L. F. Abbott Groceries and Provisions, Boston

Trade cards, set of 4. Louis F. Abbott, Groceries and Provisions, Boston, Massachusetts. Copyrighted 1885 by F. C. Bryon, New York. Series 313.

Price for the set:  $40.00           Size for each:  About 5 x 3 and 3/4″

“A Merry Christmas To You., L. F. Abbott, Groceries and Provisions, 181 Eliot St., Boston.”

We’re not finding any other trade cards online for grocer, L. F. Abbott in Boston, and that’s surprising, given the size of these cards, which are larger than most – leading us to think he was doing pretty well. And these are absolute beauties, each showing a scene within a sparkling snow-rimmed leaf. (Sorry you can’t see the sparkle.) Enlarge the images and get lost in them a little – note also the flowery embellishments in the holiday message.

L. F. was Louis Frederick Abbott, born October 2, 1852 in Ossipee, New Hampshire, the son of Henry G. Abbott and Phoebe Abbott, her maiden name unknown.

On October 5, 1881 in Cambridge, Mass, occupation grocer, he married Myra W. Sherman. She was age 27, born in Rockland, Maine, the daughter of Alden Thomas Sherman and Bethiah (Glover) Sherman. Myra died in 1892, and the following year Louis married Myra’s younger sister, Julia. The 1900 Federal Census shows five children: the oldest, Sarah and Lulu would have been Louis’ daughters with Myra; the younger, Bertha, Henry and Fred, his children with Julia. By the 1910 census, the family has increased with sons Warren and Robert.

The business address on the cards of 181 Eliot St. in Boston, shows up in city directories from 1886 through 1890. In 1886 we find the short ad, below:

The store in question may or may not have been the same one our trade cards were advertising; as from this and a couple of other ads, Louis was also in the real estate business. By the 1900 Federal Census taken in Boston, his occupation is listed as real estate, rather than grocer.

Some Years Later……A Helpful Owl

If you’ll indulge the pretentiousness below:  Regarding “Mr. and Mrs.” Jean Martin (in French I always must use the “et” for “and”, otherwise it sounds absurd.)

It’s unclear how long Louis owned the 181 Eliot Street address but we did find a funny article in The Boston Globe, March of 1910:  The residents at that time were M et Mme Jean Martin, who kept a barn owl in the basement. The good owl had eliminated the rat problem that had come about (let’s presume) after the butcher shop moved out, the property perhaps having stood vacant for a time. (The article went on to explain that the rats are gone, so the residents feed the owl with meat.) Here’s an excerpt:

Sources:  Town and City Clerks of Massachusetts. Massachusetts Vital and Town Records. Provo, UT: Holbrook Research Institute (Jay and Delene Holbrook). (Ancestry.com).

New England Historic Genealogical Society; Boston, Massachusetts; Massachusetts Vital Records, 1840???1911. (Ancestry.com).

Massachusetts Grand Lodge of Masons Membership Cards 1733–1990. New England Historic Genealogical Society, Boston, Massachusetts. (Ancestry.com).

Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/176768573/louis-frederick-abbott: accessed 25 December 2023), memorial page for Louis Frederick Abbott (2 Oct 1862–13 Oct 1937), Find a Grave Memorial ID 176768573, citing Seaview Cemetery, Rockland, Knox County, Maine, USA; Maintained by Sally – Midcoast Maine (contributor 48138595).

Year: 1900; Census Place: Boston Ward 21, Suffolk, Massachusetts; Roll: 686; Page: 14; Enumeration District: 1479. (Ancestry.com).

Year: 1910; Census Place: Boston Ward 21, Suffolk, Massachusetts; Roll: T624_623; Page: 11a; Enumeration District: 1587; FHL microfilm: 1374636. (Ancestry.com).

Boston City Directory, 1890. Boston, MA, USA: Sampson, Murdock and Co., 1890.

Ancestry.com. U.S., City Directories, 1822-1995.

The Boston Globe, August 18, 1886. Wednesday, p. 7. (Newspapers.com).

“No Rats Where It Has Its Home.” The Boston Globe, March 5, 1910. Saturday, p. 10. (Newspapers.com).

Easter Egg Lithograph

Egg-shaped lithograph. Publisher unknown. Circa 1880’s- 1910.

Price:  $5.00           Size:  2 and 5/8 x 4″

Well! Holidays catch me behind lately with posting, so this one was for Easter, which was yesterday. (Happy belated.) This is a pretty cool one, one you don’t see everyday, and obviously someone else thought so, too. It was found in an antique store in Nevada:  In pink on white, a couple of decorated bands and then a sunburst at one end and star-shape on the other (on the star I keep flashing back to the drug store, circa 1960’s, begging my mom for one of those plastic balls that always seemed to have a similar design at each end). The egg is cracked to reveal a new day dawning (in general and for Easter) on a lake scene in the mountains……with a small, simple house and a much grander church, gleaming and beckoning from the other side of the water. It’s really not very high-end work but it’s the idea that makes it. Is that supposed to be a figure of a person, standing, looking out across the water? And note the use of the shadows on the egg, to give it dimension.

Palo Cathedral, Leyte, Philippines, Circa 1945

Two old photos, Palo Cathedral, Leyte, Philippines. Circa 1945.

Price for the pair:  $10.00         Sizes:  Photo with soldier, about 2 and 1/4 x 3 and 1/8″

Photo of cathedral, about 4 and 11/16 x 2 and 7/8″

The reverse of the photo (without the soldier) shows handwritten:   “Palo, Leyte:  I went to church here the 17th of June 1945.”  

The first church at this location is said to have been built by the Jesuits in either 1596 or 1598. It’s unclear in sources when the Spanish-style structure we see in the two photos above was constructed, (or whether the center portion was the original, though we might assume not due to the history of most early church buildings starting on a smaller scale) however, it is known that the towers were not added until about 1850. It was not until 1938 that the church was declared a cathedral. During WWII the building was used as a hospital by the American Liberation Forces from October 1944 to March 1945. We can see evidence of hospital and military with the Red Cross truck, the tents on our right, and of course, the soldiers and jeeps. Presumably the guy posing for this shot is the one who wrote the inscription on the second photo’s reverse. If you don’t know the history (as I did not) of the Philippine Islands involvement during the war, please see the first source below. If you can pardon a bit of social commentary here from my North American vantage point, it’s important to understand what went on there – to go beyond in our thought process and not just link the country in our minds with the overseas workers we often get routed to today due to outsourcing.

Present-day, the Metropolitan Cathedral of Our Lord’s Transfiguration, also referred to as Palo Metropolitan Cathedral or just Palo Cathedral:  In the 1960’s the cathedral was demolished and rebuilt into what we see below in this Google images search. The cathedral was “roofless” for a short time after the damage (and tragic loss of lives) inflicted November 2013 by Typhoon Haiyan aka Super Typhoon Yolanda.

Sources:  “Liberation of the Philippines, 1945.” Gaerlan, Cecilia. nationalww2museum.org. September 1, 2020. Accessed April 9, 2023.

Palo Cathedral. n.d. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palo_Cathedral (accessed April 10, 2023).

“images of palo cathedral leyte.” Google.com search. Accessed April 9, 2023.

Mii-dera Temple, Ōtsu, Japan

Old photo, circa 1900 – 1910s.

Price:  $15.00            Size:  5 and 3/8 x 3″

Mii-dera Temple, also called Onjo-ji Temple…..

A Buddhist temple that was established in the 7th Century as a, “Uji-dera Temple (temple built for praying clan’s glory),” and one of the four largest temples in Japan. The view we see looks east toward the city of Otsu and Lake Biwa (the largest lake in Japan). There are some people appearing in this photo, as well – four men, one seemingly gazing up toward the person taking the photo.

Sources:  Onjo-ji Temple. https://www.japanese-wiki-corpus.org/shrines/Onjo-ji%20Temple.html (accessed August 16, 2022).

Mii-dera. n.d. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mii-dera (accessed August 16, 2022).

Temple Guardians, Bali, Indonesia

Divided back, Real Photo Postcard, unused. Circa 1910s – 1930s. Publisher:  Gevaert.

Price:  $75.00

This seems to be a rare card – we’re not finding any duplicates online – and the subject matter is great!

It was after a couple of days of research, and at the point of giving up (much online scrutiny of gods, deities, masks, carved repeating patterns, etc. in a surprising number of potential countries) that the location in question was happily revealed. Not surprisingly, it was the larger figures in the postcard photo, with their protruding top teeth, tongues hanging out, curving tusks, bulging eyes and bull-like nose, that took us (in that moment of certainty – like space-warp instant travel) – to the island of Bali, Indonesia. (It would be nice to be able to identify each carved figure but that turns out to be more challenging:  There can be multiple manifestations, including both female and male representations of the same god.)

Below, our Google search result, and see the link in “Sources” for more information from the Bali Culture Tours website:

Sources:  “Balinese Gods With Their Manifestations And Their Meanings.” Bali Culture Tours. (accessed July 26, 2022).

“Images of Indonesia Deities.” Google.com search. (accessed July 26, 2022).

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.