Sunday, October 20, 2013

Been posting photos on a facebook page

Hello to all.  I'm aware I haven't been posting much on this blog recently.  I've been posting photos (and postcards) on a facebook page, some with more comments and info than others.  I'll probably be posting on the fb page much more in the future.   Here is the link.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Almira Richardson, 1860s, photo by S. Anderson, New Orleans, Louisiana

This is a CDV photo of a little girl with the name Almira M. Richardson written on back.  It was taken by S. Anderson of New Orleans.  It is about 2 1/4 by 4 inches, has square corners,  the mount is very thin and it has thin borders, all of which date it to the 1860s.

What makes this interesting to me is that there is an orange two cent  internal revenue tax stamp on back. This were issued by the federal government and were required to be placed on back of CDVs (among other things, I assume) from August 1, 1864 to August 1 1866.

Of course the early to mid 1860s was a time of civil war in the United States, and Louisiana was one of the confederate states.  My assumption is that this tax stamp dates it from sometime between April 1865 (the official end of the civil war) and August 1866.  New Orleans was occupied during part of the civil war period, so it's possible the stamp could have been placed on earlier.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Cabinet Photo of a Man with a very large Mustache - Minneapolis, Minnesota

I have no idea who this person is, but I'm pretty sure he's proud of his mustache.  He's very clean cut, very well dressed, but has this wild mustache.  It makes a visual statement, and is a mildly extreme take on late 19th century men's fashion.

The photographer's name is Burdick, and he was located at 301 Washington Avenue South, in Minneapolis. It's pretty close to downtown, and today the area seems to be parking garages and big buildings.  I spent a couple of years in Minneapolis, and part of Washington Avenue was known for bars and live music, but I don't remember the addresses.

I wish I could say more about this photo, but really it's just guy with a huge mustache.

Update: Sold!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

RPPC Helen Campbell, Girl Evangelist, 1927

This is a Real Photo Postcard (RPPC) of Helen Campbell.   The inscription on front says "Yours in His service" the Evangelist Helen Campbell.  Someone has written a date on back, "October 27, 1927".   It has an AZO stampbox on back with 4 shaded in squares in each corner, which lends a little credence to the date written on back.  This was a formal portrait, there were probably many, many copies made, and some were made into postcards.

This is a girl who definitely had her 15 minutes of fame.  There is a site called, and Helen Campbell is listed there along with 100s of others.  Apparently child evangelism was a big thing in the 1920s.  There is a short article about her - she was born in 1915, started preaching at age 9, was associated with the Pentecostal movement, was active in the San Francisco & Oakland, CA areas at least, and apparently drew large crowds.  I also found a couple of news articles and advertisements about her.  When this picture was made she would have been 12 years old, and more or less at the height of her fame.

I have no idea what happened to her.  I had never heard of her before I came across this postcard, and I don't know what she did in later life.

You're only a child prodigy when you're a child.  At a certain age, you're not much different than anyone else who may be gifted in whatever area you're a prodigy in.  I have a feeling this is what happened to Helen Campbell - at some point she was no longer a child evangelist, she was just an evangelist.

I could find nothing about her personal life, other than she traveled with her grandmother.  It is even possible that she's still living, she'd be in her late 90s now.

Update: Sold!

Saturday, August 10, 2013

A Very Stylishly Dressed Woman, Nashville, Tenneessee

This is a late 19th (or very early 20th century) photo of a quite fashionably dressed woman. She's wearing a straw hat (I think it's straw anyway), a white blouse with a bow tie, a checkered vest, a jacket and holding gloves.  One can infer without too much effort that's she's also wearing a corset, which was pretty standard for the time.

She is very stylishly dressed.

The photo was made by Thuss of Nashville, Tennessee, and there is no other identifying information.    This was a professionally made studio photo, not a candid snapshot, and she was posed with her side to the camera.   It's not an unheard of pose, but it is unusual & adds a bit of interest.

Update:  Sold!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

The Clover Leaf Picnic Club, 1895, Trenton, Missouri

So, 118 years ago members of a group call The Clover Leaf Picnic Club got together and had their picture taken, and an instant in time was captured and still survives. A bit faded maybe, but in the world of antique photos, it's alive and kicking.

I think there are 20 men and women in this photo, all look to be in their 20s or 30s. Everybody is pretty well dressed, much, much, MUCH more formally than people would be today.  Especially for a picnic.

I've looked at each individual, with a magnifying glass no less, just to see fashion details and expressions.  One person, the woman in the light blouse in the front row, is not looking at the camera.  I wonder what she was looking at and was thinking about.

This a large photo, almost 8 X 10.  The photographer was Smith of Trenton, Missouri.  My attempts to find anything about The Clover Leaf Picnic Club remain aggravatingly illusive.  Maybe I could contact the Trenton, Mo. Chamber of Commerce, see if they know anything.  I suppose it was a social club, a means for young men & women to put themselves in close proximity to each other during the late Victorian era.

Update: Sold!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Antique postcard - a PSA for women born in August.

I decided that the first day of August was as an appropriate time as any to post this.  This is about the only time ever that I've been anything close to topical in any way, shape or form.

This is an early 20th century postcard & I suppose it qualifies as a comic.  I sure it was intended to be humorous.  And it does, in its way, illustrate one of the larger conundrums of life.  You make a life choice & chances are down the road you'll wonder what things would be like had you chosen differently.  Frequently people think a different choice may have been better, but there's just as much chance it would be worse.  You don't know.  That's life.

A deceptively heavy comic postcard.

I'm sure there's one of these for every month of the year, but this is the only one I have.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Comic Linen Postcard - Woman Needs a Pan Adjustment.

Some things just make you ask questions, and this one makes me ask "Why is this funny?".  I look at and I can find no reason for me to laugh or chuckle, but I do.  Every time.  If anyone knows why this is funny, please let me know.  I think it is, I just don't know why.

This is a comic linen postcard, probably from the 1940s, published by Tichnor Bros., Boston, Mass.

That's about all I can think to say about this postcard.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

U.S. Navy Sailor, Early 20th Century, Ralph V. Clark

This is a photo of Ralph V. Clark, a sailor in the US Navy.  It was taken by R. Yamamoto of Yokohama, Japan.

I cannot date this precisely, but I believe it to be early 20th century, pre-WWI.    It is interesting that the photographer information is displayed using the Latin alphabet - I imagine it was a busy port and they learned to cater to their visitors.

Someone has written on the back - "Ralph V. Clark, brother of Frank B. Clark".  It's a nice example of what a Naval uniform looked like at the time.

I also have a photo of his brother Frank, same era, but it's not as good and there is no photographer information.


Sunday, July 14, 2013

Cabinet Photo Wedding Couple From Vienna Austria

This is a cabinet photo of a bride and groom from Vienna, Austria.  Austria was the "Austro" part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire at the time, Hapsburgs and all.  It must have been an interesting Empire, but it didn't survive WWI.

There are a couple of interesting things about this photo:  the subjects, and the clothing styles of the bride.

The man seems to be extremely tall, and the woman is normal height at best.  He is taller than she is, even though he his seated and she is standing.  It's true, she's leaning in a little, but if he were standing, she probably would not even reach his shoulder, height wise.

The woman's dress is inconveniently short for a cabinet photo.  I always thought that these kinds of photos were exclusively from the late 19th or very early 20th century.  To me her wedding dress looks straight out of the 1920s, and if that is true it is very inconvenient indeed.  My knowledge would be somewhat shaken.

Of course this photo is from Europe so maybe they made these  types of photos later there, maybe clothing styles changed there before they did in the USA.  I know from photos that styles were somewhat different - for example, a lot of central European men of the late 19th & early 20th century had "Kaiser Bill" (handlebar) mustaches - most American men didn't.   But it's hard to believe a woman in the 1890s would wear a dress that short.

I don't like it when things in photos don't quite match things I thought I knew.   It's a nice photo tho.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Early 20th Century Photo of Mansion with American Flag - Ambassador's Residence?

This is an early 20th century photo of a mansion, with an American flag flying above it.  In the lower right corner there is a dog (looks suspiciously like a collie, but who knows), and there are trees and shrubbery around it.

Someone contacted me awhile back and had some good info about this building, but I have unfortunately lost  it.  The gist of it was that this was the old residence of the American Ambassador to Great Britain.

I can't date this precisely, but based on the mounting and type of photo (I believe it is gelatin silver), this is probably WWI era, give or take.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Pearline Soap Powder 19th Century Die Cut Trade Card

This is a little different for this blog, because it is not actually a photograph.  It is a late 19th century embossed lithographic die-cut showing a very young girl in a fancy dress and bonnet.  The back of it is completely covered by verbiage, touting the benefits and modernity of Pearline Soap Powder.  

Trade cards were little bits of advertising, frequently no larger than a present day business card, given away free, or perhaps with a purchase of a certain product.  Some came in series or sets and the people who inhabited the 19th century apparently loved to collect them.  There are still tons of them about, most are not very expensive, and some (like, in my opinion, this one) are quite nice.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Willard D. Tripp, Former Union Officer in 29th Massachusetts Infantry, circa 1870s.

At first glance this is just a run of the mill Cabinet Photo - a man with mutton chops & a mustache, photographed by Woodward & Son in Taunton, Mass.  And not only that, it's pretty faded.

On back, however, written in barely legible hard to read pencil and competing with other random scribbles for your attention is the following: "Capt. Willard D. Tripp", and "State House".  I have no idea who may have written this,  and I hope someone wasn't using the back of this photo just to jot down a note.  My assumption is that the person in the photo is Willard Tripp, and he just became a little less anonymous.   I suppose he'd be surprised that 82 years after his death, anybody noticed.

Willard Dean Tripp was born in 1838 & died in 1931, (92 years old) and is buried in Woburn, Massachusetts. (Find-a-grave has him buried in Mayflower Cemetery, Taunton, Mass). He served most of the civil war years as an  officer in the 29th Massachusetts Infantry.   A regimental history (from 1908) has his rank as Lt. Colonel, other documents refer to his rank as Captain.   The 29th Mass was involved in several campaigns during the civil war, and apparently Captain Tripp rose in rank.

I can't find too much about his life after the war, but he was involved in state government.   He was employed by the Massachusetts State Board of Lunacy and Charity in the late 1890s, then in the early 1900s, by the Division of Adult Poor, both happy sounding agencies.  I'm not sure what positions he held, or what his responsibilities were.

This photo is probably from the 1870s-1880s.

Update:  Sold!

Saturday, June 15, 2013


I've been getting a ton o' spam lately.  I suppose I should be flattered, except I suspect it's just some guy sitting in an internet cafe somewhere in Asia.  Or maybe Paris, tucked away in a garret corner in an apartment building on Rue Simon-Bolivar, gulping down cups of strong black coffee and chain smoking unfiltered Turkish cigarettes, I don't know.  This person really, really wants me to look at their website.  And of course I am extremely hesitant to do that.  You can understand.

I hate to do this, but I have to moderate all the comments, at least for a while.  I had been moderating them on posts over 2 weeks old, but now I have to do it for all of them.

I'll check comments often, so if anybody has anything to say, please do.  As long as you're not trying to sell me something, I'll post it & respond.

CDV of a Woman from Aurora, Illinois 1880s-1890s

This is a CDV of a woman, taken by D. C. Pratt of Aurora, Illinois, probably in the late 1880s or 1890s.  There is no other identifying information on the CDV.

This woman looks like she may be Native American (Indian), or perhaps Asian, or maybe neither, it is hard to tell - at least for me.  It is sort of Sepia toned, no special background or props, and the clothing she's wearing looks pretty mainstream for the period.

She has a bit an exotic look to her, and that is enough to make this an interesting photo.  At least to me.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Cabinet Photo of a young Woman wearing a tall Hat & a tight Jacket

Usually I post photos or postcards here that are active listings for sale on my eBay site.  I post them because I think they're interesting for some reason, I think it gets them a lot more looks and it may help with sales.  I'm not a collector (for the moment), I buy these photos at various venues and I try to sell them for a profit.  I'm not emotionally attached to any of them, though I do like them.  I must enjoy buying and selling these photos, because, believe me,  there has to be a way to make more money than this.  (Like have a real job maybe?  Well I had those for a long time, this is much more fun.)  Anyway, this photo has already sold - it sold today and is off to the great state of Arkansas, which makes it an unusual post for me.  I have nothing to gain by posting this (sales wise anyway), I just like it.

This is a detail of a cabinet photo.  Its a young woman wearing a tallish, fairly elaborately decorated hat, a tight knitted jacket/sweater with a high collar, lots of buttons and a sprig of flowers.  She's also wearing a ring of some sort - looks more like a class ring than a wedding ring.  It is from the 1870s-1880s era, most likely.  There is no photographer information or writing, so no clues as to who this was or where it was made.

The photos I post here usually don't do the real item justice, and that is very true in this case.  The actual cabinet photo shows the details of the jacket much more sharply.


Tuesday, June 4, 2013

1850s-1860s era Ambrotype

This is an ambrotype photograph of some lost to history fellow.  I can find no easy (or rather succinct) way to describe the "ambrotype" process, so if you want detailed information on how these photos were created, you can find it online, easily.

Essentially, an ambrotype is a photograph developed directly on glass.  If I understand correctly it is sort of a reverse negative, so it looks like a positive, if that makes sense.  Lots of chemicals & precise timing were involved, and I have no idea what kind of camera was used to create this kind of photo.

Ambrotypes were popular in the 1850s & 1860s, and there is a decent chance that this particular one pre-dates the civil war, making it one of the oldest photographs we have.

It is not in particularly good shape - there are a lot of surface scratches. And its just a formal portrait of a person's head, so its a pretty typical subject.  But it is the only ambrotype I have, and it IS a photograph on glass made over 150 years ago, so that's pretty cool.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Photograph of a Wedding Party, circa 1920s-30s, probably German

This is a photograph of a wedding party, taken outside.  I counted 39 people in all.  It's a large photo, just over 7 inches tall and almost 10 inches wide.

There is no photographer's information or any other writing to give a clue as to where this is or who these people are. So we examined it closely and drew our own conclusions.

First there is its physical appearance - thin photographic paper mounted on thin cardboard.  We saw no silvering on the photo, but that's not hard and fast proof that it's an albumen as opposed to a gelatin silver print.  The overall physical look is of a photo produced in the earlier part of the 20th century - certainly before WWII.

Second, and most obvious, are the clothing & hair styles, especially for the younger women. From the bridal gown to the children sitting in front, it screams 1920s-30s fashions.

And third - the only clue we could find as to where this might be - there is a young man in a military uniform  in the row behind the bride, about to the left. We believe that is a German uniform.

So, this photo was probably taken somewhere in Germany, in the late 1920s to early 1930s.

If we're right, those people's lives were in for a massive amount of upheaval in the relatively near future.   By now, everyone in this photo is dead. They lived their life, dealt with whatever their times threw at them, accomplished whatever it was they accomplished, and by the 1980s or 1990s, most, if not all of them had died.  It is possible some of the children are still living, but they'd be very old - in their 90s, most likely.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Cabinet Photo of a Teen-aged Girl with long Hair from Easton Pennsylvania

There is nothing unusual about this Cabinet Photo, I just like it.  It's a formal studio portrait of a teen aged girl,  standing with her hand on one of those fancy couches whose name I can never remember.  She has quite long hair draped over her right shoulder.  Her dress is not even quite ankle length, which, along with the way she's wearing her hair, was probably an indicator of youth and an unmarried status at the time (probably 1870s).

The photographer was McCabe, located at 429 Northampton Street, Easton, PA.  I was not able to find out any specific information about the photographer, and there is nothing to indicate who the subject of the photo was.  It's just a nice picture.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

1898 Photo of a Man Tossed into the Air

This is an interesting photo of a person participating in a blanket toss, dated 1898.  The photo shows a couple of buildings, a crowd of people, and a man in mid-air, holding on to his hat.  A couple of people on the right side of the photo may be wearing military uniforms.

It is an albumen print with a cardboard mounting, and it is a bid faded. One thing that interests me is that it's 1898, and the photographer has managed to stop motion - the man in the air is obviously moving, and the shutter speed was apparently fast enough to capture it without any kind of blur.

The following information is written on back:  "Some of the sporting camp life.  Tossing in the blanket.  Taken by Corporal Harmon.  May 10, 1898."  It was signed by H. B. Roderick.  The corporal's name is hard to read - It could be Harman, or maybe even Herman.

Update:  Sold!

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Cabinet Photo of Five Men under a Portrait of Galileo

It's been awhile since I posted anything in this blog and I've been told by my better half it would be good if I did.  I don't disagree, so I'll try to do better, starting now.

This is a late 19th century cabinet photo - maybe as early as the 1870s, maybe not - of 5 men standing and sitting under a portrait.  One holds a long cylinder like object.

We have determined that the portrait is of Galileo, which made me think that the object one person is holding may be part of a telescope.  However, someone else thinks it is a Narwhale (or narwhal) tusk, and it may very well be, because it really doesn't look like part of a telescope.

These people may be academics of some sort, they just have that look.  There is no photographer information, and no writing to give us a clue as to who they were.

I rate this somewhere between unusual and really unusual for a cabinet photo.  Most are very formal portraits, this one is not.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Civil war era CDV of a man wearing a military coat

This is a CDV portrait of a young man wearing what looks like a military uniform coat.  If it is indeed a military uniform, that makes it an unusual acquisition, at least for us.    There is photographer information on the back:  E. M. Smith, 268 Main St., Buffalo.   Also, someone wrote the following in pencil:  "Mrs. Goodrich son".   They wrote it exactly like that.

We believe we have a portrait of someone who was either serving (or had served) in the US Army during the time of civil war.

What we know:  The CDV has the right look to be from the 1860s.  The photographer, E. M. Smith, was at the address listed on the back in Buffalo, NY from 1861-1864, which corresponds to the era of the CDV and the dates of the civil war.   The man is definitely of military age, and the coat has a military look to it.

What is conjecture:  We're assuming his last name is Goodrich, but it may not be.  If his father had died and his mother remarried, for example, he probably would not have the same name as his mother.  I'm assuming the coat is military, but I'm no expert. If it is, he was most likely a private, because there is no rank insignia.  NCOs would have patches on the sleeves, officers would have shoulder boards.

So, it is what it is.  Personally, I think this guy was a soldier when this picture was taken.  And I think his last name was probably Goodrich.

Update: Sold!

Friday, February 15, 2013

Grand Army of the Republic Decoration Day Greeting Card

This is an intricate "Patriotic" post card commemorating "Decoration Day" and the Grand Army of the Republic,  which was an organization of veterans of the union Army during the American civil war (or the war between the states, if you're from the south). 
This card has embossing on top of embossing.  The five pointed star has the words "Grand Army of the Republic, 1861-1865".  On back it includes "Decoration Day Series No. 2" as part of the publisher information.
Decoration Day began in the south after the end of the civil war, and referred to the custom of visiting and decorating the graves of soldiers who had died during that conflict.  This developed into a national observance, typically on May 30th, and evolved into the present Memorial Day holiday.
I do not know the exact date of this card, but I'm pretty sure it would be in the 1908 to 1912 era.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

CDV - Man With A Rifle or Perhaps a Shotgun

This is an interesting CDV photo of a man with a rifle or a shotgun.  This is probably from the 1870s-1880s, and it appears to have been taken outside, in a non-studio setting, which was unusual for portraits.
I can't tell what kind of weapon he has - I really, really want to say its a shotgun, but I just don't know. He's holding something in his right hand which could be shotgun shells, but it could be something else.   He's dressed in what may be a rather snazzy hunting clothes, with plaid pants bloused into shiny boots, and a derby type hat.
The has been trimmed, so it is a little smaller than the standard CDV size.  There is no photographer information or other writing, so there is no indication of who this or where this picture was made.  I'm pretty confident of the time frame though.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

An Ellen Clapsaddle Thanksgiving Turkey Postcard

OK, I'm a couple of months and at least 3 holidays late on this one.  I'll try to be more timely.  Or maybe not.

This an "artist signed" postcard by Ellen Capsaddle.  Her signature is near the bottom, next to the "A" in A Happy Thanksgiving.  Obviously her signature was reproduced with the postcard, it is not an original autograph.

Ellen Clapsaddle was born in Herkimer County, New York, and lived from 1865 to 1934.  She became very well known for her illustrations on greeting cards and postcards in the late 19th & early 20th centuries.

This particular card is from the early 20th century.  It commemorates Thanksgiving with a very nicely detailed (and embossed) drawing of a turkey. 

On the front of the card is the following information: printing only copyright by S. Garre, 1909.  On the back is the information that is was printed in Germany.  Many early 20th century postcards were printed in Europe, most in Germany.

The card has been mailed - it was postmarked in Little Rock, Arkansas, Nov 23 - unfortunately because of the embossing, I cannot read the date. 

Ellen Clapsaddle cards are generally pretty nice - even the very common ones.  She is very collectible, and prices for her cards range from a little to a lot more than I'd like to pay.

Monday, January 14, 2013

CDV Photo of a Man in Cowboy-ish Garb, Waukegan, Illinois, circa 1870s.

I suppose I can file this in the CDVs I don't see every day category.  This fellow is decked out in his hat, long coat, a bolo tie (sort of), with his pant legs stuffed into his boots - pretty much the way they were worn back then.  And the boots appear to have what we would call today a "western heel", which was pretty good for stirrups and such.
It is super neat!  And that is about the best thing I can say about it.
There is a name on back, written in some kind of green substance (crayon?  don't think it's ink), and it is almost impossible for me to be sure.  We think it is A. C. Dier.  But it could be Duir, or any of a number of other names.  We're just guessing.
The photographer is R. W. Hook of Waukegan, Illinois.   

I really like this one, and I'm tempted to keep it, but for now it's for sale in the shop -  (search for "cdv photo man cowboy hat" and you should find it. 

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Meet Ernest L. Gay - of the Boston Gays, 1893

This is a cabinet photo of a young man, taken by Davis & Howard of Boston, Mass.  "Ernest L. Gay, BLS '93" is handwritten on back, which is what makes this interesting.  At least to me.

If we have it correct, this person was from a very wealthy family, he was born in 1874 and died of an apparent heart attack in 1916, at the relatively young age of 42.  We believe BLS '93 stands for Boston Latin School, 1893.  I supposed someone could check that out if they wish.  The date seems correct, because that was the year Ernest Gay entered Harvard.  Also it fits well with the style of cabinet photo.

And on top of everything else, this is an odd hair style for men of that period.   So perhaps I'm the only one, but I like this cabinet photo.