Tuesday, December 22, 2015

David Wolfe's Golden Girls

Special greetings from artist David Wolfe! You can download a high-res version here:


Thank you, David! Look forward to seeing you in Phoenix.

Monday, December 14, 2015

More Story-Telling with Paper Dolls

Cordelia Prescott’s story, as told to Carol Carey:

My birth name was Cordelia Prescott, "Cordelia" chosen by my daddy who came from up North.  I think it was from Shakespeare or the Bible, never had a chance to ask cause he died when I was four.  Soon after, Momma lived with a few other men, some good, some bad.  It was the baddest one that set me out on the streets. 

I found a few jobs: Clothes-washing, okra-picking, fish-cleaning.  And then I met Madame Jolene who said that I could earn good money entertaining gentlemen. Paid money for what I'd given freely (or not so freely) seemed like a gift.  I became known for my tolerance for unusual role play:  Decked out like a school girl or a cat or roles even I would blush to tell.

Then came Bubba Lachaise, a sweet old farmer who wanted marriage. I didn't hesitate. God is my witness, I would never be hungry again!

What Bubba didn't say was that it was an Alligator Farm!  I worked from dawn till dusk. In a backroads shack, I sold gator meat, gator patties, gator purloo, gator gumbo. It was mostly chicken meat. (Wonder if that started people thinking that gator tasted like chicken).

Five years into our marriage, Bubba died. To sell the farm, I would have to see a lawyer.  And when asked by the  lawyer for my full name, I replied "Cordelia Prescott Lachaise."   "By any chance was your daddy Zebediah Prescott IV?" Didn't know what number Daddy was, but that name sounded right.

Well, it turned out that relatives up North had been looking for me for years, I being dear Zeb's only child and therefore heiress to a Yankee fortune! The Prescotts paid my lawyer a large fee for finding me. I did as well, for he'd concocted a past history more in keeping with their delicate sensibilities.

I moved to New York, where I met my Grandmama and cousins, and found my former skills in role-playing a definite advantage.

All delighted in my modest demeanor, strong resemblance to Daddy (thank God), and lamented the fates that left me orphaned at an early age. They believed my story that I had lived as a companion for many years until my sponsor's death.

Balls were held in my honor. I was decked out in jewels and satin. I was pursued by a handsome widower, a Polish prince, a Rockefeller, a famous author, a Chinaman, a railway magnate. And I chose one of them to be my husband.

Reader, don't you love a happy ending?

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Telling stories with paper dolls

When I saw this old photograph in the newspaper, I knew I had to make a paper doll out of it. It's a famous photo of a New Orleans prostitute in Storyville, 1912. The photographer was E.J. Bellocq.

I thought of Fanny Gray, the first paper doll published in America in 1854. Here is a review that ran in The Lady's Repository, 1855:

FANNY GRAY: An Amusement for Children 
This is one of the most unique and exquisite things of this season of beautiful gifts. It is in the first place one of the very best specimens of colored printing yet given by the Art of the country and then the intent of the play is excellent tracing by six illustrative pictures while a poem is read: the history of Fanny Gray from poverty to happiness amid wealth. As the poem is read the figures are altered to illustrate each portion of Fanny's career, the same face fitting into all the figures. The picture of Fanny's Cottage is very attractive but her name beneath wrought by the union of flowers, grapes, mosses and birds is the most delicate of exquisitely beautiful designs The whole comes in a box and is indeed a rare gift for the Christmas holidays. Mr Collins, 1 South Six Street, has it in Philadelphia 
Why not tell a story with this doll? That was the challenge for the New York Paper Doll Group. Here are the designs I made for the other members earlier this year. 

I named her Delia. What happened to Delia after she left her wild life in Storyville? Each member got to choose an outfit from her wildlife and an outfit from her future:

Fortune Teller 

 Boutique owner



Foreign Correspondent

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Itinerant musician, 1925

A strange little print that was tucked in the Little Folks magazine. It looks like it was separated from another image at the bottom. The landscape reminds me of the Wizard of Oz. That looks like a violin case under his arm. 

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Little Folks Magazine, Nov. 1925

The Hotel Empire is still there on West 63rd Street. Wrigley's and Uneeda are still in business, too. Not sure about Horlick's Malted Milk.

Age and foxing on the page is what the magazine looks like inside. I cleaned up the paper doll and parrot pages.

Back cover has more fun for kids.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Liberation of Paris cut-outs

From the remarkable collection of Patricia of Agence Eureka, who is in my thoughts today. 

Our beloved Samy Odin, who operates the doll museum in Paris, tells us on Facebook that he is in London. That is good to know.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Veterans Day

One of the first pages in my collection, and one of the few I have framed. World War I ambulance drivers and nurses. This beautiful page sought to help children understand how a medical team worked on the front lines. 

The first world war generated great poetry and art; Ernest Hemingway was an ambulance driver and his WWI experience (he was wounded and fell in love with a nurse) shaped some of his early writing: "A Farewell to Arms" and the short story "Soldier's Home" come to mind, but there are others.

During the First World War, Ernest Hemingway volunteered to serve in Italy as an ambulance driver with the American Red Cross. In June 1918, while running a mobile canteen dispensing chocolate and cigarettes for soldiers, he was wounded by Austrian mortar fire. "Then there was a flash, as when a blast-furnace door is swung open, and a roar that started white and went red," he recalled in a letter home. 
Despite his injuries, Hemingway carried a wounded Italian soldier to safety and was injured again by machine-gun fire. For his bravery, he received the Silver Medal of Valor from the Italian government—one of the first Americans so honored.
Commenting on this experience years later in Men at War, Hemingway wrote: "When you go to war as a boy you have a great illusion of immortality. Other people get killed; not you. . . . Then when you are badly wounded the first time you lose that illusion and you know it can happen to you. After being severely wounded two weeks before my nineteenth birthday I had a bad time until I figured out that nothing could happen to me that had not happened to all men before me. Whatever I had to do men had always done. If they had done it then I could do it too and the best thing was not to worry about it."

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Paper Doll Dreams by Dame Darcy

Something spooky as Halloween night draws near.

I found this in a comic book store in Brooklyn, but you can order your own copy from Dame Darcy's etsy shop.

And you can read more about the artist here. That Strega Pez idea is pretty cool! 

The artist is now living in Savannah, Georgia.

Kitty by Charlotte Ware

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Register now for the 2016 National Paper Doll Convention in Phoenix, Arizona

I'd be remiss if I didn't remind you that Oct. 31 is the discount deadline. (Plus, I get to use this dandy Dover illustration, one of my favorites.)

Do yourself a favor and put your convention registration in the mail today! All you need to register is right here.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Halloween paper doll to color, 1951

This is from the "Giant Size Busy Book: 320 Things to Do." Originally published by Merrill in 1951, it was reproduced by Gallery Graphics sometime within the last decade. But that company has since gone out of business. Judy Johnson still has some copies of the reproduction, but when her stock is gone, that's it. 

Friday, October 23, 2015

Friendship's offering, ca. 1880s

This pretty card was pasted in a scrapbook; no writing on the back, but it might have been a freebie given away at a store. 

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Capadura Cigar Trade Card, ca. 1880s

Let's Go Mets!

I found this excellent trade card on eBay. It's one of five in a series, and I hope to find the others in as pristine a shape as this one! Always fun to have something to hunt.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Gamle PostKort

My husband was on his way to Lillehammer for a conference last week and had a brief stay in Oslo. A friend recommended he check out this store in Oslo's historic district. It was overwhelming, but the store owner guided him to some old cards. I wish I had remembered to tell him to search out glansbilder! 

I would have spent days in this store and missed the train to Lillehammer. Which is why it is a good thing I was not on this trip!

Here is one of the four charming postcards Rob found for me. No date, but I'm guessing the 1920s.

This lovely image with the store's address was stamped on the oversized envelope that held the cards.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

A tight squeeze, ca. 1900

Dear Sophie,
Well what has become of you folks are you dead or are you buried in the snow already. We have been waiting to here (sic) or see you people sometime but no sign of you. I thought you were coming the following week ...S.N.

Hard to make out the last two words "but visit" perhaps?

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Raphael Tuck Garden Patch Postcard, 1907

I found this back in February in a Lake Worth, Fl., antique mall. Unused.

I have another one from this series in my collection, which you can see here.