the second section here. That would make more sense in the context of the postcard."

So, to sum up, our likeliest choices are now:

  • Tens (a shortening of tenements)
  • Pens (writing utensil)
  • Pens (small enclosure)
  • Jews

We will never know the answer for certain, but I like the reader-submitted solutions of tens and pens (either variant) quite a bit, and I've now moved off my initial assumption that the writer was using a slur.

* * *

But wait, there's more...

The more F's the better, plus a little mystery: Karlee send me an email regarding this 2011 post: "Hi, Chris, I was doing some research on the PJ Mann Printery when I came across your blog page. I'm the great granddaughter of PJ Mann. In the mid-1930s the print shop moved locations from Calumet Avenue to 642 Conkey Street and was at that location until it closed in 1975. Thank you for posting that brain teaser."

Some 1965 Amazing Stories ads were too amazing to be true: Michael Bonesteel also emailed with this fun memory: "FYI, I ordered a number of books from the Werewolf Bookshop back in the late 1960s when I was about 12 or 13 years old. I always received the right books, but I also noticed that they always had a distinctive perfume-y odor to them. Not a bad smell, just peculiar. Maybe the owner burned a lot of incense."

Old-style Ruth Manning-Sanders library book borrower's card: Sometimes I get queries. This one is from Jessica, who wrote: "Hi Chris, I hope that you are well this evening. I was searching online for ephemera and specifically a library borrower card when I found your blog. I was wondering if you would allow me to use the image at the link below, to place on a shirt and/or tote to sell? I have an Etsy store, and I think there a lot of folks who would enjoy the nostalgia of this image."

Who am I to say no? You can check out the Ruth Manning-Sanders themed items at Jessica's Etsy store. I love the idea of folks walking around in a T-shirt featuring one of her library circulation cards.

Illustrated "mapback" on vintage Dell paperback "Death with Death": Meanwhile, I received this friendly email query from Deb: "Hello Mr. Man of a Thousand Interests! Do you know where or if there is a schedule of the artists who drew covers and maps for Dell by book?"

I don't know if there's a specific directory of the artists. The best resources I know are Bookscans.com this Flickr gallery. Plus, there are some articles that I note in the 2013 blog post.

Perhaps a reader can provide a better answer for Deb's specific question...

Advertisement for Murine Eye Remedy Co. in "The Rival Heiresses": This final comment is clearly from a Bot, but I wanted to share it because there's a response!
"Actually, I am facing some difficulties to understand the meaning of the blog. If you have any short video film related to your blog, then I would request you to share here. It would be great help."
There is a short video film for that. This was created by Wendyvee in early 2013:

Sunday, June 10, 2018

"From the personal library of Dan Rather"


I have no idea whether this refers to the Dan Rather, but I found the above provenance stamp, which measures about three inches across, on the first page of a used copy of 2002's The Banana Sculptor, The Purple Lady, and the All-Night Swimmer: Hobbies, Collecting, and Other Passionate Pursuits, by Susan Sheehan and Howard Means.

The book is sort of a less-frenetic version of Errol Morris' documentary Fast, Cheap & Out of Control. I was browsing it a bit before bed last night and (of course) stopped at a chapter about Texas librarian and yard-sale enthusiast Cathy Henderson. Here's are some excerpts...
"I am looking for nothing, just for what catches my eye," Henderson says, and promptly qualifies this statement. "I generally look for jewelry, decorative objects, art, books and CDs, and accessories. I don't buy furniture. I already have too much furniture. All my friends know about my garage sale-ing and ask me to shop for them. Right now, I'm looking for a manual typewriter for a friend." ...

She calls eBay "the world's garage sale" — she is convinced it is better for sellers than for buyers, that some people first try to sell their wares on eBay, then, if that fails, take them to thrift stores or, another rung down the price ladder, offer then up on their lawns...

"I'm not too cerebral about why I go garage-saleing, but I'll track it back to my high school debate coach dissuading me from pursuing a career in archaeology," she says. "He said it didn't pay enough. Archaeology as treasure hunting had a real appeal for me, so now I do my treasure hunting at garage sales..."
* * *
Meanwhile, Rather, who will turn 87 this Halloween and might or might not have once had this book on his shelf, remains active and outspoken on social media. Here are a few of his very recent posts:




Rather's Facebook post on June 4:
I look out at our nation today and feel great pride in so many ways and with so many people. And yet that pride must compete with a powerful gut-level feeling of shame. For make no mistake, we are in a moment of deep and abiding shame. And that shame must belong to all of us.

When we learn our American history, there is so much of which to be justly proud. But the nobleness of our great democratic experiment has also been marred by stark failures - where the chasm between the idealism of our founding documents and the reality of our laws and policies are, and should be, a cause of deep shame.

For all the talk of "all men are created equal", we allowed men, women and children to be bought, sold, beaten, raped, and lynched in the name of white supremacy. We wiped out entire tribes of native peoples, from their land and from our nation. We discriminated against immigrants due to their nationality, religion, and race. We interned patriotic Japanese Americans and ruined lives with anti-Communist and anti-gay witch hunts. We exploited workers and despoiled the environment. Time and again, we have reacted with callousness when we needed compassion. These sins of the past, and many others, remain with us.

Now, when I read the paper or hear the President and his apologists speak, I see an era where shame is once again a proper response. Who are we, that we separate parents from children seeking asylum, that we ignore the plight of the people of Puerto Rico, that we claim a President is like a king - above the law, and that we turn our backs on science and reason? It is shameful, and history will surely see it as thus.

But even in times of shame, there has been another American response. Leaders have risen up and said, we cannot allow this to be. We must feel this shame and channel it into action. For out of shame, has come an engine for the improvement of our nation. I feel that energy once more. I see many who refuse to be blinded by the moment. They speak with the moral justice of our history, and I truly believe, are determined to deliver us a better future.

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Read. Dream. Imagine.
Create. Share. Peace.


There were some yard sales across the street this morning, so I ambled over and bought these for a few dollars. They'll be headed to the alarmingly understocked Little Free Library near my workplace in downtown Lancaster.

Friday, June 8, 2018

The ephemera of families separated by the United States


For #FridayReads, I recommend that you read The New York Times article headlined "'It's Horrendous': The Heartache of a Migrant Boy Taken From His Father" written by Miriam Jordan and published yesterday.

Here's a short excerpt:
At first, [5-year-old] José was sad and withdrawn. He did not initiate any interaction with the [Michigan foster] family, but followed directions from [foster mother] Janice, who speaks basic Spanish, to do things such as wash his hands and come to dinner. ...

The one thing that animated him was discussing his "photos," as he called the family drawings.

He introduced "mi familia," pointing to the figures of his parents, brother and younger sister. Staring intensely at the sketch of his father, with a slight mustache and a cap, he repeated his name out loud again and again.

It was "just me and him" on the trip from Honduras, he told Janice one night as he lay in bed shuffling the pictures, taking turns looking at one and then the other.

"He holds onto the two pictures for dear life," Janice said, through tears. "It’s heart-wrenching."
Read the rest of the story here.

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Thursday, June 7, 2018

Where my parents lived briefly, the summer before I was born


I magnified and shared this photo, which is just 1⅝ inches wide, as a #ThrowbackThursday for Dad on Facebook. The caption on the back states: "1350 N. Nevada Oceanside, Calif."

Dad adds:
"Mary and I's first 'house' after traveling from Philadelphia to Oceanside, CA, so I could report for duty at Camp Pendleton. I'm guessing June 1970. We knew Mary was with child (Chris). I remember there was a stray cat we befriended. The cat would catch mice and squirrels and put them on the porch. Not long after we moved into base housing."
I don't believe this house still exists. Nosing around on Mapquest, it appears that North Nevada Street now ends with the 700 block. Beyond that is the Oceanside Police Officer Tony Zeppetella Memorial Highway, which is part of California State Route 76.

Menus and recipes shared by Mrs. Anna B. Scott in 1936


Shown above is the cover of a 6⅛-inch-wide, 32-page recipe booklet that was included as a supplement in The Philadelphia Inquirer on November 15, 1936. There is no advertising whatsoever within the booklet, so it was just a perk designed to spur newspaper sales in the middle of the Great Depression.

The "Cook Book" is presented by Mrs. Anna B. Scott, who also authored Mrs. Scott's North American Seasonal Cook Book in the early 1920s. Here is an excerpt from Scott's foreword to the Inquirer booklet:
"It is important that every housewife know how to set a table correctly and she should definitely strive to prepare and serve correctly seasoned food if it is to be relished by her family and friends. Since taste varies with individuals, this knowledge can only be obtained by practice, making changes when repeating formulas. ... It would give me untold pleasure to assist every housewife personally, but since that is impossible, I hope the above statements and contents of this book will inspire effort which will be crowned with successful results."
The individual sections focus on all the foods and recipes needed for full meals, and so the index is divided into the likes of "Roast Turkey Dinner," "Braised Guinea Fowl Dinner," "Rabbit Dinner," "Oyster Pie Dinner," "Vegetarian Dinner," and "Inexpensive Dinner."

Here's the full menu for the Roast Turkey Dinner, which is clearly NOT designed for your average family struggling through the Great Depression:

  • Grapefruit
  • Celery
  • Sweet Pickles
  • Roast Turkey, Moist Bread Filling, Giblet Sauce
  • Cranberry Sauce
  • Candied Sweet Potatoes
  • Mashed Turnips or Creamed Onions
  • Old-Fashioned Coleslaw on Lettuce
  • Pumpkin Pie or Individual Molds of Ice Cream
  • Coffee
  • Dinner Mints
  • Mixed Nuts
  • Bowl of Fruit

And here's the full menu for the "Inexpensive Dinner":

  • Tomato Juice
  • Celery
  • Rolled Stuffed Breast of Veal
  • Roast Sweet or White Potatoes
  • Cauliflower, Bechamel Sauce
  • Bread and Butter
  • Beet and Onion Salad
  • Chocolate Sponge Cake
  • Coffee

These are some of the individual recipes from the booklet that I thought you might find interesting.

Sardine Appetizer
  • 1 can small sardines
  • 1 tablespoon mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon chopped green peppers
  • 1/2 teaspoon scraped onion
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 hard-cooked egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried mustard
  • Very finely chopped parsley
  • Paprika
  • Rounds of rye bread
Remove skin and bones from sardines and mince very fine, add mayonnaise, peppers, onion, sauce and dry mustard; mix until very smooth. Spread on small rounds of rye bread, spring with finely chopped parsley and fine chopped white of egg. Rub yolk of egg through coarse wire strainer and sprinkle a little over top of appetizer. Dust with paprika.

Hawaiian Sweet Potatoes
  • 1/4 pk. sweet potatoes
  • 1 can crushed pineapple
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Dash white pepper
Brush bakedish with butter; then put in a layer of sweet potatoes which have been washed, boiled, skinned and cut into half-inch slices. Cover with half the sugar, sprinkle with salt, pepper and half the pineapple, then the rest of the sweet potatoes, salt, pepper, a little butter and the remainder of the pineapple and cover with the sugar and remainder of the butter. Place in moderate oven and bake 35 to 40 minutes. Serve in dish in which they are baked. This is an exceptionally rich dish. A shallow glass bakedish or pie plate is best.

Mock Turkey
  • 2 cups breadcrumbs
  • 2 cups mixed nuts
  • 2 cups boiled rice
  • 6 hard-boiled eggs
  • 3 raw eggs
  • 1 tablespoon grated onions
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • pepper to taste
Put the breadcrumbs in a saucepan with two cups of water; cook for a few minutes; add the hard-boiled eggs (chopped). Take saucepan from fire and add the nuts (a mixture of peanuts and pine nuts is best) and the rice. When this is well mixed add seasoning and the raw eggs, slightly beaten. Form this into ten-inch oblong shape, reserving a portion for the legs and wings, which are fastened to the body with toothpicks. Take a tablespoon of the mixture in your hands and press into the shape of a leg; put a piece of dry macaroni in it for a bone and fasten it to the turkey. Do the same to the other side. Form the remaining portion into small pieces looking like wings tucked under; press them to the side of the turkey. Brush the turkey with butter and bake one hour.

Chocolate Icebox Cake
  • 1 qt. milk
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup cocoa
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 18 to 20 graham crackers
  • 8 marshmallows
  • 1 tablespoon butter
Brush dish about 2 inches high with butter, line with whole graham crackers, breaking crackers in half for the sides. Put in a layer of chocolate cornstarch while hot, then a layer of graham crackers, then a layer of chocolate. Arrange the marshmallows and pour over the balance of the chocolate. When cold, turn out and garnish with whipped cream or serve with a custard sauce.

To make the chocolate cornstarch: Mix the dry ingredients with a little of the cold milk, add to the boiling milk and boil three minutes.

* * *

Final note from Anna: "Make a special effort to use every particle of food for which you have spent money. Gather as many hints on this subject as you can. Save all the water in which foods are cooked for soups, sauces and gravy. If you would avoid waste, learn how to make proper use of all left-overs. Lack of knowledge for the utilization of food makes for expensive living, as much of the nourishment which should be consumed is wasted."

Note from me: See, on this topic that was close to Anna's heart, the 2010 book American Wasteland: How America Throws Away Nearly Half of Its Food (and What We Can Do About It), by Jonathan Bloom.

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

How to promote your hotel with a disturbing illustration of a dog


I'm not sure what folks were thinking 137 years ago, in 1881, when they dreamed up this three-inch-wide Victorian advertising trade card for a hotel in Reading, Pennsylvania. Who said, "This frightening image of a dog with an alarmingly oversized head will help spread the word and bring in more customers."?

Or perhaps it was just a case of truth in advertising, and this was how a hotel of horrors marketed itself. Perhaps this hotel had a Room 237 and a Room 1408, if you know what I mean. Or perhaps it was a trial run for Herman Webster Mudgett before he moved to Chicago a few years later. (I'm joking, but H.H. did spend some time in Pennsylvania and had a short stint at Norristown State Hospital.)

Silliness aside, here's what we know of the southcentral Pennsylvania hotel from the text on the front of the card:
Compliments of the Season
John E. Steinel,
9th Avenue Hotel,
9th and Walnut Streets,
Reading, Pa.

Fine Foreign and Domestic
Wines for the Holidays
John E. Steinel (1854-1907), according to his Find A Grave page, "was 17 when his father died and with his mother continued the father's hotel and brush business." (That was, you will not be surprised to learn, the only Google result for the phrase "hotel and brush business" before this blog post.)

He had a son, also named John E. Steinel, who lived from 1893 to 1943.

Finally, here's an excerpt from History of Reading, Pennsylvania, and the anniversary proceedings of the sesqui-centennial, June 5-12, 1898:
"Steinel Factory — Peter Steinel emigrated from Germany in 1847, and located at Reading. He began manufacturing brushes of all kinds in 1848 on Franklin street near Front. He removed to 945 Penn street in 1853, and carried on the business there until his decease in 1870. He established a large trade, employing from 25 to 30 hands, and distributed his production in this and the surrounding counties by a number of teams. His son John E. Steinel then succeeded him, removing the factory to 837 Walnut street, and he has carried on the same until the present time. He employs from 6 to 15 hands, and ships brushes to different parts of this and the surrounding counties."

Monday, June 4, 2018

Forgotten artwork found blowing down a Lancaster street

I played the roles of trash-picker-upper and urban ephemerologist when I grabbed these pieces of children's artwork off the sidewalk of North Queen Street in downtown Lancaster during my dinner break on this mild Monday in early June.

Each card measures six inches across. Now, they are recorded for posterity before heading to their final recycling resting place (and not a sewer grate or trash-strewn alley).







1917 York postcard with a typed message on the back


This York, Pennsylvania, postcard was used in a curious fashion 101 years ago. It was loaded into a typewriter, and back of the card contains a lengthy typewritten note. There are creases where the card once went through that typewriter roller.

The card wasn't mailed, though. No room was left for a stamp or recipient's address. Maybe it was mailed in an envelope. Or perhaps it was delivered by an owl courier. We also don't know the identity of either the sender or recipient — just the date of the note. Here it is:
4/4/17.
The phone was somewhat out of order last evening and you know we could hardly understand anything — will tell you about it when I see you. I understood you that they are going to have the entertainment Thurs. & Satur. Even. well if it is nice that I can use the Auto. I will be at Ness's School-house Thurs. Even., but if it should happen to rain — will be at your place Satur. Even. in good time and than we can decide wheter [sic] we want to go to York or at the entertainment. Will expect seeing your Thurs. Night and also intent taking you home, as it is a pretty good walk for you both ways, but you need not take me in the house as I said Sun. Even., you know I said that only in fun — I would not expect you to take me in the house through the week yet, so do not worry what I said Sun. night. Hoping to see you tomorrow night, I remain your friend,
XXX
That's certainly a head-scratcher. There are some things going on between the lines of that century-old message that we will never know about. Regarding the mention of Ness's School-house, there was a one-room school in Windsor Township, York County, by that name.

Saturday, June 2, 2018

Latest links to stimulate your mind

Here's another roundup of articles and essays that you might find interesting. Some serious, some frivolous. Because balance, Daniel-san. Always find balance.






1951 civil-defense pamphlet: Be prepared for fire after atomic blast

If the threat of atomic annihilation wasn't terrifying enough in the early years of the Cold War, this 1951 Federal Civil Defense Administration pamphlet wanted to make it clear that you were hardly out of the woods if you and your nuclear family happened to survive the initial fury of human-engineered atom violence.

Because after the Earth-rattling, house-leveling, radiation-showering atomic blast comes ... fire.

And the FCDA, under the direction of Millard Fillmore Caldwell (1897-1984) — whose life spanned Sergei Rachmaninoff and Duran Duran — wanted civilians to be prepared to fight those fires.

Here are some excerpts from this somber bit of literature from 67 years ago, which somewhat doubles as an anti-hoarding missive and, quite awkwardly to our modern views, a sexist call for housewives to perform their patriotic duty of regular house-cleaning...

  • Closets, attics, and cellars are the main source of home fires, and plain ordinary good housekeeping is a strong line of defense against them. Fire hazards in peacetime become doubly dangerous in wartime. Check your closets, attic, and basement for cast-off articles that would burn. Clean out your storage places. You will be surprised at how many burnable odds and ends are really useless to you. Don't let them make your home a fire hazard. Get rid of them.
  • Don't stop when you've cleared out the inside of your house. Go after rubbish in the your back yard, in alleys and in vacant lots near your home. Collect the rubbish and burn it. Don't leave it around to burn if an enemy bombs your city.
  • You can buy fire-resistant drapery and furniture-covering materials. Or you can mix a fire-resistant solution for rayons and cotton yourself. It's cheap and easy to use. Dissolve 9 ounces of borax and 4 ounces of boric acid in a gallon of water. Dip your curtains, drapes, and slipcovers in it. This solution won't hurt anything that water won't hurt. You'll have to use it again each time you wash the fabric, however.
  • After an atomic bomb explodes, the resulting fires could cause more loss of life and property than the blast itself. An atomic bomb would cause great fires in the area where it fell. It would also start hundreds of small fires in surrounding areas. These smaller fires must be fought by people on the spot, because the regular fire-fighting companies won't be able to reach them. Teaching of householders to fight fires will be carried out by local civil defense instructors.
  • At least one member of your family must be trained in the use of basic fire-fighting tools and methods. Women are at home much of the time. It is particularly important that they know how to fight fires.


Thursday, May 31, 2018

110-year-old advertisement for Dragon Automobile Company


I gave Sarah this 1908 advertisement for Dragon Automobile Company as a gift for her high school graduation earlier this month, because it contains two things that she loves — cars and dragons. And, outside of perhaps Wacky Races, that's not a combination you see too often.

The Dragon Automobile Company was short-lived, lasting only from 1906 to 1908, during which time it moved operations from Kittery, Maine, to Detroit to Philadelphia. Leo Melanowski, who had previously worked with the Otto Gas Engine Company (no relation), was the design engineer of the Dragon.

Here is some of the copy from this page of advertising, which measures about 8 inches across:
The Dragon Declares that it was been "doing things" lately that put it away up to the front of the class of machines that cost a good deal more.

First, the 24 hour Point Breeze endurance run, where its two cars finished second and third, where every car that finished was higher powered and higher priced. Only three cars running when race was finished, and two were Dragons.

Second the Boston (Readville) Decoration Day run, when the Dragon, finishing fourth, was the only car beside the winner that did not make a single stop for repairs or adjustments.

Third, that Dragon run over the 100 miles of up and downs around San Francisco Bay in 3:26 — 23 minutes better than the previous record.

Fourth, the New Jersey Automobile and Motor Club's three day endurance run from Newark to Atlantic City. Only five cars finished, and the Dragon's consistent running throughout was a wonder. And this same car started for New York right after the race, made the 101 miles in 4:12 — probably lowering the low-powered, 4-cylinder record — and hurried back to Philadelphia without a break, hitch or stop.
Read more about Dragon at American Automobiles and in Alan Naldrett's 2016 book Lost Car Companies of Detroit. It seems that many of the cars ended up being used as taxi cabs. I can't find evidence of whether any working or non-working models of the Dragon exist today.