Thursday, December 31, 2009

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Burt Frohman, Square Dance Caller

I found this business card in a desk in a real estate office I used to work in, c. 1981, in Long Island City (which is in Queens, not on Long Island). The phone number uses the exchange as a word (DIckens, not numerals) and the zip code has only two digits, indicating Mr. Frohman circulated this card prior to the 1960s. And the illustration shows a certain 1950s flair. Sweet! Love the idea of  square dancing in New York City. And someone calling the moves, perhaps with a Brooklyn accent.

Monday, December 28, 2009



That's the word in Spanish for birthday, and it's literally "completed years" in the English translation. So, just add the "feliz" and you have "Happy Birthday" --to me and all my fellow Capricorns.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Action Stars by Bruce Patrick Jones

Action Stars by Bruce Patrick Jones will be published by Dover in July but you can preorder by clicking here.

The Games We Played

I've updated my picks on the Amazon widget on the left side of the screen--paper doll and other books that I think might be of interest to you. Some good news: Dover is bringing out a paper doll book by Bruce Patrick Jones this summer.

I would love to find antique game boards at a flea market or garage sale but the next best thing is having this book to look through. Excellent color reproductions.
I remember so many games under the Christmas tree when I was a child: Life, Sorry, Go to the Head of the Class, Chutes and Ladders, Candy Land, Booby Trap, Thimble City...Here are some game card and board images I found through a Google image search. They're not very old or especially beautiful, but nostalgic nonetheless.




Saturday, December 26, 2009


A copy of an antique pantin, collaged with a scrap of a word. The week between Christmas and New Year's is a dreamscape filled with wonder, looking back at what was, looking forward to what is yet to come...

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Merry Fun paper doll card

I found this paper doll card at a Hallmark store this week, and there's a lot packed into it: a decorative envelope, a paper doll, and a tree to decorate with stickers.

Add to all that the quirky appeal of a holiday bunny with a mouse for a friend...who says a bunny is just for Easter?




 I love this envelope.

Good luck and good cheer

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

On Friendship Lane

A very artful expression from H.J. Seiler Company, apparently a catering company in Boston at that time (1920s). The formality of a business relationship in the tone, but a switch to something more: "Sincere greetings" between friends. Good business sense.

Vivid blues and reds still pop some 80 years later. And the Christmas stagecoach rides into view once more.

Monday, December 21, 2009

A sympathetic card


A fascinating card that offers a window onto how words and expressions change through the years. We often think of "sympathy" as a word that expresses grief and compassion for someone's loss, but here it's used in a totally different way. And yet true to its essential meaning, no?  With a red ribbon, no less. This was signed on the back "Chester + Carrie, from Aunt Lillie." Printer's mark: Originality, Bromfield Publishers, Boston.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

The path to our house

A wistful greeting from Roland and Vivian to Chester and Carrie Thorpe, unabashedly reaching out. Who today would send an openhearted message such as this?

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Yuletide greetings

A lovely card from Mrs. Flanders. The colors are bright and distinct for such a small image--another stagecoach.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Paperdoll Review Issue 46

 Cover art by Kathy Lawrence. Pure enchantment.


Kathy Lawrence, as many of you know, is the daughter of Queen Holden. See table of contents for articles by her and others (click image for readable size). Back page is an excellent Anna May Wong paper doll by Karen Reilly. You can subscribe here.

My good wish for you

Charlotte and Charles Hadley chose well with this card: books, a fireplace, holly on the mantle, and a window seat with cushions looking out on a gentle snowfall...

This is actually a postcard that went through the mail, as you can see from the postmark smudge in the upper left. Many of the cards sent out to the Thorpes are thick and shaped like trade cards, not greeting cards that open. I wonder if people mostly visited and delivered the cards in person... 

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Heartiest greetings

Chester and Carrie Thorpe received this greeting from Lillian and Fred one Christmas in the late 1920s. The Thorpes  lived on Locust Avenue in Lexington, Mass., and Chester kept a prodigious scrapbook c. 1925-27.  I was lucky enough to find one of the books a few years ago in a N.J. antique store. Last year I posted a few cards from the Chester scrapbook, but there are many more.

Is there a more nostalgic holiday than Christmas? This card and many others reflect not life in the 1920s, but an earlier era. Here is a stagecoach, and people dressed in the attire of the mid-19th century, in front of a house evocative of the English countryside. Perhaps this all comes from Dickens and A Christmas Carol, so much a part of our holiday tradition.

Christmas cheer

I wonder what the Thorpes' reaction was to this card from Laura Woods. For one thing, the color is out of sync with the image, so it's not very pretty. For another, the message is a bit cranky: Ma is fussing, Pa is cussing, and I'm the one who has to send the cards out. Good grief! The paper peeking out at the bottom is part of the deteriorated scrapbook page. I didn't soak the cards off, the way the experts do -- I would've been too nervous for that. Chester Thorpe used rubber cement, and that held on pretty good even with the paper going brittle and brown. I simply lifted off what I could without doing too much damage.

Tom Tierney's Christmas Card

Tom Tierney sent this out via e-mail to his friends and fans, with a note to share it with others who might enjoy it, too.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Lactated Food trade card

Strange baby bottles of the era (1890s). Compare these bottles to the Tuck version here. Love the cat vignette. And who can beat that ad copy: "It makes them healthy, happy, hearty. That's why they love it."
Part of the Duke Digital Collection.

Monday, December 14, 2009

The Merrill Company Archives Art Sale

 Graphics Collectibles is selling original art from the Merrill archives. The 20 page catalog is $5. And I wouldn't have known about this but for Today's Inspiration, a blog devoted to illustrators of the 40s and 50s, that I've been following recently. Apparently Jean Woodcock acquired the Merrill archive a while ago, and wrote an article for Illustration Magazine about it (Issue #22, not the most recent one--I'm really playing catch up here!). Jean is, of course, the author of Paper Dolls of Famous Faces.