Oooooo LA LA! Ach du liebe!

The end of another year. Kick out the old, anticipate being paralyzed by the new. I guess all a sane person can do is party...or hide under the covers.

I don't know where this postcard was printed because it has "post card" written on the back multiple times in multiple languages, including Cyrillic. The card was mailed from Petaluma, California to San Francisco. Now about a 45 minute drive. Back then...an all day trip. The handwriting on the front is in German.

What I especially like is the die cut behind the fussy woman in the hat. The whole shape has a nice artist's palette to it with this die cut as the thumb hole. Perhaps the young man's mama, the holder of the purse strings, has discovered her son is a rogue?

Ummmmmm...is it just me or does the fellow look a bit on the effeminate side? I'm just saying. There's possibly more going on here than we first notice.

Happy New Year!



The Christmas Book by The Child Study Association
Illustrated by Roberta Paflin (not sure if she did the cover illustration)
Whitman Publishing Company, copyright 1954

To see this image larger click here.


TRUMAN CAPOTE in the Christmas Spirit

This wonderful shot was taken by photographer John Dornés. I have a few pages from an old magazine, possibly Look, sent to me by my best friend. There are various photos of famous people dressed in period costumes looking very much like cabinet photos. The photos include Mamie Eisenhower, Johnny Carson, Andy Warhol, Arthur Miller, Bennett Cerf, Senator Jacob Javits, and of course Truman.

The text says Mr. Dornés used antique cameras adapted to use Polaroid film. Unfortunately I cannot find anything about Mr. Dornés nor do I know the date of the magazine. If anyone has any information about this photographer please let me know.


LOWELL HESS, illustrator

Sometimes with a children's book you don't really appreciate the art until you're no longer a child. I did love this book growing up and I looked at it all year long anticipating Christmas, but it wasn't until I was an adult that I truly appreciated the wonderfully stylized art by Lowell Hess. Check out his web site http://lowellhess.com.

A Giant Little Golden Book: My Christmas Treasury
Copyright 1957 by Simon and Schuster, Inc.

It's a shame marketing put that dreadful white box over part of the cover image. Even as a child I thought the white box stupid and annoying.



When I was 5 or 6 my family went up to New York City at Christmas time. I believe my father was there on business. It was the 1950s and everything was magical. The store windows had elaborate decorations that enthralled me. But the best part of all of it was the tree at Rockefeller Center. It was huge and beautiful. The lights glittered amongst the falling snowflakes. A year or two later we moved to Hawaii so snow was just a memory, as was the enormous tree. But my folks bought me this book which I poured over, page by page, remembering my visit to New York. Somewhere along the line I lost my book, but a few years ago my best friend found me a copy and gifted it to me for my birthday. Seeing all the pictures again brought back happy memories of childhood Christmas.

The Most Beautiful Tree in the World by Leonard Weisgard. The story is about a family who live in a rural area whose tree is chosen to be the one at Rockefeller Center. Originally published in Family Circle Magazine in 1954 it was published in book form by Wonder Books in 1956. Unfortunately the illustrator is not listed. If anyone knows who the artist was please let me know.

UPDATE: "The illustrator is also Leonard Weisgard. Quite renown in children's literature." Thanks to "anonymous" for this update.


WHO knew?

Apparently ol' Santa was way ahead of his time and really into German engineering. Santa in a VW Beetle in 1960. Okay, I know it's not really a bug, but it is rather fascinating because the VW had not yet taken off as the car icon it became. Pretty soon VW was running great simple ads in all media that had people rethinking the size of their cars. Ol' Santa was either ahead of the curve or secretly the elves are the ones who had been working on German engineering for a very long time. Wonder what Santa drives now when he's not whipping through the skies in his sleigh? Perhaps the car designers should take a quick trip to the North Pole to see what the elves have on the drawing board for the future. 

I must say I am glad that somewhere along the line they did make a decision about where to put the steering wheel. This wheel in the center is a little too politically correct. "Don't want to offend those that drive on the right nor antagonize those that drive on the left. Let's put the wheel in the middle!" I believe that elf Deluzhin was moved to the wrapping paper department and came up with the first ever gift bag.

From 1960 Western Printing and Lithography Co.


FIRST Christmas

This one is personal. It is in my baby album and was given to me by my paternal grandparents. The red flocking has survived completely intact. Published by Rust Craft, Boston in MCMLI. You figure it out.


CHRISTMAS CORSAGE from another time

I don't know the story of this antique box, I didn't find it until after my mother had passed. I know her maiden name is on it. Maybe an old boyfriend gave it to her or my father when he was courting her. I just don't know and my father doesn't remember it. It's also possible it belonged to my grandmother. I wish I knew the story, but I never will. I have no idea of the age, but it's in very good condition. It must date from anywhere from the early forties to late sixties. 


RECYCLING made merry

"Recycle" might be the buzz word now, but way back when people were trying to find ways to be creative with trash. For example:

From Better Homes & Gardens Christmas Ideas for 1963 I give you "Baubles by Frances Callahan" made from plastic berry baskets. Aren't you kicking yourself for throwing all of those out? I've included the instructions in case there is someone out there with a stack of these things in the garage that they've been moving around for months. Here's your solution as to how to get rid of them! Let me know if it works.

And from Better Homes and Gardens Christmas Ideas 1967 I give you the pop-art hip 60s version of recycling those dastardly-dangerous-cut-your-foot-at-the-beach pop-tops. Look down at the ground long enough and I'm sure you'll still find them in the floatsam and jetsam. However, since it's unlikely you'll find enough to actually make any of these ornaments I've left the instructions small. If there's someone out there who would like to see the instructions larger just drop me an email.

Nobody ever said "ephemera is always pretty." Well actually I just did, but I think you get what I mean.


CHRISTMAS CARDS from the late 1940s

I bought a couple of old albums full of beautiful ephemera at a flea market that had been compiled by a very loving husband. The albums started with the end of his college years, progressed to his marriage, then birth of his children. Eventually I'll scan a lot of this, including some of his dance cards from college.

Here are a couple of old Christmas cards that are beautifully simple and modern.

UPDATE: Okay, people are flocking to this post by the hundreds. I hope when you're done with this post (and we both know you're here to grab the cards) you'll click on my header and click on over to some of what's new at Tattered and Lost Ephemera. There's more to this place than just these two cards. And why not try Tattered and Lost Photography.

Meanwhile, enjoy these old cards.

FAUX CHRISTMAS TREE, no candles allowed

This tree, from the 1960 Better Homes and Gardens Christmas Ideas magazine, always fascinated me. It was designed by Gerry Rosentsweig. Tissue paper on chicken wire with a flower pot base painted black. It stands 5 feet tall! Now, if you wanted to make this these days with the time constraints most of us face I'd recommend finding a kindergarten class that loves tissue paper and is adept at using scissors. Otherwise, scale it down! 

I've included the instructions for those thinking of what decorations they want in 2012 because you're going to need to start rolling those roses now! And if the instructions are simply too small for you to read let me know and I'll email you a copy. Unfortunately they did not include how to put the chicken wire together. I guess they figured the husbands would do it on the weekend.

Oh, and just in case for legal purposes this needs to be stated...no candles on the tree! And most likely if you get this thing wet it will stain your carpet.

But it's still fun! For people who love Christmas crafts this might be a nice retro challenge. For me...I'll stick with the picture and my imagination.



Santa, as most of us envision him, was created by illustrator Haddon Sundblom in the 1930s for Coca-Cola. In 1992 the book Dream of Santa: Haddon Sundblom's Vision was published by Staples & Charles. The book covers the images painted from 1933 to 1964. Included is a nice foreword entitled "Who Is Santa Claus?" followed by a few pages about Haddon Sundblom. 

Though I believe the book is out-of-print, for Santa enthusiasts it's well worth tracking down. I have put a link in the left-hand column to copies available at Amazon. You can also visit the following Coca-Cola website for more information about this iconic image: http://www.thecoca-colacompany.com/heritage/cokelore_santa.html