Old Ad of the Week: As Gay as a Schoolgirl

I guess being a woman isn’t tough — well, not too tough — after all!


I read a lot of old newspapers, which means I see a lot of old ads. Some of them are too good to keep to myself.

Source: Chicago Tribune; May 16, 1948

Right-click → view image to enlarge.

Two Snoops Are Better Than One

This week’s post was enhanced by the efforts of Graveyard Snoopette, my new volunteer helper extraordinaire.

When I started this project, I intended to stick to just online resources. However, there are cool things out there in the real world, and Snoopette has kindly offered to help dig them up.

She was willing to make two visits to the Jimmy Granato Jazz Archive, at the University of Chicago, on the slim chance that there was anything Hal-related there. And she found something!

Welcome Snoopette!

smokey stover band
Photo tracked down by my crafty assistant.

Unearthed: Hal Benson, Dr. Jazz

As always, it was the photos on the stone what got me. And the “Dixieland Jazz” inscription. And then the three keys embedded in its surface.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to figure out what the keys are about. If anyone from the Benson family shows up and would like to explain those, I would love to hear the reason for them.

Minor mystery aside, there’s still plenty to discuss when it comes to Hal Benson.

Continue reading “Unearthed: Hal Benson, Dr. Jazz”

Old Ad of the Week: Like Magic!

Before they invented installed cigarette lighters, there was this thing, which required you to pull a wire out of the dash.

Did you need that wire? Not as much as you need the Pres-a-Lite!


I read a lot of old newspapers, which means I see a lot of old ads. Some of them are too good to keep to myself.

Source: Chicago Tribune; Nov. 27, 1938

Right-click → view image to enlarge.

Cora: The Dark Hours (13)

Read the full Cora Stallman series here.


 

I have had a long time to think about Cora Stallman.

Over years, whether during the periods of all-consuming research, or the lapses when I put her away, I’ve been turning this case over in my head. I’ve asked myself every what-if imaginable — even the unimaginable ones. I’ve considered the people, the town, and the fields that stretched around them.

Mostly, I’ve treated this story like a kaleidoscope, twisting it this way and that, watching all its many elements fall into new patterns and form new theories.

All of this is a long-winded way to say: Despite everything I know, I’m still unsure how Cora died.

I don’t think Thomas Seaman killed her. I think it was an accident…for reasons we will unpack down the road.

Continue reading “Cora: The Dark Hours (13)”

Old Ad of the Week: Velvety Irresistible Arms

My favorite line: “You feel freer than probably ever before in your life of annoying hair growth.”


I read a lot of old newspapers, which means I see a lot of old ads. Some of them are too good to keep to myself.

Source: The San Francisco Examiner; July 28, 1935

Right-click → view image to enlarge.

Cora: Thomas (12)

Read the full Cora Stallman series here.


Aug. 31, 1925. Humboldt, IL.

“A crowd that filled the town hall here to overflowing endured stifling heat of the stuffy wooden building to hear the proceedings.” — Decatur Herald

It was late-summer hot and the flies were relentless, but the spectators at Cora Stallman’s inquest stayed in their chairs. They were waiting to hear the last witness, maybe the most anticipated of all: Cora’s brother-in-law Thomas Seaman.

For all of August he had been a cipher. While his wife Anna (and probably her friends) promoted the Seamans’ side to the newspapers, he was quiet. Thomas had stayed mum even as the gossip ran loose with speculation about him, and about his relationship with Cora.

Now he could have his say.

As in previous days, Coroner Frank Schilling led the questioning, with State’s Attorney Charles Fletcher as his second. With his usual deliberate care, Schilling began by having Thomas explain the parameters in which he, Anna, and her sister Cora had operated their three lives across two farms.

“I live on my own farm, where I have a home, and with my wife, who has a home on her own farm,” Thomas said. “We have been married six years, and I have known her sixteen years. There is just a road between her farm and mine.”

And then this: “The home on my farm is just as my first wife died and left it.”

Continue reading “Cora: Thomas (12)”