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Pennsylvania 65000, The Menu, and Postum

Today while googling doing serious research I came across the The New York City Library website.  The Library has collected more than 40,000 restaurant menus dating from 1851 and have digitized them. They are now available on the library’s website for all to enjoy, including this 1942 menus from the Pennsylvania Railroad –

vintage 1940s menu 

Note the mention of rationing under beverages, and also the term “Postum.” I had to look it up On Wikipedia –

Postum is a powdered roasted-grain beverage once popular as a coffee substitute. The caffeine-free beverage was created by Postum Cereal Company founder C. W. Post in 1895 and marketed as a healthful alternative to coffee.

The “instant” drink mix version was developed in 1912, replacing the original brewed beverage.[2] Postum is made from roasted wheat bran, wheat and molasses. This 10‑calorie beverage is caffeine-free, fat-free, trans-fat-free, sodium-free, and kosher.

Although the Postum Cereal Company explicitly stated in its advertising that Postum did not taste like coffee and was not a coffee substitute, the drink enjoyed an enormous rise in sales and popularity in the US during World War II when coffee was rationed and people sought a replacement.


There are more wartime menus on the website, but I picked this one as it reminded me of that great 1940 swing song “Pennsylvania 6-5000” recorded by Glen Miller and also the Andrew Sisters (which you can listen to here). 



Sewing Bees in Wartime

We hear a lot about ‘Make do and Mend’ during Wartime, especially when clothing rationing was in effect,  but maybe you haven’t heard about sewing bees. Quilting Bees were popular in America in the early 1800’s, as a way for women to meet others and tackle large quilts that would be cumbersome by themselves. They provided socialization, friendship, wisdom and sharing of supplies and tools,  and basically involved a group of women getting together and sewing.

The first mention I have found of a wartime Sewing Bee is in this article from December 1939 –


30 December 1939 Australian Woman’s Weekly

Red Cross Sewing Bees see to become popular in Australia.


27 April 1940  Australian Woman’s Weekly

Queen Elizabeth (the Queen Mother) was probably the one who began to make Sewing Bees popular in England and Australia during the War, forming a Red Cross Sewing Bee for the women of the royal household at the palace each week from as early as November 1939.


15 June 1940 Australian Women’s Weekly

You can also watch a little video her Great Sewing Bee of 1939 here.

This article from the American Woman’s Weekly in March 1942 is a little different, as rationing is not really mentioned, and the ladies are sewing more for themselves than the troops, but it is interesting to ‘see’ these ladies in action at their sewing bee.




Sewing Bees are obviously meant to be a cooperative event. There is a recent British TV show called ‘The Great British Sewing Bee’ which is a reality TV contest type show, which to me loses the point of sewing bees, but you can watch it here.

Have you joined a Sewing Bee or thought of doing so? Tips for joining an online sewing bee can be found here.

Articles from March 1942

Oh joy, the new scanner has arrived. Unfortunately I am still learning it’s secrets, but at least its a start. I can finally start sharing some images from 1940’s magazines loaned to me by a wonderful reader. First this Magazine from March 1942 –

cover womans day magazine march 1942

What a sweet cover I can’t seem to find detail of it in the magazine, but she looks as if she has just had some bad news….

One of my favourite ads in this magazine is this one of Olviia de Havilland – love that hairstyle!

olivia de haviland cola ad 1940s 1942

I’ll share more ads on the tumblr blog and try and scan a few interesting articles for next time.

The Death of King George V

It’s eighty years ago that King George V died, on 20 Janaury 1936. 

He died before the start of WWII, although the signs of war were troubling, just as they had been when he became King in May 1910. Although a first cousin of both German Kaiser Wilhelm and Tsar Nicholas II of Russia, the Kings family connections could not prevent the catastrophe to come.

In 1936, at age 70, the King had been in failing health for some time with a chronic bronchial complaint, made worse because of his “weary heart” due to an earlier infection or abscess in his lungs in 1928 (brought on no doubt by his heavy smoking).  His final illness was brief, however. It was only four days before his death that the Queen sent for Lord Dawson, the royal physician. Dawson’s records, released in November 1986 showed that he administered two injections of morphine and cocaine at about 11 o’clock on the night of 20 January 1936, just after he had written a brief medical bulletin that declared, “The King’s life is moving peacefully toward its close.”

“A Peaceful Ending at Midnight,”said the headline the next morning in the newspaper.

Many believe the King was euthanised, probably so that his death would make the morning rather than the afternoon paper, and therefore be more dignified.  Sounds bizarre to me.

Here is an account of his death from”The Australian Womans Weekly” at the time.

 portrait of king george V  
the beloved passing of king george v in 1936  official story of the death of king george v 1936 We will probably never really know what sort of a man he was – grumpy and domineering like Michael Gambon’s version in “The Kings Speech”, or did he lack(ed) intellectual curiosity and sophistication – but the King seemed to be well loved by the people of Great Britain and Australia.
Read more –

Churchill’s Girls – From Dashing to Tragic

Churchill’s Girls – From Dashing to Tragic

I am in between scanners at present, so here is one Post I prepared earlier…

Sir Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill (30 November 1874 – 24 January 1965) was the Prime Minister of the UK for most of WWII, from 1940 to 1945 (and again from 1951 to 1955). He is often stated as being one of the greatest wartime leaders of the 20th century,  and his radio broadcasts help inspire the British people during the war.  His children also did their bit to help the war effort.

Churchill’s only son, Randolph, served with the 4th Queen’s Own Hussars and the SAS),  Eldest daughter Diana gained the rank of officer between 1939 and 1945 in the Women’s Royal Naval Service, middle daughter Sarah, between acting jobs, joined the WAAF and went on to interpret aerial photographs for British invasions.

Winston Churchill is accompanied by his daughter Sarah, Cairo, December 1943

Youngest daughter Mary worked for the Red Cross and the Women’s Voluntary Service from 1939 to 1941, and served with the Auxiliary Territorial Service in London, Belgium and Germany in mixed anti-aircraft batteries, rising to the rank of Junior Commander (equivalent to Captain). Mary also accompanied her father on several of his overseas journeys, including his post-VE trip to Potsdam, where he met with Harry S Truman and Joseph Stalin.

Churchill with daughter Mary at Potsdam Conference

This article from November 1940 shows how the girls captured the publics interest-

churchills dashing daughters

Unfortunately Diana suffered nervous disorders and in 1963, age 54, while working for a suicide prevention organisation, she committed suicide by taking an overdose of barbiturates.

Sarah is best known for her role in the film Royal Wedding (1951), with Fred Aistere, and she made about nine movies in total. Problems with alcohol led to her death in 1982 at the age of 67.


November 1950

Mary, on her marriage Lady Mary Soames, was the last surviving child of Sir Winston Churchill, and died in 2014 at the age of 91. She left a fortune of more than £22 million, in trust to her five children, and in December 2014, Sotheby’s London auctioned on behalf of her heirs, 255 items out of her collection, including paintings by and memorabilia attached to her father. Mary’s daughter, Emma Soames, has written a book about her mother, which you read about Here.


the tragic Churchills

November 1963


Australian Women in Nazi Prisons and Hester Burden

I recently watched the movie “The Pianist,” a movie set in Warsaw during WWII (a must see if you haven’t),  so I was interested to read about Australian women interned in Poland during the war. This article is from Janaury 1940-hester burden 1940 

 According to Robert Loeffel in “The Fifth Column in World War II: Suspected Subversives in the Pacific War” Hester Burden fell in love with an Austrian, Wilhelm Sommer, after being released from Gestapo prison –


The Adelaide Mail reported in October 1940 – 

Why Did Hester Burden Go Back to Germany?


In her last letter home, Miss Hester Burden, of Norwood, said it was unlikely that the British Consul at Salonika would let her cross the Mediterranean, and that it would not be safe to make the journey. If she were stranded in Greece it would have been impossible for her to earn money there.

Her mother, Mrs. F. R. Burden said that today that this probably explained Miss Burden’s reported return to voluntary internment in Germany. Hester has no political leanings whatever’ Mrs. Burden added. “We are hoping that Hester is among the Australian women who are to be released. We have heard nothing, and don’t even know what part of Germany she is in.”

The last Adelaidean to make personal contact with Miss Burden was her travelling companions Miss Glen Burton and Mrs. Hector Macdonald. “Hester is not interested in politics” said Mrs. Macdonald today, and she has no political leanings. Of course, from the very moment she refused to take her car to Holland and made for the Yugoslavian frontier, she was under suspicion. I, myself, was under suspicion because I got away and Hester remained. When I returned to Australia I was stripped by the women police and even the hems of my skirts were searched. All my papers were taken, even German text books, and all German print was retained. Hester is an individualist. She likes liberty — and she is very attractive, a brunette, sleek and slim.  We were In Berlin together eight days before war broke out”

‘The tourists’ party that Hester was conducting had proceeded to Russia. She wired to them and they said they would meet her in Belgrade instead of her waiting in Berlin. She had been given petrol to proceed to Holland, but she just went her own way, and with her large Packard made for the Yugoslavian frontier. There were no spare parts for the Packard available, and it would be asimple matter to interfere with her car— and, as you know, it broke down andshe was interned.”

“I was with a party of Americans, whose one desire was to get out of Germany. We left Berlin on the Saturday, motored all night, and reached Paris — a distance of about 200 miles —on the Sunday. I have had no direct word from Hester since, although she has. written to my ‘sister in London.’

On 26 March 1946 ‘The Adelaide Advertiser” ran this piece about Miss Burdens returning home to Australia. This is the last piece of information I have been able to find. I’d love to know the full story, wouldn’t you?


Miss Hester Burden On Way Home

Miss Hester Burden, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. F. R. Burden, of Beulah road, Norwood, is expected back in Adelaide shortly, after four and a half years’ internment in Austria.

She left Adelaide In 1938 to tour England and the Continent. After studying languages at a Paris university, she set off in August to travel by car across Europe on the first stage of her journey home.

War overtook Miss Burden while in Austria, and after several weeks’ imprisonment she was interned In the city of Graz. Here she was allowed to teach at the Institute of Education, and later set up her own college of languages.At the capitulation she enlisted her services with the Allied Military Government, and worked during the occupation in many different capacities with both the British and Russian forces. She dealtwith many displaced persons, and through her knowledge of languages was able to do -valuablework in Interpreting and translation.

Miss Burden left Austria in February, and after visiting Rome and Naples joined the troopship on which, with two other Australian women, she Is travelling back to Australia.

Fashions for January 1940

More January fashions, this time from 1940, and Summer in Australia.  The war had only been going a few months at this stage and long  and full skirts are still popular. 

rice starch ad1940

Rice starch, an essential fashion tool

Beach fashions 1940

Beach fashions 1940


vintage 1940s fashion


vintage fashion 1940

 Fasjion patterns are still being sold for the making of new garments, still using quite a bit of fabric. I love the school tunics! fashion patterns 1940 Frocks for maids (teenagers) and children – love the check playsuit grace brothers ad 1940   

Fashions for January 1939

I always think it’s interesting to get an idea of what fashions were like before the war to see how they changed, and to see what women may have already had in their closets.  So today, some prewar fashions from January 1939 and advice on how to dress.

Actress Joan Fontaine in ruffled  dress, 1939

Actress Joan Fontaine in ruffled dress, 1939



Actess Priscilla Lane in a gold evening dress, 1939

Actess Priscilla Lane in a gold evening dress, 1939




A stylish hat and gloves change the look of a black dress

A stylish hat and gloves change the look of a black dress



vintage hats

What ever happened to our love affair with hats?


the versitile little black dress, ever popular

Long full dresses for evenin were all the rage in 1939

Long full dresses for evenin were all the rage in 1939

Wool was always a popular fabric in Australia, Simmer and Winter

louise campbell

Full Aline below knee 30s skirt

Shoes for Summer 1939

Shoes for Summer 1939

Black and white vening dresses 1939

Black and white vening dresses 1939

Evening dresses 1939

Evening dresses 1939

Happy New Year, 1946 and a Big Thankyou

I hope everyone has had a wonderful start to 2016. Mine could have been better – I have a son in hospital and I spent a couple of hours in ER on January 1 – but it makes me think that things can only get better. 

I did have one lovely thing happen – these arrived from one fabulous reader of my blog –   

They are on loan so I can read and also scan some pages to share on the blog. How lovely! I promise to do so when I am back in the office, but presently I am on holiday with the kids, and hopefully taking them on a little road trip next week to visit family.

Don’t forget you can get daily wartime articles and ads at my tumblr blog of the Wartime Woman (and follow my Instagram if you want to see what my family and I are up to).

In January 1946 WWII was over and things were beginning to get better. Goods that hadn’t been seen for years were back in stores – 

post war radio ad 1946 with canary 
Or almost back in stores…

 post war ad 1946  
Pretty girls were on the covers of magazines

  and people were thinking over travelling overseas for holidays again  
travel nume ad 1946Women were also thinking about gettng married, despite continued hardships. vintage brides, getting married post war 1946 

Seventy years on and we are still hoping for better times ahead xx

Finland’s Women Face War Horrors, December 1939

 Not a cheery Christmas tale, but interesting reading none the less. I never really think of Finland being involved in the war, but it really was a World War, wasn’t it?

finland during WWII  
finlands women face  war horrors 

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