Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Bertha Fashions by Bill Woggon, c. 1957

Bertha's ready for any kind of celebration tonight: cooking for guests at home, a casual get-together, a formal night out or lounging in a warmer climate...wherever you are, Happy New Year.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Fair Fortune Befall You, 1910

Christmas holly, and a wish for all good things in the new year...

Dear Aunt Mary, We  are looking for you very soon now. Are all well except Jessie has a very bad cold and has been home since Fri. night. Mother went to Southington to attend Frank Chalker's funeral. Expect she came home last night. Pearl & baby are well and will be here. How are you feeling. Ruth is anxious. With love, Lena.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Kewpie doll scrap, c. 1920s

I love getting homemade cards that use vintage ephemera. This piece of scrap was likely inspired by the Kewpie doll prize at a carnival.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

This Little Bear Bakes Pies,1912

American Post Card, "Busy Bears" Series No. 79. Published by The Ullman Mfg. Co., New York. Postmarked April 1912. I will look for more of these bears.

Can your Teddy Bear do this? Englewood letter was nothing they had found the lost check. Too bad you are having all that trouble. Can't say I like the job of doing nothing, too much time to think. It will be better when the kid comes I hope. Lots of love.

That's my approximate translation of the cramped handwriting. And who added that big "Not!"? Could that be Ruth's commentary on her friend's post? And I assume the friend is awaiting the  birth of her child, "the kid." Hmmm.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

December 24, 1923

Hope you are all well. We are as usual. Have you forgotten how to write or lost your pen? I haven't heard from you for weeks. Wish you could be with us for Christmas. Have just set our tree. With love, Alice.

The last pages of that French toy catalog

Coloring books, a box of paints, toy soldiers, rubber stamps, a needlepoint kit, trains, tools, toy guns, bicycles and baby carriages. I wonder if any of the actual toys depicted here could best the fantasy of this colorful cornucopia. One thing is for certain -- the toys are long gone, but the catalog continues to delight, more than 60 years after its publication. (More I think about it, I'm almost sure I found it not at a flea market but at Paula Hill's annual party, which is just around the corner.)

Monday, December 23, 2013

Dolls from that French toy catalog

The dolls, marionettes, bears and other stuffed animals that delighted little girls and boys in 1949-1950.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

More from Comptoir General de la Bimbeloterie, 1949-1950

Be sure to click on the images to see more detail. I love the little cupboards with pots, pans and even a pepper mill. As a child I would have coveted the doll house furniture, even if my dollhouse was a cardboard box. I have fond memories of the board games shown here: Parcheesi, Monopoly and Chinese Checkers. The vintage cars and trucks are small treasures. Today if you were lucky enough to find one it would have nicks, scratches and rust, perhaps missing a wheel -- all the more precious for having been loved by a child long ago. Tomorrow I'll post the dolls.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Comptoir General de la Bimbeloterie, 1949-1950

A French toy catalog for the 1949-1950 season. Found last year at a flea market.

More tomorrow!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Santa in chimney, c. 1900

Another small (3 x 5) card, this one copyrighted by the Sunshine Pub. Co., Philadelphia. No markings on the back, except for the evidence that it was once pasted in a scrapbook. This is a rather strange card -- is that Santa's stocking on the roof, or is the boy with the candle bringing his own Christmas stocking to make sure Santa fills it up with goodies? And what does the owl have to say about all this? All very strange, and wonderful.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

To Wish You a Merry Christmas, c. 1920s

The artwork on this card reminds me of bridge tallies -- similar use of vivid colors and patterns.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Christmas mile marker, c. 1920s

I couldn't figure out this little 3 X 4 card for the longest time -- what is that stump, which almost looks like a mystery doorway to nowhere? I settled on it as a mile marker (there's a .5 on it, with some other writing I can't make out). I think the children are marking the distance to Santa's house. It's not a postcard, but perhaps this was  meant to be handed to a friend or tucked in an envelope and mailed. "Germany" on the back, nothing else. Very sweet, and strange.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Loving thoughts and wishes at Christmas, 1914

A pensive Christmas poem. Printed by P.F. Volland & Co., Chicago, 1914.

"Though we have not/often met/Since the days of/long ago,/Loving thoughts and/wishes yet/From my heart at/Christmas flow."

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Fairy City, 1919

 Kwei-lin Lum just sent me pictures of a remarkable new acquisition to her collection: "Fairy City and A Story of The Giants of Lilliputania." Here's Kwei-lin with more information:
It's a paper toy miniature city from 1919 which was designed by a man who had designed paper dolls in 1917.  His full name was Will Pente and I suspect that his wife Meta was a suffragette.  He seems to have been quite the dreamer.  The set comes with a small booklet written (not particularly well) by Will Pente from 1916 which is the story on which this set is based.  I see that it came out in a full book in 1917, now rare and with color illustrations, where Will Pente was a collaborator but the author was H.S. Tibbs. 

Inside: a  large cardboard city map, "The Giants of Lilliputania, An Animated Fairy Tale," which includes a standing backdrop of a river view panorama,  24 pre-cut cardboard buildings of stores, city hall, opera house, school, and garage.  To punch-out: a giant Irish policeman, German professor, Chinese laundryman, full circus, fire truck, airplane, hot air balloon, and passenger cars.  The tallest structure is the Woman’s Temple. Kwei-lin's research found that a huge 12-story Women’s Temple in Chicago was built in 1892 as the headquarters of the Women’s Christian Temperance Union; it was demolished in 1926.  Kwei-lin notes that this paper toy came out just before Prohibition and the passage of the 19th amendment, which gave women the vote. 

Fascinating indeed. A few years ago, I read a book called "Last Call," by Daniel Okrent, about how the Prohibition and suffragist movements converged -- women were the force behind banning alcohol which destroyed so many families, and it empowered them to fight for the vote as well. And "Lilliput" as a word to describe something small came out of Jonathan Swift's "Gulliver's Travels," the great 18th-century political satire. I also appreciate the ethnic groups represented here, albeit in stereotype -- this was during the great wave of European immigration to the U.S. 

Click on the photos to enlarge, and find such gems as "Groceries -- Adam Hustler," or "I.M. Pillman -Druggist."

More from Kwei-lin:
This set was on exhibit at an architectural exhibit space in Montreal about 15 years ago and the curator noted the industrial nature of the buildings.  The Woman's Temple is far more modern than the one in Chicago.  The street- front windows have weird stuff, including a harp and maybe a drum, guns, and barrel, feels a little masonic.  And then there's Lung Laundry with a Chop Suey restaurant on the second floor. . .

Thank you for sharing this with us, Kwei-lin! A great find. 

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Paper Doll Pals

Letty Schwarz and Jim Howard

Dee Radcliffe, Ron Fong and Paula Sherrick

Brenda Mattox, Sandy Vanderpool and Scott Jorgenson

Karl Beason and Tom Tierney

Sylvia Kleindinst