A brief history of the Negro League:
African Americans first began to play baseball in the late 1800s on military teams, college teams, and company teams, eventually finding their way to the established professional baseball teams of white players. However, racism and “Jim Crow” laws would force African Americans from these teams by 1900, with black players left to form their own teams.
In 1920, an organized league structure was formed under the guidance of Andrew “Rube” Foster, a former player, manager, and owner for the Chicago American Giants. In a meeting held at the Paseo YMCA in Kansas City, Mo., Foster and several other Midwestern team owners joined to form the Negro National League. Soon, rival leagues formed in Eastern and Southern states, which brought black baseball to major urban centers and to rural countrysides in the U.S., Canada, and Latin America. The Leagues maintained a high level of professional skill and inspired economic development in many black communities.
In 1945, when Major League Baseball’s Brooklyn Dodgers recruited Jackie Robinson from the Kansas City Monarchs, Robinson became the first African American in the modern era to play on a Major League roster. While this historic event was a key moment in baseball and civil rights history, it marked the decline of the Negro Leagues. The best black players began to be recruited for the Major Leagues with their black fans following them, and the last Negro Leagues teams folded in the early 1960s.
Framed in sturdy wood, this metal sign is hand-painted in stunning blues, whites, and oranges and reads: “JOHN E. MELVIN – PLUMBER – TEL. CONN”.
Measuring approximately 32.5 inches wide x 18 inches high, this vintage tin sign, a most unusual find, has wonderful visual graphic appeal and would add great decorative interest to any room!
The condition of the sign is quite good with lovely patina and appropriate surface wear for its 70-80+ years of age. Note a small unobtrusive piece of framing missing from the bottom right.
The smaller booklet with a graphic of a sweet faced girl with mixing bowl was published in 1925 by Church and Dwight Company of New York, and advertises Arm and Hammer Baking Soda.
The second, larger booklet called "Cake Secrets" was published by Igleheart Brothers of Evansville, Indiana in 1922, and advertises Swans Down Cake Flour.
Photos provide a good representation of each booklet. An interesting pair!
The piece has two tiny holes in its bowl suggesting that this was once screwed or fastened into another piece. Logic suggests that perhaps this may have been an advertising display item of some sort.
Remnants of red paint are easily visible on the back of the black boy's hat as well as on his lips, and the giant shoe also displays remnants of black paint. When one looks quite closely, one can see that the entire figure was at one time painted. Some light superficial rusting to the bowl is evident here and there.
Certainly a mystery piece as to purpose, this fascinating Black Memorabilia collectible remains quite intriguing and does reinforce a stereotypical occupation associated with black folk during the unfortunate Jim Crow era.
The Arm & Hammer Baking Soda Recipe Booklet, 33 pages, measures 5.50" long x 3.25" wide, and was published by Church & Dwight Co. of New York City in 1925, with recipes compiled by the principal of Miss Farmer's School of Cookery, Boston, Massachusetts. It is in wonderful condition with no missing pages, and just the teeniest edge-rip on front cover near the top staple--so teeny that I nearly missed it! Some minor age-related foxing noted. Bound together tightly by two original staples. Fabulously colored and detailed front and back covers. .
The Swan's Down Cake Flour Booklet measures 7" long x 4.50" wide, and was published by Igleheart Bros of Evansville, Indiana in 1922. The cover of this booklet shows more wear than its offered companion, all wear appropriate for the age of the item. The booklet is bound by the original staples which remain very tight and intact. There is edge wear to covers as well as crease lines and scuffing. While the front cover is rather nondescript, the interior pages feature multiple, colored drawings of various, luscious confections as well as the company's history, a table of weights and measures, and an index. Interior pages have yellowed a bit from age and a couple pages here and there are stained presumably by ingredients as the particular recipes were being concocted.
Would love to try out a couple of these vintage recipes myself!
These signs have a very colorful, folk-art appeal and certainly are utterly unique! They very much fit into the American, Southern "Outsider Art" collecting genre, a genre which highlights the work of self-taught, rural area artists who create fabulous and highly expressive art using the media and materials that they have at hand and which reflects the world that they know and live in.
The signs are quite heavy as each is made from a solid wood board. The signs are nearly identical in size and measure approximately 25 1/2 inches wide x 14 5/8 high x 3/4ths of an inch thick. One of the signs has very, very slight warping, but the warpage is not readily evident as seen by pictures. Each sign has 2 holes from which to hang them, and the old rusted hanging wire which is seen in the photos has been replaced by new hanging wire.
Featuring a double heart motif, the advertising slogan spouts, "When Two Hearts Beat As One, It's Time To Buy Your Furniture From "Old Reliable" Petersburg Furniture Company, "Petersburg's Oldest Furniture Store!
Neat mid-20th-century advertising piece in very fine original condition!