Wednesday, January 30, 2019

From the readers: Goats, gnomes, mermaids, UFOs and much more

It's time once again to check out the goodies in the proverbial mailbag!
(Actual proverb not included.)

Mystery RPPC of children getting a ride from a goat: Inky from On Shoes and Ships and Sealing-Wax writes: "I have a photo of my grandma in a goat cart from the late 20's or early 30's. It definitely qualifies as one our more unique family photos. Out of curiosity I looked up goat cart photography and apparently (and, I suppose, understandably) the same goats tend to appear in photos over and over again, which archives seem to be using to their advantage to try to find more info about the photos they have in their collections, so maybe you'll come across another photo with your goat in it someday and find out a bit more about it! Or rather its photographer, since I'm guessing those goats weren't interviewed either."

Mystery RPPC: Feeding chickens: The wonderfully named Canterbury Chap writes: "Greetings from the UK. Very much enjoying the posts — a great variety of papery things! May I ask how the AZO stamp box allows the card to be dated to between 1910 and 1930?"

Thank you for the kind words, Canterbury Chap! Credit for this goes to the invaluable "How to Identify and Date Real Photo Vintage Postcards" database on Over the years, AZO real photo postcards featured different styles of stamp boxes on the back. Some, for example, had four trianges pointing upward. Some had two upward triangles and two downward triangles. Some had squares instead of triangles, etc. With each of these variations, identifies the span of years that is associated with that style of design. So it helps to narrow the mystery just a little bit.

Lost Corners: Violet Beauregarde historical revisionism: "Mark Felt," our Stealth Research Assistant and Executive Vice President in Charge of Ephemera Reunions, checks in with the following Chocolate Factory comment: "Arthur Slugworth, as the only known human employee of the Wonka enterprise, and as the most trustworthy agent sent on the most secret mission without which the entire Golden Ticket tour would have been rendered nugatory, has arguments in his favor to succeed Wonka. Indeed, neither Charlie Bucket nor Violet Beauregarde was of legal age to contract for private ownership of a factory, and with consistent OSHA violations, to boot. What ever was Wonka thinking?!? See:

This is an excellent point, as always, Mark. But mostly I just want to thank you for teaching us the word nugatory.

Newspaper items from 100 years ago today: Wendyvee of the awesome Roadside Wonders writes: "The more things change — the more they stay the same. BTW, Bartholomew Brothers isn't taking my calls."

Also, ICYMI, Wendyvee helped to solve a big mystery in a short edition of "From the readers" last month.

It's a "fierce rock 'n' roll dance sequence," Charlie Brown: Tom from the dandy Garage Sale Finds writes: "I've never seen the live piece with Charles Schulz the one reviewer mentioned. I'd like to see that."

Walt Disney presents Upton Sinclair's "The Gnome-Mobile": Mark Felt writes: "My secret agent happens to love that film: (Another One-post Wonder and Lost Corner of the Internet...?!?)"

Take a ride with Edwards Motor Transit Co.: Going all the way back to 2010 and the third post in Papegreat history, Wesley Edwards writes: "Thank you for finding and posting this piece of Edwards Motor Transit history. Such an important part of PA transportation for many years throughout the 1900's."

McCall Chair Co. ink blotter: Sawyer writes: "Hello. If anyone finds this, I have a 1961 McCall platform rocker and I'm struggling to find any info on its worth. Please email me @ with any info. Thank you."

1906 Dutch "Gelukkig Nieuwjaar" postcard & odd folk figure: Mark Felt writes: "Here is the American equivalent postcard, with filigreed embellishments. On the American card, the Belsnickle character is referred to as Krampus [q.v.], though as the character lacks horns, the moniker does not seem apropos."

The Blair family's 1942 Christmas postcard: Joan, who recently wrote an amazing Ask Joan post tying together Whirley Industries and Papergreat, writes: "OK, HOW did you find out about that Knapp's thing?"

Answer: Through the magic of the search engine.

Reader mystery: Vintage postcards with metal frames: Wendyvee writes: "These are absolutely lovely."

And Molly, who presented me with the original postcard mystery, responds: "Thanks Wendy! Mr. Otto has managed to shed light on these very rare cards, that no one else has even come close to! All of the other so-called expert collectors said that they didn't know what they were, so they weren't 'collectible'. I would think that any serious collector would want at least one to show off! People are weird."

"A Book of Mermaids" by Ruth Manning-Sanders is back in print! Anonymous writes: "I loved A Book of Mermaids since I was a child. Lost my copy a few years back, so I was elated when I saw they were republishing it. But was totally disappointed when I saw the drawings. Why they would remove Robin Jacques' magnificent artwork for those stupid drawings is beyond me. ... Each of Jacques' pages could have told the whole story. Hope they republish the book as it was originally, but then that's too much to hope for."

I suspect the rights to the wonderful Jacques artwork were either unavailable or prohibitively expensive for this reprint edition. At least we have the stories!

Sci-fi book cover: "Gladiator-at-Law": Checking in on Twitter, Wendyvee wrote: "A Gladiator-In-Law would, indeed, be another story altogether. PS. The cover looks like a shelf at Spencer's circa 1985."

Lost Corners of Twitter Creepiness: Joan writes: "It's like the boy on Sarah's ceiling!"

Yes, but we should not speak of that!

Cheerful Card Company can help you earn extra money for the holidays: Anonymous writes: "I am 75 years old and remember well, when I was 10 years old or so, lugging around an old beat up suitcase filled with my 'samples'. Mr. and Mrs. Fisher were very elderly neighbors and always my best customers. I vividly remember Mrs. Fisher opening the door one year excitedly saying 'we were wondering if you were coming!' I think they loved having a visitor as much as they loved buying the cards and gift wrapping paper. Ah, the good old days. Parents wouldn't dare let their kids do this today for fear that they would be abused or kidnapped, or worse. So things have NOT gotten better with time. Besides, most kids today seem to be too self-absorbed with their $$$ iPhones. It seems to be all about social media — not developing social skills. Sad! Well, Jennie and Charlie Fisher, your 'Cheerful' kindness to a young kid has never been forgotten!"

Three sci-fi paperback covers with UFOs (and one with a chimp): John Smith writes: "Completely juvenile! Even E.E. Doc Smith could write something higher than this. But if you like science fiction created for youngsters, then I say: 'Whatever floats your boat.'"

Lots of things float our boat here at Papergreat, including the fact that E.E. Smith has this amazing sentence in his Wikipedia biography: "Edward Elmer Smith (May 2, 1890 – August 31, 1965), better known by his pen name E. E. 'Doc' Smith, was an American food engineer (specializing in doughnut and pastry mixes) and science-fiction author."

Eighth anniversary of Papergreat's first post: Mark Felt wrote: "Wendyvee and I are the only readers to comment on your first post. Wendyvee and I are the only readers to comment on the eighth anniversary of your first post. Perhaps Wendyvee and I should join a club. Where's Margaret Lynch Capone when you need her?"

And, shortly thereafter, Joan also commented. So the three of you should have an excellent club! The voting for president should be very spirited, as long as there's no Russian interference.

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Bonus: Spam comment of the month

This comment was definitely spam, but I found the work of this bot creative and enchanting, so here it is:
"Extraordinary augmentations to this diversion, particularly when Nerf weapons are in neon hues is to utilize a dark light, all out murkiness or electric lamps. Children will have a great time for a considerable length of time."

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