Saturday, September 22, 2018

Mrs. Carmen Capone helps flustered speechmakers


Mrs. Carmen Capone is back.

We're traveling a bit further back in time for this visit, though.

The Sunday, September 10, 1961, edition of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette contains an article headlined: "Are You a Flustered Speechmaker?"

The article contains a whole lot of Mrs. Carmen Capone, and a list of her Rules for Good Speaking. Here is a long excerpt that lends us some more insight into her life:
IF THE THOUGHT of making a speech makes you green with fright — don't worry. You have plenty of company. It's the unusual person who can stand up, talk smoothly and coherently, and not be flustered.

Experts say the only way to learn to speak well is to speak as often as you can. The more often you do, the easier speaking becomes. Mrs. Carmen Capone of Woodwell St. is a good example of this philosophy.

Articulate and self assured, she can remember a time not to long ago when even walking into a crowded room made her almost sick with nerves.

"My husband is an attorney, and a wonderful speaker," she said. "He kept urging me to join clubs, to get into the swing of things. As a starter, he suggested that I get together with some other women who were forming a new Toastmistress Club patterned after the Toastmasters."

THAT WAS THE BEGINNING of the new Mrs. Capone. Each Toastmistress must speak at every meeting. Then other members give constructive criticism and suggestions for improvement. The progress is gradual but constant. Mrs. Capone commented:

"It's amazing how newcomers develop. At first most of them are terribly nervous. They either mumble or else talk too fast. They use 'uh' and 'and' too much and make other mistakes. We all recognize them because we can remember ourselves as new members of the club."

To Russia and From Russia,
with postcards


I have two dispatches from the Postcrossing front on this Saturday evening.

This week, I received the above postcard from Russia resident Inna, who loves lollipops, carrots, detectives, and turtles. (I wonder if she knows about Kojak?) The artwork on the card is the creation of Sasha Kulakova. This is Inna's message, written in perfect handwriting:
Hello Chris,
The card shows a children's folk tale. In the story, a grandfather (dedka) plants a turnip, which grows so big that he can't pull it up himself. He asks grandmother (babka) for help. Then they call granddaughter (vnuchka), a dog (zhuchka), a cat (koshka) and a mouse (myshka), one by one, until the finally pull the turnip up — together.
This beloved tale about the importance and power of collaboration is known as "The Gigantic Turnip" or "The Enormous Turnip."

* * *

Meanwhile, a postcard that I mailed to Russia finally arrived this week, and I learned via an email confirmation that it took a circuitous route. Here is Pavel's explanation, in slightly broken English, of what happened:
"Hey. Your postcard had an entire adventure, the address where the apartment number was indicated was blurred, probably by rain. The postcard came to my house, but in another podezd [apartment building?], and by chance through acquaintances we found out that one person is wondering if you do not know the recipient (that is me). And by chance this man asked a neighbor in the garage where I live, and this neighbor knew me. So the postcard a little bit and could not reach me. And for the postcard, thank you very much, very beautiful, and it was very interesting to read, and thanks to you I learned about Ruth Manning-Sanders."

Alternate house #LifeGoals


If you're a longtime reader of this blog, why?

Seriously, though, if you're a longtime reader, you know my dream goals for retirement housing (assuming I don't need a nurse named Annie to give me my pills every eight hours and remind me where my socks are) are very modest and quiet, along the lines of a small, cozy house in the forest with a goat or two. (A one-bedroom rancher on the streets of Montoursville would be great, too.)

But there's also a part of me that would be thrilled by a huge, old, dilapidated mansion. So I was definitely digging the above tweet, which hit my @Papergreat feed this morning.

It turns out, according to Soul Photography and Obsidian Urbex Photography, that this place is called Le manoir Colima├žon and is located in northern France. It was built around 1900 and has been abandoned since the late 1990s (perhaps earlier). One of the translations of colima├žon is "spiral," and this mansion has a spiral staircase that goes from the basement to the top floor.

If a mysterious benefactor or ambitious publisher wants to put me up in this house for a year or two, I think I could write a pretty great book about the adventure. Think Peter Mayle meets Shirley Jackson.

Victorian trade card for Partridge & Richardson's Bee Hive


This Victorian advertising trade card, from the late 19th century, is 4½ inches wide. The back is blank. On the front, the business touted is:

Partridge & Richardson,
Bee hive,
Nos. 17 & 19 Nth 8th St.

Nth (or Nth) is an abbreviation for North, so that's "17 & 19 North 8th Street."

According to The Library Company of Philadelphia, Artemus Partridge and Thomas D. Richardson operated a "bee hive" dress trimmings store at 17, 19 & 21 North Eighth Street in Philadelphia.

Partridge & Richardson was founded by Partridge in 1852. Richardson joined the partnership in 1874. Partridge died in 1895. Business was conducted at Eighth Street until December 1899, when Richardson opened a general department store at Eighth and Chestnut, widening the footprint of the previous operation. In early September of 1904, Partridge & Richardson was closed permanently and its entire stock was purchased by Strawbridge & Clothier, which also retained many of the former P&R employees. All of this history is according to a September 1904 news item in the Carpet and Upholstery Journal.

The Library Company of Philadelphia states that other advertising trade cards for the "Bee Hive" included couples promenading; frogs and cherubs seated on or near mushrooms holding umbrellas in the rain; anthropomorphic rabbits jumping rope; one rabbit pulling another on a sleigh with a banner labeled "Rabbit Transit"; and an anthropomorphic moon smiling down at a boy sitting on the limb of a bare tree with two cats singing from sheet music labeled "Clair de lune."

The illustration on the front of this post's featured advertising card is labeled "UNE DOUCHE BRUTALE," which is French for a "a brutal shower." My problem with the image is that the physics of the bucket motion and the water don't work at all, unless there's some sort of magic happening here.


Semi-related note
There is a long history of restaurants under the name Partridge in Philadelphia, including some on Eighth Street, but I'm not sure if they're related in any way to this business. You can read about the restaurants, and their advertising, in a comprehensive September 2015 blog post on Restaurant-ing Through History.

Friday, September 21, 2018

Mrs. Carmen Capone's thoughts on U.S. foreign policy


Yesterday I mentioned, randomly and in passing, Mrs. Carmen Capone. Now she's back for an encore. Her name appears in a UPI article on Page 5 of the February 19, 1976, edition of The Pocono Record. The story is headlined "U.S. polarized on foreign policy."

The lede of the story is:
"PITTSBURGH (UPI) — Americans are polarized on issues of economic leadership and foreign relations, according to opinions expressed Wednesday at the first of a series of regional U.S. Department of State 'town meetings' on foreign policy."
And then we get to our subject:
"In the words of one panel member, Mrs. Carmen Capone of the League of Women Voters, 'We should be the first world power. We should see that we win ... and not go halfway. Otherwise, the rest of the world just laughs at us.'"
So much winning. That's what Mrs. Carmen Capone wanted.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Possibly boring book cover:
"Bottle and Glass Handbook"


  • Title: Bottle and Glass Handbook
  • Editor: Don Maust
  • Publisher: E.G. Warman Publishing Inc., Uniontown, Pennsylvania
  • Copyright holder: Edwin G. Warman
  • Original price: $4.75 in 1967 (the equivalent of $35 today!)
  • Original year of publication: 1965
  • Year of this edition: Fifth printing, February 1967
  • Pages: 158
  • Format: Paperback
  • Provenance: $4 at a used-book store sometime in the past couple years. And it might have been 50% off.
  • Title-page text: "A History of Bottles showing their various styles, types and uses from ancient times to present."
  • First sentence of preface: Do you want to collect, sell, or trade bottles intelligently?
  • First sentence of foreword: This handbook is meant as a primer to help put some order into the story world about bottles.
  • First sentence of Chapter 1: Here is a story written in the hey-day of the early 1900's during the nostalgic period of bottle collecting.
  • Last sentence of book: He proceeded to the warm room, and then into the cold bath which completed the process.
  • Wait. What is this book about? Bottles.
  • Random sentence from middle: It is hard to pin down the true origin of the American historical flask, but Thomas W. Dyott, a Philadelphia druggist, was one of the very first to foster the movement.
  • Random, totally unrelated photo that I found while trying to find information about this book on the Internet: Mrs. Carmen Capone.
  • Notes: Other books by this publisher, mostly during the 1950s and 1960s, include: The Fourth Antiques Treasury: A Collection of Information About Antiques and Collectors' Items; 3rd Print Price Guide to N. Currier, Currier & Ives, Kellogg and Other Printmakers; American Cut Glass: A Pattern Book of the Brilliant Period, 1895-1915; Value Guide to Old Books, Listing the Approximate Wholesale Values on More than 2,000 Old and Out of Print Volumes; Milk Glass Addenda; Antique Furniture Guide: A Guide to Periods and Styles from Ancient Times Up to the Victorian Era; The Second Goblet Price Guide; and Antiquer's Formula Folio #2, a collection of formulas and processes for cleaning, preserving, restoring and repairing antiques, etc.

Possibly less boring interior page

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Postcard showing the picturesque Dutch village of Marken


This old postcard features two residents of Marken, a small village filled with beautiful houses in the Netherlands. They are wearing traditional outfits that are specific to Marken, and differ from other areas of the Netherlands, due to the fact that Marken was, prior to the 1950s, an isolated island in the Zuiderzee.

The wooden clogs are the only part of the outfit that I'm familiar with, so I highly recommend that you check out a January 2014 post on Atelier Nostalgia to learn more about this aspect of Marken history. Here are a couple of excerpts:

  • "The costume exists of a colorful striped underskirt and a dark over-skirt, a blue apron with a checkered top, a shirt with either dark blue (winter) or striped sleeves, an embroidered corset, and a red over-jacket with a square of flowered fabric pinned on. All together, the costume of Marken is very bright and colorful."
  • "The costume also has a very distinctive traditional hairstyle. A large part of the hair is brought forward and cut into bangs, and two large pieces are kept long at the sides to fall down in curls. The back is shaved off and is hidden below the hat."

The Atelier Nostalgia post is filled with great images of these traditional outfits, including the caps, which appear to be unlike anything found elsewhere in the Netherlands.

Meanwhile, on the back of this postcard, the stamp is gone and the postmark is too obscured to determine any date. The card was mailed to Mr. R. Waski of Franklyn [sic] Park, New Jersey.

The curious note states:
"Best regards from all the flying Dutchman's & us
Bruni"