A Collection of Jars

The Memphis Pink Palace Museum has a wide variety of objects in our permanent collection, including a biological collection of organic specimen in jars. The “wet collection” is stored in fluid, usually a pure alcohol solution or a mixture of alcohol, formaldehyde and acetic acid. The specific type of liquid depends on the developmental stage of the animal and the intended use of the specimen.  Specimens will last for several decades as long as they are stored in well-sealed containers in a cool room. The preserved animals can be used for research, teaching and exhibits. The Pink Palace’s collection consists of worms, jellyfish, reptiles, amphibians and a few mammals.

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Wet collection

Samples from the wet collection will be on display in Animal Grossology, a temporary exhibit that opened January 24 and runs until April 19, 2015.

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“Floppsy Woppsy is Dead, Dead, Dead!”

When the first Piggly Wiggly opened in 1916, it had a cousin named Floppsy Woppsy. The Floppsy Woppsy was a fruit window located inside the lobby of the original stores. It carried grapes, citrus, peaches, apples, pears and cantaloupes (but never watermelons).

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Floppsy Woppsy turned out to be a flop. In June 1917, Saunders pronounced, “Floppsy Woppsy is dead amid tears!” He decided that the fruit window was not profitable in its current location because produce was wilting before it could sell. He encouraged his customers to patronize market wagons for their produce until the Piggly Wiggly changed its setup. A week later, Saunders replaced the fruit window with a store directory and placed a bench underneath it. He started selling vegetables again within his serpentine aisles, instead in front of the turnstiles where “too many of [Floppsy Woppsy’s] friends imposed on her.”

It does not appear that many people mourned.

Quotes from advertisements in the June 14, 1917, and June 18, 1917, editions of The Commercial Appeal.

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IT’S BEEN 163 YEARS. IT MIGHT BE ABOUT TIME TO REPAIR THE WINDOWS…

As a home to 63 family members, slaves and servants since 1852 and as a museum for countless touring visitors since 1973, the Mallory-Neely House is now 163 years old and is ready for a window face lift.
SO, WHAT’S SO IMPORTANT ABOUT THE WINDOWS?
Lots of things. Windows provide a visual connection to the outside world. They also give architectural character to a building – which is especially true in the case of the array of beautiful and prominent windows at Mallory-Neely.
Most importantly, though, when windows are working correctly, they bring in light, fresh air and ventilation when needed. They keep the house dry during wet weather, cool in the summer and warm during the colder months.
But warped or rotted wood, loose joints and putty, and cracked or missing glass can bring in undesired rain, moisture, and insects. Faulty or absent mechanical pieces and hardware mean the windows may even be inoperable, leaving the windows useless for opening and closing.
Take a look at a few of our windows that need repair in the photos at the bottom of the page, and you’ll notice the shape they’re in.
Our windows are receiving their much-needed dose of repair from the City of Memphis’ Capital Improvement Program (CIP), and you can follow the progress of the project right here during the coming months. The window repair project is the second CIP project for Mallory-Neely. The first was the installation of a Canadian slate roof in 2012, which not only preserved historic character, but also kept our house happy and healthy by keeping the weather outside where it’s supposed to be. CIP’s are a great thing!
SO, WHAT WILL OUR WINDOW REPAIR PROJECT GIVE THE CITIZENS OF MEMPHIS AND ITS VISITORS?
NEWLY REPAIRED WINDOWS. They will keep the weather out, the paint on, and the wood healthy – which in turn will keep the house
in sound condition.
HISTORICALLY ACCURATE WINDOWS. The repair process we are using will
preserve the historic authenticity of each entire window – the wood, glass, mechanical parts and the hardware, as well as the original design of each window in the house.
PRESERVED HISTORY. This is our favorite part! The standardized process and care we are taking to repair these windows is helping to ensure that the Mallory-Neely House will continue to be one of the true historic treasures of Memphis for another 163 years, passing on our city’s heritage for your great-great grandchildren and their children to experience.
Stay tuned. This is just the beginning. During the months ahead, here are a few things you will learn about in our Journal posts:
 Historic preservation
 Types of windows and how they work
 The purpose and importance of windows
 The process involved in preserving historic wooden windows
 The many fascinating details of behind-the-scene preparations
 The progress of our project
Remember, Mallory-Neely IS OPEN FOR TOURS during the course of our project. Come visit. Bring your friends and family to take a tour of past Memphis!

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Memphis Censors Comics

1954 was an unpleasant year for the comic book industry. In the spring, psychiatrist Dr. Fredric Wertham published Seduction of the Innocent, a scathing assessment of superhero, crime and horror comics. He asserted that these books were not safe for young people because of their corrupting factors. This influence made them a leading cause of juvenile delinquency, which was a widespread fear among adults in the 1950s. His writings led to an outcry against comic books in magazine and newspaper editorials as well as a series of hearings by the Senate Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee to Investigate Juvenile Delinquency. In April 1954, Wetham took the stand and stated,

“I can only say that in my opinion this is a public-health problem. I think it ought to be possible to determine once and for all what is in these comic books and I think it ought to be possible to keep the children under 15 from seeing them displayed to them and preventing these being sold directly to children.”

The comic book industry was in the disagreeable position of choosing between eventual government oversight and self-regulation. Magazine owners chose to form the Comic Magazine Association of America and institute the Comics Code Authority, which set censorship guidelines for comic book writers and illustrators.

Comic book bonfire
Meanwhile, some Memphians decided to take matters into their own hands. In September 1954, The Commercial Appeal published a series of columns by Peter Molloy about the content of “children’s dime literature.” Public response to these articles led Mayor Frank Tobey to bolster the powers of the city’s comic book study committee, which had been established in 1949, by giving them the power to ban questionable literature,The ten member committee would review books and ban any that three or more members deemed objectionable on the basis of crime, torture, sex, horror, vulgarity and advertising contents. These titles were permanently banned from sale in the city, regardless of the content of future issues. Additionally, Police Commissioner Claude Armour asked the city’s fifty-five branches of the Council of Civic Clubs to form a watch-dog group and make recommendations to the mayor’s committee. The area’s comic book distributors agreed to cooperate with the decisions made by the mayor’s official group.

The Bluff City Council of Parent-Teacher Associations, which represented 26 African American schools, decided to encourage its individual members to hold “comic book burning parties” on October 30th to celebrate Halloween and promote and support the censorship campaign. The Sherwood School PTA planned to burn comics collected throughout the neighborhood, but they also wanted to clearly disassociate its bonfire from a book-burning campaign. The Commercial Appeal supported their stance in an editorial by stating, “Just as it is possible to destroy a mad dog and not be again dogs, it is possible to destroy mad books and not be against books.”

The mayor’s committee met monthly at the Pink Palace to vote on previously read titles. By December, the committee had reviewed 247 comic books and voted to ban 111 of them from the city. At the request of the Comic Magazine Association of America, the committee agreed to re-review the previously censored titles after new versions were published with the Comics Code Authority’s seal of approval. While the city’s and the country’s comic book frenzy eventually dissipated, the comic book industry took decades to recover.
For more information about censorship in the comic books, visit http://cbldf.org/resources/history-of-comics-censorship/

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