STUNG by a dog...HUH?

Okay, I'm clearly not getting this one.

These old "romance" cards from the first part of the 20th century can be purely odd when looking at them over 100 years later. Some are suggestive. Some are coy. Some make no sense at all. I give you the following example.


The guy looks like he's about to thumb his nose to the dog with a "Naa naa, you can't reach me!"

I'm betting if this dog wanted to it could be over the fence and on that guy lickity split.


As to this message, I think it's safe to say it will never be decoded. It reminds me of one of those spy phrases you're supposed to say when you meet another spy. "Psssst. In the shade of the old walnut tree. Hurrah." Of course then the microdot is exchanged and everything goes along fine and dandy.



...apparently blackmail.

Yes, love is in the air and so are geeks with cameras taking photos of your every move. This is a warning to all of those people having out of marriage trysts through online dating. Someone is bound to be watching...and scheming.

This card, with the creepy brother in the bushes, was published by Bamforth & Co. in 1910. To see other cards by them and read a bit of history see my other post Dear Auntie /Dear Cousin...FROM YOUR BAWDY NIECE / COUSIN.

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I thought in honor of the royal takeover of the tv this week, and the finale today, that a card of a young couple being watched by paparazzi seemed apropos.

And it might just be me, but I feel like the whole thing looks a bit Monty Python. Surely the woman is actually Graham Chapman.



Here's something I've never done before on any of my blogs...a post about digital ephemera, recent digital ephemera.

This image comes from a newsletter published in 2008 that is available online. I don't know if the group responsible for it ever printed any hardcopies. The digital file, which you can find HERE, might just be what ephemera collectors are faced with in the future. Will collectors be reduced to saving nothing but digital files because advertising will be only geared towards electronic devices?

I won't go into how I came upon this image, but knew it had to be shared.

I will keep my comments to myself other than to say "What were they thinking?!!!???"

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It's always fun to see badly posed photos, but usually I can figure them out. This one, with the women's legs up on the railing...it's just so so SO ODD! Professional shot or vacation snap? You decide.


UPDATE worth reading about CAMEL CIGARETTE AD

On August 1, 2009 I did a post about an old ad for Camel cigarettes. Those who have been reading this blog for awhile may remember it. It involved the Palmer family, owners of the Palmer Hotel in Chicago. Specifically it involved one of the wives of Potter D'Orsay Palmer, a wealthy rather useless playboy who at one time was married to the exotic Maria Eugenia Martinez de Hoz who was featured in the ad. Well...

Today I heard from the granddaughter of Maria Eugenia Martinez de Hoz. Instead of reposting everything I'm just suggesting you click HERE to see for yourself.

This is when blogging gets really fascinating. I started this particular blog about ephemera to see where old pieces of paper would take me. It's a real adventure, especially when someone steps forward to provide personal information not available on the net.

So thank you Matilde for providing me with the information missing from the post. It's now nicely tied together.


Outsourcing EASTER

I'm sure there are people out there believing that the bunnies still do all the work for Easter. Laying the eggs, grading them, packaging, shipping, and of course their books. But I'm sorry to burst your bubble, because everything, including my job, have been outsourced. Yes, it's true. The Bun works with small businesses to provided the bulk of his eggs. He was spending too much time behind a desk and not enough time out in the field.

On one of his recent trips to visit an egg layer he got a little impatient and chewed off part of their business card.

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Wookblock Printer UCHIDA Kyoto, Japan, PART 3

The final two woodblock prints from Uchida. I hope someone eventually comes along and tells me the title of each one of these stories. I love these images. Simple clean images.

Shitakirisuzume (The Tongue Cut Sparrow)

Hanasaki Jijii (The Old Man who made the Trees Blossom)


Wookblock Printer UCHIDA Kyoto, Japan, PART 2

Two more images from the little box of Japanese Uchida woodblock greeting cards, late '50s to early '60s. Part one from yesterday can be seen here.

Urashima Taro (Fisherman and tortoise) pic with box

Kintaro (the strong boy) crossing the bridge


Wookblock Printer UCHIDA Kyoto, Japan

Over the next few days I'll be featuring some (oh geez, I'm about to say it...) antique greeting cards. Considering these were cards I used when I was a child. thinking of my youth as antique makes me pause. But indeed, these are over 50 years old. My folks gave them to me when we lived in Hawaii. I managed to keep a single copy of each design. My best friend has several I sent her. I imagine the others were sent to my maternal grandmother. I don't actually know.

Over the years I have often taken these out of their little box and examined them. For years I had "misplaced" them and only remembered them because my best friend sent me a scan of one she found in her files. A few days later I found the box in my doll case beneath a Japanese baby doll.

The images on these cards are all handprinted from woodblocks and represent popular children's stories in Japan. The company, Uchida, still exists. Their work can be found at the Kyoto Handicraft Center. The only biographical information I found was at the Metropolitan Postcard Club in New York City:
Uchida Art Co. Ltd. 1919-
Kyoto, Japan

This woodblock printing firm has preserved the traditional skills and methods of Japanese printing as Western technology has come to dominate this nation’s printing industry. They produce screens, scrolls, and publish postcards even in the current continental size.
This I believe is the signature of the artist. Anyone out there read kanji, hiragana, or katakana? I don't know which category this will fall in. It appears on the front image of each card.

This is the cover of the little box. Again, I have no idea of what is written, but have always loved the little box with the wondrous images inside.

Momotaro (the Peach boy)

Issunboshi (the one inch boy) boy in rice bowl

The interior shows the logo of the Uchida company. And just in case you didn't realize it, these are Christmas cards.

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Click on image to see it larger.

And here is a book, Japanese Woodblock Prints by Uchida explaining how they create their art. Some lovely images.

More images tomorrow.



Another wonderful find at the thrift store last week, The Kingston Trio's Here We Go Again released in 1959.

Raise your hand if you fondly remember the song "Tom Dooley." I don't know what my singing voice was like when I was a kid, but whenever that song came on the radio I was singing along. It has also indelibly etched the mental image of a hanging tree in my mind, but that's my own neurosis (like my hatred of lima beans).

"Tom Dooley" is not on this album, but that's always my first thought when I think of the Kingston Trio. That and short sleeved striped shirts.

This album contains "Worried Man" which is another fine sing-a-long tune. If you don't tap your feet when you hear it you must have poor circulation.

For those who don't know anything about the Kingston Trio I can only say I'm sorry. You missed some good music that would make you smile and make you think.

From Wikipedia:
The Kingston Trio is an American folk and pop music group that helped launch the folk revival of the late 1950s to late 1960s. The group started as a San Francisco Bay Area nightclub act with an original lineup of Dave Guard, Bob Shane, and Nick Reynolds. It rose to international popularity, fueled by unprecedented sales of 33⅓ rpm long-playing record albums (LPs), and helped to alter the direction of popular music in the U.S.

The Kingston Trio was one of the most prominent folk music groups of the era's relatively short-lived pop-folk boom that their success helped to create. Beginning with their first album released in 1958, which included the hit recording of "Tom Dooley" that sold over three million copies as a single, the Trio released nineteen albums that made Billboard's Top 100, fourteen of which ranked in the top 10, and five of which hit the number 1 spot. Four of the group's LPs charted among the Top 10 selling albums for five weeks in November and December 1959, a record unmatched for more than 50 years, and the group still ranks after half a century in the all time top ten of many of Billboard's charts, including those for most weeks with a #1 album, most total weeks charting an album, most #1 albums, most consecutive #1 albums, and most top ten albums.

Music historian Richie Unterberger characterized their impact as "phenomenal popularity", and the Kingston Trio's massive record sales in its early days made acoustic folk music commercially viable, paving the way for singer-songwriter, folk rock, and Americana artists who followed in their wake. (SOURCE: Wikipedia)
Click on the source link to read more about the group and how they got together. I can only say that Hawaii and San Francisco played a big part, as they did in my life.

Click on any image to see it larger.

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BOBBY DARIN'S second album

Oh the thrill of a thrift store when you find something that really makes you smile. This happened last Friday when I found two old vinyl albums, each 8o cents.

Bobby Darin's second album featuring "Mack the Knife" and "Beyond the Sea" came out in 1959. The cover and LP are in remarkable condition. Virtually no wear, meaning no hisses or pops. Though I have the recordings in a box set of Darin, it was still really nice to hear them on warm vinyl. When this album came out I was too young to get it. I was about a year away from when I had enough of an allowance to buy 45s.

Listening to the music takes me back and I wonder about the first person that owned this. Taking the album out of the cover the first time and putting it on their turntable. Note that it is not in stereo. This was Hi-Fidelity.

My folks didn't get a stereo until the next year, 1960, and they bought it at the submarine base exchange at Pearl Harbor. They then gave me their old record player/radio which was a big piece of furniture. Until then I had a little red and white box with a handle, turntable inside. Before that, when I was very little, I had a blue metal turntable on which I would play "Big Rock Candy Mountain" over and over again. The big piece of furniture was a big step up for me.

And no, the type on the cover is not warped as shown in the images. I took this with my little Nikon instead of scanning and piecing it together.

Click on any image to see it larger.







I saw that Linda at The Paper Collector had posted this little bear. This encouraged me to take some shots of the whole book.

I purchased this many years ago; fell in love with at first sight and had to have it. I'd have been nuts for this set as a child but have no memory of ever seeing it.

It was published in 1950 by the Saalfield Publishing Company.

I don't know who the illustrator was. That's a shame, because it's just such a happy set.

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I don't know if a set like this would sell today, but I'm betting it would. I mean really...a bowlegged monkey in a pink skirt and boots? How can you say no?


William R. Munger WEDS Maria Theresa Engel in 1914

I bought this poor old marriage certificate at an estate sale. I found it in a closet. I think I paid $1. It's quite large and, as you can see, mounted very badly on cardboard.

I know nothing about the people who were married:
William R. Munger from Eagle Creek, Oregon
Maria Theresa Engel from Hazel Green, Oregon

Married on September 1, 1914

Witnessed by Guy E. Munger and Josephine Wolf

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The document was copyrighted in 1903 by Rev. I. M. Beaver in Bangor, Pennsylvania.

It's a lovely old tattered piece and certainly worth the dollar, even if I did wonder what the heck I'd do with it.

It is now in my closet.

UPDATE: Well, as of next week this family certificate will no longer be in my closet. Family members have contacted me.

They have kindly allowed me to post some historical information about this couple including two photos.
Theresa immigrated to America with her family at the age of 10. The family settled in North Howell, Oregon. In 1913, at the age of 20, Theresa went to Philomath, Oregon, where she enrolled in High School at a United Bretheren College and Academy. Bishop Castle, President of the College, opened his home to her where she worked for room and board. She also played on the women's basketball team. She met William, who was on the men's basketball team and working his way through college.

Children of William Riley and Maria Theresa: Eunice, Roy, Oren, Wilma, Joyce, Phil, Lois

They were married September 1, 1914. They pastored several churches, first with the United Bretheren Church and then with the Assemblies of God. After they retired, they returned to North Howell, Oregon. William passed away March 17, 1957 at the age of 66, and Theresa died on July 29, 1974.

Another photo sent to me this weekend taken in 1939 on William and Maria's 25th wedding anniversary.

The children are:

Front row (left to right): Phil, Oren, Roy, Lois
Back row (left to right): Joyce, Eunice and Wilma (John's grandmother)

Thank you Munger family!


Learn to Draw with JON GNAGY

If you're of a certain age your first introduction to drawing might have been watching Jon Gnagy on tv. My mother watched it religiously. She also watched Jack LaLane. These two men visited our house on a regular basis. My dad seemed okay with it.

My mother purchased the Jon Gnagy Learn to Draw kit. I still have the book and the chalk. Somewhere I have a few drawings she did.

Jon Gnagy, known to millions as America's television art teacher, was born at Varner's Forge, an outpost settlement near Pretty Prairie Kansas in 1907. The pioneer environment of his first seven years at the Forge and family farm reflect a strong influence in his work as an artist. Son of Hungarian-Swiss Mennonites, Jon early developed inventive skills common to rural craftsmen. At the age of eleven he began drawing and painting without instruction, winning sweepstake prizes at the Kansas State Fair in Hutchinson when he was thirteen years old. Gaining attention each year at the State Fair as the self-taught "blacksmith" of art, his vigorous compositions of the American Scene brought him an offer from Tulsa, Oklahoma. When he was seventeen he accepted the position of art director with an industrial public relations organization in the Oil Capital, where he produced posters for the International Petroleum Exposition. (SOURCE: Jon Gnagy)
The above is from a web site his daughter runs. There you'll find links to the art kits that are still sold under Gnagy's name. You'll also be able to watch full 10 minute broadcast lessons.

And the following is a portion from a piece that appeared in Reminisce Magazine November 22, 1997. To read the complete article click here.
Did You "Learn to Draw" With Jon Gnagy?

Television pioneer convinced a generation of viewers that anyone could be an artist

by Bill Einhorn,
Fairfield, Connecticut

If you watched television during the 1940s, '50s or '60s, you likely recall Jon Gnagy, the engaging art teacher who assured folks that anyone could draw.

"Ball....cube.....cylinder....cone," Jon would say at the beginning of his 15-minute program, Learn to Draw. "By using these four shapes, I can draw any picture I want. And so can you!"

Sincerity and quiet confidence flowed from Jon, reflecting a humble Mennonite upbringing in Pretty Prairie, Kansas. His trim Vandyke beard, smile and plaid shirt were his trademarks.

I produced Jon's TV show from 1950 to '55. Later, through syndication, it was viewed by millions of folks across the U.S. and Canada well into the 1960s. While many remember this selftaught artist's Saturday-morning TV show, they may not recall that he was a television star before Lucille Ball, Milton Berle or Arthur Godfrey. In fact, Jon was the first act on the first commercial television show ever, broadcast May 14,1946. On that day, NBC's Studio H in New York City was filled with excited anticipation. The tiny studio, up until then used for radio, was ablaze with whitehot lights and jammed with technicians. (SOURCE: Allan M. McCollum)
And from an article called Each and Everyone of You by Susan Morgan:
On the first episode, Jon Gnagy, sporting a goatee, wore an artist's smock and beret. He led the viewing audience through his step-by-step method to make a drawing of an old oak tree. His crayon melted under the studio lights, his chalk squeaked, but in seven minutes the lesson and the picture were completed. "You were great! Your show is pure television!" exclaimed the production manager.
Jon Gnagy introduced to American families the idea of being an artist, an idea that was not couched in terms of privilege or preciousness. All of his references were incorporated subtly, informing his teaching method rather than exalting the past. He was sharing some first hand knowledge at a time when television viewing still had a sense of intimacy and concentration. To go along with his television show, Jon Gnagy produced a kit of art supplies and a book of drawing lessons. The writing style is direct, outlining his plan. The chapter titles are terrible puns, the sort of jokes one forgives a favorite uncle for making (While There is Still Life There is Hope, How To Get A Head By Going in Circles). At the end of the book, he wrote "The plan I have outlined in this book will be invaluable to you. It will release the creative drive in you and set you free. . ." That was Jon Gnagy's plan. A lot of people growing up in the fifties watching television got the idea. (SOURCE: Real Life Magazine)

Gnagy took some of the mystery out of art. Yes, it was sort of a draw-by-the-numbers, but it opened a world to people who believed art was something only "artists" did. My mother enjoyed his show and I think it was part of what made me become an artist. Art was something real, not something that hung in museums. And for a quiet shy child it was a world I could visit on my own, create on my own.

I think of Jon Gnagy's show as a bit like Basic Studies the first year in art college. First you learn the basics and then you use that to take flight.

Now, from the book, you can learn to draw a train. Don't give me the old "I can't even draw a straight line" business. That's a crock. Nobody can draw a straight line without a ruler. Oh, someone might be able to do a few inches, but eventually the line will waver.

Click on any image to see it larger.

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Published by Arthur Brown & Bro., Inc. ©1960 by Jon Gnagy

Gnagy shows you the possibilities and opens your eyes to seeing the world in shapes which is the first step towards drawing; seeing things differently.

Hello homeschoolers. I know you're out there.


HOW TO DRAW a tree

Good morning class! Today we are going to learn how to draw a tree. Many trees. A forest of trees. A tropical tree.

I want you to take out your charcoal and charcoal tablets and we will begin on the count of 5.

Please note, that 1/2 of your grade, for the year, will be determined by how well you can draw a tree and or forest. Tommy, please do not draw any hula girls. I'm warning you.


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Click on any image to see it larger if you think it's too complicated at this small size.

All images are from the November 1926 The School-Arts Magazine.