An awful lot of the pictures are tiny contact prints, though, with 2.25x2.25 images. Most of these are black and white, and a scanner might not be able to do much with them. There are also many faded color prints, which will require digital manipulation to restore them. I don't yet have the hardware to do all this stuff, let alone the software. Even sorting them is a fairly daunting task.
There are identification issues with some of them, and my mom's eyesight is no longer good enough for her to always be able to tell who is who. This would not be an issue with my dad, who can see just fine, but unfortunately he had a fit of anti-nostalgic madness of some sort (I know nothing about it other than what my mom has told me) many years ago— before I was born, I believe— and burned most of his old photos. I've always wondered what was among them. I guess I'll never know. Yeah, my family is weird.
Ready-made photo fun can be had at Flickr user harmonbuck's photo stream. It's a collection of pictures of silk banners for movies. These were versions of the usual attraction posters for movies, but printed on silk and hung from the marquees of theaters. I might have seen a few of them when I was very young, but have no memory of having done so. The practice seems to have died out ages ago, and all the photos uploaded so far are of banners for movies of the 1930s and 1940s. I find them vaguely sad, in a way that ordinary lobby posters are not.
This evening the sky was edged with lavender, and streaked with gray clouds. That high pressure system that's been hovering over the desert is letting go. It will finally get cooler here. There might even be rain by Thursday. I'm happy for the grass, but know the feral cats will not enjoy the change.
At Google Books I stumbled on the digitized version of bound volumes of an early 20th century magazine called The American City, which are full of articles about such subjects as public parks, street cleaning, drinking fountains, street lamps, and other concerns of municipal authorities. There are photos, of course, and all sorts of oddities, such as an item about a contest for what the secretary of the Grand Rapids, Michigan, Association of Commerce called a "civic hymn" for that municipality. I'll put the article, with winning lyric, behind a cut.
A Civic Song for Grand Rapids
GRAND RAPIDS, MICH.— The contest for the Grand Rapids civic song closed on January 1. The prize was won by Mr. E. M. Standish, who is a bookkeeper in the office of Swift & Company, Grand Rapids. The words appear below:With faith as simple as a child, Midway of our beloved land, Our fathers cleft the wooded wild To build a city on the Grand. Foursquare her ample lines were laid— Firm faith in God; in brawn and mind; A patriot zeal, ofttimes displayed; Benevolence to all mankind! We hail thee, City of our Pride! Fruition of our fathers' dream. Strength, purpose, will, in thee abide, To guide thy bark against the stream. We see thee in thy day of power, All kingly in thy chosen field, And pray the future hold no hour When lust or greed cause thee to yield. Lead on, Grand Rapids, on, and on! Beneath yon starry waving flag, Fair symbol of the rising dawn That flashes light from crag to crag. Lead on in commerce, learning, art Walk with the giants; 'tis thy right. Thy sons and daughters claim a part In every test of civic might. O God, to whose all-sovereign will, To-day, as in the favored past, We hold our title subject still, Grant us Thy grace unto the last. May past achievements lead the way To all the higher things we feel; The sun of Progress shed a ray Whose glory is our nation's weal.
A prize of $100 in gold has been offered to the person who will write the best musical setting for the words. The prize offer will be given nation-wide publicity, and when the musical composition is decided upon, an effort will be made to have the Common Council adopt both the poem and the music as the official civic hymn for Grand Rapids.
W. K. Plumb.
Secretary, Grand Rapids Association of Commerce.