Saturday, May 28, 2011

Mary Cassatt Postage Stamp

This maximum card features a picture of the American artist Mary Cassatt at work on a painting along with the 23¢ stamp honoring her. This stamp was issued on November 4, 1988, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania as part of the Great American Series of definitive stamps. The 23¢ denomination met the second ounce letter rate for international surface mail.

Mary Cassatt studied art at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts but spent much of her life in France. She became friends with the painter Edgar Degas, who persuaded her to exhibit her paintings with the Impressionists. Many consider artist Mary Cassatt to be the greatest woman painter. She is especially known for domestic scenes with particular emphasis on the relationships between mothers and children.

The Cassatt painting on the left side of the maximum card picture is Mrs. Gardner Cassatt in Black from the Baltimore Museum of Art.

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

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Portrait Of A Young Girl With Chickens, Cats, & Dogs

This real photo postcard was sent from Manilla,Iowa on July 25, 1911 to the girl's brother in West Side, Iowa. I am not sure where the cats are. I can see a couple of things that may be cats, but it is hard to tell. The little flowers look too much like cats' eyes, and even one of dogs is hard to see against the ground. It wasn't until I read the message that I realized that there were supposed to be cats somewhere in the photo.
Dear Brother, I thought I would send you one of my ugly pictures. Well how are you getting along. I am fine and dandy. Hope the same from you. Say Albert when are you coming down to see me and I hope I will hear from you soon. From your sister Elnora(?) Hill and (?) This is the whole family Albert dogs cats chickens and me.

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Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Rustic Safety Sign, Itasca State Park, Minnesota

This rustic outdoor plaque was located at Itasca State Park. It's slogan "In life as in baseball it is the number of times you reach home safely that counts" was a reminder to tourists visiting the park to drive carefully so that they might "return to enjoy the beauties of nature being preserved for them in this and other Minnesota State Parks."

I couldn't find an earlier source for this slogan than the postcards I have, this one from 1953 and a linen one from 1948. I also couldn't find more recent photos of this sign.

I was prompted to post this card today because Memorial Day weekend is approaching, and traffic warnings are always in the news around holiday weekends. For those interested in statistics, here are some from the National Safety Council:
  • Our estimate of traffic fatalities for this 3.25-day holiday period is 406 deaths.
  • The estimated fatality total for 2011 is about 15% less than the average actual number of fatalities (475) that occurred during the previous six Memorial Day holiday periods for which data are available.
  • The average number of traffic fatalities during the six most recent Memorial Day holiday periods was 12.2% higher than similar non-holiday periods (475 vs. 424 deaths).

I'm participating in Signs, Signs

Monday, May 23, 2011

Local Loan Co., Andrus Building, Minneapolis, Minnesota

This postcard shows the office of Local Loan Co. circa 1940. This office was located in the Andrus Building (shown in the inset picture) in downtown Minneapolis, Minnesota.

I don't know what happened to Local Loan Co., but the Andrus Building is still standing on Nicollet Avenue between Fifth and Sixth Streets. The building was built in 1898 and has been remodelled more than once. It is now known as Renaissance Square. Here is some information from the Emporis website:
The original two story storefront was replaced by a new, modernist one at some point between 1947 and 1965, which was in turn replaced by a postmodernist one during the 1983 renovation. General renovations commenced late summer 2008, including the creating of a parking area in the basement, accessible by a new ramp to be entered on 5th Street. The original cornice was removed and the ninth floor arched windows were squared off by 1931.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Swedish Handicrafts on 1976 Europa Stamps

This postcard shows Sweden's 1976 Europa stamps. The theme of the 1976 Europa stamps was handicraft. The 1976 Europa issues included stamps of 27 countries. The Swedish stamps show a Lapp spoon made of elkhorn and a Marieberg tile stove.

Europa stamps were first issued in 1956 with a common design by six countries. They are issued by many European countries and are symbolic of of Europe’s desire for cooperation. A common theme was used for the 1957 stamps. A common design was used from 1958 until 1973. A common theme has been used since 1974 (except for 1984 and 2000).

From 1959 until 1992 the Europa stamp issues were managed by European Conference of Postal and Telecommunications Administrations (CEPT). The CEPT logo is on the 1976 Swedish stamps just above the word EUROPA. In 1993 PostEurop took over the management of the Europa issues when the CEPT decided to focus more on telecommunications.

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

Thursday, May 19, 2011

WWII Canteen, North Platte, Nebraska

The North Platte, Nebraska Canteen was located in the Union Pacific Railroad Station. It began December 25, 1941 just a couple weeks after Pearl Harbor, and continued until April 1, 1946. During this time more than six million service men and women were provided with food, cigarettes, magazines, and a boost in morale when their troop train stopped at North Platte. North Platte was a designated servicing point for Union Pacific steam locomotives hauling passenger trains. A service stop usually took about ten minutes, allowing time for a hurried visit to the canteen.

The North Platte canteen was staffed by townspeople and volunteers from neighboring towns. A total of 55,000 volunteers from almost 125 communities in western Nebraska, northeastern Colorado, and northwestern Kansas participated at one time or another. They served a daily average of 3,000 to 5,000 military personnel.

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Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Watson Lake Signposts, Watson Lake, Yukon

The first postcard shows a relatively early view of the signposts at Watson Lake, Yukon Territory, Canada. The description on the back of this postcard states that the "signposts have been built up over the last 20 years by individual travellers posting the mileage to their hometown." This would date the picture as early 1960s.

Here is information from the Watson Lake website:
On the Alaska Highway, in the southeastern corner of the Yukon Territory, Watson Lake welcomes thousands of visitors to the Yukon each year. A regional transportation centre, Watson Lake is the Yukon’s third largest community, is home to the Liard First Nation People and is also the traditional territory of the Kaska people.

What began as a fish camp and small airstrip in the early 40's, boomed during the construction of the Alaska Highway when thousands of US Army soldiers arrived to build this renowned highway.

The Town’s world famous Signpost Forest was started in 1942 by a homesick US Army soldier. Right beside the Signpost Forest is the Watson Lake Visitor Information Center and in addition to welcoming travelers, they interpret the fascinating story of the construction of the Alaska Highway.

The postcard below advertises Scioto Sign Company of Kenton, Ohio. Their sign is in the center of the photo and reads:
3298 Miles to
Home Of
"Quality Signs Since 1897"

As shown in the video, the Watson Lake Signposts have grown into a Sign Post Forest.

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Monday, May 16, 2011

World's Largest Ball of Twine, Darwin, Minnesota

The World's Largest Twine Ball in Darwin, Minnesota is really the Largest Twine Ball In The World Made By One Man. The title needs to be qualified because there is a larger one in Cawker City, Kansas. The twine ball in Kansas was not the largest when its creator died many years ago, but additions to the ball have continued to be made.

Here is information on the Darwin ball from the Darwin Twine Ball Museum website:
Darwin, Minnesota is the home of a the largest Twine Ball in the World made by one man, Francis A. Johnson. The Twine Ball is 4 meters (13 ft) in diameter, 40 ft in circumfrance, and weighs 17,400 pounds (7,900 kg).

Francis A. Johnson started his obsession in March of 1950 and wrapped for 4 hours every day for 23 weeks. Francis lifted it with a crane to continue proper wrapping as he went along. For 39 years, this magnificent sphere evolved at Johnson's farm. Eventually the ball was moved to a circular open air shed on his front lawn.

When Francis died in 1989, the city of Darwin moved the ball onto a special city lot across from the park on Main Street. The gazebo that shelters it today allows viewing from all sides through Plexiglas panels.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Arkansas Stamps

This postcard was issued by the Arkansas Postcard Club. The state's official nickname, "The Natural State" was originally created (as "Arkansas Is A Natural") for state tourism advertising.

This postcard shows five stamps with Arkansas as the subject:
3¢ Arkansas Centennial
Issued on June 15, 1936, in observance of the 100th anniversary of Arkansas statehood. The central design features the Old State House in Little Rock. At lower left is a depiction of Arkansas Post, the first European settlement in Arkansas, established as a French trading post on the Arkansas River in 1686, and later the first territorial capital. At lower right is the present Arkansas State Capitol.

6¢ Arkansas River Navigation
The Arkansas River Navigation stamp was issued October 1, 1968. This stamp was in recognition of the economic potential of the $1.2 billion project, which was nearing completion. It eventually provided Arkansas, Kansas, and Oklahoma with a barge route to the Mississippi River and became one of the nation's major inland waterways.

13¢ Arkansas State Flag
In observance of the American Bicentennial, a pane of stamps depicting the flag of each of the Union's fifty states was issued on February 23, 1976. The state flags are represented horizontally on the pane in the order in which they entered the Union. This was the first pane with fifty different stamps ever issued.

20¢ Mockingbird and Apple Blossom
A pane of fifty 20-cent commemorative stamps featuring the official birds and flowers of the fifty states in the United States was issued April 14, 1982.

22¢ Arkansas Statehood
This stamp marking the 150th anniversary of Arkansas statehood was issued January 3, 1986. Arkansas entered the Union in 1836 as the nation's 25th state. The design features a partial view of Arkansas' Old State House.

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

Thursday, May 12, 2011

A Century of Progress in Transportation

The Century of Progress Exposition was an international exposition held in Chicago, Illinois in 1933 and 1934. The exposition was a world's fair that celebrated Chicago's centennial and a "century of progress" in science and industry.

One of the main buildings at the exposition was the Travel and Transport Building. This building was also the most unique. A dome was constructed on the principle of a suspension bridge for the first time in architectural history. The dome of the Travel and Transport building was suspended 125 feet above the ground by cables attached to twelve steel towers. The use of this suspension principle allowed for a large and unobstructed space for exhibits.

A century of progress in transportation was dramatically represented by exhibiting the latest current mode of transportation next to that of a century earlier. The old John Bull railroad engine, which first ran in 1831, was contrasted with one of the new Boeing monoplanes that was then in service on United Air Lines' routes.

The United Air Lines' plane was selected for exhibition in the Dome of the Travel and Transport Building because it represented the latest features of airplane design and construction. These features were described on the back of the postcards:
Powered with two 550 h. p. supercharged Wasp engines, these Boeing Monoplanes can cruise 171 m. p. h. They land at the low speed of 59 miles an hour and take off after a run of only 770 feet. They can climb 1320 feet a minute at sea level and to 10,000 feet in eleven minutes. Carrying a full load of ten passengers, two pilots, stewardess, luggage, mail and express, these planes can climb with only one of their two engines if necessary.

The plane shown on the postcard above could travel coast to coast in 20 hours. It was the same type that was on exhibit, and was one of fifty in service on United Air Lines' routes. That type was described as the "fastest multi-motored passenger mail-express plane" then in service in the world.

The postcard below shows a cutaway view of the plane. Ten passengers occupied comfortable reclining seats in the cabin, which was in charge of the stewardess. The pilot and mate controlled the plane from the cockpit. Mail, express, and baggage were carried in the compartments at the front and rear.

The last three postcards were furnished for writing and mailing from the Dome of the Travel and Transport Building at A Century of Progress. The stampbox contained these words: "Please address, stamp and drop card in slot provided. Mail collected several times daily."

One of the big events at the 1933 exposition was the arrival of General Italo Balbo and a fleet of 24 Italian seaplanes from Italy on July 15. This video shows "Unprecedented scenes at 'A Century of Progress Exposition,' where a million people, jamming the shore front of Lake Michigan, hail the Italian Air Minister and the intrepid crews of his twenty-four seaplanes upon the completion of their epochal mass flight from Orbetello, Italy."

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Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Tulip Time - Holland, Michigan

The Michigan Historic Site Marker on this postcard tells the story of the Dutch in Michigan:
On February 9, 1847, The Rev. Albertus C. Van Raalte and a band of Hollanders founded the city of Holland. Within two years, the other four original colonies - Graafschap, Zeeland, Vriesland, Overisel - had also been established. Plagued by illness and not accustomed to the task of clearing a wilderness, the settlers found their first year a hard one, but their suffering was to be repaid in the bountiful days ahead.
Holland, Michigan has held a has held a Tulip Time Festival in May since 1929. The festival is a celebration of Dutch heritage and culture. This year's celebration is particularly special because 2011 is the bicentennial anniversary of the birth of the founder of the Holland, Michigan, Reverend Albertus C. Van Raalte.

The dates of the 2011 Tulip Time Festival are May 7-14. According to the tulip update of May 10, "The tulips are in full color in downtown Holland and blooming at about 80% in the rest of the city."

This video is a short documentary about growing Tulips in Holland, Michigan during the 1940s.

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Monday, May 9, 2011

Tulip - Farmer Seed & Nursery Co.

This tulip postcard was published by Manz Engraving Company, Chicago. There is advertising for Farmer Seed & Nursery Co., Faribault, Minnesota below the picture:
Tulips, Narcissus, Hyacinths and other early spring blooming bulbs must be planted in the Fall. Nothing in the line of hardy flowers can be grown as easily and will give better results. Write for illustrated price list.

Farmer Seed & Nursery Co. has been in business in Faribault since the 1880s, and their building is on the National Register of Historic Places. They have a website and an online catalog.

This type of Manz Engraving Company flower postcard was available with advertising on the front or back, or with no advertising. My postcard has advertising only on the front. It has a handwritten message on the back and was sent from Winnebago, Minnesota in 1916 to a sister in Vernon Center, Minnesota. Another postcard of this type that I saw on the web has no advertising on the front and has a form printed on the back used to announce a shipment in 1914 from a New York seed company.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Vintage Locomotive Stamps

These maximum cards were issued in 1987 by the U.S. Postal Service. The stamps are from a booklet of five 22-cent stamps featuring vintage locomotives. They were issued in Baltimore, Maryland, on October 1, 1987, the first day of National Stamp Collecting Month.

The stamps were in booklets containing two panes each of the five designs:
  1. Stourbridge Lion - In 1829 was the first actual locomotive to run in America.
  2. Best Friend of Charleston - In 1830 was the first locomotive to draw a train in America at speeds up to 21 mph.
  3. John Bull - First ran in 1831 and is the oldest complete engine preserved in the U.S.
  4. Brother Jonathan - Built in 1832 and was the world's fastest locomotive for many years.
  5. Gowan & Marx - Built in 1939 and was one of the most powerful of early locomotives, hauling haul 40 times its own weight.

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

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Famous Friends - Ford, Edison, Firestone, & Burroughs

The postcard above shows Henry Ford, Thomas A. Edison, and Harvey Firestone at the Edison home in Fort Myers, Florida. The photo appears to be a colorized version of a black and white original. The Library of Congress has a black and white photo that seems to be identical (only the thumbnail is available online).

Ford, Edison, and Firestone were considered the three leaders in American industry at the time, and often worked and vacationed together. Between 1914 and 1924 they participated in a number of "vagabond" automobile camping trips together. Another friend who sometimes participated in trips with them was the famous author John Burroughs. The photo below shows Thomas Edison, John Burroughs, and Henry Ford at Edison's home in Fort Myers.

The last photo shows all four men posed on an old waterwheel in West Virginia in 1918. Left to right are Harvey Firestone, Henry Ford, John Burroughs and Thomas A. Edison.

Here is some biographical information about the four men from Widipedia:

• Henry Ford (July 30, 1863 – April 7, 1947) was a prominent American industrialist, the founder of the Ford Motor Company, and sponsor of the development of the assembly line technique of mass production. His introduction of the Model T automobile revolutionized transportation and American industry.

• Thomas Alva Edison (February 11, 1847 – October 18, 1931) was an American inventor, scientist, and businessman who developed many devices that greatly influenced life around the world, including the phonograph, the motion picture camera, and a long-lasting, practical electric light bulb.

• Harvey Samuel Firestone (December 20, 1868 – February 7, 1938) was an American businessman, and the founder of the Firestone Tire and Rubber Company, one of the first global makers of automobile tires.

• John Burroughs (April 3, 1837 – March 29, 1921) was an American naturalist and essayist important in the evolution of the U.S. conservation movement.…By the turn of the century he had become a virtual cultural institution in his own right: the Grand Old Man of Nature at a time when the American romance with the idea of nature, and the American conservation movement, had come fully into their own.

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Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Pedro's South of the Border Highway Signs

These are some of the signs leading to Pedro's South of the Border, in South Carolina at the border between North Carolina and South Carolina.

From the back of the postcard:
Pedro's SOUTH of the BORDER highway signs brighten your trip for 400 miles of U.S. 301 and Interstate 95, from Virgina to Georgia . . . And all the signs lead to PEDRO'S!"
Here is some information on the signs from the South of the Border website.
Around 175 billboards are north and south from the Virginia/North Carolina state lines to the South Carolina/Georgia state lines. (At one time there were more than 250 different billboards from Philadelphia, PA to Daytona Beach, FL.) Many of these billboards are on I-95. They are also north and south on Highway 301/501, east and west on Highways 9 & 17. There are a few billboards on I-20.

I'm participating in Signs, Signs

Monday, May 2, 2011

Northrup King Garden Seeds Display Case

This is a postcard that Northrup, King & Co. of Minneapolis, Minnesota sent to a dealer announcing the shipment of a seed display case in 1913.

Northrup King was founded in 1896 and was located in Northeast Minneapolis until about 1986. The company is no longer in business in Minneapolis. The NK brand garden seeds are currently sold by Plantation Products Inc.

It is interesting to see how little garden flower seed displays have changed over the years. The picture below is from a 1954 Life Magazine ad. The Plantation Products website has pictures of current NK garden seed displays.

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