Seattle 1978

Seattle 1978

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Christmas gift ideas from the 60s

More ads from December 1966 and 1967 - hot Christmas gift ideas
From Vintage Goodness
From Vintage Goodness
From Vintage Goodness

From Vintage Goodness
From Vintage Goodness
(the pattern I grew up with is on the left - Frostfire)

From Vintage Goodness
From Vintage Goodness

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Vintage Christmas Cards

From the extensive collection of my Grandmother-in-Law Maren's keepsakes, I have dozens of vintage Christmas cards from the 1920s and 1930s.  They are beautiful!  Some have messages written in Danish on the back.  If you can read Danish and can help me translate some of the messages, I would be very appreciative!  I scanned a few of the card backs and they are in my album found here.
Below are just a few Danish Christmas cards.
Gl├Ždelig jul!!!

From Vintage Danish Cards

From Vintage Danish Cards

From Vintage Danish Cards

From Vintage Danish Cards

From Vintage Danish Cards

From Vintage Danish Cards

From Vintage Danish Cards
From Vintage Danish Cards
From Vintage Danish Cards
according to Google Translate: "Now it's Christmas, oh, thank goodness! I am so glad, therefore, that God his son gave to the world; today he came to earth"
From Vintage Danish Cards
From Vintage Danish Cards

*Updated - more here
and even more here.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Photography and Christmas

Lots of opportunities for photography during the winter holidays.  But what about lighting? I remember the big bowl shaped flash reflector especially from my Dad's dad's camera: bleary-eyed, early-morning gift opening and those flashes were bright like lightning.  A new flash bulb was required for every shot - and they were pretty hot to the touch so it wasn't like you could swap them speedily.  But maybe Grandpa thought they were pretty spiffy because it sure beat using explosive powder to produce artificial lighting - check out this brief history of photographic flash photography.

But then came the flash cube - you could shoot four consecutive photos! Photography was getting easier and easier.
"When a man decides to shoot visiting relatives he can't afford to miss." (December 1966 ad)
From Vintage Goodness
Kodak had a significant role in amateur photography - according to Kodak's timeline, the Instamatic line was introduced in 1963 and quickly became a huge success.  A December 1966 ad makes helpful gift suggestions for those who already have one

From Vintage Goodness

My dad was pretty excited to give my mom her own Kodak Instamatic camera in the early 70's
From Visiting Vintage

He had been in to photography since he was a teenager - he worked after school at a camera store in Bremerton.  He was thrilled to get photography equipment for his darkroom at Christmas (I think this is a dryer)
From Visiting Vintage

Dad gave me darkroom equipment for Christmas when I also showed interest in the hobby in high school. I won a small TV in a photography contest about the same time but it wasn't with my "real" camera (I had an Argus C3 and a Minolta 101) it was with my mom's Instamatic above - I put my sunglasses over the lens and shot a sailboat photo into the sun.

And then for several years, my parents were the Santa photographers at Factoria Square Mall.

You can't see very clearly but he used a Mamiya for the portrait photos - families had to return to the mall to pick up their prints or have their packages mailed to them.  He also used a high quality Polaroid so families could take one with them.

My parents occasionally still do photography professionally.  We both have Nikons now - his is far fancier than mine!  While I enjoy photography year round - it holds particularly fond memories for me at Christmas.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Groovy Christmas

A month after our 1969 Thanksgiving photo, we returned to my grandparent's home to celebrate Christmas.


You may wish to shade your eyes

From Visiting Vintage

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Thanksgiving & the Mayflower (Park Hotel)

I recently mentioned my grandfather, Howard Johnson when I posted about a paint-by-number clown he painted for me.

Howard was born 1912 in British Columbia. He began his hospitality career at the Empress Hotel in Victoria, BC as a boy (pageboy standing on the left)
From Johnson Family
Somewhere in the family collection of photographs is a picture of an even younger Howard in a velvet suit carrying in the boar's head for a Christmas feast at the grand hotel.

Grandpa worked at other hotels in British Columbia before immigrating to Washington in 1951 with my grandmother and my pre-teen mother.  I thought he moved to The States to take a job at the Mayflower Park Hotel in Seattle - which seems charmingly quaint to me - the Mayflower is what brought my mom's family to America!  However in a conversation over at Vintage Seattle about the Carousel Room, the Mayflower Park Hotel historian mentions my grandfather was General Manager there from 1955-1959.  Perhaps he worked another position at the Mayflower before being promoted to General Manager and I can still think the Mayflower brought my family to America. . . .

Mayflower Park Hotel postcard before my grandfather's era
From Visiting Vintage
From Visiting Vintage

Forward another decade after working at the Mayflower and through several other hotels (he went on to work at the Edgewater Inn - he was employed there when the Beatles fished from the window!) and here we are celebrating (quite seriously) Thanksgiving in 1969 with my grandpa and grandma.  Another of his paint-by-numbers is hanging on the wall.

From Visiting Vintage

That was my grandfather's last Thanksgiving.  He passed away July 1970 at age 58.

Unfortunately, I don't have a lot of memories of him but  two of them include hotels - I remember sharing a bowl of ice cream just me and him at the Edgewater and I remember watching a Seafair parade from a window of the Mayflower (he no longer worked there) .  At this Thanksgiving time, among a plethora of my many, MANY blessings, I am grateful that Howard Johnson created a life for his family which in turn contributed hugely to my very fortunate existence.

Very happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Retro Toys

This weekend my fourteen year old daughter got nostalgic.  She came across her "retro toys" (her words).   How can something manufactured during the 21st century be considered "retro"?!  She found a tutorial to fix a circa 2000 Pokemon game for Nintendo Gameboy Color - this seems even more ancient to her since she inherited the Gameboy a few years ago from her cousin who is now in college.  And she bought new batteries for her Tamagotchi Connections that she collected in third grade.  I guess your childhood toys from elementary school seem quaint when you're in ninth grade.
From Visiting Vintage

Today I came across some vintage comic books that were nostalgic to me.  Here's one -
Little Lulu No. 214 September 1973
From Visiting Vintage

The ads inside made me smile at the memory of reading them with childhood eyes

From Visiting Vintage

From Visiting Vintage

From Visiting Vintage

From Visiting Vintage

From Visiting Vintage

From Visiting Vintage

From Visiting Vintage

In the same stack I found I had saved a comic book that someday my 23 year old may feel nostalgic about - Sonic the Hedgehog No. 1 October 1995

From Visiting Vintage

I guess "retro" is in the eye of the beholder.  Nostalgia is a nice place to visit if the memories add a smile to your day.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Historical Research

Last Saturday I went to the 2011 Basics of Historical Research Workshop that I learned about through a post on Facebook.  They had me at "Historical Research Workshop" and then to learn it was very local to me and FREE, I could hardly wait!  There were genealogists, local history teachers and librarians all gathered in a lecture hall at Bellevue College for a little over three hours with three presentations about history research. 

And then we got to tour the Puget Sound Regional Archives Branch of the Washington State Archives
From Bellevue
Yep, I was giddy.  I interrupted  the tour to ask permission to photograph because I was so thrilled to be there.  Thankfully he even allowed flash photography. 
From Bellevue
Most people don't go back in to the climate controlled collections - you call/e-mail/fax/write and request materials that they will locate and let you view in their public area.
From Bellevue

Honestly, I didn't really know what to expect when I registered for the workshop but the event had my name written all over it.  I loved it.

As a supplement to the workshop we were e-mailed a very extensive list of research links

First Steps:

Washington State Archives

Washington State Library

Office of the Secretary of State

Washington History Day

Washington History Day Topic Guide

National History Day

Finding Primary Sources:

Government Archives:

National Archives and Records Administration (NARA)

King County Archives

Seattle Municipal Archives

Seattle Public Schools Archives (link not working for me but found SPS Archives and Records Management)

Institutional Archives:

University of Washington Archives

Providence Archives, Seattle

Special Collections:

Washington State Historical Society

Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture

UW Libraries: Special Collections

WSU Libraries Manuscripts, Archives & Special Collections

Center for Pacific Northwest Studies

Museum of History and Industry (MOHAI)

Wenatchee Valley Museum and Cultural Center

Yakima Valley Museum

Library of Congress

Corporate Archives:

Society of American Archivists Directory of Corporate Archives in the U.S. and Canada


Washington State Library Newspaper Collection

University of Washington Libraries Microform & Newspaper Collections

Seattle Public Library

Tacoma Public Library

Washington State University Libraries Northwest History Database

Finding Secondary Sources:


Washington State Library

Seattle Public Library

University of Washington Libraries


Additional Online Research Resources:

• Search engine:




• Web search engine (Google, Yahoo, Bing) maps, images, videos

Google Scholar



Reading, Decoding, and Using Sources:

Reading, Writing, and Researching for History

University of Idaho Libraries: Repositories of Primary Sources: Online Guide to Archival Collections

Northwest Digital Archives: Finding Aids

Washington State Historical Records Survey: Online Guide to Archival Collections

Active Reading Strategies, The McGraw Center at Princeton University

Active Reading, Academic Skills Center at Dartmouth College

Active Reading, iStudy for Success at Penn State University

Office of the Secretary of State Additional Resources:

Washington State Constitution

Washington Territorial Timeline

History of Elections and Voting

Legislative Oral Histories

Historical Maps

Cities, Counties and Corporations

Legacy Project Oral and Written Histories

Michael S. Saunder
Washington State Archives
Western Regional Archivist

Thank you to Michael S. Saunders for permission to post this list! Except that I'm a little bit mad at you because you are responsible for me getting distracted by all these resources and me being unable to manage my time and complete my "to do" list. :-)