Tuesday, November 29, 2011

General Motors Motorama of 1956

The following description is printed on the back of this postcard:
The 1956 MOTORAMA features the Car of Tomorrow on the Highway of Tomorrow--and the most beautiful GM Cars of Today--starring the latest creations of Chevrolet, Pontiac, Oldsmobile, Buick, Cadillac--also Body by Fisher, Chevrolet and GMC Trucks, Frigidaire Kitchen of Tomorrow, GM Diesel and other new General Motors Products.
The General Motors Motorama was an auto show staged by GM from 1949 to 1961. These shows were designed to whet public appetite and boost automobile sales with displays of fancy prototypes, concept vehicles and other special models. They were usually held in conjunction with the New York Auto Show in January. The 1956 dates were New York City (January 19–24), Miami (February 4–12), Los Angeles (March 3–11), San Francisco (March 24-April 1), Boston (April 19–29). Attendance was over 2.2 million.

Design for Dreaming is a musical film about a woman who dreams about a masked man taking her to the 1956 General Motors Motorama at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel and Frigidaire's "Kitchen of the Future."

Monday, November 28, 2011

Popcorn Wagon - Minneapolis, Minnesota

This postcard of the popcorn wagon on Nicollet Mall in Downtown Minneapolis is ©1976. On the back it says "When you're on the Nicollet Mall, be sure to visit "The Popcorn Lady". In addition to serving delicious popcorn and Coca Cola, she is happy to tell you about Minneapolis, what to see and how to get there."

There is a popcorn wagon near there now, but I don't know if it is the same one or if it has been there continuously. The wagon on the postcard has a sign "Wagon Popcorn Franchises" and it appears to be a reproduction of a Cretors Style Model C.

A column in the December 28, 2000 Minneapolis Star Tribune reported the death of the "Popcorn Lady":
Charlotte Sunderlin of Blaine, known for two decades as "the Popcorn Lady of Nicollet Mall," died Tuesday following a stroke. She was 84. She ran a red-and-gold popcorn wagon on the Nicollet Mall in downtown Minneapolis for 23 years, beginning in 1970. Over the years, her popcorn wagon was stationed at various locations between 6th and 8th streets, but always on the mall. On a good summer day, the wagon sold more than 1,000 boxes of popcorn.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

"The Annunciation" Christmas Stamp 1968

Above is a maximum card with the 1968 U.S. Christmas stamp. The stamp has a detail from The Annunciation painting by Jan van Eyck, a great fifteenth century Flemish artist. The painting is in the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. It is believed that it originally was a side panel in a triptych.

The scene in the painting depicts the Annunciation by the Archangel Gabriel to the Virgin Mary that she will bear the son of God, and the incarnation of Christ as the Holy Spirit in the form of a dove, descending towards Mary on a beam of light. The painting includes the words (omitted from the stamp) uttered by the angel, “Ave gratia plena” (hail, full of grace) and those spoken by Mary, “Ecce ancilla domini” (behold the handmaiden of the Lord). Mary's words are painted upside down for God above to see.

The painting received a major cleaning in 1998, which probably accounts for most of the color differences between the older images and the detail shown below with the "spoken" words.

The Arago website has a section with design files for the 1968 Christmas Issue here. The design files include alternate stamp designs using The Annunciation and copies of correspondence.

The first official U.S. Christmas stamps were issued in 1962. Since 1970, two general themes of Christmas stamps have been issued yearly: one "traditional" and one "contemporary." The traditional stamps usually are based on religious artwork, while the contemporary stamps usually have a secular subject. Many of the artworks that have inspired the traditional stamps are in the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. To showcase this tradition, the National Gallery of Art and the National Postal Museum have partnered to create an online exhibit exploring the The Art of Christmas Stamps.

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

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thanksgiving Fun

Above is a Thanksgiving postcard of a tiny chef with a large knife and fork. He is sitting on a pumpkin that is on a cart pulled by a turkey. The situation is absurd, but it is typical of many early Thanksgiving postcards. I chose this postcard for today because it fits it with the vintage ad shown below and also my Thanksgiving Fun video.

The International Silver Co. ad shown below is from the November, 1923 Ladies' Home Journal. The ad features a cute picture of two children with a turkey and a humorous verse:
Turkey in the barnyard
Looking mighty smart,
Silver knife awaiting
To carve him all apart.

The Thanksgiving Fun video is one I made with vintage Thanksgiving postcards from my collection. These cards feature children playing with turkeys. Many of the scenes shown are ones of children running around with the turkeys, posing with them, or offering them food. It is not hard to imagine children engaging in these activities 100 years ago when these postcards were new. Other scenes are obviously fantasy.

I'm participating in Vintage Thingie Thursday

Highway 61 Revisited

I chose this postcard of the entrance sign at Fish Fry Lodge for my post because The Sepia Saturday 102 prompt has a fish sign. The title of this card is Souvenir of NORTH SHORE DRIVE, Duluth (Highway 61) Minnesota, and the following information is printed on the back:
The entrance to FISH FRY LODGE on the shore of Lake Superior, 10 miles from downtown Duluth. 24 modern cabins housing from 2 to 8 people, also twin beds. Serving no beer. Completely Modern Cabins with hot and cold water, May 1 to Nov. 1. Dining Room Service all year. Golf and Riding facilities nearby.
I borrowed the title of this post from Bob Dylan's song Highway 61 Revisited. I always have found Bob Dylan hard to understand, so I wasn't aware of his song until I started researching Highway 61. Bob Dylan was born in Duluth and grew up in northern Minnesota.

U.S. Highway 61 runs north from New Orleans, Louisiana to Wyoming, Minnesota. Before 1991, U.S. Highway 61 ran 1,714 miles (2,758 km) from New Orleans through Duluth, Minnesota all the way to the Canadian border. The highway has been shortened to 1,400 miles (2,300 km) ending now in the city of Wyoming, Minnesota at an intersection with Interstate 35. Now the portion between Wyoming, Minnesota and Duluth has been turned back to local jurisdiction or supplanted by Interstate 35. The portion of Highway 61 north of Duluth is now Minnesota State Highway 61, part of the Minnesota State Highway system.

When I originally wrote this post, there was a video on YouTube of Bob Dylan singing the song in 1965. That video has since been blocked because of copyright infringements. You can read the lyrics to Highway 61 Revisited here. Wikipedia has an explanation of the meaning of the song here.

For More Vintage Images, Visit Sepia Saturday

Monday, November 21, 2011

Northwestern Bank Weatherball - Minneapolis, MN

This circa 1980 postcard has a view of holiday lights on Nicollet Mall in downtown Minneapolis from about 4th Street looking south. The tall building in the center is the IDS Center which is between 7th and 8th streets. The old Northwestern National Bank building is to the left, topped by the lighted NW and Weatherball.

On Thanksgiving Day 1982, a fire that started in the vacant partially demolished former location of Donaldson's Department Store destroyed an entire block of downtown Minneapolis. The Northwestern National Bank was severely damaged and was later demolished. That was the end of the Northwestern Weatherball as a downtown Minneapolis landmark.

The Northwestern Weatherball was 157 feet high and was constructed in 1949. The Weatherball was removed from the bank building and stored at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds. Although there were plans to restore the Weatherball, it ended up being scrapped in 2000.

The Northwestern Weatherball broadcast the weather using a simple color code. An advertising jingle made the code easy to remember:
When the Weatherball is glowing red, warmer weather's just ahead.
When the Weatherball is shining white, colder weather is in sight.
When the Weatherball is wearing green, no weather changes are foreseen.
Colors blinking by night and day say, precipitation's on the way.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Greetings From America Stamps - 50 State Postcards

The front and back of a postcard from the 50 State Postcards set is shown above. This card illustrates the 37¢ Minnesota stamp. The Greetings from America stamps were issued in a 34¢ denomination on a pane of fifty individual designs on April 4, 2002. On June 30, 2002 first class postage increased from 34¢ to 37¢. The fifty stamps were reissued in a 37¢ denomination on October 25, 2002.

The stamps were inspired by "large letter" postcards that depicted local scenes inside big letters that spelled out the name of the place or attractions during the 1930s and 1940s. Text on the back of each stamp lists the state's bird, flower, tree, and capital, as well as the date the state entered the Union. The postcard backs feature the 1982 State Bird and Flower Issue in addition to the state capital, statehood date, and state tree.

Shown below are the front and back of the box holding the postcard set.

The video below is a slideshow of all fifty designs. You can get a really good view if you watch the video in full screen mode.

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

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Minnesota Vacation Days

Above are three recent postcards showing vintage Minnesota maps from the 1920s. These illustrations are from the book Minnesota Vacation Days by Kathryn strand Koutsky and Linda Koutsky published by Minnesota Historical Society Press ©2006. This is a beautiful book filled with all sorts of ephemera, photos, and souvenirs related to Minnesota vacations.

Below is a spread in the book that includes the maps shown on the postcards. Below that is another spread showing more ephemera with beautiful vintage graphics.

The last spread from the book shows vintage linen vacation postcards. On the left are some packages of postcards priced at 3 for 10¢ including postage stamps!

Big fish were a popular subject on comic linen postcards aimed at vacationers. Autos were another popular subject. I will conclude with a postcard from my collection showing both subjects. This postcard was originally published by Curt Teich in 1935. Sometimes stock postcards were imprinted with specific locations. This one has Greetings from Owatonna, Minn. imprinted in the bottom border.

Visit Sepia Saturday for More Vintage Photos

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Triple Rail Crossing - Richmond, Virginia

This postcard shows the triple rail crossing in Richmind, Virginia. The back of the postcardd has the following description:
This unique photograph presents to view the only point in the world where three trunk line trains cross each other at the same time, and over their separate tracks. At the top is shown a passenger train of the C. & O. Railway leaving Richmond for the upper James River Valley just beneath it a train of the S.A.L. Railway leaving the Main Street (Union) Deport for the South, and on the ground a train of the Southern Railway coming into Richmond from West Point on the York River.
An earlier postcard shown here (and on Wikipedia) is postmarked 1919 and has a different picture, but an identical description. According to the Wikipedia article, the triple crossing has been a Richmond attraction for railfans for over 100 years, although the number of photographic angles decreased in the 1990s due to a new flood wall.

Monday, November 14, 2011

In Memory of Governor John A. Johnson

Governor John A. Johnson, 16th Governor of Minnesota, was born in 1861 and died in 1909 while in office. He was born in St. Peter, Minnesota and was the first Minnesota-born governor. He was elected governor three times in 1904, 1906, and 1908.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Winter Olympics Stamps

Ice Dancing

Alpine Skiing

Nordic skiing

Ice Hockey

These maximum cards were issued by the U.S. Postal Service. The stamps are from a block of four 20-cent stamps that were issued to honor the 1984 Winter Olympics held in Sarajevo, then part of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. The stamps were issued in Lake Placid, New York which was the site of the 1980 and 1932 Winter Olympics.

The sports highlighted on these stamps are ice dancing, Alpine skiing, Nordic skiing, and ice hockey.

The video below shows Winter Olympics stamps from a variety of countries and years.

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

Thursday, November 10, 2011

A Century of Progress Exposition - 100 Postcard Views

Originally I planned make to make a post for Sepia Saturday 100 using a few of my Century of Progress postcards. I figured the "century" that the exposition was named for, the hundred years 1833-1933, would fit the "100" theme. However, when I saw the special Sepia Saturday 100 logo, I had the idea of making a video using 100 postcards.

I had previously made a Century of Progress video using brightly colored linen postcards, so I planned to use only black and white postcards. While I was scanning, I changed my mind a couple of times about which cards to include. I ended up including some color ones and scanning a total of 142 postcards. It was hard to choose which ones to include and end up with exactly 100 (actually 101 if you count the postcard used for the title). The scanning was time consuming, but it was probably easier than thinking of something intelligent to write.

This is a special post for Sepia Saturday 100, the 100th Sepia Saturday.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Chief Bemidji

The postcard above is Shaynowishkung, commonly called Chief Bemidji . The following information is from the back of the postcard.
He was the leader of about 50 Indians who had settled along the south shores of Lake Bemidji, Minn. Actually, he was the 'chief Indian' or spokesman for the group and he was not a chief and his name was not Bemidji. In Ojibway, his name was Shaynowishkung--a word which means 'rattler.' When the first white men arrived in this area, they were met by him and upon asking his name, were given instead the name of the lake, which sounded to them like Bemidji. Thus, he was called Chief Bemidji.

The next postcard is the first statue of Chief Bemidji, carved in 1901.

The last postcard is the second (and current) statue of Chief Bemidji made in 1952. There are currently efforts to create a third statue in bronze. Critics of the current statue feel that it is not artistic or respectful.

The following information is from the Smithsonian American Art Museum's Inventories of American Painting and Sculpture database and was taken from a plaque by the statue donated in 1993.
Shaynowishkung known as "Chief Bemidji" 1824-1904. In the 1800s, Shaynowishkung and a band of Ojibwe Indians lived on the south shore of a lake known to fur traders as Lac Traverse. The Ojibwe word for traverse is bemidgegumaug, and it means 'the river (route) flowing crosswise.' As time passed, the lake was called "Bemidji." The first white settlers, George E. and Merian E. Carson came in 1888. Shaynowishkung housed and fed them and others. Although he was not a tribal chief, those early homesteaders respectfully called him “Chief Bemidji." When his daughter, Bahgahmaushequay, married Marian Carson, Bemidji's first postmaster, the relationship was cemented between the original inhabitants and the white settlers. In 1896, the northernmost town of the Mississippi River was incorporated and it was named Bemidji. Lumberjack Gustaf Hinche carved the first Chief Bemidji statue in 1901, honoring a living Shaynowishkung. In 1904, the town mourned Shaynowishkung's death and erected a monument in his name at the Greenwood Cemetery. In 1927 Bemidji's park commission placed Hinche's 'Chief Bemidji' statue in Library Park to overlook the flowage of the Mississippi River through Lake Bemidji. Years and weather took its toll on the original statue and it was replaced in 1952 by a replica carved by retired lumberjack Eric Boe. Coated with fiberglass to protect it from the elements, it remains a symbol of esteem for the Ojibwe Indian Shaynowishkung, known honorably as 'Chief Bemidji.' Plaque donated by Joyce Bedeson Skelton, Oct. 1993.

More history of Chief Bemidji can be found here.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Ohio Map & Sesquicentennial Stamp

When I first saw this postcard, I just saw the cancellation on the front and didn't notice the stamp which blends in with the pictures on the card. Then I realized that this is a maximum card. The postcard is one of a series of linen map postcards published by Kropp. The stamp commemorates the state of Ohio's sesquicentennial in 1953, and there is a first day of issue cancellation.

The following description is from the Arago website:
The Department issued this 3-cent Ohio Statehood commemorative stamp through the Chillicothe, Ohio, post office on March 2, 1953. The stamp's central design is an outline of the state of Ohio, which provides a flat-toned background for Ohio's Great Seal. Defining each side of the stamp are two dark, vertical panels, enclosing a row of eight stars in each panel, representing the sixteen states prior to the admission of Ohio into the Union. The seventeenth star, representing Ohio, appears in the top center, directly over the top border of the state. A buckeye leaf is shown in the lower left corner.
The postcard has nine numbered views of places in Ohio:
  1. Municipal Stadium, Cleveland
  2. State Capital at Columbus
  3. Sunset on Lake Erie
  4. Picturesque Ohio River at Cincinnati
  5. One of the many fine beaches on Lake Erie
  6. Sheet and Tube Mills at Youngstown
  7. Soldiers' Home at Dayton
  8. Coal and Ore Boats at Toledo
  9. Sailboats on Sandusky Bay

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

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Santa Fe Railway's Indian Band

This postcard shows the Santa Fe Railway's Indian Band in the parade at the Inter-Tribal Ceremonial, Gallup, New Mexico.

The Santa Fe All-Indian Band showcased musical talents of the railway's Indian employees. The band started in 1923 with three Native Americans who entertained for a Santa Fe Railway shop picnic in Winslow, Arizona. The original band included a trumpet, a tuba, and a bass drum. The inter-tribal band had members from as many as twelve tribes. Although most band members were Santa Fe employees, some family members were also included. The the Santa Fe All-Indian Band played at events for more than forty years. It was dissolved in 1964, because there weren’t enough replacement band members to keep the band going.

The Inter-Tribal Indian Ceremonial is still an annual event. The following description is from the New Mexico Tourism Department website:
Since 1922, the people of Gallup, New Mexico have been proud to present the Gallup Inter-Tribal Indian Ceremonial each summer. A unique opportunity to immerse yourself in Native American arts, cultures, and traditions, “Ceremonial”, as it is known throughout the region, is a special time when indigenous peoples from throughout the United States, Canada, and Mexico travel to Gallup to share the best of their creative and performing talents and diverse heritages with the rest of the world, and to reunite with other indigenous groups. Nowhere else on Earth can you experience tribal ceremonial dances, a contest pow-wow, indoor and outdoor arts and crafts markets, all Indian rodeos, a world class juried art show, opportunities to buy authentic Native American art and jewelry, parades, Native American foods, a ceremonial queen contest, and crafts demonstrations, all in one location at one time.

November is Native American Heritage Month in the United States. This is a time to celebrate the heritage and contributions of American Indians and Alaska Natives. President George H. W. Bush approved a joint resolution designating November 1990 "National American Indian Heritage Month." Similar proclamations (with some variants in the name of the month) have been issued each year since 1994. The 2011 proclamation issued by President Barack Obama is online here.

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