Bon Voyage Ms. Jeannie!


The passport is out. The suitcase is filling up. Ms Jeannie is getting ready to embark on an extended trip.

Caught up in a sleuthing adventure that will take her around the world Ms. Jeannie will be wearing her best detective hat as she scours big cities and small towns for clues to one giant mystery of history. It is not certain how long she’ll be gone or what exactly she is working on, but it will be a long while before she returns and depending on her location she might not always be able to stay in touch regularly.

In the interim while she is away, there will be a new (to you) name and face managing the vintage landscape and holding down the history fort that has been the world of Ms. Jeannie Ology for the past five years. Hello, dear readers, my name is Katherine! While you may not have known me by name all these years, you have known me by words as the voice behind Ms. Jeannie, the writer of this blog and the interpreter of the muse that is MJO.  As you all know by now Ms. Jeannie prides herself on  keeping a bit of anonymity regarding her identity. And in working with her for all these years now, my identity has also been somewhat mysterious too. But now that Ms. Jeannie is off on her own, an independent traveler out on the oceans of discovery, I too, am embarking on a new adventure myself.

Like Ms. Jeannie, I have a passion for all things vintage but there is one particular area that holds a high level of fascination – the kitchen.  When Ms. Jeannie was battening down the proverbial hatches, covering the furniture and boarding up the windows in preparation for her long trip aboard she left one room of her vintage house open and untouched – the kitchen. Ms. Jeannie and I have spent a lot of happy and fulfilling time in the vintage kitchen, as you have read about so many times here on the blog.  So when Ms. Jeannie announced her plans for departure, the evolution of the blog seemed to naturally reveal itself.  Our vintage world dear readers is getting  a bit more specialized.

You’ll remember in 2015, we went through a narrowing of the vintage lens once before with a focus on vintage books. That distinction led to an unexpected yet completely enthralling love of vintage cookbooks which then led to our new found specialty and the future subject of our blog. With that being said, Ms. Jeannie and I are very pleased to welcome you to our new focus…


The Vintage Kitchen – where history comes to eat!  This direction, although new, will still be quite similar to the same types of writing approaches we have taken in the past.  I’ll  be discussing all the various components that make up the vintage kitchen from cooking techniques and recipes, to interior design and decoration, to music and art and all things that food has inspired. There will still be interviews and movie nights, cookbooks and countdowns, field trips and travel getaways, gardening posts and fashion pieces to work with but from here on out things will all be connected and centered around that one food-centric room in the house that everyone has loved for centuries. And there will be postcards.  Sent from any and all available ports of call, Ms. Jeannie promises to pop in and say hello from time to time with tidbits about her travels, hopefully some photographs and if time permits her possibly even some lengthy letters.

The store (coming very soon!) is being stocked as we speak with a curated collection of vintage kitchen-themed treasures including original art and handmade objects refurbished from antique materials. So while it may seem like things are changing in a big way, they really aren’t changing that much – just narrowing the focus a little bit more.

Stylistically the blog will be evolving over the next month and you’ll see changes in appearance that reflect the new theme as well as  the launch of a new storefront. There will be a special page just for Ms. Jeannie’s far-flung correspondence and there will be a much more easy to navigate recipe section that allows for simplified ingredient searches and printable pages.  There are future plans too for some really innovative and interactive components, should Ms. Jeannie’s travels extend for years, but each new element will be unveiled one at a time to ensure a smooth transition.

I hope dear readers that you’ll be as excited as we are about this new direction and that you’ll continue to keep in touch. If there are any topics that  interest you regarding the vintage kitchen  please post a message below and I will be happy to dive right into discovering some interesting stories surrounding your suggestions.

In the meantime, please join me in sending Ms. Jeannie off on her travels with best of luck wishes. Maybe she’ll be popping up in your neck of the woods on her sleuthing adventure. You never know where our mysterious Ms. Jeannie might land. Keep your eyes peeled for a woman in an orange headscarf and cat eye sunglasses.


Detecting A Case: Part Two


Here we are dear readers with part two of the sleuthing and solving saga involving an exciting and mysterious piece of paper found in an old book!

In case you need a refresher… last week, Ms. Jeannie blogged about how she found a note in an old 1940’s art book entitled Masterpieces in Color. This week we are taking a good long look at the note and determining its age and possible author.

First things first, here’s a full view of what we are working with in clue department…


A lovely, sentimental handwritten note on White House stationary! How exciting! If you are having trouble reading it from the photo this is what the note says:


Merry Christmas. I found this in a bookstore here. It is from an ambassador’s estate and has some nice reproductions from a good cross-section of art history. Tell everyone there hello for me.

Love, Jay

Who is this Jay? What’s his connection to the White House? And who is Kay or the ambassador for that matter?! And just when was this note written?

Here is what we know for certain…

Fact #1: The book was published in 1945. Fact #2: The book was purchased second-hand. Fact #3: It was a gift for Kay from Jay. Fact #4: The note was written on White House stationary.

Armed with that info, Ms. Jeannie began by researching letterhead from past administrations. It was her theory that White House stationary changed with every new President, so that offered help in determining the age of the note. When she found a picture of this stationary, she knew she found her administration…


Gerald Ford, the 38th President of the United States served in office from 1974-1977. You’ll notice it is the exact same font and layout on Jay’s stationary. To be certain of this letterhead, Ms. Jeannie also researched stationary from Kennedy, Nixon and Carter administrations, which produced no similarities.

So with the administration decided, Ms. Jeannie continued on with her second theory… that Jay was part of the higher echelons of the White House staff, because it didn’t seem probable that everybody (meaning all workers) at the White House would have access to White House stationary – even if they were just scratch pads or notepads. What if an inappropriate note was misplaced and found its way out into the world? Surely there is some sort of protocol for what is being written on paper that represents the highest form of government in the country. Don’t you think dear readers?

Continuing in that same vein Ms. Jeannie combed through the names of Ford’s administration on the lookout for our Jay. Thanks to the help of the Gerald Ford Presidential Library – she found a Mr. Jay F. , who served on the legal team as counsel to the President. (Ms. Jeannie is not including his last name here because he is still alive and because this would seem like some sort of breech of privacy.) But she can share that he is pictured somewhere in here…


How exciting! Which one could he be? The guy on the crutches? Or the one in the thick black glasses? The suited sitter on the couch or the shy stander with his back to the camera?  Half the fun of this detective project was just looking at these retro white house pictures:)

In the course of her research, very easily Ms. Jeannie came upon Jay’s email address. Pretty confident in her deductive reasoning regarding this whole quest Ms. Jeannie sent Jay a message hoping to appease her curiosity about such a prominent previous book owner.

Some days went by. There was no news from Jay. Ms. Jeannie waited. More days went by. Ms. Jeannie continued waiting. And still no news arrived.

In the meantime during all this waiting, Ms. Jeannie worked on a  completely different research project. Very randomly, she happened upon this image…


The same stationary font! On a letter from Eleanor Roosevelt! Written twenty years before Gerald Ford’s administration! Oh my. So it seems, dear readers that not ALL stationary changes with each administration. Ms. Jeannie’s first theory was wrong!

It’s been close to two weeks and still there is no response from hypothetical Jay. Of course, there is a whole slew of reasons why he might not have responded from the trivial to the extraordinary, with the very first and most obvious reason being that he never even received or saw the email. But it wouldn’t be fun to pester him again, so Ms. Jeannie’s giving this one over to the hands of fate.

The art book was published in 1945 which gives it dozens of decades of possible Jay connections. Even though Ms. Jeannie still believes she has hit the mark with the Ford administration, she’ll continue poking around the staff files of previous presidents. It’s a case not yet closed, which means there is more to the story yet to come! If our letter-writer is meant to be found than we will find him!

And if anyone out there is a presidential paperwork scholar, please weigh-in with your theories about who our characters might be. Half the fun of connecting the past with the present is daydreaming about what could have been and what might have happened. Happy speculating dear readers!