Friday, March 30, 2012

COLLECTION #197: Vintage Macmillan Readers

Is there any end to my elementary readers? Well, no. I still have lots more! Today's reader collection are the Macmillan Readers from the early 1950s. I have several books from both the 1951-52, and 1957 series. I never tire of looking at these books, and enjoying the simple stories and sweet illustrations.  I will refrain from editorializing about the homogenous ethnic makeup of the children and families in these books, it was a different time, and that doesn't negate the messages and educational value of the books.

I was pleased to see that in one of the books called Tommy Little, which is about a little boy who moves from the farm to the city, there is some teasing and conflict resolution. Tommy doesn't like a little girl who calls him Tommy from a Little Farm. In the book he actually says he doesn't like her! Wow! Pretty controversial for 1951!

Enjoy the pictures and covers of my series of books.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

COLLECTION #196: Vintage Motel & Restaurant Postcards

Kittie Lee Hotel, Bishop, CA
I think I'll have to stop saying I don't collect postcards anymore, because I finally went out and bought an album to put them in. It's about 1/2 full, so that implies, 1. That I have half an album full of postcards, and 2. that somehow I plan on filling the book the rest of the way up.
Cafeterias were always a popular restaurant style. This one was in Bakersfield, CA

The Nevada Club was located in State Line, Lake Tahoe, NV

These fun and funky old postcards are from the 50s and 60s, and are mostly from obscure locations in California and Nevada. They are from the estate of my late Mother-in-Law, and probably belonged to her parents, who lived in the Sacramento area for many years.

Roger Maris examines his 61st homerun ball, which was presented to him by Sam Gordon, who paid $5000 for it in 1961, from the young man who caught it at the game. Sam's Original Ranch Wagon Restaurant was in Sacramento, CA

The one of Roger Maris might seen not to belong in this category, but that would be wrong. This postcard is from Sam's Restaurant in Sacramento. You can read the interesting story here: Roger Maris postcard.  It's unfortunate that my in-laws didn't bother to get Roger Maris' autograph. If they had, I could have sold this little gem for hundreds of dollars, instead of sticking it in my little postcard album. But it's cool anyway.

The Clos-In Motel in Reno, NV

A generic Howard-Johnson's card from the 1950s. Howard Johonsons was once a huge chain of motels and coffee shops across the US, designed for middle class travelers.

The Nixon's Restaurant in Whittier, CA was owned by Donald Nixon, President Richard Nixon's brother. You can read more about his misadventures here.

I love this postcard from the Tick Tock Restaurant in Toluca Lake, CA, in the San Fernando Valley. 

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

COLLECTION #195: Barbie

This is my one and only Barbie. I don't mean my only Barbie, but my only original Barbie.  To be more specific, this is my own childhood Barbie. On Orphan Wednesday, I thought it would be appropriate to share one of my most special treasures, the Barbie that I got in 1961. She's one of the original 'bubble cut' Barbies, which came in the black & white striped swimsuit. Of course, I don't have any of the original clothing or accessories, but just the fact that I have her is special enough for me.  My best friend Davney got her ponytail Barbie at least a year before I got mine. We were a little older than children are today who play with Barbie. Actually, we were what would be considered 'tweens' today- 10, 11 years old. Perhaps that's why I still have her. I was old enough to take good care of her, not cut her hair, draw on her arms, or let my brother pull off her legs. (Ok, my brother did leave his subtle mark on her, but that's for another discussion). Davney and I loved our Barbies, but we only had one each. Little girls back then didn't have a dozen Barbies lying around naked in the bottom of a toy box. We dressed them carefully, displayed them lovingly, and took good care of them. I don't remember anyone who had more than one Barbie. (By the time Barbie's friends and cousins came out, we had outgrown dolls). Ken was not popular with my gang.

I keep her on display in my glassed-in display cabinet, and she has the place of honor on the shelf. I've fancied her up with an authentic Barbie Silken Flame dress, authentic purse, shoes, earrings, and necklace, and a replacement belt and sunglasses.  Isn't she awesome?

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

COLLECTION #194: Little Duckies

Way back in the covered wagon days, before eBay and Collector's Weekly, I began a collection of ducks. This was even before the country (bleah) style of decorating took the USA by storm in the early 1980s, which was full of hideous ducks. (And also geese, cows, and teddy bears). MY ducks were generally of the white duck with yellow bill variety, not mallards, decoys, or baby ducklings. Of course, I moved on to other things to collect, and as soon as the aforementioned country style came into fashion, I abandoned my ducks like a bad mother.
Great Duck on Wheels from Boston, 1977

I still have a few of these duckies left, they are mostly very small, and still awfully cute. The adorable duck on wheels was one of the first of my collection, which I bought in Boston in 1977.  Seven photos are worth a thousand words, so I'll just present my duckies for your viewing pleasure.

Monday, March 26, 2012

COLLECTION #193: Vintage Zithers

It's Music Monday! Today's little musical collection is some of my zithers. I say some, because I have two more packed away somewhere in my garage. I was hoping I would have come across them before now, but alas, I haven't seen them. (They are there, hiding from me, playing a quiet little zither tune... if I could just hear them!)

The red zither, which I adore, was a gift from my friend Tom back in the early '70s. He knew I played the autoharp, and he was always hoping I would learn to play the zither, but I never did manage to learn. But it always looked so cute, sitting on my shelves, just being, well, red!  You can see it in my photo below, which was taken in my college apartment room in 1974.

The other two are just old, and are probably meant as child's playthings. The one on the right is one of my two Junior Third Man Zithers. A famous movie called The Third Man was released in 1949. The theme song was a zither solo by Anton Karas. The song became a number one Billboard hit, and stayed on top of the charts for many weeks. My other Third Man zither is one of the MIA zithers. It has the label on it that this one is missing.  Here's a clip of the film's opening credits with the  famous song.

The third zither is just a mess..... old, cracked, damaged, missing strings. It's a shadow of it's former self, but I just can't bear to part with it. It has a label inside, but is so damaged, I can't really read it.

Thanks for looking!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

THE WEEKEND COLLECTOR: Vintage Kids' Books My Kid Loves

Illustration by Mercer Mayer, from the book Liza Lou and the Yeller Belly Swamp

I came across this marvelous blog by Burgin Streetman a few weeks ago.  The long version of her blog title is: Vintage Kids' Books My Kid Loves- Obsessively Seeking Children's Books of Old to Share with my Son. I mean, what could be clearer?  Burgin, who is lives in San Antonio, Texas, is not only always on the lookout for wonderful vintage children's books; but in addition to sharing them and giving us amazing information and details about the books,  she also periodically interviews children's book authors and illustrators. Her most recent interview was with famed author/ illustrator Mercer Mayer, one of my own favorites.

Some of Mercer Mayer's marvelous illustrations

From  Finder's Keepers, by William Lipkind and Nicholas Mordvinoff, 1951

An illustration by Garth Williams (one of my own personal favorites) from Fox Eyes, written by Margaret Wise Brown 1951
The cover of James and the Giant Peach, written by Roald Dahl, illustrated by Nancy Ekholm Burnett
From Farm Friends, 1956

Burgin also has an Etsy shop, where you can find many of her favorite children's books for sale. I hope you stop by her blog and shop, and take advantage of her wealth of knowledge and information about children's books of days gone by!

A Little Silver Book, 1955
This is from Burgin's own archives.... author/ illustrator Joan Walsh Anglund drew these adorable little sketches of Burgin and her sisters inside her book. What a treasure!

Friday, March 23, 2012

COLLECTION #192: Vintage Heath & Company Readers Part 2

Last Friday I featured my fun 1940s editions of the Heath Reading for Interest elementary readers.  Today, I'm sharing part two, or the 1955 editions of some of the same readers. I only have 6 of these, but they look entirely different. It's funny, the 1940s books have such adorable covers, graphic and colorful. Each one slightly different but with consistent motifs and a unified look. These 1955 books look like they were published by six different publishers! The fonts are all different, the covers were done by different artists, and they have such a different feel. As a designer myself, I'm not sure what they were thinking- but perhaps they just wanted to make each book unique and colorful, and stand alone on its own merit as a book. The insides are much the same as the 1940s editions.

They are fun books, no matter what their covers look like, and I hope you enjoy looking at them!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

COLLECTION #191: White Pitchers

Old and new, French and Danish and Japanese and Mexican, and ? These are my cute white pitchers. Well, they are mostly white!
I don't think any of them are very old. The white with the tiny speckles & blue rim is from our wedding dishes: Dask Blue Mist. We were married in 1978, which might seem old to a lot of you!  But I think the pattern is a classic.
The pitcher with the orange and brown flowers is from the estate of my mother-in-law, and I love it. In fact, I love all of them, and hope you do too!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

COLLECTION #190: Vintage Singer Puzzle Box

It's Orphan Wednesday! Today's fun item is a Singer Puzzle Box sewing machine accessory holder. This little box has such an interesting, innovative design, that it has the patent information right on the top.

I was able to find quite a bit of information online about this box. In fact, Wikipedia even has a page about it, showing photos of many of the attachments and what they do! You can find it here.

I also found a blog that gives some additional details about these sewing boxes, but I am still unable to find out exactly how old my box is. I assume it was included with my sewing machine (which you can read about here), so that would make it from 1890 or 1891. I'll have to research further.

If I find out any additional information about my particular box, I'll come back and edit this post. I hope you enjoy my wonderful little box!