Tuesday, November 15, 2011

G. Herb Palin - Our Favorite Sloganist - Part II

I have a fascination with census forms. While looking for G. Herb Palin, our advertising “sloganist extrodinaire” (see Part I) who penned “A Tribute to Mineral Wells,” I found myself caught up in the families I found on the sheets that were enumerated with his family, especially in the 1920 census in Los Angeles, California.

But before I get into that, I’ll tell you a little more about the times leading up to those later years of Mr. Palin’s life.

Reading about his childhood, it struck me that he had a happy home life and his parents were eager to make him happy. They loved his active imagination and his sharp wit, and his mother, Anna, especially loved the way he could make up rhymes so early. I could envision him entertaining family members and friends for hours on end!

His father, James Matthew, was very happy when Herb graduated as a civil engineer, but Herb kept his future plans for a life filled with his poetry in the back of his mind.

At some point after Herb graduated, he married a girl named Rose E. Fulton from Georgia. He and Rose are found in the 1900 Savannah, Chatham County, Georgia census renting a home there. They had been married three years. Herb was 25 and Rose was 23. He was already working as a civil engineer. Rose’s brother, Theodore Fulton, 26 years old, was living with them. He was working as a railroad clerk. Herb also had a 30-year-old black boarder named Edward Bruison who was working as a day laborer. Also living with them were 20-year-old Lula Yathers, a black roomer who was working as a household servant and 22-year-old Saul Yathers, a black boarder who was working as a day laborer. Everyone in the house was born in Georgia.

Herb was not entirely happy working as a civil engineer. He had started contributing verses to local newspapers and realized that they must be good – they paid for them! He branched out to other papers and sought out some magazines. He didn’t feel like his education was broad enough to grasp the big advertising ideas, however, so he began to read law believing this would give him good basic material for his future work. Then in order to get into closer touch with the world he worked for the railroad for two years. All this time he continued to contribute to newspapers.
Then he realized he could support himself by only writing, so he turned away from his civil engineering career and devoted his time to newspaper work.

Somewhere along the way, Rose and Herb could not make their marriage work. She may have thought he was being frivolous and wasting a wonderful education and degree. I think I can relate to that. I may have felt the same way. The future may have seemed scary to a young woman in her twenties with a husband pursuing poetry and rhymes instead of continuing to work in the field of engineering, especially when he already had a job! I can close my eyes and see and hear the arguments. But I still hope Herb was a good natured fellow, that when he left Rose he was kind and they were both happier afterwards.

While Herb had been contributing verses and material to newspapers and magazines, advertising had been developing into a science. G. Herb Palin saw this and realized the time was ripe to begin cashing in on his future vocation. He began the coining of slogans for advertisers. He was alone in the field. There were advertising experts, copy writers, advertising agents, and professional workers in all branches of the art. He would not interfere, nor would his specialty conflict with theirs.

So he went to the executive of an important business, asked him what dominant thought he wanted to bring out in his advertising, was told in about fifty words, and within less time than it takes to tell it, he had coined a ten word slogan that fully covered the point in an apt rhyme never to be forgotten.

So that was the beginning of the only one man institution of the kind in the world at that time. Farquson Johnson wrote of him that, “He carries his products in his head and his office in his hands – a typewriter and a portfolio of testimonials. He works while you wait, and you’ll not get restless waiting for his think tank to revolve. He has no competition, no assistants – no advance agents or followups – and no comebacks aside from his own material self which seems to put in an appearance only when you need it. His is auxiliary service – a help to all advertisers. It consists of brevity, rhyme, and quaint alliteration. He tells the advertising story in the fewest easily remembered words. Although this is usually done in jingling verse, it is not undignified – the big advertising thought is always there to dignify it.”

One of the most remarkable things about him was the short time in which he would grasp a situation and coin a slogan. He was always beating his own record of slogans per minute. One of his last on record was 40 slogans in 20 minutes. Palin kept no books, but did a cash and carry business.

Farquson Johnson related the story about P. S. Eusticus, traffic passenger manager of the C. B. and Q. Railroad and how he called on Palin for some slogans that would emphasize the good and safe service of the Burlington road. The one adopted was:
“Safety first, safety last,
Makes Burlington Service unsurpassed.”
Some time after the slogan was out into the public and it was being continuously used, the Burlington had a disastrous wreck in which 46 people were killed. This knocked out the Safety First from the road’s advertising, after which everybody grabbed the slogan and now it is used around the world.

He was very well liked by all of his peers and often spoke before fraternities and clubs. On February 8, 1919, in the “Cleveland Notes of Interest” it was noted that G. Herb Palin drifted into the Cleveland Advertising Club rooms for lunch recently, and was greeted by many of his friends and acquaintances. As usual he had some good new poems and slogans.

Herb traveled far and wide across the United States and Canada and at one time belonged to some 24 advertising clubs, either as a regular or an honorary member. Traveling and meeting all kinds and classes of men and coming into close contact with both Capital and Labor, so it was said that his words of wisdom came from actual observations at first hand. He was a firm believer in Fraternity and said that if all men were not brothers they at least were very closely related.

Somewhere along the way Herb met a lovely French lady named Josephine. On April 8, 1911, they were married in Cook County, Illinois, when he was 38 years old and she was 32. On the Cook County Marriage Index found at Ancestry.com they were both listed as single and her last name was Perie.

Whether Josephine and Herb moved to Los Angeles together or he already lived there when they got married is not clear, but in 1920 they lived in the Venice Township, Los Angeles County, California, in a rented apartment house on the Ocean Front with two children, Junior, age 9, and Mary, age 3 ½. They are listed as Herb’s adopted children. Junior is old enough to have already been born when Herb and Josephine met and married, so he may be her natural born son, that is not clear. His place of birth is listed as Arkansas. Mary’s place of birth was Missouri.

Herb listed his occupation on this 1920 census as an Advertising Specialist and being self-employed. Josephine was born about 1880 in France and immigrated to the United States in 1887.

The Palins lived in an apartment complex where Italian and French restaurant proprietors lived. There were many orchestra and band musicians, a circus manager, wait staff, and two bakers, all on Ocean Front and Westminster Avenue, and all in apartment buildings.

The actress Adelaide Hurst lived two doors down from Herb and Josephine. She was 26 years of age and listed her occupation as an actress in the motion picture industry. She was divorced. At first, I thought she might be from the William Randolph Hearst family, but further research leads me to believe that she is not.

Venice, where Adelaide Hurst lived was four hours up the coast north from San Simeon, California, where William Randolph Hearst built the Hearst Castle in the 1920s. But she is NOT his daughter Adelaide. This Adelaide is of the same generation as his father, who was born in California, and this Adelaide says she was born in Tennessee. I have found genealogy trees with the Hurst name originating in Tennessee.

I will leave you here to ponder on Herb and Josephine’s life. I will pick it up again next week. I have more to tell you.

Advertising and Selling, Volume 28, edited by Albert A. Reed, Kate E. Griswold, George French, James Barrett Kirk, Leroy Fairman, 1918 - 1922, accessed 3 November 2011.

Monday, November 7, 2011

He Was Accidentally Shot on the Banks of the Pacus River

"During the years 1865 until 1875 every man who drove on the famous Chisholm, Goodnight and Loving Trails was in danger of losing his cattle and having his 'hair lifted' besides. Nevertheless, they drove, some recklessly, others cautiously, and month by month the trails broadened and deepened.

All along the Goodnight and Loving Trail were graves, now in forgotten places and holding forgotten men. W. H. Boyd, veteran of the drive of 1867, recalls many fresh mounds, that 'had never been rained upon.' Astraddle of one near Fort Phantom Hill was a brand new cowboy's saddle, both shelter and marker for the owner who slept beneath.

Sometimes the trail hands erected stones and scratched inscriptions thereon, hardly literary but often unique. In 1854, the San Diego Herald bore witness to the death of a young man on the trail, perhaps a cowboy driving a herd to the gold fields, and the epitaph was copied in Texas:

Here lies the body of Jeems Hambrick
who was accidentally shot
on the banks of the pacus river
by a young man
he was accidentally shot with one of the large
colt's revolver with no stopper for the cock to rest on
it was one of the old fashion kind
brass mounted and of such is the kingdom of heaven.

Years afterward, a trail outfit engaged in a battle with Indians near the present site of Roswell, so the story still runs, in which another cowboy was killed. He was buried beside the Goodnight Trail, and the cow-camp poet, deficient in Biblical allusion, arranged a couplet to be carved in sandstone so that all who passed might read that:

He was young, and brave, and fair
But the Indians raised his hair. 

There is tragedy and yet something bravely and buoyantly significant in the fact that rather than their names and deaths, tradition commemorates their levity."

Charles Goodnight: Cowman and Plainsman, by J. Evetts Haley, 1949, University of Oklahoma Press, accessed 7 November 2011

Bill West's 3rd Annual Great Genealogy Poetry Challenge at West in New England.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

"The Sloganist Extraordinary of the United States" Mr. G. Herb Palin and Josephine - Part I of III

A tale straight out of our imaginations, a time when little boys and girls dreamed of traveling around the world and living a life of glitz and glamour complete with glittering lights, beautiful gowns, and important people. Beginning with a young boy from the south, born in Savannah, not willing to give up his desire to be a poet, his vocation takes him across the United States and around the world. He rubs elbows with the elite of Los Angeles and Hollywood at a time when everyone flocked to see the faces behind the names of the movie industry, and several French and Italian proprietors of some of the most lavish restaurants in that era were his neighbors in the 1920s.

Cousins of mine from Longview, Bobby and Sue Moore, sent me a poem written about Mineral Wells. They thought I might like to share it with my readers. Many have probably read it in the pages of the Star News Centennial Edition 1857 - 1957 submitted by Bob Jessup at Rootsweb on Ancestry.com. I had never seen the poem, however, and I was enthralled with the charm and beauty of it. As many of you know, Mineral Wells is my home town.

In the year 1857, the Commercial Club of Mineral Wells contracted with Mr. G. Herb Palin to pen a poem about our fair city. Mr. Palin was paid $200 for the poem, the highest price ever paid for a poem in the South. He was a contributor to all of the leading magazines of the time and Farquson Johnson reported in the February 22, 1919 edition of the Advertising and Selling publication that he was known as the highest paid writer in the world.

Davis Foute Eagleton, editor, New York: Broadway Publishing Company, 1913:
The following poem is respectfully dedicated to President Theodore Roosevelt, with the earnest hope that at the expiration of his political life he will visit the new Texas health resort and abiding there, renew all the vigor of his youth.

The poem appeared in the Mineral Wells Daily Index of May 10, 1908 after Mr. Palin handed the poem to the Commercial Club on a visit to the city.

"The Legend of Mineral Wells"

I'll tell you a story strange and quaint,
But a story, they say, that's true;
Of healing wells where strong health dwells
'Neath Texas skies of blue.

Tis a wonderful tale as the legend runs
Of a beauteous Indian maid
And a warrior brave, who his life to save,
To a sun kissed valley strayed.

It happened, oh, ever so long ago,
Far back in the dimming past
That Running Fawn one day at dawn
A glance 'cross the prairie cast.

As the sun rays brightened the eastern sky
And the gray dawn turned to day,
She saw War Cloud and his warriors proud
To the war trail ride away.

The war paint gleamed on each bronzed face
And the war plumes waved on high,
While the war steed neighed and the war plumes swayed
As the warriors passed her by.

Far out on the prairie then they rode,
And War Cloud waved his hand
To Running Fawn then he was gone,
To fight in a far off land.

Then the maiden waited for moons and moons,
While the green corn turned to gold,
And the hot sun beat in summer heat,
She waited 'till days grew cold.

She gazed from her lodge 'cross the rolling plain
From dawn till the night birds sang;
And her love was true and stronger grew
As she thought of the war bow's twang.

And the moon grew old and the moon grew young,
The moon grew old again;
From the green corn dance to the great bear dance
She waited, her heart in pain.

Then Running Fawn from her lodge set forth
Her lover chief to find,
And far 'cross the plain in sun and rain
Her tribe was left behind.

She journeyed afar o'er hill and dale,
Crossed rushing streams, and sand,
Past deep abyss where serpents hiss,
To a strange and mystic land.

The seasons changed as she wandered on,
And faltering grew her tread,
But her love was strong the whole time long,
As she passed through the land of dread.

To a starlit plain at last came she,
In the midst of a witching night,
Lying billowy green 'neath the ghostly sheen
Of the pale moon's amber light.

She found him there, her chief, War Cloud,
With his warriors all around;
Lying still and weak, unable to speak,
At the top of a green clad mound.

The braves no more would war whoop shout,
No more their arrows fly;
They had fought their fight that very night
And died as warriors die.

Then Running Fawn by her chieftain knelt,
She kissed his hair, his face;
And all night long she chanted a song,
A song of love and the chase.

The flush of dawn was in the sky,
When War Cloud raised his head
And gazed at his love, at the skies above,
At his warriors lying dead.

A mist that was dark dimmed eyes once bright,
His red blood darked the ground,
But the glory of fight, of that hard fought night,
Still filled his ears with sound.

No light in his eye for Running Fawn,
No thought of the breaking day;
Not a shadow of thought for his tribe who sought
For them both in the far away.

Then the maiden lifted her voice and sang
To the Spirit Great above;
Just chanted a prayer while kneeling there
For the life of her long lost love.

As the soft notes rang thought the morning air,
And the sun the sky did greet,
An open trail through the misty veil
Appeared at War Cloud's feet.

Then Running Fawn grasped the Chieftain's hand.
And led him along the way;
With tenderest care from every snare,
In the light of the newborn day.

To a valley of green came they at last,
Where the birds sang loud and free,
Where sweet flowers grew of gorgeous hue,
Each kissed by the honey bee.

A soft wind blew from the hills around,
And the sky gleamed bright above;
'Twas a valley of rest by Nature blest
A valley of rest and love.

In the midst of it all, clear, sparkling, bright,
A spring from the white sands welled,
'Twas a Fountain of Youth in very truth,
A fount where strong health dwelled.

They knelt on the gleaming sands, the two,
And drank of the waters clear;
Just splashed in the pool, in its healing cool,
With never a thought of fear.

Then, lo! with a shout they sprang afoot,
A mystic thing was done;
Their blood coursed free, they danced with glee,
For health and strength was won.

Then strong in youth and hand in hand,
With never an ache or pain,
They started away that very day
For tribe and lodge again.

Came they at last to their tribe one day,
'Twas a day in the warm, sweet Spring,
And told of the fight, of the valley bright,
Of the cure that its waters bring.

They sang of the water's healing power
They told of its mystic worth,
'Til fame ran wide on every side,
And spread throughout the earth.

Then far away from fair Castile
Great Ponce de Leon came
To seek out the truth, the Fountain of Youth,
For he had heard of its fame.

The red men guarded the secret well,
He searched, but never found;
And for many a day it was hid away
By the green clad hills around.

But the white man searched till he found at last
The wonderful fount that heals;
And Mineral Wells, the story tells,
The secret now reveals.

 The late Theodore Roosevelt wrote:
"My dear Mr. Palin: I am really obliged to you for sending me "The Legend of Mineral Wells." This story I shall (always) keep." Etc.

The Colonel evidently considered the word "always" redundant and had struck it out with his pen when he signed the letter.

Mark Twain wrote of "The Legend of Mineral Wells" that it was "the most beautiful advertisement ever penned in English."

When Palin turned the poem over to the Commercial Club it was reported that he was born in South Carolina, but I have found evidence that he was born in Savannah, Georgia. He traveled to so many cities he probably was not clear when he said he had come from South Carolina. Maybe he had just come from a meeting there recently.

Even as a child, George Herb Palin found it easy to make rhymes. He thought phonetically, memorized easily, composed readily, and often gave answer in rhyme. His mother was pleased that he wanted to be a poet, but his father said no. George decided to keep his vocation in mind, but graduated as a civil engineer. He wasn't happy with that work but it did please his father. He didn't want to build railroads nor juggle mathematics.

At about that time, trying to remember the number of days in a certain month, he quoted: "Thirty days hath September," etc. Here he saw a chance to hook up his rhyming propensities to advertising and make them both of more practical use. Why not condense the advertising message into the fewest possible words and put it in rhyme?

He decided to read law for a while and he even railroaded for two years. He did this to broaden his knowledge and gain good basic material for his future work in advertising. His advertising jingles began selling, and selling for large amounts of money. He began writing for newspapers and magazines all over the country, including the Philadelphia North American and the New York World.

Some of the familiar slogans coined by Palin are "See America First"; "You can Afford a Ford"; "Put Your Sweeping Radiance in a Bissell Appliance"; "Diamond Edge is a Quality Pledge"; "Save Your Back with a Cadillac"; and the famous "Send the Cross of Red to the Fields of Dread".

I do not want you to lose interest in G. Herb Palin so I will end my post here. I will pick up his story next week in Part II. I think you will find him as intriguing as I did.

Advertising and Selling, Volume 28, edited by Albert A. Reed, Kate E. Griswold, George French, James Barrett Kirk, Leroy Fairman, 1918 - 1922, accessed 3 November 2011.

Homsley Reunion, Seymour, Texas

Homsley Reunion, Seymour, Texas
Copyright (c) 2015 by Judith Richards Shubert