Sunday, December 24, 2017

Christmas Cards to the Howe Family, circa 1900 - 1935 (Part 3)

Finally! Christmas is almost here. It's a perfect time to look through the last batch of holiday cards received by the Howe-Salyers family of Carrollton, Kentucky, mostly in the 1920s and '30s. At the end of the post are "happy New Year" cards that may be the most charming in the entire collection.

History abounds in these cards and seals. These early Christmas Seals from 1933 remind us that even at Christmas, people were fearful of one disease over all others: tuberculosis. In 1904, the National Association for the Study and Prevention of Tuberculosis (now the American Lung Association) began a unified, nationwide fight against the disease. Three years later, in what is thought to be the first direct-mail fundraiser in the U.S., a volunteer named Emily Bissell designed and sold the first Christmas Seals. The successful program continues to this day, 110 years later.

Another reminder of health issues of the day is this image (right), a cartoon of a little girl dressed as a nurse. My research of the image didn't turn up specific information, but I found enough info to develop a theory:
I believe the illustration is by Grace G. Drayton, creator of The Campbell Soup Company's iconic "Campbell Kids" and "Dolly Dingle," who gained popularity in storybooks and as paper dolls, figurines, and toys. The style of the cap seems consistent with caps worn by nurses around the time of World War 1. Then there's the flaming plum pudding, a.k.a. Christmas pudding. Such a British tradition! Could this be a nod to the alliance between the U.S. and England during the war? These are just my musings. Do you have ideas about the image?

Below are some traditional cards that I think date to the 1930s.

(The writing says "For Will and the boys, meaning William Levi Salyers and his sons Bob, Jim, and David.)
The initials at the top right stand for William Levi Salyers and his wife Sarah Howe Salyers. I'm unsure about the reference to "your Scotch cousin – Ruth R." I'll be researching that soon.

Last but not least, a few cards specific to New Year greetings. These were in the same scrapbook with the cards from the 1930s, but (with the one exception dated 1912) I have no information on when they were printed or received. The art on these cards makes me think they date to pre-1920.

So concludes the holiday card posts for this season. To see cards Sarah Eva Howe and her parents received in the 1890s and early 1900s, please view the post dated December 18, 2016.

Best wishes to all for a happy holiday season. May 2018 bring you only good surprises!

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Christmas Cards to the Howe Family, circa 1900 - 1935 (Part 2)

Today we take a look at more Christmas cards delivered to the home of Will and Sarah Howe Salyers in Carrollton, Kentucky.

First, two cards with a Santa theme. My best guess is that they arrived in the mailbox between 1925 and 1935.

Next, three charming cards featuring dogs. The Howe-Salyers family had several dogs during the years their children were growing up.
 This dog-themed card is so unusual that I'm included both the cover and the inside. The sender, "Snapp," was a friend of the family's first-born, Bob.

 Another popular theme for Christmas cards: snow!

Businesses sent or gave Christmas cards in the 1930s, just as they do today. Eldest son Bob got this card at a holiday party hosted by his employer, Moore Brothers Company, distributor of stoves and furnaces. Bob noted on the card that Mrs. Moore gave him (and probably every male employee) a necktie. Bob's dad, also a Moore employee, no doubt got one, too.

In the third and final part of this series, I'll post the last of the 1930s-era holiday cards, including some Happy New Year greetings.

Best wishes for a wonderful week leading up to Christmas Day.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Christmas Cards to the Howe Family, circa 1900 - 1935 (Part 1)

Among the most popular posts in this blog have been those featuring antique and vintage greeting cards. Between now and December 25, I'll post Christmas cards and letters from the collection of Sarah Eva Howe Salyers of Carrollton, Kentucky. Few of the cards are dated, but I believe the cards in today's post date from the first quarter of the 1900s.

First, an advertising card sent from Wolf Wile's, a department store in Lexington. On the inside are directions for transforming the card into a kazoo-type toy.

Next, a letter from Santa, addressed to Sarah's son Bob (Robert King Salyers, 1907-1977). This is one of the few items we can date a card not only to a year but to a specific day: Dec. 12, 1911. Note that in those days, the recipient's name and city were a sufficient address on an envelope in a small town. The post office staff likely knew everybody in town. The stamp has disappeared, but research indicates that the cost of sending first-class mail in 1911 was 2 cents (comparable to 51 cents in 2015).

Now, cards to the Howe-Salyers family from friends and relatives.

 I hope you enjoyed these old cards. I'll be posting more cards and holiday notes between now and Christmas Day. In the meantime, I hope you're enjoying these busy days leading up to Dec. 25.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Scraps of Paper Reveal the Life and Times of a Carrollton, Kentucky Schoolboy in the 1920s

In today's exploration of Sarah Eva Howe Salyers's scrapbooks, I came across one she labeled "David H. Salyers, Book 1." Its pages hold a treasure trove of pictures, clippings, cards, and papers that tell the childhood story of her youngest son. I'm sharing some of those items here because they paint a picture of childhood circa 1915-1930. This little boy, David Hillis Salyers II, spent his first 14 years or so in Carrollton, Kentucky, but I think his life was typical of the life boys lived in most American small towns.

The first pages start with David's birth and preschool years. with images and notes about various "firsts" and, as Sarah so often added, bits of poetry that she either quoted or composed.
David was born May 14, 1915. His mother reflected on his birth in poetic prose:
To David – from Mother
Fitting your birth in May's calm weather after the wild rush of March, the changeful April sweetness – "Pan," the "March Hare," and then the smiling union – of fairy gifts – of music, and of summer gaiety.

She included a picture of the house in which David was born.
Sarah identified the people in the photo from David's perspective: "Mother [Sarah] inside, Aunt Leonora [Sarah's sister], Grandma [Sarah's mother], Mary Alice & Jimmy [David's siblings]."  (See a picture of how the house looked when he visited there in 1958.)


Sarah filed many pages with newspaper clippings of "Uncle Wiggly" bedtime stories, which no doubt she read to him. Here's one example:
Like other little boys, David made friends in the neighborhood. Among the first was Noble (last name not given). I think "Davy" appears to be 5 or 6 years old in this photo, which would date it circa 1920.

When David started school, he made more friends. As we learn from this page from what may have been an autograph or "buddies book" popular in those days, some of his friends had interesting nicknames:

Like doting mothers everywhere, Sarah saved David's report cards. This one from first grade (1921-1922, Carrollton City Public School) shows that he got off to a good start. With Sarah as a mother, he probably was writing his ABCs and reading a bit before he started school. Note that he missed most days of school in November and January. I wish Sarah had told us why.

We know that three years later, in October 1925, the whole Salyers family was under quarantine because of measles. Here's a note he wrote to his friend "Chalk," complaining about the confinement and wishing he could go to school instead of having to "sit around all day doing nothing." He signed off saying "your friend in need." Poor David!

When he was 8 years old, David was taking piano lessons from his Aunt Leonora and was ready to play "Moon and Stars" in a recital.

Apparently, little David was prone to bringing home stray dogs. Why else would his mother have put in his scrapbook at least three items related to the topic -- a cartoon, a magazine illustration, and a picture of David himself holding a puppy.
David with a puppy (a stray?) circa 1925

Of course, every boy needed a bicycle. Here's David on a bike. I'm guessing the year at 1927.

Sarah's scrapbook for David also included memories of historic events. She devoted a page to a Cincinnati newspaper's coverage of Charles A. Lindbergh's return to the U.S. after his historic trans-Atlantic flight. The small clipping at the bottom notes a Carrollton connection:
 (I have no idea why she included on the scrapbook page an article about Ohio State University conferring posthumous degrees on three seniors who had died that year.)

The scrapbook offers glimpses of David's social life, too. This article from the Carrollton newspaper describes a party he hosted, with the help of his older sister, Mary Alice. The mention of a movie helps us date the clipping, because the silent film was produced in 1923.

Actor Jackie Coogan must have been a local favorite, because the scrapbooks have other clippings about his movies. Here is a piece about a film produced in 1926:

Like his mother, grandparents, great-grandparents, and all of his uncles, aunts, and cousins, David showed an interest in politics, starting in his grade-school years. In this note dated 1924, friend James Alexander encourages him to vote for Oscar, probably a candidate for a student leadership post at the Carrollton school.
Young David did some campaigning himself. This scrapbook page presented campaign materials he made for one of his mother's Howe cousins, John J. Howe. I'm unsure if the materials were related to a local election (John held several local offices over the years) or John's run for U.S. Senate in 1924.

Like many boys then and now, David joined the Boy Scouts of America. This colorful, 3-panel card shows he was registered for the 1932-1933 membership year. At that time he was 17 years old and a student at Henry Clay High School in Lexington. His parents had moved there a few years before that when David's older siblings enrolled in college at Eastern and the University of Kentucky.

It's amazing that a few photos and scraps of paper can tell us so much about someone we thought we knew. David's own son (my husband) learned a lot about his dad from this one scrapbook. We're even more eager now to see what the other books reveal about his Howe and Salyers ancestors.

You can read more about David in a post dated January 8, 2017.