PRESTO! The noisy cooker

This manual/cookbook is from the Presto Cooker my mother used. I believe the old pressure cooker might still be in this house, I'm not sure. I do know the stand alone timer is in the kitchen; I just used it this morning. Other cheap plastic timers have come and gone, but the one made by Presto, oh so long ago, takes a licking and keeps on ticking. This morning it was for cupcakes.

If you've never heard food being cooked in an old pressure cooker it's a bit unnerving. As a child I was sure the thing was going to blow up. My mother would lock the lid on and then walk away. I'd wait for the sound to start. I think back on it and it's sort of a rain jet sprinkler and a "this things going to blow any minute!" rattle.

I have no idea what year this is from, no copyright date inside. I'm guessing the late '40s to mid-50s. Click on any image, except the first and last, to see it larger.

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As is the case with almost all cookbooks of this time period, the food photos are dreadful. If I knew a bowl of glop was awaiting me each morning before school I'd have stayed in bed. Even the giraffe wouldn't have helped.

And the meat? Beef with cucumbers? Is that what I'm seeing in the foreground? Really? And I'm not really sure what the peas are in next to what I think is ham. Peaches with peas? I just don't know.

Thinking about it, I believe there is also an old Presto electric frying pan in the house and a air popcorn popper. I hope their products today last as long as the ones from long ago, though not a good way for the company to make money.

The Presto company, National Presto Industries, Inc., is still in business. You can read the companies history here and see their home page here.

I see that they're still located in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. Wisconsin...a pressure cooker of a completely different kind.


BALL-BAND shoes from Mishawaka

If you grew up in the 1950s you probably remember Keds, Converse, and maybe PF Flyers. Ball-Band? Never heard of them.

I have no memory of these shoes made by the Mishawaka Rubber & Woolen Mfg. Co. in Mishawaka, Indiana.

This ad is from the July-August 1951 Archie comic. It amazes me how many of the ads in this one comic are comics themselves. I did find a series of these comic ads online at ebay, but no actual information about how the idea came about or if they had running characters.

Ball-Band comic ad_tatteredandlost
Click on image to see it larger.

The following is a little history of the Mishawaka Rubber & Woolen Mfg. Co. once located at 312 N. Hill St., Mishawaka, Indiana.
(Courtesy of the Mishawaka-Penn Public Library historical archives)

In 1867 Jacob Beiger puchased a small wooden mill built in 1838 near the dam and Mishawaka Woolen Manufacturing Company was born. Incorporated in 1874, the company produced red flannel boots. Adolphus Eberhart and Martin Beiger invented All Knit Boots in 1886. They were made with a black band around the top and when a red ball was later added the Ball Band trademark resulted.

Stakes were driven for the first rubber-making plant in 1897. In 1899 the company was authorized to build a new four-story warehouse. More improvements were added after 1900 because of an increase in sales. After Martin Beiger’s death in 1903, a 30-man syndicate took control of the company. Later, Mishawaka Woolen Company became a subsidiary of U.S. Rubber.

In 1921 a five-story storage and warehouse building designed by Albert Kahn was erected. The name of the company was changed to Mishawaka Rubber and Woolen Manufacturing Company in 1923, and to Uniroyal, Inc. in 1967. All footwear manufactured by Mishawaka Rubber Company was discontinued in 1969, and, due largely to the price pressures from foreign competition, Mishawaka Rubber Company was dissolved. Uniroyal closed after filing bankruptcy on April 1, 1997. All the buildings were demolished/imploded a few years later. Today, the site is home to the C. Beutter Riverfront Park. (SOURCE: Goldstein, Deborah May. Made in South Bend/Mishawaka. Discovery Hall Museum, 1980.


CAPTAIN TOOTSIE and The Dangerous Buggy Ride

I give you Captain Tootsie. Okay, that just makes me laugh. I know times were different when this character was created, but were they THAT different? Didn't anyone think maybe calling a "superhero" Captain Tootsie was all wrong? Apparently not. Would Captain Roll have been any better? Captain Toot? It gets worse, but you'll need to continue reading for that.

This image is from the July-August 1951 Archie comic. Since I'm not a comic book collector I had never seen this character. Okay, I've had this comic for years, but had never noticed or at least remembered this ad. He's apparently well known amongst serious collectors.

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Now, I was a big fan of Tootsie Rolls as a kid and even used them to help take out loose teeth. Yes, it's true, a kids loose tooth and a Tootsie Roll work perfectly together. I won't go into the details. Suffice it to say it was a relatively pain free way to get the tooth disconnected from the gum when it was hanging by a thread and my mother just kept saying, "Pull it! Just pull it!" I liked the Tootsie Method better.

Let's check with Wikipedia to see how Captain Tootsie came about.
Captain Tootsie is an advertisement comic created for Tootsie Rolls in 1943 by C C Beck and Peter Costanza. It featured the title character Captain Tootsie and his sidekick, a boy named Rollo and 2 other young cohorts named Fatso and Fisty. 
It had many generic stories in the form of full colour one page Sunday strips, black and white daily strips usually with very few panels and 2 issues of a comic book of the same title released by Toby Press.

The character was extremely similar to Beck's other main work, Captain Marvel published by Fawcett Comics. The way all the characters featured were drawn looked to be stolen and changed very slightly from one of the stories of Whiz Comics (the Fawcett Comics feature of which Captain Marvel starred).

The stories were written to happen quickly without any background information and were usually quickly solved in only a punch or two, then ended off with 'the gang' enjoy a delicious snack of a Tootsie Roll product.

The advertisement comic was featured by many publishers who rivaled Beck at Fawcett, Fawcett and in the newspapers.

It is currently unknown how many stories were created for these ads, but some full stories can be found around the web.

His powers were quite generic. He seemed to be quite strong and quicker to the punch than any of his enemies. He was never seen flying or bouncing bullets off him, but it never really came up. His stories were kept as light and 'kid-friendly' as possible.

Captain Tootsie's comic strip ads ended at some point in the 1950s and besides a few posts about him online and being mentioned in a Comic Book Encyclopedia published in 2004, he has remained mostly forgotten. (SOURCE: Wikipedia)
Oh why, oh why, couldn't my comic have Fatso and Fisty in it? But Fisty? Seriously? Captain Tootsie and Fisty? Not goin' there.

To see more Captain Tootsie ads click on any of the following links:



Have I got a product for you! Just in time for a sweltering summer! Protect your car seats from those horrible body oils and shedding skin. Yes indeed-y, give folks a hot seat every single time they sit down in your car after it's been sitting in the sun. Make a contest out of it! See how long someone in shorts can sit in your car before screaming.

Does any of this sound familiar? Then you'll remember plastic car seat covers. If it doesn't sound familiar, I wish I were you.

My folks always put plastic car seats on every car they owned through the 50s. Over the years I asked over and over again, "WHY?" They told me they were trying to protect the seats so that they looked new. Okay, I get it. They had a messy kid in the car, but geez those things hurt. Get in wearing shorts and I'm telling you you were going to stick to the seat and when you tried to lift your thigh it made a sucking sound and left a red mark on the back of your leg. But I must admit when I or the dog barfed it was a quick clean-up.

I give you another ad from the July-August 1951 Archie comic.

Plastic Seat Cover Company_tatteredandlost
Click on the ratty image to see it larger.

Notice it says "Saran Plastic Seat Cover." I'm thinking maybe I could do the same thing today with one of those huge boxes of plastic wrap from Costco. Be about the same price. Just think how stylish it would look!

And if you didn't buy Archie comics did that mean you couldn't purchase this impressive product? No siree. The ad below, placed by Advance Stores, is from the March 2, 1961 newspaper The Bee from Danville, Virginia.

So, I wonder what other business was run out of 318 Market Street, Newark, New Jersey? Well, there's this ad from the June 1956 Popular science.

Any idea what's there now? It certainly can't be the saran plastic seat cover company.


DUBBLE BUBBLE would cause me trouble

Oh how I loved Dubble Bubble and Bazooka gum when I was growing up. A big wad of it stuck in my mouth, forever trying to blow big bubbles, ending up with it stuck in my hair, my mother telling me to hold still while she got it out (often with scissors).

The added bonus were the little tiny comics inside the wrapper. Now I probably couldn't read them without a magnifying glass.

And I wouldn't even think of trying to chew a big wad of bubble gum now. If I didn't pull a crown off, I'd most certainly send my TMJ into overdrive. Dubble Bubble would be for me nothing but trouble. And that makes me a little sad because I really did enjoy blowing those bubbles.

This image is again from the July-August 1951 Archie comic.

Dubble Bubble comic_tatteredandlost
Click on image to see it larger.

And here's a little background about Dubble Bubble. Who knew it had an interesting history?
The Fleer Corporation, founded by Frank H. Fleer in 1885, was the first company to successfully manufacture bubblegum; it remained a family-owned enterprise until it was taken private in 1989.

Fleer originally developed a bubblegum formulation called Blibber-Blubber in 1906. Unfortunately, while this gum was capable of being blown into bubbles, in other respects it was vastly inferior to regular chewing gum, and Blibber-Blubber was never marketed to the public. In 1928, Fleer employee Walter Diemer improved the Blibber-Blubber formulation to produce the first commercially successful bubblegum, Dubble Bubble. Its pink color set a tradition for nearly all bubble gums to follow. (SOURCE: Wikipedia)
Dubble Bubble is a brand of bubble gum invented in 1928 by Philadelphia-based Fleer. Walter E. Diemer — an accountant at Fleer — enjoyed experimenting with recipes during his free time. In an interview a few years before his death, he said, "It was an accident". In 1937, the gum went on the market nationally. It featured a comic strip that came with the gum starting in 1930, featuring twin brothers Dub and Bub. They were replaced by a new character named Pud in 1950.

Dubble Bubble was distributed in military rations during World War II until 1942. Due to war efforts, latex and sugar became scarce, briefly putting a halt to bubble gum manufacturing in the U.S. By 1951, Fleer was again able to manufacture Dubble Bubble, and in 1954, the company began sponsoring bubble gum blowing contests, which grew in popularity and were eventually televised.

Dubble Bubble was introduced as the first five-pack of gum in 1957, and began selling gumballs in 1999. Fleer eventually extended the line to apple, grape, cherry and watermelon flavors.

When Concord Confections bought the Dubble Bubble name from Fleer in 1998, they did not use Fleer's original 1928 Dubble Bubble recipe, and comic strips were discontinued; Pud remained mascot. In August 2004, Tootsie Roll expanded its presence in the bubble gum category by acquiring Concord Confections. Today, Dubble Bubble continues to grow, with Tootsie adding product extensions like Dubble Bubble Mini Tubs and Halloween Combo packaged gumballs and expanding distribution globally. The gum is sold in 50 countries. (SOURCE: Wikipedia)
Go here to see an early 1960s ad. Click here to read a bit more about the inventor, Walter Diemer.


"You can thank POPSICLE for saving the day!

It's 1951 and the Commies are everywhere. EVERYWHERE I TELL YOU! So what are you to do? You're just a kid with a love of Popsicles. How can you possibly help save mom, apple pie, and Los Alamos? With your Popsicle flashlight of course!

I think these Popsicle premiums need to be reissued. Catch spies, catch terrorists, or just catch your neighbor stealing your lawn flamingo with a Roy Rogers flashlight, a bike horn, and a water pistol.

Scoff if you must, but thanks to Los Alamos many of us spent far too much time under our desks in school waiting to be annihilated.

Just another item from the July-August 1951 Archie comic book.

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Click on image to see it larger.


My first bike was not a SCHWINN

I have no idea who made the little red tricycle I first rode. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised to find out it was something my grandfather got for me at the junk yard. He loved looking through junk yards down near the railroad tracks. He came home with some wonderful stuff.

My first two wheeler was a Huffy which came with training wheels. I still remember crying when my dad took those training wheels off. I was sure I would fall and the world would end for me. He ran alongside me, holding me upright, until he wasn't. He let me ride off down the sidewalk not knowing I was on my own. When I realized it I was so excited and remember seeing my folks in our front yard smiling and laughing.

My second bike was also a Huffy. I did not get a Schwinn until I was out of college. I used to love taking it to the mountains to ride around Squaw Valley and around Lake Tahoe. Good times. Good times.

This ad is from the July-August 1951 Archie comic. You can see some photos of an old Schwinn Phantom here. And go here to read about the Schwinn company.

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Click on image to see it larger.



I don't buy much box cereal anymore so I really have no idea what's going on inside or outside the box. As a child I was heavily influenced by cereal commercials in the 1950s. My poor father ended up eating a lot of bad cereal. I took one bite and wouldn't eat anymore. My folks didn't have money to throw away on food so dad ate the dreadful stuff.

My main interest were the toys in the boxes or the games on the back. I no longer have any of those toys and actually can't remember what any of them were. Sometimes you had to cut a form off the back of the box and send it in with some small change (which at the time was not small change for my folks) and a box top. Then the excitement was waiting for the mail to arrive. Ah yes, that scene in Christmas Story when the decoder ring arrives; mail like that was exciting.

This ad is from the July-August 1951 Archie comic. The entire comic is in bad condition looking like a mouse feasted on one corner.

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Click on image to see it larger.

Anybody out there ever get one of these rings? Think that's a foolish question? Well, I've heard from people who bought the little soldiers featured in ads from comic books so who knows?

The following two ads were found on Google Books, each an ad in an old Life magazine. Who remembers Pep cereal made by Kellogg's? Not me, which doesn't mean the mere mention of it wouldn't put a lump in my father's throat.

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Think I'm crazy? Think these things weren't marketed to kids?

I rest my case.


PAL JOEY meet Gypsy Rose Lee

This post relates to yesterday's post which relates, sort of, to my vernacular photography post. The thread runs through one of Gypsy Rose Lee's outfits. Actually it doesn't, but it made sense to me a minute ago. Now, not so much.

Yesterday's post was about Gypsy Rose Lee and a vintage paperback of the book she wrote that became the inspiration for the Broadway musical Gypsy. If you read any of the bio info about her you'll have seen this:
Trying to describe what Gypsy was (a "high-class" stripper), H. L. Mencken coined the term ecdysiast. Her style of intellectual recitation while stripping was spoofed in the number "Zip!" from Rodgers and Hart's Pal Joey, a play in which her sister June appeared.
Well, I give you Pal Joey. This is a recent 80 cent purchase at a thrift store. It's not in perfect condition, the first track skips a few times, but all 'n' all a decent listen with some great songs. I don't believe I've ever seen the movie. It's not scheduled for anytime this month so I'll just have to put it on my list of films to watch for.

Click on any image to see it larger.

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Cover illustration by Maurice Thomas

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So besides Gypsy, what else does this piece of ephemera have in common with some of my older posts? Okay, Sinatra is an easy one (here, here, and here). The other link has to do with the illustrator of this cover, Maurice Thomas. Though I cannot find any biographical information about him, I can find a few more pieces of work he did, including a cover for an A. A. Fair novel. A. A. Fair is Earl Stanley Gardner. If you've been here the past year you might remember the variety of Earl Stanley Gardner/Perry Mason books I featured. To see a Fair/Gardner cover illustration by Maurice Thomas click here. And to see two other pulp novel covers he illustrated click here and here. Here is a cover he did for a men's pulp magazine. And here is one he did of Jimmy Stewart for a movie poster.

And now, Rita Hayworth doing "Zip" from Pal Joey inspired by Gypsy Rose Lee's taking off her threads.



Gypsy Rose Lee. Is she forgotten by most of society? A name only familiar by those who vividly remember the world before 1970? Or is Natalie Wood remembered as Gypsy? Shoot, I'm betting a lot of people don't even remember Natalie Wood.

My reason for posting about Gypsy today is because of the photos I'll be posting this week and beyond at my vernacular photography site; old photos of a woman who reminds me of the beautiful Gypsy.

This old tattered paperback was found on a communal book sharing table that used to exist at my post office. Like too many good things, the table no longer exists. The new postmaster came from outside the community and didn't understand small town life.

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This edition was published in 1959. The book was originally published in 1957 and was the inspiration for the Broadway musical Gypsy created by Jule Styne, Stephen Sondheim, and Arthur Laurents. This eventually became the movie starring Natalie Wood and Rosalind Russell.

I still remember on a horribly rainy night piling into the car with my folks to go see the movie. We were tired of being trapped in the house (remember there were three tv channels and when the weather was bad the antenna picked up very little). We got to the theater to see the marquee turned off. Because of the rain they were closed. So back home we went, never to see the movie on the big screen. I had to wait for several years to see it on tv.

Gypsy had a tv show out of San Francisco in the 1960s that I loved watching. A day home sick from school meant I Love Lucy between 9 and 10 with Gypsy soon to follow. Summer mornings were always spent with Gypsy before heading outside.

She was a classy and funny lady and never vulgar. I can think of a lot of woman these days who barely keep their clothes on and think that's all it takes to be famous. They have no intelligence, style, or humor. And too often if you got them near a hot flame they'd melt.

Gypsy Rose Lee was the real thing. A real lady.
Gypsy Rose Lee was born Rose Louise Hovick in Seattle, Washington in 1911, although her mother later shaved three years off both of her daughters' ages. She was initially known by her middle name, Louise. Her mother, Rose Hovick (née Rose Evangeline Thompson), was a teenage bride fresh from a convent school when she married Norwegian-American John Olaf Hovick, who was a newspaper advertising salesman and a reporter at The Seattle Times. Louise's sister, Ellen June Hovick (better known as actress June Havoc), was born in 1913.

After their parents divorced, the girls supported the family by appearing in Vaudevillewhere June's talent shone, while Louise remained in the background. At the age of 15 in December 1928, June eloped with Bobby Reed, a dancer in the act, much to her mother's displeasure, going on to a brief career in marathon dancing, which was more profitable than tap dancing at the time.

Louise's singing and dancing talents were insufficient to sustain the act without June. Eventually, it became apparent that Louise could make money in burlesque, which earned her legendary status as a classy and witty strip tease artist. Initially, her act was propelled forward when a shoulder strap on one of her gowns gave way, causing her dress to fall to her feet despite her efforts to cover herself; encouraged by the audience response, she went on to make the trick the focus of her performance. Her innovations were an almost casual strip style, compared to the herky-jerky styles of most burlesque strippers (she emphasized the "tease" in "striptease") and she brought a sharp sense of humor into her act as well. She became as famous for her onstage wit as for her strip style, and—changing her stage name to Gypsy Rose Lee—she became one of the biggest stars of Minsky's Burlesque, where she performed for four years. She was frequently arrested in raids on the Minsky brothers' shows.

She eventually traveled to Hollywood, where she was billed as Louise Hovick. Her acting was generally panned, so she returned to New York City and invested in film producer Michael Todd. She eventually appeared as an actress in many of his films.

Trying to describe what Gypsy was (a "high-class" stripper), H. L. Mencken coined the term ecdysiast. Her style of intellectual recitation while stripping was spoofed in the number "Zip!" from Rodgers and Hart's Pal Joey, a play in which her sister June appeared. Gypsy can be seen performing an abbreviated version of her act (intellectual recitation and all) in the 1943 film Stage Door Canteen.

In 1941, Gypsy Rose Lee authored a mystery thriller called The G-String Murders which was made into the 1943 film Lady of Burlesque starring Barbara Stanwyck. While some assert this was in fact ghost-written by Craig Rice, there are also those who suggest that there is more than sufficient written evidence in the form of manuscripts and Lee's own correspondence to prove she wrote a large part of the novel herself under the guidance of Rice and others, including her friend and mentor, the editor George Davis. Lee's second murder mystery, Mother Finds a Body, was published in 1942.

After the death of their mother, the sisters now felt free to write about her without risking a lawsuit. Gypsy's memoirs, titled Gypsy, were published in 1957 and were taken as inspirational material for the Jule Styne, Stephen Sondheim, and Arthur Laurents musical Gypsy: A Musical Fable. June Havoc did not like the way she was portrayed in the piece, but she was eventually persuaded (and paid) not to oppose it for her sister's sake. The play and the subsequent movie deal assured Gypsy a steady income. The sisters became estranged. June, in turn, wrote Early Havoc and More Havoc, relating her version of the story.

Gypsy Rose Lee went on to host a morning San Francisco KGO-TV television talk show, Gypsy. She was diagnosed in 1969 with metastatic lung cancer, which prompted her to reconcile with June before her death. "This is my present, you know," she reportedly told June, "my present from Mother".

The walls of her Los Angeles home were adorned with pictures by Joan Miró, Pablo Picasso, Marc Chagall, Max Ernst, and Dorothea Tanning, all of which were reportedly gifts to her by the artists themselves. Like Picasso, she was a supporter of the Popular Front movement in the Spanish Civil War and raised money for charity to alleviate the suffering of Spanish children during the conflict.

She also founded one of the first kennels dedicated to breeding Chinese Crested dogs in the U.S, "Lee", which was sold after her death to Mrs. Ida Garrett and Debora Wood. Gypsy Rose Lee died of lung cancer in Los Angeles in 1970. She is buried in Inglewood Park Cemetery in Inglewood, California. (SOURCE: Wikipedia)


TWISTIN' U.S.A. with Chubby

The Twist was THE iconic dance of the early '60s. It was still being done regularly in the days of disco in the '60s. And yes, there were discotheque's in the 60s. Fortunately the fashions were "fab" and "gear" at discotheque's and not the dreadful polyester stuff of the 1970s. You were more likely to see a woman in a Mary Quant dress in a photo than some guy dressed like a Travolta character.

My mother bought this Chubby Checker record for a party she and my father were having at our home in Hawaii. A bunch of guys from the office (naval aviators and staff) with wives were all going to be doing the Twist in our living room. I was allowed to come out and watch early in the evening, get some pupu's, and then was told to stay out. I did sneak out late at night to watch a bunch of drunks trying to do the limbo. They drank Fish House Punch, which is supposed to be pretty lethal (I don't know because I don't drink). The day after the parties (which only occasionally occurred) I was told to walk softly and whisper because "daddy has a headache."

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Chubby Checker made a living for quite awhile with The Twist. Hank Ballard, who wrote the song and created the dance, did not have the same success with it having originally released it as a B-side.

Ballard died in 2003. Chubby (Ernest Evans) is still twistin' the night away.

And by the way, I did a pretty wicked twist.



These old "romance" cards are often odd. Our sensibilities and those from 100 years ago do not mesh. Often they are suggestive in a manner you wouldn't expect with an undercurrent of coyness. Today the same message would be done suggestive and rude. But what makes some of them worthwhile are the messages on the back that have nothing to do with the image on the front. The sender often completely avoids the suggestive image and instead writes a message as if they were sending a photo of a lovely tree. It's these two worlds colliding that make them interesting. Okay, that's often true of post card messages, but these just seem even stranger.




Oh you TAFFY KID you!

These old romance post cards are often pretty funny. Catch phrases from long ago that now make no sense at all. But this one is fun to look at to see the little storefront candy store.

Click on the image to see it larger.
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I believe this was printed by Taylor, Platt & Co. The following information is from the Metropolitan Postcard Club of New York City:

Taylor, Platt & Co. (1906-1916)
1161 Broadway, New York, NY

Published a wide variety of postcard types in series from national views, greetings. and artist signed to cards of Blacks and novelties. Their cards were produced in sepia and tinted halftone.



These post cards were purchased at an estate sale many years ago. I'd never heard of the Richmond Light Infantry Blues so that was not why I bought them. I bought them because of the little drawing of the soldiers. This is a one of a kind. No other exists and that makes the one card special. The other just adds to the historical perspective.

This first card was mailed in August 1905.

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The second card mailed in September 1906.

Richmond Light Infantry Blues_1906_tatteredandlost

So what was the Richmond Light Infantry Blues?

From the Library of Virginia:
The Richmond Light Infantry Blues was founded in 1789 according to its history and tradition and the state of Virginia recognized its formal commissioning date as 10 May 1793. The unit was called into service during Gabriel's Rebellion, the War of 1812, Nat Turner's Insurrection, and John Brown's Harper's Ferry Raid in 1859. The unit served during the Civil War from April 1861 to April 1865, during the Spanish-American War, and the Mexican border police action in 1916. The Blues served as part of the 104th Ammunition Train during World War I. In 1920, the unit was reorganized and incorporated into the National Guard. In 1926, the Blues traveled to Europe with Guard units from Connecticut. (SOURCE: Library of Virginia)
The image below shows the headquarters for the Richmond Light Infantry Blues.

(SOURCE: Wikipedia)

Click here to see a photo of a fellow in a RLIB uniform in 1896 from the New York Public Library archives.

Click here to see an interesting article from Richmond Then and Now with some of the following items.
Little really is known of the Blues prior to 1793. On May 10, that year, officers were commissioned, and that date for a century has popularly been supposed to be that of the organization of the original company. General William H. Richardson, one-time adjutant-general of Virginia, is credited with fixing May 10, 1789, when his uncle, Captain Richardson, took command of the company, as the date of its founding.

In 1876, when the company separated from the First Virginia Regiment, it was granted a charter by the Legislature as an independent infantry organization. The incorporators included John S. Wise, George Wythe Munford, Isaac L. Cary, William H. Fry, Charles P. Bigger, John M. Haddon, T. R. Glazebrook, Thomas B. Bigger, William Wise Sheppard, Ezekiel J. Levy, George W. Jarvis, Thomas H. Blankenship and John F. Regnault.

The charter also provided for the creation of the Richmond Light Infantry Blues Association. First officers of this group were Colonel George Wythe Munford, president; Isaac L. Cary, vice-president; Captain Ezekiel J. Levy, treasurer, and Lieutenant Thomas H. Blankenship, secretary. A total of 116 men were elected members of the association. The list contained many formerly connected with the Blues and the names of other leading Richmonders who previously had not been identified with the military unit. (SOURCE: Richmond Then and Now)
"The Blues is, perhaps," said this famous old newspaper, "One of the most extraordinary military organizations in America. It is a remarkable and noble company in all respects, and we doubt whether there is a community on this continent that can point to a similar organization in its midst with as much pleasure as to the people of Richmond to this. It has been the pride of more than two generations of Virginians who have been gathered to their fathers.

"Its celebrated punch bowl is linked with the most pleasing traditions of the State, and the career of the Blues themselves runs like a golden fibre through the fabric of Richmond's history. The celebrations of their anniversaries and the hospitality of their festive boards have always been a bright epoch amid the convialities of our city.

"In peace they embodied the manhood and gentility, and were an emblem of the gallantry of Virginia; in war they wrote their names in letters of light upon the pages of history, and gave a glorious illustration of Southern honor and chivalry by their constancy in camp and on the march, and their valor in battle. More than once in the 'imminent breach' have they, with self-sacrificing grandeur, changed the fortunes of a memorable day, and plucked glorious triumph from the nettle crown of danger."
Again, a little piece of paper with history, history I never knew about.

And now for a little tune called the Richmond Light Infantry Blues March.


Maria Eugenia Martinez de Hoz, the Palmer family, and Camel cigarettes

Here is a repost of a post I did on August 1, 2009 originally entitled THE PALMER FAMILY loved Camel's, but not each other. Within the past few weeks I've received information from family members about the woman in the ad, Maria Eugenia Martinez de Hoz. I heard from both her son and granddaughter.

I wanted to acknowledge their kindness in filling in the pieces in the post about what happened to Maria Eugenia Martinez de Hoz. So I repeat the post with the updated information.

Thank you Diego and Matilde. I'm glad this little post provided you information about your mother and grandmother. The best part of doing this blog is to find out the history of these old pieces of paper; even better is to receive acknowledgment from family members who are touched that their relatives are remembered.


Anyone familiar with films from the 1930s knows that the wealthy were portrayed as fantasy figures, used to help people escape into another world, forget that they were living in the Great Depression. The wealth was often ostentatious and the people a bit batty brained. Well...I give you real life example, Mrs. Potter d'Orsay Palmer.

Not only were films portraying the wealthy as the best and brightest our country had to offer, so were women's magazines. Sure, you couldn't afford a new pair of shoes, but if you smoked Camel cigarettes you were in league with the upper classes. You stepped out of your ordinary world into the world of the filthy rich.

Camel ad_tatteredandlost
Click on image to see it larger.

A series of ads ran in the 1930s with wealthy young socialites professing their adoration for the expensive Camel brand. This ad is from the May 1934 Delineator. The copy of the ads were all pretty much the same. Doubtful any of these socialites were actually interviewed about their love of the brand. More likely someone working for R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Company wrote all of it. Take a look at the copy in this add

Camel ad text 1_Palmer_tatteredandlost

Camel ad_Palmer_tatteredandlost
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and then compare it to the copy below from another ad which can be seen here.
Among the many distinguished women who prefer Camel's costlier tobaccos: Mrs. Nicholas Biddle Philadelphia; Mrs. Allston Boyer New York; Miss Mary Byrd Richmond; Mrs. Powell Cabot Boston; Mrs. Thomas M. Carnegie, Jr. New York; Mrs. Henry Field Chicago; Mrs. Potter D'Orsay Palmer Chicago; Mrs. Langdon Post New York; Mrs. William T. Wetmore New York

"Of course I smoke Camel's. . ." Miss Dorothy Paine "They're the most popular cigarettes--every one is smoking them now," continued this alert young member of New York's inner circle. "Camels have such a grand smooth flavor. I suppose that's because they have more expensive tobaccos in them. And they never make my nerves jumpy. When I'm tired out and my nerves feel frazzled, then a Camel gives me a nice gentle 'lift' that restores by enthusiasm." The reason you feel better after smoking a Camel is because it releases your latent energy, which overcomes fatigue. When you feel tired, you can always get a pleasant, natural "lift" by enjoying a Camel. And you can smoke as often as you wish, for Camels never upset the nerves.
Now exactly who was Mrs. Potter d'Orsay Palmer, aka Maria Eugenia Martinez de Hoz? Well she was the 2nd wife of Potter d'Orsay Palmer, playboy son of the wealthy Palmer family of Chicago's Palmer House Hotel. She apparently came from a very wealthy family of landowners in Argentina (if you speak Spanish perhaps you can find some information here). They divorced in 1937.

UPDATE from Diego, Maria's son:
I really don’t know if I´ll be able to help you in respect of this ad,as I never knew of its existence until 15 days ago. I had seen an ad my mother was in about Pond´s cold cream. It ran full page in I think, The New York Tribune or Times, I´m not sure which. My mother had kept it, but then I gave it to someone, who said she was going to have it fixed and never again saw it, until the day we saw your piece on my mother. This Pond´s cold cream ad appeared Googling your piece and the photograph was taken by Edward Steichen and it is in a book about him.The only thing I know about her coming out in these ads was, that her parent´s in law,who adored her until the end of their lives, were like Queen Victoria, not amused. But my mother had her brother-in-law as a help mate in all her pranks, Honore Palmer, who also died young, before D'Orsay, I think.

My mother, was proposed adoption by the Palmers when their two sons died, but she refused, but kept in very close friendship as I told you until the day they died, and Capi (Mr. Palmer senior) adored my father. In his will he left everything to his wife, except two small legacies or remembrances. One to a Palmer nephew of his and the other one: "to my friend Boy Llambi Campbell".

All it says in the Camel ad is true, she did speak fluent English, French,Spanish (of course) and German not so well, but managed anywhere. She did belong to a very old Argentine family and she was educated in Switzerland due to her eldest sister catching TB and the best place for TB at that time was Davos in Switzerland. So the whole family left for Europe when my mother was 6 years old.

That´s all for now. Hope I have been of some help and all this is good for the family as her grandchildren, who never knew her are all interested in her. Another thing I can add about my mother is that she loved to laugh and was a very warm and loving person to everybody round her. —Diego
UPDATE as of 4.25.11: I have heard from María Eugenia Martínez de Hoz granddaughter, Matilde with the following information. Sometimes the net really amazes me. Thanks Matilde. I appreciate this information. It allows your grandmother to be more than just a photo in an old ad. Thanks!
María Eugenia Martínez de Hoz, that's my grandmother. She divorced him, came back to Argentina, fell madly in love with my grandfather and they lived between Buenos Aires and a farm in Córdoba were they raised my dad and uncle. Two boys. My grandfather was another playboy in a way, but much closer to nature that Potter was to booze. He was the kind of person that reminds you of fireworks when he is laughing and making you laugh. He had a gift for making people adore him. She didn't get a penny. She died young and wanted to live longer. If she had lived 6 months longer she would have inherited something from the Palmers since her Mother in Law adored her. But she never cared much, she only wanted to survive some more weeks to get to know her first grandchild, my cousin Martín. She didn't make it. But I guess she found love. We know her as "Bebé". —Matilde
By December of 1938 Mr. Potter Palmer divorced his 3rd wife, Pauline Warren. Maria Eugenia Martinez de Hoz seems to have disappeared from history, at least from what I find online. He married wife number 4 a couple days after his divorce from wife number 3. According to Ancestry.com Maria received a sizable divorce settlement, something the next two Mrs. Potter's did not:
Palmer's first two wives supposedly received divorce settlements totalling about $5,000,000, but the third Mrs. Palmer received only $250 a month alimony and counsels' fees ($10,000). Few days after his divorce, Potter Palmer married Pluma Louise Lowery Abatiello, 23, roadhouse waitress.
As to playboy Potter d'Orsay Palmer, not so great ending. He died from a cerebral hemorrhage in May 1939 following a drunken brawl in Sarasota, Florida with a meat cutter by the name of Kenneth Nosworthy. You can read a fascinating newspaper article from May 16, 1939 at The Evening Independant. The following is from the account given to the Assistant State's Attorney Smiley by Mr. Nosworthy:
Palmer, who had been drinking, singled Nosworthy out, followed him around and taunted him. Nosworthy tried to avoid him but Palmer pursued the meat cutter, cursed him and struck him with his fist. Nosworthy returned the blow, knocking Palmer to the ground. Palmer pulled Nosworthy down as he fell and the two scuffled briefly and then got to their feet. Palmer then tried to wield a bottle and when he did, Nosworthy struck the Sarasotan a hard blow with his fist. The two parted and Palmer left the picnic sometime later.

Nosworthy said he did not know Palmer and had never seen him prior to his appearance at the outing, a stag affair given to raise funds for the Bradenton police radio system.

The oft-wedded heir only recently had effected a reconciliation with his wife, the fourth, whom he married last December a few weeks after meeting her at a roadside inn where she worked as a waitress.
Seriously, read the newspaper article. You'll feel like you're in an old black and white film. There is also a photo of the playboy himself with wife-y number 4.

And you thought this was just a piece of ephemera. Like most advertising, it's all smoke and mirrors, half-truths. The truth about Mrs. Potter d'Orsay Palmer could never be told in an ad.

Addendum thanks to Susan's question:
Indeed there is more to the story about wife-y No. 4 and you'll never guess the direction she took.

Yes, she had to sign a pre-nup. You can read about her and her attorney's attempts at getting money here. She got nothing.

But then her history continues right out of an old gangster film. Yes, I said gangsters.
The twenty-seven-year-old beauty, who had married John Moran the previous January, had a flair for short-lived and dramatic marriages. In December 1938 she had married Potter d'Orsay Palmer in Florida, where she had been a waitress at a Sarasota sandwich stand, but the couple spent more time apart than together. They argued often, and Palmer preferred the company of his cronies to that of his neurotic wife, who would call the police in a fit of hysterics whenever he stayed away for too long.

In early 1939 Louise filed suit for $500,000 in damages against her wealthy in-laws, claiming that their meddling had alienated her husband's affection for her, but reconciliation with Palmer led her to drop it. When he died in May 1939 from a brain hemorrhage incurred after a fist-fight at a party, the Palmer family cut her off without a cent, having disapproved of the marriage. She married again, this time to Ellsworth Struck, but the union barely lasted a year. Struck went home to Ohio, and Louise made her way to Chicago.

She met John Moran in the fall of 1943 at the Chez Paree nightclub, where she had been working as a hatcheck girl. It did not take long for the relationship to sour; Moran responded to her fits of rage and tearful tantrums by simply packing his bags and going stay with his father or checking into a men's hotel. Her May 1944 "amnesia attack" had been preceded by a particularly nasty quarrel.

George and Evelyn Moran interceded when they could, but the marriage did not last. While Evelyn took the irate young woman to a coffee shop to calm down and talk after one knock-down, drag-out argument, George Moran spoke frankly to his son.
"She's a gold-digger, and nuts," he insisted. "Get rid of her. If she won't divorce you, lock her up in a nuthouse. I'll pay for it."

John Moran, a bartender, was less vindictive and rejected the offer. In the end the marriage terminated of its own accord. The couple divorced in April 1946, with Pluma Louise charging desertion and waiving alimony. By that point she and John were glad to see the last of each other. (SOURCE: The Bugs Moran Story: The Man Who Got Away by Rose Keefe; Cumberland House Publishing, May 2005).
Now here's the kicker. George Moran, the father in-law, was Bugs Moran, the gangster from Chicago. It was his gang that was killed at the St. Valentine's Day massacre.

Oh what a tangled web we find when walking through ephemera blind.