Saturday, December 5, 2020

Once again: Holly Jolly Papergreat Directory of Christmas Posts

The list of Christmas-themed posts on Papergreat continues to grow. There are nearly 200 now! So, in a year in which we need festiveness, merriment and Mariah more than ever, it's time for a newly updated directory of all the Ho-Ho-Holiday Goodness that's been posted here over the years. Postcards, recipes, fashion, advertisements, greeting cards — there's something for everyone. So bookmark it and scroll through it at your leisure this month when you need a break from the sorrow and stress of the real world.

Greeting cards


Books and magazines
Fashion and decorations

Miscellaneous merriment

Friday, December 4, 2020

A bookmark and a correction about an old bookstore

About 3,200 days ago, I wrote a "Tucked Away Inside" post about a "book fair" coupon found inside a paperback copy of Samuel Beckett's Waiting for Godot. That short post had a significant error. I assumed that the coupons and bookmark were promotions for an annual book sale.

In fact, Book Fair was the name of a bookstore in Baltimore, Maryland. Three demerits for Younger Chris, on account of sloppy detective work.

I learned this when I found another Book Fair bookmark, this one featuring a 1981 calendar and discovered inside a copy of a 1977 nonfiction book cheerily titled The Day Before Doomsday.1

In a 2012 post, the Atomic Books Blog noted this: "Over the years, Baltimore has seen a lot of bookstores come and go. 40 years ago, the city region had over 25 booksellers. Here's how they were described in a city guide called Bawlamer: An Informal Guide To A Livelier Baltimore from 1974, published by the Citizens Planning and Housing Association." Book Fair, which was at 3121 St. Paul Street, was described this way in that city guide: "If you were worn out from rummaging through uncatalogued, dust-laden stacks, this neat, well-stocked, well-organized shop may have been just what you were after."

I'm not sure when Book Fair closed up shop. That address currently has available office space, where an entrepreneur could be a co-tenant with Bank of America and Sam's Bagels.

1. Excerpt from Sidney Lens' book: "It is highly doubtful that a war which kills off as many as two billion people (of a world population of four billion) will end in anything but the cries of the sick and the lash of a dictator demanding more work to bury the dead and speed 'recovery.'"

Sorry, I was detained for a bit in Forest City

No, I wasn't actually detained in Forest City by a throng of adoring women. I've just been dealing, like everyone else, with the holidays (safely) and the horror novel that is 2020, and I was looking for something silly to get back into the Papergreat swing.1

This postcard was never mailed and no publisher is listed, so I can only guess what decade it dates to. Straw hats for men began to surge into popularity late in the 19th century, so this could really be from just about any time early in the 20th century. The back of the card is "split," allowing for both correspondence and an address, so that would put it after March 1907, when the U.S. postal regulations changed.

And what Forest City is this? There are four significant places called Forest City in the United States: in Pennsylvania, Florida, North Carolina and Iowa. Additionally, very small "Forest City" locations exist in Illinois, Indiana, Maine, Missouri, Minnesota and South Dakota. "The Forest City" is a famous historical nickname for Cleveland. But it's also been used for other cities, including Atlanta. So we can only speculate which place this postcard is referring to.

On the back, in cursive, someone has written just this: "Would ent mind being a lad like this." (Interesting linguistic use of "ent" there!) 

Dreary footnote
1. For posterity, and to keep up the practice of documenting "signs of the times" headlines throughout this COVID-19 year on Papergreat, here is a collection of some I came across this morning:
  • Covid Fighters Run Out of Weapons With Virus Spreading in Homes
  • Sun-Belt Return Targets Miami, Phoenix and Las Vegas 
  • Doctors Ration Intensive Care 
  • Vaccine Side Effects Risk Sidelining Health Workers While Cases Surge
  • California to be locked down for 3 WEEKS 
  • BUST: Food Pantries Reach 'Crisis Level' 
  • BREAKING: For the first time, CDC advises everyone to wear masks indoors when not at home
  • U.S. added just 245,000 jobs in November, a worrisome sign
  • Pandemic is pushing America’s 911 system to ‘breaking point,’ ambulance operators say
  • Employers start preparing for the coronavirus vaccine with a question: Can we require it?
  • Report: Center City retail is being decimated by the pandemic. ‘It’s horrible.’
  • Biden says he will ask Americans to wear masks for 100 days as cases surge in Pa. and nationally; Philly airport coronavirus testing to open
  • Pa. reports 11,000 new cases of COVID-19 in one day, and asks public to help protect hospitals from filling