Thursday, December 29, 2011

Happy New Year!

In trying to come up with a New Year themed post, I was at a loss until I thought of Miss Mary Moriarty's post cards. You may recall I used one in my May 5, 2011 post about girl baby names. Well, in this collection are two New Year's post cards that I thought I would share with you.

This card was postmarked December 31, 1906 in NYC. There is no indication of who it is from. Was Mary in NYC for the New Year & mailed it back to herself? It's hard to tell in this image, but the background is a pretty luminous silver.

Front New Year post card- 12/31/1906

Back of card showing postmark & 1 cent Franklin stamp

This one is postmarked Saratoga Springs, January 1, 1907 12 M. I'm assuming that means 12:00 a.m. Midnight! Very cool.
The handwriting says "From J.P.D 12/31/06"

See where the postmark says 12 M... Another Franklin 1 cent
There a quite a few more cards in the collection. I'll share some with you throughout the upcoming year.

Happy 2012!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

The end of December means...

You guessed it. The 2012 Gaylord catalog is here!

Wait... What did you think I was referring to?


Now, about the Gaylord catalog. The Archival catalog came last week, while the big book came this week. Today is the first time I've seen it because I only work at the Town Office building one day per week. Of course, I am looking at all of the things that do not fit in my budget. Well, that's most everything.

What I would really like to purchase one of these years is a display case. Whether wall mounted or free standing, a display case would allow me to create a small exhibition right here in the building. I could do a quarterly or biannual exhibit based on artifacts &/or documents regarding the Town of Greenwich. I might even be able to display collections of area citizens by means of a temporary loan. It would be nice since we don't have a museum in town (except the Rough & Ready Firehouse Museum which isn't open on a regular basis).

This fabric backed, wall mounted case* has a lock, and shelves that hold up to 20-25 lbs. each. Modestly priced at $570 + $59 for the mounting kit, it is still well beyond my budget. I think the mahogany, shown here, would be my finish of choice.

This Claridge Hinged Door Display Case^ is beautiful. But the mahogany one is $4,890!

So, instead of sugarplums, visions of display cases will be dancing in my head this holiday season. Is there a Santa Claus for historians & archivists?

Season's Greetings & Happy New Year!


Thursday, December 15, 2011

FDR and the SBA stamp

Many people don't realize that New York State is the only state in the union with a law that states that every municipality (village, town, city, borough, county) within the state must have an officially appointed public historian. It has been this way since 1919.*

I, myself, have been the officially appointed town historian for Greenwich since April 24, 2003 It was my 29th birthday, so it makes it pretty easy to remember the date.

One of the most famous public historians of the last 92 years was FDR. Yes, before he was our 32nd president, Franklin Delano Roosevelt was the appointed public historian for the town of Hyde Park, just north of Poughkeepsie, on the eastern bank of the Hudson River. Mr. Roosevelt was appointed in 1926, and remained until he was elected president in 1932.^

The following presidential election year, FDR decided to revise the stamp design of a prominent former resident of Greenwich... Susan B. Anthony. The 1936, 50 cent, purple stamp with "Aunt Susan" in profile was originally designed without the dark purple oval.**
Click here to see his sketch.

1936 USPS stamp honoring Susan B. Anthony

I think I might start collecting stamps... Here are a few more.

1848 was the year of the Seneca Falls Convention where Stanton demanded the right to vote

The leader of the American Woman Suffrage Association


Thursday, December 8, 2011

I'll Be Home For Christmas... as promised

As many of you know, either because you are very smart (& that's why I love you), or because you read my blog (also why I love you), J. Kimball "Kim" Gannon, the lyricist who wrote "I'll Be Home For Christmas," lived in Greenwich for over 25 years. The Brooklyn native graduated from St. Laurence University, where he dabbled in writing, and even penned the alma mater. Then it was off to Albany Law School and five years of practicing law in Ballston Spa while playing piano for WGY on the side. During this time he married his sweetheart Norma, whom he met in college.*

Sheet music cover
His Hollywood success occurred from about 1941-47. During this time he garnered three Academy Award nominations! Who knew?

Academy Award nominations for Best Song- all lyrics by Kim Gannon#
1942- "Always In My Heart" from Always In My Heart, music by Ernesto Lecuona
1944- "Too Much In Love" from Song of the Open Road starring Jane Powell, music: Walter Kent
1945- "Endlessly" from Earl Carroll Vanities, music: Walter Kent

Yeah, I know! What the h... kind of film title is Earl Carroll Vanities? Oh, I guess it's a Ziegfeld Follies type musical, but low-budget. I couldn't find a trailer or still, but Eve Arden was in it, so it can't be all bad.``

During this time in Hollywood, he wrote his Christmas standard that Bing Crosby decided to record after Kim pitched it to him during a game of golf in 1943!* Here is Mr. Crosby's 1943 recording...

Kim Gannon died in 1974. His wife Norma died in 2000. With Norma's death, 30% of the royalties of "I'll Be Home for Christmas" now go to St. Laurence University. A spokesperson for the university estimates that they receive between $20,000 to $30,000 each year! Last year the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP) stated that from October 1, 2010 to December 1, 2010, the song was played over 20,000 times!^ I wonder how many times I will here it this year? One more time with feeling! Johnny Mathis' 1958 rendition...

* Nason, Marilyn, "Gannon Penned Yule 'Standard'" Albany, NY: Times Union, December 21, 1958