There’s something sneaky about reading the journal of another, even if the journal in question is fifty-seven years old. In 1958 Judy B. went on the “Imperial Tour of Europe.” It lasted all summer and was surely the trip of a lifetime – the 1950s equivalent of the Victorian Grand Tour.
I first read parts of this journal when Donna of The Vintage Vendeuse started posting entries from the diary at the Vintage Fashion Guild. She then made a website for the entries, which are now being posted as a day by day entry of what happened fifty-seven years ago. There is a new site, which is great, with Judy’s entry followed by extra information and photos of the places she mentioned. You can subscribe to get the daily entry, and I suggest you back up through the old ones to read about the ocean voyage and Judy’s adventures thus far.
If Judy is still alive she is eighty-one years old. That’s hard to imagine when the diary is so full of the young men she met and the fashionable clothes she wore. Or maybe not. I’d like to think she is still traveling, and meeting boys and buying out the stores.
It evidently is not cold enough here in North Carolina, because I’ll be traveling north with friends for the next week. I’ll be in New York City just in time for New York Fashion Week, which I’ll be ignoring, and the Westminster Dog Show, which I may have to trick my friends into attending. Otherwise it will be nonstop museum hopping and fabric shopping, with a bit of sight-seeing and warm bars and restaurants thrown in for fun.
There will be scheduled posts here while I’m gone, and I’ll try to check in to reply to comments. I’ll be posting on Instagram as well, so check in for a preview of all the things I’ll find to write about here on The Vintage Traveler.
Last week had several of those days that it was too cold to even think about leaving my house, and I somehow got involved with cleaning my office. It was a long overdue straightening and clearing away of clutter, and in the process I found some things that I forgotten that I had.
Hiding under a bookshelf was this 1930s school binder. I bought it years ago from a retired teacher, and my guess is that it dates from her early teaching days. It was unused, and I paid a dollar for it at a yard sale her daughter was having for her. They had cleaned out the attic, and I bought a lot of old teaching things that day, all of which are long gone, except the binder.
In the binder I’d stored some articles I’d taken from sewing magazines and I’m looking forward to revisiting what I thought was important enough to save ten years ago.
The binder itself dates from the mid 1930s. The plane flying is probably a DC-2, which was first produced in 1934. Not that I know anything about airplanes; my husband identified it for me.
I kind of wish it had been gently used, or at least had the scheduled penciled in.
I love the ultra-modern train, but I love the traveler’s outfit even more.
Of course, this was back when girls’ sports took a real backseat to those of the boys. Still it’s a bit disappointing that the artist didn’t at least show a girl basketball player. In many schools it was the only sport that had a team for girls.
These photos are so poor that I hesitated about putting them up. But I have a little point to make, and they do at least show the product and the problem.
For a very long time I’ve wanted this map of the USA cooler, made by Skotch Kooler for Esso sometime in the 1950s. I want one because I have this crazy love for old tin maps, and I can remember this cooler from my childhood. It’s a fairly common thing; I run across them all the time. The problem is that they are always either rusty or the graphics have faded. I’m wanting one in excellent condition, mainly because I want to use it.
I spotted this one hanging in a mall, but even before I’d seen the price – $39.99 – I’d ruled it out. I just can’t live with that much rust. I thought the price was too high, especially given the condition, but a quick look on etsy put this in line with what people are asking online.
Oh, well, someday my cooler will come in.
In 1935 President Roosevelt signed into law the Works Progress Administration (changed to Works Projects Administration in 1939) which spent billions to create jobs during the height of the Great Depression. Most of the money was spent on construction projects (many communities got a new library or post office or bridge) but a small part of it was spent on the arts. Artists and writers and musicians were put to work on projects that were to benefit the population at large.
One way artists were employed was in the creation of posters. From 1936 through the end of the program in 1943, over 2000 posters were created. They advertised theatrical productions, encouraged the use of public libraries, educated about the evils of syphilis, promoted our Nation Park system and promoted tourism.
The United States Library of Congress has a collection of 906 of these posters, and all of them are viewable online as part of the library’s Prints and Photographs Online Catalog. Even better, there is no known restriction on their use as they were commissioned by the US government as part of the New Deal.
Also check out the other resources in the Prints and Photographs Catalog. Many are pre-1923, and thus are in the public domain. Just be sure to check the rights and restrictions for each division. That information is easily found in the left sidebar.
Some of my favorites from the WPA collection: