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.