Monday, May 30, 2011

Traphagen Highlights





















By the end of May 1950, June successfully completed all requirements for graduation from Traphagen School of Fashion.

As we near the 61st anniversary of June’s graduation, this entry celebrates her work with a small selection of some of her finest fashion illustrations from her time at Traphagen.  Many of these are previously unpublished, a few are being reposted with better image quality, and a couple are simply favorites that we felt like reposting because they’re so good!

































(For Wednesday – Happy Graduation!)
 

© 2011 Lee Price

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Unveiling the Cape


June in her self-designed blue-and-white checked cape.

In March 1950, June undertook one of her most ambitious Traphagen projects – designing and creating a blue-and-white checked cape.

After school, Shirl and I are going to look for some cloth for my cape.  If we find it, we’ll probably cut it out that night.”
       June Anderson
       Letter to Art Price, March 21, 1950

“After school, Shirl and I went down to Hester Street today to buy material.  She bought material for some dresses.  I bought the fabric for my cape.  People will turn to look when I come along in my big checks.  Have you ever seen a checkerboard horse blanket?  Well, that’s what I have – in blue and white!  I don’t care what people think – I like it.  We already cut out the pattern tonight.  It was loads of fun.”
       June Anderson
       Letter to Art Price, March 22, 1950

Well, I called up Daddy today and told him the bad news – that I bought some expensive cloth for my cape.  He was very sweet about it – didn’t yell my head off…  Both Shirl and I have been working on the cape tonight.  We’re tired now.”
                                                                                   June Anderson
                                                                                   Letter to Art Price, March 23, 1950

The cape became one of June’s favorite possessions.  After finishing the cape, she wore it often.  We don’t know what other people thought of it – or if they really did turn to look when the big-checked cape passed by – but it’s obvious that June wore it with pride.













(For Monday – Traphagen memories.)
 
© 2011 Lee Price

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Missing You Is a Chronic Condition


Quick sketches by June Anderson.

Thursday, May 25, 1950

112 West 86th Street
New York City, NY

Dear Art,

Quick sketch by
June Anderson.
I feel much better tonight, darling.  We all went to the movies and saw a couple of revivals.  Evie bought a lot of clothes so she felt better.  I’ve been working very hard at school and I’m feeling very tired.

Shirl’s going out tonight.  A friend of mine might come over.  If she does, we’ll do homework together.  I have plenty but I’m not going to worry about it.  I should be able to finish everything on time.

Seriously, there’s nothing much to tell you.  I guess nothing happens to me except when I’m with you.  Then there’s too much, and all too wonderful to tell.  Missing you is becoming a chronic condition with me.  It’s because I love you so much.  What more can I say?

I hope you have my compact and comb with you on Friday night.  I’m sure I left them with you.  Look through your pockets.  Maybe we’d better start tying strings around our fingers on Sunday nights – I didn’t expect that you’d be just as forgetful as I am!

I’ll be seeing you very soon.  I hope the time flies till then.

All my love,

June

(For Saturday – Unveiling the cape.)
 

© 2011 Lee Price

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

No One Knows But Us

Wednesday, May 24, 1950

20 Cooper Street
Southampton, NY

Dear June,

I’ve been waiting for the mail to come before I write to you.  Now I’m sitting here with your letter beside me.  I love you very much, darling.

I’m certainly sorry you had such a bad time with Shirl’s sister!  I imagine she’s gone by now.  For your sake, I hope so.  Do you think it’s largely jealousy of Shirl?

I have your compact and comb.  I forgot to mention them in Monday’s letter.  I hope I remember them Friday night.  By the way, if I do send a painting to the Metropolitan it still has to be painted.  I haven’t a thing here that seems right.

Photo tentatively identified as Roulston's.
About the store:  We haven’t heard from the company but if their asking price is halfway decent, Rod has a good backer lined up.  He’s a local man and a friend of Rod’s.  I’m the only one who knows about this.  Not even Bruno knows.  I think everything is going to work out pretty good.  I hope so anyway.

I had a good art lesson last night.  It lasted till eleven.  As usual, it’s raining today on my day off.  I’ve got to go out and mail this now.  I love you so very very much, sweetheart.

Lots of love,

Art

(Tomorrow – the last letter from Traphagen.)

© 2011 Lee Price

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Clothes Shopping With Evie

Monday, May 22, 1950

112 West 86th Street
New York City, NY

Dear Art,

Fashion illustration by June Anderson.
I guess this will be a complaining letter again.  I had an awful night.  Shirl, her sister Evie, and I went shopping for Evie today.  When Evie couldn’t find what she wanted, she got very mad, and acted nasty to all of us.  She cried, yelled, threw tantrums and everything.  It was terrible.  After she calmed down she still acted mean and kept whining.  If I had half as many clothes as she has, I’d be in heaven!

Then, right in the middle of everything, Shirl made a date with Ted and that started Evie off again.  Well, I wasn’t going to stay alone with Evie and her whining all night.  I was very upset, wishing you here more than anything in the world.  I told Shirl I was afraid her sister and I might have a fight if she left us alone.  So it ended up with all of us going for a ride with Ted.  We just got back.

I hated this place today – I really did.  After our wonderful time this weekend, I had to come back to this!

I’m very upset, as you may have gathered, but maybe a good night’s sleep will fix me up.  Darling, please take care of yourself, and don’t worry about me.

All my love,

June

Darling, this is a P.S. now.  It’s about 10:15 on Tuesday morning.  I’m here in school.  I just wanted to tell you I feel better now.  I’ve already done a little work and I’ll do more after this.  With Evie here, I doubt I’ll be able to work in the apartment tonight.  Maybe we should all go to a movie.

Darling, I forgot to ask you – what picture (or is it more than one?) are you sending to the Metropolitan Museum of Art for the contest?  By the way, you have my compact and comb.  That means you’ll have to come over Friday night to deliver them.  I love you.

Love,

June

(Tomorrow – plans for Roulston's.)

© 2011 Lee Price

Monday, May 23, 2011

Rumors about Roulston's

Monday, May 22, 1950

20 Cooper Street
Southampton, NY

Dear June,

We’re still waiting to hear more about Roulston’s closing.  I haven’t heard any definite news yet so I shouldn’t say anything more.  I could fill two pages with rumors, theories, and suggestions but you wouldn’t really know any more about it.

I went to see a Betty Grable movie tonight.  It was pretty good – just about what you’d expect.  I’ll be going to painting class both tomorrow and Wednesday.  Then I’ll spend a lonely Thursday night before I’m in heaven again with you on Friday. 

Should I keep these letters short so you can read them between 63rd and 52nd Streets?  (Those are the correct numbers, right?)

I guess I’ll go to bed now, darling.  I hope you’re writing tonight, too.  Don’t stay up too late doing
homework.  Good night for now my love.

Lots of love,

Art

(Tomorrow – Evie goes clothes shopping.)

© 2011 Lee Price

Saturday, May 21, 2011

A Mystery Fashion Illustration



This fashion illustration by June was packed into storage along with all the Traphagen drawings from 1948-50.  Judging from the style, it’s almost certainly from the late 1960s or early to mid-70s.  But there are no other fashion illustrations from the 1960s forward in the collection so the origins of this particular piece remain a mystery.














(For Monday – rumors about Roulston's.)
 

© 2011 Lee Price

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Long Distance Kisses


Thursday, May 18, 1950

112 West 86th Street
New York City, NY

Dear Art,

It’s awful to go several days without hearing from you.  I’ll certainly be looking for a letter tonight.  I hope you get my first letter soon.  I didn’t mail it till noon yesterday.  I had it in my pocketbook all morning, but had forgotten stamps for it.

They played “If I loved You”* over the radio earlier tonight.  It was a beautiful arrangement and put me in a romantic mood.  Darling, I do love you – and I guess that’s all that really matters.  If you were with me tonight, you might have to fight to tear yourself away from me!  Woof!!!

Shirl’s out with Ted and I’ve been doing homework all evening.  And that’s after working a long day at school, too.  I’m trying very hard to finish in time, but gee, I didn’t realize how much I had to do!  I’m afraid I may not be able to go out with you on Sunday afternoon, darling.  I may have too much to do.

Letterings by June Anderson.
I have to go back to work again now.  There’s nothing new to tell you anyway.  Just the same old thing – I love you and miss you very much.  Now I must go back to lettering.  I’ll be waiting for you Friday.  So, with long distance kisses I say –

All my love,

June

*The arrangement of "If I loved You" that June heard was probably the one released in May 1950 by Dinah Washington with Teddy Stewart's Orchestra.  I don't have a link to that, but here's Dinah Washington singing "What a Difference a Day Makes," her first top 10 pop hit from 1959.

(For Saturday – a mysterious picture by June.)
 

© 2011 Lee Price

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

A Painting for the Metropolitan

Oil painting by Art Price.  There is no record of which of his paintings
he did in preparation for the Metropolitan contest.

Wednesday, May 17, 1950

20 Cooper Street
Southampton, NY

Dear June,

Just two more evenings till I see you, darling.  I miss you, even if it’s only a few days between visits.

I’ve been quite busy today.  I worked in the morning and had the afternoon off.  I went out in the woods and painted for the Metropolitan Museum contest.  Then I came home and finished rotating my tires, washed the windows, and put on the screens for summer.

My folks went to the movies tonight.  I stayed home and put the finishing touches on my painting.  I think it’s finished now.  Soon I’ll head for bed.  I’m looking forward to your letter tomorrow.

I’ll say good night now darling.  I love you so much, sweetheart.  See you Friday.

Lots of love,

Art

(Tomorrow – homework overload.)

© 2011 Lee Price

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Pearls in the Ash Tray

Tuesday, May 16, 1950

112 West 86th Street
New York City, NY

Dear Art,

Fashion illustration by
June Anderson.
Before I say anything else, darling, please take care of your car.  And don’t let anyone use the ash trays in the back seat.  I left my pearls there.  Remember?

Art, the school has decided there will be no class on Wednesday, the last day in May.  That means I’ll stay here the weekend before that and plan on going home on Monday night.  I hope I get all my homework done in time.  Right now it looks kind of hopeless.  There are only 11 more days of school and I have at least that many assignments – big ones, too.  I’ve been working right up till now and I’ll do some more as soon as I finish your letter.  I’ll need to work hard every night this week and next week.

What’s new in Southampton, darling?  I hope you’re being good.  Shirl just said that you’re probably out drinking with the boys tonight.  I said you weren’t.  I am right – aren’t I, darling?

Oh, sweetheart, I had such a nice time with you this weekend.  Why do they have to go by so fast?  It gets harder and harder to leave you.  My, I’m getting torrid, darling!  Maybe you had better tear this letter up.

I had such a wonderful time with you, darling.  I miss you, already.  Only three more nights without you, but, oh, such long ones.

All my love,

June

(Tomorrow – painting in the woods.)

© 2011 Lee Price

Monday, May 16, 2011

I'd Rather See You Than Write


Monday, May 15, 1950

20 Cooper Street
Southampton, NY

Dear June,

Darling, I love you.  I’ve been sitting here, half listening to the radio, and trying to start this letter.  I think I’ve fallen out of the writing habit.  I’d rather see you than write.

I have tomorrow afternoon off so I’m going to try and paint.  I feel I should get to work on a really good painting.  I received a whole lot of forms and literature from the Metropolitan Museum of Art about the big contest they’re having.

Sketch by Art Price.
We had a busy day at work.  Afterwards, I worked till dark rotating my tires.  I’m a little sleepy tonight. 

I love you so very much, sweetheart.  Take care of yourself.  See you Friday night, darling.

Lots of love,

Art

(Tomorrow – pearls in the ash tray.)

© 2011 Lee Price

Sunday, May 15, 2011

I Only Know I Love You

Horses, an oil painting by Art Price.

Thursday, May 11, 1950

20 Cooper Street
Southampton, NY

Dear June,

I’m so glad I’ll be seeing you this weekend.  I love you so much, darling.

I’m glad to hear your move went smoothly or should I say that Shirl moved you okay?  It sounds like you’re really setting up housekeeping.  I’ll bet you’re going to enjoy that apartment.

I didn’t do much of anything last night.  I was planning to do some work on my car this morning but it rained – as it always does on my day off.

Thanks for the phone number, darling, but I hope I won’t have to use it before I see you again.  All I’ve done this morning was get a haircut.  When I got home, your letter was here and so here I am writing.  Tonight I’ll go to art class and then on Friday night I’ll be in heaven with you.

Take good care of yourself my precious sweetheart.  So long for now.  They’re singing, “I only know I love you” on the radio.  I know I do.

Lots of love,

Art

© 2011 Lee Price

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

How to Cook Potatoes


Fashion illustration
by June Anderson.

Wednesday, May 10, 1950

112 West 86th Street
New York City, NY

Dear Art,

Well, darling, we cooked our first meal in the new apartment tonight and I still feel alright.  Shirl made most of it – I had to stay after school for quick sketch.  But I supervised the cooking of the potatoes – she wanted to take them off when I came in, but I made her leave them on for 15 more minutes.  They came out just about right.  Just listen to me brag!  And wait till tomorrow – when I’m supposed to do most of the cooking!

Really the only trouble here is that they’ve turned off the heat already.  It gets really cold at night.  I hope hot weather comes quick.  Aside from that, this place really is cozy and homey.  I’d like you to come in sometime to see it.

I was talking to June O’Neal today. She kind of frightened me.  I found out she’d been going out with a boy for over a year and they were pretty serious, too.  Yet they broke up.  After such a long time, too.  I hope, darling, I’m in no danger of having that happen to me.

Shirl’s out with Ted – they are still going strong.  I’ve been here alone for about two hours and haven’t done a thing, just listening to the radio and reading.  I really must do some work now.  I’m way behind.

They just finished playing “My Love Loves Me”* on the radio.  Do you, darling?

Don’t forget – I’ll be home on Friday and waiting for you.  Oh, darling, why does the week have to be so long – and the weekend so short?  I miss you so.

All my love,

June

* The link is to a version by Anita Carter, a member of the famous Carter family.  She began recording in 1950 so June may have heard Carter on the radio.  It’s more likely that she heard a version by Fran Warren that appears to have been popular in the late 1940s.  Nevertheless, Carter’s version is so beautiful that I have no qualms about linking to it. 

(Tomorrow – I only know I love you.)

© 2011 Lee Price

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Excuse the Language, Please


Tuesday, May 9, 1950

20 Cooper Street
Southampton, NY

Dear June,

It was a wonderful weekend, darling.  This week I plan to write just two letters to you, dear.  I’ll see you Friday at eight, won’t I?

I went to the movies tonight and saw The Damned Don’t Cry (excuse the language, please).  It was pretty good.

Did you see the Herald Tribune?  The races in Westhampton were on the front page.  There were almost 20,000 people there.  About an hour after the race was over a car cracked up going around the tracks by itself, leaving one guy in bad 
shape.  They didn’t quite get the races over without an accident.

As I said before, darling, it was wonderful to have you home this week and I love you so very very much.  You know that I do.  Take good care of yourself and I hope you got moved okay.  Good night, darling.

Lots of love,

Art

(Tomorrow – first meal in the new apartment.)

© 2011 Lee Price

Monday, May 9, 2011

New Address!

Monday, May 8, 1950

NEW ADDRESS!
112 West 86th Street
New York City, NY

Dear Art,

Fashion illustration by
June Anderson.
I had an absolutely wonderful weekend, darling – I’m so in love with you.  I glow inside every time I think of our time together.

Oh, did I almost forget to tell you?  I have moved!  See?  When thinking of you and how I love you, the little things like moving just slip my mind.  Shirl and I officially moved into the new apartment tonight.  (Shirl did most of the moving work.)  It’s very cozy and sweet.  And there is a sink in the kitchen so now we will start cooking more.

Shirl and I went shopping after school.  We bought dishes, can openers, pots (a double boiler), glasses, tablecloths, etc.  And we bought groceries, too.  I think it’s going to be very nice here.

They’re singing on the radio, “A man’s a fool to be alone when the sun goes down.”  I’m a woman and just lonesome.  Ted and Shirl are in the other room and I’m leaving them alone to have some time together.  I must confess I’m jealous.  Even just after just seeing you over the weekend, I wish it were you and I out in the living room.  Oh, how I wish it were!

Hmmm, how come my pleasure of being out with you still increases after almost a year?  My heart tells me you feel the same as I do.  Please take care of yourself and be good until I see you again.  Friday at 8?  I’ll be home!  Now I must do some homework.

All my love,

P.S.  My telephone # is Schuyler 4-9399 (I’m not sure of the spelling of Schuyler, it’s pronounced SKY).

(Tomorrow – excuse the language, please.)

© 2011 Lee Price

Friday, May 6, 2011

Just Finished My Income Tax


“Well, I just finished filling out my income tax.  I finally got around to it.  I wasn’t in any hurry since I won’t get anything back.”
                                                                       Art Price
                                                                       Letter to June Anderson, March 9, 1950

Income tax was just as much a routine part of life in 1950 as it is today.  So what was Art paying in taxes?  With the 1950 median family income at $3,300, I think it’s safe to assume that Art’s annual earnings for working full-time at Roulston’s grocery store were less than $2,000, putting him in 1950’s  lowest tax bracket.  Paying a marginal tax rate of 20%, he would have contributed $200 in taxes for every $1,000 earned (without figuring in any deductions).

In 1950, the average family income of $3,300 would have been taxed at a 22% marginal tax rate.  Tax rates escalated upward with income, topping out at 91% for individuals or families earning $200,000 or more.  Many deductions were allowed, so it can be assumed that most high earners significantly reduced their tax burden from that 91% rate.

To compare this with taxes in 2011, the lowest marginal tax rate today is 10% – this means, a person earning less than $17,000 per year contributes $100 in tax for every $1,000 earned (half the 1950 rate).  Then the tax rate increases with income, topping out at 35% for people earning $379,150 or more.  Many deductions are still allowed that significantly reduce the amount paid into the system by both low and high earners.

In other words, income taxes are much lower now than in 1950 for both low and high earners.

Information for this entry was drawn from the document “Federal Individual Income Tax Rates History” on the Tax Foundation website.

(For Monday – a bad day at the races.)
 

© 2011 Lee Price

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

"...except the parts with the dog."

Detail of a fashion illustration by June Anderson.

Wednesday, May 3, 1950

46 West 83rd Street, Apt. 7B
New York City, NY

Dear Art,

Painting of a dog by Art Price.
I still think about the wonderful time I had this past weekend.  I loved every minute of it – except the parts with the dog.  But with you – Oh!  my darling!  By the way, how is your car now?

Shirl just came in.  She was out with Ted tonight.  Lucky kids – she gets to go out with her boyfriend.  But I’ll be with you all weekend – won’t I?

Shirl and I are going room hunting tomorrow.  Now don’t start in about not being able to make decisions or something like that.  You see, it’s this way.  The other kids have decided not to move until Camille’s exams are over in the middle of June.  Knowing them, Shirl’s worried that they might change their
minds and decide not to move at all.
Charcoal sketch of a dog
by Art Price



Therefore, Shirl and I have decided to look for an apartment for the two of us.  Then if the kids find an apartment for five of us later on, we’ll move in with them – if not, we’ll still be set for summer.  Tomorrow I’ll report present at school, then leave right away, and look for an apartment with Shirl.  I hope we can find something.

I’m slowly catching up on schoolwork, which makes me very happy;  and doing it without too much effort on my part which is even better.

Art, it’s getting late – I have to set my hair and take a shower, and I’m getting sleepy already.  So till I see you Friday,

All my love,

June

P.S.  We haven’t found a place to stay yet.  We’re still looking, though.  I just wanted to add that I got your letter and am terribly sorry to hear you’re feeling bad.  I certainly hope you will feel better soon.  Baby yourself a couple of days.  Bye now,

Love,

June

(For Friday – gas prices and taxes.)
 

© 2011 Lee Price