Friday, March 1, 2019

1974 fanzine advertisement for Paragon Illustrated

This advertisement appears on the inside back cover of the Spring 1974 issue (Vol. 2, No. 4) of Omnifan, a digest-sized fanzine that dealt with "mystery, adventure & fiction." I'm sure I'll get to a full rundown of it one of these days.

The advertisement is for Paragon Illustrated. It's a magazine that appears to have been published in fits and starts, and with different formats, between 1969 and 1975. Some information can be found at the Grand Comics Database. Some high-profile artists were involved, and the few issues that exist are listed for high prices (between $30 and $100) on eBay. Paragon Publications is now known as AC Comics and Wikipedia has this to say about early magazines such as Paragon Illustrated: "The company's early titles were cheaply published black-and-white comics. Though the company published several titles simultaneously, they were only able to produce a total of three issues a year, since nearly all writing, inking, and editing on the comics was done by Bill Black himself during this period."

Here's what the advertisement touts for the 44-page, $1 issue of Paragon Illustrated:

  • DREAM WALKER — an unusual graphic experience by William Black
  • MIKE ROYER's centerfold of PHANTOM LADY and color back cover of the SILVER SURFER
  • DR. FATE — in-depth Golden-Age article by Martin Greim
  • THE GIRL FROM LSD VS ALIZARIN CRIMSON by William Black (color front cover and strip)
  • 3 full-page FANTASY illustrations by the fantastic STUART SMITH

Some #FridayReads to get your March started

Instagram photo by me

Another motley mix of articles of articles you might find interesting. Subscriptions might be required in some cases; support your local and national media!

Current and recent books I'm reading
  • Reservoir 13, by Jon McGregor
  • Six Months, Three Days, Five Others, by Charlie Jane Anders
  • Saga (volumes 5 and 6), by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples
  • We Should All Be Feminists, by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Thursday, February 28, 2019

Fairy tale food & drink
of Ruth Manning-Sanders

Just for the halibut, I thought it would be fun to list out every food and drink mentioned in Ruth Manning-Sanders' 1963 collection A Book of Dwarfs and her 1965 collection A Book of Witches.

So here you go:

  • Apples
  • Apple (half rosy, half golden yellow)
  • Bacon
  • Barley sugar
  • Barleycorn
  • Beef (great barons)
  • Biscuit
  • Blackberries
  • Bread
  • Bread (crust)
  • Bread (crumbs)
  • Brew (in a goblet)
  • Butter
  • Butter (for a cat's paws)
  • Cabbage
  • Cakes
  • Cauliflower
  • Cheese
  • Cheese (goat)
  • Corn
  • Corn milk
  • Cream (in a dish)
  • Cucumbers
  • Dough
  • Eggs (hard-boiled)
  • Flour
  • Greens (with pig's head)
  • Gretel (for the witch)
  • Ham
  • Hansel (for the witch)
  • Hazel nuts
  • Heart (of bird)
  • Heart (of deer)
  • Herbs
  • Honey
  • Lettuce
  • Loaves (warm in the oven)
  • Loaves (nice and crusty)
  • Malt (in a sack)
  • Meat
  • Meat (bits in a bowl)
  • Milk (in a saucer)
  • Milk (in a bottle)
  • Nuts
  • Nuts (in a bag)
  • Nut kernels
  • Oats
  • Oil (in a flagon)
  • Pancakes
  • Porridge (in a dish)
  • Paunch (of cow)
  • Pears
  • Peas
  • Pig (suckling)
  • Pig's head (with greens)
  • Plums (red and ripe)
  • Punch (warm)
  • Radishes
  • Rampion
  • Salt
  • Sausage (in strings)
  • Strawberries
  • Swill (in a pail)
  • Tea
  • Venison pies
  • Walnut juice
  • Water
  • Wheat (in a sack)
  • Wine (in a goblet)
  • Wine (in a bottle)

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

A cheery chicken postcard

Chickens are very nice. I'm terribly sorry that I ate them for so many years, not stopping until 2013. This dandy postcard was one of my Christmas presents. The caption on the front states:
"The careful hen calls all her chirping family around
Fed and defended by the fearless cock"
This is attributed to the British poet James Thomson (1700-1748). It is part of his long poem Spring, which was part of his The Seasons cycle. After the above excerpt, the poem continues:
"Whose breast and ardour flames, as on he walks,
Graceful, and crows defiance. In the pond,
The finely-checkr'd duck, before her train,
Rows garrulous. The stately-sailing swan
Gives out his snowy plumage to the Gale;"
Someone has written "Jessie" on the front of this card. The postmark is slightly blurred, but it looks like it might have been mailed in 1906. The only thing written on the back is the address, which makes sense if 1906 is indeed the year. "Divided back" postcards, in which the Post Office allowed private citizens to write on the back, alongside the address, weren't allowed until March 1, 1907.

This postcard is a Photochrome card published by Raphael Tuck & Sons as part of the "Animal Studies" series. It was addressed to Miss Louise Hershey, who lived on Carlisle Street in Hanover, Pennsylvania.

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

My great-grandfather's nostalgia road trips, Part 1

I'm not the only one in my family who likes/liked road trips to places we used to live (see the Montoursville 2018 series).

In the neverending sorting through the Family Things, I came across a little golden envelope filled with snapshots of places in Delaware linked to the life of my great-grandfather, Howard Horsey “Ted” Adams (1892-1985). The first batch is dated February 20, 1965 — a Saturday almost exactly 54 years ago. He was in his early 70s then, and I'm guessing he took the trip with his daughter, Helen Chandler Adams Ingham (1919-2003), and possibly his wife, Greta Miriam Chandler Adams (1894-1988).

Of course, he didn't have a blog, Facebook or Instagram for the posting of these images (although BASIC and the ASR-33 Teletype had been introduced the year before). So captions were written on the black-and-white photographs, and they were placed inside an envelope, where they would remain for decades. I can't tell who wrote the captions on the photographs. They're actually legible, so it might have been Howard himself who wrote them.

I'll present them here in a few batches, along with the captions on the back and whatever else I know.

"Home of Charles R. Horsey at time of his death (1906)"
(Charles was my great-grandfather's grandfather, on his mother's side.)

"6th St. Laurel, Del. Front of C.N. Adams House"
(Charles Newton Adams was my great-grandfather's father.
He lived from 1854 to 1944.)

"St. Paul's M.P. Church near Hearns Crossroads"
(M.P. stood for Methodist Protestant.
The little church is still there. It's now St. Paul's United Methodist Church.
Its address is 32827 Old Stage Road, Laurel, Delaware.
Here's a closer look at the sign from the 1965 photo.)

"Sharps School near Hearns Crossroads.
Attended by Howard Horsey Adams prior to 1900."
(Sharp's school was a one-room schoolhouse where the Maryland Conference
of the Methodist Protestant Church met prior to the establishment of the aforementioned St. Paul's Methodist Protestant Church in 1871.
It's less than a half mile from the church.)

"Old Christ Church, Broad Creek"
(This church was built in 1772 and still stands today. It's nicknamed "Old Lightwood." We have more ephemera about this church, so stay tuned.
For now, read more about it on Wikipedia.)

Monday, February 25, 2019

Wowed by "Wymps"
(Evelyn Sharp & Mabel Dearmer)

Strolling through the internet and all of its galleries of books, I recently came across the utterly amazing cover of Wymps.

With a full title of Wymps and Other Fairy Tales, it was published in 1897 by John Lane through The Bodley Head, London.

But while it was the knockout cover design that first caught my eye, what I love about this book is that it spurred me to learn more about the author and illustrator, a pair of amazing women.

The author is Evelyn Jane Sharp (1869–1955), who was, according to Wikipedia "a key figure in two major British women's suffrage societies, the militant Women's Social and Political Union and the United Suffragists." She was a journalist, activist, pacifist and tax resister. That last part got her imprisoned during World War I. Amidst all of this, she found time to write children's literature, including Wymps.

In 1933, Sharp published an autobiography, Unfinished Adventure. There has also been a biography of her, Evelyn Sharp: Rebel Woman, 1869-1955, penned by Angela V. John. AS Bryant wrote about how those two volumes complement each other for The Guardian in 2009, stating that Sharp "writes with dry wit, curiosity about social and private life, and an unerring sense of the telling detail," while her biographer is good at "filling out what Sharp discreetly omits from her own account."

And then there's the illustrator, Mabel Dearmer (1872-1915), who was born Jessie Mabel Pritchard White and educated in London. She contributed eight full color illustrations and the cover for Wymps, and you can see all of them in a PDF of the book at the University of Florida Digital Collections. I especially like her illustration for "The Boy Who Looked Like a Girl."

But Dearmer was much more than an artist. She was, per Wikipedia, a novelist and dramatist. She was married to a socialist priest, Percy Dearmer (1867–1936). And, like Evelyn Sharp, she was a pacifist.

In an extensive biography of Dearmer on the yellow nineties online, Diana Maltz writes this of Dearmer's artwork:
"By all accounts, Mabel Dearmer was an inspired and energetic personality, and these qualities surface in her illustrative art of the 1890s. ... In contrast to the ornamental style of many other late-Victorian illustrators, Dearmer’s images appear strikingly modern. Male contemporaries minimized her talent as a draftsperson, but viewers were captivated by her vibrant colour choices and often eerie landscapes. Further elements of her style include a deliberate asymmetry, allusions to Japanese art, bold colour blocking, and the use of heavy outline."
The British Library's Untold Lives blog describes Dearmer's death:
"She was opposed to the war on the basis of her Christian faith but threw herself into work with the Women’s Emergency Corps, as Chairman of the Publicity Department, and into fundraising for Belgian refugees. Her younger son Christopher enlisted soon after the outbreak of war followed by his elder brother Geoffrey. ... In March 1915, busy organising the production of one of her own plays, she attended a farewell service for the Third Serbian Relief Unit to support a friend. There she heard her husband, Percy, then vicar of St. Mary’s Primrose Hill, announce that he had just been appointed Chaplain to the British units in Serbia and would soon be departing there. Mabel made the sudden and dramatic decision to volunteer to join the Third Serbian Relief Unit ... [She] left for Serbia in early April, appointed orderly in charge of linen. She proved an efficient and effective member of [the] team in Serbia and describes her happiness there (slightly guiltily) in a letter of 16 May. However, by June 1915 she had fallen ill with enteric fever (typhoid). Although she subsequently appeared to rally, another letter in the Society of Authors Collection, dated 23 July, tells of the sad conclusion to this story, namely that Mabel died in Serbia on 11 July 1915. ... Poignantly her son Christopher died at Suvla Bay (Gallipoli) only a few months later in October 1915."
Her older son Geoffrey lived until 1996, when he died at the age of 103, having outlived his mother by more than eight decades.

Sunday, February 24, 2019

Ches Crist, baseball player

While researching another post earlier this winter, I stumbled upon the sports page in the March 9, 1908, edition of The Philadelphia Inquirer. A headline there declares "CHES. CHRIST ARRIVES IN PHILLIES CAMP."

Who was Ches Crist? Why did he get such a big headline?

He can't be that famous, because when I attempted a Google search, I got the response: "Did you mean: cheese crust"

Indeed, Ches Crist is not famous. He never got a hit in Major League Baseball, making him Moonlight Graham-esque. But his life was still interesting, and that's what we're here for, right?

Chester Arthur "Squak" Crist, named after the 21st U.S. president, was an Ohio native who lived from 1882 to 1957. A catcher, he was invited to four spring trainings1 with the Philadelphia Phillies, 1906 through 1909. But he only "went north" with the Phillies after spring training in 1906. That was his only year in the majors, and he never got a hit. According to, he appeared in six games, and went 0-for-11 with four strikeouts. He was, however, hit by a pitch and scored one run. His 0-for-11 puts him on the list of "Most Career At-Bats Without a Hit by a Non-Pitcher." That list is headed by Larry Littleton and Mike Potter, who each went 0-for-23.

Crist had a frustating baseball career. Chris Rainey wrote an excellent article about him for the Society for American Baseball Research, and I recommend you check it out. Here's an excerpt:
"When he played for the independent Cincinnati Shamrocks, a newspaper writer raved: 'Chester Crist, recognized as one of the cleverest of young catchers ... promises to become one of the best in the country one day.' In the next few seasons Crist would suffer ankle and knee injuries, two beanings, and even a bout with typhoid that cost nearly a whole season and severely weakened him. The Jersey Journal labeled him 'the most unfortunate player in captivity' when his thumb was dislocated."
After baseball, Crist worked as a farmer, carpenter and caretaker for a hunters' club. His life reminds me a little of another catcher, Clifford Wesley "Tacks" Latimer, who I'd like to write about some day, although Jon Daly of SABR, among others, has already done a superb job on that count.

I'll close with the portion of that 1908 Inquirer article that pertains to Crist's arrival at spring training and his travel woes.
From The Inquirer Ambassador
"SAVANNAH, March 8. — Chester Crist, the wee big man from Cincinnati, dropped into camp this evening and now the Phillies are well heeled so far as catchers are concerned. Crist looks bigger than he has ever before appeared and according to Manager Murray will be a fixture on the Hibernians' roster this season at least.2 Chester, who, like Wild Bill Donovan, jumped from the ranks of the park sparrows right into the upper ten of baseball, is a protege of his fellow-townsman, Mr. Charles Dooin, came from his home in Cincinnati and reported that his delay in reporting was due to the bad service between Garry Herrman's jerkwater village and this dead town.

"He reports that he came part of the way on one of Lauie Moren's old man's flat boats, rowed part of the journey and came the remainder by rail, but with his fellow-travelers was compelled to get out and chop wood in the southern pines to furnish the locomotive with fuel."

1. According to, the Phillies have held spring training in the following locations: "Philadelphia (1901); Washington, N.C. (1902); Richmond, Va. (1903); Savannah, Ga. (1904); Augusta, Ga. (1905); Savannah, Ga. (1906-1908); Southern Pines, N.C. (1909-1910); Birmingham, Ala. (1911); Hot Springs, Ark. (1912); Southern Pines, N.C. (1913); Wilmington, N.C. (1914); St. Petersburg (1915-1918); Charlotte (1919); Birmingham, Ala. (1920); Gainesville (1921); Leesburg, Fla. (1922-1924); Bradenton (1925-1927); Winter Haven (1928-1937); Biloxi, Miss. (1938); New Braunfels, Texas (1939); Miami Beach (1940-1942); Hershey, Penn. (1943); Wilmington, Del. (1944-1945); Miami Beach (1946); Clearwater (1947-present)."
2. Hibernians must refer to the Jersey City Skeeters, an Eastern League team that had at least a partial affiliation with the Phillies during this time. But I can't find other uses of that secondary nickname.

Book cover: "The Corner Store"

  • Title: The Corner Store
  • Author: Albert Idell (1901-1958)
  • Dust jacket artist: Robert Doares (1911-2005)
  • Publisher: Doubleday & Company
  • Publication year: 1953
  • Original price: None listed on jacket, but The New York Times states that it was $3.50
  • Pages: 287
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Dust jacket excerpt: "It was on the corner of Camac and McClellan, one of the many corner stores in Philadelphia in the 1930s. In the cluster of signs across its window — Breyer's Ice Cream, Phillies hand-made, Coca-Cola — you could just make out the old-fashioned letters: CHESTER JONES, CONFECTIONARY AND SUNDRIES."
  • Dedication: "To Clyde Lisk and Max Abrams, keepers of corner stores, for whom I have respect and affection, and to all of their trade."
  • First sentence: It was almost midnight and Chester Jones was hungry, but he did not like to close the store while Mary Plotko was seated at one of the tables with a new date.
  • Last sentence: "Sure I do," he said.
  • Random sentence from middle #1: This was Lowry's way, talking in long riddles that didn't make sense, but there was no use trying to kid him.
  • Random sentence from middle #2: Where had good old eager-beaver George come from?
  • Goodreads rating: 4.0 stars (out of 5.0)
  • Goodreads review excerpt: In 2018, Sandy Pfefferkorn wrote: "If you want to escape to a simpler time, read this book, set in the mid-1930s in Philadelphia (if you can find a copy). The Jones family owns and runs a typical corner confectionary complete with a soda fountain, three telephone booths, a lending library, and everything else you would have found in such a business at the time. ... It's not a politically correct book by today's standards, for it is filled with ethnic slurs common back then."
  • Amazon rating: 4.6 stars (out of 5.0)
  • Amazon review: In 2016, Barb Luongo wrote: "My mom introduced me to this author. Years ago, she told me that her favorite book was The Great Blizzard. She had read it over and over as a teen. So, I looked it up, ordered it, and in the process found more books by this author. I love his writing style, and he puts touches of real moments in history in his books."
  • Notes: This is Idell's second appearance on Papergreat. He and his book The Great Blizzard were mentioned in passing last year in a post about the Blizzard of "88" Association. We learn a little more about Idell from his biography on the back cover of the dust jacket. It mentions another of his books, Centennial Summer, and then drops this bombshell: "(Idell) is a professional wrestler who turned author about twelve years and nine books ago." He was born and raised in Philadelphia. After "hoboing around country" he "held down a variety of jobs that range from teaching a course in restaurant management to piloting a steam roller." Of being an author, Idell stated, "I humbly hope to share the task of teaching the American people to distrust their hates." ... Meanwhile, I found the obituary for cover illustrator Doares (full name Robert Glenn Doares), who lived into the 21st century. Here's an excerpt about his life:
    "After graduation from high school in 1929, he went to New York, N.Y., to become an artist. He worked in a sandwich shop in Times Square and at other odd jobs for 10 years. While employed at Wannamaker's [sic] Department store, he was sent to the World's Fair on Long Island to do backgrounds for fashion drawings. He studied with renowned illustrator Harvey Dunn at the Grand Central School of Illustration. In 1942, he entered the U.S. Army, where he produced training school illustrations for education purposes. After World War II, he returned to New York City and worked as an illustrator for Harper's and Doubleday books. He did illustrations for children's books, religious books and books on Biblical themes."

She's looking right at us!