It’s a pretty safe bet that these pinbacks were from my family’s anti-Prohibition stance. While I can’t find a solid source for this conclusion I do have some clues. One is the date on the back of the buttons. That falls in line with the push for the 18th Amendment. Second is the fact that my German ancestors in Chicago were both heavy into politics and both my Great Grandpa and 2nd Great Grandfather Ehemann were listed in city directories as either brewers and saloon keepers (imagine that). And lastly these pins fall in line with these two other buttons that made their way down to me.
My Grandpa George’s World War II era house flag measures 2’7” x 5’ which is a bit of an odd size compared to today’s standard 3’ x 5’. I would imagine that he flew it a good amount over his Chicago home during those war years. I post it today as my little way of marking the 70th Anniversary of D-Day.
For this Memorial Day I give you an obit from my Grandma Alice’s scrapbook. She clipped a good number of them from friends and family that passed over the years. In this instance we have one for Pvt. Joseph Janzer, whose wife apparently worked with my Grandpa George. (I’m guessing it was with him because of the “Dept. 61” listing.) While the obit gives us some cursory, and rather sad background on Pvt. Janzer, I decided to see what else I could find.
Joseph Janzer was a member of the U.S. Army’s 141st Field Artillery, which is known as the Washington Artillery. According to a Cook County genealogy site he was killed in action on February 4, 1945. At that time his unit was fighting in what became known as the Colmar Pocket in Northeast France. This pocket was created by a Nazi offensive that in turn created a bulge into the Allied line. It is not far from the location of this battle that his remains are interred at the Epinal American Cemetery in France.
While it is impossible for me to know, I do hope his wife was able to make it out there at least once to visit him. With that said, someone cared enough to lay these flowers and flags at his gravesite as you can see in this Find A Grave photo. My guess is that Pvt. Janzer has family out there that remember him.
My Grandpa George’s slide rule, which I am sure he used in his machinist schooling at the start of the 1940s. I remember playing with this as a kid, and it always made me wish that I was good at math. Sadly, that wasn’t in the cards.
This little stamp has been floating around for years, but it wasn’t until recently that it dawned on me that the address is unfamiliar. Now part of the issue might be that there were three generations of George F. Ehemanns in my family. The oldest of which is my Great Great Grandfather, who was born in Bavaria in 1838, and ending with my Grandfather who was born in 1907 in Chicago.
Anyway, as for this address the house is still there and appears to be built sometime between 1910 & 1920. Now I have all of the census records for my family around that time period, and a few years of City Directory listings, and none of them show this address. As for my Grandfather, he grew up on Paulina St, and even lived there after he was married. My guess is that he may have lived here on Winnemac sometime either right before or right after the 1930 Census, when he was old enough to rent his own place, but before he got married and moved back into his childhood home well before 1940. That would make sense. His Father had died in 1928, leaving his mother a widow, and the Great Depression had hit giving him another reason to move back home. All in all, that’s the best guess I’ve got.
Happy 100th birthday to Wrigley Field. For 5 generations you’ve been a part of my family. Here’s to another hundred years!
This is a $10 bank note issued by the Bank of the State of Georgia dated March 2, 1860 out of Savannah. The paper is extremely thin, almost like tissue paper, and is only printed on one side. Prior to the National Banking Act of 1863, States would issue their own fiat currency. The National Banking Act was the first of many laws that came about to unify U.S. currency. The law was also created to help pay for the Civil War, and in turn it created “greenbacks” that were issued by chartered U.S. Federal Banks. The State issued notes became Federally taxed which, as expected, ended their existence.
As to how this came into my hands I really don’t know. All of my ancestors were immigrants to the North, so they didn’t get it by living down South. There is a rumor that a few uncles were in the Civil War, so maybe one picked this up down in Georgia, but I can’t find any evidence to support it. Or, which is most likely the case, one of my ancestors had a small collection of coins and this fell into their hands.
As for the note itself, well the Bank of Georgia took a beating in the Civil War, and as mentioned the Federal Government taxed these out of existence. So its value (as far as I can tell) is based more on historical interest than in any financial backing. It was printed by the American Bank Note Co. out of New York which was around until it filed for bankruptcy in 1999.
As another baseball season begins I bring you this old Chicago Cubs ticket stub. Oddly, there is no date anywhere on it, so dating it becomes a bit of a challenge. One hint is the zip code on back. The US Postal Service started to use the five digit code in 1963. A quick read on the internet shows that the USPS made a serious push starting in the late 1960s to get people to use the new five digit system. Thus the absolute earliest it would be seen on a ticket would be the 1964 season.
Another clue is the price of a $1.50. If you’ve been to a game in the last decade or so you know that price has to be from a good while back. Along with the fact that this is a “Child’s Ticket.” I don’t know when that ended, but nowadays if the kid is old enough to take up a seat they are full price. I managed to find this story a guy wrote about his first Cubs game in the summer of 1963. He mentions that a grandstand ticket was $1.50 and a kid’s seat was ¢.60. So we now know that this ticket has a to be at least few seasons after ‘63.
By the late 1960s both of my parents were adults and married. Soon after I came along. So, there is a very good chance that this stub is from the 1970s and the child it was for was me. Who knows, maybe this was the ticket to my very first ball game.
For St. Patrick’s Day I offer this very small button. It’s about the size of a dime, and a bit of a mystery. I don’t know what organization this represents be it a company or one of the old athletic clubs. The inside has a faded union stamp that looks just like the ones from other early 20th century pins I own, so that helps give me a date. Also, this most likely came from Chicago. I can find no information on an AACL or any group that had a logo with those initials and a clover. I tried many variations in my search. (Could CL = Chicago League? - etc) My best guess is that it came from either the German Chicago politicians in my family, that owned it for some sort of political reason to maybe show solidarity. Or it came from the smaller Irish side of my heritage, and it represented a group that an ancestor had been member of or supported.
If anyone out there has an idea of its origin I’m all ears.
Glued into my Grandma Alice’s scrapbook is this event flyer from my Grandfather’s work. Stewart Warner made various gauges and instruments for The War, so big events of this nature aren’t that surprising. What is, is the date. The only September 8th on a Tuesday during WWII (and the immediate years following) was in 1942. That’s still rather early for U.S. involvement. Then it occurred to me that this might have been more of a war rally than an awards recognition. While I can’t seem to find anything on the internet about this event, I think that I might be on to something. This time period was during the first major U.S. push in the Pacific, and about a month into the very long Battle of Guadalcanal. Though while the First War Loan Drive didn’t begin until November of ‘42, I still think it is safe to say that besides some presentations it was also a sort of pep rally.
A ticket stub to Michael Todd’s Hall of Music, which sadly has no date. Thus I can only guess as to which Michael Todd theater incarnation this was from. One was during the 1933 Century of Progress World’s Fair. At that time he created a production called the "Flame Dance" where burners would singe off the dancer’s costume thus giving the perception that at the end she was nude. Post WWII Todd owned the Michael Todd Theatre (now the Harris and Selwyn Theaters in the Loop) which showed movies but on occasion would host a dance and music review. He also owned the Michael Todd’s Theatre Cafe in the Lake View neighborhood of Chicago. So, any one of those could be the source of this stub.
While his name is largely forgotten today, he was once very well known. Besides producing many theatre shows both in Chicago and in NYC, he was also in the movie business. He helped usher in widescreen and is best remembered for producing Around the World in 80 Days which won the Oscar for Best Picture. He is also known for marrying Elizabeth Taylor, and being the only husband she didn’t divorce. The reason for that lack of divorce might very well be the fact that in 1958 he died in a plane crash in New Mexico. The story goes that before takeoff he had tried to convince a few friends to join him on the flight, one of which was Kirk Douglas, so that he could have someone to play gin rummy. He was reported to have said "Ah, c’mon, It’s a good, safe plane. I wouldn’t let it crash. I’m taking along a picture of Elizabeth, and I wouldn’t let anything happen to her."
This is a payment book for what I can only assume was an engagement or wedding ring my Grandpa George gave my Grandma Alice. It wasn’t until after I found this little booklet that I realized that I don’t know when they were married. So, this is only a guess.
This piece of jewelry was technically bought by my Great Grandma, probably because her credit was better. An item of interest is that this was done in the midst of The Great Depression. So, while it may seem like taking over a year to pay down $89 is a bit extreme, you would have to consider that this was a good chunk of change. As a matter of fact, if you use an inflation calculator that $89 would today be equivalent to $1,369.64. With that in mind, along with the Depression being in full swing, that loan term doesn’t sound so silly after all.
A Valentine my Grandpa George gave to my Grandma Alice most likely from the mid to late late 1920s. If you look closely you can see a little pin hole at the top. So my guess is that she wore this on Valentine’s Day oh so long ago.
Wrapping up my WWII rations collection are coupons for the grocery store. While the initial thought would be that this was to make sure food was available for the troops (which in some cases was the fact), the real reasoning went beyond the actual food stuffs. It actually had to do with the processing and delivery. Like I had mentioned in my earlier rations posts, a big driving factor was the use of rubber. Hence limiting the amount of stuff you could buy meant that less stuff would have to be transported = less wear on precious tires. There was also the thought that less tin would be consumed by cans if people couldn’t buy as much. While true, I have read that the tin shortage wasn’t really as bad as the public thought. Either way, the rations did help cutback on cans.
This is by no means all of the paperwork involved with rations. As a matter of fact there was a War Ration Book No. 4 issued later on that I don’t have, and plans for a Book 5 as well. I like how over time the rations became more stylized, as you can see comparing Book 1 stamps with Book 3. (And Book 4 was even more so.) Besides the graphics the other thing I really like is the slogan that was used throughout the war years. “If you don’t need it, DON’T BUY IT.” Words that I still live by today.
Along with all of the WWII gas rationing items I recently posted is this form. It apparently had to be filled out by anyone that needed supplemental gas rations; in my Grandpa’s case that would be for his “B” sticker he received because his work was considered vital to the war effort. The form was also used by people that required extra rations because of business needs, driving to school (I’d assume college), an extra long commute, or working for the public welfare.
In this day and age of fears about an intrusive government I can’t imagine this form being accepted. Not only does it require the driver to keep track of their mileage, it also needs to be signed by the place of employment and everyone in your carpool. If such a thing were proposed today we’d all be exposed to non-stop rants and ravings about “Big Government” trying to destroy our freedoms.