New in the collection: socklet garter ad

Package for socklet garter featuring image of young girl holding doll.

I’ll admit it — I was startled to see that the Gem-Dandy Garter Co. advertised on this 2- by 4-inch card is still operating, though with a modernized name and product line.

Here’s how Gem-Dandy Accessories, headquartered in the Rockingham County town of Madison, traces its path into the 20th century:

“The Penn Family started Gem-Dandy in 1921 as a successor to the Penn Suspender Co.  Green Penn, the first company president, invented and patented the GEMCO Adjustable Garter — the world’s first fully adjustable garter for men, women and children….

“Gem-Dandy entered the belt business during World War II. The Danbury name was registered as a brand name in the 1970s and sales expanded across the country into thousands of men’s specialty shops.

“Today, Gem-Dandy distributes a wide variety of belts, wallets, suspenders and other accessories in dress, casual, work wear and western styles. We are the proud licensor of several popular brands such as Greg Norman®, Pebble Beach® , John Deere®, Berne Workwear®, Roper®, REALTREE® and Colours by Alexander Julian®. We also have our own proprietary brands including Danbury Golf, Danbury Workwear, Lady Danbury, G-Bar-D Western Outfitters and Cowgirls Rock. Our products can be found in major department stores as well as smaller venues.”

New in the collection: Rockingham County poster

Rosalind Willard campaign poster

This 14-by-22 inch poster promoted the 1980 candidacy of Rosalind “Roz” Willard, who would serve two terms before being defeated for reelection.

As detailed in her obituary, politics was only one of the Greensboro native’s many passions: “Per Willard’s request, women well-wishers are welcome to sport bright berets or chapeaux of their choice.”


Given names, given with imagination

“…. In the South, according to Urban T. Holmes of the University of North Carolina, Negro parents ‘have, for the most part, kept to standard names.’ But  when they depart from the standard they sometimes go even further than their fellow Methodists and Baptists of the dominant race. In Rockingham County, North Carolina, Mr. Holmes unearthed Agenora, Alferita, Artice, Audrivalus, Earvila, Julina, Katel, Limmer, Louvenia, Ludie, Mareda, Margorilla, Matoka, Orcellia, Princilla, Reada, Roanza, Venton Orlaydo and Vertie Ven….

“Medical men making a survey of Northampton County, North Carolina, staggered back to civilization with the news that they had found male Aframericans named Handbag Johnson, Squirrel Bowes, Prophet Ransom, Bootjack Webb and Solicitor Ransom, and females named Alimenta, Iodine, Zooa, Negolia, Abolena, Arginta, and Dozine.

— From “The American Language” by H. L. Mencken (1919, later revised)

Urban T. Holmes (a name that might itself have raised eyebrows among his subjects in Rockingham County) began teaching at UNC in 1925 and later was named Kenan Professor of Romance Philology.

Here’s a modern-day look at “African-Americans’…  tendency to buck more common names.”