A friend of mine brought me treasures today. Mementos of a different era. Souvenirs of a Philadelphia and surrounding area that lives no more.
First is a weekly entertainment guide printed by Majestic Press. The week of April 8, 1940. Movies that were a very big deal being shown in theatres that no longer exist. There is even an ad for a burlesque show at the Troc and a photograph of the late great Maestro Eugene Ormandy as a young man.
The other treasure won’t appeal to as many people but it appeals to some of my friends and I because we lived it in the 1980s and late 1970s is the program book from the 1963 Philadelphia Charity Ball.
It’s like a walk through Philadelphia history. The grande dames of society￼￼ and their husbands.
Ads for Philadelphia businesses that no longer exist, including all the fabulous fashion and department store shopping that used to be in the Philadelphia area.￼
To most people this means nothing￼, but for me to see a Kelly for Brickwork ad is something really special. Or for financial institutions that are long gone like Butcher & Sherrard.￼
What is so different from the way the program has evolved is there are no pictures of debutantes in the program book. The committee got out there and sold advertising space and basically filled an entire book with it. That’s hard work. I used to help my mother get a donors for the Philadelphia Antiques Show programs years ago￼￼.
One of the things that totally made me laugh was the ad for the Bryn Mawr Trust Company. It’s completely stuffy, pompous, and sexist. The irony is I’m not sure how much they’ve evolved to in the present day￼￼.
Some of you are going to think I spent way too much time taking screenshots of old program books. But I think this is really cool. It’s a social history and the history of businesses gone by, and a way of life that no longer exists￼. And its total mid century ad copy as well. And I love the fashion illustrations.￼
But this is also from an era when there was society and it meant something. And yes that meant lots and lots of rules. It was also kind of civilized.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this little bit of area history. A time capsule of the 1940s and 1960s. Take special note of the “President’s Message.”￼ it was written literally right after President John F Kennedy was assassinated.￼ I wasn’t even born yet and it gave me chills.￼