Thursday, February 2, 2023

Dust jacket of Ruth Manning-Sanders' "The Growing Trees"

I was happy to stumble across this new-to-me internet image of the dust jacket of Ruth Manning-Sanders' 1931 novel The Growing Trees. According to the UK bookseller, the very rare jacket is from the third Faber and Faber impression. 

My copy of this book is from the William & Morrow Company edition published in New York, also in 1931. It has no dust jacket. The novel, which I mentioned in passing in a 2016 post, is split into two parts: Nether Brook and Primrose Hill. This is the first paragraph:
"James Brock first experienced the joys and sorrows of a romantic attachment when he was tens years of age. It happened in the holidays, like most of events of importance in his life so far, and the object of his love was a Scotch farm girl of fourteen, called Margaret; who, with her long strands of bleached hair, and her deep-set blue eyes, reminded James of the picture of Rapunzel in the colored woodcuts in his big old edition of Grimm's Fairy Tales."
As I've noted before, Manning-Sanders was writing about fairy tales decades before she was penning her own retellings of fairy tales. In the first pages of The Growing Trees, there are also mentions of Red Riding Hood, the princess and the pea (and its feathered mattresses), Arabian Nights, and "riding to the accompaniment of silver bells like the queen of elfland."

The Faber and Faber dust jacket illustration, featuring a man and a young woman riding carousel horses, is signed Hookway Cowles. He got a lot of work with dust jackets and interior illustrations from the 1930s through 1950s; he has a listing on the Internet Speculative Fiction Database.

A 2020 post on The Folly Flaneuse provides some biographical information: Hookway Cowles lived from 1896 to 1987, and was the son of a Yorkshire clergyman. He was most famous for his work illustrating novels by H. Rider Haggard.

(The Folly Flaneuse is a wonderful and professional site that I'll have to dive into at some point. It describes itself as "rambles to, and ramblings about, follies and landscape buildings." Follies are expensive ornamental buildings with no practical purpose. They are often towers or mock ruins constructed in gardens or parks.)

Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Postcard: Maude Adams as Peter Pan

This month I've been reading Armond Fields' 2004 biography Maude Adams: Idol of American Theater, 1872-1953.

Maude Ewing Adams Kiskadden is a fascinating figure. For a time, she was the biggest star in American theater and earned vast amounts of money from her performances. She was also incredibly private about her life and became a recluse upon retirement. Her privacy was likely related, at least in part, to her sexuality; she had long-term relationships with two women during her life. (I'm at about the 75% mark of Fields' book, and so far it sticks mostly to her stage career, plus her sabbaticals to address exhaustion and her health.)1

For her stint as Peter Pan in the American debut of J.M. Barrie's Peter Pan; or, the Boy Who Wouldn't Grow Up, Adams appeared on stage about 500 times, nearly all to standing-room-only crowds. Fields describes that run's final performance at Broadway's Empire Theatre on January 4, 1908:

"Champagne was served in the lobby; autographed programs were given out to patrons; and no one wanted the play to finish. At the final curtain, instead of taking bows herself, Maude brought out the entire company to share the stage with her. Applause continued for many minutes. Although the crowd shouted for speeches, none were given. In a final gesture, Peter simply blew on his pipes and skipped merrily off the stage."

Peter Pan memorabilia and fashion were a craze in popular culture. Fields notes that Peter Pan hats and especially Peter Pan collars were all the rage. There was a limited edition souvenir book, filled with photos, that sold for $1, the equivalent of about $33 today!

And, of course, there were postcards. I wrote about a postcard of Adams' summer home in 2020. This card actually features Adams, dressed as Peter Pan. The photograph is by the Otto Sarony Company and is part of the "Rotograph" Series. 

The card was mailed in 1906 to a woman in Kidders, near Cayuga Lake in central New York state. In that year, messages could only written on the front of the card. This is the short cursive message below Peter Pan:

Sunday, Oct. 14

Going to-morrow, to spend the week in New York. Will go to see Peter Pan Wednesday afternoon. Wish you could be with us, is such a sweet play.

I'm not even going to hazard a guess on the signature. Have fun, if you wish...


1. Last month, Kaz Rowe released an hour-long documentary on YouTube titled "Maude Adams and the LGBTQ History of Peter Pan." It's well worth your time if this topic interests you.

Sunday, January 29, 2023

From the readers: "Wild Rivers," dragons, Crasimoff's World & more

There's a bundle of great reader feedback from the past month or so, plus some emails from 2022 that I absent-mindedly forgot about when I did the last roundup. So away we go...

1941 advertisement for the Modern Talking Picture Service: I got two new comments on this 2018 post. 

First, Keith Harter writes: "My father helped in the filming of the Susquehanna River for a film called Wild Rivers, made in 1965 by Humble Oil. I wish I could find it. Any leads would be appreciated."

I didn't find any leads on discovering a copy of the film, but I did find some additional background information about it. Maybe some readers will have more success than I did regarding the film itself.

I found an old eBay listing for what's described as a "1965 Humble Oil Esso 'Wild Rivers' Map Booklet / Film Tie-In." The image is shown at right.

And the January 1966 issue of National Parks Magazine notes that "during early summer [1965] the Humble Oil and Refining Company released a particularly fine film on a subject currently much in the minds of conservationists — the projected national wild rivers system. Wild Rivers, in full color and with commentary (the photographer was Larry Madison and the narrator, Burton J. Rowles) runs 28 minutes and looks at the scenic and outdoor recreational potentials of ten of the rivers, or parts of rivers, that have been mentioned for inclusion within the wild rivers system. The film is available on loan without charge, other than return postage, from Humble Oil, P.O. Box 2180, Houston, Texas 77001; or for persons or organizations strategically located, from Modern Talking Picture Service film libraries in 22 of the nation's cities."

The other comment I received about the Modern Talking Picture Service post was from Anonymous: "My mother was office manager for Modern Talking Pictures in Charlotte, N.C., from about 1958 to 1962. My brother and I loved going in on weekends to dig through the trash in the back room where films were repaired. We’d glue together bits of this and that to make our own movies! LOL we also loved previewing the new films at home."

Bet you'd love to still have those films, too! 

Dramatic postcard featuring a dragon and a ghost [help needed]: In a September email, Jess Chua wrote, "You have a remarkable blog, and I remember a little bit of Microsoft Encarta!" 

Chua was requesting to share a postcard image from Papergreat on her own blog: "I'd like to include it in a Halloween/spooky-themed post next month. I have more Western dragon art in the draft post and wanted to include some Eastern dragons. This postcard has a spooky element to it and the anonymous comment was enlightening."

Of course! Everything on Papergreat is for sharing. And there's no need to butter me up when you ask. Here's the post Jess published last October on "Halloween Dragons – October 2022."

1953 envelope from the Around-The-World Shoppers Club: Way back in March 2022, M. Yang Lu wrote from France to request permission to use a Papergreat image in a magazine article. He noted, "Thanks for your very interesting sharings on your blog Papergreat. Same as you, I love to reveal a piece of history through old documents and mails. One of your articles has caught my eye. ... I have done some research on one of the competitors of the company, International Gift of the Month Club. I'm revising an article ... to be published in la Philatélie française, the official magazine of the French Federation of Philatelic Associations. I would like to ask for your permission to reproduce in my article, the image featured in your blog page. I really appreciate that you have dug further on the Internet about the Around-the-World Shoppers Club. The sources that you cited were of great help to me."

Later, he sent a PDF copy of the article, which is written in French. Here's part of the page featuring the image from Papergreat:
Try these word problems from 1900's "School Arithmetic Advanced Book": Anonymous wrote a two-part note, trying to tackle a math problem from the old textbook:

"I like these. Perhaps I'm wrong but it seems like the answer to question d) would be 48 days and not 24? If 1/3 of the workers were released it would take 3 times as many days to do the same job. If it would have taken the full crew of 60 men an additional 16 days to complete the work then it stands to reason that it would take 20 men 48 days to complete the same task."


"Oops I am wrong. 1/3 of the workers released. That means 2/3 remain. That would be a factor of 1.5 times the number of days to do the job. 16 days x 1.5 = 24 days."

The movie books before the internet and IMDb: Joan wrote: "I'm not 100% sure I watched 20 new films in total in 2022 (!) but three of my favorites are on this list — Chungking Express, Grand Budapest Hotel and Licorice Pizza. They actually may all be in my top 20 favorite movies of all time list! Thank you for expanding my horizons. Not just with cats."

Now let's see if I can come up with some equally good picks for 2023!

Old school library copy of "The Glass Slipper": Joan wrote: "Hey, I know E.H. Shepard well from his work on Winnie-the-Pooh!"

1984 advertisement for play-by-mail game Crasimoff's World: Iain Wilson of the podcast and Twitter account Roll to Save shared these great memories of the game: "I LOVED playing Crasimoff's World! Although memories are hazy, I do remember sitting with anticipation waiting for the packet to turn up every week. Likewise, I remember my little crew protecting a town called 'Obin'. However, by far my best memory was attending 'Crasimeet' in the mid 90s, where myself and a few others turned up in Thornton-Cleveleys in the UK for a weekend of gaming. It was a ton of fun, and I remember corresponding (by mail of course!) with a few of the guys I met there as we tried to get our parties to meet up. That was when I also learned that there were two versions of Crasimoff's World — an older 80s version and one for those like me who started later. I can't quite remember the differences other than spellcaster in the 'new' version used powders to cast their spells whereas older casters didn't."

Delving into Henry K. Wampole & Company: Sheilah Forward of Jamaica first emailed almost exactly a year ago to comment on one of Papergreat's oldest posts: "As a kid in the 1950s I loved cod liver oil. I found your 'history' about Wampole in a trip down a rabbit hole this morning investigating Mother's attempt to make me enjoy my daily dose of Wampole's. I hope you don't mind that I used some of your work to create today's Facebook entry. I've been posting everyday since we were locked down here in Jamaica on March 25, 2020. Today is Day 668. In the beginning, I presumed it would be a couple of month's commitment."

And here's an excerpt from her Facebook post, which she emailed to me separately: "Wampole’s Liquid, Tonic, Mixture or Elixir. I just called it 'Disgusting'. Mother used to dose us all with a spoonful of that wonderful, thick, golden liquid, cod liver oil, every day (probably just in the ‘almost winter’, ‘winter’ and ‘not quite winter’ seasons) to replenish winter’s vitamin deficit. I know that I looked forward to it, though my sisters may not remember it the same way. One day Mother gave us Wampole’s. What a ghastly surprise. It was red, runny and sickening sweet ‘cherry flavoured’ — supposedly children would swallow it with a smile. I did not smile. For some reason the name Wampole snuck into a dormant brain cell this morning and I sought to know more about this dreadful potion."

Scholastic book: "Arrow Book of Spooky Stories": There are two comments on this 2023 post. Tom from Garage Sale Finds wrote: "I've always said, my favorite day in school every month was the arrival of the Scholastic order form along with the books you ordered the previous month. I loved these spooky story books along with the 'mysterious monsters' books and was sure to order whenever offered. And I'll have you know, I do get these spooky story books out and read from then when my family has a campfire outside."

And Shawn Marie Mann from Cookbook Chat wrote: "My family was poor growing up but I was always given $1 to order from Scholastic. Back in the 1970s that dollar would go a long way, sometimes 4 books! And those books were well written, professionally illustrated and amazing. Today's kids have the magic of the internet but they will never have what we had back then. Thanks for this great post!"

Join the Wartime Reducing Party: Linda Whitney writes: "I love your site! Check out my Etsy store Hoozestuff. I have lots of ephemera there and booklets and such. I also have an older Lindlahr diet booklet from 1936."

Very obscure Manning-Sanders novel: "Mermaid's Mirror": The Brown Brontë writes: "I would also love to track down a copy of this! I found out that she wrote a letter on 6th June 1935 to her friend, the journalist Thomas Moult in which she mentions that 'Mermaid's Mirror' is out. She says she has asked Cassell to send him a copy, and that she hopes he will be able to write something nice about it. The letters are in Leeds University's Special Collections."

Indeed, it's a rarity. It appears that neither Selina Pennaluna (1927) nor Mermaid's Mirror (1935) is part of the Ruth Manning-Sanders estate auction that I mentioned in a recent post.