Saturday, April 7, 2018

Book cover: "Blood on Her Shoe"

  • Title: Blood on Her Shoe
  • Alarming additional cover text: "SHE WALKED WITH DEATH"
  • Author: Medora Field (1892-1960)
  • Cover illustrator: Rudolph Belarski (1900-1983)
  • About the illustrator: Belarski was born in Dupont, Pennsylvania, and worked in the coal mines as a child and young adult. He finally found his calling by taking mail-order art courses at night. Read more about him at The Field Guide to Wild American Pulp Artists.
  • Original publication year: 1942, by The Macmillan Company
  • This edition year: No date listed, but Internet Consensus™ is that it was published in 1949.
  • This edition publisher: Popular Library, New York
  • Original price: 25 cents
  • Pages: 250
  • Format: Paperback
  • First sentence: "What's all this about a mysterious grave in the garden down at Heron Point?" asked my tall, good-looking older brother, Josh, as he held the car door open for me.
  • Last sentence: Chief Lindsey, the old romantic!
  • Random sentence from middle: She had never heard of radium, and I wished I had not.
  • Original Kirkus review: "Ghosts and local legends make atmosphere for feminine interference in deadings, as Ann finds her relatives and friends implicated in sudden deaths. Twins further complicate matters, Ann almost pays dearly for her snooping, but local law sleuths the corpser and the motives. Fair."
  • Modern thoughts and reviews: You should read the humorous and short review by William F. Deeck on It properly scolds the heroine for her "dunderheadedness." Also, for more on Blood on Her Shoe and author Field, check out "The Mysteries of Medora Field" on The Passing Tramp.

1913 postcard: "You can put it in a frame and hang it up"

In March 1913, Ruth mailed this postcard from Mystic, Connecticut, to Miss Myra Berger in Waynesboro, Pennsylvania.

Here is the note written in cursive on the back:
Dear Myra: I forgot to send the proof of Mabels picture but will do so the next time I write. Don't you think I am some artist? I did this picture that is the coloring. I think it is fun. You can put it in a frame and hang it up. I think they are cute that way. Love Ruth.
The sentence "I did this picture that is the coloring." — that's the exact punctuation and capitalization — confuses me slightly. I'm not sure whether Ruth is saying that she's the one pictured or if she simply colored in a photograph of someone else. (Obviously, Myra would not have needed clarity.)

I am curious about how this postcard was printed, since it appears (though I could be wrong) to be a one-off and not something that was mass produced. I assume it's a variation or refinement of the early practice of hand coloring postcard photographs.

Other than the freckle-sized and illegible logo on the front (shown at right, with the contrast and saturation increased), there is no publisher or manufacturer indicated anywhere on the card. So some elements of this postcard remain a bit of a mystery.

Do you reckon Sotheby's would be interested? Should I put it in a frame and hang it up?

Friday, April 6, 2018

"Adventure May Be Anywhere" by Ruth Manning-Sanders

On this April 6, one of my #FridayReads is the children's novel Adventure May Be Anywhere by Ruth Manning-Sanders.1

The book was first published in 1938 in London, under the title Children by the Sea. The next year, it was published in the United States, by Frederick A. Stokes Company, with a different title: Adventure May Be Anywhere. Pictured here is that edition's dust jacket, from an eBay listing. (My copy has no dust jacket, but I wanted to show y'all what it looks like.)

Copies of both editions of the book are scarce, but when reading copies — without the dust jacket — pop up, they are generally priced reasonably — $10 to $20. Unless you want a collectible copy, you shouldn't need to pay more than that.

Here's an excerpt of the Kirkus review of Adventure May Be Anywhere: "Four cousins spend a gay, hilarious summer on the Cornish coast. One of the four tells their adventures. They are lively and exciting, dangerous, heroic. Some are old stand-bye but the author has succeeded in giving them a new twist."

The novel's protagonists are 12-year-old Rebecca (the narrator), Jimmy, Sally and Bang. Bang is short for Bartholomew Abel Nicholas Goddard.

Adventure May Be Anywhere is dedicated to a pair of real-life children: Manning-Sanders daughter Joan and son David.

I'm 30% of the way through the 262-page book. A couple notes so far:

I absolutely love this passage: "We were going along the edge of a very blue bay, with the sun sparkling on it. And St. Michael's Mount was standing out in the water, with a castle on its top.2 There was a flag flying from the castle, which meant, so they told us, that the lord who owned it was at home. They also told us that it was the identical castle where Jack killed the giant. And this interested us, but not so much, perhaps, as it would have done when we were younger, and believed in such things. Now we are what Father calls realists, which means that we don't believe in fairy stories. He says we shall believe in them again, when we are older, but in a different way. Father is very clever. But he isn't always right, I've discovered."

The Hooper: There is a harrowing early incident involving The Hooper, an occasional wall of white mist off the coast that is the subject of mariner folklore. Bang says: "THE Hooper is that mist. There's only one of it. It just floats above the face of the deep, and the fishermen say that, if you row out into it, it swallows you up, boat and all, and you're never seen again."

Bang's younger sister Sally adds: "I read about it in a book. There were three young men and they all set out to sea. They were sailing in their boat without a care, when they saw the Hooper. One wanted to turn back, but the other two were scoffers. They said it would take more than a Hooper to drown them, and they sailed right into it. ... They were never, never, never heard of more."

The four children then have their own encounter with The Hooper, sailing directly into it during an ill-advised and out-of-control boating expedition. They survive just fine, of course, though they are not divested of the notion that the mysterious entity has a kind of sentience.

Information about The Hooper is not easy to come across in 2018. It's kind of faded into the, ahem, mists of time. Or perhaps it goes by other names. Here are some tidbits I discovered:

  • From The Encyclopedia of Celtic Mythology and Folklore, by Patricia Monaghan: "hooper (hooter) Cornish folkloric figure. A helpful but sometimes vindictive Cornish weather spirit like the Scottish GRAY MAN, the hooper was a dense fog that blocked out all vision, or a cloudy curtain from which a central light shone. Anyone who saw the hooper stayed ashore, for its appearance was invariably followed by fierce storms. One legend tells of a sailor who jeered at the hooper and took out his crew despite the warning; his boat passed into the gloom and was never seen again."
  • Traditions and Hearthside Stories of West Cornwall, Volume 2, which was written by William Bottrell and published circa 1873, has a section titled "Mermaids and The Hooper." It states:
    "WITHIN easy memory many parts of the western coast were said to be frequented by mermaids, particularly Sennen Cove. This place was also resorted to by a remarkable spirit called the Hooper — from the hooting or pooping sounds which it was accustomed to make.3

    "In old time, according to tradition, a compact cloud of mist often came in from over sea — when the weather was by no means foggy — and rested on the rocks called Cowloe, thence it spread itself, like a curtain of cloud, quite across Sennen Cove. By night a dull light was mostly seen amidst the vapour, with sparks ascending as if a fire burned within it; at the same time hooping sounds, were heard proceeding therefrom. People believed the misty cloud shrouded a spirit, which came to forewarn them of approaching storms, and that those who attempted to put to sea found an invisible force — seemingly in the mist — to resist them. A reckless fisherman and his son, however, — disregarding the token — launched their boat and beat through the fog with a threshal (flail); they passed the cloud of mist which followed them, and neither the men, nor the Hooper, were evermore seen in Sennen Cove.

    "This is the only place in the west where any tradition of such a guardian spirit is preserved."
  • From Encyclopedia of Fairies in World Folklore and Mythology, by Theresa Bane: "In Sennen Cove, West Cornwall, England there is believe to live a NATURE SPIRIT called Hooper who warns the locals of approaching storms. Described as looked like a large sheet of cloud mist stretched across the bay with a dull light in the middle of it. Hooper will appear before a storm and make distinctive yet strange hooping sounds. The fog this fairy created was thick enough even if his calls were ignored a fisherman would have to intentionally make a very poor decision to sail out into it, those who did were inevitably lost at sea."

* * *

Related Twitter addendum

1. My other ongoing #FridayReads are non-fiction: Darger's Resources by Michael Moon and At Home: A Short History of Private Life by Bill Bryson.
2. Attribution for photo of St Michael's Mount: By Chensiyuan [CC BY-SA 4.0], from Wikimedia Commons
3. I'm not sure if "pooping" is the word they wanted or meant there, but I'm leaving it.

Thursday, April 5, 2018

1911 Germantown postcard: Asking mother for shoe money

I picked up this postcard yesterday, while Ashar and I were out and about, scoping out mannequins, Fitbits and Three Mile Island.

The postcard of Germantown Academy (founded 1759) in Germantown, Pennsylvania, was published by Valentine & Sons, a company that was founded in Scotland in 1825. As always, you can read more about them on

The card was postmarked on January 25, 1911. On that same date, according to Wikipedia, "U.S. troops were sent to the Rio Grande to keep Mexican insurgents from crossing into the United States." The postcard was mailed from Reading, Pennsylvania, to Mrs. G.F. Miller in Williamsport, Pennsylvania.

Here is the content of the cursive note, as best as I can figure:
Dear Mother
Expected money in letter. Will you please send some [same?] for shoes as they [?] are having a sale in shoes here. Think I can get comfortable ones here and save trouble in sending. Would like to get them this week as mine will hardly last much longer. Am well. Saw Mrs. Heisler. Will write later.
Your Daughter
Effie M.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Gorgeous illustrations within 1920 primer: "The Winston Readers"

Eighteen months ago, I had a post about the illustrated endpapers within The Winston Readers: Primer, which was authored by Sidney G. Firman and Ethel H. Maltby and was published in 1920 by The John C. Winston Company.

As it approaches the century mark, this old schoolbook is a keeper. One of the big reasons is the illustrations by Frederick Richardson (1862-1937). He fills the book with colorful chickens, pigs, bears, goats, and cats — alongside the human protagonists — to help the authors tell popular tales such as "The Wee Wee Woman," "The Gingerbread Boy," "The Old Woman and Her Pig," "There Was a Crooked Man," "Lambikin," and "The Three Bears."

Here's a look at some of Richardson's great work for the book...

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Family snapshot: Mom, Charles and Ginger

Today's family snapshot features Mom, her older brother Charles, and a somewhat unwilling cat. They are posing on the second floor of the house on Oak Crest Lane in Wallingford, Pennsylvania, in front of the door to the bedroom that became mine in the mid 1980s.

The original version of this photo is just 2⅛ inches wide, so it's neat to see it magnified.

Charles says the cat's name was Ginger. It was a friendly indoor/outdoor cat that sealed its fate when it kept killing birds every time it went outside. That was a no-no in that bird-loving household. So Mom's and Charles' grandfather, Howard Horsey Adams (husband of oft-mentioned, world-traveling Greta) hauled Ginger off to the SPCA.

When we moved into the house in 1986, we brought a pair of cats with us: Buddy (who didn't live long after the move) and Cyrano, who lived for nearly another decade and bonded with Greta when she became bedridden late in her life.

Somewhere around here I have a cool picture of Cyrano I should share...

She is quietly judging you

Monday, April 2, 2018

Plethora of pudding within 1888 "Cyclopedia of Practical Information"

Five years ago, I did a short post mentioning a handful of the amusing tidbits within What Every One Should Know, a "Cyclopedia of Practical Information" that was compiled by S.H. Burt and published by A.L. Burt in 1888.

(I got the date wrong in that post, too. The content is copyright 1884 and the book was possibly first published in that year, but my battered edition was published in 1888, according to the title page. So please make that adjustment if you're scoring at home.)

For fun, I thought I'd focus today on the plethora of pudding recipes located within the 510-page volume. Because everyone likes a nice pudding, right? Maybe you'll find something here that piques your interest or gives you a future kitchen project.

  • Pudding (Bird's Nest) — to make. — Take six or seven cooking apples, pare them, and remove the cores without breaking the apples. Place them in a pie-dish; next wash thoroughly four heaped teaspoonfuls of sago; mix with sufficient cold water to fill the dish containing the apples, and bake in a moderate oven. Cherries, prunes, etc., may be used instead of apples, or tapioca instead of sago, and, if well made, the the pudding is palatable, wholesome, and inexpensive. To be served with sugar and milk, or cream, if practicable.1
  • Pudding (Cocoanut). — Two quarts rich, tart apples, chopped as for mince-pie; one cup sago, swelled with two cups boiling water; one cup sugar, and one and a half cups desiccated cocoanut; mix intimately and bake one hour in an earthen pudding dish. Serve cold. This is a pudding worthy to grace any occasion when a pudding can be served, and containing no butter or fat, and is not difficult of digestion.
  • Pudding (Christiana). — Put a layer or sliced bread or biscuit, first dipped well in boiling sweet milk, in a baking-dish, then a layer of prune sauce made as for eating, only seeding the prunes, then bread, and so on till the dish is full, bread on top, having sprinkled each layer with a little sugar; pour over this the prune juice and the remainder of the scalded milk. To make it richer, bits of butter may be added to each layer; bake in a moderate oven for three-quarters of an hour to an hour. When cold, turn out in a dish and spread whipped cream on top, or it may be served hot with a sauce or spoonful of whipped cream to each dish. This is a splendid pudding, wholesome and inexpensive.
  • Pudding (Corn). — Grate fifteen ears of sweet corn, scraping off carefully all the milk that may remain on the cob, but do not take the hull with it. Add to this one cup and quarter of white Indian meal, four well-beaten eggs, three spoonfuls of sweet butter, and enough rich milk to make the thin batter; add pepper and salt, and stir in the eggs the last thing, and bake. Stir it several times before it is half done; after that leave it unmolested till done.
  • Pudding (Dandy). — One and one-half pint of milk, four eggs, sugar to taste. Boil the milk and yolks and one teaspoonful of corn starch. Beat the whites to a stiff froth, after the cream is cooked, put it in a dish to cool. Then drop the whites, after sweetening, on the cream. Brown the top a few minutes.
  • Pudding (Marlboro). — Six large apples stewed and strained, a cupful of white sugar, a half cupful of butter, the juice of two lemons, and the grated rind, also a little rose water, and three tablespoonfuls of hot water, one milk biscuit or Boston cracker, rolled fine, six eggs, beaten and stirred in. Line deep plates with a rich crust, have a pretty thick edging, pour in the mixture, and bake.
  • Pudding (King George). — One pint of bread crumbs, half pint of flour, teaspoonful of baking powder, sifted in flour, a little salt, half a pound of raisins, quarter of a pound of currants, quarter of a pound of suet, coffeecupful of milk, one egg; tie tightly in a bag and boil three hours. To be eaten with hard sauce.
  • Pudding (Queen). — One pint of nice fine bread-crumbs, one quart of milk, one cup of sugar, the yolks of four eggs, beaten, the grated rind of a lemon, a piece of butter the size of an egg; bake until done, but not watery; whip the whites of the eggs stiff; beat in a teacupful of sugar, in which has been strained the juice of a lemon; spread over the pudding a layer of jelly; pour the whites of the eggs over this; replace in the oven; bake lightly; to be eaten cold, with cream; if preferred. This is decidedly the best of all puddings.

"You can go to places in the world with pudding. That's funny."

1. Humans are still better than machines. In the version of this book, which "was carefully scanned by Google as part of a project to make the world's books discoverable online," this is what the Pudding (Bird's Nest) recipe looks like:
Pudding: (Bird's Neat] — to make.— Take nix or «evcn cooking
iipplc!-, puif iliem. *nd remove the ("ten wlilioui breakini; Ihe applet.
Place (hem in a pie-diih; next wash thorounhly four heaped lea>
i.poon[uls of sngo; mix with sufficient cold water lo lill the disJi con-
taining the apples, and bake in a moderate oven. Cherrlci, prunes,
ell-, . may be UNtd instead of apple*, or tapioca Instead of Htgo, and,
if well aade. Ihc pudding It palauble. wholesome, and inexpensive.
To be served with sugar and milk, or cream, if praclicable.

Sunday, April 1, 2018

Trio of vintage Easter postcards

Given that Papergreat is now in its eighth full year, you would think there would be more Easter-themed posts in the archives. But a little searching reveals that's not the case. I've missed a bundle of Easter opportunities over the years. So I'll make up for it this year with a trio of vintage Easter postcards for your enjoyment.

Above: This "Best Easter Wishes" postcard, with a girl carrying a basket of chicks, was published by Paul Finkenrath Ltd. (PFB), a German outfit that was in business from 1901 to 1911, according to It was postmarked 110 years ago (April 17, 1908) and sent to Miss Rhoda Berger in Foltz, Pennsylvania. The short cursive note states: "Dear Rhoda, Trusting this may be a very happy Easter to you. I am as ever your friend. Paul."

Above: This pink postcard has the printed message "Ach. I gladly greet you mit Easter vishes shveet." It was postmarked at New York City's Station K on April 22, 1916. It was mailed someone addressed as Miss. The first name is either Berthe or Bertha. The last name is either Bussee or Bussel. Or even Bussell, if the writer misspelled it. So many possibilities. The short cursive note states: "I wish you all the joys of Easter and may the future be very bright and happy. Mary Roche Nemick." And, no, I'm not sure about "Nemick." It could be something else.

Above: This "With Best Wishes for Easter" postcard features a robust-looking chick in a basket. I don't think that chick came out of that shell. The Davidson Bros. postcard was never stamped or postmarked. But it was addressed to Mrs. E.G. Williams of Newville, Pennsylvania, and there is this cursive message: "Sac City, April 2, 1909. Dear Sister did you Rec my last letter. All Well. your sister Ella Kyle."

Other Easter-related posts