Saturday, October 1, 2016

Times Square, 1957

39 Bizarre Vintage Postcards Greeting Halloween from the 1900s and 1910s

In the olden days, Halloween provided another reason to send friends and family celebratory postcards. Here is a collection of 39 odd and bizarre postcards to greeting Halloween over 100 years ago.

Backstage at the Moulin Rouge, Paris, 1924

Fashion in the Roaring Twenties – 36 Gorgeous Vintage Photos of Women in Evening Gowns during the 1920s

The 1920s is one of the most impressive periods for female fashion. Here below is a collection of gorgeous photos of women in their evening gowns during this era.

Women walk on the snow covered campus of Spelman College, Atlanta, Georgia, 1950

David Conover, The Man Who Discovered Norma Jeane (Later Known as Marilyn Monroe) in 1945

David Conover was born in Missouri, June 26, 1919. Near the end of the Second World War he was in California and studied photography. He was an army photographer then assigned to the 1st Motion Picture Unit. The base was familiarly know as Fort Roach since it was house in The Hal Roach Studio in Culver City, California. The outfit was unique in its makeup of personnel in that many were movie stars in uniform (Alan Ladd and Clark Cable). His Commanding Officer was Ronald Reagan. The unit was inevitably known as the “Celluloid Commandos”.

In the spring of 1945, Ronald Reagan sent David Conover to the Radioplane Corporation, manufacturer of radio-controlled miniature planes used by the army for anti-aircraft practice. The corporation was owned by Reagan’s friend, Reginald Denny, and was sent there to take pictures of Women in War Work. He moved down the assembly line taking shots of the most attractive employees. He came upon a girl putting on propellers. She had curly ash-blonde hair and her face was smudged with dirt. He snapped and walked on. Then he stopped. He was stunned. She was beautiful.

Straight away he asked her if she had a sweater with her and would she pose for him in her lunch hour. He said her response to the camera was amazing. She came alive with sure and immediate instinct. He was so excited he could hardly hold the camera steady. He must have kept his excitement to himself because Norma Jeane asked him “Am I really photogenic?” She was just 19 years old. That is how it started. David Conover Sr. was transferred to the Philippines a short while after.

Conover wrote to her many times but received no reply. When he was discharged from the army, Conover did not hear a word about Norma Jeane for many years. Meanwhile, he and his wife Jeanne were concentrating on fulfilling his childhood dream to buy Wallace Island, an uninhabited refuge from reality where he had magical camping holidays as a boy. He constructed a home and five cabins and called it Wallace Island Resort. He encouraged visitors and remained there until he passed away in 1983. He wrote several books: Once Upon an Island, One Man’s Island, Sitting on Saltspring and Finding Marilyn: A Romance.

Readers Played Important Role in Cigar Factories – Rare Pictures of Lectors Who Entertained Factory Workers from the Early 20th Century

In the early days of the lector, many cigar factory employees, both male and female, were illiterate. There was a great thirst for knowledge. Lectors read novels determined by consensus. They also read poetry, nonfiction works, and newspapers. The people enjoyed hearing about the parallel universe of Les Miserable. They also favored books by Zola, Dickens, and Tolstoy. Anarchist materials gained popularity as well.

Lectors were gifted orators; some readings might be best characterized as dramatic performances. The men and women sat shoulder to shoulder in large open rooms, rolling cigars by hand. The lectors’ voices needed to project to all corners of these spaces, so they read from atop a specially constructed tribuna or platforms as seen the photographs below.

The story of the lector ended around 1930 with the introduction of mechanized cigar production. Without amplification, the human voice could not be heard above the clamour of the machinery. As a note of interest, the Great Depression and increasing popularity of cigarettes adversely affected the cigar industry and pushed the lector into obsolescence.

A hired reader reads to cigar makers hard at work in Cuban cigar factory, ca. 1900-1910.

Lector in a Tampa cigar factory, circa 1930.

La lectura (the reading) provided an education for the workers, but it also caused friction between the workers and the factory owners. Picture taken in 1909 by Lewis Hine.

Lector reading at Cuesta-Rey Cigar Company, Tampa, Florida, 1929.

Inside of an Ybor City cigar factory, circa 1920.