Rajah Tea

A 1897 poster for Rajah tea by Henri Meunier


Tea with Grace

A drawing by Grace Gebbie Wiederseim Drayton (1877-1936) from her book Kiddie Land (1910). Mrs. Drayton is best remembered as the creator of the Campbell Kids; her first art for a Campbell’s Soup print ad was published in 1904.

The Mail Must Go Through

A portion of a 1933 ad from the Saturday Evening Post extolling the virtues of the Plymouth automobile and Rural Free Delivery, with my thanks to Alan Stamm. And in June of 2013, I received this from Mike LaMonaca:

“My family has a photo of that ad, because the photo was taken on my great-grandfather’s farm in Hammonton, New Jersey.  I happened to come across my digital copy of the ad yesterday and decided to run it through Google’s Image Search, and found your blog post.  I then asked my dad for the story behind the ad so I could share it with you.  His reply:

“The photo appeared in the Saturday Evening Post in 1932.  It was taken in front of the mailbox at the homestead on Pine Road. The building on the right in the background is the packing house before the additions that were made in later years.  You can see the sign painted on it which said, “Carmine LaMonaca Fancy Fruit and Vegetables'” or something to that effect. The building on the left was the barn which burned down in 1943.  The older man in the foreground was a neighbor who was recruited to pose for the picture.  The younger man in the foreground was Mr. Peters, the mailman.  The man in the background with the cow is my father’s brother, Joe.  The young boy in the background is my mother’s brother, Sylvester (Hank) Matteo.  My mother’s family, who lived in S. Phila. would come to the farm in the summertime to make some extra money. Hank served in the army in WWII. After he got out, he wound up working for the Saturday Evening Post.  While he was there, he was able to get a copy of the ad for himself.”

Old Potrero

I have written about San Francisco whiskey before, and with good reason, but today I have an even better reason. Yesterday afternoon, a foretaste of paradise was vouchsafed unto me, courtesy of my sainted friend Dave and his sainted brother Tim, who sent a bottle of Old Potrero from San Francisco. Oh my goodness. I know this isn’t “Read, Seen, Heard, Tasted,” but this is a work of art and I include it on that basis.

Thank God for Fritz Maytag and all the good people at Anchor, and my congratulations to them on these triumphs, crafted at their distillery in the Potrero Hill neighborhood of San Francisco, first named by missionaries who grazed cattle on the hill and called the area potrero nuevo, Spanish for “new pasture.”

The Gift Reformative

“Upon my shelves I can find no sharper contrast than that between the gift-book and the book-gift, the latter being a volume selected because it represents the giver’s taste, or else what he thinks is my taste, or, still worse, what he thinks ought to be my taste if it isn’t… And should the book-gift go a step farther, should you have reason to suspect it of the donor’s effort at proselytism, of an intention to convert you to opinions, human or literary, that you are not ready to accept, then the poor little book-gift becomes that most dangerous kind of Christmas remembrance, the Gift Reformative, the switch in the Christmas stocking.”

— Winifred Kirkland in “Gift-Books and Book-Gifts,” in The View Vertical and Other Essays (1920)