Re: Phoebe Snow on Lackawanna box cars
In a message dated 2/24/2008 10:38:39 PM Eastern Standard Time,
Michael Bishop asked:
"On Nov. 15, 1949 the Lackawanna launched the streamlined passenger
train named after its mascot, The Phoebe Snow. What would the 1942
cars have been painted for?"
While the Phoebe Snow slogan would not appear on rolling stock until
1942, the Lackawanna's Phoebe Snow advertising campaign dates back to
the beginning of the 20th century. Here are some peirod
advertisements (the webpage isn't great, but it does have 6 of the
Phoebe Snow ads in one place):
Right again, Ben. And that text at the top of the web page is quite ignorant.
The original Phoebe campaign was an evolution. I've collected all kinds of
ads from that era, and a lady in a white dress appeared in various scenery in
ads going back to the 1890s without any mention of anthracite or a name for
the lady. The railroad actually got a letter from Mark Twain complimenting
it for allowing him to make the trip west to Elmira without soiling his white
suit, and it used his letter in a series of small ads. That letter appears
to be the spark as soon after the names Phoebe and anthracite began appearing,
about 1903. The poems started shortly after that. The rrrest of the story:
The early ads with Pheobe touted both clean-burning hard coal and stone
ballast for a clean, dust-free ride, compared to cinder ballast so common then.
Lackawanna track was exemplary in that era. The peoms keyed on the Road of
Anthracite, so the stone ballast isn't in the public memory.
By the time of WWI, Pheobe could be called the most famous woman in America;
the DL&W felt it had to hire a model to portay the lass. A contemporary
newspaper account from Binghamton in the first decade claims 10,000 people
crowded the station to see Phoebe.
While the company produced a small book listing the famous Phoebe phrasings
to accompany the 1949 streamliner, I have found a few others in some ads that
apparently didn't make the book or that even the ad men weren't aware. One
that's appropriate now appeared in 1910 coincident with the Republican State
Convention in Saratoga Springs:
Are bound to please,
No matter who your nominees.
With platform right,
Let all unite,
And vote for Road of Anthracite.
Mike Del Vecchio
**************Ideas to please picky eaters. Watch video on AOL Living.