An Inviting Porch

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What a beautiful spot! An long, inviting, shady front porch, with two rockers, one large and a smaller children’s size, a lovely wooden bench (have you seen one with the slats this far apart?), pots of flowers, is that a small bunch on the wall next to the door on the far left? How about that fence? There’s nothing like the old metal ones from the early 1900s, and why do we rarely see them anymore? They’re the perfect type for fencing in a small garden (if you have say, a medium-sized to small dog that likes to chew rose bushes or eat all your tomatoes – lets the sun in but keeps the marauder out.) But of course, they’re just as nice framing a beautiful old home like this one. I’m not sure of the style. Maybe Folk Victorian. Note the uncommon placement of the chimney in the center above the roof line. But what is most unusual is the fact that there are two single, front doors, next to each other. What was the story behind the design? Did the family have a lot of kids constantly running in and out and the parents made an “in” and an “out” door?

Divided back, unused, Real Photo Postcard. AZO stamp box, all four triangles up. Circa 0907 – 1918.

Price:  $5.00

Little Girl On Porch Steps

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Awwww! Well, it looks like this little girl is having kind of “a moment.” She was unhappy about something when the photo was taken. I love the dress (was it handmade?) with the contrasting sash-like piece and the matching cuffs and waistband. She wears a hair bow also, and dark leggings. No identifying information on the back; probably the name “Bell” was the dealer who was selling this card at some point. There are no clues to the location, but we might think Midwestern farm country due to the flat expanse that we have a glimpse of beyond the well-built looking porch (note the rough-hewn stone steps and support) and house. There’s a nice little school-house type desk and seat in front of the window, and if you look closer you’ll notice how the iron scroll work of the desk is similar to the shadow showing for the porch bracket, and how the shadow just happens to be placed (as if by design) “attached” to the window frame.

Divided back, unused, Real Photo Postcard. AZO stamp box with all four triangles pointing up, circa 1907 – 1918.

Price:  $5.00

Aunt Ida’s Son

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In 1909, when this postcard was sent, little boys were still wearing dresses, so this photo would not seem at all unusual back then. Dresses for infants and toddlers were gender neutral and white clothing, and of course diapers, were able to be bleached. The sweater he wears perhaps made the dress stick out more than it normally did. And we’re just going by what the back says for i.d. – someone later on had written in pen,  “Aunt Ida’s Son.”  But it’s a beautiful photo of a happy baby on the porch steps. His name is unknown, as confirmation was not found on the addressee, nor for Ida’s last name. The postcard was mailed from Stockbridge, Wisconsin, which is about sixty miles south of Oconto Falls, and the sender writes:

“Talk about being surprised. I certainly was, accept congratulations. It’s a wonder you wouldn’t say something. Will be up home some time next week. How do you like this card. Well so long love to all. Ida.”

Addressed to:

“Mr. & Mrs. L. Hanly[?] Oconto Falls, Oconto Co., Wis.”

Divided back, used, Real Photo Postcard. Postmarked 1909 (exact date unreadable) from Stockbridge, Wisconsin.

Price:  $5.00

A Little Package

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“A little package containing a Baby Girl was born to Mr. & Mrs. J. Pomp of Overisel, Mich. at 2 a.m. Name:  June Pomp. Weight:  8 1/2 lbs. Date:  Dec. 6, 1915.”

Well, the fact that Michigan is the birth state for June worked out perfectly for this card, since the M there was set up for a.m or p.m. Perfect, though. And a cute announcement for sure, showing stork and package in pink with baby, and charming village in the distance. The postcard was sent to:

“Mrs. Chaffee, Sr., Herreid, S. Dakota.”

Michigan marriage records show that June’s parents were Julius Pomp and Gertrude Shoop (but possibly Schaap per Ancestry family trees.) June married Walter Mack on August 31, 1940.

Divided back, embossed, used postcard. Postmarked December 6, 1915 from Holland, Michigan. Publisher:  SAS. Number or series:  511.

Price:  $12.00

Source:  Michigan, Marriage Records, 1867–1952. Michigan Department of Community Health, Division for Vital Records and Health Statistics.  ( Michigan, Marriage Records, 1867-1952.)

The St. Paul Souvenir Company

It’s always nice to find the names behind the postcard publishers, especially as there were so many publishers, and many companies didn’t last that long…

So, continuing from the prior post, the St. Paul Souvenir Company, of St. Paul, Minnesota was run by Conrad Hamm. “C. Hamm” was found listed under his company name in a 1909 publication listing new members in the month of November for the National Association of Credit Men. The lead-in paragraph states:

“The list of new members which follows points to a forward movement for organized credit work throughout the country. It will be noted that some of the associations, notably Pittsburgh and New York, are this month lifting their membership record to new high figures. And the best feature of it all is that past success does not encourage membership committees to adopt a more comfortable pace. The feeling is rife that if the association is good for some, it is good for all, and for the cause of progress every available house must be invited and, if necessary, urged to come into the association.”

To digress a little, what is organized credit work? It has to do with business credit, financial management, industry credit problems, and solutions sometimes in the form of laws being enacted. The National Association of Credit Men, now the National Association of Credit Management or NACM, was founded in 1896 in Toledo, OH and was a leader, “…in the framing and passage of the National Bankruptcy Act”, and started the drive to get the Fictitious Name Laws enacted. (Just to quickly name two areas of major influence.)

But back to our subject:  C. Hamm, assumed to be the Conrad Hamm found in the 1910 Federal Census for Saint Paul, was thus confirmed in the 1911 Saint Paul city directory under the heading “Post Cards”, business address 106 Gilfillan block.

Conrad Hamm was born in Wisconsin, in July of 1878. He married Minnie A. Hensch or Hinsch in Portland, Oregon in 1901. By the 1910, they had four boys, Homer, Gilbert, Conrad and Lewis, ages 8 years to 2 months, with Homer being the oldest. Conrad’s occupation on this 1910 record was listed as “Jobber, Souvenirs, Wholesale” and the family was living at 801 Aurora Ave., St. Paul, MN.

Conrad appears to have gotten his start in the postcard business working for the paper wholesaler and postcard publisher of Wright, Barrett & Stillwell, of St. Paul. WB&S produced hand-colored regional view cards for a number of small publishers and operated from about 1887 – 1921 (per From the St. Paul city directories we see that he worked for them as a color-er (re the coloring done by hand for cards) then later a traveling salesman. Around 1907 Conrad Hamm started (we presume, though it’s possible he bought it from someone else) the St. Paul Souvenir Company, which ran through about 1911.

Directory listings from 1893 – 1914

1893 – Clerk for Brownink, King & Co., boards at 613 Sherburne Ave.

1897 – “Colr” most likely color-er, for Wright, Barrett & Stillwell, and boarding at 613 Sherburne Ave.

1901 – Moved to Portland, Oregon, per the St. Paul, MN directory. (Possibly for his job as traveling salesman with WB&S.)

1903 – Traveling agent for Wright, Barrett & Stillwell, residence 772 Inglehart.

1906 –  Traveling agent for Wright, Barrett & Stillwell, residence 801 Aurora Ave.

1908 –  Notions-Wholesale. Business address 325 Gilfillan block.

1909 –  Postal Cards. Business address 213 Gilfillan block.

1911 –  Post Cards. Business address 106 Gilfillan block.

1914 –  Clerk, residence 801 Aurora Ave, St. Paul, MN.

Sources:  Bulletin of the National Association of Credit Men, 1909. Publisher: Chas. E. Meek, Secretary-Treasurer. 41 Park Row, New York, NY. Vol. 9, p. 919.

Year: 1900; Census Place: St Paul Ward 8, Ramsey, Minnesota; Roll: 785; Page: 6A; Enumeration District: 0129; FHL microfilm: 1240785

Year: 1910; Census Place: St Paul Ward 12, Ramsey, Minnesota; Roll: T624_720; Page: 10B; Enumeration District: 0156; FHL microfilm: 1374733. ( Web: Multnomah County, Oregon Marriage Index, 1855-1911 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2015.

R. L. Polk & Co.’s St. Paul City Directory, 1893. St. Paul, MN. p. 645. ( U.S. City Directories, 1822-1989.)

R. L. Polk & Co.’s St. Paul City Directory, 1897. St. Paul, MN. p. 635. ( U.S. City Directories, 1822-1989.)

R. L. Polk & Co.’s St. Paul City Directory, 1901. St. Paul, MN. p. 684. ( U.S. City Directories, 1822-1989.)

R. L. Polk & Co.’s St. Paul City Directory, 1903. St. Paul, MN. p. 738. ( U.S. City Directories, 1822-1989.)

R. L. Polk & Co.’s The Dual City Blue Book, 1906. St. Paul, MN. p. 803. ( U.S. City Directories, 1822-1989.)

R. L. Polk & Co.’s St. Paul City Directory, 1908. St. Paul, MN. p. 1898. ( U.S. City Directories, 1822-1989.)

R. L. Polk & Co.’s St. Paul City Directory, 1909. St. Paul, MN. p. 2037. ( U.S. City Directories, 1822-1989.)

R. L. Polk & Co.’s St. Paul City Directory, 1911. St. Paul, MN. p. 2007. ( U.S. City Directories, 1822-1989.)

R. L. Polk & Co.’s St. Paul City Directory, 1914. Vol. L. St. Paul, MN. p. 755. ( U.S. City Directories, 1822-1989.)

A Message From Belgrade, MN

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This postcard, showing roses and forget-me-nots, and a miniature attached envelope, was sent to  “Miss Petra Inisberg, 1236 Ross St., St. Paul, Minn.” 

Petra was not found in online records, and various spellings of the last name were tried, as well as a general Ancestry searches under just the address, just the first name, just the last name. (Pretty unusual to not find something.) And though the street name looks like Roso, the only street name that verifies with this number, in St. Paul, is Ross. The postmarked date is unreadable, and at first glance we notice that there are two one-cent stamps, which might lead one to think this was sent around 1917 – 1918, when there was a higher rate in effect due to WWI. However, it’s more likely that the sender just added an additional stamp as a precaution to make sure it got there, since there was an additional bit of weight to the card, in the form of the little envelope attached. Was there actually a message in there? I like to think so, and that would support the extra weight-additional stamp theory. Similar cards from the same publisher have been found for sale online dated around 1908. The St. Paul Souvenir Co. appears to have operated from about 1907 to 1910 or ’11. A Google book search comes up with a C. Hamm for the possible proprietor. We’ll explore more on the publisher in the next post.

Divided back, embossed, used postcard. Postmark date unreadable. Postmarked from Belgrade, Minnesota. Publisher:  St. Paul Souvenir Co., St. Paul, MN. Circa 1908.

Price:  $5.00

Anton Larson, Minneapolis Photographer

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Here’s the reverse side of the Cabinet Card in the prior post, and one of the many examples of the beautiful designs used by photographers for this time-period. Besides the ornate border, the center shows the photo artist’s initials, an “A” with a curving “L” entwined around it; a camera and artist’s easel in front of a shining sun; the motto underneath,  “I have engaged the sun to shine for me.”  This phrase was not exclusive to Larson, as it was found on the back of a Cabinet Card for the photographer Anderson in Richmond, Virginia (showing currently on Flicker.) The photographer’s name and address on our cabinet card shows as  “A. Larson. 313 Washington Ave. So., Minneapolis, Minn.”

Thankfully, A. Larson was identified in the Minneapolis city directories at this address under his full name of Anton Larson. And the 1900 Federal Census for the same city shows the most detailed information about the photographer and his family:

Anton Larson, was born August 1849 in Norway of Norwegian-born parents, occupation Photographer on the 1900 census. His wife Caroline, was born in Wisconsin, June 1853, the couple having been married in about 1882. They have two daughters, Amanda[?] W., born in Minnesota, March 1884, and Agnes, born in Minnesota, August 1888. Living with them at the time is boarder, Anna Olson and a domestic servant, Hannah Nydahl, both born in Norway. The address for the family is 2446 Chicago Ave, a home that the Larsons are paying mortgage on. The 1900 also gives Anton’s year of immigration as 1873, and shows he is a naturalized U. S. citizen.

A marriage record dated June 3, 1882, for the county of Hennepin appears to fit for the couple, showing the bride as Carrie Knuteson.

City directory listings from 1881 – 1905:

1881 – ’82:  Address 228 Washington Ave. S., boarding at the same address is J. H. Olson.

1882 – ’83:  313 Washington Ave. S., residence the same.

1884 – 1885:  307 & 313 Washington Ave. S., residence 1429 S. 7th.

1887 – 1905:  313 Washington Ave. S., residence 2446 Chicago Ave, with the exception of 1895 studio address given as 301 Washington Ave. S.

Sources:  Year: 1900; Census Place: Minneapolis Ward 8, Hennepin, Minnesota; Roll: 768; Page: 5A; Enumeration District: 0082; FHL microfilm: 1240768.

“Minnesota, County Marriages, 1860-1949”, database with images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 29 September 2015), Anton Larson and Carrie Knuteson, 1882.

C. Wright Davison’s Minneapolis City Directories. Years encompassing 1881 – 1905. ( U.S. City Directories, 1822-1989).

Minneapolis Beauty By A. Larson

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This Cabinet Card shows a photo of a very poised and lovely young woman, probably a resident of Minneapolis, though we couldn’t know for sure. What immediately draws our attention is the large round brooch fastened at the collar. This is “an image within an image” kind of thing (love that) and it shows what appears to be a painting on porcelain of a young girl wearing a bonnet. The piece is bordered with a row of, I believe the term is “brilliants” or what we might call rhinestones, today. It would have been a favorite piece of jewelry, no doubt, and deservedly so. A row of interesting-looking metal buttons runs down the front of the woman’s close-fitted jacket or bodice of the dress (if this was a one-piece outfit.) White lace shows from underneath the stand-up collar; the collar’s points being just slightly turned down near the brooch. Her hair is side-parted and swept up with a little height at the back, adding an extra touch of elegance.

The photographer is Anton Larson, whose career will be explored a little more in the following post, but he worked out of the 313 Washington Avenue South address starting around 1884, according to city directories, and through at least 1905.

Cabinet Card. Circa 1884 – 1905. Photographer:  Anton Larson, 313 Washington Ave. S., Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Price:  $15.00     Size:  4 and 3/16 x 6 and 7/16″.

And Down Life’s Stream

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“And down Life’s Stream he begged to steer

The lovely freight to him so dear.”

Addressed to:   “Mrs. B. F. Main, 233 14th St., San Francisco, Cal.”  And the sender wrote:

“Dear Grandma – Hope you arrived safely. My love-sick uncle forgot his vest so we sent it by mail to-day. It’s very warm here. Grandma & Mama’s cousin and Aunt and Minnie[?] were out yesterday. Write and let us know if Bennie got his vest.    H.[?] M.”

This will be a good one for helping track which branch of the Main family the Ethel Main Collection belongs to, since we have a name and relationship in the message. The front of the card is appropriate isn’t it, regarding the sender’s love-sick uncle Bennie. (The actual postcard is even nicer to view, as the gold border, highlights on the young woman’s blouse and belt, and the verse at the bottom come to light when viewed at an angle.)

Divided back, used postcard. Postmarked from Santa Clara, California on September 14, 1909. Publisher:  Julius Bien & Co., New York. “Canoe” Series number:  201 – (3).

Price:  $5.00

Blackpool From The Air

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From an unknown with writing talent, this aerial view of the beach and coastline at Blackpool, Lancashire, England, is described on the back of the card:

“This is the holiday haunt of thousands of workers from the Industrial Midlands – or it was the only holiday place for them until recent years – when they have become so affluent and ‘adventurous’ that holidays on the Continent have somewhat superseded it. Not a place for one who enjoys the beach in its natural state but the ‘Entertainment Mecca’ of resorts.”

That’s the Blackpool Tower dominating the photo, a tourist attraction inspired by the Eiffel Tower, and opened to the public in May of 1894, which was only just over five years after le tour Eiffel opened.

Divided back, Commercial Real Photo Postcard, unused with writing. Publisher:  Saidman Bros., Blackpool, Lancashire, England. “A Real Colour Photograph” Copyrighted by publisher. Printer:  Jarrold & Sons, Ltd. Norwich, England. Number or series:  KBL 163. Circa 1950s – 1960s.

Price:  $6.00

Sources:  The Blackpool Tower. n.d. (web accessed September 26, 2015).

Eiffel Tower. n.d. (web accessed September 26, 2015).