Saturday, April 21, 2018

Snapshot & memories: Adorable
little me on Mulberry Street


Yep, that's me. In a frankly adorable outfit that I no longer have. I should try to find a grown-up equivalent of that outfit and recreate the photograph, which seems to be the hip thing to do these days. But I'm not sure the world is ready for that kind of horror. We still have the chest, though. It's currently being used to store outgoing Pengins for Everyone.

This snapshot is from August 1975, the same month that the Helsinki Accords were signed, NASA launched Viking 1 toward Mars, and Bruce Springsteen released the Born to Run album.

This is the first house that I remember. It is located on Mulberry Street in Montoursville, Pennsylvania. Dad provides the following background:
"This was our first home after my discharge from the Marine Corps. We rented it. I was a church parsonage. Wood pocket doors between living room and dining room. Fireplace in dining room. Four bedrooms, and one bedroom had a door leading to spooky attic. Free-standing garage. Huge backyard. We had 20-foot by 20-foot garden. (Not a bad memory for an old man.)"
My memories of this house are not nearly as detailed or specific, because I was just a little kid. Photographs and stories told by my parents over the years help to "augment" my memories. Here are some of my own recollections and stories about the house on Mulberry Street:

  • My bedroom seemed huge to me. That is, of course, because I was hobbit-sized at the time. I had a stuffed alligator on one of the upper window ledges. I think it was named Myron.
  • This is the house in which I banged my head one night in the bathroom, giving myself a Harry Potter scar between the eyes decades before it was trendy.
  • The kitchen was relatively small and led to the backyard. I am told that I once locked my then-pregnant mother out of the house and stood there, like Damien Thorn, as she crawled through the kitchen window to regain entry to the house.
  • I remember Adriane, my newborn sister, staying in the bedroom/nursery adjacent to mine.
  • I have memories of running and playing in the backyard. There was a small slide (possibly the next-door neighbor's), and we would rub it down with wax paper to make it slippier. One time, while playing in the backyard at dusk, I was buzzed by a bat.
  • I don't have any recollection of the spooky attic that Dad mentioned. I would love a chance to tour the house again some day. I should watch for it being up for sale; maybe there will be an open house.

More in this series

Old postcard: 16th century Belém Tower in Lisbon, Portgual


This surreal-looking old photograph was a bit of mystery to me, because there was a serious curveball on the back.1 Someone, years ago, had written "Oran, Africa." There is no other text visible on the front or back. So, naturally, Oran — a millennium-old coastal city in Algeria — is where I began my research. I thought this might be one of the old forts there, perhaps the Fort of Santa Cruz. It is not.

This is, in fact, a mislabeled postcard.

This building is NOT in Oran. It's actually located about 500 miles to the northwest, across the Alboran Sea, in Lisbon, Portugal.

It's the Belém Tower (aka Tower of St Vincent). It was constructed in the early 16th century (between about 1515 and 1519) and was originally commissioned by John II of Portugal before his death in 1495. Belém Tower sits in an isolated spot on the northern bank of the Tagus River. The lower bastion offers 17 spaces that were once cannon positions. The bases of the turrets feature depictions of beasts, including a rhinoceros. The 98-foot tower has, among other features, a spiral staircase and a chapel. If you want to see more, check out this video tour on YouTube.

P.S. — Don't worry. I have added my own "caption addendum" to this postcard, so that a future ephemerologist doesn't suffer the same fate.

Footnote
1. If English is not your first language, let me explain. In the American sport of baseball, a curveball is a "pitch" (a ball thrown to a batter) that spins downward as it travels from the pitcher to the batter, making it difficult to hit (if thrown correctly). But there is a second meaning of curveball, used as an everyday expression. Because a curveball is a tricky and difficult pitch to hit in baseball, an everyday curveball is any unexpected obstacle, challenge or mystery that a person or group encounters. The "unexpected" part is crucial to the everyday usage.

Friday, April 20, 2018

#FridayReads: Always Be Inquisitive

Sarah and, alas, a skull.

Here's another bevy of articles that I hope you find interesting and/or insightful. Share them around and encourage the spread of knowledge and discourse!


The York Emporium, York, Pa.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Wendyvee's photo tour of modern locations referenced in 1971 "Fate"

As an amazing companion piece to yesterday's post, "30 classified ads from the June 1971 issue of "Fate" magazine," the one-and-only Wendyvee of Wendyvee's Roadside Wonders, has researched 10 of the locations mentioned those kooky classified advertisements to see what they look like today.

Without further ado...

1. THE ESP CLARION band heralded the approach of the Messiah in 1970. O-Loh-I the Messiah speaks in 1971. Both sets of messages now $15.00 — AAA Bookkeeping, 1616 India St., San Diego, CA 92101

2. HOW TO MAKE MONEY writing short paragraphs. Information free. — Barrett. Dept. C-305-S2, 6216 N. Clark, Chicago, Ill. 60626

3. HAWAIIAN GUITAR COURSE, Simplified, proven. Write O'Burr's Pub, Moorcroft, WY 82721

4. OCTOGENARIAN GREAT-AUNT'S teas, tonics, remedies. Some make sense, some don't. Collection One — 33 recipes, $2.00. Collection Two — 34 recipes, $2.00. Mrs. M Partridge, 159 Stanley Ave., Hamilton, Ont., Canada. [Note: I can totally see a recipe-dealing great aunt residing here.]

5. "THE OCCULT EXPLOSION." Stamp appreciated. METHODS, 416 Palo Alto Ave., Mountain View, CA 94040

6. LUSCIOUS CHUNKY MARMALADE. Recipe $1.00. — Cecelia Rogers, 1901 Wyoming Avenue N.W., Washington DC 20009

7. ANCIENT PRAYER allegedly materializes desires. Not for evil. $2.00 — T. Tewell, 25 Eddy Drive, Columbus GA 31903

8. SHUT IN, LONELY, let me send you personal Spiritual view of life and include you on healing list. Donation — Brother Joe, 2303 E. Yandell Dr., El Paso, TX 79903

9. $3.00 PER QUESTION. — Goddess Athena, 622 Diversey, Chicago, Ill. 60614 [Note: I guess it's appropriate that Goddess Athena's dwelling is now a Spirit Halloween store.]

10. SEVEN QUESTIONS, $2.00. Send birth date, hair and eye coloring. — Barrett, 2585 Aqueduct Road, Schenectady, N.Y. 12309
I want to buy this house and move in with a bunch of cats and maybe a pet possum and spend the rest of my days as partial recluse, answering questions that come via the mail for $2 and eating biscuits with luscious chunky marmalade at high tea.

Early 1940s fairy-tale books found in a Little Free Library


While adding some books to a Little Free Library earlier this year, I came across a pair of miniature old fairy-tale books and decided to do a "catch and release," so to speak, so that I could share them here on Papergreat before placing them back into a Little Free Library.

These slender hardcovers measure 5¼ inches by 6¾ inches. They are labeled "The Little Color Classics" and were published by McLoughlin Brothers. Cinderella was published in 1940, while Tom Thumb was published in 1942.

According to Wikipedia, McLoughlin Bros. operated independently from 1858 through 1920 and was a "pioneer" with regard to color-printing technology for children's books, at one point employing as many as 75 artists. (Imagine the vibrant colors on these 1940s books on something printed in 1880.) In addition to books, many of which were retellings of fairy tales, the company published puzzles and board games, some of which are considered to be quite scarce and valuable today. For example, an 1886 McLoughlin "Game of Base-Ball" board game and an 1897 McLoughlin "BaseBall Game" are currently listed on eBay with Buy It Now prices around $2,000 and $1,000, respectively, and have attracted many interested watchers.

In a "Brief History of the McLoughlin Bros." on the American Antiquarian Society website, Laura Wasowicz writes: "Between 1950 and 1951 — apparently amid the threat of liquidation, the McLoughlin Bros. executive officers divided among themselves the firm's archival collection of books, drawings, company correspondence, illustration blocks, paper dolls, free standing wooden dolls, puzzles, and games. In December 1951, the McLoughlin Bros. trademark was sold to New York toy manufacturer Julius Kushner. ... [T]he McLoughlin line of children's books was sold to Grosset & Dunlap in June 1954." This PDF of the McLoughlin's 1943 price list gives you a good sense of the books that the imprint was still publishing at the time of Tom Thumb (#893) and Cinderella (#836). Many more catalogs and price lists can be found at this link.

These two books that I came across are 64 pages apiece, with a mixture of full-color and black-line illustrations. Cinderella is illustrated by Sari (just that single name) and Tom Thumb is illustrated by Anne Fleur. And here's where it gets interesting: LibraryThing states that "Anne Elizabeth Lancaster Fleur, aka Sari, wrote under several names." And the Treasury of Great Children's Books corroborates this, indicating that Anne Fleur also published works under "Sari." It further states that "Anne Fleur studied at the Art Students’ League. She started in commercial illustration, then later did children’s books as both as author and illustrator. She was active in the mid-twentieth century." Beyond that, however, her life remains a bit of a mystery.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

30 classified ads from the June 1971 issue of "Fate" magazine

Fate magazine debuted 70 years ago, with a Spring 1948 issue that features what look like golden DVDs chasing a small airplane.

The magazine, still focused on the paranormal, continues today, though the pace of publication has slowed a bit. On its website, the current publishers proudly boast:
"FATE was a true journalistic pioneer, covering issues like electronic voice phenomena, cattle mutilations, life on Mars, telepathic communication with animals, and UFOs at a time when discussing such things was neither hip nor trendy like it is today. ... FATE’s success spawned scores of imitators over the years, but none lasted very long. Through the decades FATE kept going, doggedly promoting the validity of paranormal studies but unafraid to reveal major events as hoaxes or frauds when it was warranted. Among the famous cases debunked by FATE were the Philadelphia Experiment, and the book and movie versions of the Amityville Horror."
Today I just want to focus on the classified advertisements within the June 1971 issue, published when many were still hoping for the dawn of a new Age of Aquarius. I may delve more into the rest of the issue — with its "The Royal Wraiths of Britain" and "UFO Ballet in the Sky" headlines — in a future post. But, for now, it will just be a peek back at the classifieds, which represent a fascinating look at the readers and opportunists of this Nixon-era, digest-sized magazine. (The price for classified ads, by the way, was 50 cents per word.)

  • THE ESP CLARION band heralded the approach of the Messiah in 1970. O-Loh-I the Messiah speaks in 1971. Both sets of messages now $15.00 — AAA Bookkeeping, 1616 India St., San Diego, CA 92101
  • NO LIMIT TELECASTING by Thought-wave Method, $4. — Sensitron System, Box 1155, St. Augustine, FL 32084
  • "1971 INTERNATIONAL MYSTERY SCHOOLS DIRECTORY." Encyclopedic. Lists all the secret schools. Much, much, more. $9.95. — A.C. Publications, Box 9162, Boston, MA 02114 [Note: I would love to find a copy of this!]
  • READ THE TEA LEAVES — For fun or profit Send $2.00 for complete course to: MIKE, Box 624, Wayne, MI 48184
  • HOW TO MAKE MONEY writing short paragraphs. Information free. — Barrett. Dept. C-305-S2, 6216 N. Clark, Chicago, Ill. 60626
  • BANISH WRINKLES — Old South Sea Island formula. $2.00. Write: Wrinkles, P.O. Box 313, Ephrata, PA 17522
  • HAWAIIAN GUITAR COURSE, Simplified, proven. Write O'Burr's Pub, Moorcroft, WY 82721
  • ADD A NEW DIMENSION to your life! SEE AURAS! $1.00 — Key, Box 127, Wenonah, NJ 08090
  • "GIANT ARMS." Dr. Young's D. C. Revolutionary discovery, $2.00. Satisfaction or refund. — Gaucho, Box 1769-T7, Chicago, Ill. 60690
  • OCTOGENARIAN GREAT-AUNT'S teas, tonics, remedies. Some make sense, some don't. Collection One — 33 recipes, $2.00. Collection Two — 34 recipes, $2.00. Mrs. M Partridge, 159 Stanley Ave., Hamilton, Ont., Canada
  • "THE OCCULT EXPLOSION." Stamp appreciated. METHODS, 416 Palo Alto Ave., Mountain View, CA 94040
  • "THE MADONNA OF THE STARS" — Fatima and the UFO Star Ship. A debate on its alternating sides is illuminating. Send stamp for Newsletter. — Heritage of Faith, P.O. Box 1764, Los Angeles, CA 90028
  • LUSCIOUS CHUNKY MARMALADE. Recipe $1.00. — Cecelia Rogers, 1901 Wyoming Avenue N.W., Washington DC 20009 [Note: Google says: "No results found for 'luscious chunky marmalade'." So this post has made history!]
  • MAKE BIG MONEY raising chinchillas rabbits, guinea pigs for us. Catalog, 25c, — Keeney Brothers Farms, Inc., New Freedom, Pa. 17349 [Note: That's the second appearance of a southcentral Pennsylvania location so far!]
  • HELP! Can anyone furnish picture, likeness or descriptive information concerning the real appearance of Lady Luck? — Sculptor, Box 65, Eufaula, AL 36027
  • COMING WORLDWIDE — Government of Peace, Prosperity, Health and Happiness. Eliminator of war, poverty, sickness and unhappiness. Brochure 25c — MANKIND UNITED, Box 4570, Portland ME 04112
  • GOLDEN RING — Used to bring protection from all evil and misfortune. Send only $2.00 to: PENARDIM CO., Dept. FR-1. P.O. Box 116, Hasbrouck Heights, NJ 07604.
  • ANCIENT PRAYER allegedly materializes desires. Not for evil. $2.00 — T. Tewell, 25 Eddy Drive, Columbus GA 31903
  • BE FREE OF YOUR PAST! A scientific method based on years of research and development. Send only $1.00 to: BARDON, Box 25954, Los Angeles, CA 90025
  • SHUT IN, LONELY, let me send you personal Spiritual view of life and include you on healing list. Donation — Brother Joe, 2303 E. Yandell Dr., El Paso, TX 79903
  • ANCIENT CHANT used to make someone fall in love with you. Instructions included. $5.00. Send self-addressed, stamped envelope: Mystic Sanctum, P.O. Box 877, Cathedral City, CA 92234 [Note: FIVE DOLLARS, plus a SASE??]
  • $3.00 PER QUESTION. — Goddess Athena, 622 Diversey, Chicago, Ill. 60614
  • JOIN GREAT WHITE BROTHERHOOD. — Sir Valiant, Box 830, Dept. 10, Alhambra, Calif. 91802
  • SEVEN QUESTIONS, $2.00. Send birth date, hair and eye coloring. — Barrett, 2585 Aqueduct Road, Schenectady, N.Y. 12309
  • READINGS BY HEDY — Success Acclaimed. Four questions for $3.00. Box 494, Marcellus MI 49067
  • U.F.O. DETECTOR. Instructions $1.00. — D.L.G., Box 493, Sechelt, BC, Canada
  • Spencer's "Dial of Destiny" NUMEROLOGY COMPUTER will give you the numbers of names as fast as you can dial the letters. $5.95 — Para-Science Research, Box 1606, Oceanside CA 92054
  • ACTUAL RECORDINGS of deep-trance wisdom of 500,000-year-old mystery schools will amaze you and your friends, first evening you hear them. The unique story FREE. Write: Dept. FC, Box 11672, Palo Alto, CA 94306
  • UNPRECEDENTED REVELATION of ancient witchcraft formulas "Witchcraft Spells." Only $2.00. — Alan Company, P.O. Box 4262-B, New Orleans, LA 70118
  • WITCHCRAFT, VOODOO SUPPLIES, Spells Galore! Catalog 25c. — Cauldron, Box 403-FA, Rego Park, N.Y. 11374

BUT WAIT, THERE'S MORE: Wendyvee's photo tour of modern locations referenced in this post!

Monday, April 16, 2018

From the readers: "Mark Felt" weighs in on mystery postcard


A few weeks ago, Papergreat featured an old postcard of Madison Square Garden with an note on the back that many of us fretted over.

The note goes like this:
Mother,
I am going over to Brooklyn. it is 2 o'clock a.m.
[???] in this Joint are no good.
Johnnie
What was the [???], we wondered. Possibilities we came up with were:

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

A frequent and brilliant contributor, who goes by the code name "Mark Felt," has checked in to offer another possibility. And it has a lot of merit. Here is Felt's full comment and interpretation:
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.
That's some solid sleuthwork by Felt on the Moulfair family. And, I have to admit, a strong case has now been made for the mystery word being an abbreviation of tenements. What does everyone else think?

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Provenance clues in 1878's "The Old Church, and Other Stories"

This little book is in good shape for being 140 years old. It's titled The Old Church, and Other Stories, and it's copyright 1878 by Dodd, Mead & Company of New York.

No author or illustrator is credited for the slight hardcover book, which measures just 3¾ inches wide and 5¼ inches tall, making it suitable to slipping into a pants pocket.

There is a credit for "Press of Richard Handy" on the copyright page.

The stories are written with hyphens marking the syllables in each word. So you get, for example:
Lit-tle Kate lived in a small town in Eng-land. Close by her house was a great o-pen space all cov-ered with green grass, while here and there a yel-low dan-de-li-on showed its head a-mong it.

These are A-rab la-dies. See how they keep their fa-ces hid-den. They would think it a great dis-grace to show them in the street, so they wear long scarfs that on-ly leave room for the eyes to look out. Their hou-ses have no win-dows that o-pen on the street, but are built a-round a yard.
What most interests me about this antique book, though, are the inscriptions and provenance clues on the first two pages.

Let's start with the inside front cover, which has a purple stamp that's now missing a few letters:


I think it's supposed to be:

MR. [?] HEPNER
EPHRATA
1909 PA.

Without a sure answer for the first name, that's probably not enough information to confirm an indentity.

And then there's the next page, shown here:


So we have:
The property
Of
Ella M. Bickel,
Shillington,
Berks Co.,
Pa,

Propert of [off?] Hiram

William M. Bickel

Remember
me dear
sister
Is that just oen person's handwriting? Or did two (or more) people write at two different times?

An interesting possiblity for for Ella is Ella M. Bickel Harley, who lived from 1874 to 1921 and is buried in Parker Ford, Pennsylvania, about 24 miles southeast of Shillington. That certainly puts her in the right time frame for owning this book, perhaps in the mid 1880s.

Ella had a younger brother named Harry (1876–1957), which is sometimes a nickname for Hiram. Is part of this Harry/Hiram's handiwork, with his "Remember me dear sister"? Left unexplained, however, is where William M. Bickel fits in. A cousin of Ella and Harry/Hiram, perhaps?

* * *

Moving away from the mystery and back to the book, I'll close with one of the numerous interior illustrations...

RIP Art Bell, of the Kingdom of Nye


I am probably among the final generation that will remember firsthand the culture of overnight talk radio on the AM dial. I was an enthusiastic radio listener during the 1980s. After Phillies night games (with Kalas, Ashburn, Musser and Wheeler), I would often fall asleep listening to Larry King or Jim Bohannon through my earbuds. When we moved to the Philadelphia suburbs in 1986, I discovered Steve "Mr. Movie" Friedman's amazing all-night Saturday shows on 1210 AM. The show would start sometime between 10 a.m. and midnight and run until 6 a.m., which I never made it to.

In the 1990s, after I graduated from college, I found myself doing a lot of late-night driving. I might be commuting home from a newspaper shift after midnight. Or heading to Mom's house or another far-off destination overnight, a driving time I found very preferable to daytime hauls.

And — like so many others — I discovered Art Bell, "Coast to Coast AM," and "Dreamland" during those long, dark drives. Who could resist listening to guests and callers discussing UFOs, time travel, cryptozoology, conspiracies (before that become a dirty word), hauntings and more during the wee hours of the morning, as the highway mile markers flitted by? At its height, the show was syndicated on about 500 radio stations, making it easy to find on the dial, wherever your location.

Bell died on Friday the 13th at age 72, at his home in Pahrump, Nye County, Nevada. But he leaves quite the legacy.

Memorable aspects of "Coast to Coast AM" included:

  • its opening theme, the 1978 instrumental "The Chase" by Giorgio Moroder
  • Bell's show-opening line "From the high desert and the great American Southwest..."
  • Referring to his location as "the Kingdom of Nye"
  • And those oft-, oft-, oft-repeated call-in lines: East of the Rockies, West of the Rockies, First-Time Callers, International Callers and the Wild-Card Line.

Bell's influence indeed cut across numerous generations. I love the juxtaposition of these two pop-culture figures being among the many noting Bell's passing on Twitter. It just seems kind of oddly appropriate, here in 2018.