Long Forgotten Things
A newspaper clipping of a friend of mine back in college. We were wild back then, I tell you! Wild!

A newspaper clipping of a friend of mine back in college. We were wild back then, I tell you! Wild!

I found the original solicitation letter as well! They claim 21 current wells with 12 more soon, but in reality never had more than 2. The urgency of this letter and the promises it makes are so similar to the email scams you see today or many infomercials you see on tv. I’m especially reminded of the commercials you see for gold.

This is what a scam looked like back in the early 1900s. This was a solicitation to purchase further shares in an oil company started in West Virginia. The recipient, Harry T. Hamblin, had already purchased 10 shares, the letter encourages him to purchase more. You didn’t know West Virginia was a large oil producing state? That’s because it isn’t.

I looked up the Sand Fork Extension Oil Co. on-line and I was only able to find one reference, from the New York Times archives. Around half way down the pdf page, you’ll find the headline Promoter Russell’s Plea. This is the Russell that wrote the letter. The secondary headline reads

Civil Suit, Besides the Criminal Charge to be Brought Against Him by Stockholders.

I’ll have to do more research to find out how the case went. According to the article, he only sank 2 wells, but sold millions of dollars worth of stock with the company listed as several different companies. He later merged these companues and tried to get stockholders to send in their shares for the merging.

To induce the stockholders to send in their shares for the merging, Russell, it is said, declared that the new company produced 1,100 barrels of oil a day. When the first official report of the consolidated company was sent out, the stockholders ascertained that the daily output had been only 225 barrels, and that the debts of the comstituent companies, instead of being $85,000 as represented before the merger, amounted to $225,000.

This reminds me of what I’ve read about how the original railroads were financed and mismanaged. They too frequently amounted to scams.

Ah, a fine musical program, surrounded by men and only men for a pleasant Sunday afternoon. Truly, this was long before professional football. Do they still do this kind of thing? Would anyone go if they did?

Ah, a fine musical program, surrounded by men and only men for a pleasant Sunday afternoon. Truly, this was long before professional football. Do they still do this kind of thing? Would anyone go if they did?

A 1908 receipt from a blacksmith’s shop. 7 new shoes! Clearly Dr. Shick owned Slepnir. I had no idea what “Neverslip Calks” were, so I looked it up. They’re essentially horse cleats. They’re protrusions from a horse shoe that helps a horse dig in and keep from slipping. I’d always pictured horseshoes as flat, held on by nails flush to the shoe.

A 1908 receipt from a blacksmith’s shop. 7 new shoes! Clearly Dr. Shick owned Slepnir. I had no idea what “Neverslip Calks” were, so I looked it up. They’re essentially horse cleats. They’re protrusions from a horse shoe that helps a horse dig in and keep from slipping. I’d always pictured horseshoes as flat, held on by nails flush to the shoe.

Both sides of an undated report card from the Stroudsburg (PA) Graded School. It is likely from the early 1900s, given the dates of the things it was found with. There’s a 190 near the top of the card and it seems likely that the teacher was supposed to fill in the last number of the year after that, but didn’t. I’ve seen that convention on numerous other documents of the time.

The back lists the letter grades for the various numerical scores.

95-100 A

90-95 B

85-90 C

80-85 D

At first glance, this looks like garding was much tougher back then, but we have no idea how hard the material was or what went into those numbers, how strict the teacher was or any number of other factors. Studies have shown that course material for students in America gets harder over time. I wonder what a student getting exactly a 90 would receive as a letter grade. Would it depend on how the teacher liked the student?

It is interesting that the teacher had to write in new subjects on some lines. I wonder if they were like that from the beginning of the year or if they changed part way through like the switch from Arithmatic to Algebra, but there were no more unused lines for the teacher to fill in.

This is a photo that was in with all the clippings. I’m guessing this is Elinora York from 1925 or 1926. I love the cars in the background. If she’s near her home, this is a picture of part of Stroudsburg, PA, where I found the encelope.

This is a photo that was in with all the clippings. I’m guessing this is Elinora York from 1925 or 1926. I love the cars in the background. If she’s near her home, this is a picture of part of Stroudsburg, PA, where I found the encelope.

Also in the envelope, this is from a set of 120 cards of actors and actresses. It is the only one in the envelope. This is Edna Murphy and the shot on the card is unlike most that you can find of her on-line.

The last set of clippings

Norma Talmadge, one of only a few in these clippings who made it big enough to be remembered today, in Kiki (1926). Among other references to her in popular culture, she was apparently who Lena Lamont from Singing in the Rain was based on.

Patricia Caron in the play (revue) A Night in Paris

Pauline Starke in Love’s Blindness (1926). A star apparently well known in her time, but who has been forgotten.

The next 3

June Walker in the play “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes” (1926). She was Lorelei Lee, the role Marilyn Monroe would play in the movie.

Lya de Putti in “Variety” (actually Varieté 1925)

Marjorie May Martin in Ziegfeld Revue of 1926. There were a number of clippings in the envelope of women in this production.

The next three clippings from the envelope.

Helen Chandler in “Pomeroy’s Past”, likely a play. She did have a film career starting in the late 20s.

Helen Hayes, the “First Lady of American Theatre" in "What Every Woman Knows" (1926). She was 26 at the time and had already been on stage for 21 years. She’d been in only 2 films at this point, her film career wouldn’t really start until 1931.

Jean Williams in Florenz Zigfeld’s Revue of 1926. I was unable to find information about her.

I’m going to end up posting all the clippings from the envelope. Here’s three more.

The famed Fannie Brice. She was in “Fanny” at the time, before she became Baby Snooks in the 1930s.

Georgia Caine in “The Home-Towners”, a play I believe.

Hariette Burke in “Americana”. Mentions of her of her online have a different spelling. The newspaper clipping may have a typo.

Three more clippings from the envelope

Dorothy Burgess in The Imaginative Girl. This movie (play?) isn’t listed on either Wikipedia or IMDB. The rest of the clippings seem to be from 1925 or 1926, but Wikipedia says she debuted in 1928. This clipping may refer to a lost movie or a play.

Evangeline Raleigh in A Night in Paris, primarily a dancer.

Evelyn Herbert in The Merry World Review (1926) Stage

There were a bunch of newspaper clippings of actresses in the envelope with the fan photo of Alberta Vaughn. These three are

Aileen Pringle starring in The Wilderness Woman (1926)

Blanche Satchel in the Ziegfeld Follies (1925)

Colleen Moore in Twinkletoes (1926)

A photo of a hollywood starlet Alberta Vaughn from 1925. On the back, Elinora, the fan the envelope is addressed to, seems to have written what she’s seen Alberta in. There’s no date anywhere on the letter or the photo, but she mentions she’s currently in The Pace-Makers and IMDB says that series of 12 shorts was in 1925.

Alberta Vaugn’s career lasted from 1921 through 1935, making her one of the actors that managed a transition to talkies from the silent era. This fan photo is from 2 years before the release of The Jazz Singer.

I like that for a quarter, you can get a larger, personalized photo. Sadly, she either didn’t get one or it didn’t find its way into the papers I stumbled upon in my grandmother’s attic.