Saturday, April 30, 2011

Swedish Stamps Honoring Evert Taube

The English translation of the description on the front of this postcard is "In Roslagens arms - the 1977 tourist booklet, published May 2 in celebration of Evert Taube and his poetry." Although he is called a poet on this card, Evert Taube (1890 - 1976) was more of a songwriter and troubadour, and is best known for his folksongs. Roslagen is the name of the coastal areas of Uppland province in Sweden.

The 1977 stamps in this booklet have words and music from one of Taube's popular songs, I Roslagens famn, accompanied by appropriate illustrations. The five lines and approximate translations are, from top to bottom:
Själv blandar jag fredligt mitt kaffe med kron
Of course I mix peacefully my coffee with Crown (rum)

Se måsen med löjan i näbb han
See gull with fish in his beak

Här dansar Calle Schewen med Roslagens mö
Here dancing Calle Schewen (a waltz) with Roslagens maiden

Och vittja tvåhundrade krok
And empty the two hundredth hook (fish hook)

Det brinner i martallens topp!
It burns in the pine trees top!

I am participating in Sunday Stamps at Viridian's Postcard Blog

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Bily Brothers Clocks - Spillville, Iowa

Frank and Joseph Bily were brothers who were Iowa farmers and carpenters. They carved clocks for a hobby beginning in 1913. For over 30 years they made intricate hand-carved clocks depicting history, art, religion and culture. Their clocks are made of many different woods. Most of the clocks have chimes and movable wood-carved figures. Some of the clocks are ten feet high.

The Bilys never sold any of their clocks. They bequeathed their clocks to the town of Spillville, Iowa, where their whole clock collection can still be seen in the Bily Clocks Museum.

The first clock below is the Apostles' Parade Clock, representing a Gothic Cathedral that was carved in the years 1921 and 1922. It is made of walnut, maple and two kinds of rosewood. Twelve Apostles parade to a set of chimes.

The next clock is the Paradise Clock, carved in the years 1934 and 1935. It is carved in butternut, oak and white ash woods.


By coincidence I acquired an older black & white postcard of the Bily Clocks a day after I wrote this original post. According to this card, the clocks were in Ridgeway at the time. However, the back of this card has a handwritten note that says "Trip to Spillville to see the clocks. Feb'y 5, 1939." The Bily farm was between the small towns of Ridgeway and Spillville. The clocks were moved to Spillville in 1946.

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Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Giant Shell Factory Sign - Fort Myers, Florida

These are 1960s views of the Shell Factory sign at Fort Myers, Florida. Both postcards have the same description on the back:
Florida's newest landmark, this 52 foot spectacular, directs thousands of visitors to The Shell Factory. Located on U.S. 41, this famous attraction features sea shells and corals from all corners of the world.
The Shell Factory dates back to the early 1950s. It was almost defunct when it was acquired by new owners in 1997. Since then the Shell Factory has been enlarged and had many attractions added. It is now the Shell Factory and Nature Park. An article from the Ft. Myers & Southwest Florida Magazine describes how it is now A Lot More Than Just Shells. The Shell Factory sign still appears to be basically the same.

In the past, there were billboards every few miles that gave the mileage to the Shell Factory. The billboards and sign were immortalized in a 1980 song recorded by Gary Link, Shell Factory Billboard Blues. The song was about a man running from a gambling debt who kept on seeing The Shell Factory sign. Don't miss this video!

I'm participating in Signs, Signs

Monday, April 25, 2011

Minnesota Arrowhead Country Map

The northeastern part of Minnesota is known as the Arrowhead Region because it has a pointed shape like an arrowhead. This region includes Voyageurs National Park and the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, and is a popular vacation area. The region also includes the Iron Range, an area with large deposits of iron ore.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Benjamin Franklin, Philately, & Postal History

This postcard has a enlarged reproduction of the first United States government stamp, issued in 1847 and depicting Benjamin Franklin. It was displayed on the introductory panel to the Hall of Philately and Postal History, Museum of History and Technology, Smithsonian Institution.

The Smithsonian's National Philatelic Collection was begun in 1886. The collection is now housed in the National Postal Museum in the historic City Post Office Building, which served as the Washington, D.C. post office from 1914 through 1986.

This 5-cent Benjamin Franklin stamp was printed with a number of variations. Information about this stamp and pictures of some of the varieties are here. More information on this stamp and Franklin's role in U. S. postal history is here. Over one hundred thirty stamps depicting Benjamin Franklin have been issued by the United States post office. Franklin was the first postmaster general of the united colonies. Earlier he had been postmaster in Philadelphia and had been appointed joint deputy postmaster for the colonies by the British.

I am participating in Sunday Stamps at Viridian's Postcard Blog

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Dutch Haven Barn Sign - Route 340, Pennsylvania

I think the designer of this sign got a bit carried away, but it looks great on a postcard! This sign was on Route 340, 8 miles east of Lancaster, between Bird in Hand and Intercourse, Pennsylvania.

I especially like the hex signs. Although this shop advertised "Amish Stuff," hex signs are not associated with the Amish. Hex signs are a form of Pennsylvania Dutch folk art practiced by the "Fancy Dutch."

Shoo-fly pie is a traditional Pennsylvania Dutch fluffy molasses pie. Dutch Haven on Route 30 east of Lancaster claims to be the place that made shoo-fly pie famous, and they have an online store where you can order this pie.

I'm participating in Signs, Signs

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Nancy Reagan & White House Easter Bunnies

The postcard above shows Nancy Reagan with the White House Easter bunnies. This postcard was published by Coral-Lee of Rancho Cordova, California. The description on the back of the card is as follows:
The two White house Easter bunnies help Nancy Reagan greet the 21,000 children who came to frolic at the traditional Easter Monday Egg Roll and newly instituted egg hunt. The President, still convalescing from his painful ordeal, is upstairs re-engaging with the routine of the Presidency by easy steps as he approaches the end of the "First Hundred Days" in office - a successful period that saw a decisive U-turn in the course of American government. April 20, 1981.
The "painful ordeal" mentioned in the description was the assassination attempt that occurred on March 30, 1981.

Coralie Sparre was the woman who published Coral-Lee postcards. She was very enthusiastic about documenting the main events of the Carter and Reagan presidencies on postcards. The postcard below shows her presenting President Carter with an album of postcards she published about him. The description on the back is as follows:
JANUARY 10, 1981. A stunning climax to Coralie Sparre's (Coral-Lee) four year chronicle of a presidential administration, the first ever to be so documented. In the oval office of the White House, she presents to President Jimmy Carter a commemorative album of all her postcards of his presidency, publishing at various intervals since 1976, chronicling his four years as Chief Executive. The album will become part of the future Carter Presidential Libary.
The Coral-Lee postcards were normally published in full color. She included a note with this black and white postcard explaining that the photographer had used the wrong camera and the photo was taken with black and white film by mistake.

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Monday, April 18, 2011

Longfellow Gardens - Minneapolis, Minnesota

A few days ago I showed a postcard of the Camels at Longfellow Zoological Gardens. Today's postcard is a view of the gardens. The statue on the left side of the picture is the poet Longfellow shown wearing a toga. The statue is made of sandstone and was erected in 1908. It is all that remains of the old Longfellow Gardens. The gardens and buildings were removed in 1936.

A handwritten note on the back of the card says "Minus paper & all sorts of debris usually in evidence here."

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Gutenberg Bible Maximum Card

This is a Velvetone maximum card with the Gutenberg Bible stamp that was issued on September 30, 1952. This stamp commemorated the 500th anniversary of the printing of the Holy Bible by Johann Gutenberg. The Bible was the the first book to be printed from movable type. Gutenberg's movable type printing press started a revolution in printing that eventually made the printed word available to the masses.

The image on the left side of the stamp was taken from a painting by Edward Laning titled "Gutenberg showing a proof to the elector of Mainz". This painting (shown below) is one of four in a series, The Story of the Recorded Word, that were made for the New York Public Library Main Branch from 1938 to 1942 as part of a Works Progress Administration (WPA) Project.

The New York Public Library owns one of the forty-eight known copies of Gutenberg's Bible. Their copy is shown below.

I am participating in Sunday Stamps at Viridian's Postcard Blog

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Taxes & The Government

As this postcard says, "The government never pays for anything. It only spends what it takes from you, the taxpayer."

The cartoon on this card is signed by Tex Lowell whose real name was George E. Turner. It is a Baxtone Laff Gram ©BLC 1963.

Camels at Longfellow Zoological Gardens - Minneapolis, Minnesota

Longfellow Zoological Gardens was located across the streetcar tracks from Minnehaha Park in Minneapolis. Camels were among the exotic animals at the zoo, and camel rides were offered there. I couldn't find any pictures of anyone riding the camels. I only have this postcard of the camels resting.

Robert "Fish" Jones opened Longfellow Zoological Gardens in 1907. The zoo was named for Henry Wadsworth Longfellow whose poem The Song of Hiawatha made nearby Minnehaha Falls famous. Jones himself was one of the attractions. He liked to dress up and wear top hats. The picture below shows Jones with some of his animals. The zoo was popular for more than twenty-five years. Jones died in 1930, and his daughter maintained the zoo until 1934.

Minnesota Historical Society photo

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Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Alabam's Sign, Buffalo, Wyoming

I collect postcards showing signs. I was planning to post a lot of them on my blog starting in May 2007. After posting about ten of them the first month, I got sidetracked. When I saw the Signs, Signs meme, I decided that the meme would be a good excuse to start posting more signs. I do like photographs of signs too and have some on Flickr.

The Alabam's sign postcard is one of the most amusing sign postcards that I have. This card has a two cent stamp box, which dates it to the 1950s. This is the description on the back:
ALABAM'S (on Fort Street)--Buffalo, Wyoming's only "Soup-or-Service". Don't go hungry or run short of gas. Open early and late, Sundays and holidays.

I'm participating in Signs, Signs

Monday, April 11, 2011

Metrodome - The Doomed Stadium

© 1983 by O. W. Steinberg, St. Paul, MN

This postcard shows the Metrodome sports stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota as it looked on April 15, 1983, the day after a snowstorm caused the dome to collapse. The stadium opened in 1982, and snowfalls had already caused the roof to collapse three times.

The Metrodome has an air-supported roof that is made of two layers, with a dead air space between the layers. After the roof collapses of the early years, strategies were adopted to prevent the roof from collapsing again. The next collapse didn't occur until December 2010 when there was a severe storm with heavy snow and high winds. That collapse was much more serious than the earlier ones. On December 12, the roof had a catastrophic collapse and three panels tore open. A fourth panel ripped open a few days later.

Until the last couple of years, the Metrodome was home to the Twins baseball team, the Vikings football team, and the University of Minnesota football football and baseball teams. The Twins and University football team have moved to new stadiums, but the Metrodome is still home to the Vikings. After the roof collapsed, the Vikings had to play their last two 2010 "home" games elsewhere. One game was played in Detroit and the other was played in TCF Bank Stadium at the University of Minnesota. In February 2011, it was determined that the entire Metrodome roof had to be replaced at an estimated cost of $18 million.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

North American Wildflower Stamps

These are two postcards in Cartwheel Company's Stamp Collector Series™. These cards reproduce two of the stamps from the 1992 Wildflowers Issue, the Harlequin Lupine and Shooting Star. Here is the description of the Wildflowers Issue from Arago: People, Postage & The Post, an educational website about United States stamps:
Fifty colorful, blooming native plants dotted the philatelic landscape with the 29-cent Wildflowers commemorative stamps issued July 24, 1992, in Columbus, Ohio, host city for the AmeriFlora '92 International Floral and Garden Exposition. Each of the fifty states can claim one or more of the lovely wildflowers represented on the stamps.

The stamps were issued in panes of fifty different designs. The selvage of each pane includes a promotional message for a special Wildflower album, featuring fifty mint stamps and sixty-four pages of informative text and colorful artwork. Designed by Karen Mallary of Anacortes, Washington, the stamps were produced by Ashton-Potter America, Inc., in the offset lithography process.
All fifty of the wildflowers stamps are pictured on the Arago website.

I have a couple of other wildflowers postcards from this series. I don't know if all of stamps from the Wildflowers Issue were reproduced on postcards. This postcard series would have benefited from better art directing and editing. Even "wildflowers" is misspelled on the front of the card as two words, and the description on the back doesn't make sense.

I am participating in Sunday Stamps at Viridian's Postcard Blog

Friday, April 8, 2011

Vintage Easter Bunny Postcards Video

My favorite Easter postcards are the ones depicting anthropomorphic rabbits. These aren't the kind of bunnies you find at pet stores. These rabbits are the ones that decorate and deliver Easter eggs. They live in a fantasy world where they often dress like humans and engage in human activities.

I hope you enjoy this Vintage Easter Bunny Postcards video I made with postcards from my collection.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Happy Hiking

Today is National Start! Walking Day, the birds are singing, and it feels like spring.

The little hiker on this postcard was drawn by Berta Hummel. Hummel's drawing have been reproduced on postcards for many years.

From Wikipedia:
Berta Hummel was a famous German artist (May 21, 1909 - November 6, 1946). She was also known as nun Maria Innocentia Hummel. She is most famous for the artwork which became the Hummel figurines.

Born in Massing, Bavaria, she attended the Academy of Applied Arts in Munich in 1927 and entered the Franciscan Convent of Siessen in Bad Saulgau after she graduated in 1931. She spent her spare time painting pictures of children, which were made into popular postcards.

Soon afterward, Franz Goebel, the owner of a porcelain company, saw the artwork. The convent granted him permission to make figurines based on Hummel's art. The first collection came out in 1935 and was an instant hit.
The picture on this postcard reminds of the song I sang when I was a Girl Scout:
I'm Happy When I'm Hiking

Tramp, tramp, tramp, tramp, tramp, tramp, tramp,tramp.

I'm happy when I'm hiking, pack upon my back.
I'm happy when I'm hiking, off the beaten track.
Out in the open country, that's the place for me
With a true Scouting friend to the journeys end,
Ten, twenty, thirty, forty, fifty miles a day.

Tramp, tramp, tramp ...

I probably should go for a walk. The weather is too nice to stay inside all day.

Footprints of the Stars - Grauman's Chinese Theater

The Sepia Saturday 69 photo is a portrait of Hollywood legend Mary Pickford posing with a movie camera. I chose the postcard above because it was a Hollywood glamour shot. The unnamed lady in red is kneeling on the forecourt of Grauman's Chinese Theater and pointing to the block with Jane Wyman's hand and footprints. Just to the right of Jane Wyman's block is the one for the Ritz Brothers. The Ritz Brothers' footprint ceremony occurred on September 22, 1937 and was immortalized in the video at the end of this post.

When I looked up information about Grauman's Chinese Theater, I discovered that there is an even stronger connection between Mary Pickford and the theater. Mary Pickford and her husband Douglas Fairbanks were part owners of the theater and were the first stars to have their footprints imprinted in the forecourt of the theater on April 30, 1927. The picture below (from the Mann Theatres/Grauman's Chinese Theatre website) shows them practicing for the first footprint ceremony. Sid Grauman is the man kneeling and pointing.


The grand opening of Grauman's Chinese Theater was on May 18, 1927. The theater still is the most sought-after theater for Hollywood premieres. Fans gather to watch celebrities arriving and walking up the red carpet to the theater. The latest footprint ceremony was Ceremony #202 on March 28, 2011 (Helen Mirren ceremony video here). The Grauman's court with the footprints is visited by millions of tourists each year.

Below are two more postcards showing the footprints at Grauman's Chinese Theater.

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Monday, April 4, 2011

Hackensack, MN - Home of Paul Bunyan's Sweetheart

Hackensack, Minnesota is the home of Paul Bunyan's Sweetheart, Lucette Diana Kensack, located on the shore of Birch Lake. It is in the heart of Minnesota's 10,000 Lakes and is known as a "fisherman's paradise." According to the Hackensack Chamber of commerce website, there are 127 lakes in a 10-mile radius from Hackensack.

The Hackensack large letter postcard is postmarked July 5, 1955. The message reads:
Hi- Got here last night. Haven't done much fishing. It rains off and on. W_ is out now. Plan to stay a week. See you then.
The statue of Lucette Diana Kensack was originally built in 1952. The older postcards describe it as 20 feet tall, but current descriptions say it is 17 feet tall. She was rebuilt after being severely damaged by the weather in 1991. Her color scheme is the same, but her top half looks quite different now.

Hacksensack is midway between Brainerd and Bemidji, the homes of two Paul Bunyan statues. Lucette Diana Kensack's new look is shown on the "Paul Bunyan Country" postcard.

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