Leader Board Ad

Monday, December 28, 2015

Found Photos (with new captions)

It is sad to see old photos with no explanation, no date or identifying marks. It means they were not archived properly and are destined to be cast off. I have other plans...for me they will become part of the educational material I will give away during my talks on Urban Archeology. For now, I will display them with a made up caption. (Place tongue "a" firmly in to cheek "b")
Demanding the right to hold the same positions as men - here we see the earliest known image of 3 Lumberjanes.

Looking to give momma a hand with the washing - Susie prepares to hang her wet dress on the clothesline - with it on.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Beer Belongs...1947 Illustrated ad

Here is another in the series of the "Beer Belongs" campaign. This was the first one I posted.  Brought to you by the US Brewers Foundation. The illustration, an awesome work of art from Douglass Crockwell is titled "New Beau."
This introducing of new beau to dad is going to go smoothly once mom brings out the beer. In just a few minutes they'll all be yucking it up and feeling like all is right with the world - thanks to beer. The new couple may just be allowed to sit together closer on the sofa.
An interesting note about the illustrator - who created many iconic ads and Saturday Evening Post covers - his style was his own, but his name was so close to that of Norman Rockwell's that you won't often see him sign an illustration with his full name. Note that the above ad is signed just "Douglass." Read more about him here.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Your Cubic Feet Smell Like Gas

This is a gas bill from 1906 for a property listed as 323 Putnam Ave. A neat piece of the past and a curious amount of fine and not-so-fine print. Especially on the reverse.
  While it may 80 cents per 1000 cubic feet the courts will decide if the company may charge a $1 for that same area. That's a heck of hike in the rate considering how far a dollar went in those days.

Friday, December 18, 2015

A Letterhead so nice you'll want to use it twice (1925)

If this looks a little familiar, it should. I recently changed the header image for this blog after some editing. At a time in America when cheap cars made exploring possible it seemed as though the number one past-time was motoring and camping, a company like Carnie Goudie did well selling tents.  This illustration just spoke to me.

I felt that after 90 years, it deserved to be renewed. What ever happened to Carnie Goudie?

Monday, December 14, 2015

The Illustrated Mind of Bernie Burroughs (and another coincidence)

My hobby qualifies me as the luckiest guy on Earth. If you have an eclectic/nostalgic interest there is no better way to appreciate all that has come before than to just go out and look for it. In 2013, I found my way to a Westport, CT estate sale in the midst of a clearing-out. The owner, Esta Burroughs, was moving into assisted living.  Inside, I found a home that was filled with the evidence of a spirit similar to mine. Esta's husband, Bernie Burroughs (died 1993), had created the type of things I enjoy most - advertising illustration. More specifically, advertising illustration from the mid-20th century.
This Camay ad isn't one of Bernie' Burroughs' though I could be wrong. It was among thousands of clipped samples I found when I purchased his "morgue." Essential to artists/illustrators who need a sample of a person, place or thing in just the right light or position, a morgue is a collection of clippings that may be used as a model to create a new illustration for a client.

When Bernie couldn't find the exact model/angle clipping he needed, he would just grab his trusty Polaroid and pose for it himself. Who says "selfies" were only a 21st Century thing? 

You are seeing the birth of an illustration from somebody who was there, working hard to satisfy an agency and their client. Do I know where this finally landed in the published world? Unfortunately not.
 The sad yet amazing coincidence is that when I decided to begin composing this post, I had no idea that I would discover that Bernie's wife Esta just passed away Friday at the age of 102.  Whenever I ask myself, "Why I am I doing this Urban Archeology thing?"  - The universe gives me an answer. Make of it what you will.
Rest in Peace, Bernie and Esta.  You can read a heartfelt post about Esta's passing here and several more articles relating to the Burroughs' and Westport CT in Dan Woog's terrific blog.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

If you are going for Exposure...make sure it's a double

I am all about old photos. They are a doorway to the past, they offer up a glimpse of how things used to be. When a good friend recently picked up a large lot of, not only print photos, but celluloid and glass negatives, I dropped into image restoration mode. There are hundreds and if you keep dropping or follow me, you will see them as I post them. Here are the first of them.
 No year or label but the detail in this home is amazing. It is hard to believe it wasn't arranged for the photo, but there's no telling.
This is a double exposure, unheard of with digital photography, but it used to happen when you were processing your own negatives. Click the image for something larger. This effect makes the subjects very dream-like.
Look more closely for clues in each of these. There is more story to tell....and more negatives to share.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

How Did They Make It Through WWII? The Buddy System.

Any picture I find in any box of paper, I will post and share. These soldiers may never come our way again but they certainly deserve recognition for their contributions. In light of that I give you "Joe and Bud"  Take a look at the reverse of the image because there is a mystery to be solved.

My simple searches for "Langenan, Germany" have come up empty. Was this a camp? or a place or the last name of one of the soldiers?

All Hail ZoMag! the Giant Boxing Baby

I found this ad flyer in a box of old papers purchased at a local flea market. I really like the depiction, actually a photograph of the baby - who has been propped up and somehow made to thrust his chest out to show strength and defiance. Child abuse aside - this was the best way to advertise a new and improved printer's plate for photo-engraving - something unheard of today.  Enjoy the text and images below - I don't know the year.  All Hail ZoMag!

The kid looks like he's gone a few rounds with the photographer....

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Photostat Your Valuable Papers

I love this blotter from the mid 20th century. Though Photostatting was around in the early part of the 1900's it lasted through the 1960's until Xerography took the spotlight. You can read more about this on wikipedia.

Man with No Neck Buys 147 Ties...Pays 1 penny!

If you read the ad it is really promoting the cost and benefit of quality dye's used in manufacturing (Circa 1940's).   I enjoy illustrations and especially the ones with floating heads. This one struck me funny because you can't talk about ties and not have a neck - it just isn't done.

Friday, November 6, 2015

Fire Bomb Advice From Lord Privy Seal's Office

This piece of ephemera came from a local book sale. I bought it because I have a relative who actually lived through the Blitz in Great Britain. This was a real threat in the late 1930's and of course became real not long after that. I stop writing and let the document speak for itself.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Happy Halloween! (Unsolved - Maybe not! - New Information!)

Glass negatives continue to fascinate me. This one clearly came from a glass negative but with no attribution I can only guess the year - I will stay conservative and guess the early 1900's. 
Is it Halloween? Or is it a photogenic murderer? Costume party contestant?  From a closer look at the hand our subject is male - this cross-dressing confuses research - mine anyway. The best possibility is this being a depiction of Lizzie Borden who was accused then acquitted by jury of the murder of her parents in 1892.  What do you think?

A Redditor has commented that it could be a depiction of Carrie Nation. A staunch, and I mean STAUNCH supporter of the Christian Women's Temperance Union who died in 1911. Carrie was known to go after drinking establishments with a hatchet in hand. You can read more about her here.

This image maybe says it all -

That certainly cancels my guess of "Molly Hatchet." If you were caught drinking in her day you were definitely "Flirt'n with disaster..."

Saturday, October 17, 2015

3 Friends in Service to Their Nation (WWII) Looking for information....

Like a lot of the images I find at sales, many have no provenance. I have no connection to their legacy. I only have what I see on the image, and the challenge is to build as accurate a backstory as possible.  I have another higher resolution image below this one. My questions are:
What branch of service are these soldiers?
Is this WWII?
What are they sitting under?
What do their clothes indicate regarding rank and assignment?

3 Friends in Service to Their Nation (WWII) #worldwar2 #WWII #oldphoto

from Instagram

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Eisenhower On The Road And I Still Found Something Cool!

I’ll admit that if you go to any kind of sale (garage, moving, tag, estate) and stay long enough, you will find something interesting. The question for me becomes: How Interesting?

I travelled an hour to Darien, CT this past Saturday, which is very close to my limit of “how far is too far?” The decision this time was based on the description: Over 60 years of Accumulation -All must go!!! It seemed as though the whole house would be available for picking. When I arrived it was almost that, however, while the garage showed promise, the house was primarily a showroom full of upscale small furniture and accessories. 

Near the place where you would pay for your pickings was the display of Inauguration items above. I immediately thought they would be priced high base don the attention to display. 

Actually, No. I need only ask and it was revealed that they had little interest in any of the items which included the original ticket, invitation, and program to the inaugural ball. But wait! There's more!

The full program to the inauguration was also there along with the envelope. I had asked for the price on this first, and when told it was a dollar, I grabbed the other items for a grand total of 5 dollars.  Nice pick! please enjoy these other images from inside the program.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Long Bygone Era of Motor Inns and Tourist Courts on Americas Classic Highways

Rt 17 which traverses the southeastern US from Virginia to Florida was once the only way to go. As the highway system grew so too did the related businesses that would serve the travelers.
This has to be from the 1940's and is typical for the the traveller to take post cards as souvenirs and never send them. Just like taking photos right? I love the description on the back, "Hot & Cold Showers!?"  and the "better class."  Who were they?   Finally, the spelling of "Hyway" - a beautiful mistake or a local expression?

Sunday, September 27, 2015