Monday, September 30, 2013

Bounder and Bounderess in Love

The colorful Roe Wells and Lele Daly: made for one another.  (But only for a short time.)   She made a practice of marrying rich old men; he, rich old women.  The handsome Wells, president of the Donut Corporation of America, was known as the Donut King.   When he married Lele Daly in 1941, he was a recent widower--his previous wife, the 70-year-old heiress, Emily Gilchrist Wells, had died only 16 days before.  Lele Daly seems, in turn, to have been a real-life 'Black Widow.'  She had 6 husbands, almost all of them wealthy and superannuated; but owing to various scandals and disasters, she died in penury.  Her husband before Wells, as caption notes, was Marcus Daly II, heir to the Anaconda Copper fortune.

Wells and Daly's marriage was brief; disenchantment set in quickly, as each discovered the other not quite as wealthy as imagined.  She divorced him after a few months, claiming he had beaten her, and promptly married her 5th husband: Richard Franklin Ford, a rich Standard Oil executive, described as "no spring chicken" in the American Weekly.  Lele apparently wore 'gray organza and a shocking pink feathered hat' to her nuptials.  See Michael Gross's highly entertaining book, 740 Park: The Story of the World's Richest Apartment Building--for more on Roe and Lele.  Yes, in their brief season of wedded bliss, the devilish pair lived in that fabled Manhattan building--home to Bouviers and Rockefellers and assorted other footpads.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

From a Doll Hospital in Florida

Have been on a little newspaper photo-archive binge this week: one outcome this classic B&W.  Is it possible to photograph doll parts without the result being a surrealist Atget/Max Ernst/Hans Bellmer cliché?   I don't know and I don't care.

Actually the bonus jackpot here is found on the photo back--a pasted-on clip of the article for which this was the illustration.  Teaching Lolita this week and I can't help but think that Nabokov must have invented the homicidal name of the Florida lady doll-doctor: Carmen Smotherman.   (I'm sure she was a lovely person but she does have a slightly criminal look to her.)  Charlotte Haze reincarnated, perhaps, and plotting how to take her long-postponed revenge on Humbert Humbert?

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Thank You, Boys---

---for being you.  Club My-O-My a drag club in Miami---in the 1950s? 1960s?  Whenever: doing this takes balls.

Marvelous piece in the new New Yorker about 80-something Edith Windsor, the successful plaintiff in the recent Supreme Court case that resulted in the reversal of the Defense of Marriage Act.  Gay marriage.  Unique.  Unusual.  Here to stay.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Never Danced a Jig in His Life

Here's a real oddity I found at the last Vintage Paper Fair: a postcard that is also a jigsaw puzzle.  It shows no evidence of ever having been used as such: the pieces, though they do tempt one to the minor violence of pulling the whole thing apart, seem never to have been separated. 

But what's really odd: the drawing style here.  That two-pronged grey thing the man has over his arm is obviously a coat, but the more you look at it, the more it comes to resemble two big pieces of pipe or rubber tubing--or indeed a huge dissected blood vessel or a magnet or an oversize grey salami from the Twilight Zone.  The man's left shoulder is equally peculiar: volumetric, suggestive of Dickon Crookback malformation.  Strange little boot-shoe.  I could go on.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Chinatown Hand-Tinted

Chinese children in San Francisco, ca. 1905.  

Saturday, September 7, 2013

The Devil I Will!

Cool ad for a toy, 1907.  He is standing on a larger version of the item suspended on the string.  Not a slingshot, I think, but some sort of proto-yoyo?

PS from 9/26/13:  A delightful message from postcard fan informs me (I should have looked this up) that "a diabolo is not a proto-yoyo but a discrete toy (which enjoys enduring popularity with backpackers of the long-beard-and-colourful-pants ilk)."

Thank you, Charlotte!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Monday, September 2, 2013

Fashion Week Is Coming

Part of a set (I have three) of traditional costumes of Sardinia.  Exquisite headgear on the man especially.  Not a beret, not a tricorn, not a Phrygian cap, but a lovely Miro-esque blob.   An abstract hat.  The lady looks ready to wrassle.