Aqsunqur Mosque (Blue Mosque) Cairo, Egypt, Circa 1910s

Old photo, circa 1910s. Cairo, Egypt.

Price:  $30.00             Size:  2 and 1/2 x 3 and 3/8″

A view from Bab al-Wazir street, Cairo

We’re taking a trip to Egypt. Here’s a photo found loose in a box at an antique store in Nevada. (There’s the photographer’s journey and then there’s the photo’s journey.) But, it’s always exciting to happen across the ones from far-off places, in this case to picture the individual traveling by steamer, along with his or her trunks, exploring someplace exotic, soaking in a different culture (though it probably wasn’t viewed in that terminology back then) and then taking a moment to write in a strong hand, “Cairo -“ upon his or her return. (Also, appearing on the reverse are the initials in pencil, “M.S.D.”)

Predominant in the view, the building with the rounded dome, is the Aqsunqur Mosque or Blue Mosque, along with its minaret, and another in the background. The mosque was built in 1347 on the orders of a prince, Shams ad-Din Aqsunqur, during the reign of the Mamluks. It is one of a number of “blue mosques”, so named because of its walls of blue tile, on the interior. The tiles were not added until a period of renovation in 1652 – 1654.

Rather dark in the image (click twice to enlarge) is a man wearing a Fez hat, standing very straight next to an auto with its top down.You can read what we assume to be the license plate. The gentleman appears to be in uniform (note the sleeve cuffs that are slightly short) and the small necktie. We’re picturing him as a cabbie or the driver hired by our traveler. Behind the car, barely visible, two men in white hats. To our right, a small wooden cart with large wheels; this would have been either hooked up to an animal or have been pulled or pushed by a person. (Both instances are seen in photos and postcards found online.) Further right, a small child in long dress and head covering, probably being watched by her mother, whom we can’t see due to the shadows of the building.

Sources:  Aqsunqur Mosque. n.d. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aqsunqur_Mosque (accessed May 27, 2022).

Jama’a Al-Aqsunqur (Blue Mosque). (World Monuments Fund). https://www.wmf.org/project/jama%E2%80%99-al-aqsunqur-blue-mosque (accessed May 27, 2022).

Old Spanish Bridge, Ocotlán, Jalisco, México

Old photo, circa early 1900s. Printer/publisher stamp on back not readable.

Price:  $15.00             Size:  4 and 1/2 x 2 and 3/4″

A commercial-type tourist photo, the printer or publisher stamp (upside-down) is blurred but we can see that the first word is Laboratorios. The caption on the back reads:

“Lake freighters at Ocotlán, Jalisco, stone bridge in the background built by the Spaniards.”

Yes, the term “lake freighters” definitely seems out of place today. And, that’s the Santiago River, according to multiple websites showing shots of the same bridge….How nice, we can make out the name of the boat on our left, she was called Adelita. (Don’t you love when the light bulb comes on…..you’re staring at something that suddenly comes into focus?!)

The church in the distance is Señor de la Misercordia (Our Lord of Mercy). Originally, the site of the chapel La Purísima Concepción. The church was rebuilt and dedicated in the new name, after a documented occurrence – the Miracle of Ocotlán, (also called The Prodigy of Ocotlán, translation below). An image of Jesus Christ on the cross appeared in the sky October 3, 1847, to over 2,000 people. This was one day after the earthquake that killed over forty people and left much of Ocotlán in ruins. (Many websites say forty, however the eyewitness account from the town’s mayor says forty-six.)

In checking various websites regarding the miracle, I prefer one in Spanish (from Catholic.net), for content, but had trouble getting its English version, so here’s a quick copy and paste from Google translation:

Back to our photo:  Where is the rest of the church tower on our right? Had there been a problem with the film and it was edited out? No, it wasn’t that. (If anyone can fill us in on what was going on with this church tower for some years, please leave a comment!) Below, our photo, cropped and the 1932 one, in black and white, from a Google search and found appearing on Pinterest:

Last but not least, another crop, calling attention this time to the rather enormous wheels on the horse-drawn wagons:

Sources:  Señor de la Misericordia de Ocotlán.” https://es.catholic.net/op/articulos/63499/cat/1241/senor-de-la-misericordia-de-ocotlan.html#modal (accessed April 14, 2022).

“Eye-witness account of an earthquake in Jalisco in 1847.” (February 21, 2010.) https://geo-mexico.com/?p=301. (accessed April 10, 2022).

“images of the churches in ocotlan jalisco mexico.” Google.com search. Cropped from search result of images that included Pinterest.com. (accessed April 10, 2022).https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gIlD3I2oKV4.

Calle de Montes de Oca, San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato, Mexico

Real Photo Postcard, unused. Circa 1941. EKC stamp box.

Price:  $6.00

These types of cards are always intriguing at purchase (and beyond). You’re dying to enlarge the image so you can see more detail…..but just in general, any photo or painting, drawing, etc. that leads you down a path….well, it’s always an invitation to explore. And for me, after soaking in the pastels of the previous card, I want to fill this one in with color, too. So, here’s our quick “fix” below:

Calle de Montes de Oca can be translated from Spanish as “Goose Mountains Street.” It’s located in the city of San Miguel de Allende, in the Central Mexican state of Guanajuato. And the church in the distance, La Parroquia de San Miguel Arcángel, is said to be one of the most photographed in Mexico.

Sources:  “paintings of calle montes de oca san miguel de allende” Google.com search (accessed March 6, 2022).

San Miguel de Allende. n.d. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/San_Miguel_de_Allende (accessed March 6, 2022).

Taxco, Guerrero, Mexico

Divided back, used postcard. April 13, 1940. Artist unknown. Publisher:  Fischgrund, Mexico (Eugenio Fischgrund). Printed in Mexico. Printer:  F. Sanchez H. y Cia, México, D.F. (Mexico City).

Price:  $15.00

Moving from California to Mexico in our posts – we’ll start off with a colorful card of a Taxco street scene by an unknown artist. In the background is the Church of Santa Prisca. And it’s sometimes assumed, on these type, that F. Sanchez (per the printing at the bottom right on the reverse) is the artist, but Sanchez is actually the printer. This was confirmed by finding another card by publisher, Fischgrund, with the same F. Sanchez info, but by a very well-known artist.

The card is addressed to:  Mrs. May Babcock, 3828 Belmont Ave., San Diego, Calif. U.S.A.

The sender wrote:

“Mexico City. Apr. 13 – 1940. Dear Mrs. Babcock:  There are 2200 miles between you, my fiddle & yours truly. We have been serenaded all along the way & have observed that none of the fiddlers hang on to their bows the way you have taught us. This has been quite a trip so far, & plan to visit several other places before leaving. Hope you are making the class work hard. With love – Helen Tucker”

Mrs. May Babcock, per an article in 1941, was the director of the Oneira Club violin orchestra, in San Diego County. The Oneira club was a charter of the San Diego Chapter of the Federated Women’s Club. Per census and other records, Mrs. Babcock was born May Andrews, in 1867, New York. She married Lee Roy Babcock in about 1897, and taught music for many years. Their daughter Joy May Babcock, who remained single, also became a music teacher and had her own studio.

As for our traveler and postcard sender, Helen Tucker, it’s unclear from records whether there is more than one Helen Tucker (Mrs. Helen C. or Mrs. Helen R. Tucker) but it seems she was married. She is found mentioned in the clipping below:

Sources:  Church of Santa Prisca de Taxco. n.d.. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Church_of_Santa_Prisca_de_Taxco. (accessed March 4, 2022).

“Women’s Clubs Hold Annual Spring Festival.” National City Star-News. Friday, May 30, 1941. (Newspapers.com).

“Oneira Orchestra To Play Program At Club Friday.” The San Diego Union, Wednesday, May 25, 1938, p. 7. (Genealogybank.com).

Year: 1920; Census Place: San Diego, San Diego, California; Roll: T625_130; Page: 14A; Enumeration District: 234. (Ancestry.com).

San Diego Directory Co.s San Diego City Directory 1940, p. 40. Ancestry.com. U.S., City Directories, 1822-1995.

California State Library; Sacramento, California; Great Register of Voters, 1900-1968. (Ancestry.com).

“Orchestra to Play.” San Diego Union. Sunday, May 25, 1941, p. 6D. (Genealogybankcom).

Paris-Plage, La Chapelle Jeanne d’Arc

Divided back postcard. Postmarked July 3, 1917, Army Post Office. Stamped:  Passed Field Censor 2289. Publisher/printer:  Neurdein & Co., Paris.

Price:  $10.00

Plage is beach, so….beach in Paris or Paris Beach? Ahhh, so the full name of the town is actually Le Toquet Paris-Plage, which is located in northern France, on the shores of the English Channel. Le Toquet was, at one time, known as “Paris-by-the-Sea.”

Addressed to:   “Master J. Obery, Polkyth, Saint Austell, Cornwall.”

“Dear Frank. How are you. I saw a little boy who has had a bad throat – how is yours. Keep smiling. Best love   Daddy”

J. Obery was Francis John Patrick Obery, born East Ham, Essex, London in 1910, son of Edward Richard Hooper Obery, born about 1879 and Kate Hooper, born about 1876, who had married on August 5, 1905, in St. Austell, Cornwall. The parish marriage register shows the groom’s occupation as schoolmaster and that his father’s name was John Edward Oliver Obery. (Two middle names were seemingly a tradition.) Kate’s father was Francis Hooper. Edward’s address at the time of marriage was 141 Milton Ave., E. Ham, London and Kate had been living in Watering Hill, Cornwall.

It’s hard to write about some of these cards and photos sometimes. Maybe because there’s that familiar feeling of being able to walk over to the next block and find the Obery Family, or a sense somehow of a trillion points in a person’s life with connections back to ancestors, and forward to their descendants, an overwhelming fullness you can feel but that’s difficult to translate…..

That said, a quick look at the 1911 census shows Edward, Kate, Francis and Edward’s widowed mom, Phillipa Obery, all at 141 Milton Avenue. We later picture the Oberys, minus Edward, locating to Cornwall to stay with Kate’s family, for hopeful safekeeping, while holding Edward in their constant prayers. For context re the move to Cornwall, the month prior to this card being written, 162 civilians were killed in a German daylight air raid on London, June 13th. Another 57 civilian lives were lost in another raid July 7th, just four days after the postmarked date on the card.

Edward served in the Army Veterinary Corps and yes, thank God, he did make it back to his family.

A little about the postcard image:  So, this would have been produced from a photo, not necessarily true to the original, as sometimes the printer or publisher removed or added things (according to what they felt was needed). Anyway, there are some nice details to pick out within the full scene. (The whole is maybe reminding you of a bunch of miniatures set up in a reproduction.) We notice that the road’s edges must slope downward, since the car’s on an angle, driving “in the ditch” some would call it 😉 ; there’s one of those wooden pole fences held together by wire, leaning a little this way and that, as they are wont to do, the fence looking out-of-place with the very stately 4-story building behind it (Or vice-versa!) Moving to our right, we can partially read a sign for an Auto Garage; sweeping further, we pick out three buildings that have half-timbering on a portion of their facades (the vertical stripes with some diagonals) and then of course there’s the church, Saint Joan of Arc, which is not very old at all at this time, having first opened July 14, 1911. (Incidentally this church sustains damage in the Second World War, but is then, thankfully, able to be restored.)

Sources:  Le Toquet. n.d. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Le_Touquet (accessed November 11, 2020).

England, Cornwall Parish Registers, 1538-2010. Salt Lake City, Utah: FamilySearch, 2013. (Ancestry.com).

Class: RG14; Piece: 9565; Schedule Number: 88. 1911 England Census. (Ancestry.com).

“The First World War. Spotlights on History. Long Range Bombers.” nationalarchives.gov.uk. (accessed November 14, 2020).

The National Archives of the UK (TNA): Public Record Office (PRO). Ancestry.com. UK, British Army World War I Service Records, 1914-1920.

Ancestry.com. England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1858-1995.

Greetings From Hohenstaufen, Germany

Undivided back postcard. Postmarked July 25, 1898 from Göppingen, Germany.

Price:  $10.00

Gruss vom Hohenstaufen (Greetings from Hohenstofen)

Another, again a little hard to decipher without knowing German. The sender appears to have been  “M. A. Stempa.”  But it’s beautiful artwork, printed of scenes from the state of Baden-Wuerttemberg, located in the south of Germany:  that of the mountains called Hohenstaufen and Rechberg, and the Barbarossa kirchlein (kirchlein means little church) and church at Schwäbisch Gmünd (Hohenrechberg pilgrimage church, built 1686). The reverse of the card shows the heading Königreich Württemberg, which translates as the Kingdom of Württemberg, a German state which existed from 1805 to 1918. See last link below.

Sources:  Rechberg (mountain). n.d. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rechberg_(mountain). accessed September 28, 2020.

File:2015_Hohenstaufen_Barbarossakirche_1.jpg. https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:2015_Hohenstaufen_Barbarossakirche_1.jpg. accessed September 28, 2020.

Kingdom of Württemberg. n.d. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kingdom_of_W%C3%BCrttemberg. accessed September 28, 2020.

St. Mary’s Church, Hogsthorpe

Divided back, Real Photo Postcard. Circa 1930s – 1950s. Publisher:  A. E. Wrate, Lumley Rd., P. O. Skegness.

Price:  $10.00

A commercial-type Real Photo Postcard, that would have been a good one to use for Halloween, but just to continue with a couple more from England before moving on to Veteran’s Day….and we’re guessing on the date, maybe from the 1930s through 1950s. Note the blurriness around the outer edges of the photo (for some reason). We’re guessing that A. E. Wrate is Alfred Ernest Wrate, born in 1916, son of Alfred Wrate and Amelia Elizabeth (Moody) Wrate, but all three family members are listed in census records as being in the photography business. Wrate’s was also known for its “walking pictures.” See Go Home on a Postcard‘s entry “Wrates – Skegness.”

St. Mary’s Church, located in Hogsthorpe, a small village of the East Lindsey district in Lincolnshire county, dates originally from the 12th century.

Sources:  Census Returns of England and Wales, 1911. Kew, Surrey, England: The National Archives of the UK (TNA), 1911. (Ancestry.com).

The National Archives; Kew, London, England; 1939 Register; Reference: RG 101/6452F.(Ancestry.com).

Ancestry.com. England & Wales, Civil Registration Death Index, 1916-2007.

FreeBMD. England & Wales, Civil Registration Marriage Index, 1837-1915. (Ancestry.com).

“Wrates – Skegness.”  Go Home on a Postcard. https://gohomeonapostcard.wordpress.com/companies/wrates-skegness/ (accessed November 11, 2018).

Hogsthorpe. n.d. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hogsthorpe (accessed November 11, 2018).

Glendalough, County Wicklow, Ireland, Aerial View

Divided back, unused postcard. Publisher: Dúchas. Circa 1995 – 2003.

Price:  $1.00        Size:  About 6 and 3/4 x 5 and 3/4″

Gleann Dá Loch, Co. Chill Mhantáin. Radharc ón Aer. An Roinn Ealaíon, Oidhreachta, Gaeltachta agus Oileán. Department of Arts, Heritage, Gaeltacht and the Islands. Series or number 53.

For St. Patrick’s Day, just a quick newer postcard to start off a short Ireland theme….The publisher is Dúchas – The Heritage Service and per the short Wiki article they were not around very long, so this postcard would be dated from about 1995 to 2003.

“The Monastic City”

This card shows an aerial view of the ancient Christian monastic site founded by St. Kevin in the 6th century. Most of the buildings date from the 10th through 12th centuries.

Sources:  Dúchas. n.d. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/D%C3%BAchas (accessed March 17, 2018).

Glendalough Monastic City – Ireland’s Ancient East. visitwicklow.ie. (accessed March 17, 2017).

Mystery Language

Divided back, unused, Real Photo Postcard. AZO stamp box. Circa 1904 – 1918. Printed in Canada.

Availability Status:  SOLD

The snow is piled up in front of two stylish ladies (check out all the trim on the young woman’s coat) who have posed for this photo. Their dog is beside them, and prominent in the background is what looks to be a church, just from the shape of the windows, and next to the church, a house. The branches of the bare trees are beautiful in this scene, too. Possibly the postcard photo originated in the same area as the sender’s address, so the card may be of historical interest for Saskatoon history buffs, as well as any Abrams descendants.

Baffled….for now

But the note from the sender of this card is a stumper. What language is it written in?  Deciphering can be tricky for old postcards in other languages due to abbreviations and sometimes misspelled words or former spellings of words used, let alone a person’s particular style of cursive, although the name and address are easily read on this one as:   “Mrs. Wm. Abrams, Saskatoon, Sask.” Here’s the puzzle of words, flipped upright:

Without being able to decipher but one or two words on the back (if that) we turned to searching for the receiver of this card to find their native tongue as stated on census records. There is a William Abrams and his wife Maria and their children listed on the 1911 and 1916, residing in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada. This would coincide with the postcard date of circa 1904 to 1918, per the AZO stamp box (all four triangles pointing upward, along with divided back starting December 1903 in Canada.) William was born in Russia and Maria in Germany. William’s declaration of intent, in his U. S. naturalization process, appears to show that he was born in Ekaterinoslav, Russia, which is now called Dnipro and lies within Ukraine….No other possible Abrams were found to fit our postcard, so this is all good info, even though it doesn’t help us figure out the writing on the back. Hopefully, we’ll get some help on the translation from somewhere!

Sources:  Year: 1911; Census Place: 30 – Saskatoon Ward 1, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan; Page: 26; Family No: 236. (Ancestry.com).

Year: 1916; Census Place: Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, 03B; Roll: T-21944; Page: 22; Family No: 247. (Ancestry.com).

National Archives and Records Administration (NARA); Washington, D.C.; Naturalization Records of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California, Central Division (Los Angeles), 1887-1940; Microfilm Roll: 21; Microfilm Serial: M1524.

Dnipro. n.d. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dnipro (accessed January 16, 2018).

M. E. Church, Webster Crossing, NY

m-e-church-webster-crossing-ny-pc1m-e-church-webster-crossing-ny-pc2

Divided back, used, Real Photo Postcard. Postmarked from Webster Crossing, New York, November 24th. The year appears to be 1909.

Price:  $15.00

A Real Photo Postcard of a beautiful little church:  M.E. stands for Methodist Episcopal. The Methodist Episcopal Church (M.E.C.) was the first Methodist denomination founded in the U.S. and existed from 1784 to 1939. That’s the short version without getting into a detailed history, (as per the norm, everything is always more involved than one might initially think) what with mergers and differences of ideology, schisms and the like. But back to this particular church:  it’s a charming building, we love the contrast of the dark trim against the white, the steeple (almost like a large cupola), and the lancet-style front window, with its smaller similar version above the door. The reverse of the card shows a joke we are not privy to, but imagining the laugh shared between friends, we are smiling just the same.

“are you going to church sunday night ha, ha.”

Addressed to:   “Hazel Eggelson. Kanona N.Y.”

This is likely the Hazel Eggelston (no matches under Eggelson) who appears on the 1910 Federal Census with her parents, Martin and Louise, and uncle, Samuel Eggelston. All are native to New York and are living in Bath, Steuben County, at Wheeler and Kanona Roads. Hazel, born about 1896 would have been about thirteen or fourteen when she received the postcard.

Kanona is about 28 miles south of Webster’s Crossing, and Bath is about 3 miles south of Kanona, as the crow flies.

Sources:  Methodist Episcopal Church. n.d. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Methodist_Episcopal_Church (accessed October 2, 2016).

Year: 1910; Census Place: Bath, Steuben, New York; Roll: T624_1079; Page: 3A; Enumeration District: 0100; FHL microfilm: 1375092. (Ancestry.com)