Saturday, December 29, 2012

Cabinet Photo of a Young Woman with Long Hair and Bare Arms

This is a cabinet photo (a little more than 4 x 6 inches, including the mounting) of woman wearing a dark short sleeved dress.  It was taken by F. B. Merker of Belleville, Illinois.  There is no other identifying information.
My best guess is that this is from the 1880s or 1890s, and it was unusual for a woman (or a man for that matter) to display bare arms in a formal portrait.   Also, I originally thought that was a boa draped over her shoulder, but it isn't - it's her hair, probably in a long pony tail.  Most women her age, in that era, would not have worn their hair down.
Maybe she was an actress (you know how they are).  Maybe she was ahead of her time stylistically. 
Or maybe it was a fad, or maybe it was well within the moral conventions of the time, or perhaps it was the latest and greatest from the fashion houses of Paris.  I honestly have no idea.
Unique photos are hard to find.  If it were easy to find them, they would not be unique.  I suppose every photo is unique in some way, in fact I know they are,  but some are more unique than others.  This woman's bare arms and long hair draped over her shoulder sets this photo apart.
(Old joke:  how do you find a unique photo?  You neek up on it.)

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Comic Postcard - Boarding House Table Manners

I like postcards for lots of reasons - sometimes they provide views of things that don't exist anymore, sometimes, especially in the case of comics, they're a little odd. 
This is a nice colorful comic postcard, postmarked in 1913 - the state is Florida, but I can't read the city - addressed to Miss Nellie Herford, Marshall, MO., in care of Ben Hur Stock Farms.  The men in the postcard are embossed.
This card shows what is probably a sleazy character trying to get in good with whoever is top dog a a boarding house, with instructions on how to get a better selection of food.  Is it a comment on the human condition?  Probably not.  But for some reason I like it.
This looks like it may be part of a whole series of cards of this nature, but I don't know that for sure. 

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Three Men in Top Hats, from Wenatchee, Washington, and Coldwater & Saginaw, Michigan

This is an interesting photo.  There are 3 men, all dressed to the hilt, including gloves.  They look to be in their 30s, the one sitting on the left maybe even a little younger.  The clothing indicates they were doing well for themselves and had (or at least aspired to) some social standing.
What makes this really interesting though is what is written on the back. 
The man sitting on the left is identified as F.W. Baker, Medical Arts Co., Wenatchee, Wash.  There is also a PHC - 90 in the description, but I don't know what that means.
The man sitting on the right is identified as W.H. (Belva) Lockwood, 41 Hull Street, Coldwater, Mich.
Whoever wrote this was not sure who the man standing is, but it is either a  Dr. Parkinson, or a Dr. A. S. Rogers, both from Saginaw, Mich.  Whoever the man standing is, he was described as "now dead".  
I have no idea who wrote this information, or when they wrote it.
So if you like to search out people in old photos and find their stories, there is a lot here to go on.    Just a note - there was a Belva Lockwood who was woman involved with women's rights in the 19th century.  I don't know if that Belva Lockwood has anything to do with the "Lockwood" in this photo.
This is a cropped portion of a cabinet card - the mounting is not in great shape, tho the photo itself is just fine.  The phographer's name was Gibson, of Ann Arbor, and I'm assuming it is the Ann Arbor in Michigan, but the state is missing.
The person who wrote all that info neglected to put a date on it, but we're pretty sure this photo is from the 1890s.
Update:  Sold!

Monday, December 10, 2012

A Mysterious Antique Photo of a Young Woman

I don't really know what to say about this photo - it's just something I find visually interesting.  

It's not large - just over 5 inches tall and 4 inches wide, and there is no writing or photographer information on it.

The clothing and the mounting date this to the early 20th century, but I can't really say how early.  I assume, because it's mounted on cardboard with gold trim, that it was taken by a professional photographer.    Amateur snapshots started showing up in the early 20th century, but I think this is more professional than that.

Everything about this photo seems somewhat unique, to me. 

Starting from the top - she's wearing some kind of cap or hat that you didn't see many women wearing, at least in photos.  Most women's hats of the era were big, elaborate, flowery, feathery things.  This one is hard to make out in any detail - there is a band of cloth going around it, and I can't make out a brim or bill or anything else.  It looks almost like a pillbox hat.

She's wearing a tie, and what looks like a white vest - quite masculine - with hands either in her dress or jacket pockets.  My wife would be able to tell you what kind of sleeves those are on the jacket, but I don't dare even conjecture.  She's wearing a long ankle length dress, and I cannot make out her shoes in any kind of detail.  I suspicion they are lace up boots, but that's but I have no way to prove it.  She's probably wearing a corset, but who knows.  Her hair appears short, and she's looking slightly away from the camera.  The background is a plain wall, no chairs, plants, statues, pedestals or props of any kind.  That, all by itself, is interesting.

I don't know if anyone else sees what I see in this photo or not.  To me, the whole thing pretty mysterious.   A young woman was photographed 100 to 110 years ago, and that's about all I can  say about it with any kind of certainty.

She's young, late teens or early 20s.  Is she dressed stylishly for the time, or did she just get off the boat from some eastern European country?  I don't know.   

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Black Americana Postcards - Detroit Publishing - Early 20th Century

These are two "Black Americana" postcards by Detroit Publishing, dating from the early 20th century. 

The first shows a young woman with the caption "Polly in the Peanut Patch"; the second is an old man with a watermelon with the caption "The Melon-Cholic days have come, the gladdest of the year".

Black Americana is a postcard collecting category, and for some people that's what they collect.  In the early 20th century (and in fact much later) most postcards depicting African Americans would be considered anything from mildly to blatantly racist by today's standards.  Possibly by the standards of the time too, I don't know. 

Anyway these are neat cards - not only because of the subject matter, but because of the publisher.  I've written about Detroit Publishing before, so I won't repeat everything in this post, you can click on "Detroit Publishing" in the labels and find another post I wrote if you want more info about them.  They used a special printing (or coloring) process which I think they leased from a European company and called "Phostint", and as a result their graphics are a higher quality than most other cards printed at the time. The coloring on "Polly's" card is very nice.

These are divided back cards, so that dates them to March 1907 or later - my feeling is that they are pre-WWI.

Update:  Both Sold!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

A Hand Colored CDV of a Little Boy - 1860s

The thing that makes this CDV interesting is that parts of it are colored.  I'm pretty sure this was done by hand and it would have had to have been a painstaking process.  The obvious colorized object is the crimson table cloth.  Not so obvious is a very slight pinkish tint on the little boy's cheeks, the gold colored buttons on his shirt and the yellows and greens in the carpet.

I think (but am not positive) that the suit he is wearing is two piece, but the shirt and pants have the same checkered design.  His shoes have what look like metal tips on them, leading us to believe that his parents may have been doing well for themselves. 

This CDV is from the 1860s - we can tell by it's trim & weight (it is relatively thin) and to a lesser extent the clothing style.  There is no tax stamp on it, so it is either before 1864 or after 1865.  Not much to go on, but at least we know when it isn't, if you can follow the logic and grammar.  There is no photographer information or writing or any kind on this photo.    And it does have come condition issues - the corners have been trimmed, and there are some spots of something near the bottom.  But it's in the neighborhood of 150 years old, so we can make allowances I guess

Thursday, November 29, 2012

CDV Photo Young Man in a Military Cadet Style Uniform 1870s

This is an 1870s (ish) CDV of a clean shaven young man in a military style uniform.  There is no information of any kind on the CDV - no backstamp, no photographer's info, no writing, absolutely nothing. 

That's too bad, because it makes it hard to even conjecture about this person.

So, primarily I'm interested in what kind of uniform he's wearing.  It is certainly a military style uniform, but lots of uniforms are military style, without actually being military.

My first thought was that this is probably a cadet's uniform, and I had to make an assumption, having nothing else to go on, that it was probably not one of these private military college prep type schools.  I had to assume it was something like West Point, or perhaps VMI or the Citadel.

So we spent a lot of time (well, some time) online looking at 19th cadet uniforms, especially at West Point and VMI.  And I can't tell anything for absolute certainty, but this looks closer to a West Point uniform.  The VMI collars seemed to be higher.  Also, I don't really know what color the jacket is - it looks gray, but it could be easily be something else. 

Any out there know for sure?

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Cabinet Photo Old Man With Elaborate Shawl, Grangeville, Idaho, 1890s

Sometimes I think we need an assistant to do nothing but figure out what things like this are.   I expect someone like that might wish to be paid, so that rules out that possibility. 
Obviously, the interesting thing in this cabinet photo is the shawl (or is it a vest?), but I want to mention something else first.  Photographer info is listed as Hanson Photo, Grangeville, Idaho.  The fact this is from Idaho makes it somewhat unique, at least in my experience.  The vast majority of cabinet photos we have come from the north east & midwest USA.   We have very few from southern states (states that are south of the Ohio River), and very few from areas west of Iowa and Missouri.  Even California cabinet photos seem relatively rare.  This is the very first card we have from Idaho, and it's an interesting one.
What is interesting about it, of course, is the shawl/vest this old fellow is wearing.  We can't figure out what it is.  It's draped around the neck (not really over the shoulders), and I don't know if extends down the man's back, or if it's just around his neck.   Obviously we don't know what it's actual colors are.  It has flower designs, and also cross key designs, which I can't help but think has some significance.   I think there are three of the cross keys - one on each side of the shawl, and I believe one near the bottom which may (or may not) be holding the two sides together.  There is something between the two sides of the shawl, right above the larger cross keys.  Also, there is a medal or something hanging from underneath the shawl, which may have some significance, or may just be part of a pocket watch.  I cannot make out any details on it.  The shawl is fringed, with the two fringes on the ends hanging down lower.
We first thought this may be a religious garment, specifically Jewish, and we don't know that it isn't, but if it is, we couldn't find anything else like it. 
Our next thought was that it was some kind of masonic (or masonic like) ceremonial garment, but again, we can't find anything to prove that.
What we do know, isn't much.  We know that the picture was taken in Grangeville, Idaho, most likely in the 1890s.  He's an old man, wearing a shawl with flower and key designs.  It was taken by Hanson Photo.  That's about it.
If anyone can enlighten us about this, we'd appreciate it!
Update: Sold!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Bertha Stoneman and other Students, Cornell University, 1889

Every now and then we come across a photo that is out of the ordinary, and we think this is one.  On the surface, it's just a slightly interesting photograph - a group of young people, looks like late teens to early 20s, nicely dressed in the much more formal fashions of the day.  What makes this really  interesting though, is what's written on back.

First, there was a name.   The first name was obviously "Bertha", but I originally thought the last name was "Stoniman", but my wife looked at it and said it was "Stoneman". Following that is "Anti T.N.E. Picnic,  C.U. 89", then below that (in what looks like different handwriting, but I'm no expert)  "Five miles walk to Trumansburg May 25."  Below that is the photographer's stamp "W.L. Hall, Trumansburg, N.Y."

So we googled "Bertha Stoneman" and found she was well known in Botany circles in the late 19th & early 20th centuries.  She was born in western New York to a prominent family in 1866.  She was a graduate of Cornell University, class of 1894, and received a Doctorate of Science in Botany in 1896.  She joined the faculty of Wellington College in Cape Colony (South Africa) and apparently remained there for the rest of her life.  In 1906 she authored a text book "Plants and their ways in South Africa".  She served as president of Wellington College from 1928 to 1933, when she retired.
Armed with the knowledge that Bertha Stoneman attended Cornell University,  and knowing that Trumansburg, NY is very close to Ithaca (google maps), and roughly knowing the age of the cabinet card based on the clothing of the subjects as well as the style of the photograph mounting,  we concluded that "C.U. 89" meant Cornell University 1889.   Once we figured that out, we determined that T.N.E. was probably Theta Nu Epsilon, a fraternity or secret society of some sort (I suppose of ill-repute).  And this photograph was a perhaps a memento when at least10 people walked to Trumansburg and had a picnic along the way somewhere.
We've seen pictures of Bertha Stoneman when she was older, and we believe she is in the middle row on the extreme right in this photo.
If anyone knows anything else about this photo, feel free to let us know.
It is rare to find something like this where you can find out so much about the person. Without the writing on back, this would be just another somewhat interesting photograph.
This Cabinet photo was just in with a larger group we purchased - I wonder about it's travels.  I wonder who owned it and how in the heck did it end up in our possession?
Update: Sold!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Bamforth & Co Postcards - After Marriage Her Husband Will be Different

This is an early 20th century postcard by Bamforth, a British company with a long history in the postcard & film business.
This card is poking fun at several things, but in the end it displays a succinct understanding of the human condition.  (I mostly wrote the previous sentence to see if anyone was paying attention). 
Most people who do not live together do not really know each other.  If the only place you see someone is at work, or behind a counter,  you don't really know them.
If you don't live with someone, you don't experience the undesirable sights, smells, stains and/or bodily fluids that can no longer be hidden.  Humans are a biological species and as such are a messy sort, but that can be hidden or diminished UNTIL you live with someone. 
After marriage, a husband (and wife) with almost certainly be different than he (or she) appeared before.
I suppose.
Anyway, that's what I think.  Bamforth is a great company that produced thousands of postcards - many slightly (some more than slightly) risque.  And a lot that are just a little odd.
Update: Sold!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

CDV Photo Reverend Maxwell Wright, Edinburgh Scotland, 1860s

This is a CDV photo of a man with some good sized mutton chops.  He's sitting in a fancy chair, is well dressed, holding a pair of gloves and has a top hat on the table next to him.  It is possible he's wearing a cleric's collar, but I can't really tell. 
His name is written on back as "Rev'd Maxwell Wright".  I'm making a couple of assumptions here; I assume that "Rev'd" is an abbreviation for Reverend.  Also the hand writing is not the best, so it is possible I have the name wrong, but I believe Maxwell Wright is what it is.  Since I'm assuming he's a Reverend, it follows that he might be wearing a cleric's collar.  I'm not a 100% sure.
The photographer's name is J. Moffat, and his address was 103 Princes Street, Edinburg Scotland.  John Moffat was born in 1819 in Aberdeen and died in Edinburgh in 1894.  You can find out a ton of information about the photographer at the following site:  
This is a clean, sharp photo, and it is almost certainly from the 1860s.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Leona Belle Cook - Age 3

This is a antique photo (cropped from the original) of a little girl named Leona Belle Cook, aged 3.  The photographer information is only given as "Taylor".  We've seen other photos with "Taylor" in a similar style from Rochester, New York, so perhaps that is where this is from.  We found some information on a Leona Belle Cook by doing a simple google search.  Assuming it is the same person, she was born in August 1913, and died in November 2007 in Venice, Florida.  If those dates are correct, then this photo dates from 1916-17 or there abouts.  Based on the type of photo those dates seem about right.
We have another picture of Leona Cook when she is older, looking like in her late teens or early twenties, and she has something of a not quite but almost flapperish hair style. 
This is a nice photo, and with the mounting it is fairly large.  I like it because it has toys in it - she 's holding on to a wagon with a doll in it. It may have just been a photographer's prop, but it may also have been a favorite toy of a little girl.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

CDV of an older woman wearing a large hoop dress and whilte mantilla, taken by Robert Slingsby

This is a CDV of an older woman wearing a large hoop dress and an white mantilla.

I learn a lot about fashion from old pictures - to me, man that I am, she's wearing a veil.  To my better half, woman that she is, she's wearing a mantilla.  A mantilla is covers the neck and shoulders, while a veil covers the head and face.  I believe that's the difference. 

Either way, the elaborate dress and the head covering make this an interesting photo. 

The backstamp lists the photographer as R. Slingsby of Lincoln (U.K.).  There is a blurb indicating he was patronized by the Prince of Wales, and reproductions of awards he received in 1868 and 1869.  Robert Slingsby was a well known photographer of the time, active between 1859 and the 1890s. 

I found the follwing information on :

"Slingsby's more important contribution to photog­raphy was his work on the development of flash light for photography. As early as 1869 he had a photograph reproduced in the Illustrated London News that had been produced using artificial light and between 1890 and 1891 he was granted four patents relating to the use of magnesium for flash photography one of which related to a shutter that could be synchronised to the discharge of magnesium."

So Robert Slingsby was a bit more than the run of the mill 19th century portrait photographer.  He died in 1895.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Comic - Cute Two Cylindered Run-about

This is an early 20th century artist/signed comic postcard that I've always kind of liked.  The gal is dressed in what was probably very fashionable garb for the time - I'm sure the artist was satirizing it a bit.  The smitten boy is using some slang of the time, comparing her two what was probably considered a nice little car.  In fact there is a car in back ground, though I have no idea if it is a two cylindered run-about. 

This is artist signed by "Seward", and it has been postally used, though unfortunately I could not read the postmark.  It was addressed to a Mr. Albert Burch, of Kansas City, Missouri.
Update:  Sold!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Rosen Kirche, Watertown, Buffalo County Nebraska, Antique Photograph

This is a colorized antique photograph of a church congregation in Nebraska.  To me it looks like the coloring was done by hand - the blue sky goes off the edges of the photo (it's mounted on a much larger piece of cardboard).   The actual photo is a little brighter than the picture I have of it.

This looks to be 1890s, give or take.  There is a lot of writing on the mounting, most of which is faded to the point that I can't read it.  But I can read several things:   below the picture is written Rosen Kirche.  I'm not sure if it is one word or two, either way I think it's German and it means Red Church.  On back someone has written Rev. J.E. Baumgartner, Watertown, Buffalo Co., Nebraska.    In the back near the middle of the line of people, a man is wearing clerical garments, and I suppose that is the good Reverend.  There are all kinds of people in this photo, young and old.

So, one day in the 1890s, give or  take, a church congregation gathered outside and had their picture taken.  Interesting.


Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Snapshot - 7 children, boys, girls, baseball gloves and a cat

I may be the only person on earth who thinks this is a cool picture.  It could be that I'm inventing the quirkiness about it.  

This is a snapshot, I'd say late 1950s or very early 1960s.  There are no dates, names, or writing of any kind.   Also no stamps or indication (that I could see) of the kind of photo paper used.  But based on the clothing, that is what I think.

Front row left, there is a boy in a white t-shirt, blue jeans with the cuffs rolled up (just like the cowboys wore them), most likely wearing black high top converse all-star tennis shoes and a baseball glove.  He is kneeling and looking very serious in a classic little league team picture type pose.  He's the only one kneeling, and is obviously out of sync with the rest of the group.

In contrast to his seriouness, the boy behind him has place his baseball glove on top of his head.  And the boy next to him is holding a cat.  The girls are just standing there and smiling, more or less like normal people.  Some of those girls have to be sisters.

It is a very typical picture in a sense.  Some grown up made them all get together to have their picture snapped.  But in another sense, it's a little odd.  Unlike many, many of these type of amature snapshots,  personalities were captured.  Accidently, I'm sure, but captured just the same.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Cabinet Photo of a Woman Reflected in a Mirror - 1890s

I like this photo for 3 reasons.   First, we're pretty sure this is from the 1890s, and you don't see very many women with bare arms in he 1890s.  Second, her profile is reflected in a mirror, and that is pretty neat.  I've seen this before, but I'm pretty sure it's the only one I have.  And 3rd, she has a very low cut neck line, in a era when most women had collars that went up to their chin.

In fact, she's showing a lot of skin at a time when usually all you saw skin wise of a woman (or a man, for that matter), was their hands and face. 

I have another photo of this woman in the same dress, same necklace and everything, but in a more traditional pose. 

The photo was taken by Garrison Bros. of Fort Dodge, Iowa.  The Garrison brothers were Charles F. and Fred, and they had a studio in Fort Dodge in the 1890s - at least until 1896.  So this photo is 116-120 years old, give or take.

I have no information on the woman, it would be interesting to know who she is and how she came to have such a photograph made. 

UPDATE:  Sold!

Friday, April 13, 2012

Meet Little Martha Sharples, 1892-1926.

This is little Martha Sharples - a bit larger normal Cabinet Photo with 3 views of the little girl. 

I know this is Martha Sharples because it says so on the back - and it also gives her married name (Hess), and her parents names - David T. & Adeline Sharples.  With that information you can find out a lot about this little girl.

She was born Nov 22, 1892 in Elgin (Kane County) Illinois, which means this photo was taken in 1897-98, give or take.   She married a Henry Lawrence Hess in on April 26, 1916 in West Chester, Pennsylvania - their 96th anniversary is coming up.  I have no idea of the events surrounding a move from Illinois to Pennsylvania, but apparently it happened.   She had two children in the next couple of years, and then a daughter on May 28th, 1926.  She died about a week later, June 2, 1926, at the age of 33 at Media (Delaware County) Pennsylvania.  Although I can't say with 100% certainty, it seems pretty obvious she died from some complication arising from giving birth, probably excessive bleeding or infection.   Both of her parents, David & Adeline Shaples, outlived her.  I believe she was their only child.

I suspect there is no one alive now who ever met or knew Martha Sharples.

Martha's daughter, the one born in 1926, died in 2010, at the age of 84. 
I look at these old pictures, and sometimes I find myself mourning for these people, who are for the most part long gone. I actually feel sad for them.  In this photo, Martha is a little girl.  She seems happy and well cared for, and I'm fairly certain no one expected her to die as a result of child birth.  Everybody expected her to get married, have children, become a grandmother and so on.  But fate had something else in store for Martha Sharples Hess.  She never saw her children grow up.

Update:  SOLD!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

A bit of Fashion - Antique Photo

I love this photo, and it's mostly because of the clothes the woman is wearing.  The odd hat with super long feathers, a beaded dress & boots (perhaps lace up, not sure).  I also love the sepia tone.  This photo screams 1920s.

It comes in a large folder, which frankly, has seen better days.  The photo is in great condition, however. 

Other than the woman's display of fashion, it's not particularly remarkable.  There is no photographer information, no names or date, no clue as to who these people are or where they came from.   Doesn't matter, it's a lot of fun to look at.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Old Photo of a man in a dress uniform

This is an antique photo of a man in a uniform of some sort, probably early 20th (maybe late 19th) century. 

I'm not sure what kind of uniform it is, but it has a military look about it.  Having a military look doesn't necessarily make it military, but on the other hand, there is a good possibility.  The overall appearance is right - a man with short hair standing more or less at parade rest.   Also there are shoulder epaulets, the "U.S" insignia on the collar, plus what looks like crossed swords behind it.   I can't see that clearly, so I could be wrong, but if it is crossed swords, then this is most likely an early military dress uniform of some sort.

The photo is mounted on dark cardboard, and embossed in that cardboard is "Monroe Ft. Sheridan".  I believe Monroe is the photographer & Ft. Sheridan is the location - specifically Illinois.

But I don't know for sure, so I hope someone who is expert in military uniforms (specifically US Army) will jump in and straighten me out if I'm wrong. 

Anyway, it's a neat photo.

Update: Sold!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Hammon, Mabel and Annie

Sometimes postcards are interesting because they show a slice of life - and this is one of those.  It is more interesting because of the message on back, and because it is one of a series of postcards we have that were addressed to either Mable Norwood of Battle Creek, Michigan, or Hammon Marshall, sometimes of Battle Creek, other times of Detroit.

This one was addressed to Hammon Marshall from someone named Annie, and Annie is a little upset and none too subtle about what her intentions toward Hammon were.  The text on back reads as follows:  "I'm very sorry I did not see you when you were in BC.  I heard today you came to see that Mabel N.  You know what you promised me. I never thought that of you.  You promised you would love me forever.  But never mind. XXX Annie."   Then in the margins she wrote "Let me hear from you some".

BC = Battle Creek, and "that Mabel N." is Mabel Norwood.

This is postmarked Battle Creek, Michigan, Feb 18, 1916. 

96 years later, I can feel Annie's pain, sense of betrayal, and a bit of denial, very common emotions for someone in her position. Annie probably thought that she and Hammon Marshall would eventually be married, she'd keep house and raise a family, and it's possible Hammon mislead her.  That's all conjecture on my part though. 

Most likely Hammon had a decent job and was considered a catch.

But as it turns out Hammon Marshall married Mabel Norwood.   Mabel was born in 1886 and died in 1974 - I believe Hammon died some years earlier.  As far as I can tell they only had one child, a daughter, who was born in 1923 and lived until 2007.   I expect there was an estate sale sometime after that point and that is how these series of postcards addressed to Mabel and Hammon (mostly from relatives) eventually ended up our possession.  

This was a little poignant slice of life, a little bit of early 20th century romantic struggles, and Annie went through a very painful but ultimately very common experience.   Most likely she found some one else, kept the house and raised a whole passel of children.

These events were very important in these people's lives - but everybody involved has lived their lives, raised their families, had their careers, did whatever they're going to do and have been dead for quite awhile now.  These postcards and old photos we list & sell on eBay make me realize just how short life is.  And they also make abundantly clear (to me at least) that these were real people with real emotions.  Nothing abstact about them.  There was real pain in the words written on the back of this postcard.

Update:  Sold!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Fortune Teller Postcard, copright 1910 - Real or Repro?

This is a neat early 20th century postcard (I think).  I have to explain the I think part.  

I've seen other examples of this exact card for sale, but they were reproductions.   One card was printed in Hong Kong, another had info on the back indicating it was printed in 1989, and they were both 4 X 6 inches, or continental size.

It's not uncommon for old postcard to be reproduced at a later date - and usually there's no big secret about it.  Repros are usually larger than the original, usually look wildly out of place with modern times, and usually have information on the back (a zip code, area code in a phone number, a URL, a date etc) which tells you it's not an original. Frequently it'll even have the word "reproduction" on the back somewhere.  But in case it doesn't, an early 20th century postcard will not have publisher info with a zip code, and it is very unlikely to have been printed in China, it's not going to be continental size and so on.   Also, it is very unlikely that some one will have multiple copies of a really neat (and possibly rare) early 20th century card for sale.  That's a red flag for me. 

There's nothing wrong with selling a reproduction, as long as the seller is up front about it.  The other sellers who had this card did not hide the fact that they were selling a reproduction of an early 20th century card, so that's cool.  And it  leads me to question the copy of the card I have, especially since I've seen no other instances of this card claiming to be original. 

As far as I can tell, which means I don't have any evidence otherwise, the "Fortune Teller" postcard I have is original.  It is standard size (about 3.5 x 5.5 inches) there is a copyright date of 1910 in the lower left corner, the stamp box and everything else on the reverse looks correct.  Though I suppose I could be fooled, the printing on it does not have the look of the later "chromes".  There is no dates, publishing information or anything esle on the card to indicate it was a reproduction of an earlier postcard.  At least nothing I can tell. 

So, I'm calling it original.  For the most part I only sell original postcards, and I try to be careful about making sure they are originals.  I remember listing a couple of WW II era military aircraft postcards that had web addresses on the back, so they were reproductions, but I made that obvious in the title & listing.  But it is not routine (in other words almost never) for me to list a reproduction postcard.  As a rule, I don't like them, so I won't list them.

Monday, January 23, 2012

C. V. Muttich Art Postcard, early 1900s

This is an early 20th century art postcard of a painting by C. V. Muttich.  It's title is "Girl from Trentschin", which I believe is a city in Slovakia, or perhaps the Czech republic. 

I like art postcards, especially ones of artists I'd never heard of, like Muttich.  I still don't know much about Muttich, except he was Czech, and I've seen his firs name (Casimil) spelled with a "K" as well as a "C".  I suspect "K" is more correct.  He apparently did several of paintings similar to this one.

It's a pretty picture.  The girl is wearing a very elaborate dress & head scarf, very central European, and looks contemporary to the time of the painting (1914, give or take). 

Friday, January 13, 2012

A House on Austin Avenue, Barrington, NJ - early 20th Century Photograph

This stark photo is obviously a picture of a house.  What's interesting about it is that the exact address of the house is written on back, and that's unusual, at least for me.  I can tell that it had at least two fire places (very likely more), probably did not have electricity, telephone, or indoor plumbing.  There are other houses in the area, but none seem to be close by and there are no trees, so I suspect it is a fairly new construction.  It could be that it wasn't complete when this picture was taken, but I don't see any evidence of construction going on. 

I used google earth to try to look a the exact location (give or take), and none of the houses looked anything like this.  Austin Avenue today is still a residential area, with modest houses & large trees all fairly close together.  It seems to also be very close to an interstate highway.   I'm pretty sure the building in this photo no longer exists and has been long forgotten.

We've listed several pictures on eBay related to Oliver Phillips & his wife's family (the Hackners) and the house on Austin Avenue in Barrington was referenced several times.  And it was referenced in such away that could lead a person to believe that it was not the family's primary address, but I don't know for sure.

Update:  Sold!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Photograph of a Man with a very large Dog

This is an antique photo of a man with a very large dog, I think a Great Dane.    It was photographed by Renshaw, of 2718 Girard Ave in Philadelphia.  Writing on the back indicates the man is named Louis Haeckner, and that he was born in Germany.

We've listed a lot of photos of the Hackner's (sometimes spelled Haeckner) recently.  Margaret Hackner, who I suppose was a daughter, married Oliver Phillips, and we have a lot of photos of that side of the family.

This is an early 20th century Gelatin Silver photograph, and there is heavy silvering on the photo, so heavy that if you tilt it slightly one way or another, the silvering is all you can see.  Tilt it slightly toward you and you see a sharp photograph.   I don't know the exact date of the photo, but it is probably 100 years old or close to it.

It is an unusual studio photo - a man with a huge dog in his lap - and the type that many people find interesting.   At least I do. 

Update:  Sold!
Another Update - the dog may be a Presa Canario, not sure.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Little Girl Holding a Parasol

This is an 1880-90s era cabinet photo of a little girl holding a parasol, perhaps an umbrella.  I looked to see what the difference was & I gather that all parasols are umbrellas, but not all umbrellas are parasols.  A parasol, as its name implies, was used to shade a person from the sun.  It was not water proof.  Although I don't know for sure what she is holding, I think it is a parasol.

This is a studio photo, made to look like an outdoor setting.  It could be a beach setting, but there's something that looks like a big tree behind her, so I don't know.  And I love her expression.

I like this photo because of the girl's expression & the props in it.  The photographers were Wardlaw & Learnen of Rochester, NY.

Update:  Sold!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Chandler Motor Co. Light Weight Six - Early 20th Century Postcad

This is an antique postcard advertising an automobile made by Chandler Motor Company.  It is advertising a Light Weight Six for $1,295.00 - the Six referring to the number of cylinders. 

Chandler Motor Co. was in business from 1913 - 1929, and were considered a mid-priced & mid-level automobile, luxury wise. They were purchased by a competitor in 1929, and the brand was discontinued.

This postcard is postmarked, and though the date is hard to read, I believe it is 1915.   The postcard has the look and feel of an early 20th century card, that is pre-1918.  There is a cancelled 1 cent stamp on it, and postage rates were 2 cents from 1917-1919, and again from 1925-1928.  So I'm fairly confident the cancellation date is 1915.

This looks like a touring car, and even though it's "only" a light weigh six, it appears to have enough power to chase a bear up a steep hill.  And even though it's "only" a medium level automobile (performance & luxury wise), it is still elegant enough for a chauffeur to drive around a lady with a large hat.

It's a nifty bit of automotive and advertising history.

Update:  Sold!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Comic Postcard - The Whole Dam Family at the Beach

This is a comic postcard that was part of early 20th century popular culture.  It is a representation of the "Dam" family, from the patriarch (I.B. Dam) to the Dam dog, who is planting a big sloppy lick on the Dam baby.  There were posters, postcards, toys, music and two silent movies (The Whole Dam Family, The Dam Dog) based on this family with an unfortunate last name.

This particular card is hilarious - I laugh every time I look at it. I've even looked at it with a magnifying glass to make sure I caught all the nuances. 

Anyway, it's the whole Dam family at the beach.

Update: Sold!