Blog Archives for January 2017

Cartoon: Immigrant/Refugee Ban

Investigative Briefs with Joe Nickell
January 31, 2017

Artwork by Joe Nickell.

St. Jacobs Oil: New Acquisition

Investigative Briefs with Joe Nickell
January 24, 2017

My recent acquisition of another St. Jacobs Oil liniment bottle warrants this update. My earlier blog (St. Jacob’s Oil, January 8, 2014) told how German immigrant August Vogeler (1819–1908) came to America and founded a patent-medicine business by 1845; after 1878 he and his son Charles were selling “ST. JACOBS OEL” (sic, using German spelling). I only described their early bottle but showed a photo of a later one.

Relic Madness

Investigative Briefs with Joe Nickell
January 19, 2017

The mania for holy relics—in Catholicism objects once connected with the body of a saint—stems from belief that a relic is imbued with miraculous power including supernatural healings. Not surprisingly, this superstition has led to many excesses.

A Tramp-art Cross

Investigative Briefs with Joe Nickell
January 11, 2017

In my previous blog, “A Tramp-art Picture Frame,” I focused on a typical work of that folk-art genre. Here is a very different example (see photograph).

A Tramp-art Picture Frame

Investigative Briefs with Joe Nickell
January 03, 2017

A folk-art phenomenon of yesteryear was so-called “tramp art”— wood items handcrafted from discarded materials, ostensibly by hoboes, either to sell or to barter for food or drink. Pictured here (see photo) is a tramp-art frame with its religious oleograph (which I acquired for my collection in 2002).