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Sunday, June 28, 2015

Moving Sale video turns into an Audubon Clip Reel

Any chance I get to preview a sale will cause me to bring my video camera to capture and share what’s there. This sale was previewed for me on Friday afternoon before the weekend weather moved in. I almost ended up spending all my time in the field nearby as it was filled with a great selection of butterflies and wildflowers.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Happy Anniversary Statue of Liberty (arrival 130 years ago)

Last Wednesday the Statue of Liberty celebrated its arrival 130 years earlier into New York Harbor.  I found this gem a few months ago in a postcard album from 1925.

I suppose if you were emigrating to the United States, the statue would have been impressive at any time of day. Night, somehow, must have been more dramatic.  Read more about the Lady arriving in pieces here.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Letter form Camp 1930's

Hello Muddah, Hello Fadda...

When I looking for old paper, I shouldn't be surprised at what I find, but I am.  Take this letter as an example:
The letterhead is readable but not much else - here is the transcript:


       This is my first opportunity to write to you about camp. I don’t like it any too much. Please send down the money (PS also send a bulb for my flashlight). I am getting better at tenis (sic) but am not good yet.  I like baseball and have had fun playing it.  The fellows in my tent aren’t any to good. There too dumb and nuty etc.  Am still in tent 4 although I am thinking of changing tents. I am in the boating club and can now fairly my l….. 

He saved the letter, but maybe decided never to send it. When I researched the Rhode Island camp I was surprised to find that it was 99 years old and still going (from their website):

In 1916, The Y.M.C.A. continued to grow rapidly. and in April of 1916 purchased a 65-acre farm in Coventry, Rhode Island, now called Camp Westwood. The price was $1,500 for the farm and buildings. Board President, John Johnston named the camp after his niece, Miss Arlene Westwood. After the purchase, the Y.M.C.A. commisioned Henry Vigeant to build the Mirimichi (Indian name for gathering place); a dining hall for the campers. Camp Westwood still provides an opportunity for city youngsters to get away to the country.

This is not the strangest piece of correspondence between camper and home - that award goes to this post from a few years back - click here.

Monday, June 8, 2015

The "Our Gang" Kids - Fantasy Vs. Reality

I grew up on a steady diet of rerun comedies from the 30's syndicated for the after-school crowd because it was cheap, and perfect. The settings and messages were magical because at 40 years old they seemed other-worldly at least to this 10-year-old at the time.
It wasn't until I started digging in the past that I could clear up some of my own misconceptions of how things were. I found the image below when I purchased a pile of old photos and the correlation between what I remembered from those days while glued to the TV set.
Jimmy's looking pretty good, actually a little surly, but definitely confident on his gravity-powered machine. A little different from the posed shot of the group above, which I don't remember from the series.

I think as Spanky got older the series lost some of its innocence and better characters. I will leave you with this video of one of my favorites, even though I am really a fan of all of them. 

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

8 Victorian views from 1914

The year is 2114. You dig through the plastic pods in the storage capsule and uncover one that says "100 Year-Old Pictures." Will they be recoverable? Or, will the "1"s and "0"'s have slipped off the media leaving nothing but a blocky representation of some great-greats you never met and now you'll never know what they looked like.  Paper-backed prints have a vulnerability, but if stored correctly they can still be shared.

 If you still have old photos, remember to write something about the people on the back before it's too late.

Sunday, May 31, 2015

In 1940, They Weren't Called Low Income Seniors

Naming people at different stages of life has become the hob-goblin of the lexicon. When do you go from middle-aged to senior citizen or elderly? Apparently, it was a challenge for the Social Security Administration when it was only 5 years old (an older toddler.)
There is a long history of economic security on the government's site if you have the time. I was only interested in the year the current form of Social Security as we know it was established - 1935.
 This pamphlet and a few others I pulled from a box of old papers provide a peek into what the purpose of the program was near its inception. I could't resist mocking how they expressed who the program was for...needy old people.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Dance Like Nobody's Watching (Even-though they will be) -UPDATE!!!


Were you ever the nervous kid, about to step out on stage and plink away on a piano that you'd given up playtime to learn?  Or, did you put on taps and a leotard and try to fall in-time to music with 5 - 10 other dancers dressed like you? I never did, but to kids (then and now) the full recital might feel more like a Broadway premiere. As I recently discovered, for the residents in the area of Newtown, CT  fifty-one  years ago it was like a Broadway premiere, and still is.
This 50 year-old program was sitting in a basement at a recent estate sale and I picked it up like I would any piece of local history....to look at how things were, and what people looked like.
The Lathrop School of Dance has been a community fixture for over 60 years, and no matter where you live there is probably a dance studio not far from you just like it. This is an activity that no only keeps kids off the streets, but more important these days, off the screens.  This program represents a dance studio with a long view towards building up the presentation and the excitement for the dancers and their families. It's all about having your name in the program.
The other reason I pick these things up is to look at the local businesses and wonder which ones are still around and where the ones that are no longer were located on these streets. It's a walk through the past.
The other thing I enjoy are the coincidences that occur with each find. When I looked at the Lathrop School of Dance website to see if they are still doing the Star-Dust Revue, it turns out they are...in fact the 63rd Review event is next weekend.   I will be in touch with the owners of the studio to see if they will allow me to donate this program to their archives.

UPDATE - I contacted the owner of The Lathrop School of Dance - Miss Diane- who was happy to meet with me despite the fact that she was preparing for the current Revue performance that night. I handed her the program and she offered to pose with it.

In her hands are the programs which show a 50 year span of time - the 13th Revue program from 1965 next to the 63rd Revue program - Miss Diane revealed that she is in the program from 1965 -Now that's a coincidence!

Friday, May 29, 2015

The Italian Police are Looking for You (early 20th century)

I have tried to research the age of this card - which comes courtesy of Canadian Pacific Cruise - but I lost the trail. Most every search comes up with the more well-known "Carbinieri." The uniforms have similarities, but I am going with the caption that these are police and not military police.

This was meant to be a souvenir postcard and maybe a simple educational tool for their European cruises so that tourists would recognize the police if necessary. This is a real photograph because the back of the card says so.

There is a way to date postcards, usually from the space for the stamp, but being that this was of Canadian issue, it may take a Canadian to make an official guess. 

If you know more about the date of the postcard or the image, please share it in the comments.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

The Found Photos of Ellsworth White

Recently, I have been all about found photos, not just because I found some; no, I found significant photos that document points in our nation's history. But there were also photos from typical family collections. Photography as a hobby was growing from the early 20th century as photo paper and cameras became less expensive.
 That leads us to Ellsworth White. No, that's not him. This was shot in 1922 when Ellsworth was 18. A serious interest in photography was clear and Ellsworth would not only pose shot, but light them and document them as well. Look at the back of the photo-
This is the writing of a meticulous and serious hobbyist. If only all photographers did this. Unfortunately the only thing missing is a description of the surest and the radio he is posed with. Any readers want to guess?  Here is the camera he used.
Ellsworth eventually moved to Troupsburg New York, became a dairy farmer, Joined the Masons and the Order of the Eastern Star. He moved to Florida in 1970 and died there at the age of 78 in 1986.