Wednesday, February 27, 2013
"Fuller & Rude. That's it, the only thing written on the print. It might be the names of these two young ladies, but I suspect it's a commentary on their personalities. But is it a joke comment or heartfelt? I picked this one up in southern California, and it has to be form somewhere around the area. Every time I see one of these old south Cal photos I think, "If only I looked hard enough I could find that hill or that stream or that bluff." And then I look around and see how the landscape has been altered by one housing tract after another and realize it's a stupid idea. Still, I'll keep my eyes open.
Tuesday, February 26, 2013
It's been a long time since I've put up one of these souvenir photo folders. At first, I thought that the Empire State Candy Club was just that, a club, open to the public, a floor show, dancing, food and plenty of alcohol. But then, I started doing the research and found that it was a trade association of New York state candy distributors. What was interesting was how I found out. It doesn't look as if this particular association is in business any more, so I didn't find their web site. I found references to them in the University of California San Francisco Tobacco Documents Library Collection. One reference was an ad, taken by the Candy Club, in the program for the annual convention of The New York Association of Tobacco Sellers from September of 1963. The other, a cancelled check from The Tobacco Institute for the purchase of a ticket to the Fortieth Annual Empire State Candy Club Clambake in 1983.
I know, it seems a little weird that candy sellers would be connected to tobacco distributors, but then I started to remember the small town five and dime that sold me candy bars when I was a child. Sloan's had a huge counter that filled the back wall of the store. One half was candy and the other half was smokeless tobacco, cigars, and cigarettes. And what separated the two? Candy cigarettes and shredded chewing gum in snuff tins and tobacco pouches. On entrance to junior high school, average age about twelve, students were allowed to chew tobacco or dip snuff. At sixteen, with a parental permission slip, students were allowed to hang out in their very own smoking room. That was a long time ago. I was born in 1955, started grade school in 1960, and junior high in 1967. And the fact is, back then, that arrangement was fairly common in small town America.
A lot of my classmates chewed tobacco. As a life long hater of tobacco, I was very, very unhappy to be sitting next to a guy spitting tobacco juice into a paper cup. It made it hard to concentrate in class. And using the water fountains, with puddles of brown spit....disgusting. And I would bet, that if I could go back in time and make a count, at least a third, perhaps even half of the boys in my class had permission slips from their parents to smoke. I may be wrong, but if memory serves, that wasn't the case with the girls. It makes me wonder how many of my classmates died of cancer.
Over the years, I've put up quite a few of these folders. Click on souvenir photo folders or night clubs to bring up the others.
Saturday, February 23, 2013
It was a golden time after all. The war was over, the United States had one of the few strong economies in the world, unions were strong, and wages were high. There was even money to buy the kids a piano. Too bad rock & roll got 'em.
Stamped on the back, "ROLLMAN'S CAMERA SHOP APR 6 1954 SHILLINGTON, PA." What a great name for a camera shop. I'll bet there motto was buy a roll from Rollman's. And, as of January 2012, Rollman's was still in business. Of course my source for that info stated that Rollman's had been in business for 55 years. Do the math, and that means that the store opened in 1957, so clearly my source has some problems.
Shillington is a small town, a borough actually, adjacent to Reading, Pennsylvania. In the 1950s, Reading had a population of over 100,000, today it's under 90,000. There was a community named Shillington as early as 1860, but it didn't incorporate until 1908. And the first elected official, Burgess Adam Rollman. It's probable that some descendant of Adam was the camera store Rollman. The most famous Shillingtonian (?) was author John Updike. Updike was the valedictorian of the Shillington High class of 1950, so it's pretty probable that the young lady in this photo either knew him, or knew of him, before he was famous.
Thursday, February 21, 2013
How did Biddy serve the tomatoes undressed? Why did Biddy serve the tomatoes undressed? Hard to believe that this was once considered risque. No publisher listed or any captions other than the one seen on the bottom right.
Monday, February 18, 2013
Sunday, February 17, 2013
I love these old, hand tinted photographs. I'm always surprised just how hard it is to find a good example. There was a fair amount of work in applying the tints and, of course, if a mistake was made, a new print was needed and the colorist had to start over, so they weren't cheap. . Throw in that they were often displayed in a frame, exposed to sunlight, and the subsequent fading, it's no wonder that so few have survived in one piece with good, rich colors. The Northland logo presented some problems. There are a huge number of photo studios, past and present, with that name. I'm tempted to say that this photo is from Northland Studios with offices in Chicago, Detroit, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Toledo and Indianapolis because they were in business in the 1920s and with all those offices, it increases the chances that this photo is one of theirs, but of course, I can only guess on that. Click on hand colored prints in the labels section to bring up some more images.
Saturday, February 16, 2013
Thursday, February 14, 2013
As I was scanning this photograph a question occurred to me. It may be a stupid question, but I'm going to ask it anyway. Did women shave their legs before the twentieth century? It wasn't until the World War 1 era that women began wearing dresses that showed their legs, so who would have know? And what would they have shaved with? The safety razor wasn't invented until 1880. (It's amazing what you can find on line.) A straight razor isn't the easiest thing to master. Most men either grew a beard or where shaved by a barber. I had a beard for a few years while I was in college and never really liked it. But if my only other choice involved a straight razor, I suspect I would have gotten used to whiskers. I can't imagine running a straight razor the length of a leg without major blood loss. And just think of a nicked femoral artery. Ouch. Anyway, just curious.
Written on the back, "Mae, Guy, Ruth, Mother at Fullerton." Fullerton is a city in northern Orange County in California. It was named for businessman George Fullerton who bought the land for his employer, The Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad. The city was incorporated in 1887. This photo was probably taken in the 1920s. Fullerton would have still been a major grower of oranges and other fruit, but by that time it had also become an oil boom town. I'll have a barrel of crude with that orange slice.
Wednesday, February 13, 2013
I keep trying to figure out just who was the owner of this album. She (or he) has to be in at least some of the photographs. I've had a few guesses over the course of these posts, but not today's. Click on NTSNC in the labels section to bring up the lot.
No, I hadn't abandoned the North Texas State Normal College Album. It's just such a pain in the behind taking apart the album every time I post another page or two. Click on NTSNC in the labels section to bring up the whole lot.
Monday, February 11, 2013
I wonder what life was like for this child, growing up in what looks to be a big city tenement house? Look at old photographs, and one would assume that the world was made up of nice, middle class people living in nice, middle class neighborhoods. That's because most poor people couldn't afford cameras. Poverty isn't a pleasant way to live. I know that from experience, but it is a great photographic subject.
Saturday, February 9, 2013
I've still got plenty of postcards left, but after this post, I'm going to move on to other things for awhile. Top to bottom, "Ula Howser" "From Myrtle Howser to Zilia Howard, Mrs Zelia Howard, Bagnell, Mo" and "Elston Howser" Bagnell, Missouri is a very small town that had a population of 93 as of the 2010 census.
Friday, February 8, 2013
Ah nostalgia. Do we all long for a simpler time and see that time as so much better than what we have now? The original photograph for this card was probably taken around 1910, give or take a year or two in either direction. But it was mailed in 1940. Did the lady who mailed it think about a looming world war and say to herself, "If only we could all go back," conveniently forgetting that World War 1 was just a few years in the future when this image was taken? It's human nature to remember better times that never where.
Postmarked, "CANANDAIGUA N.Y. JUN 17 12:30 PM 1940" Sent to "Miss L. Smith, 341 Maple Ave., Oradell, New Jersey" And the message, "Greetings to all the Chapter and congratulations to the new sister. Hope we have many more. Alana T. Wallis" I would guess that the chapter was a college sorority, but I suppose it could also be some sort of club.
Canandaigua is a bit confusing because there is both a Canandaigua city and a Canandaigua town, they border each other, and each is on Canandaigua Lake. Now if the city was big while the town was small, it might make some sense, but they're both about the same size. I wonder if the urbanites look down on the townies? Famous Canandaiguans include painter Arthur Dove and comedian Kristen Wiig.
Tuesday, February 5, 2013
Now here's a mystery. Why would anyone make a postcard from this nag? He's not a race horse. No, this horse is a working horse, made obsolete by tractors and cheap fuel. This one's a pretty old card, from back in the day when farmers worked their horses and didn't think of them as a family pet. Maybe the owner of this animal had a soft spot and liked his livestock. Maybe after his working life this horse was retired to the back pasture. More likely, when this photo was taken, the farmer/owner was thinking of how much money he could get for old Jughead. Take a look at this card and make an offer. Jughead can still pull a plow, a wagon, and if that doesn't work, there's always the slaughterhouse.
Monday, February 4, 2013
This is it. In the past week or so, I've been putting up a few Hollywood celebrity postcards, and this is the last one I have.
I have to admit, Greer Garson isn't an actress that comes to mind when I think of classic movies. The only movie of hers that I can remember is Mrs. Miniver, an overly sentimental film about a brave family during the London blitz. In the end, actors and actresses aren't remembered for their acting, they're remembered for their movies. Garson was a huge star in the forties, with five straight Academy Award nominations from 1941 to 1945, but didn't make that many memorable films. There would eventually be seven nominations total, with one win, the already mentioned Mrs. Miniver.
She was born Eileen Evelyn Greer Garson in England in 1904. She was, for her day, a very well educated woman, attended King's College, London, and the University Of Grenoble, France, with degrees in French and 18th century literature. Garson's intention was to teach, but ended up working for an advertising agency. Her acting career started in amateur stage productions, she joined some repertory companies, did some experimental television productions in the late thirties and was discovered, and signed to a contract by MGM after being spotted by Samuel Goldwyn while on a talent scouting trip. Her first film was Goodbye Mr. Chips, made in 1939. Her last theatrical film was The Happiest Millionaire in 1968. She continued making occasional TV appearances, the last, Little Women, in 1978. She became a naturalized American citizen and died in Texas in 1996.
Garson was married three times. Her second husband, the actor Richard Ney played her son in Mrs. Miniver. Her third husband was Texas oilman Buddy Fogelson.
Saturday, February 2, 2013
I gotta say, I've been to North Bessemer, Pennsylvania, and I wasn't impressed.
The message on the back, "Dear Helane, I discovered you forgot cover but I thought I would send it home with Peurle on Sunday. But I believe I will mail it to you at once. Hershell was dissapointed he said I want my Helane to come back. We have a big circus in our town today. Today I wish you could see it. Grace"
Mailed to "Miss Helane Kohou, 935 Jerome St., McKeesport, Pa. And the postmark, "UNITY STATION, PA AUG 23, 3PM 1916" I've also been to Unity Township, formally Unity Station, near Plum Township as well as McKeesport. Again, not impressed. The real question is how this postcard ended up in an antique shop in Pasadena, CA. And finally, did Helane and Hershell ever get together?
Friday, February 1, 2013
How can a man be as well known, and as forgotten, as Bing Crosby? There aren't many Americans who haven't heard the song White Christmas, and while It's A Wonderful Life has supplanted White Christmas, the movie, as the favorite TV Christmas special, it's still very popular. But who remembers Bing Crosby the musical innovator?
I've been collecting 78 rpm recordings for decades and at first, if Crosby's name was on the label, I passed. Then one day, I got a load of Crosby records as part of a larger lot and began listening. What a revelation. This beautiful bass-baritone voice that sang in an almost conversational style. I was hooked, a Bing Crosby fan for life. Too, as I listened, I noticed something else. It was like there were two periods of music. PB, pre- Bing, and AB, after Bing. The style didn't exist before Bing Crosby came along. I can remember a conversation I had with another fan. He told me that there were changes in the technology of recording about the time that Crosby arrived on the scene that made it possible to capture the tonal range in his voice, and that was the reason for the change in popular musical styles. That always seemed specious to me, so I've never done any research into the claim, but I pass it along for what it 's worth.
And a quick note on Bing Crosby the actor. Based on number of tickets sold, Crosby is the third most popular movie actor in history, behind Clark Gable and John Wayne. Once I became a fan of the music, I started watching the movies. White Christmas, of course, (For the record, I prefer it to It's A Wonderful Life), Holiday Inn and some of the other musicals, but also the road movies with Bob Hope. The humor still holds up quite well. At least in my opinion.
Bing Crosby was born Harry Lillis Crosby in 1903, in Tacoma Washington. He began singing professionally while still in high school. His first big success was as a member of The Rhythm Boys with the Paul Whiteman Orchestra. Depending on the source, Crosby either quit to go solo, or was fired because of his drinking and marijuana use. His first wife was the actress Dixie Lee. They had four sons, two of whom, Dennis and Lindsay, committed suicide. A third son, Gary wrote a tell all book accusing his father of being physically and emotionally abusive. Philip, twin brother of Dennis, died of natural causes. Crosby had three more children with his second wife, Kathryn. Harry Jr., Nathaniel, and Mary. Bing Crosby died of a heart attack in 1977, in Madrid, Spain.