Curtis Howe Springer was a self-proclaimed medical doctor and Methodist minister, though he was licensed for neither.
A popular radio evangelist, Curtis Springer eventually “created” space in California’s Mojave Desert dubbing his settlement, the “spa,” and the ensuing miracle cure products “Zzyzx” (pronounced, according to his products, “zi-zix”) as a gimmick to ensure that the brand would be “the last word” in health.
He called himself “the last of the old-time medicine men”- the American Medical Association called him “the King of Quacks” in 1969.
A few years later, he & his cult-like followers would be called out for squatting – swapping Federal lands for government prison.
For posterity, B-Plus was a “scientific blend” of “delicious basic foods in a dry or dehydrated form.” Which, according to the can’s wrapper was “the bulk equivalent of 1,000 Ten Grain tablets.” This is important, because the Springers believed “certain values” were “lost in the compression of tablets.”
Can features a number of graphics, including images of Curtis & his second wife, Helen, and the Zzyzx Mineral Springs and Health Resort.
This old advertising tin of medical quackery stands approximately 5 1/2 inches tall, 4 inches in diameter.
A “Helen Springer Product, Basic Food Products, Baker, California.”
I’ve been collecting vintage cookbooks (and other ephemera) for decades. But it’s not because I actually cook. Other than baking, I nearly hate cooking. Thankfully, my dear hubby is the cook in the house. (Aside from baking and cleaning, I tend to stay out of the kitchen.)
So what is my interest in cookbooks then?
There are many other things to be found in cookbooks, especially the vintage ones. I am particularly fond of the thrift tips and, because I am an antiques dealer as well as a collector who likes to live with old things, I find the cleaning tips quite helpful. And who doesn’t love the old graphics? But primarily my interest in the old cookbooks lies in all the cultural clues.
You can tell a lot about a culture from its cookbooks. For example, according to this 1961 Betty Crocker cookbook (Betty Crocker’s Outdoor Cook Book), there was a Mid-Century swing to putting fireplaces in homes for cooking.
A striking change is taking place in American cooking and entertaining. The backyard barbecue is fast becoming the nation’s number one hobby as, each year, more families discover that fun and good fellowship seem to double around an open fire; that nothing is more appetizing that the aroma of food grilling over glowing coals; and that the easy informality of service under the wide sky makes even the most elaborate patio party seem carefree.
The taste of charcoal broiled meats is so delicious that many of no longer let the end of summer mean good-bye to the “Cook-out.” When the snow flies, it becomes the “Cook-in” at the fireplace or at the broiling hearth now so often seen as a feature of new kitchens or family rooms.
The popularity of backyard barbecues makes sense. They are embedded images of the Atomic American lifestyle, part of the postwar attitude that creative hobbies enhanced life and “made it worth living”. But I have no recollection of this “Cook-in” phenomenon. Was cooking with real fire inside homes — not gas stoves with flames on burners, but cooking in fireplaces and on broiling hearths — a thing? (And what the heck is a “broiling hearth”??!)
Sure, I was only born in 1964 & so have little memories of the early 1960s. However, if so many homes had such things as fireplaces and hearths for cooking, they still would have existed in the 1970s. As a kid, I went in and out of a lot of homes… Extended family, friends, the neighbors… And none of them had these cooking hot spots.
Sure, there was the whole retro mod fireplace thing (which mainly was a home decor “You had the money for that?!” statement piece), but the closest to cooking that fireplace got was when the fondue pot and accoutrement was placed on the coffee table near it. (Majestic, Malm, & Preway were the names in Mic-Century Modern fireplaces.)
Should General Mills be telling the truth, and not having Betty blow some marketing sunshine up my apron, there are other reasons that I likely know nothing of this “cooking with fire in the home phase” of American life. Primarily this boils down to the socioeconomic status of my life.
We were Middle Class folks, yet not the Upper Middle Class sort who were building their own homes. Plus, in my family, my mother worked — as in she had a career. Cooking was no longer her main focus — if it ever had been. (I married a man like Dear Old Dad, one who cooks!) As a result of all of this, the trendy “cook with fire inside” thing likely was a trend my parents were neither interested in nor one they likely could afford. (We were, however, early adopters of the microwave oven.)
Thanks to a number of things, I really have done no better in socioeconomic terms than my parents. To keep it simple, I am a 99%-er. While I am in the midst of slowly restoring a century old house, I have no plans for internal cooking with fire options. (I am no cook, remember?)
Anyway, while we slowly restore that house, we live in a very small house — and too much stuff. So, we are downsizing, including our personal collections. (In part why I have been so quiet at this blog; it is time consuming work!) This means that I am currently listing a lot of my antique and vintage cookbooks in our Etsy shop. And other items from my other collections, such as vintage and pulp paperbacks, will be there soon too. Along the way, I will do my best to share interesting tidbits from these items here and at my other blogs (see links under “Deanna Elsewhere”).
History is written by the victors, but also by the scrapbookers, the collectors, the keepers, the pack rats. By those who show up, at the beginnings of things and with the right technology. History sometimes comes in pieces. It needs to be reassembled. Pasted and coaxed. Sometimes the finished product still has holes.
In one corner of the climate-controlled manuscript division, on a series of otherwise empty shelves, sits Lilli Vincenz’s unprocessed collection. …
Twelve boxes. Cream-colored. Heavy. Inside: meticulous fragments of the gay rights movement of the latter half of the 20th century. Political pamphlets, sociological surveys, photographs and obituaries. Diaries of a young woman who was nervous about going into her first gay bar but whose Arlington living room later became the default place for gay women to feel at home.
See on www.washingtonpost.com
As a feminist, I obviously take issue with a woman professing “I’d like to be your little homebody.” And there she sits, knitting socks, with the ever-present female-as-feline domesticated cat.
Since these little vintage Valentine’s Day cards were, then as now, passed out in schools all over the USA, it’s only natural that you’ll find some cards not only signed by boys but presented to boys. Still, the fact that Edgar signed this gender stereotype card to Ralph makes me take pause…
This literally is how gender stereotypes have been passed along — and it’s just another example of the rote mechanical nature of boys getting the task of forced Valentines sending over with.
As you can see, there were some topics or categories in common, so I will have to work a bit to resort and even delete both individual links and entire topics. (Because I specifically worked to make sure that my feminist topic at Scoop.It was different from my feminist collection at Snip.It, I have to check each link before I hit delete — however, Scoop.It’s system has always let you know if you’ve scooped a link before, so it goes faster than you think!)
Amazingly, all of my collections uploaded — giving me more collection or topics than Scoop.It previously allowed! And it’s not just for former Snip.It users either now.
Again, this is only for the month of February (2013). (Which works out pretty good for Snip.it users who have to download their export file of collections and snips by the 21st of the month.)
Here’s How You Do It
Step One: If you were a Snip.It user, and haven’t already done so, go here to export and save what you’ve snipped using the “Export To HTML” download button.
Step Two: If you are not already a Scoop.It member, join now.
Step Three: Once you are a Scoop.It member, contact Ally Greer at Ally@scoop.it. Introduce yourself as a former Snip.It user and request the account option to import Snip.It collections.
Step Four: When the option has been activated, login to Scoop.It, use the drop-down menu beneath your name and click on the Settings option.
Step Five: In settings, look for the Snip.It Import tab; click it and you’ll see where to upload your Snip.It export file.
What’s very cool, is they have progress bars to show you how it’s all going. For those with many collections and thousands of links, it goes faster than you think — especially when you can see that it is working!
Pretty easy and fabulous, right?
A few of the links, very few percentage wise, did not upload the images. But with Scoop.It, you can always edit your scoop, including uploading your own image. So if that bothers you, you can fix it.
First, click the Edit button…
Then the Edit Image button to upload the image.
Once you join Scoop.It, let me know. (You can follow my topics or just leave a comment here with a link to you at Scoop.It; whatever works for you.)
And if you have any problems, contact Ally; she’s always there to help. Really!
PS If you are new to curating, don’t have any file to import, or are an existing Scoop.It member who just wants more topics (for free!), you can still take advantage of the free love at Scoop.It this month. All you have to do is ask for more topics by sending an email to email@example.com. Again, details here.
Impossibly long legs don’t bother me — when they are part of fashion illustration. As Slip of a Girl writes, “Illustrated ads do not run the risk of starting or perpetuating body dysmorphia or forms of self-hating body loathing because we know they are illustrations — no one looks like that. But we can pretend to…”
The female depicted as feline, while cliche, isn’t a real bother either; women have relationships with cats, like it or not.
Often called Poupee de Kiraz or Les Parisiennes dolls by Kiraz, these 15 inch tall French fashion dolls seem to have only been made for one year, in 1967. That makes these little gems difficult to find. And playing hard-to-get does so turn me on as a collector. I am now on the look-out for these vintage vinyl fashion dolls from France. The ones with the round faces, cat’s eyes, and impossibly long and slim legs. So period. So fascinating.
I’ve been getting a lot of “What the heck is curating?” questions, largely in response to my request for votes (“Likes”) on a topic I’m curating at Snip.It, but also because, despite what Forbes has to say about it going mainstream, content curation is a rather “new” thing. I had thought I’d done a rather good job of defining content curation here, but either I haven’t or people haven’t read that post. But that’s OK too, because it gives me a chance to go into a bit more detail.
Content curation is to magazine and newspaper publication what blogging has been to writing or journalism: A digital-age means of self-publishing which is primarily based on platforms (software or code) available to anyone with access to the Internet.
The big names in blogging platforms or publishing software are WordPress, Blogger, Typepad, etc. In content curation, you have Pinterest, Scoop.It, and, my favorite,Snip.It (RIP). These content curation platforms are not the first; but like Facebook, which improved (and capitalized) upon the early social networking sites which came before it, these three curation sites are emerging as the top dogs. (Also like Facebook, these content curation sites have social networking aspects — and they do connect to social media, including Facebook at Twitter.) And it’s merely a matter of time before you somehow become involved with content curation sites; be it by curating, subscribing/reading, or, as some forecast, using curated content topics as your search engine.
But what does that mean? How is that really different from blogging? And why on earth would we need another means of adding to information overload?
Firstly, information overload is a myth. Humans have always had far more information and media available then it can devour. (So as not to get too far astray, I’ll send you here for more details on that.) Even if the push of media makes it seem worse, such technological shifts in our relationships to information are, as James Gleick, author of The Information: A History, A Theory, A Flood, “part of the evolution of the species.” The true problem is, or remains, that of how an individual human can find what he wants or separate the good from the bad, i.e. a filter.
And that’s where content curation comes in.
Content curation is the process of sorting, arranging, and publishing information that already exists. Like any collector or museum curator, content curators identify and define their topics, select which items to include (and often how they are displayed), while providing the context, annotations, and proper credits which not only assist their readers but identify themselves as more than interested but invested; a leader or an authority.
Content curators are being dubbed “superheroes” (by Steve Rosenbaum, author of Curation Nation: How to Win in a World Where Consumers are Creators, and others) because content curators are saving humans everywhere from the skill and drudgery of finding and filtering themselves. Rosenbaum even says that people will pay “for clarity, authority, context, and speed” of finely calibrated filters.
If this all sounds a lot like what you (or others) do as a blogger, it just may be. Many bloggers spend their time selecting what they consider the best of what other people have created on the web and post it at their own sites, just like a magazine or newspaper. Or they provide a mix of this along with writing or otherwise creating their own content. Not to split hairs, but curation involves less creation and more searching and sifting; curation’s more a matter of focused filtering than it is writing.
Because content curation is expected to be based on such focused filtering, it begins far more based on topic selection. This is much different from blogging, where bloggers are often advised to “just begin” and let their voice and interests accumulate over time to eventually reveal a primary theme. Perhaps the best way to ascertain the difference is to consider this in terms of collecting styles.
Some collectors just collect what they like as they stumble into it. In fact, many collectors, including myself, began this way; letting their collections evolve until a definition or purpose seems to reveal itself. …Sometimes, collectors just keep piling up stuff, no matter what it is. Even if this isn’t hoarding, it’s not-so-much of a purposeful pursuit. But professional curators, those who manage collections for museums or other organizations, and serious collectors, they maintain a specific focus. And rather than stumbling into items, they continually seek for specific items. The definition dictates the curation — and everything from funding to their continued employment is based on how well their collection meets the collection’s definition.
While blogging success may be thought of in many different ways, the success of content curation lies in how well you define, search/research, and stick to your subject.
Image Credits: Data Never Sleeps infographic via Domo
I love a good story about collecting, and Pilgrim’s begins thus:
David Pilgrim was 12 years old when he bought his first racist object at a flea market: a saltshaker in the shape of a Mammy. As a young black boy growing up in Mobile, Alabama, he’d seen similar knick-knacks in the homes of friends and neighbors, and he instinctively hated them. As soon as he handed over his money, he threw his purchase to the ground and shattered it into pieces.
But it get’s really interesting when Jennie Rothenberg Gritz, an Atlantic senior editor who wrote the piece and interviewed the collector, asked Pilgrim about his progression from destroying the objects to collecting them:
I went to a historically black college, Jarvis Christian College in Texas, and in addition to teaching the usual math and science, our professors would tell us stories of Jim Crow. One day, one of my professors came into the classroom with a chauffer’s cap. He set the hat down and asked what historical significance it had.
Now, the obvious answer was that blacks were denied many opportunities, and chauffeuring was one of the few jobs open to them. But that was not right answer. He told us that a lot of professional middle-class blacks in those days always traveled with a chauffer’s hat. The reason: If they were driving a nice new car through a small southern town, they didn’t want police officers, or any other whites, to know the car belonged to them.
I remember that story so vividly. No object has any meaning other than what we assign to it. But that was an incredible meaning to assign to an object that, on the surface, had little to do with racism.
For these works go beyond the issue of basic nudity in art, beyond even the matter of erotic art, to explore sexuality along with religion and what appears to be the opulence of wealth.
I’m no expert, in art or in the French language, but I’m rather certain these works by Marcel Vertes (Le Pays a Mon Gout aka The Country to Your Taste, 12 original lithograph prints, circa 1921) and Martin van Maele (De Sceleribus et Criminibus , 11 erotic etchings circa 1908) are not theoretical works expressing confusion or commentary on the corruption of religion or other issues of decadence, but rather are fantasies exploiting such distorted delights — i.e. they are 100% erotica, illustrated meant to arouse.
I’m no music aficionado. I like what I like. But I have to hear it first. Which means I’m not such a fan of music reviews.
Music reviews always seem so foreign to me… Using words to describe music? What’s next, writing a musical arrangement as a review of a book? Yeah, yeah, yeah, we use words to communicate; so even if music is communication in-and-of-itself, we use words to define it, explain it, sell it, share it. I myself trust what I hear.
It’s not just our mutual love of Trini Lopez, or even vinyl. It’s because Sweetman makes me think thinky things.
In considering the value of music, records, and music collections — tangible objects which help keep music from being too temporal — there’s an elusive emotional component which is hard to put a price on… Yet it’s largely what makes music so important. It’s the power of the shared music experience.
The original joy of music was once a primarily shared experience. Folks gathered around fires, singing together — maybe a few slapping a thigh or smacking a rock or whatnot. But there was no level of “good enough to participate” in terms of pitch or talent or anything. And you can easily argue that even the lone hunter whistling or humming was recalling that tune from some earlier social feast when the group shared a melody. There was no professional musician then. Those guys and gals would come later.
And when they did, music was still about a shared experience. Not just in the Sing Along With Mitch way either. If you don’t believe me, get thee to a concert sometime. Or even your local watering hole — it needn’t have a live band, just a jukebox will do — and you’ll hear people singing (somewhat) along with the song, or slapping their thigh or whatnot. For that matter, how many times a week does your neighbor share their music selections with you via the unnecessarily loud volume? How about those cars which you hear approaching by the distorted vibrational boom of blasting base? In fact, folks today with their isolated musical experiences of earbuds will not be silent in their solos; they must share. Even if you cannot hear the song selection itself play, you are forced to hear your coworker scream-sing along. Or at least you think that’s what they are doing… You can’t actually identify the song, even if you can decipher the lyrics, but you’re pretty sure that’s “singing.”
The very fact that music with lyrics is the most popular type of music reinforces this notion of the power of shared musical experience; we want to participate by singing along.
The shared music experience is powerful. Congregations are built upon it. Relationships strengthened, and breakups survived, via those mixed tapes (which have not disappeared but merely moved to MP3 playlists). Even if the kids resist it at first, they come around to the power of shared musical experiences — even with their parents. That’s pretty compelling evidence.
A link round-up of what I’ve been reading and writing — not all of it, just the stuff I think you Kitsch Slapped readers might like.
What I’ve been writing:
I wrote about the Girl Scouts celebrating 100 years, which reminds me of this graphic some anti-Girl-Scout, control-all-the-wombs, misogynistic self loathing person made. It’s supposed to make me not buy the cookies. But in fact, had me double my order this year. My hips can totally carry the extra weight; I can’t bear any more attacks on women and women’s rights.
This I actually read in hard copy — belatedly. Having grabbed a copy in November when I was seeing family for the holiday, the paper remained tucked inside my suitcase until I got home and after unpacking it, plopped it onto the magazine pile. Anyway, it’s still a fabulous read: Daughter Thinks It’s Time To Have Sex Talk With Parents.
I had these buttons / pinbacks made back in the day — the early days of the gross ineptitude, racism, and misogyny of the political money-grubbing beast that is Newt Gingrich. Sold quite a number of ’em too.
Who knew they’d come back into the necessity of fashion again in 2011?
Then again, we never did quite flush Rush, either.
Like those helium poops, they just keep rising to the surface. Ugh. And *sigh*
Thankfully I collect political items, so I just resurrect them as needed. However depressing that is. Since Newt is unfortunately back, up to his old crap and more anti gay rights than ever, I’m selling the No Newt buttons again.
Thinking of WKTI reminds me of the days our family ventured into the retail business. We bought into the Just Pants franchise, running the Just Pants store at Southridge Mall, then a Taubman Mall (Taubman married and divorced from Christie Brinkley, a rather too present icon of my life, helping me date nearly anything).
Our biggest Just Pants competitor was the County Seat — and Kohl’s department store (which bled we specialty jean stores to death by using Levi’s and Lee denim loss leader sales). Anyone else remember the days of denim walls so high, sales staff used ladders to reach the goods? That’s the pun behind this sexy Just Pants ad — it predates when we had our store (and I doubt we would have ran the ad ourselves, even if it had been in the creative pool of franchisee options.)
Anyway, in that era we not only often played WKTI in the store but we special ordered and custom hemmed Bob Reitman‘s black boot-cut Levi’s. Yeah, we were that cool.
Back then, we not only played whatever radio we wanted in the store, on July 13, 1985, we played the Live Aid broadcast in the store. I called in from the store to donate, getting myself an official Live Aid t-shirt. (They were out of my size, so I received a size small which wouldn’t have covered The Girls and so it has remained safely packed away all these years.)
Now, WKTI is WLWK, “Lake FM.” (Reitman’s still kicking it on air with his weekly show, It’s Alright, Ma, It’s Only Music.) And, ironically, Lake FM sounds almost like an auditory time capsule of the Reitman & Mueller days. I know, I’ve listened to the station when I’ve traveled home. Old habits die hard and my fingers still “dial” to the stations I recalled. Not that any of them are there anymore. Lazer 103, QFM, LPX… All long gone. Apparently, after I moved from Wisconsin, the radio station marketplace went to hell. I’m not the only one who’s more than nostalgic; check out 93QFM: The Halcyon Daze for Milwaukee Rock Radio DJ Stories.
This got me thinking about the other radio stations & DJs… And the connections to retail.
Marilynn Mee, aka Jackpot Girl, part of Bob And Brian’s morning show on Lazer 103 (Mee may still be on WKLH?), was someone I met quite often when I was working at the Estee Lauder counter at Gimbels. Mee was pals with Pam, who worked Lancome. I envied Mee her wardrobe of all things. But then, if you’ve ever had to wear the cosmetic girl garb, well, you’d understand it. Hard to feel 80-‘s glam when you’re wearing a turquoise smock-tent, no matter how fab your face and hair look. (Despite the fact that Marilynn and Pam partied with rock stars, I was the good girl who found herself knocked up; an entirely different subject, and I’ve digressed too much already.)
I would turn the volume up and dance madly in the back yard. My most vivid memory is of cranking up Billy Preston’s Go Round in Circles and dancing on top of the old wooden picnic table. So not safe, I’m sure, even if you weren’t dancing yourself dizzy goin’ round in circles. Ahh, those were the days, though.
A promotional item from Benjamin Harrison’s run for the presidency, it bears the slogan “Protection To American Labor And American Industries.” It makes you wonder — I mean really wonder — at the possibility of running on the idea of being pro-Union and pro-industry. I mean, progressives like me believe it’s possible, but would a single candidate dare today?
It was a cute, rather sentimental post, not only laden with nostalgia but whispering of stories and potential stories; charming, but nothing earth-shattering. Then, in June of this year, something happened…
On June 8, 2011, Snyder posted an update involving that vintage photograph. Snyder received an email from a middle school English teacher who’d been teaching poetry to sixth graders. This teacher was trying to move the students past the “misconception that all poetry is cryptic and impenetrable by nature,” including the use of photographs as inspiration, instructing the students to “bring in a picture to which they are emotionally connected in some way.” Knowing the err, limitations and penchants of students, the teacher had gone to the Internet in search of photographs for students who failed to bring their own in. Along the way, she had found Snyder’s photo. That photo became the “back up” photograph so that students could continue their classwork.
That was the moment of intersection between the teacher and Snyder.
This would be cool enough on it’s own. But what’s cooler than that, was the intersection between Snyder’s grandmother and her adult gal pals from the 1940s and 11 to 12 year old kids in school — and how that fictional “what if” emotional connection bridged a gap to inscrutable poetry. In the teacher’s words:
We wrote. I wrote one too, alongside them. We read them, we clapped, we nodded our heads, we listened. The purpose of this email is to let you know that the act of putting that picture out there changed some of us. It helped us look deeper. It forced us to connect. It made us listen to each other and see things the way we wouldtn’ve on our own, perhaps.
If Snyder had been too “embarrassed” or otherwise dismissed the idea of sharing such a little thing as an old family photograph (and some thoughts about it to assist searches), this magic may not have happened. Yes, the teacher is to be applauded; I make no mistake about that! But she and others like her would have lots less to choose from if the rest of us didn’t offer up our photographs, scans, images, etc.
This time is was a school teacher. And one who took the time to inform Snyder how great her act of sharing was; no small thing to those of us who do share. But every day, lots of other intersections and connections are made from the bits of “stuff” and pieces of “junk” that everyday folks and collectors share. These images and objects help connect students to literature, journalists to stories, researchers to proof, collectors to information, people to memories, individuals to their ancestors in family trees, nerds to history… People connect for the first time to abstract theories. People rediscover individual intimate connections. People reclaim the past, work toward a future. People find answers; people like me find more questions… Heck, people even just find more objects and photographs they must have (often in pursuit of much loftier things than materialistic motives).
The moral of the story is this: No matter what you have, no matter how big or small, how Big Picture or insignificant you think it is — someone is just waiting to see it, learn from it, remember it, be inspired by it.
Over a decade before Rethink Breast Cancer & MTV News Canada launched (to public outcry; video), and the Women Rock! Girls & Guitars breast cancer benefit too, MTV had the High Priority campaign against breast cancer. (You can be cynical, and view MTV’s interest as self-interest — be it sexist preservation of the sweater-puppets which jiggled in videos, or a way to combat judgement that rock videos and music television would be the end of civilization, but whatever MTV’s motives, they’re active in PSAs.) The campaign began in 1984, but my thrift store find is the 1987 High Priority album.
(I say “find” because up until spotting for $1 at a thrift shop I was ignorant of this MTV effort. In my defense, we didn’t have cable; our family only managed to get a color TV in the late 70s or early 80s — but we were the first to have a microwave oven. My parents only got a video player after I moved out; and they just got cable two or three years ago. So that tells you something about our family values. And why, even if we had cable, I would have likely opted to read anyway instead.)
The profits from this album went to the AMC Cancer Research Center. The album cover featured unfinished, yet signed, art by Andy Warhol on the front; monthly self breast exam info and other cancer prevention tips on the back; and ten songs from leading female performing artists of the time:
Sisters Are Doin’ It For Themselves; Aretha Franklin with The Eurythmics Manic Monday; Bangles I Can’t Wait; Stevie Nicks You Give Good Love; Whitney Houston Time After Time; Cyndi Lauper
Oh People; Patti Labelle Le Bel Age; Pat Benatar Nothing At All; Heart I Feel The Magic; Belinda Carlisle Slave To The Rhythm; Grace Jones More Than Physical; Bananarama
While the High Priority Campaign holds no “remember when” significance, the songs and artists do. So I’m lovin’ listening to it. Grrl power!!
Lauren, can you tell me more about the Carrie Chapman Catt bookmark?
Oh, I loved this one! I bought it because it was beautiful. It is a soft cream-colored silk with delicate fringe on both ends. The woman’s picture is attached with silk ribbon that goes through the bookmark. The words read “We will march on to victory.”
When I first bought this I thought it was a bookmark made by a WWI soldier for his mother (or vice versa), and that it had her picture on it. I can’t remember how I came around to the idea that it might be Catt; perhaps the seller suggested it?
I searched out numerous images of Catt online but nothing like this ever showed up. Since it is a formal portrait it is impossible that it was the only copy of that image. Plus, the picture is of a woman likely to be in her fifties, and by that age she was certainly well known for her work. But the resemblance to Catt is startling. I sent it off the a librarian at LOC, and she agreed that it very much appeared to be her but since they could not find another copy of that image either they had no proof one way or the other.
The saying on it leads to me to wonder if it might in fact be Catt’s mother. The age is likely right since the clothing appears to be from the late nineteenth century. Could it have been an image of Catt’s mother when Catt was in the midst of the battle for women’s suffrage and she made this up for her mother as a kind of promise? If so, it is a very valuable piece of history, one of kind. But again I will never know, which is both sad and compelling.
Well folks, if you can help with identifying the portrait — or have any other information — please let us know! Post a comment here or contact Lauren. Thanks!
You know, by now, that I collect horde vintage magazines, publications, newspapers, and other ephemera. (If not, please send me your recipe for Denial Sauce; the anti-women politics of the time are hard on me.) So I’m completely smitten with Women’s Page History: “A blog devoted to women’s page editors beginning during World War II (when many women were hired by the newsrooms until the war ended) through the early 1970s when the women’s pages were transformed into lifestyle sections.”
The blog is run by Dr. Kimberly Voss, of whom I am more than a bit jealous… I long for some sort of credentials to make my piles of old paper legit. *sigh*
I know, I know; she has a piece of paper, I have a piece of paper. (As in degrees.) And I know that some would argue that (stupid) adage, “Those who can, do. Those who can’t, teach.” Let me say again how stupid that adage is — very.
But the word “professor” before your name has more than a cache — it has the clout that opens doors. As in getting your phone calls routed properly, messages and emails returned, etc. Of that, I am envious.
Of course, my biggest problem is not specializing — not narrowing my focus. (Watch comments at this post for a link from my other blog, Inherited Values, on that.)
I found this photo of a National Housewives League meeting Detroit, Michigan, in 1945 while researching the Organized Housewives, a completely unrelated group.
The National Housewives’ League of America was founded in the early part of the twentieth century to advance the economic status of African Americans. Its mission was to encourage African American housewives to patronize African American-owned businesses through “directed spending.”
The Rev. William H. Peck and his wife Fannie B. Peck, after hearing Alben L. Holsey of the National Negro Business League and Tuskegee Institute speak about the successes of the Colored Merchants Association and the New York Housewives’ Association, were inspired to create similar organizations in Detroit. Rev. Peck organized the Booker T. Washington Trade Association in April 1930. Mrs. Peck, believing that the support of those women who controlled most household budgets — housewives — was essential to any business success, founded the Housewives’ League of Detroit on June 10, 1930, with 50 members. In the next couple of years, Mrs. Peck went on to organize leagues in Cleveland, Cincinnati, and Toledo, Ohio; Indianapolis, Ind.; Pittsburgh, Pa.; Kansas City, Mo.; and Jacksonville, Fla. By 1932, Alben Holsey, impressed with the response of the women in the leagues, invited Mrs. Peck and the other league representatives to meet in New York City to form a national committee, which Mrs. Peck chaired. The following year, the national committee met in Durham, N.C., in concert with the National Negro Business League, and formally organized the National Housewives’ League of America, Inc. Mrs. Peck was elected the first president of the organization.
I find this notion of housewives, and the purchase power of women in general, quite incredible… Normally we only hear of the economic power of those who control most household budgets in terms of boycotts, not as positive actions and long term change-making acts too.
Some related facts on the economic powers of women, which I heartily suggest you use to best impact social and economic change along with your household budget:
From 2005 Wow! Quick Facts Book, published by United States Census Bureau:
* Women control 80 percent of household spending
* They make up 47 percent of investors
* Women buy 81 percent of all products and services
* They buy 75 percent of all over-the-counter medications
* They make 81 percent of all retail purchases
* Women buy 82 percent of all groceries
* Women sign 80 percent of all checks written in the United States
* They make up 40 percent of all business travelers
* They make 51 percent of all travel and consumer electronics purchases
* Women influence 85 percent of all automobile purchases
* They head up 40 percent of all U.S. households with incomes over $600,000
* They own 66 percent of all home-based businesses
* Women have been the majority of voters in the United States since 1964
The seller’s description is as follows (yes, they wrote in all caps, etc.):
UP FOR AUCTION IS AN ARCHIVE, CONSISTING OF SEVERAL HUNDRED PIECES OF CORRESPONDENCE FROM MEN – ALL FROM THE MID 1950’S – RESPONDING TO PERSONAL ADS THAT LYNNE O’NEILL PLACED IN NEWSPAPERS. THE MEN ENCLOSED AS LITTLE AS A DOLLAR FOR PHOTOS OF LYNNE O’NEILL, HOWEVER, SOME PAID SIGNIFICANTLY MORE FOR UNDERWEAR (NOW AVAILABLE ON EBAY FROM OTHER SELLERS), GARTERS, MOVIES, AND RISKE MATERIAL.
MANY OF THE LETTERS ARE DETAILED AND LENGTHY. SEVERAL RUN SIX PAGES OF LONGER. A FEW LETTERS ENCLOSED PHOTOS. ONE GUY THOUGHT HE WOULD IMPRESS LYNNE WITH A PHOTO OF HIS GAS STATION. OTHERS DISCUSSED THEIR MEETING LYNNE, AND THEIR RECEIPT OF A LETTER FROM LYNNE. ANOTHER DREW PICTURES OF LYNNE/ IT REALLY IS AN AMAZING ARCHIVE, OF AMERICAN LIFE IN THE 1950’S. MEN ASKING FOR HARD CORE PHOTOS IN VEILED TERMS “YOU KNOW WHAT I LIKE” AND SEND ME PHOTOS OF YOUR “BUTTERFLY”. (I DIDN’T EVEN KNOW WOMEN HAD BUTTERFLIES). THERE ARE LETTERS FROM DOCTORS, PHARMACISTS, SERVICE MEN. EVERYONE CLAIMED TO HAVE A COLLECTION OF “ART PHOTOS”. IT REALLY WAS AN ASTOUNDING VIEW OF LIFE IN THE 1950’S AND HOW THEY DEALT WITH SEX AND PORNOGRAPHY. ALSO INCLUDED ARE CUTOUTS THAT LYNNE PLACED, AND A FEW PHOTOS (NOT IN GREAT SHAPE) THAT WERE IN THE BOX.
I AM ALSO ENCLOSING A 1956 CALENDAR OF LYNNE O’NEILL
Dear Santa, if I could have but one wish this year…
It’s unlikely that I shall receive a windfall to equal the sum requested ($399.95 or “best offer) — or that if I should, that my husband would let me “invest” the tidy sum in such ephemera (though if you cared to give me the funds, or purchase the collection for me, it could be our little secret!), but I certainly covet it.
The idea of reading such intimate letters based on risque celebrity — from the Every Man to The Ultimate Woman — is so delicious I dare not ponder it any longer lest I click and buy it and end up with no way to pay rent.
But aside from whining about my lack of discretionary income, aside even from waxing on about the insightful poetry of male psyche left in such an archive, I mention this for other reasons.
As a collector and a dealer (for yes, I deal in and sell collectibles as well as hunt, buy, research and write about them), I find something else fascinating about this auction listing; from the first part of the listing:
OVER THE NEXT SEVERAL WEEKS, YOU WILL SEE A LOT OF LYNNE O’NEILL ITEMS ON EBAY. SHE RECENTLY PASSED AWAY, AND HER ESTATE WAS LIQUIDATED. MANY OF THE ITEMS OFFERED WERE AVAILABLE IN LARGE QUANTITIES, AND TO THE ESTATES CREDIT THEY REFUSED TO JUST GIVE IT AWAY. THEY HIRED INDIVIDUALS THAT UNDERSTOOD THE HISTORICAL VALUE OF ITEMS IN THE HOUSE, SO ITS UNLIKELY YOU’LL BE ABLE TO BUY IT SUPER CHEAP ON EBAY. THAT IS, UNLESS THE MARKET IS FLOODED, AND EBAY IS NO LONGER A VIABLE OPTION FOR THE O’NEILL MATERIAL. I DON’T EXPECT THAT TO HAPPEN THOUGH, BECAUSE WHILE THERE WAS A LOT OF ITEMS BY THE STANDARDS OF A SMALL COMMUNITY, I THINK THE NATIONWIDE DEMAND WILL FAR OUTWEIGH THE SUPPLY OF WHAT WAS AVAILABLE, AND PRICES WILL CONTINUE TO RISE.
THIS PARTICULAR ITEM, HOWEVER IS UNIQUE. NOONE ELSE HAS IT, AND NO ONE ELSE CAN OFFER IT TO YOU ON EBAY OR OFF.
Sellers of collectibles and dealers of antiques often find themselves in the place of rationalizing or even defending their actions — including pricing items for sale.
It’s a sad reality based on people’s ignorance and, yes, selfishness; they feel that dealers are somehow taking advantage of the folks they buy from and the folks they sell too. Never mind that dealers must be knowledgable enough to invest in what they buy and must wait for what they hope will be a return worthy of that investment — plus whatever other fees accrue while waiting for that sale. It’s not easy-peasy-lemon-squeezey.
Further proof of dealer defensiveness lies in the Q & A published at the auction listing:
Q: Dear Jbg and the estate, I have 41 years experience buying at and conducting estate sales in the Hempstead area.The people who ran Elaine/ Lynne sale are very nice people, with expertise in about 33% of the items they sell. These are priced correctly. The others are triple and one third of what the correct wholesaleish/ liquidation selling price should be. This puts them in the top echelon of tag sale services. Most of which are completely incompetent and clueless. Believe it or not these are the most successful ones as hordes of people will come days ahead and wait to take advantage of their stupidity. JBR Oct-12-10 A: I think they ran a great sale, with fair prices. I’ve read what I’ve written several times, and don’t think its negative. Its just my observation that people aren’t going to get things super cheap on ebay, because they were priced correctly at the sale. That’s a good thing. The tag sale people work for the estate, not for the buyers. I’m certain that they maximized the estate’s dollar. Others either would have priced to high , and not sold a thing or priced to low, and given it away. Q: That statement you made about the Estate of Lynne O ‘Neill is not completely true the Estate hired a 15 year experience antique and collectible specialist and the Estate is now meeting and will examine what transpired. So i highly suggest you Edit your statement about the estate sale Do you have a receipt for what you paid for to prove you paid alot in comparison the what you are selling your item for? Sincerely the Estate Oct-12-10 A: I think my statement is intended to mean that the Estate did not give things away, which is to the credit of the folks who ran the sale. Most folks would have sold the calendars and signs for a few bucks a piece to get rid of them, and then they’d be flooding ebay at $5 a piece. I don’t think that’s going to happen. Not sure what the panties sold for, but unless the folks running the sale failed to comprehend what they were (and that seems unlikely) they weren’t a dollar item. Sincerely, the customer.
I find it rather unprofessional that the eBay seller would feel the need to explain how the collectibles market works; even if under the guise of education (the interested collector will be more interested in provenance and price than an economics lesson), and odder still that the estate company would misread the auction listing so badly (of course, perhaps we’re reading an edited version?). But the fact remains, dealer are so harassed and worried about their reputations, they are willing to air more dirty laundry than the panties worn by a former pinup queen.
I just wish there was a way to use all of this to my advantage; rather anything to end up with this collection of vintage burlesque ephemera.
“Which ones? The playing cards or the pink borders?” Cliff types back.
“Both, actually,” I reply. “I like the playing cards a lot — but I’m a girl and pink scrolls are sexy too.”
He sends me links to more — purely to torture me, I am sure.
And while I’m looking them over, he tells me more about these old playing cards. “But the fun is there’s different cards in some decks … I’ve seen over 100 different cards. Ruth Roland, on one of the Aces, there are actually 4 different poses for the single card. But some of the variations are totally different stars — like one deck shows Norma and Constance Talmadge together, another has them on 2 separate cards.”
At this point, all I could say was, “Dude, stop messing with my head! It’s not nice to do that to obsessives.”
Like Cliff, you know I am obsessive with stuff; so y’all know I was half begging him to stop, half in love with the idea of hunting down all the variations.
I mean Charlie Chaplin as the Joker? Awesome!
Plus these cards feature silent film stars I’ve never even heard of — oh, the glory of the hours of research!
When I saw Eric Clapton hawking the new Fender Limited Edition of T-Mobile’s myTouch 3G I had a thought — well, actually, I had two thoughts. The first one was, “Oh my gawd, when did Clapton get so old?” But that one just sent me on the how-old-am-I? spiral of denial, augmented by defensive tirades and rationalizations regarding ageism. And those serve no purpose, really.
So my real thoughts were about the collectibility of cell phones.
It’s a pet peeve of mine to see things mass produced and mass marketed as “Limited Edition Collectibles.” It’s not only rather meaningless from a numbers point of view, but when it comes to collectibles, there’s gotta be something else besides words printed on a box or spoken by celebrities to drive collectors.
But then I started thinking about how ephemeral cell phones really are…
On average, we each discard one cell phone a year. If we are nice, we donate our used ones to shelters, but most of us — too many of us — just toss them into the trash like yesterday’s newspaper, thinking they are just as obsolete. (Yes, the “technology advances,” but let’s not overlook the role of throw-away consumerism plays in the competitive world of selling cell phones and their plans.)
All of this means that cell phones are as ephemeral as newspapers.
Yet newspapers are collectible. So maybe cell phones will be too. Other old phones are…
While the Limited Edition Fender myTouch 3G features the beauty of a Fender’s sunburst-finish, I doubt this, or Clapton’s endorsement, will be what might make this phone collectible. What will drive its collectibility is what drives most any other item’s collectibility: nostalgia.
If people are motivated to purchase the Fender myTouch, they’ll need to use it in order to create memories. They’ll need to spy one 20-30 years from now and exclaim, “Oh, I had one of those!” and instantly be transported back to those days…
Because while 20-30 years from now, we’ll be receiving calls like Harry Solomon — “Incoming message from the Big Giant Head!” — and cell phones will be as old fashioned as rotary dials, cords, and asking Sarah to connect us to someone in Mayberry, we’ll want the phones we once had. Not necessarily the ones that looked like pretty wooden iconic guitars.
Though, by that time, guitars of any sort may also be a thing of the past too. So who the hell knows?
‘Cuz you know I just don’t have enough to do what with moving the sites and all…
I’ve started Inherited Values, a new network for lovers of antiques and vintage collectibles. It’s not a site about “how much something is worth” in the monetary sense; it’s about the values in the objects themselves — and it’s far more nostalgic and sentimental then I here, where I’m passing out the kitsch slaps *wink*
I started Inherited Values because I wanted a place where I could, with other moms and pops in the biz, focus on and share the joys of collecting old things, specifically. And do it in a more nostalgic, personal, and (I hope) beguiling way.
As the site tagline says, we don’t do antiques and vintage collectibles by the book!
Here the focus isn’t on money — because the only time price matters to a true collector is when she’s checking her wallet.
We won’t rehash the same old dry descriptions — because you don’t want to read them (and we don’t want to suffer through writing them!)
We won’t focus on new stuff — because there are plenty of sites being driven by those deep pockets.
We won’t make the usual comments about conditions — because collectors at all levels know that stuff.
We do, however, aim to assist antiques and vintage collectibles, be they handed down to you or the heirlooms you’ll one day leave behind, in charming the proverbial pants off you.