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Vintage Rockefeller Center menu features US Marines

 

Several scenes in Lilac Girls take place in Rockefeller Center, so I’ve learned a lot setting-wise through ephemera from the famous complex. Like this menu c. 1942.   Love that the coffee shops’s name is The Coffee Shop, and the WWII themed cover art.

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Amazing prices!

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Bacon roll 25 cents? Yes, please.

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Thank you, Ann Parker and moo.com. Love the new cards.

The whole experience of ordering business cards from MOO.com is wonderful. The box they come in alone is worth ordering from them.

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Faux sealing wax is a nice touch…

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The heft of the cards is great–so much more substantial than an ordinary business card. The other side, with my personal info, is lovely as well, thanks to Ann Parker.

Visiting lovely Lublin by vintage postcard

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One of the great benefits of writing historical fiction is getting to visit the places you write about. My son and I were so excited to see Lublin, the town where so many of the Polish women I write about in Lilac Girls were raised. I’ve been collecting vintage postcards of Lublin ever since and a new one showed up in my mailbox today. Each time another arrives it take us right back to lovely Lublin.

 

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Lublin Castle in the fifties

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A real oldie…

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Ogolny widok…Lublin “overview” It was the inspiration for one of the opening scenes in Lilac Girls.

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Lovely Cracow Gate withstood Luftwaffe bombs

Caroline Ferriday, Broadway actress, champion for France and the “Lapins”

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Photo courtesy of Bellamy-Ferriday House & Garden, Bethlehem, Connecticut, owned and operated by Connecticut Landmarks

Discovering the lovely costumes and props Caroline bequeathed to the Metropolitan Museum made me realize I’ve never shared any thoughts about Caroline, my whole inspiration for Lilac Girls. It’s hard not to be inspired by Caroline, who dedicated so much of her life to helping others. She started acting at The Chapin School and after graduating found a career as a Broadway actress, appearing in mostly Shakespearian roles.

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Photo courtesy of Bellamy-Ferriday House & Garden, Bethlehem, Connecticut, owned and operated by Connecticut Landmarks

 

Instead of sitting back and enjoying her privileged life, Caroline gave back. From a family known for their philanthropy, Caroline followed their lead in a big way, for she not only volunteered during WWII to help French children orphaned in the war, but soon after the war, founded the American branch of the ADIR, National Association of Deportees and Internees of the Resistance. Founded in 1945 by female members of the French resistance who had survived their internment in the German camps, the ADIR raised money to help women of all nationalities get back on their feet after returning from the camps.

Caroline also worked to get reparations from the German government for a group of women experimented on by the Nazis at Ravensbruck Concentration Camp, known by all at the camp as “The Rabbits,” since they were the Nazi’s laboratory rabbits and since they hopped about the camp on their disfigured legs. Caroline, assisted by Norman Cousins, editor of The Saturday Review, campaigned to bring the “Rabbits” or “Lapins” as she sometimes called them, to America for much-needed medical attention and eventually was successful in winning reparations for the women.

     This true story is the basis for my novel Lilac Girls and has been such a pleasure to research, giving me the gift of getting to know Caroline Ferriday, a most inspiring American hero.

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The wonderful Norman Cousins

An exciting discovery at the Met

I’m still feeling a bit lightheaded after my daughter found the images below, of Caroline Ferriday’s gifts to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Bequeathed to the museum at various times over the years, the pieces span centuries and continents. I’ve been researching Caroline’s life for ten years and never knew she’d donated these to the museum.

Caroline, an accomplished Shakespearian actress, spent many years on Broadway and these may have been costumes and props she and her mother Eliza acquired. How smart she was to see their value and make sure they were kept safe and well-tended. Can’t get over how beautiful they are–even the boots, which seem to have seen many productions! Love the cotton “trousers” at the end, too.

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19th century silk Russian bodice (above) Love the french ribbon!

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1981.40_F2Tiffany silk, bone and paper fan (1873)

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 fan detail

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Fur pelerine 1900-1903

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Early 19th century silk, bast fiber and fur skirt

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Early 20th century silk and cotton robe

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Ring, 1700-1939

 

CI37.63.3ab_SLeather boots date 1800-1937

CI41.68.1abSilk purse, 1700’s

C.I.41.68.2_FCirca 1700, metal, cellulose nitrate and pearl comb

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20th century cotton trousers