FDR, A Rendezvous With Destiny

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Divided back, used, linen, artist-signed postcard. Postmarked from New York, July 29, 1943. Artist:  Onorio Ruotolo. Copyright Jos. Zegarelli, 1942. Publisher:  Genuine Curteich-Chicago “C.T. Art-Colortone” Post Card (Reg. U.S. Pat. Off.) Number or series:  2B-H1291.

Price:  To be determined.

A timely one for this presidential election year 2016, and a great one for any FDR or Onorio Ruotolo collector. Onorio Ruotolo (1888 – 1966) was known as the  “Rodin of Little Italy” and was the founder of the Leonardo da Vinci Art School which ran from 1923 – 1942.  As of the date of this posting, no other cards were found of its kind.

Faith, Hope and Love

Ruotolo’s design shows President Franklin D. Roosevelt, having just released a dove carrying an olive branch. Underneath a cloud bank, fighter planes and ships carry out their destiny in WWII. Surrounding the scene are the words, “We fight for the restoration and perpetuation of faith and hope and peace throughout the world.”  Underneath the circle appear the triangular ends of a pyramid with the words, Faith, Hope and Love. Per Wikiquote, the “rendezvous with destiny” caption originated from a speech given by FDR, on June 27, 1936, to the Democratic National Convention. Below is the portion of the speech that contains the reference:

“There is a mysterious cycle in human events. To some generations much is given. Of other generations much is expected. This generation of Americans has a rendezvous with destiny.” 

Stargate Detroit

As we’ve said a number of times on this website, you never know where an old postcard, photo, trade card, etc. will take you. We’re time travelers via these old pieces of ephemera, and find ourselves synching up not just with the people, places and ideas of the past, but also with those of the present and future. (All happening at the same time anyway.) As I’m writing this I’m seeing beams of light connecting instantly around the world, the universe, and across “space and time.” What took me here was the mention of Isamu Noguchi (1904 – 1988) in the Wiki article about the Leonardo da Vinci Art School:  Noguchi being the school’s most famous student. Was that the same guy that designed the “DNA sculpture” (Pylon) in Hart Plaza, Detroit? (The one I did a high school paper about? Hee hee, hearkening back to high school.) Yes, the very one. From there I found the most fascinating web article by Chad Stuemke, entitled Stargate Detroit. (I’m blown away, and thinking of this find as my extra reward for scrubbing the kitchen tile grout yesterday 😉 )

Last, but never least

The Joseph Zegarelli that would have belonged to the  “copyright 1942” on the postcard was not located. Likewise, the addressee and sender weren’t found in online records either, but even so, the writing there shows a nice, though short, glimpse of typical family life:  Someone traveled somewhere and forgot to do something before they left, and now they have to ask the person back home to handle it. We’re guessing, along with you I’m sure, that Grover’s middle name was Cleveland. (A nice tie-in with a presidential postcard.) Addressed to:   “Mr. Grover C. Wood, Greene, N.Y., Box 176.”  The sender wrote:

“Dear Grover:  we arrived here in Utica 8 o’clock. it is now 12:15 Delores is sleeping & I am thinking of some one ( [?] ) You know. Say Dear would you please take care of the suit case as I left all my insurance papers & etc in it. Will try to write more later. Hope every thing is o.k.   Love Tine[?] & Delores.”

Sources:  Onorio Ruotolo. n.d. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Onorio_Ruotolo. (accessed November 6, 2016).

Franklin D. Roosevelt. n.d. https://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Franklin_D._Roosevelt. (accessed November 6, 2016).

Isamu Naguchi. n.d. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isamu_Noguchi. (accessed November 6, 2016).

Leonardo da Vinci Art School. n.d. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leonardo_da_Vinci_Art_School. (accessed November 6, 2016).

Stuemke, Chad. “Stargate Detroit.” chadstuemke.com. (accessed November 6, 2016).

Busy Persons Correspondence Card

Busy Persons Correspondence Card pc1Busy Persons Correspondence Card pc2

1942 bathing beauties for Mr. J. Matthews from his son Jack, on one of those “check off your responses” type of card. Sometimes they were straight-forward, sometimes wacky, depending both on the card choices and the sender. In this case, Jack indicated:

“Calif., Nov. 3. Dear Dad, This place is beautiful. The weather is warm and dry. The people are friendly. I’m feeling fine and happy. I spend my time sightseeing. I need sleep. Give my love to all the folks. Yours sincerely.”   On the back he wrote:

“Dear Dad, How are you I am fine. It is nice country here but I prefer the East. Write to me you have my address. Jack.”  Addressed to:

“Mr. J. Matthews, 291 Orange St., Albany, N.Y.”

Underneath the postmark is Jack’s address:

“J.V. Matthews. S. 36 [?] US Navy, Batt 27 HDQ Co A-B, Port Hueneme, Calif.”

“We Build, We Fight.”

From a little research online, and of the course, the year of the postcard indicating WWII, it looks like Jack was a part of the “Seabees.” This term is from the initials “C.B.” which stands for Construction Battalion, and their motto is,  “We Build, We Fight.”  Both the 27th and 37th Battalion at Port Hueneme (pronouced “Why-nee-mee”) were part of the Seabees, (so even if it’s 37 rather than 27 in his address on the card, the branch of service still fits.) Below is the Seabee’s emblem (courtesy Wikipedia.)

Which Matthews family did Jack belong to?

The 1943 Albany, NY city directory shows the 291 Orange St. address as the residence of John V. Matthews, machinist, and his wife, Adeline R. Matthews. A couple of entries above lists John Matthews, USA, residence 291 Orange. “USA” in this directory is the abbreviation for United States Army (an error since Jack was in the Navy in ’42?) A quick further search in city directories shows Jack and Adeline at this address at least as early as 1938.

City directory findings led to various census records. The 1900 for Philadelphia shows two-month-old John V. Matthews, with parents, James and Isabella, both born in Ireland, and William Matthews, brother to James, also born in Ireland. And finally a 1961 death record for Jack (always hate to mention these, sentimentally having become fond of the person who, in this case, sent this nice postcard to his dad) but that shows Jack was born in Philadelphia in 1900, lists wife Adeline, and parents’ names, James Matthews and Isabelle (Devlin) Matthews, thus confirming his parentage.

Divided back, used postcard. Postmarked November 3, 1942. “U.S. Navy.” Publisher:  Tichnor Bros., Inc., Boston, Mass. “Tichnor Quality Views” Reg. U.S. Pat. Off. “Busy Person’s Correspondence Cards – 10 Designs.” Series or number 65157. 

Price:  $15.00

Sources:  Seabees in World War II. n.d. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seabees_in_World_War_II (accessed July 18, 2015).

R. L. Polk & Co.’s Albany City Directory, Vol. CXXX. p. 266. Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1821-1989.

Year: 1900; Census Place: Philadelphia Ward 38, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: 1479; Page: 4A; Enumeration District: 0975; FHL microfilm: 1241479

Ancestry.com. Menands, New York, Albany Rural Cemetery Burial Cards, 1791-2011