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Seely Shoulder Shapes – Excerpt from Fading Ads of New York City (History Press, 2011)

JPG of full frame hi-res scan TIFF © Frank H. Jump

Excerpt from Fading Ads of New York City (History Press, 2011)

Seely Shoulder Shapes
Incorporated from November 17, 1953 through December 15, 1959.

According to the Manhattan Ghost Signs Digital Collection , an attractively designed new website created by Queens College Graduates Otto Luna and Dana Rubin to catalogue the fading ads of the Garment District (using the extensive photo-archive of Walter Grutchfield), Seely Shoulder Shapes was originally called Seely Shoulder Pad Corp., located at 263/5 W. 40th St. from 1945 until 1956. Shoulder shapes or pads are still produced today for the fashion industry, but no longer at this address.

In a New York Times article in which I was featured and provided the front page image, David W. Dunlap stated the following about the fate of this sign: “Another vintage sign that is not destined to last much longer trumpets Seely Shoulder Shapes, a garment business from the 1950’s. Painted byArtkraft Strauss, which is still in operation, the mural is at 265 West 40th Street, on the site where The New York Times is planning its new headquarters.” After the New-York Historical show came down, I tried to sell the collection. One of my benefactors is the lovely Tama Starr, President of the Artkraft-Strauss outdoor advertising company whom I had the pleasure of spending an hour or more talking about the sign painting industry. Starr was very encouraging of the campaign and gave me a copy of her seminal book about advertising Signs & Wonders, The Spectacular Marketing of America.

In Starr’s book, she speaks primarily on the illuminated sign industry although she does touch upon the origins of advertising and the innate ability of humans to create signs and symbols. In a section she calls “From Cave Artists to Wall Dogs,” Starr addresses questions about which I’ve always speculated, like what was the first advertisement and who invented the wall ad? Starr writes:

The story of outdoor advertising traditionally begins with the first symbolic marketers, the cave dwellers during the Upper Paleolithic period, starting about 40,000 years ago. At Lascaux, France, and elsewhere, elaborate action murals depicting a variety of animals and lively hunting scenes portray the dynamic relationship between hunters and the migratory beasts who represented fundamental economic forces: food and clothing, the entire constellation of blessings that Nature could either bestow or withhold.

Anthropologists identify these Stone Age rendering – the first wall-mounted messages – as the earliest examples of both art and writing. They speculate that, like modern media, the messages were intended to influence as well as reflect the viewer’s life. Like advertisements, they depict dreams fulfilled – the animals rushing into the hunters’ traps – and urge specific, concrete action – Hunt! Be hunted! – on both parties to the economic transaction.

All known cultures use signs, in one form or another, to convey straightforward messages with immediacy. Anthropologist Ashley Montagu defines a sign as a “concrete denoter” with an inherent, specific meaning: “This is it; do something about it!” He points out the essentially human character of signs by noting that while many types of animals respond to signals – interruptions in an energy field for the purpose of communicating – only a few intelligent and highly trained animals can understand even the simplest signs.

History’s first known poster bulletin was a notice of a reward for a runaway slave posted on a wall in the Egyptian city of Thebes more than 3,000 years ago. Egyptian merchants of the same periods chiseled sales messages into tall, square stone obelisks and roadside stone tablets called stelae, and painted them in bright colors to attract the attention of passersby.

In Pompeii, billboard-like walls covered with advertisements were preserved in the lava that engulfed them when Mount Vesuvius erupted in A.D. 79. Excavations there have revealed wall messages on the shady side of the marketplace too, offering enticing invitations along the lines of “For a Good Time, See Cora.” And even earlier, in ancient Greece, innovative practitioners of what may arguably be the world’s second-oldest profession (symbol-making being necessarily precedent) expanded their out-of-home client base by carving the message “ΕΠΟϒ ΜΟΙ,” “Follow Me,” in the bottoms of their leather sandals, leaving an impression in the clay pavement as well as in the imaginations of potential customers. The connection between the two ancient occupations was not limited to amateurs, however. Modern visitors to Kuşadasi in Turkey are shown magnificent Byzantine mosaics that once served as on-premises business signs for houses of pleasure.

The Romans brought the use of whitewashed walls with painted ads on them on their conquests throughout Europe. They also developed artful on-premise business signs specially designed for the illiterate, such as a friendly-looking bush denoting a tavern. Some ancient trade symbols – such as the three golden balls of the pawnshop, the giant key of the locksmith, the big shoe of the shoemaker, and the red and white stripes of the barber – have remained in use for a thousand years and more.

Tama Starr loved the image of Seely Shoulder Shapes and bought it. As I signed the photo for her she signed her book for me:

Frank Jump! It’s always a good sign to meet a new friend. Best wishes always, Tama Starr 7/14/00

I believe this image still hangs in Tama Starr’s office.

Weber & Heilbroner Revisited – North of Herald Square – West 35th Street, NYC – 1998

JPEG from Hi-Res TIFF of Original Chrome Scan for Fading Ads of New York City (History Press, 2011) © Frank H. Jump

One of the original 24 images that exhibited at the N-Y Historical Society, August – November 1998 – Fading Ad Campaign

When I took this shot, I wanted to be above it (the sign) to show its scale. The trucks below give it some sense of proportion. I went to the building across the street which had a doorman. I told him I had an appointment with a woman on the thirteenth floor (lucky 13). The gentleman called up and when asked who made the appointment, I said the woman behind the desk. They let me go up.

When I got out of the elevator, I was greeted by the manager (a woman named Sharon) and the front desk manager (an African-American gay man who had a grin). The front desk manager said, “Am I the woman you made the appointment with?” Hand on hip. I laughed. We all had a good laugh. So Sharon asked, “So what do you really want?”

Well, I said, there is this great sign across the street that you probably see out your window. She gasped and said “It’s about time someone photographed this sign. I love that sign!” The company was some sort of garment import or manufacturing firm so Sharon had an interest in habadasher history. Sharon asked if I had eaten lunch yet. I said no. They ordered pizza and soda. As we waited for the food, Sharon cleared off her window sill and opened it up (I don’t think it had been opened in years). I hung out the window as she held me by my belt.

The building where I took the shot has recently been torn down. I shot this image of Atlantic Bank this past summer while walking with my friend, Dr. Andrew Irving.

Gold Dust Twins – Tornado Reveals a Racist Remnant in Advertising – Atlanta, GA

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In April 2008, a tornado ripped through downtown Atlanta. Damage totaled around half a billion dollars. One life was lost. Amid the destruction came the resurrection of an early 20th century billboard—a caricature of coal-black, wide eyed, tutu-wearing twins, happily scrubbing dishes. The two were the Gold Dust Twins, the nationally recognized trademark for Gold Dust Washing Powder, a household cleaning product whose popularity soared with the antics of the cheerful, degraded duo.

The advertisement is painted on the exterior east wall of a vacant, three-story brick building at 229 Auburn Avenue.1 The structure was once the local office of the Atlanta Life Insurance Company, founded in 1905 by Alonzo Herndon, one of the wealthiest African Americans in the South at the time. For more than eighty years the Gold Dust advertisement remained hidden from view, obstructed by the neighboring Herndon Office Building, completed in 1926. When the tornado-damaged Herndon Building was demolished in 2008, the advertisement came to light, raising difficult questions of race and culture—and more pressing, what to do with the twins now that they were back. Velma Maia Thomas, Scholar Blogs – Emory University (July 27, 2015)

Who are the Gold Dust Twins?

The Gold Dust Twins were advertising icons for a soap company called N. K. Fairbank, created to sell its Gold Dust Washing Powder.

According to Marilyn Kern-Foxworth, author of “Aunt Jemima, Uncle Ben, and Rastus: Blacks in Advertising, Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow,” the Gold Dust Twins were around starting in about 1887, but they really took off after their appearance at the St. Louis World’s Fair in 1904. 

Tornado Uncovers Disturbing, Nearly Century-Old Ad On Auburn Avenue
By Stephannie Stokes • Jan 21, 2015 – WABE (NPR), Atlanta (see and hear more with a podcast) – http://news.wabe.org/post/tornado-uncovers-disturbing-nearly-century-old-ad-auburn-avenue

Joseph Nicolosi, Advocate of Conversion Therapy for Gays, Dies at 70 – NYTimes – Homophobes Driving Into Manhattan

NYTimes

Another one bites the dust… he’s on his knees in hell pleasuring William F. Buckley @ the Dead Homophones Society.

These two cretins are on their way. If you see them, wave hello! Homophobic Drunk White Men on their way into Manhattan while entering the Queensborough Bridge NYS License Plate #FDN-2518 (March 16, 2017) SHUT UP HAROLD!

Harry’s Department Store Revisited – Excerpts from The Fading Ads of NYC (History Press, 2011)

As seen in The Fading Ads of New York City (History Press, 2011) © Frank H. Jump

Harry’s Department Store/Aufrecht Insurance & Real Estate
“It’s Harry’s Department Store for the Greatest Values” Graham & Metropolitan Avenues

I’ve spent more time staring at this image in particular than almost any other sign I’ve documented. It is not for any other reason than the four foot by six foot reproduction that hung at the WAH Center Exhibition in 2000 hangs in my office in my country home. I’ve often wondered who the man on the left was and where the large woman with the teal colored sweat suit was going. At first, I didn’t even realize there was a man on the left since the slide positive was scanned initially in the cardboard frame in which it is housed, which cuts almost a millimeter of information from the image, thus cropping it slightly. When the positive was removed from the cardboard sleeve to be scanned for this large-scale reproduction, suddenly the man in the short-sleeved polo shirt and grey slacks appeared.

Department store owner, Harry also has been a mystery to me. There doesn’t seem to be any mention of Harry’s Department Store in any of the online archives I’ve searched. Kevin Walsh conveniently provided a link to the wedding announcement of Jacob M. Aufrecht that was scanned and uploaded by Tom Tryniski, in an extensive online archive he calls Old Fulton NY Post Cards. Normally this wedding announcement, which states the usual familial and temporal information would seem quite unremarkable:

Berger – Aufrecht

Miss Elise Berger, daughter of Mr. & Mrs. Emanuel Berger of 660 West 180th st., Manhattan, and Jacob M. Aufrecht, son of Mr. and Mrs. Marcus Aufrecht of 551 East 53d st., Brooklyn, will be married at the Hotel Astor on Sunday evening Oct 27, by Rabbi Alexander Lyons of the Eighth Avenue Temple.

The bride will be attended by Miss Helen Welkersheimer. Max Abrams of Brooklyn will be the best man. Following a motor trip to Canada, the couple will reside at 551 East 53d st., Flatbush. Miss Berger is a graduate of Columbia University. Mr. Aufrecht is engaged in the real estate business. – The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Sunday October 10, 1929

Totally mundane in its details, this wedding announcement would never have struck a chord until I noticed the date that the bride and groom were to be wed. The Thursday afternoon before their wedding is known as Black Thursday (Black Friday in Europe due to the time difference). The Monday & Tuesday after their wedding are remembered as “Black” days as well. One could only wonder if the newlyweds ever went on their Canadian road-trip after a nuptial weekend that landed smack in the middle of the Stock Market Crash of 1929, precipitating the Great Depression. As I write this on a similar weekend, Standard & Poors downgraded the United States was from a Triple A to an AA+ credit rating. Life goes on. Doesn’t it? – Taken from The Fading Ads of NYC (History Press, 2011) © Frank H. Jump

Yes. Life does go on. Obama saved our asses. Let’s watch Trump drill them back into the ground.

Above is the remnant building of Jacob M. Aufrecht on 286 Graham Avenue © Frank H. Jump

Fulton History Archive

JPEG from original hi-res scanned full-frame TIFF © Frank H. Jump

Palace Auditorium – Jackson, MS

Jackson MS – July 15, 2015 © Frank H. Jump

CLICK FOR LARGER IMAGE © Frank H. Jump

Buildings on the 300 block of downtown Jackson’s North Farish Street could soon be demolished if the Jackson Redevelopment Authority decides not to spend money to make them structurally safe.

The circa 1911 Palace Auditorium, 318 North Farish Street, is the lone building on the 300 block deemed to “contribute” to the cultural and historic value of the Farish Street Historic District. – Mississippi Business Journal – Nov. 7, 2014

Fading Ad Blog Celebrates A Decade of Blogging!

M. Rappoport’s Music Store – Jamaica Avenue, Queens – taken August, 1997 – “4109 Jamaica Ave. near Woodhaven Ave.” © Frank H. Jump, Fading Ads of NYC (History Press, 2011)

Since I launched this blog in March of 2007 as an assignment for my second Masters program in Instructional Technology (initially as an addendum to my Fading Ad Campaign website which launched in February 1999), I didn’t expect to have continued blogging for ten years. Granted, I have shifted from a compulsive daily photo blogger to an occasional poster. Much of this relaxed posting schedule was a result of Enzo and I selling our home last June in Flatbush and moving into an apartment. Also, the daily stress of being a care-giver to two aging parents while balancing a career and a fulfilling marriage has also become a challenge. I have refrained from posting with frequency the political content as I have in the past, while other formats like Twitter and Instagram have also diverted some of my attention from the blog – although all of my social media activity can be viewed on FAB.

After my first Internet presence started getting noticed in February 1999, blogs soon became the rage. Now, the proliferation of Tumblr is starting to wane while other social media platforms like Pinterest, Instagram and Twitter have continued to flourish. Still looking forward to future collaborations with other urban documentarians here at FAB and your insightful and supportive comments are always welcomed.

Forty Years Ago Today: 1977 Hanafi Siege – March 9, 1977 – Otis & Marlena – Joni Mitchell


Otis & Marlena – Joni Mitchell – Don Juan’s Reckless Daughter, Asylum 1977

Marlena under Foster Grants
She’s undercover from the dawns advance
That girl is travel drained
And the neon mercury vapor stained
Miami sky
It’s red as meat
It’s a cheap pink rose
Otis in the driver’s seat
Watches the street lights fade away
On louvered blocks in green sea air
In fluorescent fossil yards
Slippers are shuffling into folding chairs
Freckled hands are shuffling cards

They’ve come for sun and fun
While Muslims stick up Washington *

Otis empties out the trunk
On the steps of that celebrated dump
Sleazing by the sea
Bow down to her royal travesty
In her ballrooms heads of state
In her bedrooms rented girls
Always the grand parades of cellulite
Jiggling to her golden pools
Through flock and cupid colonnades
They jiggle into surgery
Hopefully beneath the blade
They dream of golden beauty

They’ve come for sun and fun
While Muslims stick up Washington

Marlena white as stretcher sheet
Watches it all from her tenth floor balcony
Like it’s her opera box
All those Pagliacci summer frocks
Otis is fiddling with the TV dial
All he gets are cartoons and reruns
She taps her glass with an emery file
Watching three rings in the sun
The golden dive the fatted flake
And sizzle in the mink oil
It’s all a dream
She has awake
Checked into Miami Royal
Where they’ve come for sun and fun
While Muslims hold up Washington
Dream on
Dream on
Dream on
Dream on
Dream on

© 1977; Crazy Crow Music

Joni Mitchell appears on the cover of Don Juan’s Reckless Daughter, 1977 – disguised as a black man © Joni Mitchell

Joni Mitchell appears on the cover of Don Juan’s Reckless Daughter, 1977 disguised as a black man © Joni Mitchell

*

On March 9, 1977, seven members of Khaalis’ group burst into the headquarters of B’nai B’rith, a few miles south of Khaalis’ headquarters, and took over 100 hostages. Less than an hour later, three men entered the Islamic Center of Washington, and took eleven hostages. At 2:20 pm, two Hanafis entered the District Building, three blocks from the White House. They went to the fifth floor looking for important people to take hostage. When an elevator opened the hostage-takers thought they were under assault and fired, killing Maurice Williams, a reporter for WHUR-FM radio, and injuring security guard Mack Cantrell. Then-councilman Marion Barry was struck by a ricochet in the chest, and two others were wounded. “Throughout the siege Khaalis denounced the Jewish judge who had presided at the trial of his family’s killers. ‘The Jews control the courts and the press,'” he repeatedly charged. – Wikipedia

Selma Alabama on that Sunday in March – Haisten’s Mattress & Awning Co – Edmund Pettus Bridge – #changethename

Bloody Sunday Selma, March 7, 1965 © FBI Photo Files

Six hundred marchers assembled in Selma on Sunday, March 7, and, led by John Lewis and other SNCC and SCLC activists, crossed the Edmund Pettus Bridge over the Alabama River en route to Montgomery. Just short of the bridge, they found their way blocked by Alabama State troopers and local police who ordered them to turn around. When the protesters refused, the officers shot teargas and waded into the crowd, beating the nonviolent protesters with billy clubs and ultimately hospitalizing over fifty people. “Bloody Sunday” was televised around the world. – See more at: http://www.blackpast.org/aah/bloody-sunday-selma-alabama-march-7-1965#sthash.JGyLnWdB.dpuf

Vincenzo & myself  in Selma on July 15, 2015 – © Frank H. Jump

Bendix Home Laundry Ad in Ringling Brothers Publicity Shot

As seen on NY1 News © AP Images (CLICK FOR LARGER IMAGE)

BEDFORD AVENUE

Bendix Home Laundry - Bed-Stuy
© Frank H. Jump

Bendix Home Laundry - Bed-Stuy
PHOTO BY CHRIS GLANCY taken on February 17, 2005 for an issue of SWINDLEMAGAZINE QUARTERLY.

Bendix Home Laundry – Bedford Avenue – Bed-Stuy 1997 – 2005

West 23rd Street & Sixth Avenue

© Frank H. Jump

Seen Along West 23rd Street – b/w B’way & Eighth – July 17, 2007