Category Archives: Features

Celebrating Miss America

Pageant Poster from 1925 with the accompanying trophy and a photograph of Miss America 1925, Fay Lanphier, who came to the title by way of being Miss Santa Cruz 1924, the 1925 Rose Queen, and then Miss California 1925. 

by Melody Amsel-Arieli In 1921, Atlantic City, New Jersey offered East Coast vacationers far more than sun, sand, and sea. In addition to thrilling mechanical rides and pre-Broadway shows, it hosted the first “Inter-City Beauty Pageant,” an exuberant extravaganza celebrating the fairer sex. This seaside competition launched with the dramatic entry of King Neptune (its […]

The Atlantic City Boardwalk: A Wooden Walkway to the Sea

Atlantic City Boardwalk, 1920s

by Maxine Carter-Lome, publisher     Atlantic City, New Jersey is home to one of the most famous and oldest boardwalks in America. This initially mile-long wooden walkway from the beach into the town was erected in 1870 to solve a problem not anticipated by the Town’s developers in the building of this seaside resort […]

Collectomania! Savoring Those Souvenirs

Boot Roy Rodgers

By Donald-Brian Johnson   A lady of my acquaintance collects souvenirs with a vengeance. If she’s seen it, visited it, or done it, she has the refrigerator magnet (or T-shirt, or coffee mug, or snow globe, or … well, you get the idea), to show for it. Sometimes those souvenirs are (presumably) free for the […]

Here’s New England! On the Road with the WPA

Heres New England Cover

By Erica Lome, Ph.D. In the 1930s, no road trip across America was complete without a travel guide from the widely popular American Guide Series, published by the Federal Writers’ Project. Intended to stimulate the economy and boost national pride, these travel guides featured history-laden itineraries, photographs of major cultural icons, and directed access to […]

The Artful History of Vintage Travel Postcards

Above: Wallace News Stand in New Orleans in the summer of 1908

by Zoë Peate Who doesn’t love to find a postcard from somewhere far away, waiting for them inside their mailbox? It’s such a rare occasion in this digital era, which only makes it an even more delightful surprise. While the Golden Age of postcards is long past, like the travel posters of yesteryear, vintage postcards […]

The Rise and Fall of the American Roadside Motel

The Stars Motel, Chicago, Illinois

by Maxine Carter-Lome   In the first decades of the 20th century, nothing was more novel than the automobile. The idea of personal transportation with the freedom and ability to go where the road took you without all the limitations inherent in train travel was inspiring. Now, people could take motor trips in their leisure […]

The World & The Potter

Ceramic vessel remains, bag-shaped jars made some 20,000 calendar years ago discovered at the Xianrendong Cave in China. A total of 282 pottery sherds were recovered from the oldest levels of the cave. They have uneven thick walls between 1.4-1.5 inches, with round bases and inorganic (sand – mainly quartz or feldspar) temper. The paste has a brittle and loose texture and a heterogeneous reddish and brown color from uneven, open-air firing. They appear to have been made with two different techniques: sheet laminating or coil and paddle techniques. photo: Thought & Co.

by Jessica Kosinski For as long as there have been people on the Earth, hand-crafted goods have existed. People have had to learn to make their own shelters, tools, clothing, weapons, and so much more throughout the centuries. Certain hand-made goods have remarkably shaped the world with their innovative designs and functions. There are few […]

The Blacksmith

The Village Blacksmith by Thomas Hovenden (American (born Ireland), Dunmanway 1840–1895 Plymouth Meeting, Pennsylvania

by Melody Amsel-Arieli Under a spreading chestnut-tree The village smithy stands; The smith, a mighty man is he, With large and sinewy hands; And the muscles of his brawny arms Are strong as iron bands – The Village Blacksmith, Longfellow, 1842   Blacksmiths have wrought objects from iron for thousands of years. Metalworking, however, harks […]

Crafting a Legacy: The Life and Work of Olof Althin

Dressing table made by Althin, 1900-1913 photo: private collection

by Erica Lome, Ph.D. Today, few people outside of the antiques trade recognize the name Olof Althin (1859-1920), a Swedish-born cabinetmaker active in Boston at the turn of the twentieth century. Known primarily for his beautiful carved furniture and his accurate reproductions of antiques, Althin was also responsible for restoring two of the great collections […]

The Power of Pitkins: An American Classic Uncorked

Rare Pitkin reverse swirl inkwell and flask

by Kary Pardy If patterned antique glass has ever caught your eye, you’ve likely appreciated the flowing lines and swirling, ribbed decoration of a “Pitkin” flask. The term “Pitkin” is a more recent collector’s designation that references Connecticut’s Pitkin Glass Works and their famous production of ribbed, pattern glass in the late 18th and early […]