Wednesday, June 17, 2015

The Purple Parasol by George Barr McCutcheon

The Purple Parasol by George Barr Mccutcheon

The Purple Parasol by George Barr McCutcheon, published by A. L. Burt, 1907, Reprint with the Harrison Fisher illustrations.

When an elderly millionaire marries an elegant young woman about town, scandal erupts when she falls for a fashionable play actor. She tells her husband she is going to the mountains for a rest, and it's the straw that breaks the old man's back when he discovers that the lover is heading for the heights as well. Samuel W. Rossiter, Jr., promising young lawyer, is sent to the Adirondacks to get the "evidence" on the wayward lady. Trouble is, he has never laid eyes on the woman or her lover, but the description he is given relies heavily on the fact that she carries a purple parasol. The resulting comic chase is as charming as it is antic.

George Barr McCutcheon (1866 - 1928) was an imaginative writer and considered a member of the Golden Age of Indiana literature, joining the ranks of leading Hoosier authors including Lew Wallace, Booth Tarkington, James Whitcomb Riley and Theodore Dreiser. McCutcheon invented a country in Europe he called Graustark and he wrote several popular novels set in this enchanting realm. The Graustark novels and his other works led to his identification as a romantic writer, but McCutcheon preferred to be thought of as a playwright. His best known novel, Brewster's Millions, has repeatedly been made into movies.

Although The Purple Parasol is an old-fashioned novel, it is fast paced and the writing stands the test of time. Stepping back into a world where telegraphs are the swiftest means of communication and a train to the mountains is the elegant getaway (for a month!) of the well-to-do, the story is refreshing in its simplicity, has a good plot and a fun twist before the romantic end. The novel is short; there is a second story in this volume called The Flyers. The copy available for sale at Greenberry House is handsomely bound and is illustrated with color plates by Harrison Fisher, who was a well-known artist and involved in the discovery of Clara Bow, the "It-Girl."

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

New Vintage Photographs Listed In the Online Store

Still putting vintage photographs on the web site. What do you think the story about this fine looking gentleman might be?
CDV by D. M. Cooper, Danville, Illinois
Or this young man, identified as Aaron Hippensteal? A vintage CDV is an object of mystery!
Young Aaron Hippensteal

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Tintype Photography: Civil War Favorite

Portrait of Young Man Tintype

Most people are familiar with the term "tintype" as a type of photograph processed on a piece of metal. Tintype photography became very popular by the Civil War in America and thousands of images were made in studios all across the country. The process, which involves developing the photograph on a thin sheet of lacquered iron, was so quick and easy that itinerant photographers traveled throughout rural areas, small towns and cities taking portraits of people from all walks of life. Very often a single photograph by one of these traveling men was the only portrait ever made of an individual in his life. Therefore many of the portraits show people in their "Sunday best" clothes in very formal poses. Sometimes photographers would add a touch of color to the images before the varnish topcoat was put on.

Portrait of young woman by J. H. Young, Baltimore

Oddly enough, tintypes were not made of tin. Often the photograph was handed to the customer as it came, snipped out of the sheet of iron. Therefore many of the images have no record of who the photographer might have been. Also many of the subjects of the photographs are unidentified. Sometimes a studio portrait might be placed in a sleeve, however, with the photographer's information printed, stamped or written on the back. The sleeves were often simple white envelopes with an oval or square cutout for the photograph to show, but some were printed with colored frames around the cutout or embossed. The Potter's Patent sleeve is very popular with collectors.

Baby in hooded coat tintype
The convenience and ease of processing, combined with the low coat and sturdiness of the photograph, kept tintypes popular through the Civil War and into the early 20th century, especially by novelty photographers. Although they were eventually replaced by photographs mounted on paper, tintypes graced many 19th century albums and were probably carried into the battlefield by Civil War soldiers clinging to the memories of wives, sweethearts, children and mothers back home. As a collectible, tintype photographs are still relatively inexpensive because of their durability and fairly common occurrence. They offer a fascinating glimpse into life during the Victorian era.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Cigarette Cards from the 19th and Early 20th Century

Leach Cross, Prize Fighter, Cigarette Card Issued by Mecca Cigarettes 


Cigarette cards are a fascinating collectible and they can sometimes be very valuable, depending on rarity and condition. They are small and take up little space; an entire collection can be kept in a notebook with archival quality plastic pocketed sheets. Cigarette cards were issued by tobacco companies as advertising and inserted into cigarette packs as stiffeners to protect the cigarettes.

The card pictured is a dramatic image of the fighter Leach Cross in green trunks on a red background. Offered by Mecca Cigarettes as part of their Champion Athlete and Prize Fighter Series, the card features the fighter's statistics and some advertising on the reverse. This card measures 2 1/2 x 3 1/4 inches. There is some variation in size in the different cards and series.

Uhlan, Champion Trotter Cigarette Card

Other subjects represented on cigarette cards included beautiful women and actresses, Native American chiefs, many other sportsmen, sentimental subjects, nature, architecture and much more. Most of the cards have descriptions of the subjects and they are a wonderful way to see what our ancestors considered important and beautiful.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Happy 2015!

Happiest of New Years to you and yours! Here's hoping for a successful and blessed 2015 for all of our friends and family. I'm looking forward to seeing everyone in the spring here in Meadows of Dan!

Best wishes for a wonderful new year!
I now have over 100 items in my web site store and over 200 books in my biblio.com listings. I frequently have items up at auction on eBay under the user name wbstates. I also have a booth here in Meadows of Dan at Jerry and Connie's House of Collectibles.  It won't be long, though, before I will be opening the shop in Meadows of Dan with lots and lots more items. It's impossible to have so many interesting items online because I love researching each piece and finding out all about it. It takes a lot of time to write a good description!

Come see me soon!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Pauline Hall, Victorian Actress & Singer, Portrait in Hat and Lace

Portrait of the lovely Pauline Hall
An intimate portrait of Pauline Hall (1860 - 1919), born Pauline Fredrika Schmidgall in Ohio, a popular stage actress and singer who performed in opera and later in vaudeville. The photograph captures Hall's beautiful eyes and a pensive pose, as she wears a feathered hat and a lace collar. Printed on the back "Hall."

This is a stereoview image, which was created to view through an instrument in order to give a three dimensional effect. The card is 7 x 2 7/8 inches. Images are mounted on a flat orange card with rounded corners and a pink reverse.Light tanning to image, which remains sharp with a little fading, light spotting and scratches, light edge wear with a little bumping of corners. 






Friday, December 5, 2014

Autograph of Thomas Cushing, Member of Continental Congress, American Revolution

Autograph of Thomas Cushing
Clipped signature of Thomas Cushing (March 24, 1725 - February 28, 1788), Massachusetts native and reluctant American patriot. He became a lawyer and served in Massachusetts state offices before his election to the First Continental Congress in 1774, despite his opposition to America's bid for independence. Even though he was against the revolution, Cushing was ordered arrested for high treason but was never captured. His lack of enthusiasm for the war continued through 1775, but he was elected to the Continental Congress again and also to the Massachusetts Bay revolutionary government council. When at last Cushing came around to support the Revolution, he served as commissary general for Massachusetts in the Continental Army. He became the first Lieutenant Governor of Massachusetts in 1780 until his death in 1788, acting as Governor in 1785. 

Clipped signature "T Cushing" on a slip of paper measuring 2 3/4 by 3/4 inches, along with that of John Whetcomb. Whetcomb and Cushing were on the Council of the Massachusetts Bay Colony together and this slip is probably clipped from a document signed during the Revolution when he served on the Council. Some tanning and a little creasing, some discoloration on the back, probably from an album mount. This is an interesting and uncommon piece of Revolutionary War history.