Saturday, February 24, 2018

Saturday's postcard: Downtown
Des Moines circa 1913

It's been 368 weeks since the very first "Saturday's postcard" on Papergreat. Today's postcard is somewhat of a repeat. I featured it on the blog about four years ago, but didn't write anything about the card itself. So, on this rainy afternoon, I'll provide its proper rundown.

This one has worked its way into a pile of postcards that Ashar wants to research and/or write original stories about. So this might also end up being a preview of a future story along the lines of A Second Chance at Love. I'm certainly hoping so.

As you can see, the caption on the front of the card states: "WALNUT STREET LOOKING WEST FROM 4TH STREET AT NIGHT, DES MOINES, IOWA." It's also copyrighted by photographer A.O. Harpel and marked P-23522.

On the back of the card, the publisher's logo, shown at right, is unknown to me. It was mailed with a green George Washington 1-cent stamp and postmarked on January 6, 1913, in Des Moines. The recipient's address, however, has been erased for some reason.

The postcard message, in pencil, states:
Des Moines, Iowa
Jan 6th 1913
[Name erased] was very glad to to get your card, he has enjoyed his cards and letters from friends and relatives so much. He is getting better slowly, hope to go home next Sunday, now if his temperature runs better ... [indecipherable] ... so much of time. Love, [indecipherable, possibly including the name "Dell."]
I reckon we could get some forensics experts to discover that address and other names that were erased from the card, but I think it's just fine to leave this as a mystery for the ages.

Previous posts with moonlit scenes

Friday, February 23, 2018

That mid-century modern furniture would be worth a mint today

I don't own a copy of this scarce 1962 book, Fallout Shelter Handbook. This cover image is from the terrific @PulpLibrarian Twitter account, which you should follow if you love old books and history, usually with a wink or a twist.

I can't give you any further insight into the 144-page handbook by Chuck West, but here are some other websites that have delved into it:

Wendy the Good Little Witch and Hostess save the day

I have previously featured Batman and Thor shamelessly plugging Hostess snacks in the advertising pages of vintage comic books.1 Now, to complete the trifecta, here is one of my childhood favorites: Wendy the Good Little Witch. I rediscovered and instantly remembered this particular advertisement for Hostess fruit pies this week while browsing through the February 1979 issue (No. 27) of Ri¢hie Ri¢h Profit$, from Harvey Publications.

The advertisement co-stars Wendy's three aunts2, a trio of witches with whom she lives in a bucolic cottage in the forest. There is doom, gloom and despair over a lost recipe, and then Wendy saves the day with a basket full of Hostess pies with "light tender crusts." There is much joy and eating of pies. Unlike the Batman and Thor advertisements, there is no villain. Just a missing piece of ephemera.

Wendy the Good Little Witch had at least three other Hostess advertisements that I found, all for Twinkies. (I'm sure there are others.) Thanks to the magic of the Internet, you can see the Twinkies ads here, here and here.

Even better: Here's a list, from Mike Voiles, of ALL the comic book Hostess ads that were published between 1975 and 1981. Dive in an see how Sabrina, Sad Sack, Hulk, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, Tweety & Sylvester and many more touted those pies and other snacks.

But wait, there's more!
As a bonus, here's a two-panel segment from this comic book in which Richie Rich is firmly established as the worst, most destructive (fictional) archaeologist in the history of the world. Even in a comic, I just cannot even fathom this...

1. I need to create a vintage-style advertisement in which Baron Von Papergreat hawks Hostess products.
2. Thelma, Velma and Zelma.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Presidential ephemera that I wish wasn't necessary, on multiple levels

More about this from Time magazine. I wonder if this piece of notepad paper will make it to the presidential archives or library.

Bookplate: Hazel S. Rork and her dog

Unlike yesterday's generic (but delightful) bookplate, this is the ultimate personalized bookplate. It's a photograph of Hazel S. Rork and her spaniel sitting in front of a bookshelf, and it's featured on the inside front cover of 1937's First Editions of To-Day and How to Tell Them, by H.S Boutell.

Hazel Spatz Rork Schmuck lived from 1905 to 1993 and appears to have been a lifelong Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, resident. She was a 1926 graduate of Millersville University, when it was called Millersville State Normal School. She served for many years as a teacher in the School District of Lancaster, which was established in 1836 and is apparently the second-oldest school district in Pennsylvania.

I can't find much else about her, but she does have a wonderful legacy, in that a bequest from her estate established the Hazel Rork Schmuck Alumni Scholarship in 1995 at Millersville. So her life's devotion to education continues today.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Old bookplate from the Nitschmann School Library

This wonderful old bookplate appears on the inside front cover of a little-used 1925 book titled Lessons on the Use of Books and Libraries. The bookplate measures just under 2½ inches wide and is 4 inches tall. It's a generic plate in the sense that any institution or individual could place their name in the box at the top.

The bookplate names the Nitschmann School Library in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, and an oval blue stamp on the table-of-contents page further calls it the Nitschmann Public School Library. I'm sure Nitschmann is a reference to David Nitschmann der Bischof (1695-1772), who was one of the founders of Bethlehem. There is still a Nitschmann Middle School in the Bethlehem Area School District.

A little more about the 93-year-old book: According to one annotation, it might have entered the library's collection in 1929. There is a never-used circulation card within a pocket affixed to the inside back cover. There is also a never-used "DUE DATE" slip at the back of the book. The book was written by O.S. Rice, published by Rand McNally and has the subtitle "A Text Book for Schools and a Guide for the Use of Teachers and Librarians." The index indicates that there is a two-page section on judging the reliability of newspapers.

Monday, February 19, 2018

Mom's Philadelphia Eagles
Super Bowl LII junk mail

Breaking news: It was two weeks ago today that the Philadelphia Eagles and their fans were still in a mild — OK, medium — state of shock, celebrating the team's improbable victory the night before, over the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LII. A parade was being planned, highlights of quarterbacks being wide receivers (with varying degrees of success) were being played on endless loops, memes were being invented left and right.

Just a week-and-a-half after the big game, I received two pieces of junk mail addressed to Mom, hawking Eagles commemorative merchandise. If nothing else, these folks definitely deserve points for moving fast, trying to capitalize on Philly fever, common-sense settings being toggled to "off," and loose wallets.

Mom has been gone for almost a year, but I suspect that I'll be receiving mail with her name for the rest of my life. She was on — and this is a precisely calculated figure — one zillion mailing lists. But I'm sure she never purchased a commemorative football. Still, the junk mailers found her.

Here, for posterity, is a look at the two advertising pitches that were addressed to Mom. I wouldn't be surprised if there are more on the way.

Danbury Mint commemorative football
For just $129, plus $9.80 shipping, you can own this "must-have" tribute to the Eagles for placement on your bookshelf or other special area of your house (perhaps the side table in your green-and-white sunkenarium, so visiting Cowboys fans are forced to look at it). It is, of course, a limited edition and you must act quickly. The pitch also states: "Our artisans are currently beginning to craft the Philadelphia Eagles Super Bowl LII Championship Commemorative. Due to the unique level of detail, production of this museum-quality commemorative won't be complete until early fall, but place an advance reservation now to make sure you're one of the few to acquire this unique tribute."

Museum quality, folks.

Note the Winston Churchill books on the left!

PCS Stamps & Coins
This one is pricier, since we're talking about silver coins. It's a set of "12 pure U.S. Silver Dollars, each issued in 2018 and brilliantly colorized with a different snapshot of a top Eagles player who contributed to this remarkable season." And, hey, they'll throw in a hand-numbered wooden display chest (with lock and key) free of charge!

There are only 2,018 sets (get it?) being issued, so act quickly!

Each of the 12 coins costs $99, plus $6 shipping. So you might need to dip into your retirement savings for the overall $1,260 this set will cost you. (Note: Please do not dip into your retirement savings. Contact a certified financial adviser and never take advice from an ephemera blog.)

Also, take note of the tidy profit they're making with that price. As of today, one troy ounce of silver, which is what these coins contain, sells for about $16.

Final note from the advertising pitch: "This craze is sweeping the sporting world ... and supplies are limited."

Sunday, February 18, 2018

This week's coolest ephemera on eBay, courtesy of Vincent Price

At some point in his life, the amazing Vincent Price (1911-1993) doodled and jotted names and ideas all over a piece of Sheraton Hotels & Motor Inns notepaper. Now, in 2018, that piece of paper is a hot commodity on eBay. What a world.

It is a truly cool piece of paper, though.

In addition to four faces that show Price's flair for drawing, the jotted names seem to be a who's who of Old Hollywood: Tallulah (Bankhead?), Clifton (Webb?), Noel (Coward?), Mrs. John Huston (he had five wives, a later possibility among them is Enrica Soma), Lorre...

And, as if an idea struck him, this is scrawled twice: Instant obits.

What did it mean, Vincent?

Among the other things jotted down: Snowbird Lodge, Picasso, Stahl, St. Georges Hospital, phone numbers and ... best of all ... Tooting. That's a word that always makes Sarah laugh, so she'll be especially pleased that Vincent Price once scribbled it on a notepad.

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