Saturday, October 22, 2011

Puttin' on the Ritz

This has been my jam all week long!

That was by Earl Burtnett and his Biltmore Orchestra which played at the Biltmore Hotel in the 1920s-30s."Puttin' on the Ritz" was slang from back in the day.  It meant "to dress fashionably" and alluded to the swanky (that's a word that feels synonymous of the era... but acccording to Merriam-Webster, it was first used in 1842... I'm such a nerd) Ritz Hotel. 

One more:

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Hidden Murals

All these years, I've gone by the Golden State Mutual Life Insurance Building knowing it was something special.  I had no idea it housed a treasure depicting African-American contributions to early California.  L.A. is a treasure trove of hidden delights!

Artists Hale Woodruff & Charles Alston

These murals will be available for viewing on October 22.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Aerial Views of L.A.

These stunning pics of L.A. were taken in 1978 by Don Ray. More of his pics plus great details are posted on his blog at Don Ray Friends and Hideaways.

 Those are Bunker Hills Towers in the foreground.  Don adds an interesting bit of information that I had not previously known.  Grand Avenue used to be called Charity St. back when Bunker Hill still had its magnificent mansions.  Bunker Hill was cleverly bordered by Hope and Charity.  This changed because the affluent residents did not enjoy informing people that they lived on Charity.  Hahaha!

The Bonaventure in the foreground and the LA Public Library before the great fire that sadly destroyed its collections.  It's great to compare these photos to today's views and see how the city has transformed. 

Monday, October 17, 2011

Universal Wrapping Paper

Way awesome!  No need to collect different kinds of wrapping paper again. It's perfect for the upcoming holiday season (yes, I am already thinking about Christmas)

Sunday, October 16, 2011

A Typewriter is Forever

through the eyes of an 8-year-old 

"A typewriter is a computer that prints while you type and you don’t have to plug in"

I came across this sweet insight the other day here:

Indeed, it's true. While we may view the typewriter and other low-tech items as outdated and irrelevant, a pair of fresh new eyes is capable of seeing its everlasting benefits.  

L.A. as Subject

This is an amazing project hosted by the USC library system.  It's a wonderful alliance of historical archives to facilitate the city's continuous and necessary self-study.
They also host this great free event for L.A. history buffs, the Annual Los Angeles Archives Bazaar 

I'm on an L.A.history binge, so most posts this week will focus on my great city ;)

6th-annual Los Angeles Archives Bazaar Poster

Saturday, September 17, 2011

1940s NYC in COLOR!

First saw this at Behind the Curtain - 16 Sparrows:  1940s NYC in COLOR!  so neat!  I've watched so much TCM and I Love Lucy that it's hard for me to think of the early twentieth century as anything other than black and white.  More pics can be found at the Daily Mail.

I thought this one was rather interesting.  The Daily Mail caption says it's a picture of three homeless men.  Interestingly, they all are dressed in a coat and hat and two of them have ties.  In general, most of the pics show people dressed nicely by today's standards. 

There are places in LA that resemble this block... cluttered multilingual signage, barber shop, vending machines... I love it. 

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Letter Writers Alliance

Today I was met with this very exciting piece of correspondence in my mailbox...

It was my LWA membership!  What's the LWA?  It's the Letter Writers Alliance, of course!  
The cool chicks behind the 16 Sparrows print shop are behind this alliance of letter writing hopeless romantics... and now I'm officially one of them :)


Season Two Coming Soon!

So excited about the new season of Boardwalk Empire!

Sunday, June 26, 2011


I just couldn't resist these stamps... Selena, Celia Cruz, Tito Puente, Carlos Gardel, Carmen Miranda y Julia de Burgos... Latinos are invading the postal service! My envelopes will be the nicest ones of all :)

Sunday, June 12, 2011

National Jukebox!

Weeks ago, I came across this neat announcement: Amazing online archive of vintage recordings opens

Don't know why it took me so long to check it out, but I finally did.  It is truly amazing!  The amazing online archive is the Library of Congress' National Jukebox.  I have always loved early pop music recordings from the 1920s-1940s so I was super delighted to be able to easily access thousands of earlier recordings.  The National Jukebox makes more than 10,000 historical recordings available to the public.  All the recordings were made between 1901 and 1925.  

I am excited about all the cool treasures I am sure to discover!  Also interesting is the disclaimer that appears on every page of the site, "WARNING: Historical recordings may contain offensive language."  Love it.  Artifacts are important because they teach us what society was like in the past.  No need to change it to please our current mores.